Successful Business Blogging: The Secret Sauce

5 Ways to Spice Up Any Business Blog

What's your secret sauce?What’s the problem with business blogs? Most of them are ho-hum. They suffer from bland-blog-post-syndrome.

Considered a cost of doing business (which is code for I-need-this-content-but-I-can’t-figure-out-why), business bloggers just fill their posts with value-challenged content that doesn’t help prospects or drive sales.The problem is, that to blog well, you must understand your audience’s pain points and craft concise information to answer their purchase-related questions. This is one of the five basic content types, namely customer FAQs.

What’s the secret to a successful business blog?

Listen to your customers and prospects. Then answer the questions they ask because, in Marcus Sheridan’s (aka: The Sales Lion) words,  “your customers define sexy content, not you!” As a result, you’ll create content that’s anything but ho-hum.

Gather customer questions from your organization’s customer facing staff including sales and customer service. Use the list below as the basis of your editorial calendar for blog posts. If you post two answers a week, you’ll cover one hundred questions. Based on Hubspot research which found that two to three blog posts per week and fifty published blog posts were needed to yield blogging results, this list of questions will yield a year’s worth of blog content.

How do you ensure your posts spice up your business blog and support your sales process?

Create content around these five points.

  1. Describe your product offering. Customers seek product information first, based on Forrester research that found that more shoppers started their product research on Amazon than Google. It helps to have strong, compelling product information including images and videos with associated text that supports search optimization.Consumers search on Amazon first more  frequently than Google for purchase info
  2. Compare your products to your competitors’ products. Be the first to answer the right questions! While your management team may get nervous about this side-by-side assessment, understand your prospects will put your product name versus your competitor’s product name into a search engine. Help them get your information by responding to their specific questions. BTW, they already know who your competitors are since they’ve done their homework. (Here’s how to do a competitive analysis.)
  3. Explain purchase related issues. Make it easy for prospects to purchase. Enhance your product offering with easy-to-consume content where needed. Skip the legalese. Explain related processes and financing in plain English. For example, to sell in-ground pools, Sheridan needed to explain to prospects how to finance it. Similarly, you may need to provide recipes, patterns or step-by-step instructions to show your audience how to use your products.
  4. Talk about price. While you may be nervous addressing this issue head on, understand that it’s your prospects’ top question. They want to know if your offering is in their affordability range. Further, just like you, your competitors don’t want to answer this hot topic either. In today’s connected world, over half of consumers seek price and related discount information before they purchase. Make it easy for them to say yes.
  5. Examine everyone in your category. By producing a well-analyzed assessment of your competitors, you can position yourself as the expert with a clear point of view. Sheridan advises not to include your firm in this comparison. This assessment has enabled Sheridan to appear on his competitors’ keyword searches. (Here are more blogging SEO tips from fifteen experts.)

By listening to your prospects, you’ll have the secret sauce to answering their questions before they contact you. As a result, your business blog will be able to  drive measurable results with content that’s anything but ho-hum.

Have you used a blog to support your business lead generation, sales or search optimization? If so, what did you do and what were your results?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Revised: September 9, 2012

Note: Marcus Sheridan’s quotes are from his Content Marketing World presentation. Any miswording is attributable to the author.

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