Hey there Sea Changers! I hope you are all well on this fine day. Today I wanted to take the time to discuss with you some Blog Post Ideas for those of you just starting out in this journey we call affiliate marketing – or to be honest – even some of you who may have been at it for a while and maybe getting a bit stale or even feeling that the whole blogging game has become saturated. Why is this important? Well as you may or may not be aware, it is our post content that controls everything else that we do when we build our affiliate, or online marketing websites (or drop shipping, e-commerce, white labelling, MLM or any other ‘sales’ based site for that matter).
And yes, the whole process can be a little intimidating – especially as we know that there are no shortcuts – rather one that takes time, dedication and patience. And throughout the whole journey, we are constantly bombarded with terms such as:
- Search Engine Results
- Social Media posts
- Google – Analytics, Search Console and Adsense
- Page speed
- and so on and so on
And yes, all of this is critical, but without a good array of posts to fill our sites with some decent problem solving goodness, then everything above becomes a whole lot harder. So hopefully this post will give you some good ideas about the types of posts you should be adding to your own site.
What do we need to know?
Ok, before we get into the post types, we need to be clear on what types will and won’t work for our site. So to make sure we are looking at them from an educated viewpoint, we need to make sure we have a good understanding of the following:
Who is the post for?
When you first created your website you would have hopefully spent some time determining what it is you are going to cover – i.e. your Niche. One common mistake here however is that many of us take the time to determine our niche, but not the actual audience that we will be targeting within it. Let’s use an example of, say, Cameras. Let’s think quickly of all the possible uses for a camera:
- Professional – weddings, parties etc.
- Business – Sales, evidence collection, construction points
- Drone cameras
- Underwater and sports – GoPros etc.
- Kids – School
- Accessories – for all of the above
I mean the sky is the limit. But if we continue with the above example, then think about the information that a professional will be looking for compared to a parent buying one on a budget for their child to use at school. Now of course your audience may not be the same for each post that you write about on your site – especially if it is a generalist site – but if you miss your mark here, people will not stick around to read your posts – and even worse – not purchase from your site.
So take the time to consider your own niche and note:
- Who are you really writing for?
- What sort of information are they after?
- What will convince them to buy online?
- What structure will appeal to them the most?
Once you know this, then you can move onto their problems…
What problem are you trying to solve?
One of the key success factors in online marketing (or most online sales for that matter) is to provide a solution to a problem. Think about your own behaviour online – chance are that most of your own purchase based internet searches are aimed at solving a problem. You may want to know how to fix a bike? You may need the ingredients to bake a pound cake and so on..
Now think about your own niche, your audience (that you clarified above) and now consider what problems they may have. Then as we move through the posts types below, you can then match them to these problems. And that is the key – you must solve problems for your readers because if you do, the chances of them purchasing from you will skyrocket. And trust me, people will not stay on a page if they feel you are just trying to sell something – you are of course – but that cannot be all that the post is about.
Let’s revisit our Camera scenario and some of the problems that different users may face:
- Professional cameramen looking for a lens will want to know the best type for them, their camera and their planned use.
- A family looking to take some underwater snaps on their next holiday may want to know the best camera type they can get for the best price.
- An avid traveller might be having problems taking night shots with their certain type of camera – they might want to know the settings and/or accessories required.
Your job is to choose the correct post type to be abler to answer these questions and provide solutions to their problems. And here is the kicker – you need to write your posts so that these problems are solved EVEN IF they do not purchase from you. I know this sounds a little like we are going against the whole end game of online marketing and sales but trust me, this is a long game and those sites that provide solid, valuable assistance are the ones that survive and make good money in the long term.
What posts can we write?
Ok, so once we have an idea of the above – and keep in mind that you may be needing to undertake the above checks for every post that you write – you can now start to look at the post types that best suit your desired results. Let’s run through them now… I will use our camera example where applicable – but consider your own niche as you read through them.
Use lists are where you provide information based on a product or problem that the reader already knows about, owns or is thinking about but is not sure how to use/fix it. Examples are:
- 10 ways to take better shots at night
- 10 accessories every photographer needs
- 5 best underwater cameras on any budget (see reviews below also)
- 10 things you didn’t know you could do with a digital camera
An audience who knows the problem they have and are looking for a solution or have a product but don’t really know what to do with it.
List type posts are designed to solve problems first and then make sales based on those solutions. In many cases the sale might be an upsell or cross sell to a product already owned. For example if you were discussing 10 ways to get better night shots, then you might recommend a good tripod, or lens to assist with meeting the needs if the reader.
These post types also rank well on internet search engines as they are clearly solving problems (which is one of their key criteria for ranking).
Reviews are another extremely powerful post type where products are reviewed, either individually or compared with others, and an opinion given on your findings. The trick here is honesty – if you like a product, tell your readers from the start and clearly outline why. If not, be clear on why from a practical perspective – don’t just say “this is rubbish cos I think you should buy this other product”. Within the post you run through the features and benefits of the product then provide a recommendation at the end that is either:
- Yep, love it and here is the link to purchase.
- Nope – don’t bother, but I do have another recommendation for you (with a link to purchase your preferred product – AND the product you don’t recommend – you will be surprised how many purchase it anyway).
Those looking to purchase but not sure which product to buy. Examples here could be:
- Go Pro Digital Underwater Camera Review
- Nikon vs Canon – Which SLR is Best
- 4 Best digital cameras for travel (see Use Lists above)
Review posts are designed to lead the reader to a sale based on your advice. Again, you will only make the sale if the reader trusts your content so make sure you are honest and cover your information accurately – even if they use your information to leverage a better deal at the traditional bricks and mortar shop down the road… If your advice is sound, they will more than likely return next time.
“How to” and Instructional posts are aimed at providing good helpful advice on how to do things with products that your readers either may have already been purchased, been given or thinking about purchasing. These posts tend to have a little less monetisation to them but can certainly be linked to landing or product pages – especially if the instructions highlight an accessory, function or service that requires the user the upgrade.
Those needing assistance with a particular product or working on a product (such as building an online business for example) such as:
- How to set Aperture and White Balance
- How to ensure your go pro is waterproof
- How to get great still shots from a drone
How to posts, whilst probably not as sales centred as some of the other post types here, are a fantastic tool when it comes to building trust with your audience and increased traffic – search engines love helpful posts. These are however great for a number of other opportunities such as:
- Building a social media following – Pinterest and YouTube are great platforms for how to’s.
- Outline potential up sell and cross sell opportunities – i.e. this is how you use a SLR camera to take a still shot of a wild animal – but you will need this lens.
- Sell subscriptions to membership pages – If you have a series of decent how to posts and lessons, then maybe set up a subscription service for a weekly lesson.
All in all, out of the posts listed here, this is one of the most critical that you can include on a site in terms of trust and traffic.
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Tell a story
Everybody loves a good story and these posts help to humanise you as the owner of the site leading to a greater rapport with your readers. People relate to these posts types, especially if there was a problem involved. Clever bloggers will use this post to tell a story about a problem and then highlight the product they are trying to sell you as their saviour. The reason I say ‘clever’ is that the story must be the main focus of the posts – remember my comments above that solving the problem must come first and the sale second.
If the post is too ‘salesy’ the story will lose its effect – and remember to outline how the product in question helped YOU, not how it could help the reader.
Story posts work well for readers who have a fairly decent knowledge on your subject already. They can then get involved with your tale as they have more than likely suffered the same problem. These posts are really good as a comment generation method as well – which again, is good for website traffic.
As mentioned above, story posts require a more subtle approach to sales as you want to involve the reader in the story and not so much the product. That said, if done properly, story based posts can work really well if you a dealing with high ticket or specialised options.
Interview posts follow the same lines as the story post except told in interview fashion. They work really well as a followup post to any of the types we have discussed to date to give them credibility as the person you are interviewing can be seen as an expert in their field or subject. For example, if you have written a post about the best ways to take underwater shots at night, then you might interview a professional diver about that subject talking through:
- What they do
- What problems they have encountered
- How they alleviated those problems
- What products they recommend
These post types can work really well for just about anybody who has come across your site from those who are new to the subject wanting some ‘how to’ information to others well versed in the subject looking for some hints and accessory ideas.
The trick here is to lead the interview in two parts:
- Tell the story – let the interviewee outline who they are, what they do and how they relate to your site posts
- Lead them to the products they use – this way you can put links onto your site for possible sales opportunities etc.
Another real advantage here is to provide access for questions where the interviewee can answer them at a later time if possible. This helps drive more traffic and open you up to more potential sales targets.
Posts of this type are definitely aimed more at attracting interaction and activity on your post/site than sales and should be used with great care. When an opinion is given, many readers cannot help themselves but respond with their own thoughts. This is great for product reviews – and is a common approach to selling on gaming type sites and are also good for sites that tend to attract controversy such as dieting, medical marijuana, essential oils and political sites.
However, as above you do need to be careful here – these posts can attract negative, emotional or even abusive responses which you will have to deal with. You can obviously reject abusive comments but the negative and emotional ones should be responded to or your site can lose credibility.
Any site that is looking to build an audience of followers or increased traffic.
If managed carefully, these types of post can become extremely effective sales tools as those who believe in your comments will actually start to do the selling for you – i.e. back you up. And for those that don’t, if you can keep it civil you have the opportunity to discuss the product/service in a more direct manner that may convince them, or others to purchase.
Search engines LOVE sites with lots of interaction so opinion pieces are good if you want to give your site a little boost.
Ask for help
Asking for help is another great way to harness the SEO power of comments and interaction. Your post can start with something along the lines of “Hey guys, I have a problem getting my drone camera to take still shots of dolphins…” and then outline the problem and what you have done to try and rectify it. This process provides a number of examples to your website such as:
- It can assist to humanise you and also build a rapport with your readers
- You readers can provide a trusting and tangible ‘positive’ to the products you are promoting on your site
- You are providing great real life ‘how to’ information to your readers
- Your readers may also highlight another problems they are having giving you good ideas for future posts.
But be careful here, there is a fine line between asking for help in a controlled manner and appearing like you don’t know what you are talking about.
Any site that has a good reader following and trust (these posts don’t work as well for new sites).
As with Opinion posts above, these types of post can work as an extremely effective sales tools as those who believe in your products and answer your questions can actually start to do the selling for you – i.e. discuss how your products can help you (and in turn, others). And, as per the interview posts, this will give your products and posts a greater level of credibility as the comments are from ‘real life’ users and not just you.
So there you have it… 7 Blog Post Ideas for Online Marketers. Each has a distinct advantage and if chosen well, can really boost your website traffic and earnings. Just keep in mind your target audience and the problems you are trying to solve and you will be good to go. And remember, this is a long term game so the more good problem solving content you are putting out there, the more your site will continue to grow.
I hope this has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
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Until next time
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