When you run a corporate blog sometimes it’s difficult to come up with interesting topics on a regular basis. In the past I’ve spoken about a few options like creating a series, how to posts and evergreen content. In this article I’d like to tackle another option, blogging to your existing customers, and turning them into return/repeat customers.
If you are selling products or services, chances are you good you probably have 10 – 20 questions your customers ask about how to use products, correctly, better or more effectively. Typically most companies create an FAQ where they answer all of these questions on one page. While this does work it’s not an optimal solution from an SEO traffic perspective.
Unless your questions and answers are very short, ideally you want to create a single page optimized for each question, this gives you the ability to create narrowly focussed posts around specific keyword phrases that will rank better and drive more traffic. Bear in mind this is something of a balancing act, and you may find these posts don’t get enough traffic on their own and have to be combined (see how to do a content audit) , so there is some experimentation, trial and error involved.
The next thing you need to consider is targeting and writing your posts using the same natural language, phrases,and queries that your consumers use, and not using your own internal company terminology. For example one consulting client I had insisted on using the term “waste receptacles” instead of “garbage pails”. This “wisdom” was firmly entrenched all the way up to the “C” level and they were completely inflexible on the matter, no matter how much keyword data I showed them to the contrary. We ended up doing some custom programming to catch internal searches for “garbage pails” and reroute the traffic to “waste receptacles” but we never ranked for those terms in the search engines.
Once you’ve got the basic questions covered, you can expand showing them how to use your products in new ways they never thought off, how to take advantage of advanced features, and use little known aspects of your products. You can even look for opportunities to tie into social media asking customers to submit pictures of their products in use. Cuisinart holds a recipe swap every few months, home improvement stores look for before and after shots, and fashion companies look for UGC photos of people wearing their clothing, shoes or fashion accessories.
One last option to consider is optimizing for some of your competitions keywords. Bear in mind SEO for your competition is not without consequences and not for the faint of heart, so think about it before you decide to start down that path.
Enough with the theory lets look at some real world examples of this in place. I’m a huge fan of the Sonos in home music system (full disclosure I was sent a review unit in the past see my Sonos Review post for more details). However to be honest I really really love it, in fact I’m a huge brand advocate of the product. Spend 5 minutes talking to me about it at a conference or on twitter and you’ll see me affection for the product is genuine. Sonos regularly blogs about how to use their system and how to get the most out of it with posts like Using line in on Sonos products or how to use AirPlay on Sonos Music systems. In fact they have a whole tips & tricks section.
Another example is the Whole Foods blog. In addition to recipes they have posts about how to cook with styles customers may not be familiar with like learn how to cook broiled fish or how to use new food types like Quiona (it’s a small grain like cous-cous).
The key lesson from these examples is don’t blog just to get new customers, blog to reach and help your existing customers, if you do it correctly they will stay repeat customers and pass along their experiences with their family and friends, and share them on Facebook, twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
So what are the takeaways from this post:
- Look at your popular customer service questions and inquiries and look for ways to create optimized posts around those topics
- Use natural language and phrases your customers use, avoid internal terminology and marketing language
- Look for opportunities to show advanced or little known features
- Make your customers smarter this turns them into brand advocates
- While there is some danger optimizing for your competitions keywords can sometimes work to your advantage