Blogs have a problem. Not a problem of a technical nature. They are easy to set up, and, technically speaking, most of the time they just work.
However for many coaches they don’t just work.
They often don’t just work because they don’t reach certain goals. And this can be for many reasons. The main reason being not having the right goals for the task.
We want to improve this situation. Some of our clients have tremendous success, primarily due to a well working blog. Maybe you can benefit from some of the lessons learned.
Over the next weeks we’ll publish a posts series about blogging for coaches. We’ll start today with: How to get blogging right, and why it’s incredible once you do so.
Why you should get blogging right
If you want your business to be online based, there’s almost no way around regularly publishing quality content. One big reason is: traffic.
You need a certain amount of traffic to get your clients.
Blogging, or as we can refer to it in this context “Content Marketing” is a very powerful way of bringing traffic to your site.
Of course there’s an other option: paid traffic (e.g. Google Adwords or Facebook Ads). And this is a great option. But in most cases it also only works in combination with having quality content on your site. A lot of quality content.
The days when visitors became customers after viewing only one landing page displaying your offer are over. Especially in the area of coaching, even more so in life coaching or other intimate forms of coaching. No one will buy a product or session after seeing just one landing page.
The visitors that are interested in your services need around 6-7 points of contact before they trust you enough and are ready to buy something from you. Reading a blog post is typically one of the first points of contact. Other points of contact can be: Social Media (Facebook posts, Tweets), Newsletters, Podcasts, YouTube videos, other forms of subscribing to your posts (e.g. RSS).
So looking at why you should get blogging right already brings up two major points:
- Blogging brings traffic to your website
- Blogging builds trust and authenticity
Those are crucial. Let’s have a look into the “how” of getting blogging right.
Many blogs fail because of the lack of commitment. While almost everyone makes it through the first month of the new “writing habit”, for many, the posting frequency decreases rapidly soon afterwards.
Reasons for that are lack of positive feedback, lack of traffic and lack of sales. Plus obviously having underestimated the demands of achieving the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of writing per day that it takes to publish content regularly.
The bad news: The fact that it takes discipline to stick to it remains. Forever. The lack of traffic, and everything attached to it usually vanishes after 6-12 months. Which can give your motivation a tremendous boost. But yeah, it can be painful looking at the stats until then.
I have already given a hint on how to get the commitment side of things sorted: commit to a small chunk of time every day, rather than writing for a whole day every other week. That way you can introduce a writing habit into your life, day by day. You’ll become much better at it too, when you do it every day for a little bit, rather than blocking out a huge chunk of time.
Our brains like repetition.
We advise our clients to do 30 minutes of writing every morning. Before checking any emails or thinking about other tasks.
The second aspect needed for a successful commitment is a publishing schedule. Make a plan as to when you publish what. For example: A blogpost every other Wednesday, and the Wednesdays in-between for a newsletter (Feels familiar? That’s how we do it). Note down the topic that you will write about in your calendar, so you will always be aware of your next goal. For the geeks: A Trello calendar does a tremendous job when it comes to assigning dates to your brainstormed list of what to write about. But also pen + paper are allowed.
Be aware about how people arrive on your blog
There are typically three ways people get to know about your posts:
- Social media
- Organic search
- Links from other sources (blogs, websites)
Today we’ll look into the first two ways.
Probably everyone knows how the social media aspect works, because that’s how we consume most content today: A link gets shared on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/… and we click on it. Because it has a good headline and/or because we value the opinion of the person sharing it. Looking into our Google Analytics this is the most probable way of you arriving at this post.
Second most likely is that you came via what’s called an “organic search”. And this is not only the case for our blog, but generally a way for people to find blog posts.
Organic search basically comes from a search engine link that is not paid advertising. The commercial counterpart would be paid search.
Organic search is powerful because it’s free and it just happens when there’s enough content.
Organic search also works very well with the so-called “long tail”. Let’s get back to this blog post. It’s very unlikely that it will ever rank on the first page of Google for “blogging”. An entirely different story is its probability of ranking for a longer phrase that we’ve used literally within this post, e.g. if someone is searching for “Why every coach should be publishing regularly”. These long tail keyword ranking results can be foreseen and planned to a certain extent, but they don’t have to be. As long as you write about things that interest your target audience in a natural language, you will automatically rank for one or the other long term keyword.
Long story short: If you publish a lot of content, you create a high chance of ranking for many phrases your target audience enters in search engines. And if you add a pinch of awareness about that, you’ll increase the traffic coming from organic search even more.
Note: “pinch of awareness” doesn’t mean over optimizing every post for search engines. Keep writing for your readers, not robots. But don’t be ignorant about how keywords work either.
Don’t expect miracles when ranking in search engines. It takes around 6 months of regular posting until results start coming in.
Bring a purpose into your blogging
So what’s the purpose of bringing people to your blog via social media or organic traffic? “That doesn’t make them clients”, you might say. But it brings them one step closer to being a client.
100% of our clients had already seen our website before we started working together.
For all that “bringing people closer to you”, first of all the content has to be good. If you just line up random dictionary words, it’s very unlikely that people will interact further. We’ll discover the possibilities of writing appealing content in the next post of this series. Let’s assume for now that we’re able to come up with something that makes the visitors stick.
The magic can happen once the visitor is done reading the blog post. What would be the ideal next thing that he should do?
The answer is very often (but not always): subscribe to your mailing list. If you manage to make a visitor leave their email address, they don’t disappear in the vastness of the internet without leaving something (their mail address). They give you something very precious: the permission to contact them. That’s quite something in times of overflowing inboxes, so treat it with respect.
As “it’s quite something in times of overflowing inboxes”, it works best when it comes attached to an attractive offer. What’s your target audience’s main problem? Craft an appealing answer to that and give it out in exchange for their email address. Can be an ebook, but it can also be a short online course, an audio file or something else. Be creative!
The nice thing with mailing list subscription is that you can keep up the conversation. You can do it in an automated sense. We get in touch and ask people some questions 24 hours after they sign up for our mailing list. In our case that’s enough quantity-wise, because we just want to start a conversation with interested folks. But if you have a product for sale you can craft an auto-responder sequence during the following weeks after signup that introduces your approach and makes a sales pitch after a couple of mails. We’ll dedicate a blog post to this whole approach one day, because it exceeds the purpose of this post.
Back to the purpose of this post: subscription to your mailing list is an excellent goal to set for a blog post.
Other goals can be:
- Leaving a comment. Although we have the feeling that blog comments are on a decline, for some topics and audiences it might be great to have a discussion below the post.
- Following you on social media. Like subscription to your mailing list, this allows you to get in touch with the person reading your content again. Powerful.
- Sharing your content. It’s nice if people do that, but often it’s not the number one thing that they should do. They’ll do it anyways if they feel like it.
- Buying a product/service. Of course! But that works best with lower priced products. People came to your blog post to read interesting things and solve a problem. Usually they expect solving it to be free – they might not be in the mood to spend a lot of money right now. And remember: they very likely haven’t had the 6 points of contact with you yet, which makes the blog not the perfect place for selling.
Now the important thing: Decide on one goal that you want to achieve.
All of them sound great, and you might think that your visitors anyways choose what they feel is best for them at that moment. But no, time has proven that it’s much wiser to choose one goal. And optimize the results.
Solve problems and make it share-worthy
The last section of this first post of the blogging series touches the content itself. While we will go deeper into that in the next posts of this series, we can’t keep it entirely out of the fundamentals.
All the aspects that we have tackled so far are prerequisites. And they only all work, in regard to reaching their goals, if you get the content right.
Some people assume blogs are some kind of personal diary where people talk about things like their emotions during breakfast. And for many blogs that’s the case – but not for those that attract clients. Well, for many of our clients (being coaches), the emotions during breakfast might be more relevant than for people selling mortgages. But here comes the crucial point: make the posts about your audience, not about you. Tackle and solve problems they have. Not the unresolved breakfast trauma you have.
Your emotional breakdowns during breakfast can be a great opener, but you better make it about your readers in the main part of the blog post.
Of course solving your audience’s problems requires knowing them. At this stage we assume you have done your homework and know your business avatar. If not, make an appointment with Google to find out what all that is about.
What comes hand in hand with the problem solving approach is that posts that are useful for readers are more likely to be shared. Give tremendous value and your message will spread.
And I’m not talking about placing huge share buttons above, next to, and below your posts. You don’t need any of those if you manage to trigger the desire to share. People know how to share stuff on their newsfeeds, and they’ll go the “extra mile” of opening a new browser tab if they feel they give value to their friends’n’followers by sharing your article.
Please nail it.
So, summarizing our first forecast of our blogging series, we’ve been looking at the following things:
Why get blogging right? Because it brings you traffic and trust. Both are incredibly important.
How to get blogging right?
- Commit to a regular schedule, and introduce a writing habit.
- Be aware of how people come to your blog. Optimize your content slightly (but don’t write only for search engines).
- Have goals and measure them.
- Write valuable content, and it will be shared.
Stay tuned for more.
Blogging for Coaches
Enjoyed this article? You might also be interested in others from our “Blogging for Coaches” series:
- Blogging for coaches: How to get it right (and why)
- Blogging for coaches: Articles that work
- Blogging for coaches: 5 rules for supernatural headlines