Welcome to Part Three of the Three Part Series: How to create a winning blog! Have you read Part One and Two yet? Make sure you do before reading on! In the third part of the series, I’m focusing on execution: That means creating engaging blog posts that will have your readers sharing and promoting your wise words! There’s quite a bit to get through, so I’ve narrowed it down to ten easy steps:
1. Write an eye-catching title
Chances are, people will stumble across your blog via social media, your website, or a through a search engine result. This means that the first impression is the headline and a short description. Make it count! If this is the difference between them clicking through or moving on, it needs to be eye catching.
2. Don’t be afraid to get personal
Blogging is a great way to speak to your audience in a more informal voice than you might otherwise employ across other media. It’s expected, and will instantly build a stronger rapport. Share personal experiences that might be relevant to the subject matter you’re writing about. It will endear your readers to you and bridge the gap of ambiguous formality. Keep the tone light, so it’s easy to read. When I blog, I imagine I’m speaking to a friend over a coffee.
3. Quality, not quantity
This is absolutely key! Keep your points concise and avoid wandering tangents – this isn’t the place for a dissertation! Ideally your readers should be able to read one post within about 10 minutes, and certainly no longer than 20. Long posts, no matter how significant the information, will not be read. Use examples to illustrate your points, and embrace visual imagery to keep the content interesting.
4. A picture says a thousand words
And data indicates a video will be shared three times as much as a copy-only blog post. Keep in mind consistency of image and video styling, and try not to have the placeholder take up too much space. Infographics are also a great way to tell a story. If your visuals aren’t original, be sure to reference the owner.
5. Consistent style and design
Branding is, of course, of paramount importance. Make sure your blog is consistent in tone of voice, design and style. If you have different bloggers writing for you, keep tabs on them to ensure they’re on track. This also means consistent treatment of heading, hyperlink, body copy and number styles.
6. Review, revise, rewrite. Repeat.
I’ve always been envious of writers who can crack out a jaw dropping article in one sitting, but just because I couldn’t, it didn’t sway me from becoming a writer. Everyone will have their own way of doing things: I prefer to write the post in one go, and not worry too much about the details initially. I need to do this just get the ideas out on the page. I’ll then take a walk and think about something else before revisiting, reviewing and tweaking. If possible, I’ll give it to someone else for editing. Fresh eyes are incredibly important!
7. Call to Action
While a blog is an informative piece designed to educate or entertain, it also provides a fantastic opportunity to call your readers to action. If you have a service or solution to the issue that you’re writing about, ensure you have a link to that area of your site. Never assume the reader will find their way there! Short CTAs are great ways to direct readers to other places on your site that they may find interesting.
You optimise by using key words in your title, headings and sub headings, meta tags, meta description, anchor text, first sentence and concluding paragraph. This means your blog posts will actually be found by people searching for information relevant to your post. While your engaging headline should contain a few keywords, if it sounds forced, leave it. It’s better to have an engaging title rather than one created by a robot.
Meta tags are the keywords assigned to your post based on their content. These tags inform the search engines what your blog post might be about, and will help to determine the relevancy of the post when someone completes a search query. Meta descriptions are the short blurbs that appear under the titles in search engine results. They’re often the second thing people read after the title, so it’s crucial to captivate them in under 160 characters or less. Key words will ensure the relevancy of the post to search engines.
Images and videos too, can be optimised by the alt tag and file name. Since search engines can’t read images, these tags help alert them to the relevancy of your visual content as well.
9. Share the love
Every article you write should be promoted through as many channels as possible. Extract an interesting snippet or sentence from the post and use it as a hook to encourage your readers to click through. Ensure each blog post has clear social media sharing tools so that your readers can also independently share the posts online. With time, your analytics will demonstrate which social media channel is working hardest for you, and which posts are most popular. This data will be extremely powerful in helping you to determine what works and what doesn’t, and you should revise your blog plan accordingly.
10. Engage and respond
As with social media, if you allow comments after your posts, make sure you respond! Sometimes you might get negative comments. Don’t ignore them. Address any concerns, answer all the questions and be as transparent as possible. Apologise if necessary and follow up within a few weeks to see that all their questions were answered.
So, that concludes my Three Part Series on How to create a Winning Blog! Did you enjoy it? Please don’t hesitate to tell me if so, or if there is anything else you’d like to know about. If you’re thinking of starting a blog but don’t have the resources or time to write one, get in touch today to see if I can help.
Image courtesy of cavan images