For any business, both online and off, your blog serves as a powerful marketing tool. But that’s only if you know how to use it the right way.
When you use it as a way to qualify your leads, it becomes a great sales tool. If you write authoritative blog articles, visitors will think of you as knowledgeable in your niche. And when they’re ready to buy, they’re going to buy from you.
Here’s how you write blog articles that make this happen:
1. Start with an Attractive Headline
“How To..” and “10 Tips For…” are the ones that you go to if you don’t know where else to start. A headline like “Analyzing Industry Trends” or “Recalling Customer Experiences” does not generate clicks.
You can also ask a question that your customers commonly ask and then answer it. What pro copywriters do is keep a list of headlines that work, called their “Swipe File.” That’s where they go in order to get headline ideas…and you should do it too.
Copyblogger has a great article on this (like they do on everything).
2. Go As Far In-Depth as Possible
Should you give away your trade secrets in your blog article? Some will say “Yes” and some will say “No.” I err on the side of “Yes” because readers want to know that you are the definitive resource on a certain subject. And the likelihood that any of your competitors can copy and execute your trade secrets is very low anyway.
You don’t have to give them away, if that’s your comfort level. However, the point is that the more information you give away, the more credible you appear.
Write 1000 and 2000-word blog posts that serve as the “ultimate guide” on a certain subject. It’s a great way to stand out online because most people think everyone has a short attention span and can only read 300-500 words.
That’s true if your content is vague and written in a disinteresting way. However, if it’s very specific and outlines the exact process you use to solve a customer question, it will hold your reader’s attention.
2000-word posts also rank better on average in Google, according to SEO expert Neil Patel.
3. Show, Don’t Tell
Did you ever read the content on eHow? That’s a great example of how not to write. You only get the most obvious information that tells you stuff you already know.
Instead of going that route, show people what you’re doing so they can do it themselves. Did you notice how I described types of headlines that do and do not work earlier in this post, along with specific examples?
Another example of showing would work like this. Say you’re writing an article about keyword research. You talk about finding “low competition keywords.”
That’s a great idea, and now show people how you do that. You might tell them to Google Adwords and look for keywords with less than 500 searches per month or a suggested bid (cost per click) of less than $10.
You might also use a picture to demonstrate exactly which menu options to click.
If the amount of detail is excruciating, then you’re doing a great job.
4. Talk in a Simple, Conversational Tone
Regardless of the topic and audience, write as if you’re talking to your cousin who doesn’t know anything about the topic. You write this way even if you’re talking to CEOs and neuroscientists.
People need information fast, so they want to get to the point of what you’re discussing now. There’s no need to use complex technical jargon to look intelligent.
Business owners, and your own personal life, are so incredibly complex that you don’t have time to sit around asking questions and trying to figure out what someone else is trying to say. Instead, most people will get frustrated and find someone else who does talk in a simple way.
If you’re not sure how complex your writing is, read it out loud. Have a friend read it. Or, if you’re more technical, install the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. That plugin measures how easy your article is to read by using the Fleisch-Kincaid readability test.
To be more conversational:
- Use the word “you” often
- Write short words
- Write short sentences (about 1 – 1.5 WordPress lines at most)
- Use short paragraphs (2-4 sentences)
- Don’t be afraid to use one sentence paragraphs
- Don’t use 8 words when 3 will do
When you write this way, people:
- Get what you say
- Sense your confidence (long-winded answers make you appear more unconfident)
- View you as credible
- Know you can do what you say
- Come to you repeatedly in the future because your competitors give generic info on their blogs, or don’t even update them at all
There you go – that’s what you do to create a blog that converts visitors into paying customers. And yes, one blog article like this is more effective than 4 shorter, more vague blog articles.
Here’s to your blog converting more visitors into paying customers!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jokke_kuvat/5164610989/