Nowadays, it is essential to have a blog on your business’ website. However, creating a blog post is not as easy as creating a 500-plus word article on a topic remotely related to your business, posting it on your social media accounts, and hoping Google and your target audience notices. While there is an element of art to crafting the perfect blog post, there is also an element of science to it. Here are five steps to take before crafting your next blog post.
Use Natural Language
Search engine technology has improved greatly since the AltaVista days. Back then, computers looked for keywords on web pages and not much more. This led to awkward, repetitive sentences that computers could easily read, but humans found annoying. Today, we know this as ‘keyword stuffing.’ You no longer need to put your product or service’s name in every sentence for a computer to figure out what you are selling. Repetition keeps your product name top-of-mind for your customers, yet you can take it too far.
Instead, write your blog posts clearly. You may find it helpful to picture a conversation you recently had with a customer, jot down some notes, and flesh out your blog post using the tone from that conversation. By doing this exercise, you will also make your blog post voice search friendly for devices like Alexa and Siri – because natural language is the default search mode when people are speaking.
Ask Your Customers What They Care About
Every successful marketer knows their customers, but sometimes the desires and needs of customers change over time. No matter how fantastic your blog idea may be, it will not gain any traction if it is on a topic your customers stopped caring about months ago, or if it’s on something you are passionate about but your customers find irrelevant. To avoid falling into this trap, hold frequent conversations with customers who will provide honest feedback. Ask the following questions:
- When you are looking for what we sell, what do you search for?
- How do you stay up to date with our business?
- Have you read our blog? If so, is it helpful? If not, why not and how can we change it?
- What topics can we feature on our blog to pique your interest?
You may discover that the messaging of your blog does not appeal to your customers. If it does not, this is your opportunity to course correct and experiment with new ideas. If the blog is exactly what your customers desire, keep doing what you are doing. Continue your research to discover information you can only uncover through conversations with customers.
Make it Visual
Voice search is gaining on traditional search. However, traditional search is still how most people look for information online. This means your blog needs to be visually pleasing. The most obvious way is to use relevant photos or easy-to-understand infographics.
Although, creating a website people want to read goes further than simply throwing some eye-catching photos next to a block of text. You need to format that block of text. The first step is choosing an easy-to-read font like Arial or Helvetica with 14 to 16 font size. Once font and size are chosen, make sure your paragraphs are properly formatted, as well as any numbered or bulleted lists.
Headlines are the first interaction your readers have with your article. So, you want to make sure every headline on your blog is concise and clearly states what the article will teach and how it will benefit the reader. Effective ways to achieve those goals are by using numbers in the title or posing a question. An example of the former is this blog post: “5 Steps to a Better Blog Post.” An example of the latter is “How To Make a Better Blog Post.”
You have created the perfect blog post. Now, there is only one thing left: telling your customers what you would like them to do with the information they read. Would you like them to buy your product or service? Is the goal to get them to share this blog post, so that their friends visit your site? Decide the purpose of the post and close it with an explicit request for your customers to act on your behalf. If you do not directly tell your customers how you want them to behave, they may read your blog post and move on with their lives. By forcing them to think about if and how they want to continue engaging with your blog, your customers may decide the information is too useful to simply close the browser tab and risk losing it.
Since we are at the end, we are going to take our own advice. Did you learn something from this post? If so, share it with your friends on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Author: Allison Lips