Similar to cooking a gourmet meal, creating a winning blog starts with the right ingredients. Best practices for social media marketing tell us that certain key components, when incorporated into your blog, will increase the likelihood your blog will be noticed, read and acted upon. And in the bigger picture, they will help to ensure your blogs provide an effective platform for achieving your sales, marketing and growth goals.
In a recent article, 11 Things That You Must Include in Your Next Blog Post, author Rachel Foster highlights several factors that can help to boost a blog’s readability and value to customers. As noted in other insightful articles on the subject, these key items can cover a wide spectrum of tactics and techniques ranging from content and format, to presentation and sequencing.
Priority 1: Know Thy Customer
As any good marketing professional will tell you, your blog will only be as good as your understanding of your customers and your knowledge of what they’re actually seeking. This is particularly critical in the senior living environment where different services often have different primary customers with differing needs. For example, are you speaking directly to a recently retired couple about the advantages of your “resort-style” independent living community or are you reaching out to adult children who are seeking helpful options for their aging parents’ memory loss?
Once you understand who you are communicating with and what their primary needs and motivations are, the following blogging basics can help you to organize your key content in a way that captures attention and promotes action.
- A Compelling, Attention Getting Title — Your title is the portal to your information. Does it attract attention, invite your customers in and motivate them to read further? Best practice studies demonstrate that top-performing blog posts tend to include the words “How to” or numbers such as “The Top 10 Ways to…” in their titles.
- A Summation of the Focus and Value — Include a brief introductory paragraph that summarizes your content, its value to readers and encourages them to read further.
- Descriptive Subheads and a Bulleted Format — This approach will make your message easier to follow and will also break up the “wall to wall” text that often drives potential readers away.
- Appropriate Visual Imagery — Pertinent visual images can attract attention, add interest to your blog and also reinforce the message you are attempting to communicate. Whether it’s a resort-like photo of an independent living environment or a beautiful garden to symbolize the peace and comfort of a memory care community, photos and graphics can significantly enhance the appeal of your message.
- Key Words to Get You Noticed — Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly changing and evolving, but it is still important to insert key words that your customers may be searching for. Just don’t overdo it at the risk of disrupting your content or being penalized in your search rankings by savvy SEO algorithms.
- A Call to Action to Motivate Activity — As a key element in any sales and marketing initiative, the call to action should motivate your customers to take “the next step,” however you define it. Just make sure that “the next step” delivers real value to your customers.
- Social Media Sharing Options — You want your blog to be read, shared and acted upon – in numbers! Therefore, make sure your blog contains a tool that enables your readers to share your content with their own social networks.
By following these simple, best-practice guidelines, you can give your content the best opportunity to be seen, read, shared and followed up on. Effective blogs use these basics to strike a winning balance between form (how you present your information) and function (your key content).
Implications for Senior Living Providers
Blogs have proven to be one of the most effective forms of social media for business development. With the increasing use of the Internet and social media by senior adults – now over 50% – and with their adult children already viewing the Internet as their “go to” source for information, blogs can be a valuable addition to your sales and marketing strategy.
If your community does not have sufficient internal blogging experts, outside help is available in the form of specialized senior living marketing firms. Those that operate exclusively in the senior living provider industry have the expertise, experience, insight and insider knowledge to make your social media marketing work as a valuable part of a cohesive growth strategy.