Many consulting or coaching companies get a large number of their clients because they have great content on their websites, usually on their blogs. A quality blog attracts potential clients and helps convince them that the writer is an expert on the topic at hand and can help solve their problems and/or help them reach their goals.
In this article, we will reveal a proven 5-step plan to attract clients with your blog. In Part II of this article, to be published October 15, 2020, we will cover how to promote your blog so it has the widest reach within your target market. Part III, on October 29th, covers the nurturing funnel - how to turn a regular blog reader or subscriber into a customer.
Coaching Blogs that Convert Step 1:
Grab Visitors’ Attention
The first step in developing a coaching blog that attracts clients is to grab their attention. When someone clicks on a new website, you have a couple of seconds to convince them to stay. As a first step, make sure that your site loads quickly, especially on mobile devices. Not only will many users abort their search if your site takes more than a couple seconds to load, but Google and other search engines will punish you in their search results if your page doesn’t provide a good user experience.
Similarly, make sure that your text is equally inviting. Jake Meador of Mobile Text Alerts advises bloggers to:
Make sure that blogs are easy to scan. Most people who read online skim first before deciding if they want to read the entire post. By breaking up large blocks of text, using bulleted lists, and header tags you can make it easier for people to scan and make a decision about whether or not to read the whole thing. (This is also a good practice for greater search engine visibility.)
On the same lines, make sure that you have photos and other attractive visual content and that these photos are compelling. Even stock photos are better than nothing (and sites like unsplash provide free stock photos that don’t look the usual, boring, stock images). As Jay Scott of Pugsquest.com explains, “the photos you use for your blog posts should be of high quality, relevant to the content, and very enticing. Any reader will see the photo first, followed by the headlines, and lastly the main content. When the photo does not attract the reader’s attention immediately, chances are they might not read the post altogether.”
Coaching Blogs that Convert Step 2:
Solve Your Ideal Client’s Problems
Now your blog is formatted and structured nicely, and it’s time to start creating. How do you choose what to write about?
There are three considerations here:
- Write about specific topics of interest to your ideal client
- Within the universe of those topics, pick ones that best relate to your expertise
- Structure the post so that it attracts traffic from search engines
Too many bloggers try the opposite approach, looking for opportunities to acquire traffic from search engines without fully considering whether that traffic will be worth the effort. There are literally 600 million blogs on the internet; if you are not writing about exactly what your target market wants, someone else is.
Being too search-engine dependent can also narrow your focus. As Omair Khan with Gigworker points out, “blogs that don’t have a singular field of focus tend to be overlooked for consultancy. This is because the blog doesn’t show expertise in a singular subject. Most clients, when looking for consultants, tend to look for experts in that field.”
So, how specifically should bloggers choose topics? Matt Press of Splash Copywriters has an original and powerful approach:
A quick and easy way to determine what our ideal client wants to read about is to enter a broad seed word into Amazon and look at the reviews of the best-selling books on that topic. For example, suppose an accountant wanted to generate more small businesses clients. Enter “accountancy for small businesses” into Amazon, check out the leading books and filter the products for those with the most number of reviews. Then simply go through some of them, extracting the key points. It's usually pretty easy to find an array of content ideas, and the great thing is, this data comes from actual people. What's more, we can even lift some of the language directly from these reviews to use in our blog posts. Maybe small business owners find tax regulations unbearably confusing. Well, we can use that term in a blog headline. That will resonate better than any guess would.
Author and Speaker Carma Spence uses a similar approach, using search engine data to ensure that content is relevant both to Google and the end user: “Write posts optimized for keyword phrases your ideal clients are actually using. How would they search for information to address their pain point? Use Google to help you get the questions and phrases that are actually being used. The People also ask and Searches related to sections of your search results are very helpful.”
Finally, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. There are probably other bloggers in your field. Find what the successful ones have done, see if it resonates with you, and, if so, improve on their approach. Rob Powell of RobPowellBizBlog.com explains this approach:
Go to Google and type in the keyword for the type of coaching you offer followed by the word ‘coach’. In this example, you would type in ‘personal empowerment coach’. Then, go through the websites of four or five personal empowerment coaches and look at the titles of the articles on their blog. You can be sure that those articles are bringing in clients for those coaches. So those are topics that will bring you clients as well.
You will face more competition with this approach, but competition is inevitable. Even if you find a niche without competition, someone else using Rob Powell’s approach will eventually find you and compete with you.
Coaching Blogs that Convert Step 3:
Don’t Hold Back
There is a natural temptation among some coaches and consultants not to give away too much information in their blog posts. If they give away their best stuff for free, the argument runs, why would anyone pay for it?
This thinking represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the coaching and consulting process. Outside of certain specialized fields, clients rarely pay for raw information - they pay for personalization, for implementation, for support, for any number of things beyond raw information. Producing compelling content displays both confidence and authority to potential clients - when you make it clear that you have something insightful to use in solving a potential client’s problem, you clear a major hurdle in terms of winning a paid engagement.
Experts in the field agree:
- Maggie Perotin of Stairway to Leadership: “Deliver real value. Don't be scared to share your knowledge in your blog. Write it in a way that if someone applied your tips, they could get results. It's a great way to showcase your expertise. You're not going to lose clients this way as let's be real: most people know what to do, but to do it, they need you to help them. And if they won't find out what they need from you, they will go somewhere else.”
- Ben Taylor of HomeWorkingClub.com: “This isn’t about holding the best stuff back for the people who pay. It’s more about giving genuine value but attracting the clients who are genuinely ready to take action. Those are the clients who will be most rewarding to work with.”
Coaching Blogs that Convert Step 4:
Keep it Simple and Direct
While you shouldn’t skimp on necessary detail or hold back important content, also ensure that your posts will be engaging even to a distracted reader. We would all love for our target audience to read our blog posts in a quiet room, with plenty of time for reflection, a cup of coffee by her or his side, but in reality, your reader probably has multiple tabs open and a few minutes at best before their next interruption.
Meet your reader halfway by keeping your posts straightforward and well-organized. We covered some of the visual aspects to engaging blogs in Step 1; here, the important point is to keep the writing itself simple.
Eric Bechtel of Gameplan Digital Marketing suggests a quantitative approach to test your content before publication:
Use the Character Count Tool Chrome extension. If your Number of Difficult Words is above 20%, Unique Words is below 40%, or Dale-Chall Readability Score is above 5, consider simplifying your content. Also take note of the Top Frequency words, as these will be the keywords for which your blog or landing page would appear in search engines.
Coaching Blogs that Convert Step 5:
Call to Action
The last step before you’re ready to publish and promote your content is to make sure your post has a call to action. What do you want the reader to do next? Content that just stands alone risks leading readers to think “nice post” and then move onto whatever they are doing next. Instead, guide them. Take them to the next step.
By the way, that next step is not usually “sign up for a coaching program”. That’s like asking someone to go on a date with you after you’ve just said hello. Sure, give them the ability to sign up with you if they are inspired - making your email or phone number obvious is usually good enough - the heavy lifting comes after they’ve read your post.
Usually the most important call to action from a blog post is getting the reader’s contact information so you can follow up. This can be as simple as “embedding a sign up form in your blog to capture their emails. That way you can build relationship with them which will lead to them doing business with you.” (Chuks Chukwuemeka, Depreneur Digest)
Sometimes, however, busy readers need a push or an incentive to offer access to their email inbox. Shobha Ponnappa of Solohacks Academy notes that her most successful approach has been to “give a free ebook plus a discount coupon worth between $25-$50, redeemable against any future purchase on my site, so long as they stay as my subscribers.” More generally, Kyle Vamvouris of Vouris.com offers this simple but structured approach to nurturing and converting leads:
In exchange for an email and phone number, offer a resource that is specific to the topic and makes things easier (templates, frameworks, etc.). When someone opts-in, give them a call! Here is a script: “Hi [name], I noticed that you downloaded [name of resource]. I have some other resources I can send you to help with that but I was curious, what motivated you to download that in the first place?”
Regardless of your area of expertise, the five-step process above can position your organization as an authority on the type of issues faced by your ideal customers, and give them a clear and easy bath to develop a relationship with you.
Stay tuned for related content:
Your professional profile on Awarenow allows you to publish blog posts that will be shown on your profile but also will increase chances of profile discovery by appearing in the community blog and by being associated with other relevant posts.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash