Blogs are powerful tools that help build strong relationships with people and crucially, customers. They are a huge part of inbound marketing, enabling brands to communicate their personality and values without the hard sell.
Gone are the days when a blog was simply a text-based article. With so many bloggers out there, brands need to really care about what they are posting and how it represents them, which means images, video and top quality writing are essential to making it work.
But all too often many businesses neglect their blogs, updating them infrequently with unengaging content that attracts few readers.
A blog that is only updated every two months with a rushed 250 word article will always lose out to a sleek and well-written rival blog. It’s still not enough to update a blog with lots of generic posts that have already been written many times before.
Blogs are a brand’s chance to not only communicate directly with their customers but guide them to other parts of the site, potentially having a direct impact on sales.
By devoting enough time to well thought-out and detailed planning, and enough resource and time to craft each post, the quality of your output will increase. This in turn will lead to more readers, more visitors to your website, and ultimately, more customers.
This post aims to help you cut through the noise of the blogosphere and write fantastic content that is worth the effort. Read on for our five indispensable tips.
1. Discover who you’re writing for
The first thing you need to know before you put pen to paper, so to speak, is who you are writing for. You may have hundreds of blog ideas that are interesting to you, but remember, it’s not necessarily you who you’re writing for. Consider:
- Are you writing for consumers or other businesses?
- Who is your target audience and what are their wants and needs?
- How can you help them with these needs in a way that they would expect and trust from your brand?
- What is your audience demographic?
- How can you help your audience through your blog?
You may already have buyer personas, which are brilliant for understanding what is relevant to your reader and what types of decisions they may be making in their daily lives.
If you don’t, any other data that tells you about your customer demographic will be crucial to nailing the right message in your posts. You may be able access some of this information from your Google Analytics (GA) account.
To do this, go to the ‘Reporting’ tab in your GA account then click Audience > Demographics or, Audience > Interests. Here, you’ll find Age, Gender, Affinity Categories (or interests), and In-Market Segments (identifies users in terms of product-purchase interests). You can find out how this data is collected here. This data may not be 100% accurate but it is a good starting point.
By getting under the skin of your customer, you will immediately have a clearer picture of the topics to best write about and how to present them to your audience. It will help you to hit the tone of voice and clearly communicate your brand’s personality.
2. Generate relevant and interesting angles
Once you have an understanding of your target audience and their motivations, you can start filling in their knowledge gaps with your blog posts. For your blog to become an essential read that they return to week after week, you want your posts to provide them with solutions that make their lives easier.
First, write down the topics your blog will cover. For example, if your business is a fitness gym, then your customers might be interested in workouts, and diet and nutrition. If your audience is mainly middle-aged men, you might also want to write about recovery and rehabilitation. Then write five ideas for each topic
Another way to gain inspiration is by assessing the performance of previous posts. If you have GA set up, find out what posts performed the best and build on those topics. You can also look at what your competitors are writing about. Don’t copy them but use them as inspiration to create an even better post.
There are some tools that you can use to get those creative juices flowing. Here are three of our favourites:
- Google Trends – Search for related trends for popular searches by keywords, location and more
- Searchintent.co.uk – This Fresh Egg tool reveals the search terms, queries and questions people have been searching for answers to in relation to a specific topic
- BuzzSumo – Based on the performance of content across Twitter, this tool enables you to search for the best performing content by topic, competitor website, influencers and more. It shows you the amount of shares the content has had across various social channels, and who has shared it
You need to be tough with yourself – ask why you are writing a particular post not just once, and not twice, but five times. By asking “why” to each answer you give, you will gain a more vivid and clearer sense of the purpose of the post and how suitable it is for your blog. It forces you to create a strong angle that will make the biggest impact on your reader. For example:
1. Why am I writing this current blog post? Because I want to help businesses to write top quality blog posts.
2. Why? So other businesses can improve their blogs and use their time effectively.
3. Why? Because when these improved blog posts attract more readers, they will know they were helped by Fresh Egg's expert knowledge and tips, which might make them think of us for other digital marketing services in future.
4. Why? Because I will add in our content marketing calendar, checklist and links to other useful blog posts, so they get to know our brand.
5. Why? Because this will guide readers on to look at other parts of the website, increasing engagement and the chance of customers going on to convert.
3. Plan your posts
Don’t underestimate the power of planning. A content schedule has huge benefits:
- Provides you with deadlines and a topic to write about, helping you to set aside plenty of time to research and write your post
- Ensures you are posting consistently
- Enables you to assign blog posts to different team members
- You can take into account calendar dates, such as Valentine’s Day and Easter
- Plan the format of the post – add in details about sourcing pictures, video, or whether it demands an interview with an expert
Being organised will help with idea-generation and how to present the post. It will avoid the last-minute rushed panic of writing a post, which quickly makes the process feel difficult and irritating. If it is well-planned, the blog ideas will be of better quality, as will the writing.
Use Fresh Egg’s Content Marketing and Social Planner Template to keep in control of your blog.
It’s up to you how far ahead you want to plan you blog posts and how frequently you want to publish. But it’s good to schedule in at least a month of posts ahead of you to give you the opportunity to think about opportunities for the following month. When scheduling posts, you should include a good amount of detail, such as the headline, purpose of the blog, any links to be included, images and any rich media. This means that anyone who comes to write the post will know exactly what is expected.
Now is a good time to think about the goals you need your posts to achieve. You might want visitors to your blog to increase by a particular percentage each month, or it might be important for readers to sign up to your newsletter. Whatever the goal, deciding them now will help you track the performance of your blog once it goes live.
Your goals will help decide on how you are going to promote your content. This shouldn’t be an afterthought, because good, consistent promotion can make a huge difference to how many people read your posts. It can be helpful to include you promotion ideas into your content calendar.
You can’t simply rely on the power of the blog itself to drive traffic – you need to actively tell your customers, social media followers and anyone who will listen that your fascinating post is a must-read.
You can promote your post through:
- Scheduling posts across your social channels
- Adding it to your newsletter
- Paid promotion
- Ask influencers with a lot of followers to help promote it via social media or their blog
4. Optimise your execution
You should now have a clear idea of what you need to include on your blog and the type of information it needs to provide, plus where you’re going to promote it. To ensure your blog post is the best it can possibly be, use a checklist before hitting the publish button. The checklist will remind you of the audience you are writing for, the tone, formatting and more. It keeps the blog post writing style consistent even when there are different authors writing for the same blog.
Use Fresh Egg’s Ultimate Blogging Best Practice Checklist to help keep you on the straight and narrow.
Now is the time to start writing. Remember that you want your blog to be enjoyable, so that means making it easy to read and providing good quality information.
Here are three simple tips that will instantly make your posts more readable:
- Avoid long sentences
- Break your copy into paragraphs
- Highlight the different points with subheadings
A quality piece of content will be well-researched and provide genuinely helpful information. Your reader has come to you for expertise, so that’s what you need to provide.
Don’t worry if you need to refer to other online sources to back up what you say. This simply demonstrates that your post is of good quality because you have done your research and cited other useful sources. Plus, any way that you can make it unique will immediately make it more attractive. If you can provide information that the reader cannot get elsewhere, such as an interview with a particular expert, then you immediately make the post more desirable.
Remember to always add a call to action at the bottom of the post that provides an opportunity for your business. This can take different forms:
- There may be times when it is appropriate to guide the user to convert to a customer, either by buying from you, making contact or signing up to a newsletter
- But other articles may not need an overly pushy CTA – it may be enough to suggest other relevant content for your reader on your site, by providing links to other blogs or guides you have. This makes it easy for customers to find information they need while keeping them engaged with your brand for longer
Once you are happy with your post, you need to write a compelling h1 and source pictures or other rich media, such as videos or embedded social posts.
Images are very important to help engage the reader. High quality, relevant images that present the message you want to get across in the blog post could encourage the user to click through to read the post, thereby increasing engagement.
If you’ve followed all these steps, your post should naturally be optimised for search engines, as it will be giving the user what he or she wants. But don’t forget to write a page title and meta description for your post to optimise click-through from search results.
Page titles should be written to around 45 characters (this is a guide - Google actually judges page titles by pixel width) with the most important information contained within the first 35 characters. Page titles should also contain the brand in the title, e.g. Write your title here – Yoursite.co.uk.
The meta description is displayed in search results, and is key to persuading users to click through to your blog post. Ideally, it should be between 150-160 characters (although, again is judged by pixel width), describe your content clearly and include a CTA to capture the user’s attention. By following this best practice, your content has the best chance of being engaging and it can, therefore, boost your click-through rate.
It’s essential that before your post goes live, someone else proof-reads it. This aims to catch any typos, or sentences that don’t make sense or could be misinterpreted. This is a crucial part of the process as a fresh pair of eyes can be the difference between a good post and a great one.
When you have the final version of your article, it’s time to take a deep breath and hit the ‘post’ button.
But it doesn’t stop there; remember that you need to promote your hard work.
5. Measure and refine
Once you have set the post live, it’s important that you track its progress so you know whether it has been well-received. If you are using GA, metrics that are useful to look at include:
- Unique page views – will show you how many visitors you’ve had to the post
- Average time on page – the longer time spent on page, the more the users read and therefore, the more engaged they were
- Conversions – whether your readers went on to complete a goal, such as signing up to your newsletter
- Referrals – where people are coming from to then land on your blog post
You can also understand the impact of your content via any comments you receive on the post itself or via social channels.
You can then see how you post performed against your original goals you decided upon in the planning stages. If you wrote the post with the sole aim of engaging your social media following, how many comments, shares or ‘likes’ did it get? If it was to prompt newsletter sign-ups, then you can easily find out how many new subscribers the post generated.
Monitoring your content enables you to understand what worked and what didn’t and make improvements. You might find that your audience particularly likes image-heavy posts, such as picture galleries or videos. It’s important that you respond to their behaviour and give them content they want to see. Understanding where your user came from also helps to refine your promotional activity, so you know where they are seeing your content and deciding to click-through.
Armed with data about your audience, you are able to improve and refine your process to ensure it’s as efficient and as effective as possible. Meanwhile, your blog posts are captivating the attention of existing and potential customers, which could make a big difference to your brand’s growth.
For more advice on how to write sparkling content, read on:
- How to Write Powerful Headers With Our 6 Need-to-Know Tips
- Fresh Egg's Brilliant Seven Point Content Strategy Template
- 6 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing and Social Plan and Why You Need One
- 8 Reasons You Need Fresh Egg’s Ultimate Blogging Best Practice Checklist
If you would like to know more about how Fresh Egg can help you write brilliant blog posts, contact the content team today.