Perfect the art of blogging and you'll be in business!
In our blog-related posts we've looked at both 'What are the business benefits of blogging' and Blogging: How do I include a blog into my marketing strategy?
We've illustrated why content marketing is good for business. We recommend you check out the statistics that Curious Elf provides plus read up on the data out there which supports that strategy.
We’re now down to the nuts and bolts; how to write a blog brilliantly.
It’s really worth taking the time to plan and structure your blog to ensure you have a clear idea of what you want your readers to take from the blog. You’re taking them on a journey - hopefully one that will help them. Your blog needs to stay on the same path, not deviate. By offering your readers solutions to their problems, they’ll come back for more.
Here’s Digital Doctor’s guide to how to structure and compose a brilliant blog.
First and foremost, your blog must resonate with your audience. Use Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics and Twitter Analytics to assess the demographics of the visitors to your website.
It’s very important that you understand the buying personas of your audience so you write about topics that will interest them. Obviously this data will take a bit of time to accumulate but keep a close eye on the stats, especially once you’ve added a few blogs to your website. Digital Doctor can help with dissecting the stats for you (if you need help with this bit).
What problems do your readers need answers to? You’re writing to educate and offer solutions. Some blogging posts talk about the ‘pain-point’ - what keeps your customers awake at night? Address these issues and you’re in business.
Is it a subject that interests you? If you’re bored by your subject, visitors to your blog will be swiftly turned off and will leave the page.
Bored Blogger = Boring Blog + Bored Buyer (BB = BB + BB (BB2 - DB*))
Some sources suggest that you write an outline before you start so if the subject looks too big from the get-go then you can plan to write a series of blogs (this is what happened to Digital Doctor’s series of blogs about blogs). Break it down if needs be and stay focused.
It’s also very important that you do your research and quote reliable sources. Read from white papers, professional bodies and industry experts to glean relevant information and quote statistics and data to emphasise your points. Include hyperlinks to other sites where relevant.
NOTE: The aim is to provide your readers with knowledge without them having to leave your page to find it elsewhere - remember they’re coming to you for the solution not so you can signpost it for them to figure it out!
This needs to be an attention grabber. Wordstream writes a great post which includes advice on the approach to take. Some headlines can tell you everything you need to know before you’ve even read the post. But be careful: Google will cut off a headline at around 60 characters in SERPs (search engine results pages). This could lead to a misleading headline...
“How to” blogs work really well as they are offering a solution to a problem
List posts i.e. 20 ways to… or 5 mistakes rooky bloggers make etc.
Sensory headlines showing empathy are going to grab interest.
So whether you come up with a great headline and then work out the content or write the blog and the headline follows later, just make sure it’s relevant and hooks your audience.
And, final tip - don’t give away all your secrets in the headline - you’re taking your readers on a journey and you want them to stay around for all the good bits.
Many bloggers fall into the trap of starting off their post with a statistic. Try to avoid this approach as rather than draw in your reader, 9 times out of 10 it will turn them off. Leave the research until deeper into the blog.
Be efficient with your words and this point is IMPORTANT - ensure your words have search intent. If your intro doesn’t immediately start with what your reader is looking for they’ll leave the site. This in turn wrankles with Google and it will rank your post lower down SERPs.
In this section establish your personality and your writing style and be consistent with both. Keep sentences snappy and paragraphs short (1 - 3 sentences each).
And just like the headline, provide some of the solution but not all of it - you want your readers to stay with you. Editing will come later but avoid repetition at all costs.
4. Start writing
OK, we’ve done our research and are ready to go. Unless your blog has clear, discrete sections, here at Digital Doctor we write our blogs in one go - or at least the draft is laid down and then we come back to the draft and tweak later. It’s up to you but if you’re in the zone it makes sense to stay there.
(‘Course we sometimes have our cats walk over keyboards and that provides the much needed excuse to vacate and grab a coffee but in the main, stay with.)
Here are a few ‘Do’s’ to remember:
DO use sub-headings. These provide visual section breaks and help the reader to scan your content. We all skim through web content - our aim when writing the blog is to keep the skimming going until the end of the article.
DO try to keep the reader curious and work back from the original headline so the blog stays on track and retains its clarity.
DO stay consistent. That includes how you are formatting the piece, the length of each section, whether you’re giving an example for every point made and the tone.
DO include images. The brain processes visual content quicker than textual content so use this to your advantage and keep the reader engaged. Images will also break up the text, signpost changes from one topic to another and your audience will appreciate the natural break.
DO be generous with content - provide detail, answers and solutions. The more blogs you write, the more trust will be built. We are in the business of content marketing after all.
DO ensure each point you’re making is of equal value. Ensure all points are of equal length and significant or else it looks like you’ve drifted off course. As a general rule, if you have, say 5 points to make, #1 and #5 should be the strongest points.
DO include Calls to Action i.e. instruct the reader to take action (immediately) and get them motivated! Definitely don’t introduce new information at this stage in the game. If you want them to share, follow or purchase then tell them!
DO try to prolong the journey by asking readers to comment or include reference to your previous blogs so they are routed to your evergreen content.
5. The edit
That’s the end of the exam: pens and pencils down please.
Step away from the blog. Leave it. Alone.
From our experience, it’s a very good idea to revisit after a day or so. This blog has been your baby; you’re now the expert on your chosen subject and could apply for Mastermind. You think it’s great - an enchanting piece of work. Mmmmm.
So after a break take another fresh look at your blog and assess it based on these points:
- Be ruthless. Strip out superfluous content.
- Have you stuck to the message?
- Have you used over-complicated wording (I’m sitting on the fence re. superfluous).
- Avoid over-long sentences.
- Avoid any whiff of sounding patronising or condescending.
- Is there a smooth transition from one paragraph to another?
- Is your style authentic and consistent?
- Do you use rhythm - change the pace of the blog to keep the reader interested?
- Have you applied bullets for emphasis - please no paragraphs within a bullet point.
- Be honest - include sources.
Try to assess the blog as a whole and importantly if you don’t think you can do it justice as one blog, make edits and save a section for another blog.
Ask someone else to read the draft and gain their feedback. Grammar and typos should already have been resolved but another pair of eyes on the piece is a good thing. Maybe even read it out loud to get a feel for the pace and fluidity.
And there you have it, Digital Doctor has looked at a number of “How to’s” and from our own experience has suggested the best approach to “How to write a blog brilliantly”. Each blog becomes an important part of you once you get into writing them - trust us...you’ll enjoy it.
It’s over to you!
If you’re interested in getting more information from us at Digital Doctor and find out how we can help you run blog campaigns using the Rocketspark platform then contact firstname.lastname@example.org.