This post should probably be called ‘How should blogging work for your business?’
Because for many businesses, blogging doesn’t work.
This is because those businesses aren’t doing it correctly. And they’re not doing it correctly because they don’t understand how it’s supposed to work.
In this post, I’m going to take you through some of the main ways your blog should be working for your business. Because when you understand how it’s supposed to work, you can apply those principles to your own blog and start getting better and more consistent results.
How does blogging work to attract visitors?
The simple answer to this is that you make it all about your visitors and create the content they want to read.
This is the kind of content your audience is searching for online — and this is the kind of content that will bring them to your website.
One of the reasons businesses fail at blogging is that they don’t understand this basic principle — and they’re posting the wrong kinds of content.
What are the wrong kinds of content?
❌ Aimless content
If you want your content to work for you and attract your ideal customers to your website, you need to have a clear strategy and a solid understanding of what you’re trying to achieve.
If you don’t have a plan, your content will have no clear direction. And it will be a far cry from the informative, inspiring and helpful content your audience wants to see.
❌ Company news
Company news is usually self-promotional and might include articles about:
- People you’ve hired
- Contracts you’ve won
- Trade shows you’ve attended
- Initiatives you’ve started
- Charity work you’ve done.
If you’re using your blog for company news articles, you’re missing out on traffic and new leads.
Because news like this is more PR than blog content. It might be important to shareholders, investors and job candidates who are considering working with you, but that’s where it ends.
Your company news has no What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM) for your ideal customers — which means they won’t be searching for it and it won’t be bringing them to your website.
Company news should be kept separate from your blog content — either in a dedicated news section on your website or in your newsletter.
❌ Sales content
If you’re using your blog to sell, you’re missing the point.
Sales and service pages are for selling. They’re written specifically for prospects who are almost ready to buy.
Blog posts are usually written for a different audience. These people might buy from you in the future. But right now, they’re looking for answers, information, advice and inspiration — and that’s what they need from you.
If you’re using your blog to try and sell to them rather than giving them what they need, you’re probably not seeing the results you’ve been hoping for.
What is your audience looking for?
When you understand what your audience is looking for from businesses in your sector/industry, you can then create the kind of content that will attract them to your website.
You can start by researching the:
Information they’re looking for
- “Educational board games for young families”
- “Best apps for learning a new language”
- “Fastest way to revise for an exam”
- “What to pack for a mountain hike”
Questions they’re asking Google
- “When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?”
- “Why is time management important?”
- “Can dogs be vegetarian?”
- “What is a heat pump?”
Things they want to achieve
- “How to improve my website”
- “How to brew my own beer”
- “How to get more clients”
- “How to unblock a drain”
Problems they’re having
- “Computer won’t turn off”
- “Damp patch on ceiling”
- “Brittle fingernails”
- “Dripping tap”
How does blogging work to extend reach?
Your website can only do so much in terms of attracting customers, because it’s targeting people who already know what they’re looking for. These people are part of your core market.
But they’re not the only people who might buy from you.
There could be untapped sections of your market who might buy from you, but don’t yet have the awareness they need. And you can reach those people with your content.
Eugene Schwartz’s Five Levels of Awareness
Legendary copywriter, Eugene Schwartz, identified five levels of awareness. A good content strategy can target at least four of them — and possibly even all five.
You can see the five levels of awareness in the graphic below. The centre of the circle represents the warmest leads, moving to the coolest leads on the outer edge.
Let’s look at each level of awareness and what it means, starting with the people who are most aware
These people know all about you and your product. They’ve probably bought your product already and may have recommended it to others. You can create ongoing content to help these people get the best out of the product they’ve paid for and introduce them to complementary add-ons and upgrades.
These people know about you and your product, they just don’t know if it’s right for them yet. Your content can persuade them that it is.
These people know they have a problem and what the solution might look like, but they haven’t found it yet. Your content can show them you have what they’re looking for.
These people know they have a problem, but they don’t know if there’s a solution. When they do a search for the problem they’re having, your content can show them you have what they need to solve it.
These people don’t realise they have a problem, so they’re unlikely to be looking for a solution. This makes creating content difficult in most cases — but it’s not always impossible.
Writing for different awareness levels
You can use your content to target the audiences at each level and increase their level of awareness to a point where you can sell to them.
Here’s an example of how that might work in practice.
Let’s say you make wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens. How might you reach more of the people who would potentially buy one from you using these awareness levels as a start?
Likes eating outside, but doesn’t know you can make pizza in your garden.
Possible search: “Outdoor cooking equipment”
Possible blog title: “Why pizza ovens are the next big thing in outdoor cooking equipment”
Likes Italian pizza and wants to make it at home but doesn’t know how.
Possible search: “How to make proper Italian pizza at home”
Possible blog title: “Make proper Italian pizza at home with the <Name> outdoor pizza oven”
Likes Italian pizza and knows that wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens are a thing
Possible search: “Best wood-fired outdoor pizza oven”
Possible blog title: “Which is the best wood-fired outdoor pizza oven?”
Knows they want a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven and want to know more about yours
Possible search: “Is the <Name> outdoor pizza oven worth the money?”
Possible blog title: “Is the <Name> outdoor pizza oven worth the money?”
Knows about your brand and has already bought your pizza oven
Possible search: “Best recipe ideas for the <Name> outdoor pizza oven”
Possible blog title: “Best recipe ideas for the <Name> outdoor pizza oven”
And there you have it. With content, you can attract your ideal customers and all these other people who aren’t ready to buy yet and are looking for information and impartial advice.
How does blogging work for SEO?
There’s plenty of talk about the benefits of blogging for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In fact, some SEO practitioners will tell you that blogging is exclusively for SEO.
But that’s not true.
And if you’re blogging for search engines rather than for your human audience, that might be where you’re going wrong. Because creating content that ranks is one thing — creating content your audience actually wants to read, and might act on, is something else entirely.
So how does blogging help your SEO?
There are three main ways blogging helps your SEO.
It’s a reason to update your website
Updating your website regularly shows Google your site is active. And Google likes websites that are active.
It gives you more chances to rank
A website can only rank for so many keywords. But if you have a blog, you can target lots more keywords, which gives you lots more chances to rank — and lots more chances to get visitors to your website.
It demonstrates your E.A.T.
Websites filled with lots of good-quality content are demonstrating Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (E.A.T.), which are three of the ranking factors set out by Google itself.
A website that demonstrates E.A.T. well is more likely to have a higher Domain Authority (DA). And a high DA improves a website’s chances of rank higher. There are free tools you can use to find out the DA of your website. Your score will be between 1 and 100, with 100 being the best score.
We’ll break this down in the next section.
How can blogging demonstrate E.A.T.?
E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. These are three of the ranking factors set out by Google — and they’re all important for your human audience, too.
How does blogging work to show Expertise?
When you show Expertise, you give your audience confidence that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re someone they should pay attention to.
To show Expertise, you need to demonstrate that you have a sound knowledge of your industry, including its processes, standards, tech — and, most importantly, its customers.
Here are three effective ways to show Expertise in your blog content:
By showing your knowledge and experience
This is the most obvious one. Your blog posts should exude competence and understanding.
If you know your subject inside out, this should happen naturally. But you can also create content that demonstrates it well. For example, you might write posts that:
- Expertly answer questions
- Give expert opinions on industry topics
- Interpret stats and data with insight
- Provide expert tips, hacks and advice.
The kind of content you post
The kind of content you post should show you understand the different facets of your audience and:
- Their problems, concerns and pain points
- The questions they’re asking
- What’s important to them
- What they need from you.
The way you write your content
Your content should be written for the audience you’re talking to — and this will vary.
For each audience, you need to make sure you’re pitching your content at the right level, by:
- Using the right language
- Providing enough background, information and detail
- Explaining things clearly and in a way they can understand
- Presenting your information in a logical and organised way.
Showing your Expertise in this way helps your audience to build confidence and trust in your brand. Because it shows you understand them and their problems. And when you say you can help them, they’re more likely to believe you.
How does blogging work to show Authority?
Showing Authority positions you as a leader in your field. This means other people and businesses in your industry take their cues from you.
To write with Authority, you need to combine your expertise with progressive thinking that pushes beyond the boundaries of your rivals, putting forward new ideas and creating new discussions.
Here are two effective ways to show Authority in your blog content:
By being first
You keep abreast of all the developments in your industry, so you’re always among the first to post about the:
- Results of new studies and research projects
- Latest news and issues affecting your industry
- Innovations and advances in technology
- New methods, systems and processes
- Forthcoming legislation and new regulations.
By writing authoritatively on industry topics
When you write authoritatively, you:
- Assert your positions and opinions confidently
- Add value by including your experience and insight
- Unpack information and make it easy to digest
- Untangle complex issues, bringing clarity and reassurance.
But isn’t writing for rivals a bad thing?
Now, you might be thinking that going to all this trouble and writing content for your industry rather than your prospects doesn’t seem like a great idea. And that’s a fair point. Showing authority in this way might not be the way forward for every business.
But, if you can do it, it will make your content worth linking to — and backlinks are always valuable for SEO.
Quality content with backlinks will also win you favour with Google and will help to increase your Domain Authority (DA). This should make it easier for your content to rank highly — and more difficult for competitors to rank above you.
And if you’re an industry leader, that comes with a certain standing. In the long-run, it can help you secure bigger and higher paying clients who only want the best.
How does blogging work to show Trustworthiness?
Showing your Trustworthiness is key for persuading prospects that yours is the company they should work with or buy from. And Google needs to see you’re trustworthy, too.
You want your prospects to be able to trust that:
- You understand their problem
- You can solve their problem
- You’re genuine, honest and decent
- You have their best interests at heart.
There are several ways to show Trustworthiness in your blog content:
You can show prospects you’re honest by:
- Being upfront about the downsides and limitations of your product/service
- Telling them why your product/service might not be right for them
- Recommending alternatives where they might be more suitable
- Managing expectations and being realistic about the outcomes.
The more value you can provide, the better. You can make your content valuable by being:
- Generous with your knowledge, tips and advice
- Concise and interesting rather than long and full of waffle
- More interested in helping your audience than promoting yourself
- More informative and illuminating — and less salesy.
Showing credibility means:
- Creating your own original content and not copying others
- Backing up your statements and arguments with research
- Getting your research from official and original sources
- Citing your sources with a link — Google likes official links.
Staying true to yourself and your principles will help you attract more likeminded people. These people usually make the best customers, because your connection is based on shared values and interests.
To attract your ideal customers:
- Be genuine about who you are and what you stand for
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality and uniqueness
- Write conversationally, as though you’re talking to your readers
- Be consistent in your messaging and style.
Making blogging work for your business
You should now understand how blogging should work to:
✅ Help your audience
✅ Attract more people to your website
✅ Target the people outside your core market
✅ Improve your SEO and search rankings
✅ Show your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
3 Bonus tips
1. Add links to suitable blog posts from your other pages
We all have sections on our websites where we think some visitors might benefit more information or explanation. If you already have a blog article that gives that information, include a link to it on your page. If you don’t yet have a blog article like that, you can always create one.
2. Always include a Call to Action (CTA)
You never want to leave your reader with nowhere else to go, so include a CTA at the end of every post.
For the least aware prospects, that could be directing them to other blog posts where they can continue their reading.
For those with medium awareness, it could be a link to sign up to your mailing list. This will enable you to keep in touch with them and send content straight to their inboxes.
For the most aware prospects, it could be directing them to a sales or service page if you think they’re ready to buy.
3. Remember, not all blog posts have to be searchable
Not all the blog posts you create have to be found on Google. Some might contain supplementary information or content that’s just for the benefit of your visitors.
Having a blog means you can create a more distilled and powerful message on your main web pages, then extend that — with any additional information people might need — in the form of blog articles.
Need help with your blog?
Blogging isn’t for everyone.
It takes up valuable time and requires endless ideas and research.
If you understand the value of blogging, but you don’t enjoy writing or don’t have the time to see it through, why not think about outsourcing some — or all — of the process to me?
I’m a content strategist and writer based in Leicester, UK and I’ve been making blogging work for businesses since 2008.
I can just help with the strategy side, creating a content plan with ideas and SEO keywords. Or I can do all that and write the content for you, too.