Blogging Solutions for Food and Farm Marketers
Blogging is a proven way for both B2B and B2C food and agriculture marketers to create authority and generate sales leads.
Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI. (HubSpot, 2019)
So why is your food or agriculture company’s business blog doing anything but?
I’ve looked at a lot of business blogs and invariably I see the same four fundamental mistakes in under-performing blogs.
1) Is Your Food or Farm Blog Forgetting Something?
So…what’s your SEO?
No, that isn’t some new version of ‘SWOT’ (as somebody recently asked me). If you aren’t familiar with SEO (search engine optimization) you need to take a step back and try again.
Every company that expects to generate leads or business from their website needs an SEO strategy. You need it not just for your blog posts, but your website and entire content marketing strategy.
Why? Because, unless you’re blanketing Earth dropping business cards from airplanes, without an SEO strategy your potential customers will have no way to find you on the web. Google is big and vast and you are just one of 1.7 billion websites on the internet. An SEO strategy is how your customer finds you.
But heck, don’t take my word for it – Top 10 Reasons to Invest in SEO.
As part of an overall SEO strategy creation process, you will generate an enormous list of potential keywords and key phrases to target as subjects for potential blog posts. Those keywords are useful for prompting blog topic ideas (great when you’re feeling stumped). Make sure to include them in your headline, subheads and introductory text.
For this post, I spent 20 minutes doing some basic SEO research and thinking about what was my main phrase would be for this post (and a few additional ones). I want my ideal client – food and agriculture companies needing my blogging help – to be able to find it. So, I chose the following phrases to focus on:
- Business Blog (primary)
- Sales Leads (secondary)
- Food and Agriculture Marketing (secondary)
An SEO strategy can be complicated and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it. But in essence, the basics are fundamental.
Solution – Create an SEO strategy. Stick to it. Use it in every blog post or content piece you create.
2) Did You Give Away all Your Possible Sales Leads in the Headline?
There’s not a whole lot of point to a blog post that nobody reads. So why did you tell them everything they need to know in the headline?
Imagine that you are selling a beverage thats key selling point is electrolytes that help athletes avoid dehydration.
You could write a blog post with this headline –“Electrolytes in Beverages Help Athletes Avoid Dehydration”
Your potential ideal customer sees that headline, thinks ‘great, good to know’ and moves on. They NEVER read the actual post to find out why they should get your particular product. Why would they? You already told them everything they need to know in the headline.
To stand out from the crowd – and remember those 1.7 billion websites are all creating content! – you need to craft a headline that makes your ideal client click. Opening the post is the first step to engagement and gently leading them down the sales funnel.
How do you do that? By giving them enough information to leave them intrigued to find out more.
No, this is not ‘clickbait!’ Analytics have proven clickbait to be great at getting readers to open blog posts, but not so great at getting them to read. It generally pisses them off. The key difference here is, you’re going to provide valuable information in your piece and not have such an alarmist headline that people immediately regret opening it.
Here is a ‘click-bait’ headline – “Skipping this One Thing in your Athletic Beverage Can Kill You!”
That’s alarmist and your reader will feel used when they open it up and find out you’re talking about regular old electrolytes. Instead, encourage your reader to open up the blog post with an enticing headline and then make sure to fulfill the promise with real, actionable information that is helpful to them.
How about –“Can an Athletic Beverage Boost Your Performance?”
This is a headline that entices your ideal customer to click, and then when they do, you provide real, valuable information that leaves them satisfied with the help you provided and intrigued to learn more.
Solution – Enticing Headlines You Can Deliver On
3) Are Your Food or Farm Blog Posts Boring and Confusing?
The average reading level for Americans is generally considered to be at about the seventh or eighth-grade level.
Not only that, but reading text on the web is harder than print. Perhaps it is because of our nature to ‘skim’ the web, versus sit down and engage in a book or print magazine. Not to mention the computer-screen glare.
For whatever reason, studies have shown that readers generally read 18 percent of the text on a page. Some suggest when converting print text to the web to reduce words by at least 50 percent!
Sure, your particular customer base might be ‘smarter than the average bear’ depending on what you are selling. But they still probably aren’t as smart as you think they are! Remember, you’re the expert, not them.
And the majority of them don’t have the time, nor are they interested, in sitting down and reading a textbook full of jargon to get to a solution.
If you’re wondering how ‘readable’ your blog posts are, there are several apps that can tell you just that. I like this one – Readable.
Your blog posts should cover the basic points, presented in an engaging manner and get to the point already! So, to follow my own advice –
- Avoid industry jargon.
- Short sentences and paragraphs.
- Delete unnecessary words.
- Avoid multiple syllable words.
I know this seems counter-intuitive when you are trying to ‘convince’ an audience of your knowledge and authority.
But when you overwhelm your audience with jargon, complicated phrases, big words they have to look up and (my personal pet peeve) descriptive phrases that don’t mean anything, they are most likely to simply say ‘too hard’ and move on. Or, even worse, think you are trying to ‘pull the wool over their eyes’ by coming off as smart.
Remember, you can always provide more detailed information when they are ready for it. That’s part of the sales funnel process (e-books and white papers can be great for that).
The goal of your blog post isn’t to turn your customers into a Ph.D’s. It’s about getting them to want more.
Solution – Dumb it Down Already!
4. The Blog Post is Just the First Step
Too often companies put up a new blog post on their website, do nothing more with it, and then complain when results are lackluster.
Unless you have a giant, captive audience that eagerly awaits every blog post you’ve put up (and that is a strategy for some!) you need to publish your blog post and then share, share and share again!
Why wouldn’t you? You took the time (and spent the money) to create this engaging post. You need eyeballs on it!
This is actually why blog posts are such a fundamentally useful piece of content marketing. One blog post can be turned into countless additional pieces of content which makes your social media person super happy as well. Here are just a few ideas:
- Share your blog post on your social media with engaging questions.
- Build a video, podcast or Facebook live post around your topic.
- Create an infographic based on the topic and share that, with a link, to the post.
- Pull out snack-able ‘quotes’ or create graphics and share those (again) on social media.
- Use it in your newsletter! Most of the blog posts I read reliably are via newsletter campaigns I’m signed up for.
- Link it through on your website where it fits in with your static page copy.
- Once you have a bunch of blog posts, combine them all into an e-book that you can offer free as a downloadable ‘lead gen’ magnet.
- Link old blog posts into new blog posts!
- Answer questions and engage with the comments posted.
- Share, share and share again! It is perfectly fine to share ‘old’ blog posts, assuming they are topics that aren’t time-related, like announcing a particular event.
Solution – Turn One Blog Post into Lots of Different Content
Keep on Keeping On. And Blogging!
There is a reason smart content marketers use blogging as fundamental to their content strategy plan. It works.
42% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most important type of content. (Social Marketing Industry Report, 2017)
But only if you understand the fundamentals.
I hope this helps your business out with your blogging strategy.
No more sucky blog posts!
What other blogging issues do you find yourself struggling with? Post them in the comments.