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'The Big 5' Blog Topics Guaranteed to Drive Traffic, Leads, & Sales

'The Big 5' Blog Topics Guaranteed to Drive Traffic, Leads, & Sales Blog Feature

Marcus Sheridan

Keynote Speaker, Author & Partner, Author of ’They Ask You Answer”, Presented 250+ Sales, Marketing, & Communication Workshops Worldwide

February 4th, 2019 min read

I want to dive into content marketing, but what topics should my business blog about?

That's the (sometimes literally) million dollar Inbound Marketing question.

If you've read my book, They Ask, You Answeryou know that my best piece of advice is to publish articles answering every question your customers ask.

If your customers have questions they'd like to know about your products and services, answer them in blog articles.

It really is that simple.

🔎 Related: What is They Ask, You Answer?

However, when reviewing the top performing content from my pool company, River Pools and Spas, as well as hundreds of clients' websites, we found 5 article topics were consistently outperforming the rest (regardless of whether you're B2B or B2C).

These are the Big 5 blog article topics that drive the most traffic, leads, and sales for those smart enough to write about them.

  1. Cost
  2. Problems
  3. Comparisons
  4. "Best of" Lists
  5. Reviews

Let's talk about each of them more in-depth. 

1. Cost

When was the last time you went online to research a product or service before you made a purchase?

At minimum, within the last six months, right?

Maybe you bought a new boat for the family, hired some kind of contractor, or were tasked with finding a new IT service provider for your company.

At any point in your research did you ask how much that thing costs?

If you're like 99.9% of internet searchers out there, yeah, you did.

But, I'll bet at some point, you were on a company's website looking for information about costs, but couldn't find clear answers.

And when you couldn't find those answers, how did you feel about that company?

It sure didn't help your confidence in them, did it?

Too many companies don't want to talk about costs on their website, and they're for all the wrong reasons.

These might even be the reasons your company hasn't written about costs yet.

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

  • But our product/services are custom designed for individual situations. 
  • But then our competitors would know what we're charging.
  • But we might scare prospects away before we can explain the costs to them.

I see where you're coming from. I was once there too.

But let's take a look at these reasons:

Our product/services are custom-designed to individual situations

I get it, each project you do is different.

Many factors influence the final costs.

Prices can vary.

The best short answer you've got to how much you charge is: "Well, it depends."

We can do better.

The right answer is to write about the factors that influence costs and at least give a range of possible rates. It's that simple. 

But then our competitors would know what we're charging

Do they not already?

Are they totally clueless?

Go look at their website. Are they discussing costs? 

If so, you better catch up.

If not, it's your chance to get ahead of them. 

It might scare away prospects before we can explain the reasons

Not answering cost questions will drive more people away as they have to go elsewhere for answers. 

You have a much better shot at getting someone to stick around just by answering their most pressing questions. 

Honesty fosters trust. And people want to do business with businesses they can trust.

🔎 Related: How to Write An Effective Cost Article

2. Problems

There are two major types of problems articles you should be writing about:

  1. Their problems
  2. Your problems

Their Problems

Whatever product or service you sell, it is the solution to a problem your prospects are experiencing, isn't it?

In many cases, these folks only know the symptoms of their problems and may not have any clue whatsoever that you have the solution.

Write content aimed at the symptoms of their problems and inform them of their options.

Examples:

If you're a roofing contractor, you can answer questions like, "why is my roof leaking." 

You can write articles about how to check for leaks, how to assess water damage, and reasons they may want to talk to a roofing contractor.

They have a problem: a leaky roof. 

You have solutions: a roof assessment.

If you're a managed IT services provider, your audience may be searching online for solutions to problems like:

"how can I ensure continuous monitoring of my network and phone systems?" or "How can I save money by reducing the size of my IT department?"

Again, your audience is looking for ways to optimize their IT department while cutting costs. You can write articles demonstrating how outsourcing managed IT services can solve these common problems.

Your Problems

These are articles that talk about problems with the solutions.

So let's say those folks who started their journey searching "why is my roof leaking" discovered that their old shingle roof just has to go. It's shot. No chance of repairs. Done.

Part of their research will dive into different types of roofing systems: asphalt shingle, metal panels, clay tiles.

While vetting their options, they'll look up searches like, "problems with clay tiles."

🔎 Related: How to Write Effective 'Problems' Articles

It's a tough pill to swallow, but your clay tile roofs won't always be the best solution for them. Maybe they live in a northern climate with lots of snowfall, and a metal roof would be better. Let's be honest with them.

Besides, it's a good way to weed out non-fits for you. 

Many of the problems they may have heard about clay roofs might in fact have easy solutions.

The same can be said for managed IT services. You know, not all prospects are a good fit for your services. To better help these bad-fit prospects weed themselves out, you can write an article on "5 Signs Outsourcing Managed IT services Is NOT Right for You."

By addressing problems, you have the opportunity to set the record straight and reduce the number of non-fit prospects from reaching out to you for help.

3. Comparisons

Right around the same time folks are researching problems with the solutions they're vetting, they're going to want to see direct comparisons of those solutions.

Which one is best for their situation?

How can they decide between them?

Here you have an opportunity to discuss each of their options, the pros and cons of each, how they compare in different categories, and which ones are better under different circumstances.

Just make sure to be as honest as possible in your assessment. And let readers know outright which of those products/services you sell. They should know  if you have a particular bias.

If you do have a bias and they find out later, you'll lose that trust.

Read More: Best Practices for Writing Comparison Articles

4. "Best of" Lists

During that time you were researching your latest big purchase, did you use words like best or top as part of your search terms?

Most likely, right?

It's also one of the most common ways people search. 

We want to put all of our options on a spectrum from worst to best and carefully review those on the far right of the spectrum.

We start at the farthest right point on the spectrum and walk backwards until we find what's best for us.

There are a couple key "best of" article topics you should write about:

Best Competitors

Let's say your business helps other businesses solve their freight and logistics shipping needs and you provide managed transportation services for your clients.

These folks may already realize they need help managing their freight solutions and are interested in a list of the best vendors.

How do you think they will search for businesses of your kind?

They'll probably search something exactly like: "Best managed transportation companies"

You may worry that writing an article listing all of your top competitors will steer prospects away from your business.

But let's be honest: they're going to find out about your competition anyway, if you write an article introducing them to all the vendors, they're at least reading the information on your site, and you have the first chance to convert them into a lead.

🔎 Related: How to Write About Your Competitors on Your Website

Best in class

Whether you're a retailer or SAAS company of any kind, writing best of lists will become your bread and butter.

Let's say you sell camping equipment. Whether as a local business or an ecommerce site, it doesn't matter; you could write best of articles until you're old and grey.

Every line of product you sell, you can write best of lists for.

And, you can get as broad or granular as you want.

  • Best tents
  • Best tents under $100
  • Best tents for families
  • Best tents for winter camping
  • Best tents for winter camping at high elevations

And don't get too caught up on using the word best. There's lots of other superlative adjectives people would use to search:

  • Warmest tents
  • Most durable tents
  • Easiest tent to clean
  • Most expensive tent
  • Quickest tent to setup
  • Highest rated tents

Best Practices

Do have teachable moments related to the products or services you sell?

How can people get the results they desire from using your product.

Let's continue to pretend we sell camping equipment.

Would our prospects want to know things like:

  • Best practices for planning a camping trip
  • Best practices for starting a fire 
  • Best practices for catching salmon
  • Best practices for cleaning a salmon

And in each of those article topics, you've got a whole bunch of products you can introduce.

Planning a camping trip? You'll need a tent.

Starting a fire? You'll need a flint or a fire starter kit.

Fishing? You'll need some tackle, poles, waders, fillet knives, etc.

5. Reviews

As buyers are considering making a purchase, they often want to know if those that shopped before them are delighted by their final choice or have remorse.

They want to know how others feel about the purchases they made. 

If real people are raving about the purchase, they're more likely to buy. If others are complaining about the purchase, they may avoid it.

People love to crowd source opinions. If you can write honest reviews of the products you sell (and even don't sell), you'll connect with more prospects looking for help making purchases. 

So there you have it folks, The Big 5 blog article topics every business should be writing about.

By answering these critical questions, you're guaranteed to drive more traffic, leads, and sales for your business. Give it a shot and let me know the results.

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