You’ve produced a first draft of something you know is going to be helpful for your audience. You’ve answered a question you get asked a lot, or written notes about how your firm solves a problem you know your ideal clients are struggling to solve on their own.
Now you need to choose where it goes. Is it best as a blog post? Or do you need a whole website page dedicated to it? The answer depends on how quickly you’re trying to convert your website visitor into a buyer, and how ready they are to buy.
I hear you saying – but Camilla, I always want to convert my visitors into buyers! That’s the point of marketing isn’t it? Yes, AND I want you to remember, your visitors need research time and space to get to know you before they leap into a partnership with you.
Not everyone is ready to jump straight into buying something from you.
- Some of your visitors are at blind date status. If we throw in a marriage proposal right now (wild!), we’re going to scare them off before they’re ready. They need time to trust you’re the right firm for them, which is why writing blogs consistently to address their needs and questions is so powerful.
- Some of your visitors will already be very familiar with you. They have been lurking for some time, watching instagrams you post, reading blogs you share and gathering all the information about what it’s like to work with you. They may be ready to take the next step, which is where a landing page is a great catalyst.
To understand what to create – blog post or landing page – it’s important to understand what the purpose of each is. Let’s start there.
First things first – what is a blog post? And what is a landing page?
A blog post is a detailed article, published to your blog on your website. Its purpose is to build trust by answering a question or addressing a common issue experienced by your ideal client.
A blog post sits in the awareness stage of the buyer progression model – the step by step framework to help you move from general awareness to a regular pipeline of the best leads.
Think of it as an educational tool. When you write a blog post, you are encouraging learning. You are the teacher and guide, providing generous information and helpful advice your reader can apply to their own circumstances to solve a problem, alleviate a fear or move towards a goal.
Blog posts live on your blog page, and the purpose of a blog page is to be constantly refreshed and updated with new and relevant content. The very nature of a living breathing updated blog page means you may share lots of blog posts on the same topic. Here’s the PF blog page as an example. When you search ‘website’ as a topic, you’ll find lots of posts covering different questions relating to websites for accountants. The more blogs you write and share, the more visible you will be to your ideal clients online.
Each time you upload a blog post you have a powerful opportunity to share your expertise on a topic and show your firm’s personality.
Along with videos, social media posts, podcasts, blog posts are part of a tapestry of woven threads. Together they create a picture of whether you’re the right kind of person for your audience to invest in working with, and how well you can solve their problem. By giving away helpful content on a regular basis you build trust and connection.
When your ideal client realises they no longer want to struggle with learning and implementing all this accounting stuff on their own, they’ll know:
- You have proven expertise in the nuances of their industry, type of business, things they find challenging
- How you work and how you will help them – how you approach things and answer questions
- Whether or not you’re the kind of person or firm they’d like to work with – your personality, the values and principles you hold dear
A blog post is a learning tool, and it still needs to encourage action
Learning doesn’t mean absence of action. Your readers want (and need) to be told what to do with the information you are providing.
Let’s imagine you’ve written a really helpful first draft on whether a business plan is really necessary for a small business. It’s educational – check. It answers a question you get asked a lot – check. It goes into lots of detail and gives away massive value – check.
You’ve helped your reader understand why a business plan is necessary, now what? How do they go about applying all this great knowledge to their situation? What more might they need to understand or do?
Your blog needs to call them to action in some way – BUT it doesn’t always equate to a direct sale. Your call to action might be to visit a landing page about your business plan service. Or it might be to read another blog on the topic, watch a helpful video on how your business plan service works, download a one-page plan to help your reader document goals to get started.
It’s absolutely possible someone might buy from you directly as a result of reading one blog. A blog might convert fast because it’s simply the right reader at the right time.
This happened to Sharon, one of our lovely clients in the UK.
“Spoke to a potential client today from East London. We’re in Hereford.
He contacted us SPECIFICALLY because of our blogs!!
He quoted some of our comparison blogs and said that’s the service he needs.
He is not speaking to anyone else.
He is our target niche.
This makes me so happy 💜 💜 💜”
But, the point is, you’re not writing your blog to get leads – you’re writing it simply to help your ideal clients with their problems.
Be generous with your teachings and to tell them where they can go or what they can do next. What they might do next (when they’ve done their research and built a connection) is visit a landing page!
A landing page is a stand alone web page created to target a specific problem and enable direct action.
A landing page sits further along the progression model after the awareness stage.
When you create a landing page, you’re encouraging direct action – most commonly a sale or sign up – for a course, a download, a training session.
It’s called a ‘landing page’ because a visitor will land on it as a result of clicking through from a blog, social post or another webpage. It is the next step toward a visitor on the site becoming a buyer. Think of the landing page as the follow up to the learning and connection a blog post provides.
Landing pages are created to target a specific problem and provide the solution in the form of a service, product or a giveaway of real value (i.e a guide on the top 10 cash flow problems restaurant owners face). There are some exceptions to this: you might have a hiring landing page, for example. While you’re not selling something, you’re still encouraging direct action (to become an employee). This action is relating to a different kind of audience.
Here’s an example of where a landing page was required instead of a blog post:
Armadillo, a client of ours in the UK, identified they wanted to promote a very particular product. As part of their mindset training for accountants they have developed a wellness programme. It’s a step by step video course providing practical self care for owners of accounting firms and their teams. In order to determine how they would share this information, we considered a few factors:
- Gordon and Matt already have a number of blog posts about mindset training and wellness to provide education on mental wellbeing for accountants.
- They needed a dedicated place on their website for their ideal clients to learn about the specifics of this course.
- Wellness is part of their core service offering and is mentioned on the services page (a main page on their website) but they needed a unique URL for people to land on if they wanted to buy this course on its own.
In the process of creating a landing page to promote this course, we discovered lots of potential blog posts they could write off the back of it, under the umbrella topic of wellness. This highlights a key point: when deciding whether you have a blog post or a landing page on your hands, it’s possible you have both! Perhaps even multiple blog posts to support your page!
Not every topic will require a landing page, but every landing page is better supported by at least one blog post.
You may not have a specific product/service to sell or a bigger campaign to promote for every blog topic. Or, the service you want to promote might fall within your core monthly offering, which means you want to direct your readers to a main services page.
However, if you discover you DO need a landing page, then you really want to create both! Like Armadillo, you may find lots of blog posts you can write to give greater detail and context to your product or campaign. These can even be linked on the landing page, so readers can do their own background research and visit the blog posts most relevant to their purchase.
To decide what you need, look at what you’ve got already – then adapt and keep building
Look back at the idea or first draft you have, and answer the following questions:
1. Have you started writing some notes to answer a question and found you have lots to say on the topic? If yes, continue to write a blog post.
Here are some resources to help you do that:
- A guide to They Ask, You Answer’s ‘Big 5’ blog categories, and how they apply to your firm’s content
- How do I edit the first draft of a blog so it’s ready to publish?
- What’s the best way to title my blog?
- How can I improve my blogs and make them more engaging?
2. Is this one of many blog posts on this topic? If yes, you may be working towards a valuable giveaway or paid product.
Starting with a blog post often shows you the core messages you need on a website page. You may find after writing this particular blog post, you need to keep building on the content by exploring different questions on the topic. You may find there’s so much to say you can create a valuable giveaway or a training course. At this point, you can look at creating a landing page to move your visitors from the awareness stage to purchasing a small paid thing.
3. Do you have a specific service or product to sell or an immense value giveaway? Create a dedicated landing page for it.
Once you’ve got the core messages on the page, you may find it needs to include a blog post for further context and exploration. There may be lots of offshoot learning you can provide.
Let’s say you’re promoting a beginners’ Xero training session. Over time you’ve found it provides prospects with the basic understanding they need to become the best kind of client for you.
What blog posts might you provide as supporting content to help your prospects buy faster? I bet even in this hypothetical situation, you can imagine plenty of Xero/bookkeeping related learnings your clients could benefit from.
Set up a Gsheet to document common issues and questions and choose the right content to suit them.
We’ve found it immensely helpful to set up a ‘content vault’ for ourselves at PF. This means every time a client or prospect asks us a question or shares an issue, we have a central place to note it down.
On a simple Gsheet, you can document:
- The question asked or problem shared
- Any initial notes/thoughts you have about the answer, or the email response you’ve already sent (if one client is having this problem, you can guarantee others will).
- Who on your team will be responsible for creating the content
- What kind of content we’ll create for it – i.e a blog, a video, a landing page
- How high a priority it is, so you cover the most important and needed issues first
Read this blog on how to organise your content ideas so you know what to write, and when to help you get set up, so you can plan out your content for the next 3, 6, 12 months.
Join a community where you get feedback on your content and resources to help you share it in the right way
When you’re doing or leading your firm’s marketing, it can feel like a lot of responsibility (and time) without a marketing expert to guide you. We set up the PF lab so our accountants could have access to a full team and get questions like this answered. In the PF Lab you have a community of accountants like you who want to try things, like writing blog posts and preparing landing pages, and get constructive feedback along the way.
With a question like “Do I have a blog or a landing page here?” you could, within the community of PF Lab:
- Share your thoughts and initial workings
- Get specific feedback on what you have and advice on how to move forward
- Get access to shared resources to guide you (like a checklist, worksheet, workbook, template)
- Learn from similar content your peers in lab have created, experiences they’ve had, results they’ve gotten
- Join a related live training session
- Have a say on which topics we cover in our training sessions, so you get the learning you want and need the most
Every month in Lab, you can choose from at least one training & coaching deep dive session, based on the areas of marketing you need help and support with. Lab sessions and group coaching are delivered by various members of the PF creative team, depending on the topic. (For example, a training session on blogging would be led by one of our content writers.) There are plenty more benefits and exclusives you can read about here.
If you regularly find yourself unsure of what to create, or how to make your notes and scribblings impactful so they reach the right people, it’s time to get to the Lab! Let’s move your first draft forward.