I'm guessing you’re a frequent blog reader. If not, we’re quite lucky to be meeting this way.
But when was the last time you reached the end of a business or marketing blog post and immediately took action based on the advice and knowledge you’d just gathered?
I read a lot of blogs too, and for me it doesn’t happen very often. Maybe 5% of the time, I am moved to make a note of something inspiring and inventive, or stop what I’m doing to try out a cool hack.
Sadly, the vast majority of business blog posts are largely a bland regurgitation of stuff I’ve seen elsewhere.
In other words, definitely not the best use of my time.
Don’t get me wrong: content marketing is fantastic. It allows marketers and business owners to share knowledge and help others. It encourages and rewards fresh, engaging content.
The trouble is not simply the volume of blog content being created, but how little of it is helpful, practical or actionable. The subject matter experts – you and me – owe it to our readers to become adept at delivering a payoff every single time.
If you write a blog or are thinking of starting one, here are 4 ways to make your posts valuable to the reader.
This doesn't necessarily mean you've got to have an amazing, groundbreaking marketing theory that will change the world. (But that would be cool.) It can simply be your fresh perspective and approach to solving an age-old problem.
Your reader is also trying to solve a problem. Whether it's trouble attracting qualified web leads or fixing a toilet geyser, your ultimate purpose is to provide practical, achievable solutions. I like to think about that moment when, in explaining something perplexing to a client, I see a light turn on. Those epiphanies are excellent blog post fodder.
Even your best advice and deepest thoughts should be pleasant to read. (In fact, the better the lesson, the more important it is to engage.) Share amusing stories, pop in the occasional photo, chart or gif, and work on keeping your reader’s attention. That old nemesis the “back” button never stops calling out!
Many articles are littered with nuggets of potentially valuable information, yet leave the reader at a loss for how to use it. No one has time to create their own implementation plan for your advice. Give clear, actionable steps that make it easy to execute immediately. Test your directions on a layperson friend or stranger, and fix any missing or confusing details.
Readers are generally forgiving and most have fairly low expectations. We’ve become conditioned by endless click-bait to expect disappointment – which makes your truly helpful take-away pure gold.
The best part is that even if your competitors are already trying their hand at content marketing, they are not likely delivering the good stuff, and are probably unaware they’re missing the whole point.
It’s an opportunity for the rest of us to shine.
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