Here are some tips for providing great blog content:
- Make a list of the 5 -7 top reader frustrations. In the same way that our eye is drawn to the crooked picture in an otherwise perfect room, we tend to focus on frustrations and peeves that drive us crazy. Whenever someone mirrors those frustrations, we feel a sense of camaraderie. Use these frustrations and your solutions as the anchor and mission of your blog. You want each article to be a salve against the painful frustrations that your readers are experiencing. Literally make this list and keep it handy use it as a rotating theme for your content.
- Identify keywords and phrases from that frustration list. Recent studies have shown that people aren't exactly looking for solutions first. BEFORE they look for a solution, the search out their problem -- looking for ideas and options on what the solution is. For example, "Leaking Roof" is a problem that I will search on hoping to see what options are available to fix it. Is this a quick fix or do I need a roof replacement. Or I might search on a term such as "sales process" because I feel like I have no control over my sales process or I'm not getting consistent results. So all these terms are hot button issues that you can write about. Your audience is searching for guidance on how to buy. They are more likely to buy from the company that helps them understand and choose.
- Answer customer questions. The easy way to do this is to have a board or Google Document that people can contribute customer questions to so that you can create content that answers them and gives advice. Take a helpful and educational tone in your writing and be open about where the question came from and then simply answer it. Keeping tabs on customer questions will also give you ideas on additional kinds of content such as video.
- Recruit contributing experts for each "frustration" your customers have. Blogging can becaome a daunting task -- but not of you recruit experts in your company or in your industry to be contributing experts. Ask if sales, customer service, technical or engineering folks would be interested in writing out answers to customer questions or writing about events they've attended. Also think about writing about events that you're attending such as trade shows and what you'll be featuring there. Another win-win strategy is to recruit the experts in your industry to write for your blog. Trust me - they would be honored and happy to do it. It's a HUGE promotional and marketing opportunity for them and a big help for you and information for your customers.
- CEO or president is a regular contributor. I've separated the CEO writing for the blog as a separate tip because it is so very important. You don't have to be a journalist or the next Tom Clancy to communicate what you're up to as a company. CEOs miss a HUGE PR opportunity in NOT writing for their blog. You'd be amazed at the CEOs who blog. I mean if the CEO from GM can find the time to blog -- so can YOU.
Referrals are still the number one way of getting the best, most profitable customers. And don't think that just because you're in a more B2B or industrial market that referrals don't work -- I'm working on a heavily industrial project right now where the most popular way that people choose suppliers is by calling other suppliers and customers and asking who they would recommend.
Your blog is a tremendous promotional and advertising tool - don't let it go to waste.