The blog you promised yourself on Friday you’d write on Monday is proving to be a difficult birth. The residue of the weekend is clogging your creativity glands and all you can do is stare (and silently swear) at the screen. What on earth are you going to write?
Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you a series of posts – distilled from what (for our money) is still one of the best blog theme guides ever published, The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas – to give you the #MondayMotivation you need to get over the blogging blues and get scribing!
First theme in series: Write a blog that is useful!
We really can’t overstate this one – blog posts that are useful and helpful to readers (as opposed to chest-beatingly promotional) help you to establish yourself and your business as an authoritative and trustworthy source of information. This will help bring prospects back to you time and again as they move down the so-called ‘sales funnel’ and closer to a buying decision.
And this usefulness won’t escape Google’s notice either, because useful content pushes you up the authority scale – and Google likes nothing more! As the Search Engine Journal puts it: “When you create content that is highly useful (or engaging or entertaining) to visitors – and when those visitors find your content reliable enough that they would willingly return again to your site, or even seek you out above others – you’ve gained authority.”
How to write that really useful (and authoritative) blog
OK, all well and good. But what actually constitutes a “useful” blog? What do you need to write about to establish your credibility and authority with the budding buyer?
Here are some tried and tested strategies:
- Write a list post – Break concepts down into a series of points, like we did in this recent blog, and you automatically make them more digestible. A post of this kind is often called a ‘listicle’ (‘list’ + ‘article’) because journalists know it’s useful, too!
- Write a how-to post – A guide showing the reader how to accomplish something important to them when they don’t quite know where to start is a great foundation for a post. Keep the language simple, break it down into subsections that each correspond to a step and offer real, practical tips – like this straightforward How to Write a Good Video Description blog.
- Write a problem/solution post – Post a helpful solution to a known problem your prospects or customers have, give it a ‘does what it says on the tin’ title (“Why you’re having problem X – and what to do about it!”), and you’re tapping into a rich vein of reader frustration that could make you the ‘go to’ blogger in your field. The problems themselves can come from your own market knowledge, customer feedback you have received, or any number of online forums where spleens get vented (this Be a Better Blogger post names a few).
- Write a case study post – Often, the best illustration of both the problems your business solves and how it solves them better than anyone else comes from the customer’s lips, in case study posts like this one.
- Write a definition post – Product and service offerings of all types are awash with jargon. Guide your prospects through what means what (and why!) and the chances are they’ll come back to you for the next step. SEO specialist Deeho, for example, neatly blogs about what the term ‘Inbound Marketing’ means – because effective SEO and effective inbound marketing go hand in hand!
- Write a series post – You’re reading one now! Start a useful conversation with the promise of more to come, making sure there’s an overarching theme that will appeal to your audience. Check out this great explanation of series blogging from Problogger.
- Write a stats post – Statistics do what no other expression can: they demonstrate the size of a problem or challenge. For example, “90% of small businesses are underinsured by at least 50%” is a far more powerful statement in an insurance broker’s blog than “Most small businesses are dreadfully underinsured”!
Focus on one statistic or use several (whether from your own original research or from credible sources like news sites, industry analysts’ and market researchers’ websites, or national statistical institutions like the ONS) and build a story a that helps readers understand the extent of the problem and how it affects them.
What comes next in this series?
Being useful in your blogs is a great way to build customer trust and search engine authority, and position yourself as an expert in your chosen field – and our tips above should help you surmount your post-Sunday writer’s block!
Next time, we show you how to write blogs that appeal to your readers’ human sensibilities, because – online as everywhere else – likeability precedes saleability!