Blogging has become a huge marketing phenomenon over the last decade or so, and for good reasons. It helps establish a brand identity, display knowledge of a specific industry or many industries, share thoughts and opinions on relevant subjects, and the list goes on and on. Blogging helps share these thoughts and ideas to the world, having the ability to reach huge audiences. However, reaching those huge audiences is much easier said than done. Since my start at INTEGRIS, I have learned quite a bit about blogging and blog marketing, as it is something I had little experience with before working here. Now, we don’t have a blog audience of millions of people, but we are growing our audience more and more each month, which has been our main goal. So, that being said, I’m going to share 5 tips that I have picked up along my blog knowledge gaining journey that seem to continuously work for us. There are dozens of different approaches you can take when pumping out blog posts, but these 5 aspects I’m going to share with you are good to start with.
#1. Know your Target Audience.
This is where just about every single blog post ever written starts, and for good reason. Learning about your target audience and what they like, dislike, how they feel, what they want from a blog, etc. is going to help you push out a great blog post. Understanding your target audience (or audiences, depending on your topic) will have the most effective impact on how your blog post does once it goes live on your site. For example, if you’ve got an entrepreneur blog, you would probably want to include information on social networking and the benefits it can have for a business. Entrepreneurs will eat that kind of content up, providing a larger reach for your blog. Remember to focus heavily on the content that your audience will benefit from, whether it be informative, entertaining, engaging, or all of the above.
#2. Choose a Topic & Title.
This is a pretty obvious one. You’ve got to have a topic for your post, otherwise it will probably lead to a bunch on nonsense that no one will ever care to read. Topics can be easy to choose, or they can be difficult based on how in-depth and detailed you want to go. The more detailed and specific you aim to be, the harder it might be to find a topic that will fit your determined target audience. Once you’ve determined a topic, then it’s time to choose a title. Choosing a title can also be simple or hard, again depending on how detailed your topic might be. If you’ve chosen a broad topic, then you can use that topic to come up with multiple post titles and go from there. I really like using HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator if I’m stuck on coming up with a topic to write about.
It’s also important to remember SEO when writing your titles. SEO friendly titles will help your blog reach the masses much more efficiently. Every time I write a post, I use an awesome tool that CoSchedule provides (for free!) that helps grade your title for SEO efficiency. They call their tool the Blog Post Headline Analyzer and I highly suggest you use it!
#3. Organizing Content.
Once you’ve chosen your topic and title, it’s time to organize your content. Organizing your content will help keep your post from spinning out of control with ridiculous amounts of information or irrelevant content. If you do have a large amount of information to post, then post organization will help prevent the reader from being intimidated or overwhelmed by the length and amount of content you’re about to throw at them. Using sections, lists, tips, or anything else that is relevant will be the most appropriate way to keep your post neat and organized. I personally like to make a quick outline of what I’m going to write about and then go from there. You can get as detailed as you want or include as little detail and just use main bullet points and wing it from that point. Depending on the topic, I utilize both methods. If I’m about to write about a topic that I already know a lot about and very familiar with, I will outline my main bullet points and just start writing. But, if I’m writing about an industry related topic that I’m not overly familiar with, I make sure to add plenty of details throughout my planning and organization to help keep my post focused and relevant. For even more information, Content Marketing Institute provides a wealth of information on this topic. Here’s a great article they have provided with more detail about organizing your posts.
#4. Get to Writing!
If you’re a newbie blogger, it might seem a little weird that writing is #4 on the list. Most people new to blogging would probably think writing would be first or second on the list. In some cases, this may be true. But, for the purposes of this post, #4 is the right spot. The steps leading up to the writing are crucial for effective writing. Think about it, if you didn’t learn about your target audience, choose a topic & title, and organize what you’re going to write about, then your posts would be a messy, irrelevant mess and probably a huge waste of time and effort, and nobody wants that to happen! I’ve learned from blog writing mistakes in my first attempts at writing blog posts. They were boring, a bit messy, and simply unimpressive. Who wants to read that? I know you and I don’t!
When you finally get to writing your post, write about what you already know and feel comfortable with about the topic you have chosen. Then, if you need to do additional research to gather more information, examples, data, images, or whatever to add to your post, make sure you give credit to external sources when appropriate. Using these external sources can provide benefits to your post. Linking to other sources helps with SEO, and it also help validate that you’re a professional who gives credit where it’s needed, and it helps out any external sites you’ve chosen to include. Use what I’ve done in this post as examples of using external links and sources.
Another very important aspect of blog post writing is keywords, keywords, keywords! These keywords will help your SEO rank when you publish your blog post. When choosing a keyword (or keywords), remember to keep them industry/topic related to ensure that search engines pick them up a little better. Obviously for this post, one of the main focal keywords is blog or blogging. For your blog post on the theoretical movement of planetary trajectories, your keyword may be planets, or trajectory, or another highly related word you’ve included in your post. Whatever your topic, be sure to focus on keywords that will directly relate to your content, and boost your SEO efforts.
#5. The INTEGRIS Blog Post Checklist.
#5 on this list is several tips rolled into one. I’m going to provide a checklist I created that I like to follow when writing and optimizing a blog post. It’s extremely beneficial to have a checklist like this for organization purposes (remember #3?) to provide the best blog posts I possibly can. So, here is the checklist I use (and recommend you use too):
- Keywords – Is there a plan for optimizing certain keywords and phrases as the focus for this post?
- Grammar and Spelling – Has the post been proofed to catch typos and grammar missteps?
- Headline – Has time been spent writing an appealing headline? Strong adjectives and action packed benefit statements are very useful.
- Hook – Does the first paragraph draw the reader into the payoff even if the next several paragraphs are spent setting it up?
- H2, H3 – Has the post been made scannable by breaking it into subsections and lists with H2 and H3 formatting to help with readership and let Google know what important? (Great tips right here: www.hobo-web.co.uk/headers/)
- Permalink – Has the permalink been changed to include the keyword rather than simply use the default permalink post title?
- Links – Have ways to link internally to related posts or externally to resources that add value been assessed? Have keywords been implemented in the anchor texts of these links?
- Category – Has an appropriate category been chosen that matches up with core themes? Categories can help organize and produce their own feed to use in other ways.
- Tags – Has the content been tagged to include people, things, or resources that have been mentioned?
- Featured Image – Has a compelling image been chosen and included as the feature image?
- Image Alt Attribute – Has an alt attribute been written to describe the image in terms of keywords?
- Title – Has a title attribute been written that uses keywords?
- Meta Description – Has a description been written that might entice someone to click through if they read it in search engine results?
- Author – Have the correct author or authors been chosen?
- Preview – Has the preview been viewed to ensure everything is as it should be?
- Publish – Publish the blog post if all steps and proofreading have been completed.
Utilizing these different aspects will set you on the right path for blog post success. You can use 1 one of them or all of them if you wish. And if you feel the need, add more to the list to really optimize your posts! However you want to write is obviously your choice, I am just here to provide a bit of guidance to help push you along, and hopefully I have done that!
Once you’ve prepared, organized, and written an outstanding blog post, then it’s time to share it! As a blogger, I’m guessing you’ve already set up your social media pages for sharing your posts. If you haven’t set up social media pages, then do it, now! Sharing blog posts via our INTEGRIS Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages has provided the highest results for views, shares, and overall reach. So, utilize social media for everything it has to offer, those networks are powerful marketing and sharing tools that will provide results! Well, now that I’ve spat out 1,500+ words writing this, you’re probably ready to stop reading and eager to get writing posts of your own! So, get to work! The world is eager to read what you have to write!
If this list of tips helped you in any way, or you would like to share one of your perfectly crafted blog posts with us, please share your thoughts/opinions/success stories with us on our social media pages! Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, we want to hear what you have to say!
Thanks for reading everyone!