Developing content for company blogs can be a frustrating task. After all, there are only so many things that you can say about your company or product before you begin to sound a bit tired. Furthermore, attempts to seamlessly blend SEO into blog posts can result in content that seems obviously keyword-stuffed and spammy-sounding if not done correctly.
When it comes down to it, creating highly readable but search engine-effective content for your company’s blog is an art form which depends mainly on the creativity and priorities of the person utilizing it. Here are some tips on how to get it right.
Readability is King
You’ve probably seen countless examples of SEO disasters by novice companies. “Steve TheMattress King” might pump out twenty blog posts a day, but they all read like, “nowadays customers who are looking for mattresses in Milwaukee, WI, always ask me about where they can buy mattresses in Milwaukee, WI, so I tell them to come to Steve The Mattress king for the best mattresses in Milwaukee, WI.”
No web marketing professional is going to tell you that you can forgo keywords in your blog content. However, only inexperienced web marketers would tell you to place higher importance on keywords than on content.
The purpose of SEO is to raise your ranking in search engine results. But if you rank highly in search but have an unreadable blog that quickly turns customers away, your efforts were purposeless.
What’s important is to create content that seamlessly integrates keywords. Never force a keyword. Instead, create content where keywords are integrated, but never obvious to the reader. This is the primary difference between a blog article that sounds spammy and canned, and one that is the readable, shareable, and interesting. Remember – no one shares spam, and no one read it. If it sounds spammy, it’s not going to be shared by anyone.
Utilize Customer Questions and Inquiries
If you receive a customer question or inquiry, you should assume that whatever they’re thinking or asking about your company is probably also being wondered about by countless other customers. So many companies make the error of not viewing these inquiries as what they are: A gold mine for blog topics.
The next time you receive a question about your product, don’t respond directly right away. Instead, post a long, keyword-rich but readable blog post that addresses the question with an in-depth answer.
Reply to the original customer with a message along the lines of, “John, thanks for the great question about our product. I addressed this in our most recent blog post, which you can find at this link.”
Not only does this demonstrate a genuine interest in your customers’ opinions and concerns, but it provides you with a blog topic that is unique and valuable to your consumer. Doing this is literally a win-win for your business- customers love knowing that their concerns are being heard and acted upon.
Too many companies shy away from newsworthy, polarizing topics on their blog. Their line of reasoning is that if they take a stance, they’ll turn off customers who hold an opposing viewpoint. This is regarded by most companies as a best practice for on-site blogging.
There is some truth in this. Chick-fil-A is a good example of a company that took a radical stance on a polarizing topic and suffered for it. Their anti-gay marriage sentiments may have won some new customers who agreed with their viewpoint, but they mostly just gained a reputation as a hateful company.
This should be a cautionary tale for any business wishing to take any sort of political stand on a controversial issue. Avoid political or highly controversial topics, unless your company has a direct interest in a political topic. However, you don’t have to be political to be daring. Every industry has polarizing subjects.
Do you sell a product that some people object to? Is there a trend in your industry that some customers find unlikable? Don’t be afraid to take a stance and make your opinion known. These articles are the ones that get shares and the likes. These are the articles that customers comment on and actively discuss. Don’t take a stance that is so controversial that it will turn away a lot of customers, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on industry topics.
A good example could come from the world of web design- an article called “Five Things Web Designers Need to Stop Doing,” with examples of common web design practices, would earn readers for sure.
Content creation doesn’t have to be something you toil over. Great ideas for blog articles should come naturally, either from your company’s strengths, the world’s current events, or from the creative mind of an employee. Open your mind to different possibilities and watch the quality of your content improve.