What’s the first thing you learn when you learn about inbound marketing? Inbound marketing solves problems.
What’s the first thing you learn when you learn about content? Good content isn’t about you; it’s about your buyers.
This is basic stuff, yet, in my experience, these are also two of the most difficult lessons for businesses to learn: putting themselves in the shoes of their customers, asking themselves, “What problems are my customers having?”
This is why no one is reading your content.
By and large, people access online content for one of two reasons: for entertainment or to solve a problem. If you’re running a B2B website, your hopes of entertaining anyone (as a primary goal, anyway) are pretty slim. No one sane reads B2B content for fun. That is to say, whatever it is your business does, it just isn’t that interesting. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable; the value of your business—and, therefore, the value of your content—is in how it solves problems, how it helps your buyers achieve their goals.
If no one is reading your blog articles, it’s probably because your articles are about what you do, not what your buyers are looking for.
Blog Topics That Don’t Solve Problems
- “Why You Need to….”
- “The Benefits of…”
- “7 Reason You Should be…”
These are all solutions in search of a problem. No one cares.
“But,” you protest, “we didn’t even mention our company name! Those articles aren’t about us!”
Yes they are.
Think About it This Way
Imagine your company was trying to market a wonder drug. Let’s call it Curitol, an effective treatment for high blood pressure, acne, the flu, and a million other things. You’ve come up with these blog articles:
- “Why You Need Curitol”
- “The Benefits of Curitol”
- “7 Reasons You Should Take Curitol”
I’m sure those articles are chock-full of useful information, but no one will ever bother reading them. That’s because no one is wandering aimlessly through the Internet, clicking on random articles about the benefits of various drugs. What they are doing is searching for solutions to their particular problems: “How to get rid of acne.” “My blood pressure is too high.” “How to avoid the flu this winter.” If you’re a Curitol marketer, that’s what you want to write about.
“But,” you protest, “Curitol does so much stuff! I don’t want to leave anyone out!”
Go ahead, leave them out. The great thing about blogging is it’s pretty much impossible to run out of space. The minute after you publish an article addressing one specific problem your buyers are having, you can publish another one addressing another specific problem. Repeat ad infinitum.
How to Create Blog Articles People Will Read—In Three Simple Steps
Step one: Ask yourself what problems your buyers are having. These are the problems that you know how to solve. These are the problems that drive your buyers online looking for answers.
Step two: Be specific! “I’m having car trouble,” is not a specific problem. “Thick black smoke is pouring out of my engine, I’m stranded on the side of the highway, it’s cold, and I’m late for a job interview,” is a specific problem.
Step three: Write about these specific problems. Help your readers solve them. Don’t write about anything else. Do write: “Why Thick Black Smoke is Pouring Out of Your Engine.” Don’t write: “99 Things That Could Go Wrong with Your Car.”