Blogging has become one of the most important marketing tools, and provides businesses with a great opportunity to promote their products and services via email and social media by offering customers and potential customers helpful and interesting advice and information.
Blogs allow you to include a strong call-to action (CTA) at the end to entice readers to view or purchase products and services or sign-up to the company newsletter.
Providing engaging blogs is also imperative if you want to maintain a high Google Ranking. Yet so many businesses are still not blogging on a regular basis!
Whether you’re already blogging, or want to start but don’t know how, below is an easy-to-follow “how to blog successfully” guide.
1) Understand your audience.
Understanding your target audience is paramount to writing engaging blogs. Ask yourself what information do they want or need or will empathise with?
2) Start with a topic
Focus your audience’s mind by sticking to one topic per blog, and decide this topic before you start planning your blog.
For example, if you’re a holiday company trying to sell holidays in a specific place, your audience may want to know about the “5 best restaurants to visit”.
This may be the 5 best restaurants in the world – one of which happens to be in the destination you’re promoting. Or you may choose to focus it simply on the best five restaurants in the destination you’re promoting. The former may appeal to a wider audience, whilst the latter may only attract readers who already have an interest in that destination.
Make sure all the information you include is accurate and relevant to what you want to say, as this builds trust with your audience and shows you have an excellent knowledge of your subject matter.
Headlines should be catchy yet simple. You shouldn’t be aiming to mislead readers – but building their trust with a headline that tells them exactly what they’re going to get.
I.e. 16 Steps To Writing Great Blog Posts
5) Write a captivating intro
Grab the reader's attention in the first few sentences and paragraphs by telling them why they need to read the rest of the blog and how it might benefit them.
6) Organise your content.
Organised content can take multiple forms – but most readers like small sections with sub-headings to help them break down the information and digest it.
Now you’ve created the skeleton of your article it’s time to hang some meat on those bones – and the only way to do this is start writing. Write a first draft from start to finish and then put it to one side for an hour or two.
Once you return to your blog you should be able to see which information is extraneous and which areas need fleshing out a bit more – and the redrafting process begins. Sometimes you’ll need just two drafts – sometimes more. Just repeat the process as many times as you feel necessary.
Make sure headings and sub-headings are styled consistently and that this style remains consistent throughout out your blogs to makes content and branding look easier on the eyes and more professional.
10) Featured Image
Once you’re happy with the words, you may wish to add relevant visuals such as photos, pictures, animation or info-graphics. This is because social-media networks favour content with images, whilst images also make emails more attention grabbing.
11) Insert a call-to-action (CTA)
CTAs indicate what you would like the reader to do, for example, buy a product, subscribe to a service or sign-up to your newsletter. CTAs should be incorporated at the end of the blog where they will hopefully generate a lead and/or sale.
Pick 10-20 tags that represent the main topics of your blog.
13) Optimise for SEO.
When your blog is finished, check if you can make it more keyword friendly. However don’t stuff it with keywords as Google is wise to this and frowns upon it.
14) Meta Description
Meta descriptions are no longer a factor in Google's ranking algorithm, but a 150-160 character snapshot can improve your click-through rate.
15) Anchor Text
Anchor texts are words that link to other pages on your website or other websites, and search engines take them into consideration for rankings.
16) Mobile Optimisation
Mobile optimisation is now a massive consideration due to Google’s new forthcoming algorithm (21st April 2015) which will award ranking points to blog posts that are mobile user-friendly, and posts need to adapt to mobile devices to make them easy-to-read.