The greatest challenge a small business owner faces when maintaining a blog on his or her business site is not that of keeping a fresh stream of content coming. Rather, it’s the task of producing relevant articles people actually want to read.
After all, medical malpractice, for example, might be the most fascinating thing in the world to you, and I truly hope it is if you’re a malpractice lawyer because an extreme level of enthusiasm for the subject makes your long-term success that much more likely. But, even as an ultra malpractice-nerd, even you know the typical person doesn’t want to talk about it all day.
Maybe you even learned the hard way when you blabbed on about work too long at a cocktail party (don’t worry, we’ve all done it)…
So, How Do You Make People Care?
The question on everyone’s mind when creating a new blog, or breathing life into one that died a long time ago is, how do you stay relevant and capture your audience’s attention? How do you strike that balance between staying on topic, pushing for that sale (which in the long run is really the goal), and getting people to care enough to tune in once in a while?
Well, first off, it’s important to realize that it’s less about making them care than it is about blogging what they already care about. And what that is, becomes a little easier to figure out if you keep a few simple concepts in mind.
1. You Can Talk About Your Product – Just Not the Way You Think
We’re both business-people here, so I’ll be frank.
If I could just sit here and rattle off to you about each feature of every service I offer until you cut me a check, I would… Sorry, but I probably would.
And that’s most likely what you’d prefer to do with your blog too. Admit it – you’re just itching to blab about your products or your services in each and every post. After all, you’re in business to sell, right?
And in a way, you can do that, but not in the way you think. As your instincts already tell you, people could give a rat’s tukus about your products and the features thereof. But what do they care about then?
Why would they ever take the time to read your business blog?
The answer to this is simple, really, and the key to success with any type of commercial writing. What your prospects care about is what your product can do for them. They care about the benefits they would reap if they purchased that product or service.
So what do you blog about? You blog about those benefits.
A specific case in which a current customer reaped a particular benefit is one great idea. If you’re a landscaper, a little-known secret for instantly greening up a lawn. If you’re a fashion consultant, a study demonstrating the impact appearance plays in business interviews or the dating market. If you’re into software, the increases your customers get in productivity – and how that affects their lives.
And you can even dig directly into describing each of your products and services post by post, if you like; just make darn sure each post focuses more on what it does than how it does it, then put it in your headline and make it pop.
These are the little tidbits that grab attention even if what you “do” is the last thing on a prospect’s mind when they come across your article.
2. Remind Them How They Will Suffer
Tying closely in with the point above, don’t forget to hit their pain buttons. Reminding people how they might get hurt or miss out by not having your product or service is always a fantastic way to reel them in, especially around the milestones at which people are due for a “checkup” or an “update.”
It’s not manipulation; people don’t like pain (believe it or not), and many products and services in the world are specifically created so they can avoid it.
With subtle, to-the-point posts about the risks associated with forgetting people like you exist, your topic suddenly becomes very interesting indeed, allowing you to easily reel your target customers in.
3. Feel Free to Veer Off Subject
As an example of what I mean by veering off subject, let’s say you run an insurance agency with a primary focus on term policies. While it would be tempting to blog every week about the benefits, features and rules associated with the different types of term insurance out there, you’ll probably guess that people will tire of hearing about it after a while.
And you’d be right.
But it’s not just about talking people into the ground about term insurance. A major goal of blogging is to simply position yourself as an expert – not an expert in term insurance but an expert in “everything” insurance.
Just because you don’t prefer selling whole insurance, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t gain your readers trust and respect by discussing with them, the benefits (as well as pitfalls – wink, wink) of whole insurance. In fact, a blog post highlighting a benefit associated with whole, as opposed to not being insured at all, will often bring in a new prospect who, after browsing a few articles or talking with an insurance expert they trust (you), buys a term policy instead.
This is often exactly how business blogging works.
And you can go even further, discussing all types of affairs that tie into a personal financial plan.
Here’s the key. If someone wants to buy an insurance plan and isn’t sure where to start, are they more likely to buy one from someone who’s a perceived expert in risk management or a person who’s an expert at the benefits of term insurance? See where I’m going with this?
Or, maybe you specialize in business insurance. Same strategy applies. Talk about more than just business insurance – discuss all types of financial issues business-minded clients have on their minds. Become the blog they turn to for advice on a regular basis. Be the voice that helps keep their finances in order.
Then, when they need insurance, they’ll turn to you.
4. Let Them Know When They Can Save Money
Finally, what’s one other thing we know can always garner attention?
That’s easy – saving money. And it’s a wild card you can always keep in your back pocket.
Nothing to blog about? Write about a way to save money in the process of buying your product or service or some other product or service in your niche (remember, veering away from your main focus is fine and people will remember you helped them save). Write about how your product or service saves money in its own right – combine it with pain by highlighting costs associated with not buying.
Describe a story of a recent client that saved or gained money.
Really out of things to say? Pull out the big guns and create a discount or coupon right then and there just so you have a reason to interact with your online market. Make it exclusive to your online readers – now they’ve really got a reason to pay attention in the future.
5. Talk About Major Events
Oh, and here’s an easy one that almost everyone thinks of but many brush off simply because they find it tacky. Holidays.
Sure, sometimes it is tacky, but the holidays are something we all share in common. So by at least making a post mentioning their passing, and, especially, how they might be relevant to what you offer, you further your relationship with your audience. The same is true for news and events beyond your niche.
Because that’s what blogging is all about, after all – building relationships.
So go ahead and get started already; I’ve given you plenty of ways to come up with great topics for blog posts without boring the heck out of your readers. Now it’s up to you to sit down and write them.
James Druman is a freelance blogger , commercial copywriter, and business writer who breaks down customer-oriented content marketing strategies at