No matter what kind of business you’re running, you’re going to use your blog as an important sales tool. Every post is a chance to make a sale or warm someone up to an idea. You might be selling a product, or you might be selling people on the idea of joining your list in exchange for a lead magnet. Either way, your blog posts are some of the most important sales tools in your arsenal.
But heads up…
This is only true if you know how to write blogs posts that sell. In other words, not just any blog post will get people clicking through to your sales pages and lead pages.
So how do you craft effective blog posts that sell like crazy? Simple: by following this 10-step plan….
Step 1. Decide What To Sell
The first thing you need to do is figure out what you’re going to sell, and then you need to determine what type of post will best help you accomplish your goal. This is something you’re going to want to spend a lot of time considering, because it is a big key to your success.
Generally, think of how to create content that’s useful yet incomplete. This is a blog post that solves part of your prospects’ problems, but then directs them to a paid offer to solve the rest of their problem.
So let me give you five examples of choosing a post format to sell a specific offer:
• You’re selling a software service, such as an autoresponder. You can create a step-by-step guide for setting up a mailing list, and then embed a recommendation for the autoresponder within this guide.
• You’re selling an app like meal-planning software. You can offer a blog post with 10 nutrition tips for losing weight. The final tip can be centered on using meal-planning software.
• You’re selling a social media marketing course. You can post an article about how to get more followers on Facebook, and then point to the course as a way to monetize and leverage this traffic.
• You’re selling a physical product, such as golf clubs. You can write an article about how to select the right clubs, and include your recommendation within the content.
• You’re selling a comprehensive course in how to write a sales letter. You can post a “cheat sheet” that tells people what to do for each step, but it doesn’t provide the in-depth instruction they need to write a good letter.
See how that works? You can post tips, you can post an overview of a process, or you can even post in-depth instructions for part of a process. But in all cases, they format of the entire article should be a good fit for the product and naturally lead to the offer.
Step 2. Know Your Audience
Don’t even think about writing a single word until you know your audience and you know what they want. This allows you to not only pick an offer that you know they’ll want to buy, but it also gives you the ability to “get inside their head.” The more you know and understand your audience, the easier it is for you to create content that connects with them on an emotional level.
So how do you get to know your audience? Try out these three tips:
• Eavesdrop on their conversations. This means visiting niche forums, social media groups and blog discussions. This simple step will give you a great insight into what your audience thinks about certain topics and products in your niche.
• Interact with them on social media. Here you take it a step further by actually talking to your audience. Ask them questions, find out their pains, figure out what kind of solutions they’re looking for.
• Hang out with them offline. For example, if you’re selling products to bodybuilders, then go hang out at the nearest bodybuilding gym in your area and spend some time getting to know your target market.
Step 3. Outline and Research
At this point you have a pretty good idea of your article topic and format—basically, something that naturally leads to you promoting the paid product. So for this step you need to outline and research.
Even if you know the tips or procedures you want to share in your post, it’s still a good idea to do some research. Your research can help with things such as:
• Finding a good quote or inspirational story to share at the beginning of the article. This is a great way to engage someone emotionally.
• Statistics and other data to back up your claims in the article. For example, you might share a sobering statistic about how much money an average online marketer makes. And then you can launch into an article about how the reader can avoid becoming another marketer who can barely cover the hosting bills.
• Ideas about how to structure your content. For example, if you notice that a lot of articles in your niche are big lists, then you might want to create something popular since it’s an in-demand format.
Once your research is complete, then outline and organize your topics and subtopics in the way you want them to appear in your article. Then move onto the next step…
Step 4. Craft a Compelling Title
A lot of marketers just slap any ol’ title on the article and then focus all their attention on crafting the article itself.
Guess what? Your readers are going to focus most of their attention on your title. And if your title doesn’t absolutely stop them in their tracks and grab their attention, then they’re not even going to bother reading your article.
Point is, you need to spend time crafting a good title that will get attention and draw readers into your content. Here are tips…
The idea here is to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question that’s floating in the back of your prospect’s mind.
For example: “The #1 Best Way to Double Your Conversion Rate”
Sometimes this is as easy as using a word like “secrets” in your title, which will make your prospects want to find out what you know that they don’t.
For example: “The 7 Best-Kept Secrets of Looking 10 Years Younger”
Use Social Proof
This is a headline that says, “Everyone else is doing it, you should too.”
For example: “Here’s What The World’s Best Copywriters Do To Create Million-Dollar Sales Letters…”
Ask a Question
This question can arouse curiosity, help qualify the reader, or even just engage them by making them think.
For example: “Are You Making These Expensive Home-Buying Mistakes?”
Step 5. Present a Strong Opener
Your title grabbed attention – now you need to hold your reader’s attention with a strong, engaging opener. Here are five ways to do it:
• Tell a story. For example, share a story about how someone very similar to the reader overcame the same problem your reader is now facing.
• Share a shocking fact or statistic. The idea here is to get someone to sit up and pay attention. For example, share a shocking fact about how many people die of heart disease each year.
• Say something unbelievable or controversial. Is there something in your niche that almost everyone believes is true? You can shock people right out of their seats by opening an article that goes against this mainstream thought. You might even ask a question to at least get people considering the idea that something might not be true. For example, “What if the moon landing never happened?”
• Bust a myth. Do some people in your niche believe something that is hurting their results? Then you might open by busting this myth. For example, “Doing sit ups isn’t going to give you six pack abs. That’s because abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”
• Ask a question. This is a great way to engage your readers and get them to start qualifying themselves. For example, “Do you ever get embarrassed by your dog’s bad behavior with guests?”
Step 6. Plant Seeds
At this point your prospect is hooked and reading. So now you need to start planting seeds about a problem.
Basically, this is where you set up your post for the call to action that’s coming at the end.
• If this is an instructional “how to” post, you might make a reference to an easier way to accomplish one particularly difficult step.
• If you’re sharing tips, you’ll want to share something novel, such as a new twist on an old method. This will keep the reader hooked, and they’ll be interested in any offer that shares even more novel information.
Engage your reader on an emotional level and talk about their problem. Offer part of the solution, with a hint that they’ll discover a full solution in just moments.
Step 7. Show Proof, Expertise, and Credibility
You need to give people a reason to believe what you’re saying. That’s because people want to follow an authority on the topic. If they start to view you as an authority, it will be much easier to get them to click on your links.
Here are three ways to prove your case and establish your credibility and expertise:
• Be confident. When you impart information, share it with confidence. Use phrases like, “Do this…” rather than weak lines such as, “You can probably…”
• Drop in your credentials. For example, you might say something like, “When I won my fiction award for best thriller novel last year…”
• Show proof. You might actually insert photos or other graphics that prove what you’re saying. Or you might
provide a case study of how someone else got really good results using the methods you’re teaching in the article.
Step 8. Introduce the Solution
At this point you’ve given your reader something useful, such as an overview of a process, tips or something else to help them solve their problem. Now you need to introduce the rest of the solution, along with the benefits of this solution.
For example, let’s suppose you’re selling a low-fat cookbook. You might talk about the problem and then introduce the solution:
I don’t know about you, but one of the things I’ve always hated about dieting is that the food was never very good. Who wants to choke on rice cakes and eat plain chicken breast for every meal?
Good news – now you don’t have to. Because now you can lose weight even while you’re eating all your favorite foods – including chocolate cake!
Introducing… [here you’d insert the title along with the benefits such as easy to prepare, affordable, and guaranteed to taste great] …
Step 9. Offer a Strong Call To Action
If you’ve followed the previous steps, then you’ve lead your reader right down to the end of the article. And best of all, the reader is very interested in this solution you’ve been talking about.
Now it’s time to drop a call to action in front of them along with a link. This is where you tell them what to do next, and why they should do it.
For example, “Click here to download your copy of this cookbook – and do it now so you can have a delicious dish for dinner tonight!”
Step 10. Proof and Polish
You want to make your best impression, so set your post aside for a few days so that you can look at it with fresh eyes. Then follow these tips:
• Read it out loud. This will help you catch portions of your content that are bumpy or otherwise don’t read well.
• Get someone else to proofread. They’ll catch the errors, as you’re probably too close to the work to see them.
• Look for ways to make the content more engaging. Sometimes this is as simple as using different words. For example, instead of saying something is “fast,” you might describe it as “lightning quick.” This paints a picture in the reader’s mind and draws them into the content.
As you just discovered, writing content that sells like crazy has very little to do with the technical side of writing, such as good grammar and spelling. Instead, it’s all about knowing your audience, drawing them in, and then leading them to your call to action. You now have a 10-step blueprint that shows you exactly how to do this, so put it to work for you today!