If you are committed to helping and inspiring your customers then a blog should be your number one priority. It is one of the most cost effective and rewarding ways to start creating information that customers will appreciate, and key to your marketing today. Carefully crafted blog articles will demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and a helpful resource for your clients; a sure-fire way to draw in and generate new business.
We’ve compiled some top tips from our new book to help you get started in making your blog valuable.
- Listen to your customers. Keep a notebook and jot down the questions you’re asked. Answer them with 5 bullet points. Each question will form the basis of a short blog post.
- Research the big questions in your market. Pick the topic that catches your eye. Draft a simple Q&A blog post that deals with the topic from the point of view of your customers. Write about the subject as if you were explaining its relevance to a favourite client. What would they want to know about it?
- ‘Don’t be afraid of not knowing enough. Remember, your bread & butter is somebody else’s rocket science. Keep it simple and relevant to your audience.’ (James Chapman, Managing Director, Development Done Right)
- Break it down. Feed people’s hunger for quick answers now by breaking down what you know into small chunks that can be easily digested.
- Bulleted lists are great for blogs. They add structure and allow you to pack in lots of valuable content without a lot of extra word padding. Up to 10 points on a list works best. We are all busy. A shorter list reassures readers that this is going to be a quick win read, not War and Peace.
- Think quality before quantity. ‘Blogs need content, but you don’t have to break your back creating it. In most niches, updating a blog with 1-3 highly valuable content pieces each month is enough,’ says Derek Halpern on the excellent DIY Themes blog. I am sure that is music to your ears!
- Illustrate your point. Find an image that fits your brand: professional or quirky, stylish or funny. Be consistent when using images in blogs. Keeping them the same size for example, or in a similar style.
- Question and respond. You want people to engage with you through your blog, so encourage dialogue by asking a question at the end, throwing the floor open for comments. Blogs are unashamedly opinionated, so ask to share other people’s views. When people do comment on your blog, make sure you respond – by building engagement through your blog, it’s more likely to get shared.
- ‘Share this’. An invaluable feature of any blog is the ‘Share this’ button – this will make it really easy for people to pass on your content if they like it. Without ‘share this’ they’ll have to go back to Twitter or Facebook, or wherever they found the link, and do it from there. ‘Share this’ is your chance to strike while the iron is hot, and make the most of the few seconds when your reader is still with you, and keen to tell other people about the brilliant thing they have just learnt.
- Call to action. Another way of capitalising on the enthusiasm your blog will have stirred is to guide the reader towards other blogs you’ve written on similar themes. Highlighting other relevant articles will pull them deeper into your website, showing them other ways that you can help. Encourage them to act.
If you found this article useful and you are raring to get started then take a look at our 20 article ideas to get you writing. Choose four of these suggestions and start jotting down blog article ideas around them.
We really hope these ideas are useful. If you have any other tips please share them.
We are hugely grateful to those who contributed their ideas and stories for the Valuable Content Marketing book. More valuable tips from the book coming soon.