Writing a blog is a great way for companies to increase their SEO efforts, generate promotional content for their social media, and expand their reach to consumers.
So, why doesn’t everyone do it?
To many businesses, blogging can seem like a time-consuming process that offers little return on investment. However, studies have shown that content marketing is the best channel for ROI, so it is definitely worth the time and effort to create a good quality blog post.
Today, we’re going to take you through our steps to writing amazing content that will keep readers engaged with your brand.
Step 1: Consider Your Audience
The first challenge of writing a blog post is defining your audience. Your target audience should be the focus of your content marketing strategy.
By determining your target audience, you can narrow down what topics they will want to read about.
When thinking about your audience, you need to have a clear understanding of what they’re interested in, how to write content that is meaningful to them, and how to keep them coming back to your blog.
Try to link your blogs to the core problems your audience faces. Your blog posts should always be trying to sell or raise awareness for your product or service. To do this, think about how your product or service can solve the issues your audience faces most.
Step 2: Brainstorm Topics
Once you’ve got an idea of what your audience would be interested in reading, it’s time to brainstorm blog topics. For this, it’s best to keep an idea’s sheet so you can refer to it if you ever have writer’s block.
After you’ve written down ideas from your initial brainstorm, the next step is to do some keyword research. Keyword research is used for SEO and can help determine whether or not the keywords you are using are actually being searched for by consumers.
A good keyword is one with a high combination of search volume and competitiveness. You should always write with a target keyword in mind. By choosing good keywords, you will improve your blog’s SEO and it will show up more often in search results.
Once you’ve done your keyword research, then you can continue brainstorming on your topic.
Most blogs will fall under one of 4 categories. These categories are a tried and true method of grabbing readers’ attention and bringing them to your blog.
On your ideas sheet, try breaking down your ideas into these categories:
- “How to” blogs – These blogs help showcase your expertise to your audience by having you provide step by step instructions.
- “What is …?” blogs – This will allow you to gain credibility by teaching your readers about topics and tools in your industry.
- List blogs – This type of blog can range from “5 Ways to Gain Instagram Followers” to “12 Yoga Poses for Beginners”. This encourages your readers to follow your advice and try it out themselves.
- Newsjacking blogs – Newsjacking is when you take a breaking news story and add your own opinions or twist on it. By doing this, you can generate attention and exposure from the current trend or event.
If you’re just starting your blog, it may be best to try writing a few lists, newsjacking, or “What is…?” blogs before jumping into “How to” blogs. By providing information before advice, you can build up your legitimacy and credibility with your audience first.
Then, once you’ve gained your readers’ trust as an expert, you can begin writing “How to…?” blogs and showcase your skills.
Step 3: Decide on a Blog Title
Now that you have some topics in mind, the next step is to choose one to write about and come up with a working blog title.
When deciding on a blog title, it is important to take account of search intent. Search intent is what the users are trying to achieve when they search for a particular query.
There are 4 categories of search intent:
- Transactional – the user wants to make a purchase
- Commercial Research – the user is thinking about making a purchase but needs more information or wants to compare different products
- Informational – the user just wants to find a certain piece of information
- Navigational – the user types Facebook into Google instead of going to the website
By paying attention to search intent, you can better understand what angle to take with your blog, and how you should word your title.
To check out the search intent of a query, take a look at what’s already ranking. If the first page of search results is all product pages, then the search intent is transactional. There’s no point in writing an informational article about a transactional keyword, or a transactional article about a keyword only used for commercial research.
Once you’ve narrowed down the search intent of the query, you can create a working title that aligns with it.
A working title is not the final title that gets published. Simply put, a working title is something you use to help you narrow down your blog’s topic and also inspire you to write.
Your working title should be broad enough to give you wiggle room during the writing process, but not too broad that you feel overwhelmed by the topic. Find a sweet spot that allows you to explore the topic but not stray too far off the path.
One blog post may have multiple working titles as you continue writing and narrowing down your topic. As you reach the end of your blog post, you can take the current working title and finesse it into a proper title to go with your blog.
Step 4: Writing an Introduction
For many people, writing an introduction is the most difficult part of writing a blog post. In the introduction, you have to capture the audience’s attention and convince them to read the rest of your article, but also keep it short and sweet so as to not give away too much information.
There are many ways to get the reader’s attention with your introduction. However, depending on the seriousness, topic, and tone of your blog post, some options may be better than others. To get some first-sentence inspiration, try out these ideas:
- Tell a story or experience you’ve had that relates to the topic
- Relate the topic to a current news story or event
- Give an interesting statistic about the topic
- Tell a joke or make a funny comment about the topic
- Explain the importance of the topic in relation to your target audience by connecting it to a core problem they face and how you can solve it
Once you’ve written your attention getter, the rest of the introduction should focus on the purpose of the blog post. Write two or three sentences focusing on the problem you are going to solve for your audience, and how it will help them to read your article.
By the end of your introduction, your readers should be enthusiastic to read your blog post, know what problem or topic you are addressing, and why they should care about the issue enough to continue reading.
Tip: If you’re really struggling with writing an introduction, save it for last! That way, you know all of the points you hit within the body of your article, and can better summarise your blog post.
Step 5: Create an Outline for Your Blog Post
Blog posts are full of information, and this can be overwhelming for both writers and readers. In order to keep your blog organised and easy to digest, we suggest outlining each section.
An outline will help make content writing easier and help you to stay on topic throughout your article.
Every writer has been there – you open up a new document, ready to write an article, and your mind goes blank. This is known as writer’s block, and can happen when you get overwhelmed by the broadness and possibilities of a topic.
Outlines can make writing a blog post easier because it gives you structure and a guide for the flow of your writing.
By breaking down your topic into subsections, the content and length will be more manageable. You will also be able to focus more on individual parts of your topic because they will have their own section, rather than the blog being in one big clump.
Having an outline, such as a numbered list or set of tips, helps readers maintain their attention to and interest in the topic they are reading about.
By sectioning out different subtopics, you can prevent your readers from becoming overwhelmed or confused with your blog post.
Subheadings or images should be placed every 200-300 words. Not only does this help the flow of your blog post, but subheadings and image alt texts also contain a mix of primary and secondary keywords, which can boost your SEO.
If your audience enjoys your writing and isn’t intimidated by the amount of information or length of your article, it will help your SEO because they will spend more time on your site.
Step 6: Write Your Heart Out!
The next step is the most obvious. Write your blog post. This is the largest portion of the process, and includes actually writing the body of your content.
Writing the body of your blog will be made easier now that you have created an outline to follow. All you have to do is fill in the blanks and provide information about each subtopic.
When writing a blog post, you can discuss information you already know about the topic, research new information, or even use external sources, with credit, if needed. The most important thing is that the information you are providing is accurate and up to date.
Make sure to always keep your audience in mind when writing the body of your article to maintain readability. Readability is the ease at which your audience can read your written content.
When writing a blog, you want your post to be useful to an expert in your field, but also simple enough so beginners can understand your points. Using short paragraphs and avoiding technical jargon can help your readers.
Another thing to be weary of is presenting your writing in an intimidating way. Readers need to feel comfortable and confident reading your blog, not like they’re in over their heads.
Small paragraphs, lots of subheadings to break up text walls, and great use of images will have a big impact on keeping users on your page.
If you’re having trouble with writer’s block or just finding the right words to say, use the internet! Google is definitely a good friend of all writers, as it provides thesauruses, reverse-dictionaries, and other useful writing tools.
Tip: If you feel stuck on one section, don’t be afraid to jump around your blog! You don’t have to write in order, you can jump from one topic to another when you feel inspired to write that section.
Step 7: Editing Your Blog
So, you’ve finished writing your blog post, great! But wait, you’re not done yet. Proofreading and editing are key parts of blogging, so don’t forget this step.
While you can self-edit your blog, sometimes we become blind to our own mistakes. For this reason, it may be best to ask a colleague to proofread your article instead.
This way, a fresh pair of eyes can notice any small errors, and make suggestions on phrasing or formatting. They can also suggest imagery ideas or even a better keyword that you might have missed. In most cases, four eyes are better than two!
Step 8: Add Links and Images to Your Blog
No one enjoys reading a boring article. Even if you’ve captured your audience’s attention, a blog that is not visually appealing will be clicked off quickly.
In order to add more excitement and colour to your blog, try adding in images and links to your website and other posts. This will encourage visitors to stay on your site longer, and may lead them to inquiring more about your product or service.
Even though it may be tempting to put in a lot of images or links into your blog, it is best to use them somewhat sparingly. You don’t want to overcrowd the page so much that the focus is no longer on the blog your reader clicked on!
Let’s dive a little deeper into what links and images you should add to your blog:
Tip: Check your blog’s theme and template to find the best image size for your site. Images should also be no larger than 100kb to avoid bad load speeds. This typically excludes infographics and graphs, since altering the size may distort the image. Don’t forget to add in your keywords to your alt texts!
When you are writing your blog, try to touch on topics you’ve already covered in the past or services you provide.
When you do this, you can add a hyperlink that will bring readers to an old blog post or to your service page. This will keep readers on your site as they click through new articles, which improves your SEO ranking, and can help lead to more sales.
Adding links throughout your article will pass page authority to other parts of your website and improve your site’s crawlability. The anchor texts of your hyperlinks should reflect the keyword focus of the page you are linking to.
Be sure not to add in too many links to your blog post. There should be no more than 5 links per every 100 words, or else it will affect the look of your post for mobile readers.
One of the most important places to add a link in your blog is at the very end of the article. Each article you write should end with a call to action. A call to action is a part of your article that encourages your readers to do something.
Whether it be encouraging readers to follow your social media or a link that redirects them to your contact page, a call to action is the seal that should close all of your blogs.
The featured image is the most important image in your blog post. This will be the first thing readers see, and will decide whether they click on your post or not.
The featured image should be relevant to the topic of your blog post and be visually appealing to your viewers.
For example, if you are writing a blog post about a pottery class you offer and the benefits of attending a class, a good featured image may be a photo of colourful, fun pottery.
Infographics are another great way to add imagery into your blogs. Infographics usually feature charts or graphs with minimal text that help prove a point to your audience.
By adding infographics, you can show your audience that your claims are backed up by statistics. You can either create your own infographics, with sources, or find one that has already been created.
Besides the featured image and infographics, you should also include other images while writing a blog post.
These images can be put in between every few paragraphs, depending on their length. By adding in photos between paragraphs, it helps the flow of your blog and prevents your articles from being walls of text.
On a technical note, make sure you save the images you plan to use with a name that is relevant to your blog and includes your keyword. Furthermore, add in an interesting caption and alternate text with a description of the image.
When looking for images online, make sure they are copyright free and they are relevant to your topic. A great website that we recommend to find images is Unsplash.com.
Step 9: Publish Your Blog
Once you’ve finished writing your blog post and have added in photos and links, it’s time to publish!
At this point, it is best to go back to your working title and make it better for SEO and search results. This means adding in your keyword, numbers, and emotional cues if possible.
Then, when your blog is completely ready, schedule or publish it to the blog section of your website, and voila!
Tip: After your post has gone live, make sure to promote it on your social media, in emails to your subscribers, and on through your network! Encourage readers to leave comments and reviews and to share it with their connections to reach an even bigger audience.
Step 10: Write More!
Once you’ve got your first blog post published, it can become addicting!
If the creative juices are already flowing, keep writing! There’s endless topics to write about and keeping your blog active and up-to-date will help you bring in a larger audience.
If you notice some of your blogs are performing very well, you can also go back and add more content to them!
Some blog articles will rank well for long tail keywords, which is anything over 3 words long. When this happens, take time to revisit the blog article and write another couple hundred words on the topic, and make sure to get the new keyword into the subheadings!
This is an easy SEO hack to improve your chances of getting a first place result on Google.
Just be sure to not flood your blog. Too much content all at once may leave your readers in a state of decision paralysis. To avoid this, try using a content calendar to help schedule your posts and stay consistent.
Publishing consistently gives your blog a good track record on Google of being credible and authoritative. This means it’s easier to rank higher the more consistently you publish new blogs.
Social media algorithms work the same way. When you post regularly, but not too much, Facebook and other social media platforms will recognise your content as credible and place it on users’ timelines more often. This increases the ROI on each individual post you make.
Breaking Down Writing a Blog Post
Blogging is a great way to drive revenue and comes with many other benefits for your business. Even though writing a blog post can seem difficult, once it’s broken down into steps it becomes much easier.
By starting small and brainstorming through topics, creating an outline for writers and readers to follow, and adding in relevant imagery and links, you will be able to write captivating content for your website that will draw in loyal customers and new audiences.
To learn more about how to improve your content marketing strategy, contact ProfileTree today.