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What to Blog About: Top 12 Blog Formats That Work

If you look online, you’ll find that articles that give you dozens–or even hundreds of what to blog about. Problogger gives you 52 blog post ideas, The Blogging Buddha has another 101 blog ideas, and Lauren over at Elle and Company shares 50 of her blog post ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

But out of all those ideas, I bet you’re wondering “Which ones work?”

As a content marketer who provides blogging services for my clients, I analyze the traffic and sales that result from them, so I can tell you which ones I think work the best.

Here are the top 12 blog formats that work!

    1. Blog about Products or Services

Blogging about a product or service you offer is a great way to boost keyword frequency on your website. It also gives your customers an idea of what they would be buying.

This type of blog post is a way for you to promote new products or push services.

Torch7, a video services company, wrote a blog about one of their products, promotional videos.

In the blog, Tina explains how she made the promotional video for the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

blog

Read about 6 Blog Posts To Write To Promote a Product.

    1. How-to Blogs

How-to blog posts are extremely popular because people find them useful!

When we have a problem, we want to know exactly how to solve it. How-to or “tutorial” blogs will walk us through the steps in a simple way.

If your business can solve someone’s problem, it builds your credibility and expertise. Customers will be more likely to trust you, buy from you, and keep coming back for more.

How-to’s are also a great way to endorse your products or services. For example, if your article is about a plumbing problem that needs professional service, and you provide that service, your blog could create sales!

True Colors Workshops has a blog about how to manage conflict in one’s life and career, which is useful to anyone. But it also highlights the skills they teach in their workshops.

    1. Newsjacking Blogs

Blogging about the latest news can bring traffic to your site. When you write about a current news story it shows that your business know what’s goin’ on.

Just be quick! You don’t want to be writing about yesterday’s news. Crest Roofing took advantage of the release of solar roof tiles (by famous entrepreneur Elon Musk) and roofing customers’ interest in solar roofing by writing a blog called, “What’s the Big Deal about Elon Musk’s Solar Roof Tiles?”

    1. Seasonal Blog Posts

Seasonal posts are great for bringing traffic to your website. Take advantage of people searching for “Easter Ideas” or summer themes by posting about seasonal topics.

If your business deals with interior design, at Easter, you could blog about Easter decorating ideas like House of J did with their blog, “Easter, Spring, Decorating….Ready, Set, Go!

If your business is plumbing, in the spring, you could blog about Spring Plumbing Issues and How to Prevent Them, like Canuck Plumbing did.

    1. Case Study Blogs

A case study blog post isn’t a testimonial, it’s much more detailed than that. It will follow a customer’s journey from start to finish. Your case study should tell the story of a customer’s problem and the solution you provided them.

In it, you describe their experience using real numbers and actual results.

You get to highlight how met your customer’s needs and helped them reach their goals, which helps readers imagine how you could meet THEIR goals.

Case study blogs can follow a story format or an interview format, but whichever format you choose, use the customer’s own words whenever possible.

Here are some more tips on writing a great case study blog post.

True Colors Workshops has a series of case studies on their blog. These blogs outline how learning about your “true colors” can help you “know what your core values and needs are and feel good about them; you can perform at your highest potential in every area of life.”

They use examples of real people in real-life situations to help customers think about how they can use real colors to help in their everyday situations.

Read The Orange True Colors Case Study by clicking here.

    1. “What is” Blogs

“What is” posts explain an idea, concept, product, or term that relates to your business. This type of blog helps your customers understand your business and what you’re selling.

If your trade uses a lot of jargon or concepts that are foreign to your customers, “What is” blogs give them insight into what you do and how it will help them.

In my blog, I use this type of blog to explain SEO, Content Marketing, PPC, Social Media, Landing Pages, and more.

I’ve also used “What is” blogs to explain my services, like in What is a Living Website?

    1. “Best of” Blog Posts

“Best of” blog posts help you capitalize on our need to have the best. When you’re searching for a restaurant in a new town, you want to know which ones are the best, right?

That applies to everything! We want the best furniture, appliances, house cleaners, home builder, videographer, etc.

So writing “best of” blogs will bring people to your website in search of advice or info on where to go for the very best of what they’re looking for.

Jennifer Woch, the interior designer behind House of J, has the inside scoop on where to get the best furniture. She shared her recommendations her blog post, Top 21 Furniture Stores I Shop For My Clients in Edmonton.

This blog gets a lot of traffic and is great for her business. People looking for furniture are also looking for interior design services.

    1. Trends

Blame Twitter for the term, but trending is the perfect way to describe things that are popular these days. Some of us are hungry for the latest trends. Buzzfeed made an empire that capitalizes on our desire to know what’s popular!

By writing a blog about what’s popular in your trade, you show that you know what people want. It tells people that your business is current and credible.

Custom home builder, Monique, from Canterbury Homes Inc. shows that she’s got her finger on the pulse by blogging about The 2017 Trends for Home Style and Interior Design.

    1. Blogs about the Local Area

Show your customers that you care about your community by blogging about it! If you donate to a local charity, write about it!

Blogs about local events are highly sharable, which raises brand awareness for your business.

Canuck Plumbing provides plumbing services in Windermere, Edmonton. By writing a blog about the area, Windermere, Edmonton, AB: Where to go for Fun, Food, and Shopping, people will see Canuck Plumbing’s blog when they search “Windermere” and think of them when they need a plumber.

    1. Guides are a blog format that WORKS!

Show your customers that you are an expert in your field by writing a guide. In a guide, you can get in-depth about your subject.

Guides help your customers out, giving them something free, like knowledge and advice. People also like to share guides with their friends if they find them helpful or interesting.

Krinkle Klean’s Guide to Clean the Kitchen is a great example of a blog post that shows they are expert cleaners and that people find helpful.

    1. Problem and Solution Blog Posts

Problem and solution posts are a type of post where you identify a problem that your customers have, then give them the solution.

You tell them exactly how to solve their problem, which could involve your products or services.

In Kingstree Plumbing’s blog, 5 Home Water Problems and How to Fix Them. They identify hard water as a problem and explain why a water softener (which they sell and install) is the perfect solution.

  1. Video Blogs

It’s such a sign of the times that videos are now the medium we expose ourselves to most. Facebook, Twitter, Google.com, and YouTube are 4 most popular websites on the internet, and all of them cater to video posts.

A trend we’re seeing in blogging is that we like videos to explain and entertain us more than we like reading a blog.

Videos are also more sharable and less time consuming than reading. They’re so popular that even news websites like CBC, Global, and The Huffington Post are publishing their articles in video form rather than the traditional written format.

Nyche Marketing has a video blog that explains our online marketing services. You’ll see that it’s just a video without any text above or below it.

And on that note, if you haven’t already started blogging, start today. No matter what your business is, you can write blogs that will bring traffic to your website, increase your credibility and the likelihood that your website will show up organically in searches.

Need more reasons to start blogging and inspiration for writing blog posts? Read What Should I Blog About.

Maybe you want to blog, but you don’t have the time. Nyche Marketing can help you with ideas, creating a content plan and calendar, and we can also provide blogging services.

Ask for more details!

What Should You Blog About?

So You’ve Decided to Start Blogging. Now What?

Posting on your company blog is quickly becoming one of the best online marketing tools for businesses. Search engines like Google love websites that are updated regularly, have keywords that are relevant to people’s online searches, and are shared by people on social media.

So having a blog on your website that is frequently updated, full of great keywords that are relevant to your business, and can be shared by anyone who reads it is the perfect way to increase your website’s odds of showing up organically in searches.

But this article isn’t about why you should blog. You’re already there.

(If you’re not fully convinced that blogging is worth your time, HubSpot’s article Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing does a fantastic job of outlining the reasons for and benefits of blogging.)

This article is about what, exactly, you should blog about.

Know What Your Audience Likes to Read About

Step 1 in any marketing venture is to know who your target audience is. The goal is to attract the RIGHT people to your website and give them what they want.

So, figure out who they are and what they want! In the marketing world, we call the different types of people you want to attract to your business “User Personas.”

You probably already know a lot about your customers, but it’s helpful to dive a little deeper into their details. Getting to know their pain points, desires, motivations, etc. will help you answer their questions and solve their problems with your blogging.

Having trouble identifying your personas? Here’s an article on creating personas with examples.

What to Blog About?

If you know who you’re writing for, and you have ideas for each stage of the buyer journey that they are in, you’re almost ready to start clacking away on the keyboard. And here’s a little motivation for you: You will be helping people! Your goal is to improve your customers’ lives.

Improving their life can be as simple as making them smile or giving them a nugget of information they’d find useful.

Here are more ways blogs help people:

  • Entertaining them
  • Helping them do something
  • Teaching them something
  • Answering their questions
  • Letting them connect with you and your business emotionally
  • Getting them involved
  • Making them think deeply
  • Giving them something valuable to share with their friends

But the underlying reason to blog is to make sales! Your words can help guide your customers through their journey toward making a purchase.

The 3 Stages of the Buyer’s Journey: What to Blog about for Each Stage

Stage 1: They’re thinking about it.

When customers are in the first stage, they could be looking to get inspiration or ideas. Say they’re thinking about renovating their kitchen.

They would be interested in blogs about kitchen trends, kitchen products, and before and afters of kitchen renovation projects.

Or maybe they’re thinking about replacing their bathtub because their current one is old and leaking water into the basement.

If they’re looking to repair or upgrade something, Stage 1 blogs should address their problems. Topics like, “How to Tell if I Need a Bathroom Upgrade?” or “Top Ten Bathtub Problems” can help bring potential customers closer to the decision to do repairs or replacements.

Here are some blog format ideas for customers in Stage 1:

  • Product Reviews
  • Inspirational or Motivational
  • Infographic

Stage 2: They’re looking into the details.

Once your customer feels that now is the time to do the kitchen upgrade or get the repairs, they will start looking into the details. They want to know what their options are. Some customers want to know about the processes, the ins and outs, and the pros and cons of all their options.

Blogs that address Stage 2 would be customer stories that talk about projects from start to finish. Or you could blog about the tools you use to do the job they want done.

A blog about the different tiers of service would also address your customers’ need for details.

Here are some blogs to help people in Stage 2:

  • Customer Showcase
  • Highlight a Product or Service
  • Before and After
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Industry Myths

Stage 3: They’re ready to buy and deciding who to buy from.

When people are ready to make a purchase, they are in Stage 3. This is when blogs about your company, your people, and your services will help seal the deal.

For Stage 3 customers, try these blog formats to help them choose you:

  • AMA: Ask Me Anything
  • Testimonials
  • A series where you walk them through a process
  • Case Study
  • Posts about WHY you do things the way you do

And those examples are just a few of the dozens of blog formats you can use. Click here to find out which blog formats that work for our clients:

Top 12 Blog Formats that Bring Traffic.

Create a Content Calendar to Keep Blogging Organized

I bet that reading those blog ideas and a format to write them in made you think of some posts that would be easy for you to do. There are probably some that you might actually have fun writing (perhaps the rant? 🙂 )!

So now, take the ideas you like and plug them into a content calendar.

Your content calendar is simply a document you create that helps you plan and organize topics to write about in advance. With it, you can plan to write about similar topics together. One month can be for kitchen renovation topics, the next can be all about the customer: problems they have and how to solve them.

The ideal content calendar will outline what type of blog format you plan to use every day. It will help keep you on track. When creating the calendar, you select the format you want to write. Choose the blog format based on which stage of the buyer journey you want to talk about.

Here’s an example of a content calendar that outlines the blog format a month:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Profile Testimonial List How to Trend Fun Curation
Feature Story Interview Product Review FAQ List Video AMA
Fun Case Study Event Newsjack How to Infographic Tools of the Trade
Guide Best of Web Procedure Video Rant Guest Post Series

Look at your calendar often to help keep the topics on your mind, so that when you sit down to write, you’ll have the words flowing out of you like water from a tap.

If You’re not Blogging, Start Today

Take advantage of the benefits of blogging. Your pages will be found when customers search for answers to their questions. Your words will help relieve the customer service burden by taking the worry out of choosing the best place to buy.

Over time, you show people that you’re a trusted expert and your website will gain authority.

Blogging is part of Nyche Marketing’s Living Website package, which includes SEO, content marketing, social media, Pay Per Click advertising, and marketing automation.

So if you’re not already blogging, start today!

Social Media Automation

How to Get Started with Social Media Automation

Part of marketing a business or brand these days is getting yourself out there on social media, and if you’re still on the fence as to whether you need to be on social media, read the article, “Why Social Media Marketing – 1o ways Social Media can help grow your business”You may be convinced to try it out. In this article, I’ll tell you how to get started with social media automation in order to make social media marketing for your business quick and easy.

Get the Most out of the Time You Spend on Social Media

Setting up a Facebook account is easy enough, but not everyone is a social media guru right off the bat. It takes time to turn a fan page into a lively, effective marketing tool.

As a modern marketing professional in Edmonton, I often help my clients with their social media accounts. It can be anything from discussing the (many!) social platforms out there to helping them develop a strategy to managing social posting on their behalf. I find that one of the major drawbacks of social, and why some business owners don’t see the value, is the amount of time and effort involved.

Any time you spend on social media takes away from time you could be spending doing your usual day-to-day activities, and most people barely have enough time for that! Fortunately there are ways to concentrate your efforts and minimize the amount of time you spend focusing on social media.

There are activities and tools you can use to automate your social media posts, which can help you continually engage your audience, respond to their queries, contribute to conversations or trends, build your brand, and manage your reputation.

Get Started with Social Media Automation

Social Media Automation is a part of Marketing Automation, which is “the process of using software and technology to optimize, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks.”

Many people overlook what I think is the most important part of being on social media: a strategy. Before you post a single thing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or anything else, you should have a strategy.

Your strategy should involve analyzing your audience, figuring out who they are, what they want, what interests them, and what problems they have. From there it’s much easier to find and post content that is relevant and appealing to them.
Your strategy should also outline what your social media accounts are going to be for. Do you want to have a Facebook page so that your customers have another way to access customer service? Do you want to educate, entertain, engage?

Social Media for Customer Service

Many large companies like Dell, for example, respond to customer service issues on Facebook, and people have come to expect quick responses and resolutions to their issues when they reach out on social media.

The customer service aspect is helpful because it helps you listen to your customers.

Social Media to Build Awareness of your Brand

Customer service is just one aspect of social. You may not want Facebook or Twitter to be where your customers reach out for help but rather use social media to help build awareness about your brand.

You can link to your website, introduce yourself, showcase your products and service, and provide insight into the day-to-day workings of your business. This helps customers develop familiarity with you and your products, and they will feel more comfortable coming to you when they need your services.

Use Social Media to Become a Thought Leader

Another reason to be on social media may be to set yourself apart from your competition by being a “thought leader”.  Forbes gives a great definition of what exactly a “thought leader” is:

“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”

Being a thought leader in your field is extremely valuable and can lead to profits. For example, if you are an Edmonton roofing expert and your website and social media accounts are full of educational information around the subject of roofing, you can become the go-to source that people access regularly and trust as being knowledgeable.

When they have roofing questions, they’ll check out your material. And when they (or someone they know) needs roofing services, they’ll come to you rather than another company that lacks the authority that you created online.

A Content Calendar to Help you Plan Automation

Once you have a social media strategy, your key to success with social media automation is planning, which is why a content calendar is absolutely essential. A content calendar can be as simple as a spreadsheet made with Excel or Google Sheets or you could search the web to find a template that appeals to you. After all, if you don’t like it, you won’t use it.

A content calendar helps you plan and curate what and when you want to post. It’s easy and manageable to have a monthly calendar. Basically you can sit down once a month and create or curate content for the month, schedule it, and then check on your social accounts periodically to see what’s performing well with your audience. Social doesn’t have to be a daily chore, it can be a monthly task where you set everything up and then watch to see how things go.

There are many tools to help you automate your social media accounts, and one of the big ones is Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows your to curate and schedule posts for multiple social media accounts. It works with all the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, G+, Linkedin, and Instagram. Best of all, it’s free unless you want to manage more than one brand, like for digital marketers who manage multiple clients.

Hootsuite isn’t the only tool out there to help you with social media marketing automation. Social Media Examiner (an excellent resource for all things social), has explored 7 Time Saving Social Media Automation Tools You Have to Use.

Check out the article. You may see a tool that excites you that you’ll want to use. Again, if you don’t like it, you’re not going to use it. Don’t be afraid to try out a few. Spending a little bit of time figuring out what you like will make social media marketing more fun and easy for you.

So to wrap up, you can tackle social media posting with a strategy, a focused approach to what content you post, and by using tools to help you find and schedule your social media posts.

Are you just winging it with social and feel like you’re wasting your time? Give social media automation a try!

Share this article to help other businesses and brands with social media automation. Any questions? Ask us in the comments below.

Nyche Marketing can help you build your website, set up your social accounts, develop a strategy for posting, and manage your social accounts for you. Get in contact with us for information about our services or a quote. We’d love to hear from you!

Content Editing for the 5 C’s: It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

People search for what they need on the internet before purchasing, so having information, answering questions, and publishing compelling articles or blogs can help make sales and keep your customers coming back.

We appreciate great content, we share it, bookmark it, and refer to it, so every business needs its content edited by professionals, like the writers here at Nyche. (Learn more about content marketing in our blog.)

It’s always a good idea to have a few eyes pass over any business materials you have, and the content on your website, brochures, blogs, and ads may be holding you back if it hasn’t been edited by a business writing, marketing oriented professional writer.

Is editing really that important? Yes, absolutely. I can’t understate the importance of sounding like a professional in the age of technology. It can hurt your business to have poor content or bad grammar.

At Nyche, we use the 5 C’s of editing to create top-quality content. Here’s what that entails:

  1. Clarity

Clarity is not simply determining whether a sentence is actually a sentence grammatically. Editing for clarity where an editor ensures that each sentence makes sense to the average person. Extra descriptions, slang, jargon, cliches, and long rambling passages can all muddy up the meaning of what the author is trying to say.

Here’s a sentence that is unnecessarily wordy. The meaning is lost among all the slang, cliches, and rambling:

“No word of a lie, I tell you the truth, that thing over there, the one with the blue top part, it sure is some strange to look at.”

Here’s the same sentence, edited for clarity.

“I think that thing with a blue top over there looks strange.”

The meaning has’t changed at all. I know that it loses a bit of its character, but we’ll come to that later under C for Consistency.

The goal is to make the passage easy to read. You don’t want your reader to have to re-read them, or worse, lose focus and navigate away.

  1. Correctness

Editing for correctness is a grammar nerd’s favourite thing to do. You know, those people who go through the newspaper with a red pen. It consists of editing for all those rules of grammar that writers have highlighted in our Gregg Reference Manuals, Canadian Press Style Guides, and grammar text books. We’re looking for proper punctuation, spelling, usage, and sentence structure–to say the least!

Going beyond small errors, we look for things like wrong use of common sayings or words. If we spot a misused cliche, (like a “Rickyism” see below) they will be fixed when editing for correctness.

Rickyism

  1. Completeness and Accuracy

Editors need to do a lot of research. We need to be on the pulse of what’s modern and what’s gone on before. In an age of information, it’s our duty to make sure we don’t spread incorrect information.

Our content needs to be 100% correct. For our clients, that means that we phone around for information on their behalf, contact experts in the field, and ask our clients directly for information or clarity.

We make sure we have reliable sources, up-to-date information, correct statistics and facts, and that all of our photos are properly cited. Incorrect information is useless. You want your content to have value for your reader so they will come back to you when they need your expertise.

  1. Consistency

Not that any of the 5 C’s are more important than the others, but from a marketing perspective, consistency is one the main things we focus on.

Creating content that adheres to the brand’s message and has a consistent tone and voice is essential, but it can be difficult to make content from different authors sound like the same person.

At Nyche, we acclimate ourselves to our clients’ writing styles by researching all the content they already have on their website, social accounts, marketing documents/ads, or existing blogs. We keep in touch with our clients and develop a feel for their style so we can translate their personality into the content we provide.

Apartment Therapy will give you a great example of consistency. They have many writers, but all of their articles sound like they are written by the same person because they have developed a consistent style.

Apartment Therapy’s mission is

“to help people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy by connecting them to a wealth of resources, ideas and community online.”

They use a casual, fun, helpful voice that their audience finds easy to read and relatable.

But maybe you’re in the homebuilding business. You would probably want your brand to sound professional, informative, practical, and less casual. So long as you sound consistent, your readers will stay with you.

  1. Concise

This is a good C to end on because being concise is getting to the point. As an editor, we know that readers don’t want to waste their time. They want the answer to their question in the first couple sentences or the entire message in 30 seconds or less.

And on that note, thanks for reading. We hope you now have an idea of what content marketing editing entails. Interested in our content marketing packages? For more of what we do, see our marketing services page.

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