5 Tips for Writing Blog Posts that Generate Leads

5 Tips for Writing Blog Posts that Generate Leads

Let's talk about calls to action and how to actually convert people. So earlier on, we spoke about if you're going to generate leads from your blog posts, your calls to action need to represent where people are at in the buyer journey.

You've got a blog and you want to generate leads for your business from it, right? Well you're in luck, in this post, I'm going to show you how to write blog posts that generate leads, and in this post, I'm going to share some tips on how to do it. 

Now one of the most important things about writing blogs that generate leads is that they cannot come across as salesy. If they come across as salesy, you destroy the trust that the reader has. And weirdly you actually decrease the likelihood that you're going to generate any leads from them. 

Of course, step one is to actually write blog posts that drive traffic. You need to have traffic on your blog posts before they can generate leads. But in this post, we're going to talk about how to format those blogs to actually turn into conversions leads for your business.

Understanding The Customer Journey

But before we talk about the specific formatting of the blog posts themselves, we need to talk a little bit about customer journey and where your blog posts sit. So customers go through three phases when they are buying something from your business. 

These phases are curiosity, research and intent. Now it's exactly the same, whatever people are buying. So this holds true for your business, but just to illustrate with something we can all relate to, yesterday I bought a jet wash. I guess I've just reached the jet wash time of life. 

So here's how that process works using these three phases. First thing that happened is we moved into a new house and I saw that there was a decent size patio, a thought popped into my head that said, might need a jet wash. Then we had someone come over and jet wash our patio. 

Now, even though I'd had that thought, I was not ready to buy a jet wash. I wasn't really considering it. In other words, I had no commercial intent. I was purely at a curiosity phase. This thought popped into my head. Then later on, we had someone doing some work on our house and they jet washed our patio and I saw what they did and it was pretty impressive, it didn't look very hard. I thought I can probably do that. I'm going to get me a jet wash. 

Now at this stage, I didn't know anything about jet washes. So I had to get educated, in other words, I had to enter the research phase of the purchase. I started looking at information about different jet washes, types and all this boring stuff, right? I wasn't yet ready to purchase. I needed to get educated, at that stage, I was at the research phase. Eventually I found the model I want and it's then time to find somewhere to buy it from. 

So I started searching for that product. And at that point, I'm at the intent phase. So I've been through these three phases and your customers will do exactly the same with your business. They will move through these different phases until they are ready to purchase. So where do we want to target our blogs? Usually your blogs are targeted at the curiosity and the research phase of the purchase cycle. So for example, if you wanted to write some blog posts targeting jet wash purchases in the curiosity phase, they might be topics like how to clean your patio, how to remove the black spots from your patio. 

So these might be problems that people have. They may not be actually considering buying a jet wash at that stage, but the problem has entered their head. If you're targeting people at the research phase, you might be writing blogs like five best jet washes for patio cleaning or something like that. So you're targeting people that know they need a jet wash and they know that they're going to be cleaning their patio. 

So they're more qualified, but they're still not ready to purchase yet. So this is where your blogs are usually targeted. What about the intent phase you might be asking? Well usually your product or service pages on your site are most suited to targeting people at the intent phase, because if I'm looking to buy this particular jet wash, I don't want a guide on five alternatives to it. I just want to find it and I want to buy it. And it's usually a product or a service page, which will most be suited to someone at that phase of the buying journey. 

So the first stage of generating leads from your blogs is to recognise where in your buyer journey they're actually targeting because you need to make sure you're giving people a call to action, which is relevant to the stage they're in. One of the most common mistakes we see being made is the blog will be targeting people at the research phase, IE, five ways to clean your patio, but the call to action will be get a quote, contact our sales team now. Well, hold on, I'm just looking at tips to clean my patio. I don't yet want to purchase the jet wash and I definitely don't want to talk to the sales team. 

So you need to make sure that the call to action you're offering matches where people are at in the buyer journey and it's something that's relevant and interesting to them. So we will come back to this idea of calls to action later on, but it's really important groundwork to understand where you're targeting in your buyer journey and to have some kind of call to action, which is actually going to be of interest to people that are reading that particular topic. 

Now we will actually come back to this thing about calls to action a little bit later on, but it's really important at this stage to recognize that the call to action, the thing that you're offering needs to match where people are at in their journey and it's relevant and interesting for people that are going to be reading information on that topic. So you've got your call to action and you broadly know where your blogs are targeting.

Tip #1: Write About a Problem People Have

So the first tip to writing a great blog post that converts visitors is to write about a problem that people have, answer a question that people will be asking. For example, lots of people getting into SEO or considering working in SEO ask a question like, should I make backlinks? 

Well we've written a blog post called What Are Backlinks And How To Build Quality Backlinks, which ranks at the top of Google. And what this means is that when someone is considering moving further into SEO and buying backlinks, we have an opportunity to get in front of them at that stage so they're a relevant, qualified potential customer, they're in the research phase. 

And they're asking a question which indicates they could be a good customer for us. So we could have chosen to write about anything. If we wanted to just get loads of traffic, we might've talked about iPhone rumors or something like that, but it totally wouldn't be qualified for our business and the people that came through that would be very unlikely to become customers. 

So what questions do people have at the curiosity and the research phase of the buying journey? And can you write great blogs about those? Choose something that represents a question that people have and write a great blog about it.

Tip #2: Write a compelling headline

The next step, once you've chosen your topic, you'll want to choose a great headline. Too many blog posts have boring headlines. Now we've written a blog post about how to write headlines in blog posts. So you can check that out. 

But one of the quick takeaways from that is to spend some time looking at sites like Buzzfeed and sensationalist newspapers, because whatever you think of their journalistic qualities, these sorts of publications are great at writing headlines that drive curiosity. And semi-rule number two is that you're going to have to write a lot of headlines before you come up with the one. 

So Unworthy, for example, encourages its writers to crap out 25 headlines before they get to the good stuff. So don't expect that you're going to be able to come up with a headline immediately that is really snappy, engaging and says exactly what your blog post is about. 

Tip #3: Start with a Catchy Opening Paragraph

Once you've got your headline, you're going to need a catchy opening paragraph. One of the top questions people have around writing high converting blogs is how much do I need to write? Well, I'm going to give you a wriggly vague digital marketing answer here, which is that there is no one right answer for blog post length. 

It all depends on the topic you're talking about and the posts that you are competing against. If you are competing against very long and detailed posts in the search results, then it's likely that you're going to have to write a long and detailed post because that's what Google has established people want. If on the other hand, winning in your space is all about getting information into people's heads as quickly and digestively as possible, then it might be okay to write a much shorter post, something around 500 words. 

But the main rule of thumb is to think about how much detail you actually need to give in order to cover the topic in depth, for example, imagine your best salesperson talking to your best customer. Your best customer asks the question in the blog post, how much detail does your best salesperson give that customer? 

And that's a really good starting point to say how much detail you need to give in your blog posts. If you're struggling to write enough information about your blog posts, think about the sub questions that people would have about that topic and write a couple of paragraphs on each of those. And you'll soon find you can write a nice detailed post. 

Tip #4: Include a compelling call-to-action (CTA)

Let's talk about calls to action and how to actually convert people then. So earlier on we spoke about if you're going to generate leads from your blog posts, your calls to action need to represent where people are at in the buyer journey. So I'm going to show you an example here from the Exposure Ninja website. 

Now if you Google digital PR you'll see that the top organic result is this blog post that we've written. So this blog post is a detailed piece on what is digital PR and how it can improve your SEO. Now let's think about calls to action, how we're going to convert someone from reading this into a lead. If someone's clicking on a post, what is digital PR, they're probably not ready yet to buy a digital PR service. 

What we want to do first is to build a relationship with them, so you'll notice that throughout this post, we have links to download. So in this example here, you can see a digital PR campaign strategy checklist. This is really useful for someone who's just searched, what is digital PR because they can then go through the strategy checklist and start to build a strategy. They might not be ready to buy from us yet. 

So we don't want to go too heavy at this stage, but we don't just have one call to action, we actually repeat this throughout the page. We echo it throughout the page because you may be ready to download it the first time, or you might need to see it a couple of times or even three or four times before you're ready. Then at the end of the post that we have an offer of a free website and marketing review, which by the way, you should definitely request, which helps you to generate more leads and sales to your website. 

So you can see that we've not only matched to call to action with where the customer is at, but we're repeating that throughout the post as well, giving people lots of opportunities to convert. What are the calls to action that we use throughout our website at exposureninja.com is our free website and marketing review. Now in this free website and marketing review, we take a look at your website and your digital marketing. 

We look at what you're doing particularly well and where the areas of low hanging fruits are for doing things like converting more of your website visitors into leads and sales, but also driving more traffic through channels like SEO paid search, social media.

Tip #5: Link to Relevant Products And Services

So the next step is going to seem extremely obvious, but every single day, we see businesses failing to do this. And that is link through to the relevant products or services on the rest of your website. So one example of a blog post that does a great job of this is the British Gas website. They've got an awesome content section, including this post, which is all about what to do if your boiler loses pressure. 

So this is an information guide complete with little illustrations, which helps someone go through the process of identifying what might be wrong with their boiler. Now obviously British Gas has a boiler repair service. So they are doing this to generate leads for their engineer service, so what do they do at the end of the post? 

They say, if you need help, then you can click to book a boiler repair. And they link through to the relevant page on their website. This is really, really important. So many times when we analysis the Google Analytics for our website, we'll see that the blog's getting lots of traffic, they got lots of people coming through to the post, but they're not going further into the website. 

When we examine the post we see it's mainly because they're actually not linking people through to the rest of the website. So they're not giving blog visitors a reason to click through into the more commercially focused pages on the site. Now there is a real danger here of going way overboard and going completely spammy, linking every other word through to the commercial pages on your site, definitely don't do that. 

Recap

So let's recap how to generate more leads through your blog posts. The first thing that you need to do is work out where in your customer journey your blogs are going to be targeted. Remember we've got the three stages, curiosity, research, and then intent. Usually it's curiosity and research phases that your blogs are going to be targeted. So what are the questions? What are the topics that people are going to be interested in at those stages? Then you want to design a call to action that matches people at those stages. 

So it gives them the right amount of information and feels like a logical next step for them, asking for the sale with someone in the curiosity phase is too soon. So can you offer them a checklist, a download, some kind of resource that helps them get more educated about the topic before you're ready to go in for the kill? Once you've done that, identify the top questions that people are going to be asking and craft your blogs around those, too many people write their blog posts based on what they want to talk about rather than what their customers are interested in. 

So it's a good idea to try and find a problem that your customers are asking at the curiosity and research phase and fix that with your blog post. Then you need to come up with a great headline for your posts. It's a good idea to use the question that people are asking, but can you spice things up a little bit and make it a bit more interesting, once you've got your headline, think about your first paragraph. It needs to set the scene, not be too rambly and include the question that you're going to be answering in your post. Remember the job of the first paragraph is to keep people hooked, to read the second paragraph and so on. 

So set the tone and make sure that people want to stick around for the rest. Make sure that you're giving enough detail in your posts. And don't forget to include deep internal links through to products or service pages that are relevant for people. Of course, when it comes to generating leads, you're going to want calls to action in your post. So make sure that you're not just having one call to action on your post, but actually you echo it throughout the page if it's a longer post. And finally, don't be scared to link through to other informational posts on your site as well. You don't just need to link people through to the core commercial pages on your site, particularly for people that are curiosity and research stage of the buyer journey. Sometimes they just want to read more information. 

They need to continue educating themselves. So feel free to link through to other blog posts on your site, remember your goal is just not to lose that person, keep them on your site. Don't let them bounce and disappear back to search. So I hope you've enjoyed this post. Don't forget to give it a lovely comment and click on share button if you haven't already, we post regular articles at least once a week about digital marketing topics, and leave us a comment if you have any questions, we do check the comments and we do respond, usually, sometimes.

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