Solving your reader’s problem
One of the main reasons people search online is to solve a problem, perhaps finding a solution to a dilemma or simply trying to answer a ‘burning’ question. Therefore, one main goal of your blog should be to ‘solve’ your clients’ problems or ‘answer’ their question.
With the development of voice activated technology, the use of a question to search for information is becoming once again more prevalent, i.e. “Alexa, how far away is the moon?”
It is a funny development as many of us started using search engines this way (‘Ask Jeeves’ springs to mind!) by typing in whole questions. However, we then realised we could just use the main keywords, i.e. “Moon size”. Although, the outcome we are trying to achieve is the same…now, with voice activated technology we are back to using long word strings, as it seems more natural. And as good blog writers we need to reflect this in what we write about and how we structure it.
Answer the public
On a training I attended recently, they introduced me to an amazing resource called ‘Answer the public‘.
In the free version, you can simply type in a keyword and it will list all of the questions asked by people via search engines. It is what prompts the ‘auto responses’ when you start typing into a search engine’s box.
I typed in ‘blogging’ and it came back with over 300 results in the ‘questions asked’ section, collected together in ten different groups all starting with the same ‘question words’. The main ones being ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘who’ and ‘how’, perhaps unsurprisingly. But there were also ‘can’ questions, i.e. “Can blogging make you money?” and “Can blogging be therapeutic?”
This is an absolute gold mine, in terms of giving you inspiration for your business blog. You can find out the questions people are asking about your products, your services and your profession – simply by typing in a keyword associated with it.
Take a look at the questions and answer them in your blog. AND use the question in the blog itself, as a title or heading to help ensure you will appear in those relevant search results.
Pose the question
Blogging is a great way to answer questions and offer solution, but don’t forget in your text to pose the question or highlight the problem for the reader. The human brain works both ways! Sometimes we know and then look for the solution and sometimes we simply know the problem. For example, someone with back pain may search for ‘back pain’ or ‘sore back’, however that same person may also search for ‘back treatment’, ‘massage’ or ‘back therapy’. They may also ask a full question – ‘how can I cure my back pain?’; ‘will massage help my back pain?’; ‘back in agony – where can i get help?’
This is where writing good well formed copy becomes really important. Ideally, you want to ensure the content on your website covers all of the ‘search angles’. If you were a massage therapist, you would want to appear in the search results for all of these questions posed. A blog is an ideal place to help you do that – these words don’t have to appear all in one blog post, but across a series of posts they will still all sit on your website and the search engine ‘bots’ will find them essentially all at the same address.
A business blog wants to be classed as useful. You want clients to read it, to find it informative and to offer some form of help. It is the best way to keep current and former clients visiting your website, especially if your product or service range rarely changes. It is also a key way to convert sales, if a new visitor comes across your blog and finds it engaging and interesting. If they will stick around long enough to explore a blog post or two, then with any luck they are starting to invest in you and your company, and it will hopefully lead to an enquiry, at least.
Wanting to be useful, however, and actually being useful are two different things though and, once again, this is where considering the questions posed on ‘Answer the public’ and thinking about the questions, problems and areas of concern your potential clients may have is so vital. Don’t just blog about what you think people want to know about. Write about common things you have actually been asked about or queried upon. Do some research, if necessary.
This blog post itself is a good example of this. In my blog starter workshops, I often get asked ‘what will people actually want to read about?’. Although my first answer is usually ‘you’ because people are nosy and love hearing a bit about ‘behind the scenes’, I appreciate most people don’t want to write about themselves and in only a few circumstances does this remain relevant or advantageous after a single post or two. Therefore, answer number 2 is always ‘solutions to their problems’. If I have back pain, I want to find a blog post or article that tells me how to fix it. If I have a dirty oven, I want a blog post on how to clean it easily. If I want a new hair style, I want a blog post on ideas and trends. If I want help starting a blog, I want a blog post on inspiration for topics.
Solving the problem they didn’t know they had
Finally, the really clever trick for most businesses, is solving the problem a website visitor didn’t know they had; making them realise that the products or services you have are ones they just cannot live without.
There is no magic trick for this one really – it’s about answering lots of questions and solving lots of problems, across your blogs posts. The more regularly you write, the more likely you are to pique the interest of a reader as they continue to explore all that you have to offer and all of the experience you are willing to share.
Visit ‘Answer the Public’
Go and take a look at Answer the Public – apologies if the strange man scares you a little on the homepage! And let me know what you think.