Online Reviews as Content Marketing Tools: Get Blogging Inspiration from Your Five-Star Reputation

February 26, 2015

45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviews

Online Reviews Survey


Marketing experts are broadcasting it all over the Web, and however they put it, the message remains the same: high-quality content that is illustrative, helpful, unique, and relevant to your niche is an intrinsic element of effectively managed online marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) effort.

If you are already performing well on popular review sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google, and TripAdvisor, and day by day your popularity and review count is increasing but you are still lagging in the area of direct, organic traffic, then we want to help you out. Get your notebook ready, and jot down these outstanding blogging and content development tips from highly effective marketers around the globe.

We believe the most useful source for blogging inspiration is found within the voice of your own customers, making third-party review sites an invaluable mine just waiting for you to extract insights that will help you develop a brand voice and push your blog to the next level.

Look for Questions First

One of the most effective ways to brainstorm in a way that is search-engine-responsive is to find ways that allow you to predict what your customers or shoppers are likely to ask.

Study reviews, both good and bad, to identify informational gaps, direct questions, and repeat instances where reviewers are providing information to other shoppers that is not otherwise available on your site. Pay particular attention to sections designed to allow reviewers to leave “insider tips.” Once you have identified informational gaps and frequent questions, you can opt to blog about it or update your site to include this information.

It is quite surprising to see the number of sites that provide less information about a business than what is available through third-party review sites. Your goal in developing your content and blogging strategy is to be the expert when it comes to your business. TripAdvisor Questions feature is a great example to help you grasp the inspirational treasure found within popular review sites.

Identify Trends Your Customers Love

Sometimes, what you think are the best features of your business are not necessarily aligned with your customers’ preferences. Taking time to study your customer-generated reviews will help you identify those things about your products or services that make people talk about you and come back to your business again and again. Once you have identified what people love best about you, take time to blog about it.

Consider, for example, the dessert people adore with the wonderful house-made ice cream. Why not spend time expanding on what it takes to make it happen, from locally sourced fruit to hours of culinary artistry creating Sugar Lace? 

By talking about the things that matter the most to your customers, you will have them coming back to your page more often than ever, for reasons beyond checking your business hours. Additionally, you could look into areas that compliment your offering and create lists that feature categories based on popularity. For example, if you are a hotel concierge you could blog about the most romantic restaurants in your area based on review popularity.

Mimic the Voice of Your Customer

Many businesses fall in the trap of exclusively blogging using brand-speak or industry lingo. While there is value in maintaining a brand voice, it is quite useful to blend your brand voice with vocabulary commonly used by your customers.

By adapting your content and including lingo used by your reviewers, you will increase your searchability and keyword responsiveness. Similarly, using descriptors and adjectives that your customers commonly utilize in your positive reviews has the potential to increase the sense of affinity between you and your most loyal customers.

Identify Your “Most Helpful” Trends

If you really want to know what your current customers and niche shoppers are looking for, features like “most helpful” votes on TripAdvisor or Yelp can help you gain useful insights that set the stage for superior content. Study favorite reviews, and consider blogging about the topics your reviewers and review-site users are conveying as important. In short, when something matters to those willing to direct their hard-earned dollars your way, make sure you are the first one telling them about it.

Don’t Forget About Review Site Forums

Another great customer-generated resource to get ideas for your own content-development strategy is review-site hosted forums. Places like TripAdvisor Questions & Answers and forums are full of first-class ideas.

In addition to engaging through responding to customer-generated questions, take time to deliver expanded and illustrated answers on your blog. Additionally, as you build your content and start having expanded responses for frequently asked questions, consider including links pointing directly to your blog when engaging in forum conversations hosted on review sites, when allowed and contextually appropriate.

Online Reviews as Content Marketing Tools: Get Blogging Inspiration from Your Five-Star Reputation

Take Time to See What Makes the Competition Shine

In addition to learning what your customers love, make time to study the competition. Read their best and most popular reviews, and see why their customers are not yet yours. In addition to content development, this is a great opportunity to refine your product and service strategy by learning best practices from others in your industry.

Studying the competition is a great tool for gap analysis that will give you insights as to what customers are truly looking for. As you seek to expand your market share, don’t forget that your content must always be aligned with what you can deliver. Do not over-promise.

Follow the Seasonal Trends of Your Reviews

For many businesses, review trends are significantly affected by seasonality. This is particularly noticeable in tourism-oriented enterprises such as hotels and tour operators. As you study your reviews, look for data that is seasonally relevant and helpful in providing shoppers with a clear picture of what to expect when visiting a destination or using your services during high or low season.

Tackling seasonality with a smart content strategy can help you grow your business during a time of the year when you are likely to need the revenue the most. Here is a great example of low-season content that is both informational and focused on low-season lead generation. In a similar fashion, you can provide information to ease the customer experience during high season. By providing information ahead of time, customers are less likely to convey frustration related to high-season experiential challenges on review sites.

Content is still king. Through integrating content development to your online reputation-management marketing, you will be able to further your organic SEO reach, gain credibility, and deliver a site experience up to par with the products and services you currently sell.

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