Type “Is blogging dead?” into Google and you’ll see dozens of recent articles.
And search for “How To Blog” in the Google Trends tool and you’ll see that interest has been slowly declining over the past 5 years.
Let’s face it…blogging isn’t sexy anymore
There was a time when it was the cool new thing to do. But now it’s chat bots, Instagram stories, and Facebook groups.
So what’s the truth? Is blogging on its way out?
In fact, blogging is going to be the absolute most important part of selling online in the very near future. As if it wasn’t important enough already.
The Dark History Of Online Advertising
A few years ago “organic traffic” was a dirty word. All the cool marketers were talking about “paid media.”
Why blog for free when you could build a killer sales funnel and drive traffic to it with facebook ads? Savvy entrepreneurs were talking about putting a dollar into their funnel and getting $2, $3, $5, or $10 back out.
But then things started to change.
Conversions started going down. Ad costs started going up. Consumers were getting burned out on ads in their feeds. People weren’t clicking through anymore.
More importantly, the algorithms started to change. Facebook realized it was bad for business to bombard users with countless ads. And Google decided they’d rather do business with big brands than aspiring entrepreneurs.
The marketers who were bragging about “paid media” a few months before were suddenly scrambling to get revenues back up.
But you know who wasn’t scrambling?
That’s because there’s one strategy that will never go out of style. There’s one tactic that will never get crushed by the algorithms… providing massive value to your customers. Showing them you understand their problems. And teaching them the solution.
The Coming Renaissance Of Blogs
As the algorithms increasingly push valuable content, blogging is going to be even more important for doing business online.
No one is going to share your sales funnel on social media. And the search results aren’t going to serve up your sales page. But the world will always be hungry for passionate people like you who have valuable information to share.
This is why you have such a huge opportunity right now. Every day you see marketers yelling at you, trying to get you to go to their site so they can sell you something. The more that people block them out, the more they yell. And the more they yell, the noisier it gets.
But when you come in with your information, your expertise, and your value… your voice will cut right through the noise. It will be a breath of fresh air.
The Secret Fear I Know You Have (And How To Create Incredibly Valuable Products)
99% of the people reading this right now are thinking “But Ben… if I give massive value on my blog, what am I going to have left to sell? I can’t give away my knowledge for free, because that’s the stuff that’s in my course/ebook/infoproduct.”
I totally understand that fear. But I’m going to walk you through the way around it. Let’s say I have a fitness business. I teach people how to lose 20 pounds. There are two ways I can do that… I can sell a product that teaches people how to lose 20 pounds.
Or I can give it to them for free. When they come to my blog I’ll give them everything. And I’m not talking about fluff. I mean really good information and in-depth teaching.
I know that sounds crazy, but here’s why I’m not worried about giving away information for free: information is only one part of what people need. They need to take action.
We all know how to lose weight… eat less and move more. We all know how to get rich… make a product and sell it to customers.
But how many of us are millionaires with six-pack abs?
That’s because we need implementation. We need accountability, motivation, guidance, support, and much more.
So while you’re going to give away knowledge and information for free, you’re going to create products that automate, simplify, and scale the process.
If you help someone for free, do you think they’re going to be more or less likely to want to buy something from you that takes them to the next level? Do you think they’re going to trust you more and want to buy your programs that help speed up their results? Of course!
And there are hidden benefits:
You’ll recruit an army of salespeople that are going to share your pages on social media. If you have a link to one of your products in your blog articles, you’re going to make sales. You’re going to rank in the search engines.
Everyone thinks that if they can just get in early on the next big thing, they’ll ride the wave to massive success. But blogging is a trend that’s here to stay, and you can still absolutely harness it to grow your business.
Two things you have to have before you ever start blogging
Before I start writing a blog post I always ask myself two questions. (the first one’s more important than the second one.)
And if you don’t follow these rules, you’re in trouble…
1) What’s in it for them?
My team is sick of hearing me say this, because I ask it whenever we create any piece of content: “What’s in it for the reader?”
If you don’t understand why someone would want to read your blog and what you’re giving them, you’re in trouble.
You have to be able to quickly explain right in the first few sentences of your blog post why they should be there. Because if they don’t understand what’s in it for them… they’re gone.
But if you can explain what’s in it for them, and then actually deliver on your promise and teach them something valuable, great things will happen. They’ll read more of your articles. They’ll spend more time on your site. They’ll buy your products.
And another great thing is going to happen: they’ll share your content with their friends.
Let me tell you, if they share something on social media, that is as good as a referral. That’s like them saying “I trust this.” And if you can get traffic that comes to you that already trusts you, that gives your business a massive advantage.
2) What’s in it for us?
As important as it is to understand what the benefit is for the reader, we also need to clearly understand what the benefit is for our business.
Is the reader going to opt-in to our email list? Are they going to download a lead magnet? Are they going to buy something from us?
We just worked hard to get their attention, and they trust us now. We have to keep building the relationship and moving them deeper into our business.
If there’s no benefit for us, then what did we really write that article for in the first place?
Of course I understand there’s long-term goodwill. But before you accuse me of being greedy, you have to know this… your reader will be mad at you if they get through this amazing article that taught them how to do something, and you don’t tell them what to do next.
How would you feel if your personal trainer helped you lose 5 pounds, but they didn’t help you lose 5 more?
How would you feel if your favorite restaurant served you a delicious dinner, but they didn’t offer you dessert?
Your readers are looking for information that is going to improve their lives, so it’s your job to keep offering more ways they can do that. It’s good for them, and it’s good for your business.
So those are the two things. “What’s in it for them” is as always 90% of the equation, but “What’s in it for us” has to be there. That’s the 10% that keeps the ship sailing. And if you don’t have those two things, you can’t get started.
How You Can Spend Less Time Writing (And Your Audience Will Spend More Time Reading)
Most people write articles totally wrong because they don’t understand how people actually read.
I know you’re a great writer. I know your words flow together beautifully. I know you take pride in crafting elegant prose.
But here’s the thing…
Nobody cares about your writing. They only care about what they’re going to get out of it.
So they skim your article and read the headlines and subheadings. If it seems like there’s interesting information they want to learn, they’ll go back and read the meat of the article.
That’s why I always suggest writing your headlines first.
This does two things: It makes sure your content fits together. It ensures your headlines connect logically with each other. And secondly, it gives you a roadmap to follow. Once your headlines are written, writing the finished article is a piece of cake.
Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: you can always go back and change your main headline later. In fact, I highly recommend it.
Most people spend the majority of their time writing the article, and then they slap a random title on it.
You should do the opposite. Spend 80% of your time writing the title, because if it doesn’t capture people’s attention they’ll never read the article in the first place. But you don’t want to use that as an excuse to not get started, so give yourself permission to go back and improve the title later. When you’re ready to finalize your headline, check out a tool called Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule. It’s not the end-all-be-all, but it’s a powerful tool to make killer headlines.
Two More Tools That Automatically Make You A Better Writer
If you like Headline Analyzer, here are two more tools you’ll love…
When I’m writing I don’t pay attention to sentence structure. I don’t pay attention to grammar either. I’m just worried about getting ideas onto the page.
But I absolutely want to pay attention to that stuff before the article goes live on my blog. And to do this, there are two tools I use all the time.
1.) If you used too many adverbs
2.) If you used passive voice rather than active voice
3.) If there are easier alternatives to certain words or phrases
4.) How many sentences are hard or very hard to read
And it will also give your writing a grade. So as you fix the problem areas that Hemingway identifies, you’ll see the grade level come down.
It’s kind of like a fun little game- tweaking your article and seeing in real-time as the readability improves.
I always aim to write between a 4th to 6th-grade level. You might be thinking “A 4th-grade level?! My customers are smarter than 4th graders!”
But here’s the key that’s important to understand: it’s not about how smart your readers are. It’s about how easy it is to consume your content.
Like I said before, most people are going to start by skimming your article. Of course, they’re smart enough to understand your article if you use longer words and more complicated sentence structure. But for now, you don’t want anything to slow down their ability to process your writing.
You want there to be an uninterrupted connection from your thoughts to their brains. It’s like they’re “downloading” your knowledge. And the easier your writing is to read, the faster the download speed will be. The easier they’ll digest your information, and the more they can focus on reading the rest of your content.
Now at this point, you have a finished article and you’re ready to publish it on your blog!
The Quick Way To Put This Into Practice
We’ve covered a ton of information in this article. I want to make it super easy for you to implement all of these strategies, so we’ve condensed everything into a 5-part checklist. You can download it here.
The next time you sit down to write a blog post, before you hit publish make sure you can check all of these boxes. If so, you’ll know you’ve got a piece of content that your readers are going to love.
At this point I’d love to ask you a favor: please leave me a comment and let me know what is the most valuable thing you took away from this post. And let me know what you’d like to learn more of.
I want to do everything I can to help you crush it, so let me know what I need to teach more of.