Blogging is not just a great way to let your creative juices flow and practice your writing skills. It’s also an awesome chance to engage your audience and promote yourself as an expert.
Regularly crafting and sharing a blog post gives you an easy way to share your voice with the world.
But that same simplicity can also make it harder for you to stand out from the crowd. It’s recently been found that there are over 2 million blog posts written each day!
Yet the blog post as a marketing medium is far from dead. You’re reading one right now, after all. But it does mean that you have to take a bit of a different approach than every other blogger out there.
So how do you make sure that you can rise above the blogging noise? Simply put, you need to look at your blog post as a product that needs promoting.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a perfect blog post:
• Come up with a unique and validated idea
• Find what you need to produce your post
• Package it in a pretty and easy-to-use way
• Market your product to the right crowd
• Track your results and make tweaks if needed
Step 1: Find the Right Topic
Whether you have tons of ideas for your blog or no clue where to start, your first step needs to be separating the good ideas from the bad.
You don’t want to spend your time writing about a topic that nobody’s interested in reading about. Or one that has already been written about almost to death.
Your goal here is to find a topic that is worth your time and effort. One that is already in demand and is ready for your unique take on the subject.
Check out these free resources to find blog topics worth writing about:
• Google Trends helps to reveal topics that are currently trending online.
• Reddit and other online communities allow you to delve deeper into trending topics.
• Keyword Planner helps you to evaluate how many people are searching for your topic.
• Buzzsumo will show you popular content that’s already been written on your topic.
Step 2: Craft a Clickable Title
Once you’ve found the perfect topic for your blog post, the next step is to come up with a title that draws people in and has them actually wanting to read it.
Think about the types of titles that have caused you to stop scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. Then ask yourself what it was that hooked you about those headlines.
Want some quick headline creating inspiration? Check out these attention-grabbing title templates:
• X Little Know Ways to ________
• Who Wouldn’t Want to ________?
• Here’s the Simple Secret to ________
During this part of the writing process, your goal is to simply do some brainstorming for blog post headlines. Don’t feel pressured into perfection right now!
You just want to have a working title that will help point you in the right direction. You can always come back after you’ve written your post and craft the perfect blog post headline.
Want to test the effectiveness of your title? Try running it through a free headline analyzer tool to see how it will perform for you.
Step 3: Write to Market
It’s important to have a plan in place before beginning to write your blog post. This is where using a simple outline can come in very handy.
Lay out a raw “sketch” of what you would like your post to look like, including your title, subheadings, and a snippet of detail that you want to cover in each part.
Then you just have to fill in the blanks!
Be sure to keep your “ideal reader” in mind as you’re outlining your content. You’ll find that writing is much easier when you’re focusing on a specific audience.
Make sure that your blog post offers your ideal reader:
• Value that they can immediately recognize
• Easy-to-follow language (no “insider lingo”)
• Factual content that entertains as it informs
Step 4: Proof and Edit
Your next step is to make sure that your post is easy-to-read and error-free.
Look over your post and ask yourself if it’s structured clearly. Do your ideas flow in the most effective and understandable order?
Keep your sentences short wherever possible. You might even want to try reading your post out loud to yourself to see if there are any parts that cause you to stumble.
Chances are if your words are hard to read out loud, they’ll be hard to understand for online readers, as well.
And be sure to check your entire post for grammar and spelling errors. After all, you want visitors to comment on your insightful info, not your typos!
Looking for some extra help with editing your post? Check out the Grammarly Writing Assistant. This free web app checks your work for mistakes and makes suggestions for ways to correct them.
Step 5: Optimize for Search
You also want your post to be picked up by search engines to increase its reach. That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes into play.
Here’s how to make your blog post more attractive to Google:
• Use your targeted keywords in a natural, non-salesy way.
• Make use of keywords in the post body, title, and subheadings.
• Include keyword-rich descriptions in the alt-text for all images.
Step 6: Publish and Promote
Congrats on all of your hard work so far! You’ve finally made it to the point of publishing your post and sharing it with the world.
After spending so much time and effort on writing the perfect blog post, you might be feeling a bit anxious about hitting that publish button.
What if no one likes my post?
Criticism can definitely be a scary thing! But an even scarier thought is no one being able to find your post in the first place.
Check out these top tips for promoting your post once it has been published:
Promote it on social media. Don’t be afraid to share your post with your followers on Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms. Sharing management services like Buffer can help make this easier for you.
Reach out to those you mentioned in your post. Ask them if they would be willing to link to your post or share it on social media.
Answer questions about your blog topic on Q&A sites like Quora or Reddit.
Pin some of the images from your post to related boards on Pinterest.
Share it with your email list if you already have one. If not, this is the perfect excuse to get one!
Republish it on blogging platforms like Medium, Wordpress.com, or Tumblr.
Step 7: Check on Post Performance
It’s human nature to want to improve over time. But that can be hard to do when you aren’t sure what you got right or wrong in the first place.
You want to make sure your blog performs well and that you’ve come up with a technique that can be replicated for future success, right?
But how do you know how well your post is doing, other than checking on how many shares it’s getting on social media platforms?
Take a look at these other important parts of blog performance monitoring:
• Number of post views
• Time spent on page
• Bounce rate
• Visitor sources
• Number of comments
• New subscribers or sales
Want to know what readers are saying about your post outside of of your blog? Just paste the URL into the search bar on social sites like Twitter or Facebook.
You’ll be able to see who has shared your content, what they’re saying about it, and even engage directly with your readers via post comments.
Taking part in conversations about your content will stoke the “flames of interest” and get folks even more excited about future posts on your blog.
Want to know where else your post is being shared? Install the CrowdTangle Link Checker extension for Chrome to see the other places your content is popping up online.
The Better Blogging Bottom Line
Writing a blog post that attracts both readers and search engines is definitely an investment of time and effort. But the ROI that you get from that hard work can be bigger than you’ve ever imagined.
Your content marketing success or failure ultimately depends upon how well you serve your target market through entertaining and helpful blog posts.
As for the bottom line on what it takes to write a better blog post…
Just make it all about your ideal reader and you’ll never fail to come out on top.
Need Help Writing the Perfect Blog Post?
Let's face it, you're as busy as all get out sometimes, am I right?
That's where having an experienced and dedicated pro blogger on speed dial can really pay off!
If you're looking for some help with your blogging needs, go ahead and give me a shout.
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Thanks to the evolution of content marketing, building your brand and increasing sales is no longer as simple as sharing content that extols the benefits of your product or services. Letting the world know about how wonderful your company is and how it can help solve their problems should no longer be the sole focus of your content marketing success strategy.
Instead, product and service descriptions should stay on dedicated pages on your site, and your blog should be all about building a connection with your audience through catering to their chosen lifestyle and how your company fits into the type of life that they want to live.
Think about this…
People build certain preferences during their lifetime in regards to the car they want to drive, the clothes they want to wear, and the home they want to live in. Some of these preferences are built by personal experiences with specific brands, of course, but not as much as you might think.
The media that people are exposed to is also a key factor in choosing the brands that they want to use. When someone sees a commercial, blog post, or other piece of media that shows folks living an amazing life, they latch on to it, and hard. “These people really get what I want,” they think, and consumers are then encouraged to use the product that they see on the screen, thinking that choosing that specific brand will lead them to live the lifestyle that they see portrayed.
Take Mountain Dew, for example. Their commercials, content, and all other forms of their brand marketing show people that drink their product live an exciting, adrenaline rush fueled kind of life – they show us surfers, mountain climbers, and skateboarders enjoying their beverage. And they’ve built an empire by embracing a specific culture, all through lifestyle marketing.
So, how do you cash in on this brand building phenomenon?
1) Choose the type of lifestyle that attracts your audienceThis might seem like a pretty obvious first step, but if you have a large marketing department or multiple pieces of input from your team (no matter the size), your lifestyle marketing message might become muddled and seem overwhelmingly complicated.
To define the best lifestyle message for your brand, ask yourself:
What does your ideal customer like to do with their free time?
Where do they go for entertainment?
What’s important to them?
You can also create a survey asking your customers for their input, and offer them a coupon or other special offer to increase your chances of getting a higher number of responses.
2) Create content that caters to your audience’s lifestyleOnce you have a firm foundation in regards to the lifestyle that calls to your audience, your next step is to create content that shows them that you understand their chosen lifestyle and what it will take to lead that type of life.
Take the opportunity to really connect with your audience…
3) Keep your lifestyle marketing message consistent
Content marketing that is well done does more than just drive traffic to your company’s website or blog – it cements you as an expert in the lifestyle that your audience craves.
Continue on that path by consistently creating content that speaks to your audience and shows that you understand them. Stay on course with regular, targeted lifestyle marketing focused content and you will see a huge impact on your brand – and your bottom line.
Investing time and money into search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best choices that you can make as a business owner. When done the smart way, optimizing your website for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can bring in more traffic (and sales!) than any other method out there.
But how do you know that the content that you're sharing with the world is going to get you the attraction that you want and need?
By working with an SEO content professional, of course!
This post is the first in the content marketing success series, Content that Clicks. We're going to talk about finding a freelance SEO writer that you can count on to deliver the SEO-focused and keyword-rich content that you need to boost your search engine ranking and get your company in the spotlight.
Tip #1: Get your SEO strategy down pat
Before you launch yourself into the process of hiring the right freelance writer to handle your SEO writing needs, you need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what they are.
What type of SEO content do you think would be the best for your business?
If you find that you just plain old don't know the answers to these questions, your best bet might be to hire an SEO consultant first to get your search engine optimization strategy on firm ground, and then move onto starting your SEO writer search. First things first, am I right?
Tip #2: Focus on the writer's skills and experience
Just like filling any other open position in your company, you need to focus on the abilities and skills of your SEO writer.
Have they done this type of writing before? What is their writing "voice," and will it work well with your content needs?
Look for a writer who:
Has experience with SEO - Writing is not an easy task no matter the industry, but especially so when it comes to SEO writing. The writer needs to have at least a basic understanding of long tail keywords, heading usage, and writing for the search engines. Bonus if they can write for audiences and Google ... you'll end up with engaging and valuable content that also helps you climb the ranking ladder!
Brings creativity to their work - SEO writing used to be as easy as stuffing as many keywords into a piece of content as possible, with no concern for the quality of the content itself. This is no longer the case. Google has become focused on valuable and engaging content, and not just the keywords themselves. Your SEO writer needs to have a high level of creative ability in order to not only come up with related keywords for the richest and most effective content, but also be able to place those keywords into their writing without coming across sounding like an SEO robot.
Is reliable, professional, and friendly - Nobody wants to work with a diva that can't be bothered to get their projects finished and submitted on time. This is especially true when it comes to writers. Look for a freelancer that is easy to get in contact with, has an open and accessible personality, and can show you positive feedback from other clients.
Can meet (or beat) deadlines - The old saying "time is money" could have been created for the content marketing industry. You need your content to be published consistently and on time, and in order to do that, you need to work with a writer that can deliver the goods in a timely fashion. Make sure to find out about the writer's track record when it comes to deadlines, and ask them their average turnaround time for the type of content that you need written. Bonus if they can get work submitted before the requested deadline date!
Tip #3: Clarify, clarify, clarify
The best way to narrow down the list of qualified SEO writing candidates after checking out their background and qualifications is by asking the right questions.
Be sure to ask the writer:
Tip #4: Start with a test run
Once you've chosen your writer, it might be tempting to jump right in with both feet and give them a ton of pieces to write for you, especially if you have a backlog of content that you need created.
Don't risk it!
You need to give your new writer a "trial run" to make sure that the two of you will make a good fit and that the writer really can produce what they have promised, when they have promised it.
Start with a small sample project, and pay them their asking rate for their time. This will ensure that you're getting what you need, and that the writer will take you seriously. Sadly, there are people out there that request sample pieces and then just disappear after getting the writing they wanted done.
You've put a lot of effort into finding the right SEO writer for you, and you don't want to lose them! Starting with a paid test run will give you and your writer the confidence that you need to continue on with a long and profitable working relationship.
Working with a freelance writer not only saves you time and money, it can also save you from the embarrassment of just plain ol' horrible writing.
The folks behind some of these 15 hilariously awful signs could have saved themselves some trouble by consulting a freelance copy editor before unleashing all of this wrongness on the world.
Hilarious Reason #1: Find vs. Fined
This sign is the perfect example of what a big difference one little letter can make.
If the company in charge of making sure that parking is under control had taken the time to proofread their sign, those using the parking garage would have known that they could expect to be fined $50, as opposed to having a lucky day with their $50 find.
Hilarious Reason #2: Clear as Mud
Signs are meant to be a quick and easy means of communication, but when no one has any idea about what you're trying to say, confusion ensues.
What exactly was this business trying to get across? No one is really sure, and so this sign is a waste. If only they had taken the time to work with a freelance writer, we might have some clue as to the meaning of this mistakenly mysterious sign.
Hilarious Reason #3: Practice What You Preach
This business got themselves into the ultimately awful and embarrassing situation...offering a service that they can't even perform for themselves!
Make sure that you're practicing what you preach when offering your own services by running your copy (and signage!) by a professional copy editor before letting it hit the streets.
Hilarious Reason #4: A Little Imagination, Please
Consumers like to know that they are getting their money's worth by working with businesses that offer some creative backbone and gumption.
This business would have done better to have a bit more imagination with their billboard.
Hilarious Reason #5: It Takes a Village
When it comes to raising and educating children, parents can use all the help that they can get.
As long as that help comes in the form of the correct education. Don't fall into the same sales pit as this company by offering a great product with an awful (and incorrect) advertisement.
Hilarious Reason #6: What's Cheaper Than Cheaper?
There are so many things wrong with this one, it's hard to know where to start.
Comparing something with itself is never the best way to wow customers. This business might have considered adding some "umph" to their advertising copy with a comparison that actually makes a comparison.
Then there's the improper use of quotation marks -- they're not for emphasis, folks!
And the ever-popular incorrect use of "your," in place of the correct use of "you're."
All in all, this sign is a big mess. Don't make the same mistakes as this unfortunate company!
Hilarious Reason #7: So, You're Open? Or Maybe Not?
One of the most important reasons to use signs is to impart a clear message to your customers.
This sign is sending a mixed message that is sure to cause some confusion and lost sales!
Hilarious Reason #8: The Professional Difference
As a business, you need to appear professional to attract paying customers. Simple as that.
I don't think this sign is going to be doing these businesses any favors!
Hilarious Reason #9: Ownership or Management? Or Both?
A business coming under new ownership (or even management) can sometimes mean great things.
But what about when no one knows which one is which?
Working with a professional writer can help you to appear as a knowledgeable expert in your field, instead of just confused, like this company.
Hilarious Reason #10: Please be Quite Quiet
Words have power -- when they're used smartly.
This sign makes you feel confused, and even embarrassed for whoever was behind it.
Should we be quiet, or quite impressed at the interview that's in progress?
Hilarious Reason #11: Our Specials Are Special
Ah, those tricky words that sound the same but are totally different!
This business got so close to hitting the mark, but they're construction special sign fell short of their (they're?) intended mark.
A professional writer can help make sure that you don't step in a wrong word mess, like they did.
Hilarious Reason #12: Brain Food Facts
Whoever wrote this sign definitely missed out on their brain food that day!
Here's another example of what a big difference one tiny little letter can make when it comes to sounding like a professional, versus sounding like someone who didn't make it through school.
Hilarious Reason #13: Make the Right Move
Such a simple mix-up, with such sad results.
Don't lead your customers astray with the wrong message -- working with a professional writer or copy editor can help your company get its message across the right way, the first time out.
Hilarious Reason #14: Cater to the Right Audience
One of the most common (and annoying) grammatical errors out there is the unnecessary apostrophe.
This sign is double trouble with two unneeded apostrophes, and a complete misspelling.
Their customers probably don't even know who this company caters to!
Hilarious Reason #15: Too Rude!
This sign not only shows ignorance of the English language, it also puts across the wrong message for a successful business.
You don't want to turn prospective customers away before they even get a chance to become paying customers by appearing rude and uneducated!
A content marketing writer can help you to make sure that your copy is correct and appealing.
Laughing at these horribly hilarious examples of bad writing might be fun, but what if you were on the other side of the joke?
Remember that good copy isn't just error-free copy -- it also makes the correct use of words and packs the most content marketing punch possible.
Are you starting to see why working with a professional writer just makes cents? (Okay, that's the last one, I promise!)
With so many businesses having an online presence nowadays, it goes almost without saying that the amount of online content being created and published is on the rise.
The problem is that with such a high demand for content, there is also a high level of pure drivel being created and posted. So what can you do to make sure that your content isn't adding to the problem?
Marketers have to rethink content. Plain as that.
How to make sure that your content is hitting the mark:
The bottom line here is that quality content is still very much a viable marketing practice, and if you follow these simple guidelines, you will see some stellar results from the content that you share.
When I was thirteen years old, my class visited the Holocaust museum. That trip had a huge impact on me - seeing all of the suffering and evil that took place during that time in history definitely opened my eyes to the world around me and the people in it.
That night after my homework was done, I pulled out a notebook and wrote a poem about the effect that seeing the history of the Holocuast had on me. My teacher submitted it to a language arts magazine, and that poem became my first published piece of writing.
What's the point of me sharing that memory with you? It's one of my stories, and storytelling is the point of this post. Well, storytelling and what it can do for your marketing strategy.
Marketing isn't just about pimping your products and services...
It's about engaging your audience and making a connection with your customers.
Content that grabs the attention of your site visitors and blog readers is what keep them coming back for more. And what's more attention-grabbing than a good story?
We all have a story to tell!
It's not just famous authors and movie-makers that have great stories to tell. People want to hear about other regular folks. The bestsellers lists are full of memoirs, and some of the top-grossing movies of all time are based on true stories.
Showing your audience that you are bonafide homo sapien by revealing some of the details about who you are, how you got where you are, and why you do what you do has a very endearing effect on them. In other words, humanizing yourself and your company wins you big points.
So, how do you get started? These 5 tips will help you use storytelling as an effective marketing tool.
You want to embrace and engage your audience, so make sure you know what kind of story that they want to hear. Do they want a drama, an adventure, or maybe something more emotional?
Think about what emotions that you want to evoke, and what tone you want to use. If your audience is more of a "happy-go-lucky" bunch, you don't want to turn them away with a strong, dramatic voice.
Gather your info! You want to make sure to have all of your facts, dates, and key events gathered together before beginning to make crafting your story as easy as possible.
If you're truly concerned about not being able to get your story written, you might want to consider working with a professional writer.
An experienced ghostwriter will be able to take the information that you want to share with your audience and craft a well-written, easy to read story that will entertain and inform your customers, as well as boost sales.
Focus on the reader
What makes storytelling such a powerful content marketing strategy is the fact that it focuses on relationships and creates a human connection between you and your audience.
Leave the bragging about how amazing your product or service is and other advertising techniques for another time and place. This should be all about the story that you have to tell.
Instead, focus on human interest. Share customer success stories or the reason that you started the company in the first place. You don't want to destroy expectations by creating a thinly-veiled sales pitch.
Think about the recent Dodge commercial that shared the story of how the company was started by two competitive brothers. That marketing campaign created an emotional connection with the Dodge audience and shared information that many people didn't know about one of the country's most popular car manufacturers. That's what storytelling marketing is all about!
Don't ignore theme & structure
Just because you're creating a story for marketing reasons, doesn't mean that it shouldn't follow the basic structures of storytelling.
Your story needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. It needs to have conflict and resolution, relatable characters or personas, and an ending that leaves people feeling satisfied.
This is so important, I'm going to say it again - this is not a sales pitch! Use an informal, accessible tone that draws people into the story.
Think about how classic fairy tales are started: "Once upon a time..." This is done to let people know that they should settle in because they are about to be taken to another place and time. You could do worse to than remember that when telling your story. Fairy tales have lasted as long as they have for a reason.
I bet that story I shared at the beginning of this post grabbed your attention, and that was exactly what it was meant to do...now it's your turn!
Take that story that you've written, and get it in front of people. Post it on your blog, share it on your social media networks, send it out to your email newsletter list.
People love a good story, and they love to share things that have affected them to those that they care about. If you've done well with crafting your story, it will be shared over and over again.
If you're like any good business owner, you want to get the word out about what it is that you have to offer the world, and that means marketing your goods or services.
In this electronically driven society, that means digital marketing. And what lies at its core? Content.
So, how do you get more traffic to your site? You share valuable content. Period.
Content Marketing is the Answer
Whether you do that through your blog or social media (and preferably with both!), the one thing that all good content marketing strategies have in common is great content.
Right about now, you're probably asking yourself some questions:
"But what if I can't write?"
"What if I don't have the time to be constantly creating content?"
"How do I even get started knowing what kind of content to share?"
The good news is that you're not alone in asking those questions. The better news is that there is a way to prevent from having to worry about them.
How? One amazing little word: Outsourcing.
Outsourcing for Content Marketing Success
Developing an ongoing relationship with a freelance writer can help you offer your audience fresh, unique, and informative content that will keep the coming back for more.
In the content marketing world, that's the name of the game.
You might need to hire an expert.
Don't freak out! Outsourcing your content creation can be a painless and profitable experience if you know what you're up against.
3 Steps to Content Creation Outsourcing Success
These 3 key steps to working with a freelance writer will help you to up your content marketing game:
1) Be clear with your needs
Make sure that the freelance writer that you are thinking about hiring is the right fit for you by letting them know exactly what you need.
Are you after articles, blog posts, or a new "about us" page for your site?
Be upfront with the writer - don't hire them and then expect them to create perfection for you.
2) Nurture the partnership
You get what you give, right? Be sure to show the content creator that you understand and respect what they do by not only giving them clear input but by also creating reasonable deadlines and keeping the revisions to a minimum.
Freelance writers are in business, as well, and will respect and appreciate a pleasant and professional working relationship as much as you do.
If you want to make a real go of it in the digital marketing world, you're going to have to think outside of the box and bring something fresh to the table.
Not only do potential customers get sick of seeing the same ol' content, so does Google.
So what can you do to push the content marketing envelope and stand out?
These 3 tips will show you how to stretch the branding boundaries and get your content going viral.
1) Forget about the hard sell...tell a story
Storytelling isn't just for kids at bedtime. When done well, it can help to keep your message fresh and your customers coming back for more. You can share the personal experiences of your staff or even ask for your current customers to share their own stories via hashtags on Twitter. Of course, you want to try and keep things as related to your business as possible, but don't lose the human element! You want to tug at people's heartstrings and show that there are real people behind your brand.
2) Remember to have fun!
Humor is a key aspect of life, and believe it or not, business. No one wants to be reminded about the heavy stuff when they are scrolling through their newsfeed or browsing blogs. Keep things light and you'll be amazed at how much of a response you will get. Folks love to share amusing and entertaining anecdotes and photos. Don't let the opportunity to create shareable content pass you by!
3) Keep it innovative
Think about the most successful businesses in the world and what they have in common. I bet the same tired marketing campaigns aren't one of the things that you came up with and you would be right. The heavy hitters and big players are all out there constantly coming up with new ways to relate to (and engage with) their consumers. You should be too. Period.
Do you have a blog (and use it)?
If you haven't been living under a rock since approximately 2006, you know that blogging is not just big, it's huge. Blogging can make the difference between your business thriving or failing. Honestly.
Think about it. The Internet is out there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's answering people's questions, giving them directions and helping them figure out what products and services to use.
If you're not putting your own content out there for potential customers to see, guess what they're doing? If you thought that they're sitting around hoping and praying for a business like yours to fall into their laps, you're dead wrong. They're finding your competitors content and buying from them, instead. Yikes!
So what can you do? Get yourself out there. You don't need to spend a fortune on digital marketing firms or fancy schmancy website design. You need a URL and a blog. That's it. If you don't have a blog, get one. Seriously. Right now.
Are you sharing valuable and well-written content?
Ok, so you got yourself a blog. Awesome. Now, what? You start sharing your knowledge. Yep, that's it.
You offer what you know in an effort to help others, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and watch your SEO grow exponentially.
You're trying to do it all yourself? Seriously?
The one thing that all business owners have in common is the lack of enough hours in the day to get everything done. They are just stretched too thin between administrative tasks, staffing concerns, and making sure that their business runs as smooth as possible.
So how are you supposed to implement an amazing content marketing strategy?
One word: outsourcing.
You don't have to do it all yourself. You can delegate the content creation to a freelance writer and focus on what you do best - running your business - all while you have that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing that your content is making (and not breaking) you, after all.