Blogging, or content creation, is a critical piece of any online marketing strategy. Think of your website as the body of a spider (okay, not everyone likes spiders, but stick with me!). The content that you produce is all housed in the heart of your website: the blog.
Each blog post you create and share is a like a new leg on the spider, stretching far across the web. Without it, you’ll have nothing to share on social media to bring visitors back to your site, your SEO ranking will flop, and you’ll have no legs to reach out and grab leads with. Every time you produce a new blog post, you are creating a new index page, or leg, on the internet. The more legs you have tangled in the web, the easier it is for prospective customers to find and follow the path back to your website.
The concept is simple. So why don’t more businesses blog more often? Well, unless you are someone that actually enjoys writing or has a whole lot to say and a whole lot of time to say it, it is easy to make excuses and put it off.
I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that will not only allow you to blog quickly, but will actually improve your writing and turn your blog posts into something worth reading.
After you read this blog post, you will have absolutely no excuse to prevent you from writing your own. You’re the expert in your industry, you know what words to say, you just need to string them together. Follow these 5 easy steps and start blogging like a pro!
1. Pick a topic and create a working title
No one likes to do research, so write about something that you know a lot about. The words will flow naturally, and your work will be original.
Determine a category
Start by listing a few broad categories of topics you can write about. For example, If you work in health care, topics could be organized into sections like physical health, mental health, and spiritual health.
List the topics
Once you’ve identified all of the possible categories, get specific. Within each category, begin listing the possible topics you could discuss. Say you want to zero in on physical health. You could write about topics such as exercising or eating right.
State what you will be writing about
Pick your topic, and develop a working title. I find it is easiest to start with a question that you will then answer within your post. Like, “How do I make healthy food that actually tastes good?” Remember, this is just a starting point meant to provide a sense of direction. Everything within your post must relate back to this question. Your title can and most likely will change throughout your writing process, so don’t let this step slow you down.
If you need help deciding on the style of title you would like to work with, read Hubspot’s post 13 Types of Blog Headlines That Will Get You More Traffic.
2. Identify and understand your audience
Once you’ve figured out what you want to write about, you need to decide who you are writing for.
Refer to your buyer personas, or the audiences outlined in your brand guidelines. If you haven’t identified who your company’s audience(s) is/are yet, now is the time to nail that down. Spend some time thinking about the stakeholders in your business, and which group of individuals would receive the most value from reading about your chosen topic. If you can’t match an audience to your topic, go back to step one.
Use your target audience to answer these important questions:
- What do they want to know?
- What do they already know? (Don’t bore them with definitions and explanations!)
- What action do I want them to take?
Like your working title, these questions are meant to guide you and ensure your writing stays relevant.
3. Organize and plan content
Create an outline
You have a million and one things to say, but don’t know where or when to say them. Save yourself the time and headache of sifting through blocks of scattered thoughts by starting with a blog skeleton.
Break your post up with headings, subheadings, and bullet points within those. Not only will this outline help guide you in your writing process, the organization will actually make the post easier to read!
From start to finish, your blog should read in a logical order. You can arrange the order of your points in a number of ways, depending on what makes the most sense. Here are a few organization strategies you can try:
- Chronological order
- Relevance to topic/title
- Steps in process (like this post!)
- Compare and contrast
- Cause and effect
If you don’t organize your content in some sort of order, it won’t make any sense.
4. Write, write, write!
Don’t think, just write. The plan is there, now you just need to fill in the blanks.
Expand on your points, supplement with research if needed, back up your points with data, and don’t forget to give credit to your sources! Linking to other sites or publications within your post is actually a good thing. If we go back to the spider analogy for a moment, you can think of external links as little hairs on the spider’s legs. They are smaller paths that help with SEO and give prospective customers even more opportunity to find you.
5. Edit and fix formatting
You’re almost done! You’ve reached the final and one of the most important steps! Read through your post and remove any information that doesn’t need to be in there. If any of your points are weak, try to find facts or statistics to support them. Add images or other types of media to break up the text and make your post more visually appealing. When you’re happy with the layout and flow of your post, read through again with special attention to grammar and typos. Once you’re confident the post is perfect, pass it off to a coworker for a final screening.
Wrap it up!
If you followed all of these steps, your post will provide value to your target audience. This means you have the green light to ask for something in return! Remember the questions we addressed in step #2? Finish your post off with a call to action! Ask your audience to fill out a form, submit information, visit another page, download something, etc. Keep it short, simple, and direct. Happy blogging!
Need help creating a content strategy? Get in touch!