Category Archives: Blogging

5 Things Every Blog Post Needs to Be Relevant

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.

7 Tips to Write a Blog Post Every Day (#6 Will Surprise You)

I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in the last decade – from one-person shops just getting off the ground to 8-figure companies with teams of 250+ people. And they all have one thing in common.

A severe lack of time.

Company size, budget, and resources don’t matter. When it comes to the nitty gritty of the daily grind, there is rarely enough time to do everything you need to do, let alone write a bunch of content for the company blog.

It’s time consuming, not always fun, and the results you hope to someday see can take a long time in coming. So, it tends to fall to the bottom of the list…and stay there.

But, with the right amount of planning, some clever trickery, and a few shortcuts, you can produce content at a high level of quality in a fraction of the time you think it will take – so much so that you can post to your blog every single day.

Building a List of Topics

I’m a compulsive organizer. To the point that I’ve had to limit how much time I spend organizing and scheduling things. Too much and I’m wasting time (ironic, I know).

So, one of the first things I do not only for my websites, but for each of our clients is to build a comprehensive list of topics. This includes everything we want to write about, how they relate to each other, and in what format it will be produced.

It’s more than just brainstorming, though. This is about knowing the structure and layout of each piece well before you start production. Some things to consider, include:

  • Keywords – Which keywords will you include in each article? If you have an SEO team, this should come from them. If not, free tools like MOZ or will help you build a quick list to start.
  • Problems – What specific problems do you want to address that your prospects have. Forget about the “top 7 of the week” you have on top of your head. Focus on what questions are being asked and how you can answer them.
  • Double Up – Don’t try to capture everything in one post. Aim for one strong actionable tip per piece of content, with the occasional blog post or video going deeper (like this one!)

The goal here is to know what you will write about, with enough detail that you can send it to a writer or producer and not have to explain it in detail.

Scheduling Your Topics

A laundry list is great, but it’s still a mess.

Now we create a calendar. There are a lot of good tools out there to help schedule content, integrating with social media and blogging platforms.

Honestly, you don’t really need them.

Break it down by date, separate out each piece you plan to develop and give yourself ample time to write it. Place your new ideas on the side so you can swap them out if something is delayed and color code it based on content type and length. Easy as that – takes 10 minutes to setup.

Batching Like Content Together

There’s an instinct to break up like topics and spread them out. New eBook? Let’s promote it for a few weeks with a new post every 1-2 weeks.

While it’s a good idea to keep a piece of content in rotation for as long as possible, don’t be afraid to clump your editorially similar content together. Magazines do it. Television programs do it. Why not your blog?

If you have three good content topics prepared for a single campaign, write them all at once and publish them in sequence. This will save a lot of development time.

Researching Content in Bulk

Which is where research comes in.

If you produce content in advance, take the time to batch together like topics, and produce a handful of related pieces for each campaign, you can research it all together as well, building your portfolio in bulk.

Content research, especially in more technically demanding industries, can be extremely demanding, but if you can squeeze a half-dozen pieces out of a single topic, you can greatly reduce the time spent per piece in the research stage.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to source your research to entry-level staff – people who have the time to devote to it. It’s a great way to train new employees and interns more about your industry, make sure they are engaged with your marketing efforts, and reduce the time required of your generally busier mid-level staff that will be producing that content (or contractors charging you by the hour).

Create a Board of Experts

Another way to streamline content development, especially when it is overly technical, is to create a board of experts in your organization. These are the men and women who know the subject matter inside and out.

The trick here is to not source the actual writing to them. Most people will run screaming if you ask them to write 1,000 words with an already busy schedule. What you can do, though, is task your writers or coordinating staff with interviewing these experts, gathering key information and language for the content. Who doesn’t like talking about what they do?

Boost Speed with Clever Hacks

At some point, you need to do the actual writing – this is where some quick and easy hacks can help to produce content at a faster rate.

I’ve been writing content for more than a decade, at one point churning out 10,000+ words a day on behalf of clients.

So I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years to speed up the writing process and get things done faster. Here are my favorites:

  • Sprint Once a Day – Whether you have something to write or not, identify your most creatively productive hour each day and carve out 15-20 minutes to write. During that time, write something on one of the upcoming topics you plan to publish. Good, bad, useless. Doesn’t matter. Write anyways and I guarantee you’ll find value in the resulting content more often than you don’t.
  • Use a Voice Recorder – Typing is a chore. For some, it’s both a chore and a slow way to get thoughts out. Voice recorders, now readily available on phones, tablets, and in all major operating systems are easy to use and easier to transcribe into content at a relatively low rate. For power users, consider dictation software like Dragon or your AI assistant (Siri, Cortana, or Alexa).
  • Make Videos and Infographics – Writing isn’t always the easiest or fastest way to produce content. If your company’s expertise lies in design or visual content, don’t waste time trying to write it all down. Make videos, infographics, and visual content that captures what you want to say more succinctly.
  • Write from the Top of Your Mind – By far, the number one barrier to content development in my experience is writer’s block. People get stuck because they want to find the right words. Just write down whatever’s there. It’s not always going to be good or useable, but it will feel better and help you build the kind of habit needed to produce content every day of the week.

Be Proud, but Not a Perfectionist

If you do it right, you can churn out a blog post every day without it eating into your schedule completely.

But, take the time to be proud of your work – make sure it accurately reflects the best of what you do and how you want people to see and interact with your company. Quality matters, but not to the level of perfectionism.

If you can walk that line – producing something you’re proud to put your name on, but isn’t polished into obscurity, you’ll have a winning formula for rapid fire content production.

And of course, if you still don’t have time, you can hire one of our experts and knock it out in no time.