The Sarky Type – content with more bite

Getting Barry in HR to write your business blog is like Queen booking a karaoke singer after Freddie died.

I think we know what a disaster that would have been. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great karaoke singers – myself included.

(the best rendition of Love Shack you’ll ever likely hear)

To assume a pub singer has all that’s required to perform those kinds of songs to a stadium audience is, at best, really stupid.

But Barry is great at writing

But he’s shit at writing a business blog.

I’m sure Barry has written some very adequate emails. He might even have a GCSE in English. I’m making judgments about Barry based on very little but writing fairly decent workplace correspondence does not a content writer make. If it were as easy as stringing a sentence together – we’d all be doing this for a living (when I say living, I mean subsisting on tinned Farrow’s peas and packet noodles).

Not all writing is the same. Plenty of content writers and copywriters, niche down

I don’t write sales emails for example, not my thing.

Nor do I have any interest in creating writing style guides for huge finance companies. I’m an SEO content writer – specifically long-form stuff like blogs and articles. The kind that gets you seen on the web. And my market is freelancers and small business owners (just in case you didn’t know already).

Barry knows a lot about his industry

That’s great, knowing about your subject is important.

Research is most of the work when you’re blogging – creating any content in fact. He’ll need to research each subject every time he writes and he’ll need to produce a lot of content. Is Barry writing about HR or about the company itself? What is the actual purpose of this fucking blog Barry? Because from where I’m sitting, writing a few memos isn’t enough for me to say “hey Baz, your content writing is shit-hot, YOU’VE GOT THIS!”

And what’s Barry’s SEO knowledge like?

I hope he knows about organic traffic and how blogging is key to that. Sounds like he has no SEO content strategy at all if I’m honest, and I pride myself on (nearly) always being honest (except, that one time I lied about how many Cheddars I ate and gaslighted my sister into thinking she had eaten them).

If Barry has the know-how to optimise the shit out of his blog so it gets seen by the right people – your people, the ones that will buy from you, then I stand corrected.

But Barry enjoys writing

Oh great, he’ll love business blogging then.

Do you know what I enjoy? Astronomy, still doesn’t make me a fucking astronaut (I appreciate multi-skilled people become astronauts. This analogy was a little reductive but I hope you get my point). 

I’m being a little hard on Barry.

I actively encourage people to write if they love it. Most of my blog is about demystifying this stuff for freelancers and small business owners. I want people to know how to do it, especially if there’s no budget to hire a writer, they’re keen to learn, and they have bags of time.

And if that’s you, and your current blog sucks, book my blog review.

Time is the thing to consider when business blogging.

If you have oodles of it to learn how to write better for your business, to gen up on SEO, so your words can do what they need to do, that’s swell. But if you’re time-poor, and you need someone who knows what they’re doing NOW, Barry is only going to hinder the process.

And SEO content writing takes time even when you know what you’re doing.

Enjoying something and being good at it – aren’t always the same thing. If Barry has a natural talent for getting a message across, one that keeps people engaged enough to want to find out more, then you invest heartily in Barry, you nurture him, love him and treat him like the king he truly is but if you’re letting him blog for your business because you don’t know the value of it (and no one else volunteered) you’re a goddam idiot and deserve to be publicly flogged.

We’ve decided not to let Barry write for our business

I’m glad, I don’t know if it was me that convinced you or the fact that Barry already has a job and that takes priority.

Blogging is something he enjoys when he has the time to do it. Meanwhile, it’s doing nothing for your SEO. And if you don’t do it consistently you won’t reap any benefits. Sadly, Barry has been wasting the time he has already spent writing about HR Matters (and he was so proud of that blog title too).

One day Barry might leave his job, realising that HR is dull and he wants to write prose. He will nurture his gift and learn better by the act of doing, and I hope he does. In reality, I think he’ll stay where he is because he has no true desire to be a writer, of the SEO content kind or otherwise. 

And when you get your shit together, you will hopefully realise that writing is probably the most important thing in marketing your business, let alone the role it plays in your SEO.

If that doesn’t induce you to get in touch – nothing will. Hit the button to find out how I help.

 

 

If you were hoping for a guide on how to get laid, I apologise but I have no idea how you do that. This is about the love of long-form writing.

What is long-form writing?

No one seems to agree so you’ll struggle to find a definitive answer. In my world, it’s a blog post or article beyond 800 words. Other kinds of long-form writing are whitepapers, case studies, industry guides… blah blah blah.

Things are now potentially going to get rather sordid as I attempt to make comparisons with romantic relationships and blog posts

Hold on to your ha’penny!

What’s the long game to attraction?

Content marketing means building an online library of targeted information.

But it also means building relationships.

And like any worthwhile tryst, it takes time. Long-form writing is the ‘wine and dine’ approach to pulling clients. There is no wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am with this method. In the context of this post that would be the paid ads route. Look at PPC (Pay Per Click) as the casual hook up to gaining website traffic.

Nothing wrong with paying for traffic, by the way (or casual hook-ups for that matter) however, content creation is about being wanted long after the paid traffic has dried up. Long-form helps to build organic reach over time, so a blog strategy is something to have alongside your paid campaigns.

It’s called the long game for a reason

You can’t ‘jump into bed’ with a lengthy piece of text.

Is it getting hot in here?

This is why I’m calling it the long game to attraction, do you see? There will be a mating ritual – a dance that can take time before anyone wants the goods. You have to put in some considerable effort and continue to add top-shelf, tip-top content.

Just like romantic relationships, you’ll have your preferences.

The same will apply to your client type. You attract by being the perfect partner to those that seek you out.

Law of attraction

I’m not referring to some woo-woo philosophy. I’m talking about attracting like for like.

For example, when we fancy someone it’s for a number of reasons.

First, we like the look of that person.

We then seek a certain personality. Finding that special someone who shares similar values is really important to any relationships’ success. You have to share things in common. We need a fine balance of different and similar traits to keep things interesting (and working).

It’s sort of the same with your long-form writing.

You attract your audience by appealing to certain factors.

But you won’t be attractive to everyone, and that’s exactly the point. Not even Angelina Jolie, that symmetrical-faced, modern-day Venus is everyone’s cup of tea.

To further illustrate the point, I quite like Claes Bang.

A Danish actor of much merit, seen by British audiences in the BBC series, Dracula. Now, he’s getting on, is our Claes (not that that was ever a stumbling block to any man on, or off-screen – amirite ladies?) and he may not be considered by some as ‘Mr Hollywood’.

I’m not talking Paul Hollywood, even I draw the line there.

And yet he’s totally hot, in my opinion.

Well, hello there:

The long game of long-form attraction
The bangable Claes Bang. Photo by Andreas Houmann

I’m losing my thread here, what is this post about?

Ah, yes.

What else?

The beautiful blog is pivotal in driving traffic to our little corner of the online universe.

It’s key to how well we rank in terms of SEO. It also shows anyone who cares to read it, how bloody good we are at what we do. So if you want to up your organic traffic I suggest you get cracking with blogging. I have loads of help for you on my blog that will guide you through the long-form journey.

And each post you write can be repurposed.

You can publish it as an article on LinkedIn or as a guest post on another site. You can also chop it up and use it across your social media. It really is a versatile little medium that will do wonders for your website. And if you get someone to blog for you, you’ll never be out of content ideas again. You’ll also have more time to do something else, like perv at Claes.

(Or David Ginola, or Brian Blessed or whoever floats your boat.)

If you think I might be your type, in terms of content writing, then I suggest you hit the button.

Your job as a business owner is to solve client problems. Not only are you doing that with your products and services but you should be doing it with your blog.

“Creating blog content for your business is crucial in lead generation. Every piece of copy and content that relates to your business has to be all about the client and how you help them”

Says every goddam content marketer.

Despite hating marketing terms and their cliched wisdom, so much of it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t mean that every strategy the ‘gurus’ spout is right for you (or even true) but still, this stuff works for a reason, right?

I bang on about using your business blog to attract clients and generate leads.

If you’re reading this you might want to know how to do it yourself. But if you want to write a business blog all about you, you’re going to need to leave. There is no hope for long-form that does nothing to attract people who need your products.

If you struggle with why you should blog, click here to see what I have to say on the subject.

We march on…

How to find solutions to client problems

Solve client problems with your blog

Sounds like an impossible task but if you know your ideal client well, and have tailored your business world around them, this shit should be easy.

Become your client.

I’m going to need you to adopt the acting techniques taught by Lee Strasberg (not really). The reason Brando and Pacino were (and are) such consummate actors is down to them getting inside their characters.

I’m not asking you to try a different accent but what I am saying is that you search on Google as your prospect.

Include keywords that you want to be found for when you ‘pretend’ to be your client.

Make a list of the search results. Which ones are landing on the first page of Google?

Take a look at those results and check out the structure of the titles and descriptions. What clues do they give on how well they’re constructed? How relevant is the content to those titles? Go ahead and click those links, read that content, see how it fulfils the promises made on the results pages.

Understand your clients’ user intent.

Say what?

When we search online we do so with a purpose.

That purpose could be to buy something or to learn something. We have a clear intent before we jump on Google. Your clients have problems that are centred around your industry but they’re not always after a product or service, they may just want information (in view of buying from you later).

That means they’re searching with informational intent and all decent bloggers will know which of their targeted keywords and phrases yields informational results.

If you’d like to find out more about intent and how it impacts keywords, click here.

How do you solve your own problems?

Look at your online habits (god help us).

When you want to buy a product or find info, you’ll type in a phrase with keywords that are specific to the subject.

That’s what your potential clients are doing. You see, this is why you need to know everything about the people buying your stuff.

Create solutions to client problems with your blog

Can we all just pretend for a moment?

Can we imagine that you’re a wedding photographer that specialises in destination weddings? Thank you, much obliged.

Picture in your mind, silly (foolish) newly engaged couples excited (that won’t last) and itching to find their perfect wedding suppliers. They want inspiration, yay!

Yawn.

They might google:

‘Destination wedding ideas’ or ‘the best luxury wedding destinations’, maybe ‘how to create a destination wedding on a budget’.

If you’re a destination wedding photographer (or chimney sweep/pest controller/FBI agent), you can use your past client work to create blog posts that might be something your potential clients are searching for.

Use your past clients to attract new ones.

What?

You can create content from scenarios you’ve already experienced.

Mould a client process into a post that will help attract potential new leads. So, if you’ve already got a few destination weddings under your belt (or even one), write a post that will help users find out how it works.

Have I mentioned how important I think it is to have an ideal client?

Every business markets to a demographic. If you say you don’t, you just don’t realise that you do because not every man and his dog are buying what you’re selling. I hate to break it to you, honey, you’re not appealing to everyone.

Once you establish who your target customers are, you’ll start to create better webcopy and blog posts. You will have the focus to know who those people are and what they need from you, it’s as simple as that.

Write for your audience

The skill of making all your blog posts about your potential clients will come, the more you do it. Like everything, you get less shit with practice.

If you want to write a post about receiving an award or going to an amazing place, it will exclude your potential client.

It will just be all about you.

If you can’t create posts in a way that will attract people to buy from you – don’t blog for business or outsource it. If you want to tell everyone that you’re an award-winning whatever pop it in your bio. No one want’s to read a thousand words or more about it, not even your mum.

Ultimately it’s about your objective and why you create any content in the first place.

If you want to know more about what I do, hit the button.