Why do you blog?
Most organizations publish blog content to educate prospects, attract new visitors through SEO, or demonstrate company expertise. Ultimately though, blogging is part of the means to a clear end: increasing sales.
Traditionally, blogging has been considered a top-funnel activity, helping pique audience interest and illuminating the first steps of the buyer’s journey. We don’t often think of blogging as something with a direct link to revenue — and that’s a mistake. According to a recent HubSpot consumer study, 56% of consumers made a purchase after reading a company's blog posts.
While top-to-mid funnel content is more appropriate for a blog, great blog content can also convert visitors into customers.
Let’s examine exactly how you can write blog posts that lead to purchases.
Ideally, every blog post you publish will address a known audience pain point or frequently asked question. But, in reality, organizations often fill their content calendars based on SEO, topics competitors are covering, and directives from leadership. And while all of these are important considerations, they miss a crucial opportunity: prospective buyers want you to solve their problems. And they’re seeking detailed, straightforward, actionable advice.
Whether it’s through a one-on-one conversation or a survey, ask your existing customers what sort of content not only drew them in initially but also kept them coming back to you before they completed their purchase.
Your organization’s sales pros engage directly with prospects every day, and if you haven’t tapped into this well of valuable information, you’re missing out. The sales team can tell you the exact questions prospects ask as they near the end of the buyer’s journey, as well as some of the hang-ups that keep them from completing a sale — both of which are excellent blog fodder.
One of the best ways to determine which topics your audience finds most relevant is to look at the existing posts with the most views, lowest bounce rate, and highest conversion rate. If they’re growing old, prioritize freshening them up. Otherwise, look for new angles or tangentially related topics to cover.
We usually think of a blog post as an entry point into the marketing funnel, but as we’ve touched on, it can also be the last stop before a sale. As marketers, sometimes we’re so focused on the ideal buyer’s journey that we forget people are reading blog posts at every stage. By the time someone makes it to a blog post, they may be ready to buy. And the best thing you can do is make it easy to get from a blog post to a salesperson.
A well-written, simple, strategically placed call-to-action (CTA) can help achieve this goal. But what’s the best place for a CTA?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer because it varies based on all sorts of factors. That’s why it’s crucial you put your CTAs to the test. In addition to placement, try experimenting with different styles, colors and copy options.
I have a theory that most people in the content world fall into two camps: those who live and die by search engine optimization (SEO) rules and those so focused on quality that they ignore SEO altogether. And then there’s a smaller third group of marketers that fall in the middle — which is where you should aim.
Many people will come to your blog early in their journey, others will be deep in the consideration stage, and some will arrive already chomping at the bit to buy. A blog post should cater to all three of these groups without watering down the message. It’s a delicate balance, but it’s possible. Here’s how:
Leverage data and your own experience to determine the ideal next step for each of the three prospects mentioned above.
For example, if someone is at the beginning of their journey, they’re probably looking to continue consuming useful, educational content. Be sure to include links to other top-funnel content to keep them on your site and nudge them along the path.
If someone is mid-funnel, they’re likely looking for reasons you’re better than your competitors and could benefit from comparison content. And if someone is ready to buy, make sure there’s a clear, direct, easy way for them to book a demo, sign up for a trial or contact a salesperson.
Of course, you don’t want to clutter your content with competing CTAs or give people too many options — and that’s where user experience comes into play.
You’ve done a lot of work identifying your audience and each segment within. But when you’re writing content, imagine yourself sitting down for a one-on-one conversation with a single member of that audience, not standing on stage with a megaphone shouting to them all.
Whether it’s the shining beacon that first lures prospective buyers onto your site or the final nudge toward a sale, your blog is one of the most capable tools in your marketing kit. Using these tips, you can ensure you’re getting the most from the blog content you produce and can convert visitors into customers.