The concept of using a set of particular words in blog titles and blog copy in order to increase readership and engagement was unknown to me several years ago – that is until I heard Marcus Sheridan speak about “The Big Five”at a marketing conference in Boston. His approach made sense to me and I made an effort to incorporate it into my own blogging. It did show results – the posts with one or more of the Five words in it generated more traffic to my site.
Despite achieving positive results, I migrated away from incorporating the Five in my posts on a regular basis and settled into a more predictable routine of focusing on my top long-tail keywords. In hindsight, I should have spent more time and effort working with the Five to fully understand, and benefit from, their power. I’m constantly reminded of this as I now work with Marcus at The Sales Lion – but it becomes clearer each time I hear him talk about it with clients or at any of his speaking engagements.
We were at a HubSpot User Group meeting recently in Virginia and Marcus spoke to the members about The Big Five. It was clear that this audience (and marketers/bloggers in general) fall into one of three categories with respect to the Five:
- They’ve never heard about it before.
- They’ve heard about it and didn’t try it – or did use it, but not successfully or consistently.
- They use it as consistently as possible with powerful results.
I spoke with people from each group to get a better understanding of what they were doing/ going to do with the Five and it finally dawned on me why this concept isn’t more widely used. The first group is self-explanatory – and they’ll eventually fall into one of the other two groups. In the second group, there was some level of discomfort in using the Five that made it difficult to sustain its use – you’ll see why in a minute. The third group essentially viewed their use of the Five as a competitive advantage and had absolutely no interest in spreading the word!
So, what are The Big Five and how should you use them? I use the acronym CPRVB – and the mnemonic: CPR is the Very Best for your blog posts.
C = Cost
Before we dive into the Five, it’s best to view your use of them from the eyes of the consumer – if you’re a B2C company, or a potential client – if you’re a B2B company. Your content will always resonate more with a potential customer if you’re viewing things from their point of view.
Use of the five requires some intestinal fortitude – when done correctly. The issues addressed with the Five are typically “hot button” issues for most industries. For many companies, creating content around the Five means breaking away from traditional business marketing practices. It means being willing to take a stand on things. It means taking a leadership role in your industry. Are you ready?
1. Cost. If you’re in consumer mode, what’s one of the key considerations you have before purchasing any product or service? It’s cost and it’s at the root of all transaction considerations. For many companies, the complexity and/or variety in their product or service offerings makes it difficult to talk about cost without knowing the specific buyer needs with which to calculate real numbers. That’s ok – provide ranges or a guide and then delineate the issues/features that move cost up or down. Just because you can’t publish detailed specifics shouldn’t mean you avoid addressing the issue altogether.
This is probably the hottest of the hot button issues – there are numerous reasons to reject cost as a suitable content topic – the reality is you’ll never know how it performs until you test it.
2. Problems. Test this one with your consumer hat on: have you ever considered a product or service and used “problems with XYZ” or complaints about ABC Company”? Searching for negative trends or reviews is a great way to narrow down the list of choices a consumer needs to make. In developing your content, you can address general industry problems and how to solve them or you can get incredibly transparent and address problems that consumers might run into with your own product or service. It’s completely counterintuitive but it may open up opportunities you never considered. (Think about the Domino’s Pizza approach when consumer feedback clearly told them that their product was crappy. They addressed it head-on with their content and turned the situation completely around.)
Another test while we’re at it – take your company’s service or product keywords and query “problems with ________” and see what turns up – it may completely surprise you.
3. Reviews. The impact of objective, balanced reviews is powerful. Consumers seek out reviews to understand how product and service claims pan out in the real world. Prospective customers are highly appreciative if you’ve utilized your industry experience and done the research to help them make decisions faster. This is another one of those counterintuitive approaches – most companies don’t want to provide even the slightest bit of competitor recognition. When done correctly, two things happen – your site becomes a go-to resource for people considering the products or services you’re writing about and your site shows up for some of the queries mentioning your competitor.
4. Versus. The Product X versus Product Y type of post takes the review concept one step further. As with reviews, interested consumers want to know how the competitive choices stack up against each other. A critical component of success with this approach, as it is with reviews, is to maintain balance in the comparisons. A good example of this is a post we published on The Sales Lion that compared HubSpot with Infusionsoft. (The Sales Lion is a reseller of HubSpot.) We took the time to research Infusionsoft and worked hard to provide an objective comparison. You can read the post here to get a feel for how it was structured, but the most telling information is found in the comments left on the post. Those comments provide insight into the power of this approach and add value to the fact the post generated great traffic and leads.
5. Best. As a consumer, after you’ve done some initial research for an intended purchase, it’s not uncommon to use a “best” query to identify top choices. This can go in a number of different directions and it is easily combined with most, if not all, of the balance of the Five. (The post referred to above was actually titled: Infusionsoft versus HubSpot: Which is Best?) Overall performance for Best posts is solid – and it definitely increases in combination with the other members of the Five.
So now you have the “Big Five” at your disposal. A great starting place is to brainstorm some post titles using these words – alone or in combination. Stir in your other pertinent keywords and it will yield success.
What About You?
If you’ve used these words have they proven successful for you? If you haven’t tested these out or don’t plan to, what’s holding you back? As always, your feedback and input is most welcome.