There are certain things that every blog post needs if you want to see results.
Quality is important, but I would argue that the real goal is relevance. Is the content in your blog post representative of the questions your personas are asking?
If the answer is no, you could spend hours preparing the world’s greatest blog post on a very interesting topic only to find it ineffective at generating results.
Relevance matters, especially in a world in which millions of blog posts are published every single day. If you’re not answering pressing questions and solving real problems, it’s almost not worth publishing at all.
That’s what we’re going to look at today – 5 things you can and should be doing that will make your content not just good, but highly relevant for the people you want reading it.
Fully Identify Your Target Audience
I write about persona identification a lot, and you probably see your fair share of articles about it.
As simple as it might sound, this very important exercise can make a huge difference in how relevant your content for your ideal customer.
By understanding completely who you want to have a sales conversation with, you can build content that they will find interesting. This is where egos need to be checked at the door. Your industry may be small and your niche narrow, limiting the size of the potential audience for your content. That’s fine, as long as the right people find it. Some of the things to consider when determining if you know the audience well enough, include:
- Where do they spend their time online?
- What publications and social sites do they frequent?
- How do they describe their problems?
- Do they recognize or use any industry jargon?
- Is there overlap between different personas you may be targeting?
The goal here is to have a clear sense of the language used by your target audience, the type of content they are looking for, and how best to present it to them.
Make a List of Common Sales Questions
When you know these things, it becomes instantly easier to start mining your existing resources for information. The very first thing you should do?
Ask your sales team for input.
All the research in the world will only get you so far. At the end of the day, your team knows the ideal customer profile better than anyone else and should be able to provide solid insights – the goal is to know what questions to ask:
- What is the most common problem you hear from customers during the first sales touchpoint?
- What issues do you encounter at tradeshows and meetups?
- How often do you get referrals and what is the common pain point that triggers the request for referral?
- What are the most frequent pushbacks from prospects during the sales process?
While some of these things will be outside the scope of a blog post (cost concerns in hiring you for example), many will be insightful starting points for future articles.
Read Old Posts that Got Good Engagement
If your blog has been active for some time, review old blog posts that did well and look for common patterns.
The most effective blog posts are likely those that addressed very specific problems, often with tangible, actionable tips that readers could implement right away.
How do you copy that in your next blog post?
You make sure every article you write has the same basic structure and touch points. Focus on the things that matter most – the answers to common questions, validation of concerns, and real-world examples to go with each point.
Check Competitor Sites and Related Blogs
One of the first things I ask every client I work with is for a list of competitors and sites that are targeting the same personas.
This last part is very important.
Too often, we focus on the direct competitors – the people who are selling the same things. And while that is extremely important (these are the sites you need to appear in front of), what matters almost as much are the sites that your target personas will visit when they have problems you are trying to solve.
I call this the Wikipedia effect. There are tens of thousands of search queries directly related to products and services that Wikipedia frequently buries in the SERPs.
And while there isn’t much you can do about Wikipedia results outranking your website, you can evaluate other educational sites to see what they are doing well, what they are not doing well, and what opportunities are being missed.
Focus on a Single Actionable Takeaway
Finally, give people something to try.
Lists can be highly effective content pieces that capture attention and drive engagement on your site, but they tend to either oversaturate with too many pieces of actionable advice, or they underdo it, watering down each entry to the point that they fail to successfully convey expertise or thought leadership.
Give readers a single piece of valuable information they can walk away with and use in their lives. More is fine, but if you can read the blog post and say, “what now?” it’s a failure.
A Relevant Blog Is an Effective Blog
Relevance will do two things for your blog posts.
It will increase engagement and improve response rates from people who read them. If someone feels like your content is written directly for them, they are more likely to continue reading and ultimately click on your call to action button.
If the content is irrelevant, even if it’s funny or interesting, it may not keep their attention because time is limited and value needs to be immediately apparent.
Keep these things in mind and you can generate better results from each blog post you produce.