by Alyx Holder
Blogs: the key to generating organic traffic for your website and getting clicks without spending a dime. Writing well-crafted blogs with valuable information for your audience can help to increase brand awareness, establish online authority, and drive conversion. But making your blog work for you isn’t as simple as posting any and everything that comes to mind. Things like Search Engine Optimization, taking advantage of trending topics and creating evergreen content all work toward the success of your blog. Whether you are managing a personal brand or creating content for a national corporation, these five basic steps for how to write a blog are a great place to start.
1. Who, What, and Why: Know Your Audience and Purpose
If you’ve ever found yourself sitting at a keyboard staring at a blank word document, you know that generating topics for blog content can be more difficult than it seems. While throwing ideas at the wall and hoping something sticks and generates traffic is certainly an option, having a marketing strategy in place helps reduce the guesswork and stress.
When learning how to write a blog, begin with defining your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What kind of information are you offering them? Why should they care about what you have to say? It’s easy to regurgitate what’s already out there, so finding a fresh perspective only you and your business can provide is key. Offer insight and explanations for innovations within the industry, break down complex concepts for easy consumption, or use your blog to inspire conversation.
Even if your blog is more for personal branding, having a clear purpose behind your posts can help your audience connect with you and each other.
2. Choose Your Style
Choosing the right blog style is key to getting the most out of your posts. There’s a wide variety of blog styles, each with their own strengths and best applications. Lists, how-tos, personal testimonials, and long-form informative pieces are all viable options depending on the information you are trying to convey. Here’s how to choose the right style when determining how to write a blog:
Lists: These are great for conveying a lot of information in a quick, easy-to-understand format. From gift suggestions for upcoming holidays to tips for developing an effective workout regimen, list-style blogs are among the most popular with readers across most industries. However, be mindful that this blog style may not lend well to text-heavy pieces.
How-To: Instructional blogs help build trust and enforce your authority in your industry. How-to blogs can help your readers learn to make simple household repairs, troubleshoot computer issues, or learn a new hobby like knitting or wire wrapping. Moreover, they're a great way to show your knowledge and encourage customers to seek your services.
Personal Accounts: Humans are social creatures. We love to feel connected to others and seek out those with similar interests and experiences to our own. Sometimes personal accounts and anecdotes can be an effective blog form when used correctly. This is especially true for brands centering around a personality, like influencers or lifestyle advisors. Using your own experiences to convey your message or teach a lesson can be more impactful than other less personable blogging styles.
Research Articles: not every industry or message lends well to informal writing. Industries such as medicine, technology, finance, or academic fields may require more technical language and formal writing styles, especially when targeting peers. Research heavy pieces centered around statistical analysis or reporting study findings benefit from a more scholarly approach.
3. Identify Keywords and Online Trends
There’s nothing more disheartening than putting a ton of effort into a well-crafted blog or article just for it to not perform as well as you expected.
Knowing how search engines work and how to optimize your blogs (and site pages) for greater visibility is key to your organic marketing efforts. Search Engine Optimization can be intimidating for inexperienced content writers, but understanding the basics is essential when learning how to write a blog that does the work for you. Here’s what you need to know:
Identifying Keywords: using the right keywords helps people searching for your content and services find your business. Keywords that are too generic may get lost in the ever-churning sea of new online content, while those that are too specific may not get much traffic. Finding the right balance between the two may take some trial and error. If your content is meant to promote your services, try adding in a location-- fire restoration in Miami, Dallas yoga studio, the best indie coffee shop in Boston, etc.
Keyword Placement Do's and Don’ts: once you have your keyword selected, it's important not to just jam it into your writing as many times as you can. While this may seem like the best way to rise in the ranks, learning how to write a blog (see what we did there) is about finding ways to organically integrate your search term into the content in ways that make sense and lend to the overall context. Search engines are getting smarter every day; they can recognize keyword stuffing and may penalize your site for it.
Check the Competition: it’s highly unlikely you’re the first person to write about your chosen topic, so check out what others have to say. If you see a common thread, it may be best to integrate it into your own content to help search engines recognize its value. That’s not to say you should plagiarize-- that’s a major misstep that can lead to some hefty consequences. Instead, take note of the common features of the highest-ranking pieces on the first page and try to frame your original work similarly.
Without the proper planning and strategy, even the most informative pieces may struggle to garner the attention they deserve
At the end of the day, you are crafting your content for public consumption. Being mindful of the reader’s perspective when writing your blog will help guide you in keeping things clear and to the point. Consider your own online habits: when you’re searching for information online what kind of content do you prefer? Most people would agree that blogs and site pages that are easy to skim and find the information they want are ideal.
Here’s an easy test: read your content aloud. If you find yourself stumbling over words or losing track of sentences, it’s time to make a few edits. Break up large blocks of text with images and utilize headers to help readers quickly find the section they’re looking for. Variety is the spice of life, so switch it up sometimes! Pay attention to what your audience responds best to and don’t be afraid to try something new.
5. Review and Update Evergreen Content
While staying on top of relevant trending topics can help give you a momentary lift in online visibility, evergreen content should be the cornerstone of your blog. As the name suggests, these are pieces that are relevant no matter what; things like FAQs and explanatory pieces fall under this category and will generate most of your new viewership.
That being said, it’s important not to neglect these pieces just because of their longevity. Get into the habit of routinely reviewing your evergreen content for relevance and accuracy, especially if you are in an industry with fluctuating standards and information. Keeping these pieces up-to-date and valid can give you the edge over competitors who are slower with updates. Evergreen content should be reviewed on a yearly basis at the very least, with more frequent check-ins where necessary. These pieces are also great for internal linking and driving traffic to relevant pages across your site. The more you nurture them, the greater return you will see.
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