Writing a blog post is no easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort, and it takes time to see the fruits of your labor. People like seeing quick results and blogging isn’t a fast road to success.
Just look at how blogging has declined in Inc. 500 companies:
That’s quite unfortunate because they don’t know what they’re missing out on. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of blogging:
- More customers – Hubspot states that over 57% of companies say that they have acquired a customer through their blog.
- More traffic – companies that blog get over 55% more traffic just from their articles
- Lower cost per acquisition (CPA) – outbound leads cost 3 times more than blog (inbound) leads.
- Increased authority and brand loyalty – when you go out of your way to educate your readers, people will remember and talk about you. The truth is there’s only so much they can learn before they need more help. And when they need more help, who do you think they’ll remember? The company that provided value to them all along!
Blogging isn’t just about writing whatever is on your mind and hitting publish to gain some SEO benefits. In fact, it’s far from it. There’s a process involved in making your blog useful to your readers. Your readers have a short attention span so it’s up to you to make your blog post quickly accessible so they can read it, find a key takeaway, and take action.
Here are four things to do before publishing a blog post.
1. Format Your Blog Post
- Break up your thoughts into bite sized pieces - you want to make it as easy as possible for people to read your post without being too overwhelmed. The last thing you want to do is write a page that resembles something you’d see in a dictionary.
- Use sub-headers and bullets – building on the last point of making your post easy to read, sub-headers and bullets help people identify key points.
- Have at least one key takeaway – ask yourself ‘how do I want my reader to feel after reading?’ and tailor your post towards that goal. When you give your reader something a key takeaway, you’ve helped them. And people tend to remember people who help them.
- Use images – no one like reading a bunch of text. people like change so add some relevant images to spice up your post.
- Problogger’s post - how to format blog posts effectively
Examples of blogs that are formatted well:
2. Keyword Research
- Use Google Keyword Tool - Google Keyword Tool is the standard keyword research tool to start with.
- Make sure to use exact match – the default setting, broad match, pulls in keyword volume for long tail keywords. Exact match gives you a better idea of how many people are truly searching for an exact phrase each month.
- Pay attention to trends – if a keyword is trending downwards, it might be an idea to look elsewhere because people aren’t that interested in that specific phrase anymore.
- Keep keyword in title and in body of content – search spiders need to crawl text to see what you’re writing about. Keeping your target keyword in the title and having it at least once in the body of your content will help search engines figure out what your page is about. This might seem trivial but it goes a long way in bringing more targeted traffic. Note: you don’t always have to do this. An exception would be if you have a killer headline but you can’t find a way to incorporate your key phrase.
- Download your list of keywords by clicking ‘Download’ button – Google’s keyword tool allows you to export keyword ideas to csv. Take advantage of it and create a master keyword list that you can refer to.
3. Come Up With Great Headlines
- Spend time on writing great headlines - if no one clicks on your post, you’re losing out on eyes. Headlines are important in getting people interested. Your content keeps them interested. Both are super important. Copyblogger does a superb job with headlines.
- Look to your favorite blogs - if you need more headline ideas, look at your favorite blogs: which headlines draw you in? Create an inventory of these headlines to use in the future.
- Pro Tip: search for ‘Copyblogger headlines‘ in Google – you’ll find a lot of fantastic tips on how to generate sticky headlines.
4. Implement Google Authorship
- Google authorship is another signal to search engines – Google is doing it’s best to identify people who produce quality content. Authorship puts a face next to a name and helps grow your personal brand. Internet marketer AJ Kohn wrote about how authorship will influence search rankings right here.
- Two easy ways to implement authorship – here‘s a guide on how to implement authorship the normal way and how to do it through WordPress.
Following the four tips above will help strengthen your blog posts, but that’s just the beginning. Becoming a great blogger is all about quality, communication, consistency and perseverance.
You don’t need to be an english major, you just need to keep writing things that make sense. Focus on the quality of your articles versus the quantity of things published, but don’t forsake being consistent. And finally, don’t expect magic to happen overnight. Though it can occur, it’s highly unlikely. Stick with your blog and in time, it will grow.
What are some other tactics you’d recommend before publishing your first blog post?
Image source: Blog Writing Course