How Do You Write a Blog Post That Your Audience Loves?
November 11, 2020 |
I’m going out on a limb here.
How do you write a blog post that your audience loves? When you do, how do you do keyword research?
Do we look at the same old metrics, or has something changed? From my personal perspective, with every passing day, Google gets better at understanding the user. What this means is…
As content marketers
, we are no longer Search Engine Optimizers.
In other words, we are no longer writing for the search engine.
In the past, putting your keyword in your title tag and meta description, as well as adding them to the content did wonders in improving your rankings. Doing this could potentially get your pages to the top of the search engine results.
But things have changed and Google has gotten better at understanding both the content and the user intent. This means Google is far better at pairing the user's query with a targeted piece of content.
In order to rank at the top of Google, we should now be focusing on the user, not on the search engine.
The question is how do you do that as an SEO?
In this post, I’m going to share some strategies designed to truly understand the reader so that you can draw them toward your brand by offering truly helpful blog content while satisfying Google at the same time.
Let’s dive in…
Defining Your SEO Goal
Before we jump into any tools or strategies, you need to first know clearly what you want to get out of your site’s content. Once you have that clear, you need to understand where your blog post fits into your site’s content as a whole.
If the goal of your website is to generate sales, how does your blog content bring site users closer to a sale?
Getting this super clear will help you to understand what type of blog content you should be making. In order to do this effectively, you need to understand your sales funnel.
A blog post is generally top of the funnel content. This means blog posts are not designed to sell but are designed to take your reader one step closer to solving a problem that is related to your product or service. They are top of the funnel content because they help your brand establish a relationship with your audience.
Once you have a relationship with your audience, the next step is to create content that is designed to sell to the audience you have created through your blog content. In this post, I’ll be focusing on how to create a relationship with your audience. I will not be explaining how, once you have a relationship with your audience, what steps you need to take to sell. I do, however, cover it in my post about sales funnels
Let’s go through an example of how you can generate content your audience absolutely loves.
Redefine Your Goal
Since a blog post is designed to get top of the funnel website traffic, it makes sense to focus on creating informational content.
Perhaps you can create a ‘how-to’ post or a post that answers a question that your potential buyers are asking.
Now before you start, you have to realize you might have your head on upside down.
What do I mean?
When creating content, it’s important to (temporarily) forget about your business goals. Instead, focus on what your reader needs. You see, when you create content just to fulfill your goals, your content will come across as self-centered or ‘me’ centric.
Not a good impression to be giving off.
Instead, make your post all about your audience. The better you can do that, the more successful your content will be.
This paradigm shift is crucial because the only way to create a sustainable business is to create happy customers. This means solving problems at every stage and when I say at every stage, I don’t just mean when they become a client or a customer.
Solve their problems at every stage of the buyer's journey, even before they become a customer. You do this by answering their questions. Focus on creating stellar content that really speaks to your audience in a way that they know exactly what steps they need to take next.
Content that truly brings them one step closer to their goals.
When you do that, You’ll create an instant rapport with your audience. You will draw them into your world.
According to The Robert Collier Letter Book, your reader:
...wants certain things. The desire for them is consciously or unconsciously the dominant idea in his mind all the time.
You want him to do a certain definite thing for you.
How can you tie this up to the thing he wants in such a way that the doing of it will bring him a step nearer his goal?
In other words, your audience is consciously or unconsciously thinking about what they want or need. How can you speak to the conversation in your reader’s mind? When you do that in the most helpful way possible, you will have their attention and will speak to their interest.
Why does this work?
Simple. Your reader is already thinking about a problem that needs to be solved. When you step in and supply them with the right information, by consuming your information they become a step closer to attaining their goal.
That creates a synergy between you and them.
The first step in creating this synergy is to find the questions they are asking. Luckily in the digital age, finding questions your target audience is asking is pretty easy.
Basic keyword research.
This is only the first step. After explaining keyword research, I’ll show you a powerful strategy I learned from copywriters.
But first, keyword research.
Let’s say you are selling dog training courses. What kind of content should you create that will truly help your audience? There is no way to answer that without some research. Let’s first find some topics that your audience is interested in.
Let’s type ‘dog training’ into our Keyword Research tool
. Now, ‘dog training’ is a generic term and will not make a good article topic. It’s too open-ended.
However, we are using the tool to see if we can find a topic that would reveal what Robert Collier would call a conscious or unconscious desire.
To do that, go to the ‘questions’ page. This will show you keywords that Google users are typing into the search engine that are in question form. See the screenshot below:
The reason I go to the ‘questions’ page first is, when someone types a question into Google, they are literally spelling out their desire to you.
They are literally saying that they have a problem and they are hoping Google will understand their query well enough to bring a satisfactory answer.
Since Google’s goal is to serve its users in the best possible way, by creating stellar content that puts your reader’s interest first, you will be aligning your goals with Google’s goals.
Find a Topic Worth Writing About
Now, before you start digging through all the keywords on the report (there are literally 224 of them), you must narrow your search. Firstly, you must find terms that have a decent amount of search volume. In order to do that, click the filter icon. This will give you an option to filter the results based on search volume.
This way you can filter out any results that are not worth your time creating content for.
In the dropdown menu choose ‘>’ and then set a minimum search volume. I can’t give you an exact number. For our example, the search volumes are relatively low for our dog training search, so I set the minimum to 120.
The reason I’ll target a keyword that only gets a search volume of 120 searches per month is because when an article reaches the top of Google, it often ranks for more than one keyword.
Once you have chosen a search volume that you feel is worth your time, you can look at the Keyword Difficulty
score to find keywords that are easy to rank for. If your site is relatively new, you should be looking for terms that are not competitive. In order to do that, click the KD icon and the report will display the lower competition keywords at the top and the higher competition terms towards the bottom.
What stands out to me as a great topic is ‘how do you stop a puppy nipping’.
All of this is pretty basic, but you need good foundations before moving to the next step...
Psychoanalyzing your audience.
Find Out What the User Needs
Once you have a keyword that you think is worth going after, it’s time to truly understand what the user needs. This means doing some research.
The first place to look is forums.
Use Forums to Help You Resonate With Your Audience
Using forums to understand your audience is something I learned from copywriters and I’m surprised that SEOs don’t talk more about this.
The reason forums are so good at helping you understand your user's wants and desires is because actual users post questions and receive feedback from forum users. What happens next is the user will often give feedback on the answers given. This feedback is exactly what you're looking for.
This allows you to quickly see if an answer resonates with actual users. You can also see if they have any follow up questions. Take note of all of this.
Look for common questions that are repeated over and over by reading as many threads as you can. These are obvious hot topics. Take note of them. Take note of common answers too.
If you can’t find a forum on your topic you should take a look at Quora. I love Quora for customer research because users get to upvote answers that they like. If the question is popular enough, you might find an answer that gets hundreds or even thousands of Upvotes.
For instance, I have typed the term ‘how to get my puppy to stop biting me’ into the Quora bar. See below:
I then clicked the top question and scrolled down to find a question that has many answers. Once there, I looked for an answer that has many upvotes and comments. See screenshot below:
As you can see from the screenshot, this answer has 535 upvotes, 3 shares, and 28 comments. Since this answer has so much engagement, it makes sense to read the answer and then read the comments.
You can keep doing this until you feel you have a good idea what your reader, in this case, the puppy owner, is looking for.
The next place to look is the Google SERPs.
Google SERP Analysis
Once you have a pretty good understanding of what your users are asking and what content they are looking for, it’s now time to put your SEO hat back on and do some research in Google.
Until now we have found:
- The questions they are asking
- The answers actual users are reacting to
We now want to take it back to Google. How is Google using content to satisfy its users?
The reason you should be looking at the Google SERPs is you should be trying to understand how the search engine is understanding your reader. This is an important step because Google is the ‘middle man’ between the content and the user.
In essence, Google has to understand the content, understand the user intent, and match the right content with the user. This means Google has its own machine learning ‘understanding’ of the user intent.
Hopefully, Google’s understanding will match up to what you found in Quora. However, it might not.
If it doesn't, this is what I do.
I’ll read the top-ranking content to understand:
- All the main ideas included in the top content
- If there are any ideas that are repeated through all the posts
Now ask yourself, have they covered everything that you saw in Quora? If not, you have content that actual users have reacted to that has not made it into the top spots. First, make sure your content includes all the points that the top content covers. Then, try to add these points to your content, making sure that they flow.
By doing this you will be adding value to your blog post beyond what Google is already presenting. This might just be the advantage that gets your content to the top of Google (all things being equal).
With that, let’s take a step back and see what we have learned.
Google Is Trying to 'Get' the User, You Should Too...
As Google becomes more sophisticated, it will get better and better at understanding the user. This is at the core of what Google does. Google’s job is to really ‘get’ what the user needs from search so that it can curate the perfect content to answer the user’s needs.
The better Google gets at it the happier the user will be.
This means you can expect to see Google constantly improving its understanding of the user. As content creators, we should be constantly improving our understanding of the user too. This will give Google better and more relevant content to present to its users. It's a win-win situation.
I’ve shown you a strategy that I use but, with anything you see on the internet, don’t take it as gospel. Test it out and see if it works for you.