Something we work on at GBW is the focus of the blog posts we write (obviously).
Over the years we’ve tried a few approaches to the type of content we write.
We’ve seen what people are most responsive to and that has led us to create certain formulas for creating post titles, but also formulas for how we approach topics.
A common situation we run into is a business that wants to start a blog. That is great. Usually they’ve seen examples of successful content marketing and they know they can benefit from it. They’ve looked at competitor blogs and industry blogs so they know what type of content those organizations are writing.
And from there they think about the content they want to provide. The common situation gets tricky, however, when the business thinks on a business level instead of an industry level with the content.
Business Level vs. Industry Level
Business Level content focuses on questions your target customer has relating to your business or a business like yours.
For example, a customer wants to know what the cost is for a plumber’s service. That’s a business level question.
Industry Level content focuses on questions your target customer has relating to your industry or to a need they have.
For example, a customer wants to know how to unclog their drain. That’s an industry level question.
Both types of content are relevant to your customers.
The issue comes with the nature of blogging and blog readers and where they are in the sales funnel.
Last year, I worked with a sales consultant. I learned a lot from him about the sales process and how to understand the very early stages of the process so it’s possible to attract more of your target audience.
Blogging is great for both early and later stages of the funnel, but it seems to have more success with early stages.
Early Stage Focus = Traffic
Business level questions are great to answer once you have potential customers on your website. But you’re going to have a hard time attracting people to your site by answer only those questions.
Your customers are out browsing the web and searching for information mostly on an industry level. They only search for business level information when they have a business in mind.
In the plumber example, a customer is deeper into the sales funnel when they ask about pricing and details about the service or even if they are comparing the service to that of another plumber.
That customer, however, started their search for plumbing information much earlier. They likely had a question about clogged drains, replacement fixtures or even about a bathroom remodel.
To find answers to these questions, those people go to search engines, social media and email. It’s not just a coincidence that blog posts are common results in search engines, common updates on social media and common content in email newsletters.
With industry level blog content you’ll be attracting your target audience when they first start their search for information. They’re at the beginning of the sales process.
You answer their industry level questions. You earn their trust. They become familiar with your brand and because you’ve targeted them wisely they’ll be interested in your services.
This simple distinction can make all the difference with your blog posts and social media content.
With social media and blog posts, focus on industry level questions. Answer those questions and you’ll attract more of your target customers to your social profiles and to your website.
On social media, especially Twitter, look for people asking industry level questions in your industry. You can reply to them with your answers or you could create a blog post based on the question.
For blog posts, answer common industry questions and publish the post. Then use snippets of the post on social media. You can tease your audience with that information and get them interested in your blog posts and your business.
Here are a couple more examples of industry level and business level content:
Business Level: How does your process work?
Industry Level: What is responsive design?
Business Level: What other software does your program integrate with?
Industry Level: What are some software programs that can make my business more efficient?
B2B List Provider
Business Level: What data do you use to create your lists?
Industry Level: How do I write better sales emails?