We need to talk about your blog. If you’re like most of our customers, your blog sits neglected. Maybe it’s a lack of faith in your writing ability, maybe it’s not knowing what to write about or simply not knowing how to translate your industry into interesting content. Whatever the reason, it’s a constant struggle to keep a blog regularly updated.
Here’s a tip: start with a template and go from there. Your blogs don’t need to be ground-breaking or avant-garde to be interesting and useful to your audience. Kristin Hicks of Constant Contact shows us 7 types of tried-and-true blog posts to guide your content strategy. Read the highlights below and the full article over at Constant Contact.
1. How-to Posts
Have you ever read a blog post that makes a strong case for why you should do something…but leaves you left wondering how? Your readers are hungry for valuable how-to posts that provide actionable step-by-step instructions to get started with something specific. No matter what industry you’re in, there’s something you know how to do that your average person doesn’t. A florist can write a post on how to keep flowers fresh longer. A staffing agency could write a post on how to conduct useful job interviews. Figure out what you know how to do that your audience wishes they did and turn it into a how-to blog post.
2. Posts on FAQs
What questions do you get asked by customers and prospects over and over again? What about the other people in customer-facing roles in your company, what questions do they hear all the time? Sit down together and start making a list of the questions you all hear from leads and customers. Every question that comes up has the potential to be turned into content on a topic you know your audience is interested in.
3. Product Comparisons
Some businesses shy away from ever mentioning competitors in their content, but when done right, it can be a smart strategy. Just think — when you’re making a purchasing decision yourself, one of the biggest questions you probably have is how two similar products compare. An honest look at how two products differ is immensely useful to someone on the cusp of making a decision. And the very fact of being willing to talk about the competition honestly can immediately build trust in your brand.
4. Product Updates
The general rule in content marketing is that most of your content shouldn’t be all about you. You should focus first on your audience and their concerns, interests, and needs. But that doesn’t mean none of your content can be about your product, you just need to find the right mix. When you make an update to your product, that’s a good opportunity to promote the changes on your blog. Highlighting the improvements and explaining to your current customers how to take advantage of them is information that’s valuable and could help leads finally make the decision to buy. We recently released a new look to our cPanel at HostGator, so we blogged about it to let customers know about the change and hear their feedback.
5. Newsjacking Posts
While you should definitely make an effort to create a good amount of content that’s evergreen (your how-to and FAQ posts will probably fit the bill), it’s worth also looking for opportunities to write about topics that are on people’s minds at a particular moment in time. That could mean figuring out a way to tie in pop culture, sports, or industry announcements with your content. You do have to be careful with newsjacking though — many a brand has put their foot in their mouth trying to come up with something clever to say about a current event without really thinking through the possible consequences. Don’t risk offending people with a tone-deaf response to a disaster or something politically controversial.
6. Highlight Local Events
If you run a local business, use your blog to point readers toward worthwhile events and causes in your neighborhood. If you run a marketing agency, you could do a roundup of all the networking and education events useful to marketers in your city. If you run a pet store, collect all the breed meetups or upcoming events at dog parks into a blog post. Your local audience will appreciate you keeping them informed of what’s going on in your community.
If there’s information that your audience wants, that you don’t personally have, find someone that does and interview them. Interviews with other experts in the industry or community can help you broaden the appeal of your blog and add credibility to what you’re writing. On the Small Biz Stories podcast, Constant Contact regularly interviews small business owners about how they started their business and their biggest challenges along the way. Keep an eye out for people giving speeches at events in your community or covering topics relevant to your audience in their articles and reach out to see about setting up an interview.
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