Sitting down to pen a spot of blog or article writing isn’t something that many people get too excited about. But good, relevant written content can be a phenomenal marketing tool. Not only will it educate and inform, it will also drive traffic and inbound links to your site. Great for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and may help your page ranking.
Blogging and article writing is here to stay. Check out any high-ranking websites on Google. The chances are, they will be posting articles – regularly.
This blog will delve into the mechanics of creating informative and memorable blog posts to keep your audience engaged.
Does Every Business Need a Blog?
Yes, pretty much. If you want to build awareness of your brand, connect with your customers and create relationships that lead to sales, you really should pick up your pen (or keyboard) and start writing. Today.
What is a Blog?
The term blog (Weblog) was coined in the ’90s. Blogging was originally used as a means to share a personal story online; maybe a diary of a road trip or a battle with illness. Whilst these kinds of blogs are still very much in existence, the art of blogging now provides so much more for readers.
The Top Reasons People Will Read a Blog are:
- To learn how to do something
- For entertainment
- To research products or brands
- To keep on top of their industry’s news and trends
Articles containing facts, ‘how to’ guides or step by step tutorials can earn a shed load of search traffic. People are natural sponges for information that will help them to get what they want. So, if you’re able to keep readers on your page and interested, there’s a better chance of leading them to your products or services.
People will also read blogs to be entertained.You may worry that your business wouldn’t lend itself to an entertaining blog, and yes, this can present quite a challenge. However, with a sprinkling of creativity, it can be done. Of course, you’ll need to be on-brand and professional, but every business will have a ‘lighter side’ to harvest and turn into a fascinating and enjoyable read.
Industry Related Blogs
People like to learn something new and keep on top of what’s new in their job industry. Blogs are a great way to pique interest in your product or brand if it is related to that industry.
Blog Post Planning
Let’s get started. It’s well worth taking time to make time here. Carrying out the research you’ll need to create a successful post before you start writing is essential. Have a think about the questions your buyers are looking for answers to. How are your competitors addressing them? Can you add anything that will set you apart?
Know Your Audience
You should already have a good idea of who your target customer is.
- What can you offer them that they will be interested in?
- What are their buying habits?
- How can you write authoritatively and in a way that will address their needs?
Don’t Skimp on Keyword Research
First and foremost, blogs and articles should be written for people. But never lose sight of the fact that without SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), there is a very high chance that your carefully honed piece will sink without trace. Search engines need a certain amount of help as they crawl, index and rank your article.
Identifying the keywords and phrases being searched on by your potential customers will enable you to work out which ones will give you the best opportunities. Using a keyword tool can help you with this process.
Begin With a Basic Outline For Your Article
It can be tempting to launch into writing without thinking too much about structure. In some ways, if your creative juices are flowing, this isn’t such a bad thing.
However, you’ll probably save time in the long-run if you get your article’s basic outline nailed down first. Think about headlines, subheading and bullet lists (search engines love a bullet list!).
Blog Writing Formula and Best Practice
There are no shortcuts! You should aim to produce interesting, natural sounding copy which will also satisfy the search engines with smart content and keywords.
Essential Blog SEO
- Use meta tags and relevant internal links
- Use captions and alt tags with images
- Include some synonyms
- Be careful with external links. They must be relevant and not spammy
- Only link to trusted, relevant sites
- Include calls to action (CTAs)
- Ensure meta tags are information rich, accurate and brief
Good, consistent blogging with content aimed specifically at your target audience can only help your ranking. Your blog should be chock full of really interesting and valuable information for your reader. A good article will be a combination of:
- Sound content that flows – including a great intro and a satisfying ending
- Attention grabbing titles and headlines
- Good quality images and/or infographics
- Irresistible calls to action (CTAs) to compel customers to convert.
What Should I Blog About?
What might your customers might be searching for? The best way to find out is to do some keyword research. Your content should aspire to provide answers and educate. However well written, a blog that doesn’t fulfil this most basic function will attract no organic traffic.
SEO metrics are crucial to understanding potential organic traffic, search volume and keyword difficulty. Analysis of these results will enable you to determine which of the keywords will be most valuable for your brand or business.
Headings are Important
It’s not always easy to come up with attention grabbing headings, but from an SEO perspective, you need to get this right. Why not open a spreadsheet and start a bit of a think-tank process? The more headings and title ideas you write down, the more you are likely to be able to hone them until you hit the sweet-spot and find the perfect headline.
Headings do need to be very specific. If you’re writing an article on wet rot, don’t just call it “Wet Rot”! A better title might be “5 Ways To Prevent Wet Rot” or ‘The Best Wet Rot Treatment”. Titles should be approximately 60 characters in length for good conversion optimisation.
Try running your headline through a headline checker to analyse for Google-friendliness
Text Only Blogs are Boring!
A user’s attention span is thought to be around 8 seconds. Some say it’s even less! Now that isn’t long to hook someone in. Images, videos and infographics are a great way to support your writing and keep your reader engaged. Your content will need to be tailored to your buyer persona. Millennials have come to expect punchy, entertaining content, but older visitors will be more prepared to invest time in studying graphs, pie charts and statistics.
Don’t be shy with the Hook
Remember the 8 seconds you have to persuade your visitor to keep reading? Keep your content brief, specific and interesting. Look at your article through your customer’s eyes. Why should they keep reading?
- Say something funny
- Present a little known fact
- Pose an interesting question
- Make a promiseDraw your reader into your world, show your authority and teach them.
Perfect Your Writing Style
The most successful blogs are written for people, not for search engines. A natural, flowing, easily readable style is what you should be aiming for. Lengthy, heavy prose will put people off before you can say ‘bounce rate’. Keep it simple!
- Write the way you speak – naturally
- Break up your text into topic sections
- Use bullet points
- Humour is great when appropriate
- Bring the article to a close with a powerful conclusion
Giving your reader the opportunity to become involved is a good way to build the relationship. You could add a ‘Comment Below’ option.
Blog articles are the perfect opportunity to initiate a CTA (call to action)
Include a CTA at the end of your piece, or within it if appropriate. Encourage your readers through the lead generation funnel to conversion by inviting:
- Email signup
- Encouragement to share the article on Social Media
- Article download as PDF
You’ve Written Your First Post. Now What?
Brilliant! Well done you. But there’s more to do..
Getting your first draft down is the hardest part of writing a blog. It’s quite some achievement but it’s just the start. Leave it. Do something else, then come back – preferably a day later, to begin revisions and edits. Copy editing is one of the most important elements of copywriting best practice.
How To Make Your Blog Even Better
Do you remember what your English teachers drilled into you at school?
Read your work back to yourself. Imagine you are your reader and check for clarity, coherence and consistency. And don’t hold back. Check for:
- Typos and poor grammar – you could use Grammarly for this
- Subheadings. Is there a coherent and logical flow?
- Cliches – You can cross that bridge when you come to it (!)
- Passive voice – which makes your reader work too hard to understand what you are saying
- Word repeats within sentences
Now look again at your writing style. Is it natural? Does it flow? Have you used three sentences when one would do? It’s amazing how these things jump out at you on a second reading.
Let someone else read your article and give good, honest feedback.
Perfect Post Ready? Not quite – check the SEO Aspect
Rather like doing final pre-flight checks, get your SEO ducks in a row (cliche alert!) before hitting the Publish button!
For your post to achieve its objective, you will need to be aware of some of the techie stuff around blog post SEO. Investing a little time to learn the basics of blog hosting (web hosting) will pay dividends in your quest for better organic search ranking. A shared server that is home to hundreds of other sites may run slow at times. Slow is a no-no! Slow loading pages will lead to the reader leaving your site and huge disapproval from search engines.
Think about Aesthetics (Content Design)
Your website benefits from looking sleek and easy to understand. The same applies to your blog posts. Blog posts should reflect your brand. Readers will be attracted to:
- Informative headlines
- Easy to read, short paragraphs
- Bullet points
- Relevant high-quality images
Stock images are useful and can look great. Even better, add your own high-quality images to add authenticity to your post and website.
Good blogs and articles can earn backlinks. These ‘inbound or incoming links’ are great for SEO. If another site links to your website, you earn credibility with the search engines, which helps your ranking.
Rome wasn’t built in a day (cliche alert!) and neither is a solid backlink base. Building up a portfolio of backlinks from credible, trusted sites will take some time. Perseverance will pay and earning backlinks is something you just have to plug away at. Spend some time learning about competitive backlinks. Link Explorer would be a good starting point for this exercise.
Include Internal Links
An internal link points to another page on your website. So, if your blog is about dealing with a moth infestation and you sell anti-moth products, you should put a link to that product page. This is helpful for your customer and earns search engine brownie points.
At Last! You’re Ready to Upload your Blog to Your Website…
Phew. You’ve done it! It’s now just a matter of waiting for lots of lovely organic traffic to start flowing, right? You guessed it. No! There’s more work to do…
Share Your Blog Post Across Relevant Platforms
You have uploaded your post. Now it is time to promote it. Why not email your article to your current customers and subscribers as a first step?
Social Media Marketing
Use Social Media Marketing as a tool to promote your blog post and create brand awareness. Sharing your post across multiple (and relevant) platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn is a super effective way to acquire customers organically.
Don’t Forget to Update and Re-use Older Blog Posts
Be sure to keep an eye on the content of your older posts. Is it still relevant? Could it be tweaked and repurposed to make a new blog post? You could even link older posts to new posts if it makes sense to do so and will save you time in rewriting.
Remember, one of the most useful things about blogs is their longevity. Good content will continue to attract visitors whilst gaining kudos with the search engine bots. All day, every day.
A Few More Useful Hints for New Bloggers
- Always respond quickly to any comments on your blog post. Prove that the humans behind the website care and are interested in their customers’ viewpoints.
- Don’t write overly long or short posts. Anything between 800 and 7000 words is about right.
- Weed out every single typo or grammar slip-up. Grammarly can help you with this
- Make use of a readability checker such as Yoast
- Ask your readers for a social share – simply the best way to increase brand awareness.
There’s no need to be a slave to Grammarly or Yoast suggestions. They should be seen as guides only. It is more important that your message is clear and organised for your readers.
So, I hope this article has shown you the potential power of good blog & article writing.
With plenty of perseverance and practice, good blog writing is a skill that can be learned by almost anyone.
Now it’s your turn to write your first blog to increase your revenue and leads. Give it a go!