Do you have a blog? What do you use it for? Cute pictures? Clever wordplay? Or getting clients?
Side note: I’m a big fan of all the above, but if that’s the only type of blog you have, you may be missing a trick.
You know I harp on and on about providing value to your clients. You also know that I feel that the client experience should kick in way before you start any projects. Blogging is the perfect platform for both.
“But it’s hard to write a blog…what will I write about?”
I hear ya. Writer’s block is real. And it usually rears its uninspired head precisely when you sit down to write. Before we get to thinking about what you’re going to write, let’s first think about how you’re going to write. I know that a blog used to be the outlet for everyone with a thought in their head and access to a computer, but those days are goooooone.
Remember that value thing I mentioned? That’s the first thing you’ve got to be thinking.
And remember the big shouty “Clients” in the headline?
Let’s put those two things together. Providing value to your clients in the form of your expertise. How many times do you hear people say that they wish they could get in front of clients and show them what they can do?
With blogging, it’s one step better: you get to show them what you know.
Writing about topics that interest, inform and inspire your ideal clients means that they can see your expertise. Conveying specialist knowledge helps them and (bonus!) reassures them of your skill. Why? Because if you’re able to explain and break down complex, specialist concepts in an absorbing, engaging way, that means you’re not only a great storyteller, but you also have mastery of the subject matter too.
Who doesn’t want that on their team?
I’ll not spend too much time on this, because much of this depends on what type of website you have, but in a nutshell, it’s usually just a matter of adding a blog page to your sub-directory – so it’s going to look like this: www.yourwebsite.com/blog.
Your subsequent blog entries will become posts on this page. If you’re not sure about this, you can always ask your developer or site administrator for help.
If you have a WordPress site – hooray! It’s super simple….here’s a range of references.
You blog for your clients. And not any old client. Your ideal client.
This isn’t some fake person, you need to do the research and come up with actual people you want to write for.
You’ve got to imagine them reading your blog posts. What would be interesting to them? What would make them comment, share or (the holy grail) start a conversation with you? Got them? Good. Now I’m going to get strict with you here.
I know you want to be Helpy McHelpington and reach the whole world, but you can't. And you know what else? Your ideal clients don't want you to. Click To Tweet
Don’t blog for anyone else.
I’m serious. I know it sucks.
Think of it this way…Imagine you’re at some corporate event. You’re feeling a little self-conscious, your feet are killing you and you still haven’t figured out a smooth way to get your business card out of your handbag when someone asks you for it.
Then a really nice, super-helpful person takes you under their wing. They explain why everyone’s laughing at that weird old guy’s jokes. Why there’s that one table to the left of the room that no-one’s sitting at. They are just so knowledgeable and friendly. You go to get them a drink. Come back, and there they are chatting to someone else about something completely different and being all corporate.
You thought you were special. And you feel kinda stupid, because there’s still so much that you wanted to find out about. She was your go-to gal.
That’s what your blog should make you. The go-to gal (or guy – sorry dudes) on your area of expertise.
Listen, I’m in business, I know that you want to sell stuff. Whether you’re Services Suzie or Product Pauline, you’ve got something to sell. You may have heard that blogging is the shizz for ushering customers your way. And it is. Or well, it can be.
But nobody wants to come to a blog only to be bullied into buying. Don’t you think that’s a little…presumptuous? *adjusts bonnet*
How do I do it? Whether I’m blogging for my own readers or advising clients, the number one piece of advice I have is to widen the net.
I know what you’re thinking.
Haven’t I just contradicted myself? Just one short paragraph (okay a few paragraphs) ago wasn’t I all “Niche up, nerds!” But that niching up was related to your clients. You’ve got to be super-specific on those, but for your topics, we need to cast the net a little wider.
This is how it works. Let’s say you’re a web designer. Your ideal clients aren’t just interested in having a new website. There are a variety of related topics they’ll be thinking about….
New website > number of visitors > Google Analytics > SEO > questions to ask your web designer > FB ads to drive traffic > pop ups: what works, what doesn’t > creating and growing an email subscriber list > coming up with a content schedule > using social media to get the content out there > which social media channels are the best per sector > creating social media images >…..
I mean, that list is pretty long. In fact, there are 12 topics. My maths is pretty bad, but I think that might correlate to the number of months in a year. If you’re a one post per month kinda writer, you’re already set (you’re welcome.) If you’d like to expand, some of those topics could definitely become 2 or 3 parters (I’m looking at you, Google Analytics.)
If your ideal clients graze in a more technical field, you’ve got even more options. I’m guessing you’ll keep abreast of research and new developments to ensure you’re able to do your job.
Sharing your findings, explaining regulations, technology or legislation in an engaging manner is always well-received.
Why do these blog posts work so well? Because they save your clients time. You’re helping them do their job. That’s pretty valuable.
But what if I have a product, I hear you cry? I know. It probably feels safer to fall back on posts about promotions, discounts or just plain old product descriptions. This might be hard to hear, but people get bored if they just hear about one thing over and over, or if they’re just being told to click the big shiny Buy Now button.
It’s kind of insulting.
Let’s do that related-to-your-product-but-not-about-your-product thing, like we did with web design. Let’s say you own a skincare company and your ideal client is a working Mum:
Your skincare routine > skincare tips when you only have 5 minutes > busting some myths about skincare > best beauty bloggers > what makeup to wear when your skin’s bad but you’ve got a big day > skincare products for teenage kids > how to take an awesome selfie > will going vegan help your skin? > worth-the-money spa treatments > real life routines….
You’ll see from the last section that the topics, although tricky to come up with at first, quickly start rolling in when you put your mind to it. But the headlines….oh, the headlines.
I mean, there’s so much pressure! What if it turns people off? What if it’s misleading? And WTF is SEO?
Chill. I’ve got you. Basically, the worldwide interwebular loves certain things, and as worldwide interwebular users, we’re no different. We can break successful blog posts (and their headlines) into five main categories:
- Guide them
- Let me count the ways
- Why, What & How
- Get personal
- Take their pain away
These five types of posts can help you figure out headlines that will actually make people want to read the posts. And not just any old people, we’re talking your ideal clients kinda people. Why? Because you’ve figured out the related topics they’ll be interested in, remember? As ever, given my love of all things Canva, I’ve come up with an infographic, to keep you on track….feel free to share it!
Let me give you an example. Let’s think of today’s topic, which was about getting started with blogging (and why it’s a good idea.) Obviously, I went with the title, “How to attract clients with your blog (+ example posts)”, but I could easily have chosen one of the following headlines:
- The Complete Guide To Attracting Clients With Your Blog
- How to blog for clients (and what they want to read)
- 4 steps to blog with confidence
- Why I write a blog
- How to stop boring your blog readers
As ever, if you’ve got any questions, let me know or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and that’s the last thing, always encourage interaction 🙂