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.
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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.
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.