This is something I hear pretty regularly when we talk about content marketing with businesses. You've tried blogging before and it did nothing. Your traffic stayed the same and you didn't see a single new customer. Why would you pay someone to do the same thing for you?
Well, first off, content marketing is about a lot more than just blogs. Though they are a part of it, the term describes a whole range of marketing activities that covers your entire site, and beyond.
Proper content marketing will see you adding useful, persuasive content across your site, including product pages and new landing pages. It can also mean video marketing, memes, and more.
But let's talk about blogs, because whilst they aren't the whole pie, they're a pretty significant slice.
I've tried blogging, it was a waste of time
It's great that you've already had a go at blogging. Some businesses won't even consider it, and look at it as time spent better elsewhere.
Let's say you sell garden plants. You have a nice little nursery and also offer an online delivery service. It's getting closer to summer and people are looking to spruce up their gardens, so this is an important time.
You've already tried blogging. Your existing blogs include 'Local Nursery wins prestigious award!' and 'Our opening times have changed!'
First off, these blogs are very specific to you. Without getting into too much detail, Google and other search engines function by deciding which websites to show searchers based on the keywords they use. To show up when people search for a term, you need to identify the terms that people are using (keywords and key phrases) to find the service that you offer. Then, you then need to make sure these keywords feature across your site, both on-page (as blogs, for example) and off-page (as background ‘metadata’ - that stuff you see on the search page itself).
When people write blogs, they often don't consider (or aren't even aware!) of the importance of keyword research and optimisation. They just write what they think is worth writing about.
The importance of keyword research
Before you even start writing a title, you need to identify the most popular and relevant searches for your area. You can do this yourself, combining your knowledge of your industry with tools such as Google's Keyword Planner, or paid tools such as SEMRush.
This year, chrysanthemums are in. If you want to get a slice of that market, you need to ensure any chrysanthemum-related content on your site is optimised for the search terms people are using. Of course, you aren't going to show up at the top of Google for the term chrysanthemums itself, as in this case it's reserved for Wikipedia, but you can throw your hat in the ring for related but less competitive terms that customers are also using.
So, you do your keyword research. You identify standard terms like 'chrysanthemum nurseries' (tip: you can get yourself ranking for this term in your area by improving your local SEO via functions such as Google My Business), but also 'long tail' search terms such as 'are chrysanthemums in this year' or even a more general term such as 'best flowers like chrysanthemums'.
Long-tail keywords are ideal for building blogs. They indicate a common question that people are seeking an answer to. This is what you build your blog content around.
By creating an optimised blog based on these terms, you can get your site ranking for them.
However, getting people to the site is only half the battle. Blogs need to not only be effective SEO-wise, but fully satisfy the query of your customer and, ideally, drive them further into your site to make a purchase. Assuming your article was persuasive and answered their question, the reader will be more likely to check out the rest of your site, and your sales-focused pages. They’ll have chrysanthemums in their garden in no time!
This can often be more difficult than the SEO research itself, as not everyone is a born writer. If you are the business director, or a sales manager, you’ll obviously want to sell your products as that’s how your business survives and grows.
However, blogs should not just be sales pitches, as that can turn people off. You should use them to show your expertise in the subject, answer their question, then gently direct them to the optimised sales pitch elsewhere on your site.
Plant the seed
Keyword research is where many budding business blogs fall down. You can write blogs that you think people are looking for until the cows come home, but without proper keyword research and investigation, it will likely wither and die.
Keyword research is a fundamental part of SEO, and is something I have plenty of experience in. I can work closely with you to help you identify what your customers are searching for, and generate real, effective content that drives sales the right way.
To learn more about how I can help you create content that converts, get in touch via the contact form.