Today, consumers (both B2B and B2C) research information and look for trust signals before they hire or buy. Here’s how to use your blog articles to help with both.
About a decade ago, part of our SEO strategy was to create blog articles no human being would read.
We called these articles “love letters to Google” because the entire idea was to create fresh, keyword-rich content Google would index. The goal was to lift and maintain the keyword rankings of the overall domain. For a while, it worked.
Since no person actually read any of these posts, the blogs weren’t included in the navigation. And the writing? Well, let’s just say no major awards were forthcoming for these articles.
Today, this tactic is dead, even from a strictly SEO standpoint. The algorithm now uses engagement signals to determine if content is useful to real readers. Without those signals, most content won’t rank.
Our staff writers say good riddance to this tactic. Nobody wants to write content for a computer. We want our articles to be worthwhile for people.
In fact, now the tables have turned. If you’re not highlighting your blog content to educate leads and earn their trust, you’re missing the most important reason to write.
We talk a lot now about how much online consumers research. It’s created a non-linear buying process for just about every type of purchase.
It’s unrealistic to think prospects are going to visit your website once and take immediate action. Today’s consumers are contemplative, circumspect, and careful. They expect to have a strong “feel” for a company before they actually engage them. They want to trust them and be confident in their skills and professionalism.
You can’t accomplish all that with just a headline and hero shot.
There are a variety of ways you can – and should – earn trust with your online content. But one of the best is your blog.
According to a Demand Gen’s Content Preference Survey, blogs are one of the most consumed types of content in the B2B buying journey, with 71% of consumers surveyed saying they read blog content during the purchase process.
A quality business blog does a number of things.
First, of course, is that it’s your main source of educational and informational material. In this way, it’s perhaps the best place to showcase your expertise and experience.
Your blog is where you fill information gaps so people better understand the benefits of working with you. You may provide feature or technical details, but the most effective content helps people answer the question What’s in it for me?
One of the main reasons people will navigate to your blog – beyond getting questions answered – is to get a feel for your business from non-promotional material.
The rest of your website should, legitimately, be selling your service. This material is persuasive and focused on getting people to act.
But blogs, on the other hand, are the best place to just be helpful and informative. You can not only educate leads but also give them a feel for your people and processes. A blog is the best places to be authentic, genuine, and useful – without expecting anything in return.
That type of voice is superior at earning trust, which as we know, is one of the main goals of your website content.
A blog is an excellent place to create content optimized for informational searches. Google favors in-depth articles that provide useful, complete information. When you rank well, these pages will often be the initial landing page that introduces people to your brand.
Use that content as top-of-funnel lead generation.
But don’t underestimate the power of your blog as primary content in your website navigation. Serious prospects will check your blog, perusing it as if it were your business’ personal journal (which it is, essentially).
They want to see that you know your stuff. Can you step away from the sales pitch and lend a hand without expecting them to put money in it?
Your visitors will ask: What are these guys really like? The blog is where they’ll go to get a thorough answer to that question.
The more complex your product is, the more you need blog content to fill information gaps and nurture leads (blog articles are perfect to use as a newsletter for email marketing).
Also remember that you can embed videos or podcasts, use infographics, and add design elements to your blogs. It doesn’t all have to be text. While you should focus on information, don’t hesitate to open a path towards conversions with links and subtle calls to action.
Blogging is more important than ever in how it exemplifies your business image. Strong business blogs inform and engender trust.
Instead of being a clandestine SEO tactic, start looking at it as some of your primary content.
Because your website visitors are.