During this time of heavily reduced in-person meetings and tradeshows (and, in most cases, canceled altogether), rethinking how you bring in net-new leads should be at the top of your to-do list. With social distancing requirements in full force across the nation and around the world, the written word has become even more critical when it comes to bringing prospects into your sales pipeline.
My last blog post covered the essential steps for any business to successfully create demand. Today, I’m going to dig a little deeper andguide you through some of the most important steps to follow when developing one of my favorite types of top-of-funnel content (which, yes, you happen to be reading right now): blog posts.
Why blog posts? Blogs are a useful, SEO-friendly, and centralized hub for answering the questions, concerns, and pain points that keep your buyers up at night. You have the chance to save the day with content that not only answers their needs but also becomes a resource for them to continue to reference.
Also, search engines love content — especially frequently updated content, such as a steady stream of new blog posts. A consistent volume of useful content increases the chance that people will find your website in search engines (SEO), helps position yourself as an expert, and enables you to build relationships with your audience. Just remember to avoid keyword stuffing; it will backfire.
Knowing how to write compelling, action-inspiring content for your business, however, can be difficult if you are used to writing to sell instead of writing to support your buyer. In case you missed the signs, savvy buyers have caught on to the hard sell — and they don’t respond well to it anymore. A Pardot survey found that 63 percent of respondents have been disappointed by content at some point in their career, which, for 97 percent of them, negatively impacted their trust. So, it’s important to choose — and create — your content wisely.
Many of the content teams I’ve worked with have developed their buyer personas, but they still struggle with creating content that differentiates them from their competitors and captures the attention of their buyers. So, it’s time to become more strategic about how you communicate with your buyer personas in order to stand out.
With that goal in mind, below is my Content Manager’s Cheat Sheet for Attracting the Right Buyers with Your Blog Content:
- First, choose a topic your audience wants to read about.
- Build a grid of no more than 10 pain points that the majority of your buyers face in their day-to-day jobs.
- Explain why those pain points are standing in the way of their success.
- Pick one of those pain points to become the subject of your blog post. (The other pain points will serve as the subject for future blog posts and different types of content.)
PRO TIP: This process also applies to your entire content development strategy!
- Research your pain point on sites like AnswerThePublic.com to see how the subject you selected will fit what your audience turns to their search tools to find.
- Once you’ve narrowed down the language of the pain point and verified its relevance, you can build a subject line that will show up in your buyers’ searches.
- Second, craft a blog post that gets found by — and resonates with — your target audience by including the following elements.
- Catchy subject line specific to the pain point (it’s a good idea to include a top keyword for findability, if it makes sense)
- Introduction that shows you understand your target audience’s situation and have the expertise to help them
- Steps or tips that help address the pain point
- Facts and figures that support your argument and reassure prospects they aren’t alone
- Inbound links that point to relevant content inside your company website
- Outbound links that point to relevant, credible sources outside of your company website
- Conclusion that wraps up everything you discussed in the post and key takeaways
- Third, make it easy for readers to take the next step in the buyer’s journey.
- Carefully choose your Call to Action: Select the right next piece of content that leads to a longer form of relevant, downloadable content.
- Craft a catchy CTA line: For example, “Read Now” is boring; “Level Up” is catchy.
NOTE: Try to avoid using the “Contact Us” CTA at this stage. It’s not the right time in the buyer’s journey for that messaging.
- Make it visually appealing: If your brand standards allow for it (and you have the resources to handle it), design an eye-catching graphic for your CTA. Vidyard provides a great example of a visually appealing CTA, placing it in both the introduction and at the end of its blog post:
Once you’ve written your relevant, compelling content, invite people to share it on social media (and, most importantly, link to it to boost searchability). Sharing blog posts on social media is one of the most effective ways to create authority on search engines for your site and ultimately to be found by your potential buyers.
Get found (or, if you blog it, they will come)
A compelling blog post starts before you even write a single word by knowing your customers, researching their pain points, and choosing a topic that will drive awareness and resonate with your prospects. Then, and only then, should writing begin.
Incorporating the three essential elements of a blog post I outlined above will increase findability, entice your prospects to actually read what you wrote, and hopefully keep your pipeline humming during this era of remote work and social distancing.
Content will always be the fuel for your digital marketing efforts and a path for continuing to build and maintain customer relationships. Just about everyone these days agrees that excellent, targeted content is a must. With in-person events off the table for the foreseeable future, now is the time to hone in and refine the way you communicate with your prospects and customers. It will benefit you now, and it will continue to help your organization long after tradeshows and sales visits make a comeback.
Want to learn more about Buyer Persona Development? Download our Buyer Persona Development Tool.
Patti Heath is a Consultant dedicated to partnering with clients to achieve their business goals. She focuses on developing demand generation strategy, including lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and lead management. She enjoys staying on top of the ever-changing digital industry and identifying the best new technological advances.