How to Show You Care About Your Blog Readers
The dirty little secret of blogging is that your prospects and readers don’t give a damn about your blog. They care about their needs, getting answers to their questions quickly and easily, and being entertained. As long as your blog does this, they’ll keep reading it.
So what can bloggers to do to get readers to care about their blog? At its core, a blog must provide value for its readers or they’re gone. Jay Baer calls this the Youtility that’s at the heart of every blog readers love.
Baer defines youtility as marketing customers want and seek. Unlike utility, youtility offers value as well as a human face because it’s grounded in the core values of social media and content marketing. Specifically, it’s massively useful information, provided without cost to build long-term trust between your company and your customers.
Here are five key ways your blog can provide value to your prospects and readers.
1. Provide the right content.
Offer information that your potential readers seek. This doesn’t mean posts filled with merchandising and marketing push! If these suggestions don’t feel right for your specific audience, then ask them what they’d like to read about.
- Answer customer questions. This is a no-brainer. Marcus Sheridan had a client create 100 pieces of content in five hours! (Yes, you read that correctly.)
- Show customers how to style your products. The difference between styling and selling is show don’t tell. Think like a fashion magazine regardless of what your product is.
- Offer patterns and recipes. This adds value to your offering by giving prospects instructions for using it. This works well for food, home repair, interior design and crafts.
- Let your customers strut their stuff. Give your customers space to show how they use your products. It puts your offering in a real context for potential buyers.
2. Format your content the right way.
The goal is to make your blog easy-to-consume.
- Use magnetic headlines. Pull readers into your content with headlines that make them want to read more.
- Tell stories. People remember stories better than a heap of facts.
- Provide different content types. Understand that people take in information differently. Therefore offer an array of types. Of course, don’t forget the eye candy—photos.
- Chop your information into bite size pieces. Realize that your readers are pressed for time. Make it easy for them to scan your posts.
3. Use the right keywords.
Make your information findable. Specifically this means:
- Incorporate the words your readers use. Don’t think corporate needs. Skip those words you think are important to rank for on search in favor of theirs.
- Crosspost videos from your blog on YouTube. Add keyword-rich text labels and descriptions. YouTube is the second largest search engine and social media platform. For example, Jon Loomer posts a video every Friday.
- Link to related information on your blog as well as reputable third party sites. Help your readers.
- Associate text with non-text content. Remember search bots don’t see images, audio and video.
4. Distribute your posts on the right platforms.
This translates to putting your blog posts where your potential readers spend their time. You can’t hope they’ll return to your blog regularly in hopes you’ll have something new and interesting. You’re not the local supermarket.
- Offer RSS (aka feeds) and email options. This is the best way to keep your readers getting your information. (BTW–we’d be pleased if you subscribed to our newsletter.)
- Leverage other owned media. Distribute your blog posts on other platforms you own including your website. Be creative – use signature files and customer service emailings to highlight your articles.
- Place your blog posts on appropriate social media venues. Share your blog posts on social media. When possible it’s best if you use handcrafted shares. Also, encourage others to share your posts through social sharing buttons and links.
5. Respond with the right follow through.
Bear in mind your job as a blogger doesn’t end when you hit the publish button.
- Reply to comments. Use a commenting platform to facilitate posting comments. Also, create a set of house rules for comments. But most importantly, you should respond to comments where appropriate. Your readers want to feel that you’re interested in them.
- Monitor social media environment for follow up opportunities. Sometimes it takes time for a blog post to gather steam. Keep track of what’s happening to ensure that you’re not missing opportunities to expand your blog platform. Also, you may need to clarify points that you made with which others disagree.
- Take action to ensure sales leads are nurtured. Make sure that you help any prospects that are interested in your offering as a result of your blog posts. To help you track this, you should use a call-to-action and tailored landing page.
To make your readers give a damn about your blog, you have to give a damn about your readers. This means providing useful information that they need in the way that they want it.
What else would you add to this list to make readers care about your blog?
For those of you in Raleigh, NC, please join me for Internet Summit November 11th through 13th.Use the code HEIDI50 to save $50 OFF any pass level.
Even though Content Marketing World is finished until next September, you can still get all the content from 2014's exciting conference. The CMWorld On Demand package includes: Audio and video from the 2014 keynote sessions, audio and PowerPoint presentations of all the breakout sessions, over 40 audio sessions from the leading B2B and B2C brands, as well as keynote video performances.
According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.
Join the CMO Council on Wednesday, October 29, at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a one-hour webcast that will invite industry experts in content marketing and user-generated content who are effectively leveraging authentic storytelling as part of their content marketing strategies. We will also feature an interactive Q&A session at the conclusion of the speaker presentations.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/6180907719/