Contributed by Maggie Hibma
Product marketers like you create content all the time. But how is content creation different for us? In this series, we’ll explore the nuances that product marketers must consider when writing for different mediums.
When’s the last time you wrote a blog post about your product or service, or about an important topic in your industry? My guess is pretty recently. Maybe even yesterday. And for good reason: it’s working. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI on their time spent crafting interesting headlines and creating compelling copy.
But when you’re a product marketer, you likely have a more intentional reason to blog which goes beyond just creating awareness for your product or service. Whether it’s a new launch or creating influence in your industry to become a thought leader, product marketers use blogging to directly influence prospects and customers that your service or product is top-dog.
Read on to find out how to create effective blog posts as a product marketer.
If you market a specific product or service within your company or are responsible for being the marketer for that particular industry, consider yourself lucky: you’ve got the topic of your blog post down. Now, you’ll need to figure out why this blog post will be different from past ones you’ve written. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself as you outline and brainstorm your blog post:
- What’s special or different about this topic today? Let’s pretend you are a product marketer that markets social media tools. If blogging is part of your job, so is staying up-to-date on what’s going on in the social media industry and passing that information along to your readers. Doing some research before outlining a post will help make sure it’s fresh. Better yet – set up some Google Alerts with industry keywords and have this happen for you without lifting a finger.
- What’s the point of this post? A lot of times I hear other marketers making content for the sake of having content on hand to share and promote. Which you need — but these pieces also need purpose, too. Have you made a product change, or changed your stance on an important industry topic? Whatever the case may be, it’s helpful to have one sentence that you write before the post that says “This blog post will…” and fill in the blank with the purpose. This will help keep you focused throughout your writing.
Reader expectations and questions
Even before a reader gets to the end of the first paragraph, they’ve already set expectations about your post and are starting to think critically about what they’re reading. As a product marketer, knowing how your reader approaches your blog post can help make your blog post effective from the outset. Here are a couple of questions your readers are asking themselves while reading your blog post:
- What’s the number one takeaway? A popular phrase these days on the internet is “tl;dr:” meaning “too long; didn’t read.” It’s popular because — you guessed it — reading isn’t the only way people consume information anymore, and it’s becoming less and less of a fan favorite, even to the most hardcore readers (Hardcovers, anyone?).
- What am I going to learn? While what you learn throughout the post certainly relates to the takeaway, it’s actually all of the supporting evidence that the reader is interested in. These learnings, like statistics or testimonials, tend to stick in your reader’s mind long after they’ve left your post.
Tips and tricks for effective posts
Now that you know the fundamentals of what you’ll be writing about and what the reader expects from you, you have the power to create effective blog posts for your customers and prospects. There are several nuances between blog posts and effective blog posts that product marketers can work into their process. Here are some tips and tricks for writing effective blog posts as a product marketer:
- Introduce the take-away up front. This may seem totally backwards, but it’s not – it’s really just explaining the point of the post which you’ve already wrote down. Use that one sentence and expand it into an opening paragraph or two to be up-front about what the take-away is for your post.
- Bold the learnings. This seems like a small thing, but putting your most important information in bold helps the reader connect the dots between the supporting evidence that makes your takeaway true in your reader’s eyes. It also helps with readability, too — if your reader only scanned the bold text in your post, would they walk away with a good understanding of the point of the post? (I sure hope so, since I employed this tactic in this post right here!)
Write it like they’ll read it. In both launch posts and thought-leadership pieces, you’ll need to find ways to relate to the reader to continue to keep them engaged. In the copy, try to keep connecting to the reader and give scenarios that involve them. An easy way to work this in is to use the second-person point of view. Phrases like “Let’s say you…” or “When you…” help the reader imagine or easily connect with the words on the page (or screen, in this case). Taking the time to consider the reader mindset is one of the best ways to create effective blog posts.
Maggie Hibma works on the Product Marketing team at HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform. At HubSpot, Maggie specializes in the platform’s marketing automation, social and mobile apps, and frequently blogs about the HubSpot software. Before coming to HubSpot, Maggie was a Product Manager at LogMeIn where she grew the brand through social media and worked directly with U.S. and international development teams to design, test, and launch product features. Follow Maggie on Twitter at @MaggieHibma
Image courtesy of Flickr Commons.