‘The Top 5’ best business blog topics
‘The Top 5’ best business blog topics to drive traffic, leads, and sales
To win over your ideal buyers in the world of the internet and search engines, you must become the most trusted resource in your space. The Big 5 blog topics will help you get there.
Best business blog topics
- Cost and pricing
- Problems (theirs and yours)
- Comparisons and versus
- Best of lists (best in class, best practices)
What are the best business blog topics?
The basis for this article comes from a book by Marcus Sheridan call ‘They Ask You Answer” which is well worth a read.
In his book, Marcus says one of the most common questions he gets asked is:
“Marcus, what the heck should our business be writing blogs about? I don’t want us to publish useless fluff. We need to grow our business, and we believe the right content can help us do that.”
First of all, the right content can help you do just that, no matter your industry. Second, there is a lot of “useless fluff” being published these days under the mantle of “content marketing.” The kind of content that may give you quick boosts in traffic but, ultimately, does nothing to increase your bottom line or help your sales team reach their revenue goals.
The best piece of advice in the book They Ask You Answer is to publish articles answering every question your customers ask — even if makes you uncomfortable. (Actually, especially if it makes you uncomfortable.) If your customers have questions they’d like to know about your products and services, then you need to be answering them.
When you do regularly and consistently, you’ll quickly establish yourself as the most trusted resource in your space. And today, that is the holy grail to winning over your more modern, sophisticated, internet-enabled buyers.
It really is that simple.
However, the number of questions your customers could ask you is limitless. So, Marcus reviewed and analysed his own data to see if there were any patterns or trends he could identify in the content being published that directly correlated into traffic, leads, and sales. And has subsequently done the same exercise with other clients.
There were five specific blog categories — which we now call The Top 5 — that consistently outperformed every other blog topic out there, regardless of what industry happened to be publishing them.
The top 5 blog topics were the same irrespective of industry in their ability to drive remarkable growth for companies who answered questions within those categories thoroughly and honestly.
So, what are they? You may be surprised at how deceptively simple they are:
- Cost and pricing
- Problems (theirs and yours)
- Best of lists (best in class, best practices)
The Top 5 blog topics above are guaranteed to drive you traffic, leads, and sales for your company.
Let’s look at each one in more detail.
When was the last time you went online to research a product or service before you made a purchase? At minimum, within the last six months?
Maybe you bought a new car for the family, hired some kind of contractor, or were tasked with finding a new IT service provider for your company. At any point in your research did you ask how much that thing costs?
If you’re like 99.9% of internet searchers out there, yes, you did. But, I’ll bet at some point, you were on a company’s website looking for information about costs, but couldn’t find clear answers.
And when you couldn’t find those answers, how did you feel about that company?
It didn’t help your confidence in them, did it?
Too many companies don’t want to talk about costs on their website, and they’re for all the wrong reasons. These might even be the reasons your company hasn’t written about costs yet.
Do any of these excuses sound familiar?
- But our product/services are custom designed for individual situations.
- But then our competitors would know what we’re charging.
- But we might scare prospects away before we can explain the costs to them.
We’ve all been there! But let’s take a look at these reasons one by one.
Our product/services are custom-designed to an individual situation.
Each project you do is different. Many factors influence the final costs. Prices can vary. The best short answer you’ve got to how much you charge is: “Well, it depends.”
You can do better. The right answer is to write about the factors that influence costs and at least give a range of possible rates. It’s that simple.
But then our competitors would know what we’re charging
Do they not already? Are they totally clueless? Go look at their website. Are they discussing costs? If so, you better catch up. If not, it’s your chance to get ahead of them.
It might scare away prospects before we can explain the reasons
Not answering cost questions will drive more people away as they have to go elsewhere for answers. You have a much better shot at getting someone to stick around just by answering their most pressing questions. And if it turns out you are too expensive then it pre-qualifies your prospects and you won’t have to have those awkward phone conversations with people who are never going to be able to afford you.
Honesty fosters trust. And people want to do business with businesses they can trust. Because, without trust, your business will fail, no matter what you do.
For more details on how to blog about costs read our article here.
There are two major types of problems articles you should be writing about:
- Their problems
- Your problems
Whatever product or service you sell, it is the solution to a problem your prospects are experiencing, isn’t it?
In many cases, these folks only know the symptoms of their problems and may not have any clue whatsoever that you have the solution. Write content aimed at the symptoms of their problems and inform them of their options.
If you’re a roofing contractor, you can answer questions like, “Why is my roof leaking.”
You can write articles about how to check for leaks, how to assess water damage, and reasons they may want to talk to a roofing contractor.
They have a problem: a leaky roof.
You have solutions: a roof assessment.
If you’re a managed IT services provider, your audience may be searching online for solutions to problems like:
“How can I ensure continuous monitoring of my network and phone systems?” or “How can I save money by reducing the size of my IT department?”
Again, your audience is looking for ways to optimize their IT department while cutting costs. You can write articles demonstrating how outsourcing managed IT services can solve these common problems.
These are articles that talk about problems with the solutions.
So, let’s say those people who started their journey searching “why is my roof leaking” discovered that their old flat shingle roof just has to go. It’s shot. No chance of repairs. Done. Part of their research will dive into different types of roofing systems: asphalt shingle, metal panels, clay tiles.
While vetting their options, they’ll look up searches like, “problems with clay tiles.”
And you know what? Your clay tile roofs won’t always be the best solution for them. Maybe they live in a northern climate with lots of snowfall, and a metal roof would be better. Let’s be honest with them and tell them.
Besides, it’s a good way to weed out non-fits for you.
Many of the problems they may have heard about clay roofs might in fact have easy solutions.
The same can be said for managed IT services. You know, not all prospects are a good fit for your services. To better help these bad-fit prospects weed themselves out, you can write an article on “5 Signs Outsourcing Managed IT services Is NOT Right for You.”
By addressing problems, you have the opportunity to set the record straight and reduce the number of non-fit prospects from reaching out to you for help.
Right around the same time people are researching problems with the solutions they’re investigating, they’re going to want to see direct comparisons of those solutions.
Which one is best for their situation?
How can they decide between them?
Here you have an opportunity to discuss each of their options, the pros and cons of each, how they compare in different categories, and which ones are better under different circumstances. Just make sure to be as honest as possible in your assessment. And let readers know outright which of those products/services you sell. They should know if you have a particular bias.
If you do have a bias and they find out later, you’ll lose that trust.
4. “Best of” lists
During that time you were researching your latest big purchase, did you use words like best or top as part of your search terms? Most likely. It’s also one of the most common ways people search.
We want to put all of our options on a spectrum from worst to best and carefully review those starting with the best and walking backwards until we find what’s best for us.
There are a couple of key “best of” article topics you should write about:
Let’s say your business helps other businesses solve their freight and logistics shipping needs and you provide managed transportation services for your clients.
These people may already realize they need help managing their freight solutions and are interested in a list of the best vendors.
How do you think they will search for businesses of your kind?
They’ll probably search something exactly like: “Best managed transportation companies”
You may worry that writing an article listing all of your top competitors will steer prospects away from your business.
But let’s be honest: they’re going to find out about your competition anyway, if you write an article introducing them to all the providers, they’re at least reading the information on your site, and you have the first chance to convert them into a lead.
Best in class
Whether you’re a retailer or SaaS company of any kind, writing best of lists will become your bread and butter.
Let’s say you sell camping equipment. Whether as a local business or an e-commerce site, it doesn’t matter; you could write best of articles until the cows come home. Every line of product you sell, you can write best of lists for.
And, you can get as broad or granular as you want.
- Best tents
- Best tents under £100
- Best tents for families
- Best tents for winter camping
- Best tents for winter camping at high elevations
And don’t get too caught up on using the word best. There’s lots of other superlative adjectives people would use to search:
- Warmest tents
- Most durable tents
- Easiest tent to clean
- Most expensive tent
- Quickest tent to setup
- Highest rated tents
Do you have teachable moments related to the products or services you sell? How can people get the results they desire from using your product.
Let’s continue to pretend we sell camping equipment. Our prospects would likely want to know things like:
- Best practices for planning a camping trip
- Best practices for starting a fire
- Best practices for catching salmon
- Best practices for cleaning a salmon
And in each of those article topics, you’ve got a whole bunch of products you can introduce.
Planning a camping trip? You’ll need a tent.
Starting a fire? You’ll need a flint or a fire starter kit.
Fishing? You’ll need some tackle, poles, waders, fillet knives, etc.
As buyers are considering making a purchase, they often want to know if those that shopped before them are delighted by their final choice or are disappointed.
They want to know how others feel about the purchases they made. If real people are raving about the purchase, they’re more likely to buy. If others are complaining about the purchase, they may avoid it.
People love to crowd source opinions. If you can write honest reviews of the products you sell (and even don’t sell), you’ll connect with more prospects looking for help making purchases.
Where should you start with The Top 5?
According to IMPACT Lead Content Marketing Trainer Kevin Phillips, there are two options to getting started:
- Whatever your ideal buyers are asking the most. In this scenario, you’d run a content brainstorm with your sales team, asking them which of the questions they’re getting answered the most often. Typically, when you start with this strategy, you’ll be writing at the bottom of the funnel first; answering questions that are geared toward educating more sales-ready buyers, rather than more top of the funnel topics.
- You can start by writing about cost. According to Kevin, “You should get ‘cost’ content out there as fast as possible because cost is one question that’s on everyone’s mind.”
Kevin also says that the least important of The Top 5 to get started with is reviews. Reviews still matter, but they won’t drive that immediate needle movement you’re looking for. And, in some industries, reviews may not matter as much as they would in others.
The key to keep in mind is that, even though your instinct may be to create content to drive traffic first, instead you should initially be creating blog content that enables sales. Think about it this way — growing traffic is important, but also a long-term play in many ways, especially with more competitive keywords.
However, if you go into content creation mode with a sales-first mindset, a piece you publish today could be used immediately to close a deal tomorrow.
What if we still need help building and executing a content strategy?
There are some great resources out there, my favourite two are Marcus’ book which is a brilliant place to start and Impact from Hubspot is an excellent resource – and where much of this article came from. If you want to have a call and run through some of your ideas or want some inspiration then give us a call as we are really good at that, call Rachel on 07949 188923