If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.
This post is from our upcoming book tentatively entitled, Marketing Essentials for Small Business. The completed portions of the initial draft are temporarily available on this site via our new Free Content Library. Eventually, the book will be offered as a pdf, ebook and in hard copy. Parts 1 and 2 of the book are also available as a downloadable pdf in the Free Content Library. They cover the first two pillars of your content marketing strategy, your website/blog, and email marketing.
Now, let’s start learning how to write a blog post and how to get the most out of them for your small business.
Posts are Most of Your Content Marketing
If your blog is the heart of your content marketing world, your blog posts are its lifeblood. They are what will move visitors from being prospects to becoming customers. They are what you will share with social media to draw people to your site so you can convert them into customers. And they are what you will promote in your email marketing to current customers in order to deepen loyalty and gain a larger share of their wallets. Blog posts are the most important form of your marketing media.
Blog posts will be where you establish thought leadership in your industry. They will demonstrate your expertise and authority. They will create trust and get people to like you and your business. They will build your brand and your business. They will draw relevant traffic to your site, the types of visitors that will buy your products. Your posts will show your value up front. They will qualify your leads. Paradoxically they will generate leads best if you don’t try to generate leads. If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.
Posts are also an excellent resource for your sales and customer service teams. They can share posts in their email conversations with clients and prospects. They can even be used to educate new employees and win over vendors. They can help you gain access to capital. Blog posts are the most. So, let’s look at how to write a blog post.
What to put in your posts
Your blog posts will, usually, consist of these elements:
- The Post Title/Headline
- A Captivating Visual
- Body Copy
- A Call to Action
- SEO Metadata
The Post Title/aka your Headline
The title is the most important part of your post. It will determine if it will get read or not. You should spend more time on it than the rest of the post combined.
Three-fourths of people ignore the link to your post when they are exposed to it on search engines, social media or in emails. Of the remaining quarter, 80% of them will read the headline. Fewer than 20% will read the post and far less than that will take the action you want them to take after reading it. A great title can increase that 20%. It tells the viewer why they should read your post, watch your video or listen to your podcast. It makes a unique promise to your audience. It helps search engines find and recommend your posts.
A Captivating Visual
Keep your visual(s) to a minimum to reduce page size and download times. But they are still critical. They are almost as important as the title/headline. They are especially useful when you share them with your post’s link in social media or emails. Your main image or the freeze frame of a video must captivate the viewer’s imagination and create an emotional connection. It must create curiosity. When used thoughtfully, consistently and strategically your visuals are part of your branding.
These mini-headlines are what viewers scan when they first see your post and make a split-second decision about whether to read it. They should show what the post is about and what it will do for the reader.
Here is where the rubber hits the road. Your body copy (the words in your paragraphs) is what you want your visitors to read. You will use it to provide useful information that solves their problems and makes their lives better. It is where you will vividly and specifically highlight the features and more importantly the benefits of your solutions. You will show how your products work and get your audience to visualize themselves using your products. It will relieve your audience’s pain points. It is what you use to address and overcome objections to making a purchase. Your body copy will make the fear of buyer’s remorse go away. It will channel your audience’s desires into the products you provide that offer satisfaction.
Your posts’ information should be easily read and immediately usable. You must speak in everyday language. Use the words that your prospects use. Put yourself in their shoes. Write to one person, your ideal client for the post’s content. Write short sentences and add humor when possible. Your body copy is where you make the case for why your reader/viewer/listener should do business with you. Your post should allow the product to sell itself.
“Words are only words. Without some feeling, they can’t be heard.” (lyrics by) Shoes
Your copy is most effective when you present it in the form of a story that creates an emotional connection. Storytelling is one of humanity’s most powerful forms of influence. Be sure to tell your entire story. Do not expect it to be read a second time. You must give your product a winning personality. It is a minor hero that will (with your assistance as a mentor) help the central hero, your audience, achieve its desires.
Call to Action
The CTA is where you get the reader to take action. It might be to take the next step in the sales cycle like reading another post. It might be to sign up for your emails. It might be to contact you, or it might be to go to a landing page and then commit to a purchase. No matter what it is, every piece of media you publish should be getting the viewer to take some action.
Metadata is the information you enter, on the backend of your site, to help search engines find your post, and it’s what searchers will see in their search results. It is not visible on the public face of your site. It is only visible to search engines via your site’s code. It will contain your target keywords as well as the SEO title and meta description of the post. The search engine result it generates is a mini-post in and of itself which must convince the potential viewer to click through to your post with a call to action. See the snippet preview below.
In addition to using your keyword phrase in the metadata for your post, use it in your Page/Post URL, first heading (H1), and throughout the post several times. Try to use it in your first paragraph as well. It is also a good idea to incorporate it into the filenames, titles, alternative text, and descriptions of any images.
Types of Posts
The posts you will publish are mainly of two types. They are either timely or evergreen in regards to their content. Timely posts are of short-term value and could promote a temporary sale or event. Evergreen content is the type of cornerstone content that visitors will view on your blog for years. It is an investment that will pay dividends month after month.
To get the most out of your blogging efforts, employ the advice in this post. If you write it, you want people to read it.
Be sure to check out the rest of Marketing Essentials for Small Business to see how blog posts work with an integrated content marketing strategy that will increase leads for your business and deepen customer loyalty. It is temporarily available in our Free Content Library.