This article was originally contributed by TrekkSoft to America Outdoor Association's Winter 2016 Quarterly Newsletter. For more tips, you can also check out our brand new writing handbook.
Blogging can boost sales and develop your company’s online presence, especially if the content is high-quality and covers topics your reader cares about. However, finding great ideas to write about is often more of a hurdle than the writing process itself.
Here’s how to come up with blog articles that are engaging, relevant to your audience, and less likely to get lost in Google search results.
1. Know your reader (and what they want to read)
According to ThinkCreative, small businesses that blog receive 126% more lead growth than those that do not. Make your content relevant to your business goals, but always put your reader first. If a blog article is useful, informative, or makes your reader laugh, it will be memorable. With memorable content, you’re more likely to get people returning to your site, making a booking, or recommending your business.
Think about the type of person reading your blog. Are they customers or potential business partners? Once you’ve defined your target reader, why not ask them what they would like to see on your blog? You can also observe what blog posts are most popular, track the keywords that are used when people find your website organically, and tailor your content accordingly.
2. Show your human side
It’s easy to hide behind the corporate logos and banners of your company. But blogging provides a great opportunity to tell your story and let people get to know you. By showing your personality and the people behind your brand, you can build trust: this is always a good thing in business!
Use your name, show your photo in your bio, and don’t shy away from sharing your experience. A company could publish a “meet the team” blog post, a raft guide might share what he loves most about his job, or an outdoor activity professional could share her tricks of the trade after ten years in the industry.
3. Above all, be helpful
Your blog can be a great place for you to share advice, especially as 81% of online consumers in the U.S. trust information from blog articles (BlogHer). One way to create informative content is to listen to questions from customers and answer them on your blog.
Long articles often rank better in searches, so don’t be afraid to share more if you can keep it concise, relevant, and high-quality. A rafting company might publish “how to prepare for your first rafting trip, plus what to bring and wear” and forward new customers to it, perhaps in an automated email.
4. Think about repurposing content
By looking through your archives, you could rediscover a great blog post and think of a follow-up post or related topic that deserves its own article.
It’s also worth making an effort to improve your existing content: pressing publish doesn’t mean you’re done with a blog post! By resolving inaccuracies and areas for improvement, you can improve your SEO (search engine optimization) and keep your website relevant.
The Google Panda algorithm makes this even more important. It’s Google’s way of lowering the rank of "low-quality sites" or "thin sites“, and returning higher-quality sites near the top of search results. If you’re worried about confusing readers with changes, you can leave an editor’s note to say when it was published and updated.
So, what’s the key to a great blog?
Creating the best possible experience for your reader, in much the same way as you guide your customers on your tours or activities. Find out more about this in our brand new writing handbook!
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Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.