“The biggest keyword tool is not Google. It’s your customer.” – Marcus Sheridan.
At BlogWorld LA 2011, speaker Marcus Sheridan talked about his experiences taking his pool business to a whole new level by using a blog. He’s able to compete with huge pool companies, even though he’s a small business owner, and more importantly, he’s able to do so in an economy where fewer people are spending money on pools. The secret Marcus shared with us is that if a small business blog understands what customers are asking, the blog can answer those question and ultimately make sales. He went over seven blog posts ideas anyone in any industry can use to gain traction with a small business blog:
1. Cost and 2. Price
One of the most common questions that people ask in ANY industry is how much they’re going to have to spend to purchase products. “What is the price of…” or “How much does…cost?” are great place for you to start. People avoid answering these questions for some reason, so if you’re willing to talk about price/cost, you’ll stand out.
Your competitors are going to talk about the problems with your products. Beat them to the punch! Address these problems instead of sweeping them under the carpet so you control the conversation. Talk about why your products are still the best options, even with the disadvantages.
4. Versus and 5. Compare
Customers what to know the differences between your products and between your products and other products. Who doesn’t love options? Talk about these differences on your site! That way, when they search for these long-tail keywords, your site is what comes up first. It goes back to the concept that you should talk about problems – you want people to hear you out first, so they can think about your products favorably.
People love to win stuff. Most industries don’t have official awards, so create them yourself! Not only will this be interesting to your readers, but you’ll also get linked by other people – even your competitors! From personal experience, I can say that this kind of post takes a lot of work and might be controversial, but you will get traffic and SEO value if you take the time to publish this kind of thing.
7. Breaking News
Lastly, if you can break news in your industry, this is a great way to attract more readers and to get people to link to you. It’s hard to get the jump on major news sources, but you can talk about how general news relates to your industry. As an example, when Virginia experienced an earthquake earlier this year, before the ground even stopped shaking, Marcus was planning his next post – to talk about the damages some pool owners could be experiencing and why his company’s pools weren’t damaged.
Marcus was by far one of the best public speakers that I’ve ever seen and I think his presentation can be summed up in one thing that he said during it, “If a consumer is thinking it, you should be writing it.” It’s a good lesson for all bloggers, not just small business bloggers!
Remember, you can check out the entire session, as well as other talks from BlogWorld LA 2011 by picking up a virtual ticket to the event.
About the Speaker
The story of Marcus Sheridan is a unique one. In 2001, he stumbled across his first business with two friends and began installing swimming pools out of the back of a beat-up pickup truck. 9 years later, and with the help of incredible innovations through inbound and content marketing, Sheridan’s company became one of the largest pool installers in the country and currently has the most visited swimming pool web site in the world. With such success, in late 2009, Sheridan started his sales/marketing/and personal development blog—The Sales Lion, and has since grown it to one of the strongest blog communities on the web.