This article has been contributed by Nicholas Rubright.
If you’re running a business, you can’t just hope for leads to come to you. You need an inbound marketing strategy to attract potential clients. That’s where a blog can help you.
But setting up and writing a blog is only one part of the equation. To succeed in business, you need a blog that turns leads into paying customers and offers something unique to potential clients. In other words, you need a holistic blogging strategy that will bring in paying customers consistently.
Let’s look at that 3-step blogging strategy in this article.
What Is the 3-Step Blogging Strategy?
This holistic blogging strategy combines three tactics:
- Intentional storytelling
- Unique selling point (USP) creation
These three strands blend to ensure your blog attracts leads and converts them into customers. All of these processes work simultaneously and are interdependent. So, if your notable selling proposition changes, so should your intentional storytelling and sales blending.
This strategy works because it doesn’t view writing as the only critical component to a business blog’s success. It considers consumer behavior too, so every blog post you create will engage readers who are likely to buy your products or services. In other words, it’s not just blogging. It’s blogging with a purpose.
Three Key Steps
Let’s now look at each of the 3 steps in the blogging strategy. We’ll also give you a few tips in each step that will help you start implementing this strategy to build a powerful brand.
1. Intentional Storytelling
Intentional storytelling involves creating content based on users’ search intent and relevant keywords. In other words, making sure you write based on your audience’s preferences.
Here’s how to do it.
a. Determine Your Niche and Gather Inspiration
Before you can start creating content, you have to be clear on your blog’s niche. That usually depends on the type of product or service you’re selling. So if you’re selling beauty products, your blog content should be all about fashion and beauty. If you’re selling sports nutrition products, your blog will be about fitness. And so on.
Remember, the idea is to use the blog to attract leads you can turn into paying customers. In other words, your blog should attract a target audience who would be interested in buying what you’re selling. That means writing about topics they care about.
Once you’ve determined your niche, it’s time to look into relevant topics. Look at what people ask about in your niche on Quora, Reddit, and other social media platforms. You can check out other blogs for inspiration, too.
Make a list of possible topics and keep it handy. You’ll return to it whenever you need blog content inspiration.
b. Keyword Research
It’s important to know what keywords people are using so you can optimize your blog content. You should use long tail (longer and more specific) keywords because they have a higher conversion value. People who are about to make a purchase are more likely to use specific keywords. These types of keywords also typically have a lower competition score, which means you can more easily rank for them.
Google can help you find those keywords. Just type a keyword you’d like to rank for based on your topic, and the search engine will give you a list of other possible keywords you can use.
SEMRush also has tools that allow you to check the keywords your competitors are ranking for. You can identify keywords you might have overlooked and uncover other keyword opportunities.
c. Classifying Keywords for Searcher Intent
Now that you have a list of possible keywords, it’s time to categorize them according to searcher intent categories. Since the searcher is your potential customer, it makes sense for you to base your content on what they type into search engines.
There are three main types of searcher intent:
- Informational: Most searches performed on the internet are informational. Searchers with informational intent are merely looking for information about a specific topic. An example is “What is social media?”
- Navigational: People with navigational intent want to visit a specific website. For instance, when they type “Facebook,” they probably want to visit the social media site.
- Transactional: People with transactional intent are usually searching for the best bargains for specific products or services. For example, they might type “men’s Nike sneakers size 8”.
The keywords you should prioritize will depend on your goals. Ranking high for a navigational term will only benefit your organic traffic if you’re the site people are looking to find. This could be the case if you already have very good brand awareness, or if you’ve launched a brand promotion campaign and expect your audience to be searching for your site to find out more.
Informational keywords can be useful to attract new users to your site if you are providing useful content that answers their questions. This might entice them to spend more time on your site and perhaps make a purchase.
If you want to turn leads into customers, you might want to prioritize transactional long tail keywords in your blog posts. When searchers use transactional long tail keywords in making queries, they are more likely to be ready to make a purchase soon.
d. Writing the Blog Post
Now that we’ve covered the “intentional” in “intentional storytelling,” let’s talk about the “storytelling.”
Even if you optimize your blog posts for the right keywords, you still won’t be able to turn those leads into paying customers if your blog posts are of low quality. You need to get people to read more of your content so you can nudge them towards purchasing your products. That means you need to make them see you as an authority in your niche.
Stories matter because humans are naturally wired to retain accounts that move us more easily than we retain plain facts. When you tell a story that takes people on a journey, you create a bond with them. You then increase your chances of persuading them and getting them to act.
According to We Are Marketing, these are the four elements each of your stories should have:
- Characters: The consumer is always your hero or protagonist.
- Context: Take note that each client has a different set of circumstances that influence their decision-making.
- Crux: This is where you identify the consumer’s problem.
- Ending: This is where you present your product as a solution
Invest time and effort in writing. Research your chosen topic thoroughly and make sure that each post gives actionable advice and addresses pain points. Make sure you don’t publish a blog post that has glaring grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Run it through a grammar checker first.
Style and readability also matter. No one wants to read a big chunk of text, even if it provides a lot of information. So use bullets and subheads to break up long paragraphs. If the concept you’re explaining is complicated, use infographics and graphs to help your readers understand. Include relevant images and videos to illustrate points as well.
To rank well on Google, you need to build E.A.T.: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. You can’t convince the search engine you have all those three if your blog posts are poorly written, littered with errors, or inaccurate.
2. Creating A Unique Selling Point
To make your blog content effective, you need to assess what you’re offering to your potential customers. Your unique selling point (USP) is what will make you stand out from your competitors.
According to American Express, there are five steps you should follow to determine your unique selling point:
- List the features and benefits only you can offer. You don’t need to overthink it. Just write down the things that come to your mind when you think of your product or service. If you’re stumped, you can try to see things from your customers’ perspective and answer this question: What product feature or service do they appreciate the most?
- Decide the emotional need your product or service is satisfying. A company selling chatbot software, for instance, can say it’s connecting consumers with companies.
- Identify aspects of your product your competitors can’t imitate. For example, a company might say that its prices are lower than others in its niche.
- Create phrases about your product that are unique and concise based on what you learned from steps 1-3. They should be short and easily understandable.
- State the phrase as a benefit to the customer. For example, M&M’s unique value proposition is: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
Away is a company that sells travel luggage. Its USP is that it offers premium products at lower prices than its competitors thanks to its low overheads.
Image source: awaytravel.com
Your unique selling point as a company doesn’t have to be solely product-related. It can be service-related, too. So, for example, you may be selling graphic design software with similar features to a competitor’s product, but you stand out because your customer support team is on hand 24/7 to guide customers as they get familiar with your product.
Once you know your unique selling proposition, your blog can leverage that and create content that boosts your chances of turning your readers into paying customers. In other words, your blog won’t just generate leads. It will generate conversions.
Your unique selling point can also expand the topics your blog can cover. To continue with our example above, that graphic design company might choose to blog about “perfect customer support” and relate the content back to its superior customer service offering. When that happens, your blog can start ranking for other long tail keywords related to your unique selling point. That will help your online presence and boost your brand authority.
3. Sales Blending
We’ve talked about the type of content you should create when you start a blog. Now let’s discuss the specific types of people you should aim to attract with it.
You can classify the people who are likely to purchase your products into several categories: the experts, the ones on an intermediate level, and the novices. Since they all have the potential to be paying customers, you want your blog to cater to all of them.
That is the concept of sales blending. You want your blog to cater to all potential buyers in all buyer journey stages to increase your chances of getting customers.
Eric Keiles and Mike Lieberman said there are eight stages or cyclones:
- Pre-awareness: This is the stage at which people are still unaware of an existing problem.
- Awareness: People at this stage recognize that there’s a problem but might decide there’s nothing to worry about.
- Education: People are now searching for information to solve the problem.
- Consideration: At this point, they are looking at a handful of companies they think can give them the solution to their problem.
- Evaluation: This is the stage at which each sales department of each company becomes involved to try to sway the buyer into picking them.
- Rationalization: This is the stage at which they analyze the various providers.
- Decision-making: They now decide to make a purchase and become a customer.
- Delivery: The company delivers the product. This phase also includes customer service.
Each blog post doesn’t have to cater to all possible buyers in all stages. In fact, it couldn’t. You can create a content calendar and plan content creation to serve different audience segments. For example, this week, you can publish a piece on how startups can set up customer support. The following week, you can have one that talks about chatbots. The week after that, you can have an article on AI-powered customer support software. And so on.
Or you can set a ratio for each type of blog post. For example, 50% of all your blog content should be for the newbies, while 25% should be for those at the intermediate level. The remaining 25% should then be for the experts. You can change the ratios depending on the levels of engagement you get with each type of content.
The idea is to add value to anyone who has the potential to become your customer, regardless of where they are in the sales cycle, so you increase your chances of getting conversions.
How to Promote Your Blog Post Once You Publish It
If you want your blog posts to generate results for your business, it isn’t enough to simply publish them. You need to promote them, too.
Here are 3 ways you can promote your blog post once you’ve published it.
1. Send It to Your Email List
Despite all of the marketing fads, email remains one of the most cost effective. Not only that, but email is being used more and more every year.
For evidence of this, consider the following email usage statistics:
- 4 billion people are now using email. This is slightly more than the number of people using social media, which is 3.8 billion.
- 300 billion emails are sent each day. By 2023, it’s expected that this number will be closer to 350 billion as email continues to grow.
- 127 business emails sent and received per day per user. This is up from 122 emails per user 5 years ago, which means email usage is increasing.
Emailing your list of email subscribers is one of the best ways to instantly drive traffic to your blog post. Automate your email processes to save time. Not only that, but you can also get additional attention by asking them to comment, like, and share it with their social media followers.
2. Include It in Your Email Signature
If you’re sending tons of emails every day, your email signature can be a powerful place to let everyone know about your latest blog post.
You can use software like WiseStamp to automatically create an email signature that contains your latest blog post via your blog’s RSS feed.
This is a relatively powerful, untapped way to promote your content. In fact, don’t limit this to just your email signature. Get your whole team on board and have them promote it in their email signatures as well!
3. Get Backlinks and Exposure With Link Roundups
If one of your goals is to get traffic to the blog post from Google, you’re going to need backlinks – links from other sites to yours. It’s commonly known within the SEO community that backlinks are one of Google’s top-ranking factors.
What could be better than a link from another site that helps your search engine rankings and brings referral traffic to your site? This is what link roundups can offer.
So, what is a link roundup?
Simply put, link roundups are weekly, daily, or monthly curated lists of the best content in a particular niche. The reason why this is a dream for anyone promoting their blog content is because the sole purpose of these pages is to link out to other websites. This means those sites are more than willing to share links.
Not only that, but these roundups are often shared with massive email lists, which can get your content exposed to the email subscribers of another site.
Here’s an example of a link roundup from Big Apple Media.
This roundup features content from marketing, freelance, and design sites. You just need to find roundups that feature content within your niche and pitch your blog post to be included!
Here’s how to do that.
First, you want to find a bunch of roundups to pitch. You can do this using some of these advanced search operators in Google:
- “Keyword” + “link roundup”
- “Keyword” + “weekly roundup”
- “Keyword” + “weekly link”
- “Keyword” + inurl:roundup
- “Keyword” + intitle:roundup
- “Keyword” + best posts of the week
- “Keyword” + best blogs of the week
Each of these searches vary slightly and will give you different results. Once you enter these into Google, you just need to go through and determine if the roundups are worth pursuing.
When doing this, you want to make sure you find roundups that are still active. You can do this by filtering the search results in Google to “past month.”
When you find a roundup you want to be featured in, find the email address of the person you need to pitch your content to for inclusion and send them an email like this:
I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I really enjoy your weekly graphic design roundups! [Insert personal note about what you like]
I just published this piece of content that I think would be perfect for next week’s roundup: [Link]
It’s a detailed guide that includes a step-by-step process on how to do [XYZ].
Let me know what you think! I’d be happy to share your roundup on my social media platforms in return.
Thanks for the consideration!
And that’s it! When going after roundups via cold email outreach, you should expect to see relatively low response rates at around 5%. However, this can be improved by increasing the amount of effort you put into personalization and by sending a follow-up email.
Not only will you get links that can improve your content’s SEO performance from this, but you’ll also get lots of targeted referral traffic from the roundup’s audience!
Blogs are crucial to the success of any online business. They attract leads, establish business authority, and increase your online presence. They boost the brand’s reputation and can even generate additional revenue thanks to programs like affiliate marketing.
But blogging is much more than just writing well-researched pieces. It requires careful thought and strategy to generate conversions. For the blog to deliver, that strategy should consider consumer behavior.
In this article, I gave you a three-step blogging strategy that works. The plan combines three tactics – intentional storytelling, unique selling point creation, and sales blending – to maximize the blog’s potential for the company’s benefit. Now it’s over to you. Put in the effort, invest some time, and stick with it. Look at tips for designing a new blog to help you get started. In no time, you’ll see those conversions coming in steadily and your company will be on its way to success.
About the author: Nicholas Rubright is the communications specialist for Writer – an AI writing assistant designed for teams. Nicholas has previously worked to develop content marketing strategies for brands like Webex, Havenly, and Fictiv.