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You already know that content marketing is widely considered to be essential for your business. Maybe you’ve already got a blog that gets some organic traffic.
The sad truth is that most local businesses aren’t blogging about the right things in the right way. As a result, they’re losing business that’s going to their competitors.
If your blog is getting minimal traffic, you might be tempted not to post often or even to write it off entirely. That’s a mistake. Instead, keep reading to learn about the types of content that will help attract more qualified visitors to your site and help you grow your business.
What Does the Buyer’s Journey Have to Do with Your Blog?
I see a lot of local businesses who think that all blog topics are created equal. I cringe when I see post after post about internal company business or news that doesn’t tie into defined business goals. It’s a waste of valuable real estate on your website.
One of the best ways to use your blog to attract more qualified leads is to focus on topics that are relevant to your ideal customer and their journey toward buying your product or hiring you to perform a service.
A good way to start is to make a list of questions that people frequently ask about your products or services. Those can serve as the jumping-off point for blog posts.
There are a few mistakes you should avoid with this type of content.
- Avoid topics that won’t move customers through your sales funnel.
- Avoid topics that are too competitive. You want to be able to rank and as a local business, you’re probably not going to outrank The Atlantic or Huffington Post. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to figure it out.
- Avoid topics with search volume that’s too low.
You best bet is to focus on long-tail keywords and questions. Remember that voice searches are more popular than ever, and most people ask questions when they do a query with Cortana or Siri.
To make the point, let’s look at an example. If the owner of a fashion boutique were looking for blog topics, she might want to write about clothes. Her inventory is mostly casual clothing and ranges from designer jeans to office casual. She won’t be speaking to her buyers’ journey if she writes about:
- Which clothing is suitable for a formal wedding?
- Kids’ clothing for back to school
Likewise, she’s not going to be able to compete with articles about how to choose the right pair of jeans from sites such as Stitch Fix. And finally, she’s unlikely to get a ton of traffic if she chooses an obscure topic about buttons.
The goal with this type of content is to find a sweet spot that helps people find your website AND provides them with information that moves them toward a purchase.
Linkable Content and Traffic
Your second option is to choose blog topics that are likely to attract backlinks over time. This type of content usually falls into one of two categories:
- It provides actionable information that solves a problem; or
- It contains data that will be useful to other people.
In the former category, we might be looking at a post that explains how to restore and care for cast iron pans. That would be ideal for a kitchen supply store or possibly a cooking school. In the latter category, it might be a wedding expense infographic that helps people allocate their budgets properly, a topic that would be useful for a wedding planner or bridal boutique.
Because you want the content to be linkable and stay linkable, your best bet is to choose evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that remains useful over time. The alternative with a data-driven blog post is to commit to updating it regularly as needed to keep it relevant.
Tips for Finding Blog Topics
Thinking of blog topics can take time, so let’s finish with a few tips to help you decide which topics will help you attract new visitors to your blog.
- Have a goal in mind. Each blog post you write should be written with a goal in mind, whether it’s attracting more leads or getting backlinks.
- Mine your Frequently Asked Questions for blog topics. Look specifically at questions where you’ve provided a short answer to a question that could be fleshed out into a blog post. An example might be a question about how to use a product.
- Use Google AutoComplete to find topics. When you type a keyword into Google, you’ll see a list of potential searches. These can be excellent ideas for blog topics.
- Look at Google’s “People Also Ask” and “Searches Related To” sections on the results page. When you type in a question or keyword, Google will usually list 3 questions that people also ask about the topic you’re searching. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a box with related searches. Both offer potential blog topics for you to consider.
- Use online tools to find topics. BuzzSumo is a good tool to learn what posts are trending and can offer ideas for popular questions and topics. Ahrefs’ tool can help you see which topics are ranking and which have a lot of searches.
- Pay attention to the content format. There are some topics that simply won’t lend themselves to blog content. If the listings you see on a search results page are mostly directory listings, remember that you’ll need to outrank them to see any real SEO benefit. Choose a topic that will work as a blog post for the best results.
I suggest making a list of potential topics and creating a schedule. Make sure that you cover each topic thoroughly and break your post up with images and subheadings. If you can use related questions and long-tail keywords as headings, you’ll be likely to attract traffic for multiple searches.
Blogging can be the ideal content marketing tool for small businesses if you choose your topics wisely and have a goal in mind. The information I’ve included here can help you turn your blog into a lead-generating powerhouse.