Step 1: Make Coffee
(You didn't seriously think we could develop a working metaphor about our favorite caffeinated beverage and then not drink some, did you?). As you wait for that percolator to drive you crazy with that smell, think about everything we just said about coffee in the above paragraph and switch the word coffee to content. And not just any content. Your content.
Step 2: Don't offer coffee to a tea drinker.
As amazing as coffee is, you'll never convince a tea lover that they should drink coffee instead. Before you start writing your business blog, you need to determing who you are selling to, and also, who you are not selling to. You wouldn't pour a cup of coffee for someone you know won't drink it. It's a little careless, and frankly, a waste of good Joe. In other words, channel your marketing efforts so that the leads you generate are strong ones.
Step 3: If they drink what you are pouring, know how they take it.
This means brewing up blog posts and web content that specifically addresses the questions your potential and current customers are asking. These questions could be on Facebook, in your blog comments, or from people walking into your store. By watching how they respond to your content, you can start to get a better idea about what's important to them, what motivates them, and how you can help them. This means using the words they are using (key words)--even if it's not how you would say it. Remember, they aren't coming to drink your coffee out of your mug. They brought their own mugs. All you need to do is fill them.
Step 4: Change your filter occasionally.
The key to making good coffee is to start with fresh water, a clean filter, and freshly ground beans. Writing engaging content is very similar. Change up your subject matter and how you approach it. Think: How-To's, Informatives, Creatives, Visuals, Short-and-sweets, and Behind-the-Scenes. Use all these tools to drive your goals home, whether they be brand development, customer service, relationship building, product promotion, or personal touch. An editorial calendar is a great way to make sure you are targeting all of your goals and changing up the way you are approaching your readers.
Step 5: Make more coffee. And offer it to others.
The more you post, the quicker you'll tend to see the results of your hard work, but how often you post is less important than the relevancy of your content, the approachability of your writing style, and the share-ability of your posts. Sure, there's some SEO that always helps, but for the most part, make a point to link out to other relevant sites as well as your own content, and passively encourage others to link to you. Do it like coffee and keep it regular. Your readers will appreciate it, and your business will benefit.
You'll notice we have yet to mention what Google thinks of any of this. While Google's recipe for search engine optimization changes periodically, one thing has remained fairly consistent: in order to stay relevant in search results, you have to continue to be relevant in your field. Stay engaged with your customer base and in touch with your industry, and Google will get you where you need to be.
If this sounds daunting--and it certainly can, especially if you drink decaf--you don't have to do it alone! You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't want to drive your brand, and we wouldn't be writing this post if we weren't absolutely passionate about it. And by "it" we mean "inbound marketing". And coffee. (Oohh. coffee).