The Big 5
Do you struggle to think of things to blog about? Are you confused about what kind of content you can produce that will be
relevant to and of interest to people?
If so, allow me to introduce you to The Big 5. In his book, They Ask, You Answer (if you read one book
about marketing your business, make it this one), Marcus Sheridan outlines the 5 blog article topics which move the needle, regardless of what industry you’re in.
Let’s take a look at each of The Big 5 in turn.
When people buy, especially where a large investment of money is concerned, they worry about what might go wrong and they tend not to Google positive reviews, but negative reviews.
Is there a common concern surrounding your particular industry/product/service that you could address?
For example, for a print company producing textbooks, a common concern for people thinking about buying their products could be the impact on the environment. People may feel inclined to consider online learning material instead. However, this particular print company may be heavily committed to only sourcing their paper where there are sustainability schemes in place. This is something they could explain through their blog or website content to help assuage the view that buying through them is somehow harming the environment.
Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we can benefit from addressing the elephant in the room.
The fact is that within your industry, the likelihood is that nobody else is doing it, yet it’s something that everybody is searching for.
You can either allow the customer to find the problems themselves and lose trust in you OR say, “Here’s our elephant, do you have a problem with this?”
People are going to get their answers somewhere, wouldn’t you rather it was from you?
We like to have an idea of how much something is going to cost before we spend hours dedicated to learning about a product, service or company. This is not necessarily about putting a pricelist on your website, although many companies are seeing the benefit of being more transparent with their pricing, but rather talking about the factors which affect the cost of whatever it is you offer and explaining roughly where abouts you sit pricewise.
It’s about being willing to specifically address the main pricing questions you get.
For example, if you’re a web developer you could approach the cost/price question in the following way:
Perhaps write a blog or content for your pricing website page along the following lines: How much will it cost to have a website built from scratch?
Start off by explaining that there are many options, for example a lot will depend on how many the pages the site will have, what platform it’s going to be created on (WordPress or other), the functionality of the website… how many different features you’d like such as opt in forms, etc.
Also, there are different packages available. Do you want the web developer to host the website as well? Do you want them to source the images?
With each of these options, you can then go on to give large ranges as to what the buyer could expect to spend. So you’re essentially wrapping up the piece of content by effectively saying “it depends”, but only after you’ve provided a great deal of value and given a great deal of guidance on what people can expect.
The thing is, nobody else is doing this and with the education that you’re providing comes a sense of trust. What matters is that you’re willing to teach your prospective customers what would drive the cost up or down and help them get a feel for the marketplace.
One huge barrier people have to discussing pricing is that they’re aware that their competitors charge much less than they do. There’s always a reason for this and it’s usually to do with cost of manufacture, if it’s a physical product you’re selling, or the quality of the service or product you offer. If that’s the case, why not explain all this through your content?
Not only will you be seen to be being helpful and transparent, but you’ll gain better, higher-qualified opportunities, because the people who do pick up the phone to you or walk into your showroom are already prepped and know they’re in the market for what you offer.
At the end of the day, people want to know about pricing and they’re going to get the answers from someone, and, again, wouldn’t you prefer it be you?
3. Versus and Comparisons
We as consumers these days are savvy and the Internet has allowed us to research products and services to within an inch of their lives… we’re all well aware of the different options open to us.
For example, if you’re a traditional estate agent, you may find yourself suddenly sharing the marketplace with online agents. Rather than taking the attitude of , “To deal with this problem, we’re not even going to discuss online agents on our website and in our content. And if we don’t, nobody will know they exist”, actually address the issue head on.
For example, why not create a blog post along the lines of ‘traditional estate agents versus online agents’.
The content would address the fact that the fees for using an online agent tend to be significantly lower. This is going to be a major draw for those sellers who want to keep selling costs down. However, when moving on to discuss traditional estate agency, the content would highlight the customer service and support element that comes with using them. They can likely offer a much higher level of customer service and sellers are able to pop into the office and speak to the agents face to face if they wish.
Within your own company you could compare your own products or services, perhaps even compare those with ones you don’t even offer.
5. Reviews and Best in Class
The fourth and fifth of The Big 5 are combined here.
There are some industries for which there is no representative body or awards schemes and ceremonies to signal to the public which are the best products/services in a particular category. So one option is to do it for them.
In They Ask You Answer, Marcus Sheridan tells how he did this.
He created a blog post entitled, ‘The Best Fiberglass Pool Design Awards 2011’. He spent time researching different pool manufacturers and the products they produced and put them into different categories, for example, best kidney shaped pool, best diving pool, etc. He then awarded a particular pool, the one he deemed the best pool in that category, ‘best in class’ and mentioned the pools manufacturer.
Now, obviously, these companies that he was crediting with manufacturing the best pool in a particular class, were his competitors.
Not only was Marcus providing immense value to his audience by providing them with all this information and saving them a lot of time that they’d have to spend researching, but think how good this was for competitor relations! It encouraged links back to his website from others who wanted to promote the blog because it mentioned them, and it encouraged reciprocity.
Is this something you could do in your industry?
The most important thing to remember about blogging is that it’s not about you.
When you first start your blog this can be hard to get your head around. It’s natural to want to write about things YOU want to write about, things that interest you and that express your personality.
However, content marketing, the only form of marketing now, is only ever about them… the reader, prospective client, your audience member – it has to provide value to them in some way, and using the Big 5 as a starting point for your blog content will certainly help you do this.