Producing enough content is a major challenge for 45% of B2C marketers.
In part 1 we cover what content marketing can do for your business and why it works to attract and build trust with customers. Next we’ll cover how to write about topics that customers care about and how to get started with writing your business blog.
There are two main problems in in using content marketing to attract customers:
- Only 39% of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy.
- Producing enough content is a major challenge for 45% of B2C marketers.
These two problems are closely related so we’re going to look at a light and fast solution to both problems. (This data based on B2C Content Marketing 2014 Report from Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs.)
Gathering Customer Question Topics for Your Business Blog
We can start to solve the content strategy problem by making a content calendar that addresses topics and keywords that are important to our customers. This is the start of helping customers learn enough that they feel comfortable engaging with your brand and eventually buying from your brand.
Our goal with content marketing is building customer trust and educating our customers about their problem. Customers will have different questions at different stages of the buying cycle. When customers can’t answer their questions they can’t move forward. To help our prospective customers move through the stages of buying, we need to educate them.
Gathering Business Blog Topics from the People That Know Your Customers Best
One of the 1st steps in learning the questions that customers are answering can be going to the people that talk to your customers the most. If your company has salespeople, customer service representatives, or any other members who face the public on a regular basis, these people know what questions your customers are asking. Simply sitting down with salespeople and customer service reps for an hour could yield the most valuable information about your customers that you’ve ever seen.
Build Your Brand Recognition by Answering Customer Questions
If customers ask these questions with your salespeople, it’s a good bet that they’re also searching for these questions in search engines. If you wrote the answers to every customer question listed by your salespeople and customer service representatives, it’s possible that you could generate over 100 blog posts. This may be enough content to bring your business blog to the top of the search engine rankings for certain customer questions.
Imagine what would happen if every time someone searched for a question in your line of business, they saw the answer associated with your brand-name somewhere on the search results page. Your brand-name could be seen on a regular basis by most of the people searching for products or services in your business vertical. Talk about delivering advertising when the customer is searching, your business blog could deliver answers when customers need them most.
If you run an online business, and have little contact with customers, you can still send email surveys to customers. You can also use your website analytics to see which pages are the most popular. These are all techniques that give you insights into what topics your customers seek out the most.
Gathering More Blog Post Topics That Customers Care about
If you still can’t develop enough blog topics for your business blog try these tools:
Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends/) can be your source to research trending topics in your industry. This tool reveals some of the top trending searches in Google. You can use this to decide which topics may be the most popular in your line of business.
Topsy Social Search (http://topsy.com/) allows you to search the social web for topics related to your business vertical. You can also segment the search into links, tweets, photos and videos.
Social Mention (http://www.socialmention.com/)
Allows you to search certain parts of the social media for topics that your customers may care about. You can search microblogs like twitter, blogs bookmarks comments image videos and other areas.
Building Your Business Blog Content Calendar
Gather all these customer questions, popular webpages and other research insights into customer needs into a single document or spreadsheet. This document will become the basis for your content calendar.
Once you’ve gathered 50-100 topics that your customers care about, you can allocate the topics to each week of the coming year. Then assign someone in your marketing team or someone else that has the knowledge to answer customer questions to be responsible for each article. If you’re a consultant or other small business owner, you’ll end up writing most of the articles yourself. But if you’re part of a small or medium business it’s great to have several team members who can create new articles for your blog.
How Can We Convert These Questions into Blog Topics?
Building Headlines for Business Blog Posts
The keyword topics that you uncovered when you gathered customer questions and research, can make great headlines for each one of your blog posts. This headline will also become the title tag, that search engines primarily use to index each page of your business blog. If customers want to learn more about products and services that solve their immediate needs, they’re most likely to search on these common questions.
Writing Your Blog Posts
Don’t make things complicated for the writers in your business marketing team. Just answer customer questions in a simple and clear way.
By blogging on a regular basis and answering questions that customers have about their problems, you’ll start to form a relationship with customers. You’re helping customers learn how to solve their problems and they’ll come to rely on your business for trustworthy information.
Because content marketing seeks to answer customer questions and doubts it’s appropriate at almost every stage of the buying cycle. Content marketing is also a rich source of relevant content that search engines will favor with higher search engine visibility and increased natural search traffic.
Do you do any research to create a list of topics for your business blog?
What research methods are working for your blog? Do you find that a content calendar makes it easier to write your blog articles?