We talk a lot here at ingenex.co about content marketing via blogs yet we’ve rarely actually explained how to write one.
So here you go: writing a blog post, step-by-step.
Step 1: Understand your audience so that you can choose what topics to cover.
Would a potential franchisee be interested in how to find a job? Possibly (should the franchise fail). But there’s a better chance he or she would appreciate posts on how to choose a franchise, what qualities in a person make for a successful franchisee, what pitfalls to look out for, etc.
Obviously, if you’re selling a franchise, you’d want to write helpful tips on doing so.
But what if you’re providing services or products that doesn’t provide “an obvious” audience?
Perhaps you manufacture semiconductors. Would you want to write a blog post explaining what semiconductors are? Probably not. After all, your prospects already know.
You’d need to write posts that offer valuable and even perhaps actionable information of use to them to help them increase their knowledge above what they already know. Such as how infrared spectroscopy works. Or the different kinds of LED components for consumer and professional applications.
And so on.
In short: know your audience well and create blog posts that answer their questions and help them reach their goals and/or overcome their problem.
Step 2: Create an outline (and don’t forget to come up with keyword-rich H2 and H3 headlines).
H2s and H3s are heads and subheads that readers often search for. It’s the information that Google uses when indexing and ranking content. Getting great keywords in them helps your post rank higher in search results (because your prospects will be using those keyword when they search for information).
(You should have a minimum of at least three H2s in a post. H3s, in our opinion, aren’t as important.)
Here’s a typical – and more than fine – outline of a good blog post
A. Intro paragraph, you say what you’re going to talk about. And – most importantly – why it’s important/why your prospect would want to read it.
B. You write the first thing you said you would talk about in the first section going to write about.
C. Write about the second, third and even fourth things you said you would.
D. OR…If you’re talking about only one thing, expand upon it in subsequent paragraphs; get “into the weeds” with it a bit. (Make sure you mention a bit about these “weeds” in your intro paragraph.)
E. Write a conclusion; reiterate why the topic is important.
F. Don’t forget to mention that your company can help the reader with their problem/goals. “Learn more” with a link to your contact us page is priceless!
Finally – and this is very important – if you don’t know your topic upside down and sideways, conduct more research to gather more data, examples and information to back up your points. Make sure to provide the right type of attribution when doing so. And make sure to look for accurate and compelling information from what are known as “authority sites.” (Note; Wikipedia is not always accurate. Just saying…)
Step 3: Add images and other visual items of interest. (And break up your text; no big blocks of words)
Find at least one photo or item of graphic interest for your post. (You can find great, free photos at sites such as pexels.com, unsplash.com, and others.)
Aim for short paragraphs and short sentences over long ones (use really long sentences sparingly). In other words, break up the post with plenty of “white space.” The human eye – and your prospects – will thank you by actually reading your post.
Step 4: Link to other relevant posts in your online content.
Called “inbound links” (as opposed to “outbound links” to authority sites), these help your readers move about your site, thus staying longer and understanding more and more what an expert you are in delivering your product/service.
Step 5: Optimize your site for SEO.
Don’t obsess over which keywords are best; aim for 3-5 keywords at most.
Write your meta description, which is the description that shows below a posts page title on Google’s search results, providing people with a short summary of the post before they click on it. It should be about 150-160 characters. It’s also a good idea to start the blurb with a verb such as “Discover,” “Learn,” “Read,” etc.
Optimize your post hed and headers within the post for keywords, but don’t overthink this. Your headline probably has some keywords. If you can sprinkle some in your H2s and H3s, great, but it’s more important that the sub-heads explain/describe what’s to come in the next section.
Step 6: Publish the post and broadcast it on your social media channels
A quick blurb describing the post and why it’s a good idea to read it is all you need. Don’t forget to include the link to the post within your social post.
If you send out regular newsletters to your clients/prospects, write a blurb and include a link to the post within it.