You might remember the days when blogs were primarily used for self-expression, a place for you to write about what you ate on a particular day or what you were thinking about at a particular moment. And of course, you could still use your blog as such, but these days, blogs can also be an excellent monetizable opportunity for those who know how to do it right.
But writing blog posts that actually earn you money can be daunting. Aside from writer’s block and a number of other usual challenges, the most critical of all is the concern that nobody will care enough about what you think to stick around and buy your products.
Problematically, if your posts are nothing but thinly veiled sales copy, people will get turned off. And on the flipside, if your content is just a reflection of your thoughts rather than a consistent consideration of bringing value to your audience, they might be interested in your introspection but won’t ever really be customers. In both of these scenarios, your blog fails as a sales channel.
Taking inspiration from successful blogs, we’ve put together these four tips to help you keep your audience engaged while effectively driving sales for your product line.
Create digestible, informative content
Too often, companies and public figures think of their blogs as mediums of self-expression. And of course, that’s a valid way to think of them. However, if you’re looking to leverage your blog as a true sales driver, you’ll have to prioritize your readers’ interests over your own to get your thoughts out.
That’s why sales copy often makes for bad content on a blog. The truth is, people hate being sold to. Instead, if you can demonstrate the value your product could potentially add to your readers’ lives, you can take a far more relaxed sales approach and still close far more sales than if you were to be pushy.
Buzzfeed’s Tasty commonly utilizes this tactic.
By creating video content featuring their line of kitchenware, Buzzfeed is constantly increasing the visibility of its products. But first and foremost, Tasty doesn’t make it a point to promote its kitchenware; it puts its viewers first when it comes to making cooking tutorials, keeping them engaged and more likely to buy down the line.
Provide personalized results to site searches
Often, viewers approach a blog looking for specific types of content that speak to their own interests. If what they are seeking is not immediately available, viewers are quick to click off a site. You probably already have a basic search tool built into your site, but as you know, those yield the same results for every website visitor, and obviously your website visitors come from a variety of backgrounds and likely have different objectives.
AddSearch makes it a walk in the park to implement this functionality. Installing it is as simple as copying one line of code into your site, and by doing so, your site will be able to point customers to what they are looking for, customized according to what they query and what content they’ve checked out on your site already.
When you’re considering your search tool as a true way to make the browsing experience better and therefore more conversion-friendly, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that it should be personalized.
In other words, it is practically impossible to understand your customers on a deep level if the content experience you offer them isn’t personalized according to their interests. AddSearch’s new managed personalization solution makes this easy to implement. By understanding the desires of your website visitors on a deeper level, it likewise becomes easier to create content tailored to them.
Exchange value for an email list subscription
Once you’ve brought value to your readers with informative content, you want to try to continue to interact with those readers even outside of your blog. For many owners of monetized blogs, email marketing is ignored, and that leaves a lot of opportunity on the table.
With Mailchimp among other services, it’s easy to integrate exit-intent functionality to engage readers and give them the option to sign up for your newsletter.
Once you have a reader’s email, personalized messages to the reader, links to posts, and suggestions for new products can be easily integrated into your blogging strategy.
And with the media return on investment for email marketing being over 4200% on every dollar spent, there is really no reason you shouldn’t be looking to build an email list.
Use case studies to establish credibility
When it comes to providing value for your readers, there are few things more compelling than leveraging case studies to prove that your methodologies work. Utilizing statistics about what you can offer, and how it has helped others proves that you can and have gotten the job done.
Oftentimes, case studies are also a great place to utilize media outside of text to engage your audience further. When you implement graphic representations, your users are more likely to conceptualize the value-add that you could bring to them, and your blog posts will be easier to read and far more memorable in the long run.
When you leverage case studies, you become a running example of “show, don’t tell.” For example, Neil Patel does this really well in his article, “The Real Secret to My Social Media Success.”
Through leveraging results he’s achieved personally, Neil both establishes his own credibility and shows that his tips truly work.
As it relates to you, when you show your clients the results you’ve gotten in the past, it makes your content just that much more digestible, and that you have a proven track record makes the interaction far more organic and less “salesy.”
As we quickly approach 2020, it’s clear that blogging will become an increasingly enticing opportunity. There are a variety of reasons it’s the case, and one of the many is that blogging eliminates the need to deal with gatekeepers standing in the way between you and your desired audience.
Though it would be a falsehood to assume that it’s easy to engage your readers, the underlying principle is simple; if you think value-first, it will come back around in engagement and revenue if you’re selling a product or service. Just remember, you’ll always want to give before you take.