I get a funny feeling in my stomach whenever I approach business blogs.
For some reason, I approach these blogs as if: 1.) The business doesn't care about solving my problem as much as they do about making money, 2.) They throw it up on their website because someone told them it was a good idea, and 3.) Marketers, not writers, write the blogs.
It's a shame I feel this way, but I can't help it.
While many blog sections on business websites draw little traffic, I turn my attention to the blogs maintained by one person--where their business is their blog. Take writer and author, Jeff Goins, for example. I don't get the feeling of reading a sleazy business pitch from his blog. His blog is doing something fundamentally different than most business blogs.
If all business blogs were practicing what Jeff is practicing on his blog, then businesses would take their blogs seriously. No more "wasting time" with their blog. No more empty return for their content.
What needs to change with business blogs is their positioning.
Businesses need to understand where their content is in the purchase funnel, and how they can leverage their position to truly draw people in.
The Value of Helping
Most businesses have blogs on their website with the idea that the only people who are going to read their blogs are the ones who happen to arrive on their website after searching for their services.
This is why businesses cater their content as if it's in the "consideration" stage of the purchase funnel--meaning, those who arrive on their website are already interested in buying.
Now for some people who arrive on websites, this is true--especially for those who stumble upon a website due to search engines (search engines are closer to conversion in the funnel because people often search with intent to buy).
But with more content spreading on social media through their different ad platforms, and with the saturation of search engines, content is mainly in the "discovery" stage of the funnel.
This means businesses should cater their content as if it's helping someone, not pitching services.
What draws an audience into content is when the content is truly concerned with helping the person solve their problem. Sleazy, business pitch content only converts people who are in the "consideration" stage.
But truth is, because of social media and word of mouth, many of the people who arrive on business websites because of their blog are going to be in the "discovery" stage.
As a result, businesses should teach everything they know with their content.
How to Teach with Your Content
Now for you business owners out there: when it comes to teaching with your business' content, you have to understand two key ingredients: passion and problem.
First, you have to be passionate about what you do. But that passion cannot be blind. Many passionate people assume everyone else is just as passionate about their subject matter than they are. But this is not always the case.
To effectively communicate passion, we need to pretend the reader is not as passionate as we are about our main idea.
This means, our passion needs to collide with the problem people face. Assuming people are as passionate as we are means they already understand the problem and all its implications. But if we pretend they aren't passionate, then we can really emphasize why the problem needs solving.
Great content arises from the intersection of passion and problem. You have to be truly passionate about helping people solve a problem.
But while you create content, you truly appeal to an audience when you teach everything.
What I mean is, don't create a blank space in people's minds because you want to fill it with your services. And don't overly complicate the problem because you want people to come to you.
Remember: you should assume the people reading your blog are in the "discovery" stage, not interested in buying yet.
Your content isn't a pitch. It's teaching everything to draw attention.
Instead of making your content pitchy, pretend as if you don't even have a business that's selling these services.
Teach as if you're helping people solve the problem on their own.
You see, people don't naturally surf the Internet looking to give their money away. They search in Google and click links on social because they want to learn how to solve a problem--preferably, on their own.
If your content can empower people to solve a problem on their own, then it'll appeal to them.
Great Content Helps People
Most businesses fail at creativity online because they believe content should sell to people. While it's not bad to be selling, our content shouldn't come from this foundation.
Great content helps people. It doesn't sell.
When content is doing all that it can to help people, it understands its position in the purchase funnel. It can then compel people to fall in love with their business, and draw them deeper down the funnel.
So stop wasting your time creating content that's strictly aimed at selling. Great content helps people. That's how we should position our content online.
This article was originally published on StartCreatingStuff.com.