In Part 1 of our how to write a blog post, we introduced you to the whys and wherefores of blogging.
We hope that you picked up some useful tips: the main reasons why blogs are so good for your digital presence and your business, how to focus on your audience, and a few easy-to-fall-into pitfalls to avoid.
Welcome to Part 2. Here, you’ll learn about the practicalities of blog writing.
For example, some valuable copywriter “how to” nuggets, advice on blog topics, as well as some tried and tested tips to get people to engage with your articles.
Great Blogs = Great Links?
Blogs can play a major role in your content marketing and SEO strategy when it comes to link building.
In a nutshell, links back to your blog from high domain authority sites in a related sector are a BIG plus for Google. Why? Because if your site is a trusted authority on a key topic, and other website owners recognise it as such with hyperlinks to the blog in question and engagement, the world’s biggest search engine notices.
With a high number of natural backlinks, you’re at the centre of a network. The outcome could be higher organic search engine rankings (there are no guarantees with the search engines and you should not purchase links for this purpose). But, remember, you need a content strategy in place to really hit the clouds on this.
And, your articles have to be incomparably good. Throwing up 2,000-word blogs onto your site won’t work unless they’re good enough for people to want to reference them. Link building, or rather link earning is a complex area.
Ok, back to part 2.
What to Write About
That’s a big question, and one that stumps quite a lot of people. Always, always add value. Here are some ideas:
• De-bunk some myths about your services and your industry.
• Write a glossary or definitions article. Make it super-easy to understand.
• Analyse the current state of your market.
• A Frequently Asked Questions post.
• A Questions that Should be Asked post (interesting one).
• A guide to…
• 7 top tips for your clients -in effect, how best to work with you.
• Identify the 5 most common challenges that your target market experiences.
• Identify how you solve them.
• Analyse what you think are the top 3 or top 5 mistakes made by the big brands in your sector.
• Explain how to do something cheaper, and more efficiently.
• Highlight the latest developments in your sector, how they work and how they could benefit your target market.
• Write a profile of someone you admire in your area of business – and explain why.
• Create a Mistakes I have Made in Business post. Making it funny could be a less painful experience and will resonate with your readership.
• A How NOT to do something post. Again, make it funny.
• Challenge mainstream views in your industry.
With any luck, the above list could kick start your creativity.
When writing, don’t be afraid to be controversial, but of course it goes without saying that you don’t want to offend anyone – or worse, libel them.
If you’re using stats or examples from another business, be sure to reference or credit them.
If you’re linking to your blog post on social media, don’t forget to ask for comments, feedback and for the piece to be shared. In our opinion, LinkedIn is a particularly good platform to get some lively discussions started.
And the numbers thing?
Bizarrely, it appears that blogs which have uneven numbers in their titles (5, 7, 9 etc), tend to get better click-through rates than those with even figures. Nobody knows why. If we ever discover the reason, we’ll let you in on it. In the meantime, try the odd number approach when writing a blog to see what we mean!
Attention Grabbing Content – Actionable Tips to Start Using Immediately
Professional web content writers know how to make an impact. They get paid to engage people, and importantly – to keep people reading. In fact, good writers should leave their audience wanting more. So, although we’re repeating ourselves here a little, put yourself in the shoes of the person who will be reading your words of wisdom.
State a benefit to get people interested: “when you’ve read this, you’ll know how to…”. To be fair, the first paragraph is everything so take care to craft the most impactful opening possible.
Also, questions are great – but not too many. For example, “what do you think about…?”
Can you see how powerful questions can be?
When writing a blog, use emotion rather than logic. Touching someone’s feelings is a quicker, more effective process than appealing to the facts of the matter. For instance, the misery of back pain, or the fear of being investigated by the tax authorities.
A Definite No
Avoid jargon and the use of acronyms.
The first just confuses people and turns them off because they feel stupid not to understand. The second, unless it’s a very well-known group or organisation, eg. the BBC, is just plain irritating. Why? Because again, your audience may not know what you’re referring to. What to do, then? Put the full name first – the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – then add the acronym in brackets next to it (RICS). Everyone now knows what you mean. Problem solved.
Some Copywriter Tips
1. Assuming that people have exceptionally short attention spans on websites – which they do – you’re going to have to do some editing and sharpening.
2. Say more, with less. Use short sentences, ideally fewer than 20 words. This is hard. But, it will be worth it.
3. Make use of short paragraphs. Your target market does not want to read large blocks of text.
4. Avoid using “we” when you can. An overuse of “we” is a massive turnoff in the minds of most website readers. Instead, every time your audience sees “you” and “your” they’ll recognise that you are talking about them and to them.
5. Use transition words. These are “signposts” that tell the reader where the concept is heading. Examples include:
• On the other hand,
• In other words,
• As a result?
• Why? Because…
• With this in mind,
• Not only…but also…
• Equally important,
Transition words are very powerful and outstandingly useful. Refer to Google for in-depth lists. And, use them when you can. See more tips.
So, there you are. Your guide to writing a blog by the team here at Shake It Up Creative. Good luck. Your next remarkable, brilliant blog is just waiting for you to write it!
Rachael Dines, Shake It Up Creative