Everyone told you that you need to have a blog attached to your business, so you studied and brainstormed and came up with an idea. You sat down to write, clicked publish, and now… nothing. Crickets. No one is reading and if they are, they aren’t your target clients or customers, so they aren’t resulting in sales.
Now what? You need to learn how to write good blog posts. Just because you wrote your first blog post or two doesn’t mean people will automatically want to read it. It needs to be interesting. Entertaining, informative, or inspirational.
Especially as a business trying to sell your services online, you want to see a ROI from your blog posts. Content marketing requires a lot of resources (time or money), so you need to ensure that each piece of content really works for you in order to see that return on your efforts. The long-term goal is to results from your content marketing through either an increase in your audience or an increase in sales down the road. We don’t post just to post!
Here’s 8 tips to write great blog posts, so you can start to reap the reward even sooner. This is just the tip of my blogging strategy and content marketing, but I hope it helps you get started!
You’ll attract more bees with a strong headline than honey… That’s how the saying goes, right?
The point is that headlines matter! Your headline could ask a question, shock a crowd, or simply be descriptive. I could talk about headlines forever, but most importantly, your headline for your blog post should explain exactly what your post is about before your reader clicks through. Avoid click bait and just get to the point.
Popular headline formats to experiment with:
Ask your audience a question.
Include numbers if it’s a list.
Long and short form titles… which does your audience respond to best?
Use the word “you” in the headline.
At the same time as considering human eyes, you also want to develop a clear SEO strategy for every blog post you write. SEO is search engine optimization, which is essentially increasing the visibility of blog posts on Google and other search engines. It’s how new people will discover you! However, it’s a huge topic on it’s own, so a bit too much to cover here.
A call to action (CTA) encourages your reader to act. It guides them to the next step. Are you being clear with your CTAs? Or are you confusing people by asking them to do too many things at once? A confused reader is not a satisfied reader… they’ll likely click away.
To determine your CTA, ask yourself what your goal for your blogging or content marketing is in general? Next, what do you want your reader to do at the end of each blog post? They could leave a comment or a like, sign up for your email list, contact you to help them, download your freebie—you get the idea! Choose 1 CTA and stick to it throughout the entire blog post. If you write your blogs to build trust first, it’s more likely that they will follow through with the desired action.
When you first start a blog for your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and try to write about everything and everything. When you’re a seasoned blogger, it’s tempting to dip your toes in the water of the hot topics even when it isn’t quite on niche. If everyone else it talking about it, we’re fooled into thinking it’s a good idea for us to.
Pro tip: It’s better to stay on brand than to go with the latest trends. Producing consistent, on-brand blog content will encourage trust with your audience. Of course, pay attention to trends, but only follow them as they are applicable for you. For example, when you find out the latest fashion style trending on Pinterest, but you offer bookkeeping services, that trend might not be the one for you. Stay in your lane.
That being said, always write about what you know. Keep your blog topics within your niche—especially in the beginning! If you write about what you know, you will automatically offer more value to your readers and set yourself up as an expert. Niching down will help your long-term growth. When aligned with your area of expertise, your blogging efforts are likely to be more effective.
If you want your content marketing to be effective, you need a plan. Put together a content calendar for the month or quarter using all of your topic brainstorming and headlines. Creating a high-level plan will enforce a sense of direction on those weeks you aren’t too sure what you should write about. It becomes less of a guessing game when all you need to do is follow the plan you originally laid out for yourself. Also, then you will know that you are being strategic and creating content for your ideal clients, rather than just to go with how you feel that day.
Everyone works differently when creating content calendars. I start mine in a Google doc usually, but more recently have switched to using Airtable to map out the final plan so I can see an actual calendar view with all of my different content channels. If you want to try Airtable, my link is HERE (if you choose to sign up, I receive a small credit at no additional cost to you).
Writing for the web is much different from writing for academia, especially because most people consume blog content on screens. It’s okay to be conversational. The professionalism of your business is determined by what you know and your correctness, rather than the tone of voice you write with.
For example, content is easier to read on a screen when it is broken into smaller sections. Include lots of subtitles, bold text, and images to break up walls of content. Numbers and bullet points help as well. Look at how I’ve formatted this blog into multiple digestible sections. Your goal should be to format your blog posts in a way that skimmers would be able to gather information quickly.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while blogging for my business is to always ask your readers for feedback. There’s no better way to know what they like and dislike than just explicitly asking them to share their opinions and people are usually eager to respond. I regularly poll my audience on other platforms, like Instagram, asking what they want to learn from me next. They often help me brainstorm upcoming topics, which I refine and add to my content calendar.
Valuable reader feedback will help you shape future content, contributing to your long-term growth.
Gone are the days of slapping the Valencia filter on a grainy photo. High-quality photos aren’t hard to create even if you don’t have a professional camera. Most smartphone cameras are good enough and free editing apps work wonders. Even Lightroom is free on mobile. I use the paid version on desktop usually, but the free mobile editing app does the trick.
To improve your blog photos with only a smartphone, you just need to treat your phone like you would a proper camera. Pay attention to the lighting and framing—always look for natural light and keep your eyes out for interesting shots. It may feel like a challenge at first, but it gets easier with time.
Finally, you need to blog consistently if you want your audience to learn when to expect new content from you. There are no cut and dry rules when it comes to consistent posting, meaning there is no number of posts that is especially better than another. Your goal should be quality over quantity every time. Don’t post just to post, but ask yourself what your audience will gain from reading each time.
Also, you always want to provide value in some way: either entertain, inspire, or educate.
Just to clarify, posting consistently means posting on a regular schedule. That doesn’t have to be every day or week, especially if resources are limited. For my small business clients, I recommend they post at least one blog each month. The sweet spot for most is 2-4 per month. You want to keep your readers on a schedule and you want to show search engines like Google that you update your website often (therefore increasing your relevancy).
A good way to measure if you’re doing enough with your blog is to look at your competitors. All you need to do is out perform them to start moving up the ranks on Google.
It’s tough coming up with ideas for new blog posts all on your own! Here’s a list of ideas you can draw from.
How and why you started a business.
An overview of the process of a core service.
An overview of the process to create a popular product.
A case study from a happy customer.
Educate: Give them a taste of what it’s like to work with you! This blog post is an example itself.
Entertain: Show a behind the scenes view of a day in the life.
Ask your ideal client what they want to learn from you.
Ask your ideal client what they like to read.
“How to X” or “Y Tips to do Z” style blog posts.
See how you can adapt the above for your specific market and target clients. Hopefully they get some ideas brewing.
Let me know what you think, ask me a question, or add your own tips in the comments below! I’m here to help you write perfect blog posts that people love. If you still need guidance with your brand strategy, content marketing, or anything in between, check out the template + course shop or my drop-in strategy sessions.
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