Every business wants to be recognizable and easily accessible to its customers, but we all know that can be a challenge. One helpful way to increase your brand awareness and engagement is blogging.
Not only does blogging give your customers another channel for information and make your business a trusted resource, it can also build brand awareness and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). That means that people in the market for the service you offer will be better reached when you rank high on SEO result pages, which will drive traffic to your website.
Interested? Keep reading to learn how to create a successful blog post.
How to Write a Blog Post
Consider Your Audience
One of the first mistakes is a person thinking they can just start writing – but successful blogs begin with careful planning. When you start planning your blog, think about what your audience wants to know. What questions do they have, and what do you want them to know about your business? Talk to people in different parts of your company – they likely have varied customer experiences and can help you generate ideas for content.
Once you have a list of potential topics, determine if they are blog-worthy. Will it be interesting and useful to your customers and prospects? Even the most talented writers can’t capture someone’s attention if the topic isn’t relevant.
Do Your Research
Before starting your post, get inspired. A purposeful blog that generates engagement is difficult to achieve if you haven’t done your research. Take stock of your competition by reading their blogs and evaluating them. Did they hold your attention? Was it pleasing to the eye? Did you ever feel lost or like the writer left you behind? There is nothing wrong with reading other blogs and finding ways to make yours better.
Before you start writing, get organized. Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- What type of content are you going to create?
- When do you plan to post?
- How will you promote the post?
Answering these questions will create an editorial calendar so you stay on track.
Think about how you will approach each blog. Most people don’t want to read a long post – they simply don’t have the time or attention span. Can you cover the topic in 600-2,000 words? If not, consider writing a series of posts on the subject.
Then, outline your talking points. Outlining helps you write in an organized way that is easy for readers to follow. Part of this step is also thinking about the format and style of the post. Depending on the topic, your post could be a step-by-step guide, list, long-form article, or any number of formats. Using a variety of styles will prevent your blog from feeling stale or repetitive.
Write the Post
You’ve finally made it to the writing stage! There are three main parts every well-written blog post should have. Let’s review:
No pressure, but your opening sentences are the most important. You can spend all the time you want researching and organizing your content, but you won’t get anywhere if you can’t keep your readers interested. So, think of the first few sentences as a hook to catch your audience’s attention.
Most people will skim your post before deciding if it is worth their time. Blog posts can contain an overwhelming amount of information, so you need to make sure the most essential pieces stand out. To do this, all you need is to follow your outline. Use short paragraphs, subheadings, bulleted lists, and images to break up your talking points.
If you think of the last movie you saw or book you read, the ending is likely the lasting memory. Blog posts work similarly. Once you’ve covered all your points, your goal should be to make sure your readers remember what they just learned. For more extensive posts, offer a summary that ties your main points together. Otherwise, just share your closing thoughts in a few short sentences. Whatever you say, make sure it’s memorable.
Edit the Post
Now is the time to proofread. Few things diminish your credibility like a poorly written post. If you have copywriters in your company, make sure they review your post before it gets published. Otherwise, ask a few people to read your post and offer feedback. Reading the post aloud can help make sure your writing flows together, too.
Optimize for SEO
Remember that thing we mentioned about driving traffic to your site? Your blog posts will only do that if you optimize them for on-page SEO. That doesn’t mean you should cram keywords into your post. It’s not the ‘90s anymore, and today’s search engines are smarter than that. Here are a just couple of elements to review before you publish:
Title links may seem like a self-explanatory concept, and that’s because they are. Title links are simply the titles that get displayed on search engine results pages. There are many best practices for writing them, so do your research and know they are critical to your post.
Every page on your website should have a brief, one-to-two sentence description that summarizes the page’s content (AKA, the meta description). This summary shows up on search engine results pages and provides searchers with a preview of what they can expect to read. Good meta descriptions help improve your click-through rates.
Write a Catchy Title
One of the final steps before publishing your post is to pick a title. The title is the first thing your readers will see, so it needs to stand out. Easier said than done, right?
Fortunately, there are a few simple title formulas that work well. Think about articles you read online.
There are numbers headlines…
…and many other formulas you can follow. Take time to research common title structures and try the ones you like. Over time, you’ll gain insight into the titles that appeal to your audience.
Close with a Call-to-Action
What do you want your reader to do after they’ve read your post? That’s your call-to-action (CTA). You may ask people to contact your business, subscribe to your blog, download exclusive content, or any number of actions that help you generate leads. Your readers will stay on your site if you give them a reason.
Speaking of CTAs…
Ready to start a blog of your own? Contact M+C for more content marketing insights.