I don't have to tell you that making the sale first requires enticing the customer. Engaging, informative content is one of the top ways to drive conversions, and a well-written business blog is a great way to spread that content. Here are some tips to make your blogging efforts successful.

The Real Purpose of Your Business Blog

Some companies start blogs on their company websites to publish news and company information. The problem is that few people actually care about that information.

The real purpose of your company blog is to attract new people to your website. A customer-focused blog puts your website in the path of ideal customers that are searching for information. Before finding your website, a potential customer may not have heard of your company, even if you sell to a niche audience.

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If you're going to attract and win ideal customers using your website, you're going to need to do the following 6 things:

1. Research Your Customers

Think about what information your customers will be searching for.

  • Ask sales reps and customer service reps to make a list of common questions
  • Make note of conversations you have at trade shows
  • Search your email for customer conversations
  • Review customer surveys or evaluations

One way to find out is to listen to what is being said on social media (like LinkedIn Groups), where your potential customers pose questions and comments all the time. You can take these questions and create a blog post that is truly engaging.

At Whittington Consulting, we find that creating customer personas as part of a content strategy is helpful to understand what topics customers want to know about. Customer personas will reveal potentially hundreds of ideas for specific blog topics.

2. Promote, Don't Push

It's okay to create a blog post that mentions your products or services. The key to doing this effectively is not to push the sale. People often look for several alternatives or solutions, so describing them on your company website can give credibility and prevent people from searching elsewhere. Describing the pros and cons of each alternative can also help qualify prospects so your sales team doesn't waste time.

For example, check out this blog post where one manufacturer compares their technology to another.

3. Share Posts on Social Media

While targeting keywords is one effective way to establish your blog's presence, another option is to share blog posts on social media. If you already have hundreds of LinkedIn connections, posting snippets of your blog can convince contacts to visit your website. This puts them one step closer to calling or getting in touch.

In addition to sharing your posts on social media yourself, be sure visitors can easily share them, as well. This means displaying social sharing buttons that are easy to see on your website.

4. Be specific

When creating content, it is essential to take the time to narrow down your niche and create blogs that will appeal to your target audience. This is why writing down customer questions is so important. Their questions tend to be specific in nature, and search engines value content that is specific.

Specificity will provide customers with unique insight that makes your blog valuable by providing engaging information while bringing in new visitors from search engines.

5. Optimize each blog post for search engines

If you're going to start blogging, be sure to target the right keywords in your blog posts to ensure that your blog posts will appear in search engine results. Here are some tips:

  • Use Google's Keyword Planner to research possible keyword/phrase ideas and find out search volume and competition.
  • Try to optimize for keywords with low or medium competition.
  • Use the keyword in the post title and a few times in the text of the blog article.
  • Write a meta description for each post. These are the two lines that appear below the post title in search engines, so write them in a way that compels someone to click.
  • Use a featured image with each blog post so that when people share on social media, the visuals will draw the eye.
  • Share your blog on the company Twitter account, LinkedIn Account, Google+ account and the author's social media profiles, too.

6. Don't stop

Blogging takes time and commitment. This means you shouldn't give up if the blog doesn't pull in traffic immediately. The more quality posts you publish, the more website traffic you'll get--and traffic leads to sales.

I particularly enjoyed reading this article about how one marketer was "a content marketing failure." His conclusion? He gave up too early. (Read the post here.)

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