Are your blog posts helping you win clients?
Blogging helps boost your authority, drive relevant traffic, and generate leads.
But are your blog posts working for your business?
Although business blogging is a longterm strategy, you can employ a few smart tactics to one single post in order to generate meaningful leads.
Not just one lead. But a handful or more of quality leads.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how I stumbled upon this four-step formula, and how you can apply this method to your business.
Ready to start winning new clients?
Step 1: Forget about generating leads
Running a small business is stressful.
You need to keep existing clients happy and fill your pipeline with new prospects.
You need to maintain your website and accounts, look for networking opportunities, and so much more.
But when we get so focused on running our businesses, we sometimes forget our true goal: solving clients’ problems.
To generate serious leads with a single blog post, you need to forget about lead generation for a moment.
Instead, go back to basics:
A lead-generating blog post doesn’t necessarily generate a ton of social shares — it’s possible, but not required. As Tom Martin suggests: chase customers, not clicks.
An effective blog post makes your ideal client pay attention because you tell her you can solve her problems.
Which problem will your blog post solve?
Step 2: Stand out as an exquisite problem solver
The web is full of superficial posts.
You know the type of posts I’m talking about, don’t you? 10 simple tips to achieve this or that and 7 mistakes to avoid to be awesome.
A short list of generic tips doesn’t make you stand out. You’re wasting your precious time.
To stand out as a serious problem solver, you need to concentrate your efforts. Write an epic tutorial instead of dashing off a series of wishy-washy posts.
Did you notice how Samar Owais debuted on Copyblogger in May?
She wrote a 5,156-word blog post about 53 freelancing mistakes. That’s how you arrive with a bang and intrigue potential clients (beginning freelance writers in Samar’s case).
We’re living in an amazing time, when anyone can find clients online. But you need to stand out from the masses who are also marketing themselves.
To get noticed and win clients as a no-nonsense problem solver, your blog post needs to:
- Describe your client’s problem in your opening paragraph and promise to solve it in the remainder of your blog post
- Explain with specific details how a client can solve her problem
- Remind your potential client how much more productive, happier, or healthier she’ll be when she follows your advice
When you consistently solve people’s problems, you win clients online.
Additional strategies for promoting your business with online content will be discussed during an upcoming master class on Kindle Publishing.
Step 3: Apply authority enhancers
Are you worried that clients won’t listen to you because you’re not an established authority yet?
If you feel like a newbie, insert some authority enhancers into your blog post to strengthen your credibility:
- Quote industry experts to demonstrate you have current knowledge of your field
- Insert book citations to show you’ve done your research
- Include credible statistics to add substance to your content
- Present detailed examples or case studies to show you can apply your knowledge
- Share strong opinions, and don’t be afraid to alienate readers who aren’t right for your business
Writing an authority-boosting article requires you to sweat the details. Avoid generic statements. Dig deep to find the best quotes and the most useful examples.
Make your post so good that readers can’t ignore you.
Step 4: Make prospects fall in love with you
Authority can be a little boring.
Doesn’t almost everyone claim to be an expert or guru?
Authority on its own doesn’t make you stand out — even the most comprehensive post can still bore your readers to tears. And who wants to work with a boring, old fart?
To tempt clients to hire you, add a large dollop of personality to your posts:
- Replace academic lingo with everyday language
- Add a dash of humor, and embrace your own quirks
- Make your voice more dynamic by using ultra-short sentences
Get rid of that academic tone. You might think you sound erudite, but the truth is you sound like a stuffy dodo — boring as hell, devoid of personality.
In a world of content shock, your unique voice makes you stand out. Your personality attracts clients.
If you suffer from quiet-blog syndrome …
Stop worrying about your own site for now. Instead, apply these four steps to guest posting.
Where are your ideal customers hanging out? Which blogs are they reading?
Before pitching and writing your guest post, study the host blog to ensure you understand its audience well. Review all popular posts. Read at least one hundred comments.
Is the audience struggling with the problem you want to solve for them?
Lead generation in practice
In October 2012, I published a guest post on KISSmetrics: “How to Write Seductive Sales Copy Like Apple.” I had quit my job the previous month, and I wasn’t even sure yet whether or not I wanted to be a copywriter.
When I wrote the post, I didn’t think about generating leads. I simply wanted to write a popular post that would solve a reader’s problem.
This is how I used the four steps to show a reader how to write copy that wins business.
- I studied KISSmetrics’s business-focused audience — mainly software as a service (SaaS) and e-commerce businesses looking to win customers online; I also found that readers loved posts about Apple and Steve Jobs. That’s why I used Apple as an example for my copywriting tutorial, and in the headline!
- In my opening paragraph, I demonstrated the business benefits of copy — selling with words, turning doubters into buyers, captivating attention, and gaining more sales, and then created a comprehensive tutorial outlining
11 copywriting lessons. Each lesson featured a short explanation of a copywriting concept, an example from the Apple website, and straightforward tips on how to implement the concept for your own copy.
- The blog post contained authority enhancers — figures of the average number of words per sentence on iPhone webpages added substance to my plea for shorter sentences. To add credibility to my argument, I also used specific details about how legendary copywriter Claude C. Hopkins successfully marketed the Schlitz brand.
- I applied a dollop of personality — even though the blog post was more than 3,000 words, the tutorial was concise; it also engaged the reader with questions, used seductive words, and included ultra-short sentences to show enthusiasm.
As a bonus, the post was optimized for how to write sales copy, and continues to attract organic traffic, generate email subscribers, and the occasional business inquiry — nearly two years after publication!
If you have a service business, you can follow the exact same steps to win clients.
For instance, a web designer can explain and illustrate usability or design principles. If you’re a marketing coach, explain how startups can apply persuasion techniques to win more business. An SEO specialist has the opportunity to explain exactly how to do keyword research for an e-commerce site.
Entice potential clients by proving you can solve their problems.
The truth about online lead generation
A large collection of wishy-washy blog posts might generate some traffic, but you won’t win clients.
Rather than churning out many blog posts, focus on quality.
Be confident. Be helpful. Be generous.
When you follow the four steps, your inbox will be flooded with inquiries, and you’ll be able to choose the best clients.
Let’s go over to Google+ to discuss writing comprehensive, enthusiastic, problem-solving tutorials.
Want to learn more about using content to gain clients?
This Friday, August 22 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I’ll be talking with Sonia Simone in a session titled Promoting Your Business with Kindle Publishing.
The audio seminar is free for Authority members. You’ll just need to register here.
If you’re not an Authority member yet … try Authority risk-free and get exclusive audio seminars like this one nearly every week of the year, ongoing networking opportunities, discounts, and education.
See you Friday, August 22, at noon Eastern!
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Loving Earth.
About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.