Content drives awareness, traffic and sales. Shareaholic powers brand publishing.
Blogging for businesses, private clients and people other than yourself is an upward climb. Not only do you have to take on the persona of someone else, it is up to you to generate content, topics and results.
For the everyday business blog, an unenthused writer is the most dangerous person in your marketing department.
This is because few eyes actually care what the writer produces and hardly anyone checks her work. But with a bit of direction and long-term planning, business bloggers are able to reinvigorate their blog and social media content.
The Ask-Answer Approach
People use the Internet to find information. Googlers will informally query, “Contractors in New Jersey.” Or, perhaps, “How do I get a better mortgage?” Whether you are a contractor or mortgage broker, it helps to have answers to these questions.
Content helps sites rank higher on SERPs, especially if it matches keywords and search queries. However, it isn’t recommended that amateur or non-technical business writers blog with SEO and other keyword strategies in mind. Well intentioned keyword plugs can quickly become disastrous for the quality of a post and your overall rankings. Keywords often get in the way of flow and overuse of a certain keyword is considered a manipulative, black-hat SEO tactic.
The ask-answer approach is one of the best ways to plan, write and market content. You need to first find questions people may have about your business, products and industry as a whole. This may help:
- What makes you unique?
- What do you know that customers should know?
- How can people better themselves using a service?
- What are the secrets behind your industry?
Turned into topics, these questions become launch pads for writing content with purpose. On top of this, it is much easier to write content when you walk through a question, explore possibilities and provide an answer tied into a call-to-action (CTA).
The trick is writing intriguing headlines and delivering informative, entertaining articles that are unique.
It is easy to get burnt out writing the same posts day in and day out for a single client or business. Not only will you quickly exhaust your list of questions-to-answer, your creativity will also suffer for it.
To help, here are a handful of ways to create the occasional piece of alternative content to spice up your content marketing:
- Conduct an interview with an executive or authority within a particular industry. Having a new name, delivery method and voice can reinvigorate dull copywriting.
- Find a breaking news story that relates to your industry or niche. Provide meaningful commentary on the issues and personal opinions that tie into your business.
- Create a roundup of your top blog and social media posts. This “curates” your content, or keeps it alive, and is an easy way to meet a post quota when you’re overwhelmed or uninspired.
- Find (or create) an interesting infographic, image or video. Write a short post around the multimedia.
- Tell your business’ story in a personal, open way. Unlike the typical “About Us” page, these posts should be entertaining and directed at informing readers about who you are and what you do.
I’m a big fan of the content series — when I chain blog and social media topics together around a central theme.
Consider an entrepreneur who wants to become an online authority on startups. Your job is to write 500 words a day for the client. The inaugural “content series” could simply be “Starting a Startup.”
Topics to flesh out over the next week may include:
- An introductory post that outlines the series and introduces readers to the idea.
- A look at startups and the risks involved with leaving a safe, comfortable job for one you create.
- The importance of laying the groundwork for startups.
- Business plans — a post that can briefly overview the process or take an in-depth look at planning startups. Note: This can be broken into multiple posts.
- Creating a marketing strategy for new ideas.
- A rundown on partnerships, setting up a business entity, and preparing material for seeking out investors.
- Final thoughts on startups with a list of the previous six articles.
The seventh post becomes a capstone to the series, a post you can permanently highlight on your website. From the seventh post, users have links to the other ones and can follow your archived conversation on startups.
A series can be as simple or complex as you want. For Chic Marketing, I did a two-week series called #GCblogweek. I used post links and smaller ideas for social media, chained my topics together and collated the info into a final post.
A content series is a superb way to force yourself to plan ahead and actually think about what you’re writing. A coordinated, effective series can birth a popular hashtag, keep followers coming back to see what the latest post was on, and give a bored content marketer a week- or month-long project that may actually excite him.
With the ask-answer approach, alternative copywriting, and serialized content kept in mind, you should have a much better understanding of how streamlined, informative content can greatly enhance a suffering business blog.
It boils down to how enthusiastic marketers are about projects. The more involved they are, the more creative the outcome.
About the author: Brennan Girdler is the Content Writer and Editor for Chic Marketing by Grammar Chic, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @ChicMarketingGC and find his thoughts on digital marketing here.
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