How to Write Blog Posts

The success of your agency depends on its ability to produce wow factor in the content you create for your clients.

By “wow factor,” we don’t mean flowery tomes.

We’re talking about content that produces leads.

You’re not writing a best-seller, after all—you want your clients’ content to bring in business. And leads generate business.

The king of all lead-generators is the blog post. Here’s why:

Comparison of the numbers of blog posts B2C and B2B companies wrote vs. the leads they generated over a month
Image courtesy of Hubspot

Digital marketing software titan Hubspot conducted a study that proved what we’ve suspected all along:

  • Business-to-business (B2B) companies who blogged 11 or more times a month grew their leads three times more than those who blogged zero to one times a month.
  • Business-to-customer (B2C) companies, who blogged 11 or more times a month grew their leads 3.5 times more than those who blogged zero to one times a month.

In fact, the same research shows that all companies—regardless of size or customer base–who blogged 16 or more times per month grew their leads 4.5 times more than those who blogged zero to four times a month.

That’s the wow factor. That’s what compelling blog posts can do for your agency.

Want to bring in those kinds of numbers for your clients’ blogs? Learn what makes a good blog post—and your clients will be raking in more leads in no time.

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What Are Blog Posts?

Though they began in the mid-1990s as Web-based public opinion journals or online diaries, blogs soon evolved into regular articles companies post on their websites to inform their customers and promote their products.

When they first started, blogs were simple diaries and opinion journals
Image courtesy of Steve Mann: http://wearcam.org/ via https://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/history-blogging-51411626

Today, blogs have become one of the most important components of a business’s digital marketing strategy, says Arcalea, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. They are especially important for a small business’s success, Arcalea adds.

With these informative posts, businesses can establish themselves as the go-to authority in their niche. For that reason, they can help small businesses that have deep knowledge in their respective fields catapult to the top.

Key Takeaways:

    • Blogs are informative articles that establish a business’s expertise and authority.
    • Blog posts are of great importance for small businesses and startups.
    • For businesses of all sizes, blogs are one of the most important components of an effective digital marketing strategy.

Why Should You Write Blog Posts?

One word. Leads.

We can’t stress that enough. According to one of the world’s foremost online marketing experts, Neil Patel, capturing leads and generating website traffic is the number one challenge companies face worldwide.

Image courtesy of Neil Patel

Here’s how you solve that challenge. Companies who blog capture 67 percent more leads than companies who don’t blog.

Image courtesy of Neil Patel

Bingo.

When you blog, you hit the lead jackpot.

That’s not all. Look closer at other major challenges companies face.

Blogs Solve Budget, ROI Challenges

Budget constraints and return on investment (ROI) are the second- and third-place marketing challenges companies face. Again, blog posts to the rescue.

Blog posts cost companies 62 percent less than outbound marketing, says Patel. Yet they produce 67 percent more leads.

That covers the budget advantages. And the ROI, provided your sales team does its job.

That means you should be blogging—often. But, you ask, what makes a blog post knock your sales figures out of the ballpark?

Key Takeaways:

    • Blog posts bring in more leads than any other online marketing strategies
    • Blogs cost much less than outbound marketing
    • Blog posts achieve more return on investment than any other digital marketing method

What Do I Need to Have to Create a Knockout Blog Post?

A lengthy screed on how great your company and products are, right?

Wrong.

Your blog post shouldn’t be about you. Or your products—at least, not overtly. It should be:

Customer-focused: It should be about your customers. Specifically, it should be about what your target customers need to solve their toughest challenges.
Easy to read: It should be easy to read—and easy to understand. Your blog post isn’t the place to show off your Harvard vocabulary.
Short and to the point: Nor is it the place to write long, twisted paragraphs devoid of value. Make it short, to the point, and easy for your readers to scan.
Comprehensive: It should be comprehensive. You need to cover all the bases to solve your customer’s problem.
Compelling: Finally, your blog post should pique your readers’ curiosity from one sentence to the next. An effective post makes readers eager to read every section, lest they miss that one gem that they need to solve their problem.

Who and What to Target in Your Blog Post

Find the People Who Need What You Sell

You want to reach the right people, or your message will get lost in all the noise.

Specifically, you want to reach those who need your products or services to solve problems they cannot solve on their own. Those people are your target customers.

Your products and services meet specific needs. Who has those needs?

That’s where a little research is in order. You need to find out who these people are, where they go, and a lot about their hopes, fears, and challenges.

That’s called a customer persona.

To create your customer persona, you need to know:

    • Who they are (age, gender, ethnicity, cultural background, languages), etc.)
    • Their profession/position
    • The publications and blogs they read
    • Their goals
    • Their biggest challenges (pain points)
    • What products they have used to try to solve their problems
    • What those products did or did not do to solve those problems

First, make a chart that lists these characteristics. Next, brainstorm with your team to select those characteristics that mark your clients’ typical customers.

Sample Customer Persona Chart

A sample customer persona chart for Get a Copywriter clients
Copyright 2018 by Get a Copywriter. All rights reserved.

There may be more than one distinct customer persona. In the above chart, it might be good to create four customer personas: agency executives, the solo entrepreneur, the online business owner, and the software developer, since their needs may differ.

Get as detailed as possible, because these personas will lay the foundation for your blogging campaign’s success. Some agencies even give these personas a name, so they remember well to whom they’re speaking when they write each blog post.

Many agencies name their customer personas to create a vivid image
Image courtesy of HubSpot

If you get stuck, HubSpot has an effective customer tool to get your creative juices flowing.

Use Customer Personas to Determine User Intent

Once you have these customer personas, you need to determine what they really want when they search online for the types of products and services you offer.

Distinguish between Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer Clients

B2B clients often have widely differing needs than do your B2C clients. Knowing some of these differences can clue you in to what each of these clients want when they search online.

B2B clients usually want more information than B2C clients. After all, their bottom line is at risk if your product doesn’t reap the results they need. Deliver that information in a professional, authoritative tone, and you’ll have a better chance to sell them.

Educate them.

B2C clients, on the other hand, follow their hearts. Plain, understandable language that lets them see how your product benefits them and satisfies their desire works best.

Woo them.

Put Yourself in Your Client’s Shoes to Determine Intent

Let’s look at this from your client’s viewpoint. Suppose your client, a car dealer who wants to have a better selection of environmentally friendly cars in her inventory, searches for “best green cars USA.”

Of course, she’s not looking for the best green-colored cars. What she’s really asking is, “could you please find out which cars have the lowest impact on the environment, use energy more efficiently, and have a long range before one has to plug them in, and are available to car dealers in the United States?”

This step—determining customer intent—can help you create the wording that will attract the right customers.

Create a List of Words Your Customer Will Use in Online Searches

Now, it’s time to list the words your customers will use to find your post online. These words, called keywords, will help attract customers to your blog post.

Make a list of words and phrases that you think people will use to find your article. Next, use some of Google’s features to help you find alternate phrases that others use to find similar products.

Search Box: The first way—and the most simple—is to use the search box itself.

Sample screenshot from Google Search

As you type, related search terms pop up. Add those words and phrases to your list. Next, go a little deeper.

Google’s Keyword Planner: This handy tool is free, easy to use, and has features that allow you to go as deep as you need to in researching your keywords.

Screenshot from Google’s Keyword Planner

Just type in some of the words on your list. Other suggestions will pop up.

Screenshot from Google’s Keyword Planner

With those suggestions, you’ll see the number of searches for each keyword phrase. Our suggestion, “best green cars USA,” yielded quite a few suggestions. We would suggest using some of the most-used keyword phrases as your main keywords for your post.

Google can look at a user’s past searches, as well as similar searches by similar users (since they have access to a wide range of demographic information on each user) to discover what each person is actually looking for. Because each user’s search results may differ based on their past searches, it’s important to keep your customer persona in mind when you choose your keywords.

When you have chosen the best keywords that represent your clients’ intent, you’re ready to assign your blog post to a writer. Before you do, though, you’ll need to write up a brief (a list of instructions and background information you give to a writer when you assign a project).

To do that, you’ll need to know what goes into a high-quality blog post.

Key Takeaways:

    • Plan blog posts that address your customers’ needs, not your own
    • Differentiate between B2C and B2B customers’ challenges
    • Create customer personas for your target customers
    • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to determine their search intent
    • Plan to use effective keywords in your posts

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What Makes a High-Quality Blog Post?

Professional copywriters follow a proven formula to create high-quality blog posts that bring visitors to their clients’ websites. Knowing these tricks of the trade will not only help you write your brief, but it will also help you evaluate the work once your writer turns it in.

First, Use Related Keywords and Demographic Information to Target User Intent

Here’s where you tie your customer persona with the writing process. Use related keywords, as well as some of your customers’ demographic information, in your content to yield powerful copy that will grab the attention of your target customers and search engines alike.

These keywords will form the backbone of your post. Call it an outline, a plot structure, or whatever you choose, but these ideas will help you organize your ideas into an intriguing blog post.

Use Keywords That Touch on Your Customers’ Desires and Pain Points

Get in tune with your target audience’s desires and pain points. What problems do they need to solve?

Here’s where you can get that insight: Look at their comments on other people’s blogs, their questions on Quora, their comments on niche forums, their Amazon book reviews (negative reviews are a treasure trove of information), the Facebook groups they join, and the hashtags they search for on Twitter.

What questions do they ask? What do they need help with?

Once they have some possible answers, what objections do they have to each answer?

Create Evergreen Content

Evergreen content has staying power. What makes certain web pages rise to the top of search results, even when they’re five or six years old?

Ask yourself, “What will people be searching for five years from now?” One of those topics that never grow old is “how to write great content.”

From the first time ancient humankind scratched hieroglyphics on rock until today, there has always–and always will be–a demand for great content. Topics like this are what we call “evergreen.”

The top search results yield posts that are several years old: evergreen content
Image courtesy of Content Marketing Institute

Content that stays fresh through the years teaches timeless principles that outlast trends. Use these principles generously in your blog posts to grow a larger audience as the years go by.

Choose the Right Information to Include

    • Valuable: Look for information that meets their most pressing needs. Scratch their itch. Satisfy their desire.
    • Meets objections: Find information that will answer every objection you can think of. Think like a salesperson.

For an American car dealer looking for the best green cars to sell at her dealership, this list is pure gold.
Screenshot courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy

Plan the Backbone of Your Post

    • Set up for success: Along with your keywords, use your customers’ questions and objections to organize your post. Set up your solution as the only one that ticks off all their boxes.
    • Let it grow: Compounding blog posts grow in the traffic they attract over time. Only 38 percent of all blog posts make the grade. To maximize your chances at a compounding post, solve your customers’ problems, make them easy to read, and create curiosity with question words like “why” and “how” in its title.
    • Create visual interest: Catch your customers’ eyes with bold headlines, images, charts, graphs, bullet points, shorter sentences, and links to more information.

This vivid image of an electric car in your blog post would catch the eye of a car dealer.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Start with Structure

Readers feel comfortable with an outline that they’re familiar with. Plan your blog post to follow this tried-and-true formula.

    • Headline
    • Introduction
    • Body
    • Conclusion
    • Call to action

Headline

Your headline is probably the most important part of your blog post. It’s what captures your readers’ curiosity to intrigue them into reading more.

    • Be specific: Don’t use bland, generalized words. Stay away from vanilla or overused words.
    • Use words that evoke emotion: Powerful words that pull at the heartstrings or promise something the reader wants will make them read on. But stay away from the trite ones—use a thesaurus to replace them with more vivid language.
    • Use question words, numbers, or both: There’s something about the curiosity factor in questions that makes people want to read until they find an answer. Numbers, on the other hand, promise a finite number of solutions to provide certainty and a predictable end.
    • Promise an answer to a vexing problem: But don’t deliver it until the end. Lure them with a “how to” or “why a,” or other words that dangle the bait.
    • Don’t promise what you can’t deliver: Once you’ve lost your readers’ trust, it’s hard to regain it for future posts. Make sure that your content delivers everything you’ve promised in your headline.

Numbers in your headline promise certainty—a doable number of choices.
Screenshot from marketing giant Kissmetrics’ blog

Introduction

Draw your readers in with an intriguing hook. Make them itch, salivate, desire.

Make it relatable. State their pain points, their goals, or their dreams.

Show them the mountain. Then show them how to climb.

Make it short. One or two paragraphs should do.

This introduction points out that the combination of technique and artistry necessary for content that connects with customers  is hard to reach—then it promises to deliver a way to achieve that balance.
Screenshot from the Copyblogger blog

Body

Here’s where you give your readers the nuts and bolts it takes to conquer their challenge. The strategy differs, depending on the type of blog post you want.

Choose the Right Strategy

    • How-to blog posts: If it’s a process they need to follow, such as “How to Bake a Scrumptious Apple Pie,” show them how to do it step by step.
    • Lists: If’ it’s a list of options, such as “The 10 Finest Resorts on the Planet,” give valuable information about each option.
    • Persuasive post: If it’s a persuasive post about exploring various solutions to a problem, give the readers insight on the pros and cons of each. Show why all of these fall short—except yours, of course!
    • Explanatory post: If you plan to introduce a difficult or new concept to your readers, use plain English—not technical jargon—to teach the new material. Think about how your favorite teacher introduced a new topic—and write the same way s/he taught.

Structure Your Post So Readers Stay Interested

    • Use headings and subheadings: Use headings to break up your text into sections. Divide long sections into subsections.
    • Use examples: Support every section and subsection with an example, if appropriate. This strategy is especially important for how-to posts or explanatory posts. Visual or video examples are most effective, since they engage more senses.
    • Keep paragraphs short: Short chunks of text are easier to read. Limit your paragraphs to one or two sentences. Use three sentences only rarely when needed.
    • Make it actionable: Readers who want more information like to click on links that give them a more in-depth look at some of the issues you raise. Make the links open on a new tab, so they can find their way back to your post easily.
    • Use visuals: Bullet points, vivid images, and screenshots help break up long blocks of text and add visual interest.

Use bullet points and short paragraphs to retain interest, especially in longer blog posts.
Screenshot from a blog post from Moz.com

After You Have the Structure, Fill in the Details

Make It Comprehensive

Consider your readers. If your readers want an overview, your blog post should be less than 1,200 words. If you want to give your readers a deeper perspective, positioning yourself as a thought leader, write a post that’s at least 2,000 words.

New research cited by Neil Patel has discovered that 1,890 is the optimal size for the average blog post. That may sound like a lot, but if you have a deep grasp of your niche, you probably have a lot to share.

But, Make It Succinct

    • Don’t use filler words. Get to the point quickly.
    • Each sentence should lead to the next. Otherwise, your readers may skip parts.
    • The part they may skip may just be the gem you want them to find!

    Make It Understandable

      • Your blog won’t reach your target audience if they can’t understand it. Even highly educated readers appreciate content they can read and digest quickly.
      • Use plain English. Explain acronyms and define technical or industry-specific terms.
      • No jargon. Jargon is the lazy person’s excuse for thought-provoking content.

    Make It Scannable

      • Break up long blocks of text with headings, subheadings, and bullet points. These guidelines help to guide a reader’s eyes.
      • Remember, you’re trying to save your readers time and money. You’re not writing the Great American Novel.

    Make It Compelling

      • Create interest by building drama. Take the reader on a hero’s journey.
      • Every sentence should build upon the previous one to lead to the climax—where your product saves the day!

    Make It Valuable

      • Remember, though, it’s not you that’s the hero. Don’t be self-serving.
      • Position your product or service as the hero. The hero who helps them to find the treasure they need to take their business—or their lives–to new heights.

    Let your client’s product or service be the one thing that can carry customers over the bridge to conquer their challenge.
    Photo courtesy of Pixabay

    Make It Authoritative

      • Use reputable sources to back up your points. Link to them so your readers can look them up themselves.
      • When they see that you’re on the cutting edge of your profession, it builds trust. They’ll come to turn to you whenever they need the latest information in your field.

    Make It Persuasive

      • Use vivid verbs to create desire and stimulate action. Too many adjectives and adverbs water down your writing.
      • Create an argument that eliminates all other solutions but your own.

    Conclusion

      • Wrap up the high points of what you’ve covered in your post.
      • A bulleted list of key takeaways can also be effective, especially when you introduce it with a powerful sentence or two that wrap up what you’ve written.
      • Use transition words, such as “in conclusion,” “finally,” and others to let readers know you’ve come to an end. Or, ask a question to get readers to think about what you’ve written.
      • Make it short and powerful.
      • Your conclusion should lead logically into your call to action.

    This conclusion, from a Vertical Measures article, “You Need to Own Your Audience – Not Rent It!” both wraps up the points covered in the post and leads to the call to action.

    End with a Call to Action

    A call to action (CTA) is where you guide your readers to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. Whether it is directing them to download an e-book, order a sample, or buy a product, you need to end your post with this critical element.

    Visually, don’t be afraid to try something outside the box.

    Test various designs and copy for your call to action. Use the formula that drives the best results.

    Elements of a well-written call to action

      • Gets straight to the point while it keeps the reader engaged
      • Contains real-life examples and screenshots as lead-ins

    Elements of a well-designed call to action

      • Sticks out visually; not one in a sea of competing calls to action

    Key Takeaways:

      • Create content that lasts
      • Use pain points and desire to plan posts
      • Use keywords that tap into those pain points and desires
      • Structure your post with an effective headline, introduction, body, conclusion, and call to action
      • Add visual interest with graphs, interests, headings, and bullet points
      • Use concise language and short sentences to enhance readability

    Once You’ve Written It, Enhance It

    Writers don’t stop with their first run-through. They polish it—make it shine so people will read it—and share it with others.

    Include Images in Your Blog Post

    You’re taking your readers on the hero’s journey. Shouldn’t you show at least as much as you tell?

    There’s a reason why movies often outsell the books they’re based on. Visual images pack a whole paragraph in a smile—a chapter in a single photo.

    This photo, used in a blog post about mental health interventions, tells a thousand words in this young person’s anguished look.
    Photo courtesy of Pixabay

    Not everyone that needs the information you provide in your blog post will be an avid reader.

    Some may have dyslexia or other learning differences. Some of them prefer the visual to the verbal.

    The more senses you can engage, the more your readers will stick with your post until the end.

    Here’s how to leverage the power of images to draw your readers into your story.

    Use a Compelling Hero Image

    Use an image with emotional as well as visual power. Choose one that illustrates the main point of the section.

    For a blog about fire prevention, this hero image speaks volumes.
    Image courtesy of Pixabay

    Use a Quality Image

    Don’t use vector images; they look cheap and outdated. Instead, use raster files—.jpg, .gif, and .png—for richer colors and a more lifelike appearance.

    Optimize Your Image to Improve Your Search Rankings

    Since Google includes quite a few images in search results, well-optimized images will help you get more traffic to your site, according to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, writing in his blog Quicksprout.

    These quick tips will help you optimize your images effectively:

      • Name your image well: Shopify, an ecommerce site whose clients’ product photos need to turn into cash, recommends that bloggers look at their website analytics to determine which search terms people use to reach your website. Use those terms to choose a name.
      • Use Alt tags: Since Google uses Alt tags in search rankings, you need to use them for best results, says search engine optimization (SEO) authority Search Engine Watch. Alt tags are short descriptions that will describe the photo to the reader if the image fails to load.
      • Choose the right file format and file size: Since blog readers will click away if they can’t see your photos, you need to make sure they load quickly. Keep each image file size less than or equal to 70 kb.
      • Choose the right file format: If your images are grainy cloudy, your blog will look amateurish. Use .jpg files for crisper images in a small file size, or .png if you can’t get the photo in a .jpg format.

    How to Find Quality, Low-Cost Images

    Capture a gardener’s heart with quality, low-cost or free images in your gardening blog post. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

    Creative Commons helps artists to retain the rights to their copyright while they publicize their work by distributing it to others to use for free. They get the credit for their work, and the bloggers get free, high-quality photos to use.

    If you plan to use the images to promote your business, though, check to see that the photographer has approved the photo for commercial use.

    Creative Commons has a list of various sites that may have photos that people can use free of charge. Some of the images available on these sites, however, are not covered under a Creative Commons license.

    Wikimedia Commons also has an efficient search portal to find Creative Commons photos.

    Free images: There are several websites that also have photos that are approved for commercial use. The most popular are these.

    Low-cost images: Other sites offer images that bloggers can access for a low membership fee or a low cost per image.

    Edit and Proofread Your Blog Post

    Nothing says “cheap” like glaring grammatical errors and misspelled words. Before you click “Post,” check your blog post for these blunders.

    A lovely Colonial home in an up-and-coming area of Cleveland—but spoiled by this realtor’s inelegant error—“dinning room.”
    Screenshot from Redfin

    First, look it over on your own. Next, get a fresh pair of eyes to double-check your work.

    Finally, use an online grammar guide to give it another runthrough before you publish. Here’s a list of the grammar checkers most professional writers use:

    These aren’t perfect, though, so keep a thesaurus, a dictionary, and a grammar guide handy.

    For questionable issues, search online.

    Check for Duplicate Content on the Web

    The last thing you want is to get flagged for stealing someone else’s content. While we know that you’d never think about publishing someone else’s content as your own, it can happen by accident.

    Suppose you’re doing research for your blog post.

    You come across a great article. You take notes.

    You may not even be aware of it, but your mind remembers those words. As you write, those exact words might come to your mind naturally—just like they would on an essay test at school.

    Since you don’t want to get into legal trouble for (yikes!) plagiarism, you need to check your work.

    There’s an online tool that you can subscribe to for as little as $10.00 a year. It’s called Copyscape.

    Forgo one latte a year, and you’ll have enough money to pay for this cost-effective protection. Our advice—do it.

    One fewer latte a year, and you can protect your blog posts from plagiarism risks
    Image courtesy of Pixabay

    Rope in More Readers with On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    But you need to pay attention. There’s no point in paying for a website if potential customers can’t find it online.

    Before you publish, tweak your post to make it appear in your target customers’ online searches.

    Just like with images, you need to show search engines the way to your page through your words. To make search engines gobble up your blog post and propel it to the top of the search results, you need to optimize your post for them.

    Here’s how you do it.

    URL Structure

    Your URL is your web address. If you’re like most companies, your blog post will be on your main company website.

    The additions to that main URL are what can help attract search engines’ interest. Focus those additions on the topic you discuss in that blog post.

    Let’s say that you make matches. Your company may be called “Matches, Incorporated.

    Your main website URL may be http://www.matchesinc.com.

    But your blog post is about how to keep matches from getting wet on camping trips. Choose a URL for your blog post that pulls in your main product—matches—but adds information about the post that will help camping enthusiasts searching for a way to keep their matches dry even during rainy weather.

    Choose a URL like http://www.matchesinc.com/how-to-waterproof-matches.

    Image courtesy of Pixabay

    Boom. You just nailed it.

    You got the attention of a new group of potential customers—just through the right URL. Congratulations!

    Subdomains vs. Folders for Your Blog

    When you’re first setting up your blog, you may think it’s easier to have your blog URL read this way: “blog.example.com.” That’s called a subdomain.

    Often, website platforms encourage this practice.

    Unfortunately, a subdomain is less ideal for a blog than a folder. The SEO gurus at Moz.com conducted an experiment to see if this still held true, given some of the search algorithm changes at Google.

    The search rankings of the pages they shifted rankings “rose dramatically,” according to Rand Fishkin, a staff member at Moz.

    Don’t take chances. Use a folder URL. A folder URL is in the following form:

    • Example.com/blog

    Title Tags

    A title tag is the title that shows up as the title in search results. As such, it needs to attract the attention of people as well as search engines.

    It looks like this:

    Screenshot from Houston Press

    Begin your title with your keyword phrase. A keyword phrase is the main item or idea you want to promote in your blog post.

    The second half (the half after the “|” mark) should be your brand—your company name.

    For our previous example—the match blog post—the title tag may read: Waterproofing Matches | Matches, Inc.

    Keep your title tag between 55 to 60 characters so that it doesn’t cut off in the search results.

    The title tag should be unique. Make sure that there aren’t any duplicate titles anywhere on your website.

    Meta Description

    The meta description is the text that appears under the title in the search results. It, too, needs to attract the attention of readers since that’s how they choose to click on your link instead of your competitors’.

    Meta descriptions need to be under 160 characters to make sure that all the text shows up in the results. They serve as a preview of your blog post.

    Get a Copywriter’s meta description contains both keywords and a call to action, both key for SEO success.

    These are what people read to choose which website they’ll look at first. Make them informative and intriguing, so they’ll choose your blog post over the one your competitor wrote.

    www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-getting-page-seo-basics/97871/

    Use keyword phrases to describe your blog posts. Keywords that people search for will appear in bold lettering in the search results. End with a call to action.

    Meta Keywords

    In the early days of SEO, bloggers needed to put as many keywords as possible into the meta keywords category. Now, search engines no longer use them, so you don’t need to include them in the post.

    Use a Search Engine-Friendly Format

      • Use heading tags to attract attention: Search engines read text with heading tags, special codes that set apart headings and subheadings, as important. Use H1 for your blog post’s title, H2 for major subheadings, and H3 for minor subheadings.
      • Make it bold: Use bold text to label subsections underneath the minor subheadings.
      • Use numbered lists on posts where you list a specific number of tips, ideas, or items: For example, in a blog post that discusses “The 7 Fabulous Ways to Winterize Your Car,” you would use numbered subheadings.
      • Make it visual: Include relevant images to maintain interest.
      • Keep it short and sweet: Keep paragraphs short for easier, faster reading.

    Use Keywords Wisely

    Don’t stuff keywords into your copy: Limit your target (most important) keyword to once for every 200 words. Don’t worry—Google will recognize synonyms and related words.

    When you know your target persona, then you can target your customers to rank better in searches by avoiding the clunky wording of old-school SEO content to insert LSI keywords (synonyms and related words) to write content that your customer will actually read.

    Remember our hypothetical American car dealer? She wouldn’t go far with text that reads,

    “If you’re looking for the best green cars USA, come to Green Cars Wholesale for the best green cars in the continent.”

    In fact, with Google’s Panda update and further tweaks, her content may be penalized. You don’t want to land in Google’s “jail.”

    That kind of content won’t just cause your customer to pass you by because your content looks cheap and contrived (and your target customer will think her cars are, too). It will also cause the search engines to pass you up.

    Not to mention Google penalties. Today’s search engines can recognize what your target customers are really looking for—and you should produce content that gives them just that.

    Instead, focus on quality: Focus on creating quality, grammatically correct, and understandable content instead of targeting keywords.

    “If you need a car that will save you money on fuel while you reduce your carbon footprint, come to Green Cars Wholesale for an eco-friendly electric or hybrid vehicle.”

    It sounds natural, yet has all the related keywords (LSI) modern search engines need to catapult your post to the top of the heap.

    Use Links for More SEO Love

    Internal Linking

    Link targeted keyword phrases to other pages on your website.

    Use phrases, rather than single words, to add links. These phrases, called anchor text, will also give you more visual power in addition to the SEO boost.

    Highlight the phrase you want, click, and a text box will appear. Paste the URL to the page into the text box.

    In this section of Los Angeles Guitar Academy’s home page, the pink anchor text, “recording sessions,” leads to their student recordings page, should potential students be interested in recording their work.

    Use no more than five internal links per page (around 500 words). More than that, and you’ll veer into spam territory—not to mention becoming a distraction for the reader.

    Link only the information that a reader needs if he or she wants more in-depth reading on that topic.

    Outbound Links

    Outbound links use anchor text to provide additional information to your readers. Link your text to other authoritative sites to give your readers a chance to read more in-depth on certain topics.

    There’s another reason to do just that. SEO plug-in developer Yoast sees outbound links as karma-builders.

    Their reasoning? Since the Internet depends on sharing information, you are more likely to have other websites create links to your site if you’re secure enough in your own expertise to link to others.

    Dress Up Your Images to Attract Search Engines

    Search engines don’t care whether you’re dressed to the nines in the images they “look” at—in fact, they only “see” text. What they do care about, though, is special codes, called “Alt image tags,” that they can read.

    Alt Image tags: Since search engines can only crawl text, so let them know what the images are about! Make sure you add Alt image tags when you fill out the information about each image on the form you fill out to submit your post.

    Here’s how it looks in HTML code, the “behind the scenes” (backend) that formats pages and allows search engines to crawl your web pages:

    Screenshot from Moz.com

    Take note: A descriptive, natural English alt image tag is best. One-word or keyword-stuffed alt image tags are not:

    Screenshot from Moz.com

    Title your images: When uploading images to your content management system (CMS), use relevant titles:

    The title should be descriptive, but not as detailed as the alt image tag, as in this screenshot from W Promote.

    Include a caption: In a 2012 blog post KissMetrics  stated, “Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers.”

    This isn’t a new development. In his landmark work, Ogilvy on Advertising, advertising legend David Ogilvy advised businesses to always include captions for a similar reason, calling them “mini-advertisements,” if used correctly.

    Use keywords in that caption, and you’ll have SEO magic.

    Key Takeaways:

      • Revise your post to create a hero’s journey for your clients
      • Add images that enhance that story
      • Add keywords that enhance search engine visibility, but don’t stuff your post full of them
      • Quality trumps keyword quantity
      • Use meta descriptions, titles, image titles, image alt tags, and captions to capture search engines’—and readers’ attention
      • Check and double-check for grammar errors and duplicate content

    What Next? What to Do after You Publish Your Blog Post

    Give your blog post the best chance to reach more of your target customers with several effective strategies.

    Once You’ve Published, Use Off-Page SEO to Maximize Your Clout

    Search engines typically reward websites and pages that have the most traffic to their site. To get more traffic, you can use real-life relationships, as well as online ones, to build positive mentions of your brand online—and thus curiosity.

    Curiosity leads to searches for your site. Those searches result in traffic to your site.

    Here are some ideas.

    Get Social

    Add social media sharing icons: Make your post work overtime by adding social sharing icons. The presence of these on your page may not boost your SEO, but they will give your posts added authority as the social share counts mount up.

    The more authority you gain in your niche, the more likely that your readers will want to share your content—and even link to your post on their website.

    If you haven’t built a large following on some of your platforms, you may want to wait until you have a larger following to add the icons to your post.

    Use only the social sites that large numbers of your target customers frequent. For example, if your blog is about crafting, fashion, food, or gardening, include your Pinterest and Instagram icons. If it’s about a less-visual product, perhaps other icons would work better.

    Use tools like Sumo.com that can help you install these buttons on your website. If your site is hosted on WordPress, they include several built-in or easy-install tools right on the platform.

    Share on your own platforms: Include a compelling reason for your followers to click the link to read your post.

    Get Link Love from Other Sites

    Inbound Links

    There’s more to SEO than what you write and optimize on your own site. You can add to your SEO clout when you receive inbound links from other authoritative sites.

    How do you get that kind of SEO love? Not from listing your business in directories and other “link-farming” schemes.

    You get it by posting valuable content that experts in your field will want to share on their own websites. You get it by receiving invitations to post on leading industry blogs or other online publications.

    A word of warning: Never—ever—buy links. Make sure that the link comes from a reputable website.

    Follow links: When you receive external links from other websites, make sure the links they use are follow links. Here’s the code you need to look for:

    <a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”follow”>Link Text</a>

    Follow links pass link value from one domain to another. The more high-quality links your site receives, the more search engines will judge your content to be top quality.

    Nofollow links: Nofollow links, on the other hand, don’t pass any link value. Hence, they don’t help your SEO. You can find these kinds of links on comments on blogs, on forums, and on social media.

    Though these links don’t pass along SEO value, comments, forum participation, and social media activity can, though, establish your authority in your field.

    Here’s an example of a nofollow link:

    <a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

    Guest posting: Look for opportunities to write guest posts on high-quality blogs and news sites, particularly those that people consider to be authorities in your field. The link you receive will pass along SEO value, and you’ll have a huge bonus: more readers for your post.

    Encourage sharing: Include a call to action that asks readers to share the link when you post a link to your blog on your social media platform. Also, you can:

      • Use highly shareable headlines, such as numbers, years, and nine-words-or-less titles to encourage readers to share.
      • Use infographics: 33 percent of HubSpot’s most-shared blog posts contained data in this eash-to-digest format.

    This infographic from a Hubspot screenshot shows the characteristics of blog post headlines that encourage more shares.

    Publish More Blog Posts to Increase Your Brand Presence

    Look at the numbers. When you see what frequent, consistent blog posts can do for your clients, you’ll want to post often.

      • Consistent, plenteous content pays: Inbound marketing giant Hubspot discovered that the average leads garnered from 15 blog posts a month total 1,200. If a business posts 16 times or more every month, it’s likely that they will boost their traffic by a factor of 3.5 over those who post only four times or fewer in the same month.
      • Build on the foundation: John Boitnott, a journalist and digital marketing consultant, discovered that consistency produces success in five key components of effective marketing: authority and credibility, lead generation, brand awareness, customer engagement, and, of course, SEO optimization. Build on these five pillars, and you’ll experience success.
      • Achieve consistent quality: Strike a balance. Yes, the more posts, the more leads you’ll get—but don’t sacrifice quality.
      • Update your blog regularly: Search engines read updates as fresh content, so you’ll have more traffic coming your way.

    HubSpot released statistics that confirm these facts. They found that “companies that blog three to five times a month, or around once a week, have more than twice the traffic of companies that don’t.”

      • Have a regular schedule: If you’re going to update your blog only once a week—try to update it on a given day of the week, rather than on a whim.
      • Publish only as much as you can handle: Quality should always have the upper hand. Publish only the content that you can devote enough time to make it of topnotch.
      • Pay attention to what your audience wants: Publish what your readers cannot find in any other resources. Look for the unique angle to tackle your topic. When you meet their needs with actionable content, your readers will return, eager for more.
      • Use resources such as Buzzsumo and Bufferapp to track which of your posts—and those of your competitors–are performing or trending. Analyze what makes these trending posts tick—and then go and do likewise.

    Where Else Should You Publish Your Blog Posts?

      • External linking best practices: Tweet and post your article to relevant social channels and LinkedIn groups if applicable. The more people that see your post, the more opportunities for someone to link to your post.
        • Find places where your post solves a problem for your target audience: Where you can use your blog posts: newsletter, email marketing, use as part of the funnel and promote on Facebook.

      What Do You Do for an Encore?

      Soda bottles aren’t the only things you can recycle. All the research and hard work you put in to your blog can live anew in a white paper, a podcast, or an e-book.

      Combine several related blog posts and a little extra research to create a deeper look at solving a problem your customers face often. Offer it as a perk for subscribing to your blog or newsletter.

      Key Takeaways

      As you move ahead to determine your company’s content strategy and the frequency that you publish, keep these pointers in mind:

      Key Takeaways:

            • Publish consistently high quality content to drive more traffic to your site
            • Find the best times and days to posts
            • Look for opportunities to promote your posts on and offline
            • Leverage social media to promote your blog posts
            • Give your posts new life by expanding them into longer-form content
            • Create the kind of content that others in your field will want to link to
            • Take advantage of offers to guest blog on other related sites

      In Conclusion

      Done right, your blog posts will go to work for you 24/7, attracting customers to your brand and establishing your position as an authority in your field. Use this guide and the resources within it to help you and your marketing staff to create informative blogs that people can’t wait to read.

      Our Gift to You: A Blog Post Checklist

      Get the checklist that tells your writers exactly what to include in your posts. Enter your email in the box below, and your checklist will be on its way to your inbox.

      Email:

      Blog Post Checklist

      This checklist will help you plan your blog posts each month by

            • Reminding you to schedule enough blogs per month
            • Helping you choose each blog’s content and keywords
            • Helping you write more informative briefs for your writers
            • Helping you check your writers’ work more easily
            • Reminding you to post links to your blog posts in social media to spread the word

      Here’s the checklist:

      For you:

      Monthly:

            • Plan at least 11 blog posts per month, if possible
            • Create a publishing schedule for your monthly posts
            • Determine which posts will be seasonal (e.g., holiday posts) and which need to be evergreen
            • Select a writer for your upcoming posts

      Each blog post:

            • Assign a topic that targets your ideal customers’ challenges
            • Provide your customers’ personas and challenges to your writer
            • Provide the writer with keyword lists determined by your customers’ search intent and keyword research (Google’s Keyword Planner)
            • Inform the writer if the post will be seasonal or evergreen
            • Assign a word count that will allow the writer to explain the topic in adequate depth
            • Create an organized, easy-to-understand brief for your writer that includes all of the necessary details from the items above
            • Before publishing each post, create an effective URL that describes the content
            • Encourage sharing with social media icons on each post
            • Publish links to the post on your company’s social media platforms

      For your writers:

      The post…

            • Aims to generate leads
            • Will solve all the customers’ challenges that involve this topic
            • Is easy to read and understand
            • Arouses readers’ curiosity from beginning to end
            • Meets the specific needs of the client’s target customers, whether B2B or B2C
            • Uses the client’s keywords in a natural, organic flow
            • Links keyword phrases to appropriate pages on the client’s website
            • Uses the target customers’ demographics and speech patterns to determine writing style, tone, and voice (e.g., a post aimed at teens would need a radically different tone and voice than one aimed at enterprise CEOs)
            • Anticipates and meets customer objections
            • Answers typical customer questions on the topic
            • Has a catchy headline and introduction
            • Has a definitive conclusion
            • Has a clear, easy-to-understand call to action
            • Creates visual interest with bold headlines, subheadings, quality images with compelling captions, charts, graphs, bullet points, short sentences, and links to more information
            • Uses authoritative, reputable sources (with links) to back up important points
            • Avoids technical jargon when possible, using plain English instead
            • Uses vivid action verbs and avoids the passive voice whenever possible
            • Takes the reader on a hero’s journey in which the product is the “hero”
            • Creates a compelling argument that eliminates all other solutions
            • Meets all the requirements in the brief

      You…

            • Have edited and proofread the post, using content checking software to double-check your work
            • Have checked the content for plagiarism with Copyscape or other duplicate content checkers (Get a Copywriter provides this service for free)
            • Have provided all images, references, and metadata (title tag, image titles, meta descriptions, etc.) that the client requires

      Save time and enjoy more time doing what you love—your business–when you use this checklist to plan and assign your monthly blog posts.

      For pre-screened copywriters who can help you rocket your content marketing to the top of your niche, contact the helpful customer care team at Get a Copywriter today.

Michael K.
Written by Michael K.
Michael is a content marketer who teaches people how to grow their businesses online and make a difference in people's lives at the same time.