We live in an era where a lot of people (about 66%) conduct online research before making a purchase. With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever to share your post and make your voice heard. So, let’s hypothesize.
Your potential customers are likely scouring the internet, seeking insightful content about your industry before making the decision to invest in your offerings. So, how can you stand out in this digital age? The answer: blogging.
Having your own blog is like having a beacon in the vast digital sea. These platforms draw potential customers through organic searches, significantly reducing your expenses on PPC advertising. They're not just about attracting new clients either. Blogs also serve the crucial role of informing and educating your current clientele about relevant topics. But remember, just as in "how to write," consistency is key. Think of it like physical fitness - regularity and commitment bring noticeable results over time.
In this piece, we'll delve deep into:
- A comprehensive roadmap on planning, structuring, and crafting an impressive blog post.
- Handy blogging pointers.
- Crucial steps to consider before you excitedly click the ‘publish’ button.
- Techniques on expanding your reader base.
- And, there’s more awaiting as you continue to scroll.
Step One: Clarifying Your Blogging Intentions
Before you start writing, pick your preferred tool for brainstorming - be it an old-school paper, a digital spreadsheet, or a bullet journal. It’s essential to outline your vision.
Consider the following questions seriously (yes, even if you think you already know the answers):
- Why have you decided to start a blog?
- What are your blogging milestones?
- Who is your target audience?
- What unique insights do you bring?
- Who are your primary competitors in reaching out to potential clients?
Understanding the purpose of your blog is vital. It's not merely about sales targets. If your content reeks of sales pitches, readers will bounce off your page quicker than you can say “first blog post.” Picture your most loyal customer. What kind of content would enrich their journey? Your aim should be to add genuine value, offering insights or resources they might not be aware of.
Defining clear goals is next. Think beyond generic objectives like “increase sales by X%.” Visualize the larger picture: What do you want readers to feel or do after reading your blog? Whether it’s pushing them to take action, nurturing a bond, or deepening their understanding of your brand, know your endgame. And if you’re pondering over the thin line between engaging content and sales, our article on the purpose of a blog can shed some light.
“Who am I writing for?” should be a question echoing in your mind. Here’s a practical tip for those figuring out how to write: Rather than molding your style to replicate a renowned writer or appease critics, imagine writing to a single individual. Crafting content for a familiar face can make the process more personal and genuine. Dive into understanding your ideal customer and formulate a 'buyer persona'. As defined by industry leaders like Hubspot, a buyer persona is a detailed sketch of your perfect customer, considering their demographics, behaviors, aspirations, and challenges. The sharper this persona, the better your content will resonate.
Discovering your unique voice is equally essential. Is your brand humorous? Formal? Casual? B2B-oriented? Envision the kind of tone that would strike a chord with your audience. In today's times, audiences gravitate towards authenticity. So, while it's okay to choose a semi-formal tone, ensure it reflects the genuine 'you'.
By now, you're probably wondering about the niche your blog will cater to, especially if this is your maiden venture into the blogging world. As much as it's tempting to jump on trending topics, it's crucial to define a niche. Think of it this way: Sporadically creating content based on trending keywords will only muddle your brand message in the long run. So, ask yourself – What unique perspective can you offer? What sets you apart from others in your domain? How many blog posts can you comfortably generate in your chosen niche? Remember, blogging isn’t just about marketing your products or services. Diverse topics that resonate with your audience’s interests can be gold mines of engagement.
Step Two: Choosing the perfect topic
Selecting your topic is the next milestone in the journey of how to write your first blog. Instead of impulsively picking a topic, be methodical. Research your topic thoroughly. Start by brainstorming topics that align with both your niche and the interests of your broader audience.
For instance, if you're marketing gardening tools, articles about organic gardening methods might pique interest. If you’re struggling with writer's block or searching for blog post ideas, don’t fret. You’re not alone! It happens to the best of us.
Once you've narrowed down your blog topics, deep dive into the one you're most knowledgeable about. A well-researched, specific topic is often more impactful than a generic one. Finally, do your homework. Research what's already available online. Examine the top-ranking articles on your chosen topic. Analyze their approach, tone, and efficacy. If you feel you can provide a richer perspective, that's your green light!
Step 3: Keyword Selection Matters
While we're on the subject, it's worth noting that keywords still play a role in search rankings. That said, overloading your article with keywords is a no-go.
Remember our initial discussion about authenticity? This is where it shines. Only incorporate keywords that enhance your article's value for the audience.
Here at Intergrowth, we often include terms related to our target keyword. For instance, if focusing on "weed whackers," we'd also mention "weed eaters" and related terms like "lawn trimmers" or "edgers."
If you're not ready to spend on a keyword research tool yet, LSI keywords can give insights into what your audience might be searching for.
Though many SEO experts believe search engines don’t prioritize LSI keywords, they can still be useful guides when crafting content without specific known keywords. They can hint at terms that might be beneficial to integrate into your content.
Finding LSI Keywords Made Simple
You don't need fancy SEO tools for this – Google works wonders.
Here's a quick guide:
- Search your topic (and potential title if you have one) on Google.
- Notice the bolded terms in the search results? Google sees these as important for your topic.
- Also, scroll down to 'Related searches'. Bolded words here are semantically related.
Some keywords you'll find are just variations of your main keyword. Others might be slightly different, but they can enrich your content. For example, if discussing the best no-string weed wackers, mentioning the "Stihl stringless eater" is wise, especially if Google points it out as a related search.
If you've personally used the Stihl stringless weed eater, consider dedicating a whole article to it. There are keyword tools that can guide you on ranking difficulty (we've highlighted a few free ones in another piece).
Step 4: Crafting a Content Blueprint
Understanding your blog post's who, what, and why paves the way for structuring it.
While spontaneous writing has its charm, an outline offers more direction. It's easier to restructure a planned draft than to overhaul an entire unplanned one.
You can either map out a comprehensive content brief or jot down a basic structure in half a minute.
Here's a list of potential structures:
- Cheat sheets
- Rely on the keywords you've identified and your audience's queries to shape your headers. Each should address a potential question from your audience or provide a partial answer to a broader query.
- An outline can be your shield against writer's block. The curious thing about this block is that it persists mostly due to delay. In addition, an outline ensures that you cover all important points without meandering. Dive into the writing, either through research or outlining, and watch your momentum build.
Once you've listed out potential blog post ideas and main points, it's time to write!
Step 5: Determining Your Article Length
Here's an old saying: an article should be long enough to cover the topic and short enough to remain interesting.
Some brilliant articles might be concise at 500 words, while others might stretch to 3,000 words. If you're wondering how long to write a blog post, keep in mind that research does indicate that longer articles often rank better on search engines. This could be because Google favors content that comprehensively addresses readers' needs. Longer posts tend to be shared more and attract quality backlinks too.
If it doesn’t work for your target audience, you might want to adjust your writing style and approach. Though our general recommendation is to aim for 1,500-2,000 words, this range isn't set in stone. Observe Google's top-ranking articles in your niche to set a benchmark.
Step 6: Commence Writing Your First Piece
Time to get writing! Start wherever you feel most comfortable. The introduction can wait till the end.
Keep these principles in mind:
- Engaging the Reader: How can you maintain their interest?
- Building Trust: How can you exhibit your expertise?
- Avoiding Redundancies: Make every word count. Editing comes later.
- Diversifying the Layout: Mix in images, lists, and visuals for a more dynamic reading experience.
- Rising Above the Rest: Research top-ranking articles on your topic and aim to surpass them in quality.
Here's a closer look at these principles:
- Engaging the Reader: Picture a trusted friend reading your article. Wouldn't you want to offer them the best experience?
- Building Trust: Cultivate credibility. Returning readers and referrals stem from trust. When search engines notice recurrent visits and shares to your articles, they'll likely boost your ranking.
- Avoiding Redundancies: Don't inflate your content needlessly. Prioritize quality over length. Your introduction and conclusion are vital, not fillers.
- Diversifying the Layout: Embrace bullet points. They aid online readers in navigating your content swiftly. Remember, online readers often scan; they'll appreciate concise sentences and lists.
- Rising Above the Rest: Consider the broader content landscape. While you're not the only one discussing a particular topic, strive to offer the most valuable insight.
Step 7: Editing Your Maiden Article
Proofreading is essential. However, don't solely lean on grammar tools.
Look out for:
- Content richness and accuracy
- Structural coherence
- Logical flow
- Grammatical correctness
- Actionable guidance
- Clear takeaways
Here's a simplified editing routine:
- Read the draft without nitpicking – focus on the general message and flow.
- Review your headers – ensure they're meaningful and sequentially logical.
- Proofread for grammar, style, and clarity.
- Optimize for SEO – include keywords naturally, without stuffing.
- Confirm you've addressed all the potential questions your audience might have.
Step 8: Mastering The Art of Authenticity
Remember, the most persuasive articles are authentic. Be genuine. Your writing is a reflection of you – a chance to impart wisdom, share stories, and ignite engagement.
Shine your unique light on any topic. With every piece you craft, you’re not just producing content; you're laying the groundwork for a connection.
Step 9: Publishing Your Blog Post
After crafting your content and making sure all the important points are covered, it’s time to hit the publish button. However, don’t forget to optimize for SEO and use engaging images/videos to enhance your post.
- Platform: Choose a CMS based on long-term needs, business relations, and customer interaction. Consider platforms like WordPress and Shopify.
- Images: Use relevant and strategic images. Use royalty-free image platforms like Unsplash, Pexels, or Wikimedia Commons.
- Call to Action (CTA): Always include an actionable step at the end. Make CTAs pop with unique fonts or image designs.
Step 10: Boosting Your Blog's Visibility
Imagine crafting a stunning piece of art and then locking it in a room. That's what a blog post without promotion feels like. Your content deserves to be seen and appreciated by its intended audience.
Launching Your Content to the Digital Space:
- Google Search Console: Before anything else, ensure your post is crawled and indexed by Google. This guarantees it starts appearing in search results.
- Strategic Sharing Tactics:
- Social Media Platforms: Cast your net wide. Share your post across all your platforms, and if you're a B2B, LinkedIn is your best ally.
- Mailing Lists: Remember those who've already shown interest. Share the post with your customer and professional networking lists.
- Leverage Link Building:
- Guest Blogging: Connect with influential bloggers within your niche and offer valuable content in exchange for a backlink.
- Platforms like HARO: Opportunities abound here to gain quality backlinks by offering insights and expertise.
Nuggets of Wisdom for Aspiring Bloggers
As you stand on the brink of publishing your very first blog post, here are some pearls of wisdom to remember:
- Set a Goal: Deadlines keep you accountable, but ensure they're achievable.
- Second Pair of Eyes: Before hitting 'publish', let someone else give your post a glance. Fresh eyes can spot overlooked errors.
- Constructive Criticism: It's a catalyst for growth. Embrace feedback; it often paves the way to refinement.
- SEO Patience: Climbing the SERPs ladder isn't instantaneous. Keep at it!
- Consider AI Cautiously: Weigh the merits and demerits before using AI-generated content. Authenticity usually trumps automation.
- Master SEO: Dive deep into SEO knowledge. It's the compass that directs organic traffic to your doorstep. And if you ever find yourself lost in the SEO maze, we're here to guide you.
In conclusion, blogging truly is a beautiful blend of art and strategy. By centering on user intent, prioritizing genuine value, and optimizing for search engines, you can significantly amplify the impact of your content, leading to enhanced traffic and improved conversions. Yet, crafting a compelling blog post isn't always easy. If you're struggling with writer's block, looking for blog post ideas, or unsure about writing styles, don't forget there are tools and services available. At RTP Content Solution, we offer tailored support for all your content needs, ensuring your posts resonate with your target audience. So, why wait? Start writing with us and take your content game to the next level. Happy Blogging!