Updated: May 22
A little part of me dies inside every time I see a blog post with an SEO-driven headline. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic. But, it's frustrating to see valuable businesses spending their resources on content that might rank well ever so briefly.
"5 Ways to Find Chiropractic Services Near Me"
"7 Tips for Starting the Keto Diet"
I've written hundreds of these posts while working for companies that have convinced businesses that search engine optimized blogs are the best way to bring customers to their websites. I recycled content that was already available, switched up the wording, and sprinkled in keywords and link building strategies to push my posts up the page.
SEO agencies like the one I used to work for love to sell you on these strategies. After all, they make you a perpetual customer, forcing you to continuously buy content just to keep up with your competitors. But, what are these posts really doing for your business?
With more than three million blog posts written everyday, it's amazing that anyone's 500-word post is read. It's even more of a miracle when they convert into sales.
I'm not advocating a boycott on blogs. They're a great tool to share your brand values, keep in touch with your customers, and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
But, before you buy a subscription to a content mill, make sure you're getting your money's worth. Will the content compel your customer?
Instead of buying the same bland content your competitor could use, investigate some of my branding blog strategies.
Increase Your Reddit Relevancy
One of my favorite places to look for blog content is Reddit. There is no better place to gain raw insight on your customers.
Not only are there millions of people sharing their uncensored opinions, but, there are also up-votes and comments to tell you how many people agree with them.
Let's say you run a business that sells baseball gloves. By going to Reddit, you can find out what the leading baseball gloves are, why people like them, what's available at other price points, and what your customers look for in a quality baseball glove.
Then, instead of instructing your writer to create an inferior, boiled down version of the content on Dick's Sporting Good's Pro Blog page, you can share stories and commentary from people who actually use gloves. You can write narratives that generate emotion and connect with your customer.
Optimize, but, Don't be Outrageous
SEO softwares like Ahrefs and Yoast are excellent tools for shaping an article. But, they aren't an advertising strategy all on their own.
Choosing the right keywords to show up on the first page of search results and putting them in the right places is only part of your struggle. You also need to convince your customers that you have all of the information they need to make a purchase before you can secure a sale.
The terms you should target are the ones with wording used by people right about to make a purchase.
Aim for the Bottom of the Funnel
If you've taken any business classes, you've likely heard of the sales funnel. There are many different versions of this concept. But, in general, the model asks you to envision a funnel that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. As a business or sales person, it's your job to lead your potential customers down the funnel and through to your point of sale.
Let's assume your customer is someone shopping online for a good or service that costs $100+.
Their funnel process might look a little something like this:
Gabrielle's Sales Funnel of Love
Learning Options -->Verifying Estimates -->Better Offers --> Actual Transaction
Or LOVE BOAT, for short.
At the top of the funnel, people are just starting out. They're learning their options, finding out what's available and how much it will cost. This makes up the majority of site visitors for every industry.
They're going to get a lot of different results and they're probably not going to choose to stop at the first site they see.
These days, everyone likes to shop around. If you're going to catch someone this early on in the sales funnel, you're going to need content on your website that doesn't just lead a horse to water, it makes it drink.
That means educating your customer on the market and letting them know how you compete.
Dip it Lower
Then there's the potential customers a bit lower in the funnel. They're verifying whether your estimate for the good or service is reasonable compared with the rest of the marketplace.
Next, they may seek out any special offers that could impact their decision.
Finally, after all of that searching around, they will make their final purchase.
You may know your target market. You may even be actively targeting the right audience. But, if your content is directed at people who are just getting to know your subject material, they won't be ready to buy yet. It's the website they're on when they make the purchase that gets the sale.
Sharable for Social
If you are sharing basic business blogs on your website and don't get much of a reaction from your followers, you need to think about how to make your content more shareable.
Did you know that people actually spend time in school learning how to create memes that will go viral? And, businesses will pay millions of dollars for access to the data about what will get their customers excited.
One thing every study eventually concludes is that sharable content inspires emotion - whether that emotional trigger is positive or negative.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you create a lot of shocking content meant to jar your readers. But, consider if what you're posting will make someone react.
If your post is titled, "10 Reasons to Adopt a Pit Bull", consider changing to the title to something like, "Are Pitbulls Really the Most Dangerous Breed of Dog?" You'll be much more likely to spark a debate and create engagement with your post.
Reel in the Relevancy
I used to have a bunch of creative writing work on my website that I enjoyed sharing with people. But, I had to cut back on it quite a bit because it was distracting from the point of my website. Potential clients didn't know what I could offer to their business.
By reeling in the relevancy of my content, I've been more effective at communicating with my readers and in turn, making them customers.
Every piece of content on your site should add value and establish you as an expert. If it's not relevant, don't post.
Don't Give Up Hope
Regardless of all your efforts, it takes time for traffic to increase and movement to take place in search engine results. Keep these principles in mind when you're writing your post and continue to hope for the best.
Before you make a post, ask yourself:
Does anyone care that I'm posting this?
Is it searchable?
Does it create emotion?
Could I have made it more relevant to my audience?
What would someone on Reddit have to say about the topic?
Then, don't stress during the first 3-9 months, just keep writing quality content. Success comes from brilliance in the basics. Keep pivoting your strategies until you discover the winning combination.
In the internet marketing game, the persistent bird gets the worm.