3 – Level Blog Strategy that works: storytelling, USP & Sales
If you’re talking to 10 digital marketing agencies you’re going to get 10 different ideas about how to build a blog strategy.
Unfortunately many sell “cookie-cutter” strategies to their clients.
For an enterprise tire company you can not build the same blogging plan as you would for a pest company that serves a 50-mile radius or a cookbook marketing author.
First and foremost, the discussion will focus on each business or personal brand’s ultimate goals.
Is the client’s task to create value over a 10-year span and retain clients (think of a plastic surgeon or investment company), or is it the goal of showcasing their products to one-time buyers (think of a DNA testing business)?
The examples above would require vastly different strategies.
While all businesses are different, one approach works for most cases, a technique built by my agency when working with clients from niche luxury product businesses to luxury rehabs to enterprise tire companies.
The process weaves together three tactics which run at the same time. The first is what I call “Intentional Storytelling SEO” which basically creates keyword-optimized content based on storytelling for user intent. The other strategies focus on Specific Selling Points (USP) and product mix.
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry–it’s a long way off.
Also note, as a business grows, its focus on content should grow too. And change naturally arrives with growth.
As businesses scale their goods and/or services change continuously along with core values. That should be expressed in the blogs direction.
What also makes this three-step blog strategy approach perfect is that as a business grows it can be used over and over again.
Step 1: ‘Intentional Storytelling SEO’ Tactic
The basis of any blogging strategy is SEO combined with intentional storytelling.
Most focus only on the SEO side of things-creating content based on keywords and the purpose of the searcher.
The latter simply means that content is created around the intended result of the searcher.
There are three major types of intent among searchers:
Information (e.g., “What is the history of Blue Widgets”)
Navigational (e.g., “Blue Widget groups on Facebook”)
Transactional (e.g., “Blue Widgets for sale”)
Designing blog topics around keyword and searcher intent is an absolute must for trusted digital marketing agencies.
Yet most forget about telling stories. This component is vital to standing out among the noise-a term that I will often use here.
As research / searcher focus on keyword blends with narrative, the power of the blog grows.
Here’s a quick rundown that is used by my agency.
Research on the keyword is first. Blogs are the ideal foundation on which to target super long-tail keywords–not the wider keywords usually mapped to main service / product pages.
Regardless of the client, we usually end up with a list of about 100 long-tail keywords to concentrate on initially.
Instead we break out those keywords to main themes based on the intent of a searcher, using the three methods of searches as guidelines.
Usually, such long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, making ranking efforts much easier.
Most SEOs with whom I worked would ignore such keywords under a search volume of 70 or so, but depending on how lucrative the result would be to get a click on a search query, we sometimes go as low as 10.
Next–we speak to the customer and focus for that moment on the top ROI services / products, and whether they are preparing any releases of new services / products or promotions.
Some blog topics can be driven by that information.
If a campaign is planned for the future, for example, you’ll want to start seeding the audience about new releases or promotions. A blog is a perfect platform for that to happen.
Once you have created these terms and list of topics relating to the top ROI services / products, launches and/or promotions, google them and analyze them.
We also check on Reddit, Quora, and the usual social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram to see what questions people ask about topics related to those terms
And never ignore the Google question box on the snippet
We began competitive analysis by looking at competitor rankings for those keywords using tools like SEMrush, with that information mentioned on a clean spreadsheet, categories within those four searcher purpose categories.
This helps us identify other keyword opportunities related to the keyword list that we have already generated and deeper thematic opportunities.
Notice here-never simply analyze Google spots and just try to write a better article.
Even if it is in your subconscious, you can just mimic what the others say, adding the digital noise.
Just search for keyword and keyword opportunities from competitors-never copy their actual content.
Switch the storytelling feature on when blog writing begins. For that reason, traditional SEO-trained writers are a vital part of my blogging strategies.
The premise here, for example, is how drastically different each agency constructs its blog strategy and how many forget the crucial element of, well, storytelling.
Step 2: USP-Focus Strategies
Completing the above strategy, it is time to focus on what really makes your services or goods stand out among the endless noises within any industry.
The more focused the simpler it is to focus on your unique place in sales –what makes you remarkable.
If you’re designing a SEO plan for a customer who only sells Ducati motorcycle parts for a specific model, your USP exposure will simply arrive.
If you market all parts of Ducati you have a much tougher job.
A USP can’t just be “100 percent guarantee” or “quickest delivery” or “cheapest prices.”
That’s what everyone is trying to do, and it doesn’t show any uniqueness spec.
What if you not only sold the component but also had educational resources on how to install certain parts via video or through an official technical manual?
What if you had on hand support technicians to answer questions or affiliates with the nearest and most reliable Ducati techs to the client?
That is a unique thing.
And all of your writing efforts need to exploit this.
Even though you are a part-selling client, you can now blog about a Ducati service rep’s top qualities.
Which questions would you ask?
Do they use parts from OEMs or aftermarkets, and which are better?
This strategy will also help the do – it-yourselfers become a strong valuable source.
They may not be looking for a part at the time, but you’ll be, as author John Hall says “Top of Mind” when the opp to the sale later arrives.
And this will also allow you to rank for longer-tail keywords relevant to your products or services that you originally wouldn’t have concentrated on if you didn’t create your USP first, and then exploit it through blogging.
This will boost the brand reputation and rankings overall.
One of the USPs from my agency is helping clients identify and refine their USPs, and then designing SEO and content strategies that will help them exploit those USPs through storytelling.
Step 3: Sales Blending Strategic
Bearing in mind the above two blog strategy strategies, it’s time to think about building a calendar for content.
That is where the sales come in.
Yes, bloggers are expected to be super close to sales team.
This is a crucial phase to comprehend the true market of a business.
Second, realize the concept of a “sales funnel” is dead
Instead, turn your thought into thinking about it as a cyclone –the invention of Eric Keiles and Mike Lieberman and set out in “Smash the Funnel: The Cyclonic Buyer Journey”
Read the book here.
They’re going to change the selling perspective.
For now, know that in the customer-centered model, which revolves around customer service, marketing and sales, eight “cyclones” are:
The aim is to create content that educates the public through these various cyclones.
Some of the blog ads my agency has produced for clients meet the following:
50% Written for newbies: They’re just learning of your business products or services in the industry. These are the types that you want to constantly feed valuable information so when they are ready to buy your product, need services or become a patient they remember you. These are the forms which are scratch researching.
25% Intermediate: They’re trained but they’re looking for more granular data. Here’s where you can have more information at the expert level to show your expertise and open the doors to future clients.
Experts at 25%: Extremely skilled. Those are the readers who only seek expert advice to scale up their knowledge. Often, these types often look for the right partner to help scale up their businesses.
Here’s a quick example from my blog about my agency:
For those who just know about content creation and SEO, 50% of the blogs are.
25% For those who understand the creation of content and the SEO but seek out trustworthy help.
For experts usually CMOs or SEO managers searching for immediate partners, 25%.
The benefit here is clear-within any portion of the selling cyclone you can add value to anyone.
This tactic doesn’t work for everybody –for example, a doctor-to-peer publication, where you can only write expert content.
But this selling blend is suitable for a majority of businesses, activities, and self-promoting websites (authors, musicians).
I experienced a few customers who had been basically cultivating customers from the very beginning when those customers were asking simple questions by reading intermediate by expert before becoming a customer.
Every one of our SEO strategies focuses on content creation.
And blogging is the main focus of our content marketing efforts to keep brand and stronger SEO growing sustainable manner.
Blogs are the fundamental pillar of an effective digital campaign:
Better SEO due to better content and many eligible keywords.
Newsletter content on the email list to create loyalty from existing customers, and to inform prospects.
Social media fuel to create value for the audience / followers.
Link building objectives by natural shares of strong content and personal targeted campaigns for quality links to websites.
The three approaches have succeeded to build multi-client blog strategies.
Remember: Blog tactics for “cookie-cutters” are BS.
-consumer has a specific audience and unique services or goods –two similar competitors need different marketing strategies when it comes to their market positioning.
There are hundreds of ways to create a plan for the blog.
Each technique should concentrate first on the target audience and then move on to what will work best for that audience.
Does the audience need more education or is that audience easily influenced by advertisements or the dominance of a brand over a competition vs. all else?
The above three-blended blog strategy will work, regardless of the situation.
Usually my agency uses the above technique as a starting point for each client, and after a few months or quarters of testing, we often consider extensions to these steps and add a fourth, fifth or sixth tactic, such as:
Reflect on a CEO who’s got a huge brand.
Capitalizing on it by making it the focus point of the user or material author.
Or build a range of super-short content typed by Seth-Godin for audiences that directly push them to a product promotion.
Testing. Study. Remain the course or pivot, no matter whether the pivot is big or small.
Optimizing a blog strategy is a cyclical lifelong cycle -this is one reason why active content marketers are working so hard.
And the enduring ones never forget a story to tell.