ITCS’s Lisa Baker shares how customers can write a great blog post that is Google-friendly and will also engage their target audience
As one of the ‘in-house’ SEO experts for ITCS, and the Editor of several online magazines, I’m often asked by customers ‘how can I write a great blog post’?
If you write a great blog post, you can:
• Engage your audience with your brand
• Establish you as a thought-leader in your industry
• Give useful information to your readers and followers
• Help with your SEO
• Add weight to your sales messages
• Communicate your offer to customers
ITCS offer a full SEO and content management service, if you’d rather outsource blog writing, but here’s some helpful tips if you do it in-house:
1. DON’T use your blog or social media to over-sell
Some blogs are just a collection of different ‘buy me! posts’. Too much selling is a real turn off and offers no independent value to your readership – you wouldn’t watch a channel with nothing but adverts, so why would you return to a blog that’s stuffed with ‘buy me?’
The occasional special offer is fine, but your blog should be informative, reinforce your brand values and build customer trust. See it as a long-term relationship rather than a one-night-stand. Selling on blogs should be subtle and link-based.
Here’s some ideas for useful posts that will interest your readers:
2. DO – Share useful, informative content, at least once per month. Think about:
New Products – If you have a new product or service, the blog is a great way to launch it. Write about the new service in an informative way, with a subtle call to action button at the bottom.
Seasonal Tips – ‘Top 10 tips for (moving home/stress free motoring/buying the perfect gift/camping/booking a holiday) in (Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter)’ (obviously, this will depend on your business – this works really well for consumer sites)
Topical Thought Leadership – Is there a particular topic that everyone is discussing in your industry? (e.g. Brexit/Minimum Wage/Taxes/legislation/AI and tech). Stamp your authority as a leader in your field by sharing your opinion and/or advice. It is an opportunity to brag about your knowledge and experience in the light of current events. These posts also make great press releases.
Customer Service – Is there a question that your customer service team are always being asked? Save time by providing advice on common queries in a blog post. This could help your customer service team avoid repetitive support calls, and demonstrates to non-customers that you are a company who cares about their customers. A call to action button connecting to the customer support email address makes it easy to mail support.
Staff News – people buy people, and the internet can makes companies seem faceless. Make your staff seem accessible, show the world they are likeable! If someone spends Sunday running for Cancer Research, ask if they mind you sharing the news on the company blog, and include a link to their online fundraising page. It helps staff feel valued and supported by the company and shows your customers you care about your staff.
Company News – Got a significant new contract, company award, or new department? Why not turn it into news and share it on your blog? News posts tell the world that your company is growing and ready for business. Word of warning though, if you plan to quote a customer, check they are happy first. Again, these can be part of your PR, and a pic of you with said customer will go down really well.
3. Write a Great Blog Post that is Google friendly too!
Your blog can only help your SEO if Google finds it. A professional SEO service like ITCS is great, because choosing the right keywords for your post can make the difference between Google indexing your post and not. SEO experts have tools to help them do this.
However, a little common sense will help you write a great blog post which Google can find. Just think – ‘what would my audience type into Google’ to find my product? Let’s imagine a Bridgend shoe shop has just had it’s new collection and wants to be found for ‘red shoes in Bridgend’:
What not to do….
‘This season’s new collection’ with information about your new range would make a great sales brochure, or customer mailshot.
However, it wouldn’t work as an SEO friendly blog title. ‘This seasons new collection’ is too vague to be helpful. If you want to be found for ‘Red shoes in Bridgend’ or even just ‘new shoes in Bridgend’, you need to use relevant keywords in the title to help Google find you.
What to do….
The Blog title is what Google displays as the first line in your search ad. It also helps Google decide if your page o determine if it’s a good match for the keyword.
In this case, ‘Bridgend Trends: Red Shoes are Hot this Autumn!’ would be a much better title, because ‘Red Shoes’ and ‘Bridgend’ are both in the title, it doesn’t sound flat and gives enough information to make the reader want to click through to read more.
Google also checks for consistency. As well as the header, the post should be relevant to the header and talk about why red shoes are hot in Bridgend this season. Add pictures of the red shoes you sell, with relevant image titles. (Sales tip – link the images to the sales page for that shoe!).
Think like a customer, then think like Google
Your customer knows what they want, and Google wants to help them find it. To score success even before you start to write a great blog post, try to think like your audience.
Here’s my short, sharp summary to getting it right every time:
• Think about what your audience want to read
• Think about what you want to say
• Think how about what your audience will search for to find it on Google
Now go and write a great blog post with your audience in mind!
Lisa works within the ITCS SEO team and is Google Certified. For advice about Blog Posts, SEO, Social Media or help running an Adwords campaign, contact the ITCS Web and SEO team on 0845 444 200.