Excerpted from Social Media Marketing 2017.
Any business that’s serious about social media marketing must have a blog if for no other reason than a blog gives you an easy place to put your articles, infographics, photos, and videos that you can then reference on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
- You gotta blog!
If you don’t have a blog on your website, ask your web designer to set one up immediately, preferably at your domain.com/blog. The easiest platform to use is WordPress. If you can’t use WordPress or set one up on your own domain, I recommend Google’s Blogger platform at https://www.blogger.com/.
Blogs are so important for social media content, that I want to spend some time on blogging. I’m assuming you have set up a company blog, so structurally you’re ready to write your first post. (If you’ve already written a few posts, you can also revisit and reoptimize them as indicated below).
Your blog and the blog posts on it can serve any or all of three purposes.
- as a trust indicator to substantiate your company as a “helpful expert)
- as an SEO asset, that is – as a way to get to the top of relevant Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches via basic SEO) (This is covered in-depth in my SEO Fitness Workbook, so we will not cover it here).
- as content for posting and sharing to your social media networks.
Each of these, conceptually, are different things, but one blog post can be oriented towards one, or all, of them. For example, a blog post on “Seven Tax Tips for Expatriates Living in the USA,” can be a trust indicator substantiating your CPA firm as experts in international tax issues, it can be an SEO asset helping get your company to the top of relevant Google searches, and it can be content that you can share on social media networks like LinkedIn to stay top of mind among potential customers and encourage social sharing.
Identifying Keyword Themes for Your Blog
What should you blog about? What type of content should you create? The answer is to identify keyword themes that touch on what your target customers want to know about. Clients seeking international tax advice, for example, would be interested in reading blog posts on ways to minimize double taxation, or what types of behavior is most likely to provoke an IRS audit. Persons planning a wedding might be interested in comparing the merits of a “destination wedding” in Mexico, with an “at home” wedding in Los Angeles. And persons interested in cybersecurity for their corporations might be interested in a blog post with infographic on the twelve most common security holes in a typical corporate network.
- A Strong Blog Touches on Keyword Themes that People Care About
Emotion, Emotion, Emotion (and Some Utility)
In general, successful blog topics for social media will hit emotional themes such as usefulness, being counterintuitive or counterfactual, being shocking, provoking fear or outrage, or being funny. It’s really all about utility or emotion; outside of LinkedIn (which is the most serious network), emotional triggers are by far the most common content.
Accordingly, if there is an “emotional” angle to your blog post, be sure to touch on it, and be sure to include it in your headline.
Once you have the keyword target, the next step is to write a catchy headline and write a catchy blog post that hits on either emotion or usefulness.
Let’s take the example of a Los Angeles CPA firm that has expertise in international taxation isues. Our keyword research has identified the FBAR requirements which require reporting of overseas assets as a “hot button” issue among our buyer personas. We might then take the topic of “FBAR compliance,” and spin out blog headlines such as:
- Why FBAR Matters to Your Clients (Even If They Don’t Know It Yet) (“utility”).
- Why What You as a CPA Don’t Know About FBAR Is Going to Cost You (“fear”).
- The FBAR: An Outrageous Intervention of the Government in our Lives (“shocking”)
- An FBAR Tragedy: A Small Businessperson Forced into Bankruptcy (“Outrage or sentimentality”)
Finally, now that you have a well-written blog post that touches on trending industry themes of interest to key customer segments, it’s time to share it. Post it to your blog, and then use a URL shortener like http://bitly.com/ or http://tinyurl.com/ to shorten your long blog URL. Then paste it into Hootsuite (http://jmlinks.com/29k), summarize the topic, and post it strategically to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and wherever else appropriate. (Hootsuite has its own built-in link shortener as well, here’s a screenshot:)
To sum up, once you know a keyword theme, the process of creating a blog post is as follows:
- Identify the blog concept and relevant keywords. These define what the blog post is about and which keywords people are likely to search for. Use a tool like Buzzsumo (http://jmlinks.com/29j) to see what’s already being shared on social media sites.
- Outline the content and write a rough draft. Just as in all writing, it’s good to write out a rough draft. A good blog post should have about four to five paragraphs of text. “Less is more” when it comes to social media, so make the blog post pithy and informative.
- Identify a provocative image. Whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, people respond to images. Use a free image site such as Foter (http://foter.com/) and find an image that conveys the essence of your blog post.
- Write a catchy, keyword-heavy headline. It’s no accident that popular sites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post use shocking or provocative headlines! Dog bites man, Read Donald Trump’s Lastest Outrageous Tweet!, etc. People react to, and share, content that hits an emotional nerve and the headline is the first step towards a strong emotional reaction.
- Finalize the content. Review your content and make sure it is easy-to-read, preferably with lists and bullets.
- Share the content. Identify the appropriate social media platform such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and share your post. Use a tool like Hootsuite to organize and schedule your shares.
Video. Watch a video tutorial on how to write social media-friendly blog posts at http://jmlinks.com/16p.
Your Blogging Objectives
In terms of social media marketing, your blog objectives are a) to stay “top of mind” among customers and their contacts, b) to substantiate your organization’s brand image as a “helpful expert,” and c) to encourage “social sharing” so that friends of friends, and colleagues of colleagues, can become aware of your company and its products or services. A strong blog post can be great as a trust indicator, great for SEO, or attractive for social media sharing, or all three! So, start blogging!