In the early days of blogging, users treated them as their online journals. Most were about recipes, fashion, or other hobbies. But today, blogging is one of the most popular, and most effective, content marketing strategies for businesses.

But without a plan in place, it may seem like you’re blogging into bottomless cyberspace. Like all marketing strategies, the goal of blogging is to increase traffic, leads, and new business. But how do you bridge the gap between a blog and a new client walking through your doors?

The Proof is in the Numbers

We’ve talked before about the importance of measuring your analytics and these numbers are a great way to find out which posts are hitting the mark and which aren’t as popular. Using Google Analytics, you can find out:

  • Which pages viewers are visiting most often
  • How long visitors spend on your site
  • What forms are filled out the most often
  • Your bounce rates

These are just a few of the data categories you can use to generate more blog ideas that convert readers. Another helpful tool is the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. First, make a Google Adwords account. From there, you can see which keywords people search for the most.

Here, we searched for keywords such as financial planning, financial advisor, and personal wealth management.

Now, you want to target keywords that have low or medium competition so get more visibility. If this was your blog post, throw in keywords like personal investment and independent financial advisor.

Write to Potential Clients

Similar to defining your ideal future client or thinking of your target market, your blog posts should be catered to clients you would like to work with. For example, if most of your clients are healthcare professionals or teachers, write blog posts that relate to their specific concerns.

At the end of the day, your readers are going to be your future clients, so why not write to those that you enjoy working with most? That way, as your firm continues to grow, you will distill your market down to those that you work well with.

Solve a Problem

Chances are, the majority of blogs you come across share inspiration rather than education. While these types of posts are good to sprinkle in (we are guilty of it, too!), the majority of your blog posts should solve a problem for the potential clients mentioned before. If a reader is coming to your blog, they are looking for solutions. In order to solve these problems, though, you must first understand what they are. Ask yourself:

  • What questions do my clients ask most often?
  • What skills do I have that would aid my clients with their concerns?
  • How are my services different than others, and what does that mean for my clients?

By solving a reader’s problems, you will prove your professional value and readers will be more likely to share your post or reach out.

Ask For Action

The best (and most converting) blog posts prompt action and provide a reader the next steps to take to achieve their goal. For example, in this blog post we told you how to use Google Adwords and directed you to our Google Analytics whitepaper for more information on data aggregation. If we merely explained the tools, it would be a much less powerful post.

You should implement similar techniques when blogging. What will change after a reader finishes your article? An actionable step can be as easy as signing up for your newsletter or joining your email list, and as involved as figuring out an annual budget for themselves or setting up an IRA. Depending on your readers and posts, these action steps will differ. But always provide a tangible next step for readers to increase your value.

Now What?

The above four strategies are great jumping off points to frame your blog post in the right light, but they won’t instantly convert readers into clients. Unfortunately, content marketing usually doesn’t have such a direct correlation. Imagine the below scenario, though, which is the ultimate goal of content marketing:

  • John is wondering how to save for retirement. He remembers one of his Facebook friends sharing a recent blog post from their financial advisor.
  • John then goes to the post, enjoys his read, and bookmarks the advisor’s site to come back to for more information.
  • A few months go by, John has read a few more of the advisor’s blogs, and he wants to learn more about their services. He signs up for their email newsletter.
  • Fast forward a few more months and, after having received email updates, videos, blog posts, and more, John decides to schedule an appointment with the advisor to discuss his retirement plan.

This is a common journey from blogging to sales. Whether the company is a retail provider, service professional, or financial advisor, the trajectory is the same — provide value and the clients will come.