I was presenting at a meeting today when a gentleman asked me how he could get more traffic and interaction on his site. He proceeded to tell me how he had a complex network of technology performing every task he could imagine, from retweeting his post link to automatically posting to his Facebook page, and creating updates on his home page through a sidebar widget. He had all his ducks in a row.
Except for content.
He knew the technical steps for getting a blog set up and ready to perform, but as he turned to content, he found himself at a loss. He is posting regularly, but recognizes that his content is less than interesting and, not being a professional writer, he’s having trouble priming the pump.
For this week’s tip I thought I would share with you two of the most interesting and engaging ways to generate content for your blog; How-to‘s and Case Studies.
What makes these easy to look to for a starting point is that they are based on your own experience. And what makes these valuable, if you do it right, is that they involve solving problems or sharing experiences; both of which are interesting to other people. If you don’t believe me; turn on your TV and see how many reality shows are based on exactly this. We love to see how other people do it.
Let’s talk about ‘How-to’s’:
There are lots of people out there wondering how to do whatever it is that you do for your business. Whether you are selling a product, selling a service, or selling a dream; there’s a how-to to talk about. It can be how to sell the product or service, or how to use the product or service, or how to share the dream. And you don’t necessarily have to be an expert to be the teacher; you can share your learning experience, too. Just turn your ‘here’s how to do it’ article into a ‘here’s how I learned how to do it’ article.
Make your how-to into an actionable list of tasks, or better yet a video, and you have a golden ticket to generating interest.
How to write a How-to article?
- Simply perform the task, and make a note of every step along the way.
- Write the steps in outline format and make a comment, explain details, or share a tip on a best practice for each step.
- Wrap up with the reason why someone might want to do what you are explaining and viola; you have a How-to article!
Case studies are also a great way to formulate a quick story that can generate a lot of interest.
A case study is a kind of ‘how-to’ story that involves a personal experience.
Write often about how people use your product or service. Doing this requires nothing more than interacting with your customers or even your team members. You’ll notice that I started this tip out with an experience that I had with a gentleman that I encountered as part of a regular day. When I had the experience I literally made a quick note on my phone and then presented the idea to you in the form of this post.
Putting things in this context helps others understand how to use your product or service, and brings an element of human experience to your insight. Give a specific example of how a specific customer used your product or service. Get specific about the problems that were solved, the steps of the process that were taken by the customer, and how the project or experience turned out for you and/or your customer.
You have these experiences every day, and you should write them as often as you can. Think of it as a sort of FAQ and testimonial all wrapped up unto one short article. Include photos of the process, the person, or the product.
Make a plan to incorporate a how-to into your business blog, and embellish it with case studies of how your customers relate to your products or services. Who knows; you may just be the next Betty Crocker or Norm Abram; both got their start as ‘How-to’ articles!