Most writers simply LOVE to write and a BLOG is a great venue to disseminate your ideas, quirks and reflections. However, a BLOG is also a great place to market your professional endeavors and businesses. A BLOG can help build credibility, it promotes your brand (if done correctly), it evokes social media opportunities and it can greatly improve your overall SEO. Basically, blogging can be a form of content marketing for yourself and your brand.
What should you blog about?
Most everyone has a specialty and most anyone can BLOG about their passion, interests and professional knowledge. Usually anyone can BLOG as long as they credibly know what they are writing about. If you know your niche, you're capable of writing a decent blog post.
Writing a Blog Post:
1) Understand your target audience:Don't beat yourself up too hard over this step, but you need to understand who is interested in what you have to say. What do they want to know and how can you deliver it to them? What will interest them and how can you maintain their interest? BLOGS are usually more personable and this gives you the flexibility to use your natural voice, in words. Remember that from English class? Finding your writing voice? Your voice is what will give your words depth, personality and passion. These writing characteristics will resonate with your audience and will create the tone and mood of your BLOG.
"Tone: the author's attitude about a topic. Mood: the reader's emotional response to the topic."
2) Start with a topic and plan for a SEARCHABLE title.
Jot down a few writing prompts for yourself, topics YOU would search for when building your own treasure chest of knowledge. More than likely, readers in your field of interest will find these topics interesting too. Notice I used the word searchable. This is important and vital in creating traffic for your BLOG and personal brand. These searchable terms will eventually build a set of common keywords found on your BLOG and Google duly takes notice of that. These common keywords will eventually build with your BLOG history and will eventually give you credibility in the eyes of Google bots. Why is this important? Plain and simple, it helps your page rank...tremendously! Speaking of Google, be sure to set up your Webmaster Tools for your BLOG, you will want to analyze the different ways the general public finds you. Webmaster Tools keeps a database of links to your site and common keywords, phrases too. So again, pick a searchable title, one that compliments the topic as well as your online persona. Obviously, you will need to pick a title you can deliver on, everyone hates clicking on a link that the author didn't deliver on...ugh!
Take a long look at your title and jot down the different things you would want to know if YOU searched for that particular title. Then, log into Google and actually search your title. What did you find? Read, at least glean, through the first three hits. This should inspire you to add particular items of interest, it might even prompt you to tweak your title, or you might get a few leads for additional blog posts. What's the worst that can happen? You might actually learn something new, you'll certainly gain a better understanding of what the general public is searching for and you'll see what Google deems worthy as a top landing page in the SERPS (search engine results page).
4.) Write your intro and be sure to add a writing hook.A hook, another one of those writing techniques from middle school and high school; that lovely sentence that keeps your readers engaged in your topic. You want to grab your reader's attention from the get go. If you lose their attention in the intro they will never get to the info you worked hard for in the body of your post. Common blog hooks can be a quote, an image or an interesting fact. Your intro should also include the topic you are going to address, let them know what they are in for. A bullet list of your sub-titles would be a good option for those longer, more comprehensive posts. This little detail will give the reader a more thorough idea of what is in store if they stick around to read.
5) Organize your content in a logical and INTERESTING sequence.Break things up, nobody likes reading large paragraphs, especially in a blog post. Get creative, use things likes tables, lists, bullets and graphics. Remember, great graphics tend to end up on Pinterest and that can be an extraordinary boost of traffic for your BLOG. You can also use a variety of widgets for polls. Just do a Google search for, widgets for blogs, and see all the neat things that are out there to spruce up your BLOG. Widgets are pretty easy to use and usually just require you to cut and paste the html info into your post. Sites like Blogger and Wordpress tend to make this step fairly easy.
"A widget is a stand-alone application that can be embedded into third party sites by any user on a page where they have rights of authorship, e.g. a webpage, blog, or profile on a social media site." - wikipediaBy the way, subheadings are usually searchable phrases too. These valuable SEO opportunities should be considered when trying to rank your personal brand. And yes, a personal BLOG is considered part of YOUR brand.
6) Editing and Revising your Post: Write! And Rewrite! Read! And Reread!ALWAYS reread your post...out LOUD. This is by far the best way to catch your mistakes, to analyze flow and to possibly get weird stares at your local Starbucks. Yes, been there. Anyway, editing is absolutely crucial and is a very important process. Look at each of your subheadings and read each paragraph as a stand alone content. Did you deliver? No? Rewrite it! Tweak as you work your way down. You might even need to rearrange a few things. Also, make friends with a Grammar Nazi, they can come in pretty handy.
7) You are NOT done yet: Create a Graphic for your intro:
Choose an image that is visually appealing and reflective of your title. You don't need to be a professional graphic designer to spruce it up. Load the image to your Keynote or Power Point and add your title to it. Yes, it IS worth the extra trouble. This image has the potential to land on various social media feeds i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram...on and on. And don't forget to add a small watermark to the bottom of the image with the name of your site.
Did you know there are searchers out there that would rather look through Google images for a topic instead of through the text links? Keep THAT piece of valuable information in your SEO toolbox. Let this motivate you to pay very close attention to the graphics you publish and the names you save them as. Apparently Google DOES look at image file names...brilliant eh?
8) Tag it!
Your blog site should have a place to choose and create tags. Blogger calls them labels. These handy little guys are there to be used as organizational keywords for your topics and can greatly help organize your blog posts. These aren't just internal either, most blogs list them on the sidebar. Frequent blog readers understand how they work and they simply click on the tag/label to see all the relevant posts related to that particular tag. Tags are author generated though. Do this EACH time you create a blog post; make sure tags are relevant, your readers will thank you.
9) Almost done! Finish up your post with a Call to Action
A call to action is commonly known by its acronym CTA and is a must in content marketing. A CTA is a command telling your readers what to do next. This command can be in the form of a linked graphic or linked text. The idea is to get the reader to your website, a product or another related post. If you have an Amazon Affiliates account (pretty easy to get) you can insert your product html as your CTA. Be sure to add some valuable text to it instead of having random things floating around. Make everything on your post purposeful.
Images: Created by me with a little help from freedigitalphotos.net
Images: Created by me with a little help from freedigitalphotos.net