Blogging offers an easy way for businesses to share informative content with subscribers, fans and followers. Blogs are often considered at the heart of social media as they present the opportunity for you share better, more engaging content than a typical update on social media. This allows you to provide more value in every piece of content you create, helping you to connect with your audience more and become a valued source of information.
What’s Good About Blogging?
- A great tool for improving search engine rankings
Adds personality to your website, showing a ‘human’ side to your business
- Helps boost industry perception and can place you as an authority in your sector
- It’s inexpensive, there are many blog platforms such as WordPress that allow you
to set up a Blog for free
What’s Not so Good About Blogging?
- Not useful for companies that cannot be open with information
- A successful blog takes a lot of thought and time so is not suitable for businesses without the time, talent or expertise
How to Write an Effective Blog Post
The headline represents one of the most important parts of your blog post. It is the deciding factor on whether a reader is compelled enough to click on and read your blog post or not and for this reason it needs to grab attention and be concise in stating to the reader the benefit of clicking the link and reading the content. Don’t stress out over your blog titles before you start writing. Often, the best titles come after you have already written a post. That being said, it can be helpful to come up with a basic title before you start writing. Whilst 9 times out of 10, you’ll change this title later on, it will in the beginning give you some direction and focus as you write. Whilst there is no
definitive perfect headline template, there are several key characteristics of a powerful headline that compels the reader to click on. Powerful headlines are very concise and specific, they focus on the reader and what interests them and also are keyword-optimised ensuring the right type of reader is going to find them.
✔️Focus on Blog Title Accuracy
Whilst it may be tempting (and is relatively easy) to come up with a headline that gets clicked, for example “10 Tips To Increase Your Productivity By 10,000%”. These types of crazy, outlandish headlines will ultimately destroy your credibility. You
need to ensure that whichever headline format you decide on, the basic premise of your title is accurate and when people click on your headline they are genuinely pleased with the content they discover as it meets their expectations and delivers on whatever promise the headline made.
✔️ Keep your Blog Title Length Short
According to Kissmetrics, the ideal length for a headline is just 6 words as it is easily digestible, short and snappy. When it’s not possible to stick to a 6-word limit however, Buffer suggests using your most important words at the beginning and end of your titles where readers are most likely to notice them.
✔️ Optimise your Blog Title for SEO and Click-throughs
If you want your blog posts to rank for specific keywords or phrases, placing these in your title is vital. Using keywords in your titles is also very important for getting people to click on your posts in the SERP’s (search engine results pages). When people search for a particular phrase, they’re highly likely to click on search results that closely match their search term.
While it is important to include your keywords in your title, you also want to make sure your title is catchy and clickable and makes readers actually want to click through.
A/B Testing can Make all the Difference
Testing out various headlines on your audience is a time consuming but vital task as having the right headline can make all the difference.
Example Headline Templates That Grab Attention
How to Get The ______ you Want Using ______
5 Secrets your ______ Won’t Tell you About ______
10 Things ______ Can Teach You About ______
5 Little Known Ways to ______
The Ultimate Step by Step Guide to ______
Best Practises for ______
100 Shocking Statistics About ______
Now You Too Can Have ______ with These 5 Easy Steps
How to be a World-Class ______ Like ______
How to ______ a ______ You Can Be Proud Of
10 Things you Must Know About ______ But Don’t
15 Things you Never Knew about ______
5 Unexpected ways to be Successful at ______
Why Your Business Needs to Know About ______
3 Things You Must Do After ______
How to ______ in ______Days
20 ______ Every ______ Should Include
10 ______ Mistakes that I Should Have Done Differently
Why I Don’t Do ______
11 ______ Tips I Wish I Had Known
🔹Opening Paragraph 🔹
The opening paragraph or introduction is meant to provide the setup for the main content and put the subject matter into context. This section of the blog post needs to clearly explain to the reader what your blog post is going to address and compel them to feel as though they will achieve a significant benefit from reading on and taking in what you have to say. As a general guide there are several key characteristics of a successful opening paragraph that you need to include.
✔️Be Direct: Online readers prefer to be clearly told what they are about to read and why they should do so. So avoid over complicated, artsy style writing and make it clear to the reader what you are talking about and why they should listen and take note.
✔️Be Concise and Compelling: The success of getting readers to read your whole post lies in how well you convince them at the start of your blog post that they simply have to read on. So whether you are offering exclusive content, a competition or some highly valuable advice, make it clear to the reader and in doing so give them a compelling reason to want to read on.
Be Bold and Creative: Ensure you set yourself apart from other generic blog posts by being creative. Don’t stick to generic writing styles, layouts and subject matter as being bold but still informative and valuable can attract a lot of attention and encourage a reader to carry on and read the whole post.
🔹The Main Body 🔹
The main section of your blog will provide the substance to what you have outlined in your title and opening paragraph. It is important within this section you adhere to several characteristics that constitute a well written blog post;
✔️Logical Structure – You need to ensure that your blog follows a clear and logical structure that flows coherently, making the topic easy for your reader to understand.
✔️Short and Succinct Sentences – Short and succinct sentences ensure readers keep interest as it makes your content easily scannable and digestible, an important aspect for skim readers.
✔️Examples and Evidence – Providing evidence and examples that back up your points helps you appear more of an authority with your writing as well as helping your readers to grasp concepts by offering clear and obvious examples that clearly support what you are discussing.
✔️ Images – Having a variety of images helps the visual appeal of your post as they break up the blocks of text and help to visually illustrate specific points.
The conclusion should be a short statement that clearly summarises and wraps up your post. This is the area when you should also include a clear call to action in which you
direct the reader onto a next step after they have finished reading your post. Whether it is a link to an external site or encourages them to subscribe, you need to ensure the
connection with you doesn’t end when your blog post does.
🔹Proof Reading and Optimisation 🔹
Once you have finished writing your blog you need to consider the important factors of proof reading and optimisation before you publish your post. This process includes a thorough read through of your blog looking into areas such as formatting, grammar, spelling, keyword placement and other optimisation opportunities.
Look to analyse these several key areas;
Strategically Placed Keywords – By including relevant keywords and phrases that your target readers are using and strategically placing them throughout your blog post you tailor your content in a way that is going to ensure you are targeting reader’s needs and the chance for maximum search engine visibility. Look to strategically place these keywords across your post from your URL, to your blog title and subheadings.
General Formatting – Ensure your blog post is readable and visually appealing by thoroughly checking your formatting and paying attention to key areas such as including sub-headings to help break up text, breaking large blocks of text with images, being consistent with font choice and text size and generally ensuring ease of read with succinct sentence structure and clearly made points. Correct Links and Visuals – If you have included links ensure that they point to the correct location. If you have included visuals such as pictures and videos also ensure you reference and credit where you got them from.
🔹8 Quick Content Ideas for Blog Posts🔹
Tips and How-To’s
Providing informative tips, advice and how-to posts can be very useful to your customers and has the added benefit of promoting your product and its uses.
Behind the Scenes/ A Day in the Life of
People love to see behind the scenes as it shows them an aspect of your business that they wouldn’t normally see. ‘Day in the life’ posts are a popular example.
Contests and Other Exclusive Content
Running a contest and sharing exclusive content always generate engagement and interest. Just make sure the content and/or prize you offer is relevant and valuable to your audience.
Relevant Industry News and Updates
If you know any relevant news/ events that are going to interest or affect your customers then share it with them and you will become a trusted industry news source.
Compile a Useful Resource List
If you come across any valuable and informative resources such as links, websites, books and products related to your business and industry, then share it with your customers. This can go some way towards establishing your blog as a trusted source of information.
Customer Testimonials / Success Stories
A customer testimonial goes a long way in terms of establishing credibility and interest in your product or service. So if you have received a good recommendation or someone has found another useful use for your product then share it on your blog.
Interviews with Industry Leaders/ Key Figures
If you have an industry expert that is of interest to your customers or have celebrity contacts then conducting an interview and sharing it on your blog is a sure fire way to attract attention, even more so if they share exclusive content.
Content that Helps Humanise Your Brand
Sharing stories from your business founders, staff members, charity work to your business morals and values and your business highs and lows helps your audience get to know and care about you as it shows there exists a real human behind your real business.
Top Tip: There are plenty of ideas for content out there. Every
book you read, event you attend, blog you visit and interview on
the news you hear, is rich with ideas for content. So keep your
eye out and keep a notepad handy so you always write down
But what happens for those times when you run dry? Here are four tools to help generate content for your blog:
✔️Google Trends: Google Trends keeps you up to date on the day-to-day pulse of your audiences’ interests. With Google Trends you can see the frequency and popularity of Google searches related to your topic and test the subject with Google Trends.
✔️MyBlogU: This free online platform allows you to crowdsource and brainstorm with other content creators.
✔️Quora: This is a crowd-sourced, question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organised by its community of users. This can help lead you to the types of questions that real people are asking. As well as having the benefit of building your authority, engagement, and traffic from being a regular contributor on Quora.
✔️ Buzzsumo: A fantastic source for research, with Buzzsumo you enter a topic or a URL in its search box and then displays a wealth of information. Buzzsumo provides backlinks and shows the content that performs best on social media.
This is an excerpt from my latest eBook ‘The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Social Media’ that is on sale and buy here: https://scarlett-darbyshire.myshopify.com