There used to be a time when blogs were a bit of an afterthought. They left the blog to ancillary content such as corporate news, general announcements, events, etc.
Businesses focused more on landing pages that introduced their brand, product or service. No one thought about the blog as part of your content strategy, a powerful SEO tool and dynamic sales driver!
What is a Blog?
Blog is short for "weblog" and started as a way to post journal-style text entries typically listed in reverse chronological order. The blog platform allowed writers to share their views, opinions and research on a specific subject.
How to Write a Blog Post
Learning how to write a blog post that converts is a bit like riding a bike. Once you learn the skills, you'll be able to reproduce stellar results - every time.
Think of the blog writing as a gourmet meal that requires ingredients, method and preparation in order to perfect. Writing a blog post is no different and once you perfect it, you'll be on your way to more site traffic and more leads.
Follow our blog format below to get you started:
1. Get to Know your Audience
Before you develop your blog topic, you must know more about your target audience. So, what do you know about your audience? Consider:
- What challenges are they experiencing?
- Are they trying to solve a problem?
- Do they have specific interests or needs?
- What type of content are they looking for (ie - ebook, list, presentation, spreadsheet, template, etc.)
- What's their motivation (ie - purchase, comparison, review, fact finding, etc.)
Once you understand your audience you can align your content to be the answer to their search query.
For example, let's say that you sell Marketing software for start-ups. Your audience may be searching for creative ways to market their new company on a budget. So, it might be a good idea to start some research around that topic.
Define your Buyer Persona
OK so, how do we get to know our audience better? It starts with creating a buyer persona - then you can write blog posts that resonate better.
In sales and marketing, we always like to define a buyer persona. It refers to the attributes of the person who works for your ideal customer. Examples include elements such as age, gender, role, online hangouts, etc.
When we define our buyer persona, we're starting to shape the members of our audience. This is important as it allows us to write with purpose and to write for someone.
How are Competitors Courting your Audience?
To see what the competition is up to, perform some sample searches on broad topic phrases or visit 3 to 4 competitor blogs. This shouldn't be confused with topic research merely to get a sense for what others are blogging about.
Although you don’t want to copy their ideas, it shows you what topics they develop. Seasoned bloggers create a content calendar to map out their content strategy which keeps good SEO signals flowing to Google. Typically, an editorial calendar might follow closely to the seasonal calendar to take advantage of sales opportunities around an annual theme - like "Summer, Labor Day, etc."
2. Develop your Blog Post Topic
Once you get to know your audience, the challenges they're trying to solve and what content your competitors are creating, you can narrow your focus into a specific blog topic. You also must validate your topic ideas using tools built for keyword research.
Another great source of topic ideas is the selection of free keyword tools. Plug in what your company’s about, and you’ll get back long-tail keywords that might give you some content creation ideas.
Keyword Research for Blog Topics
There are many keyword resources you can use for blog topic research. Below are a few we use for every blog writing project:
- SEMrush – note this is a paid tool, but in our humble opinion, is the most complete set of SEO tools.
- Reddit or Quora – solid resources to find questions other people in your industry are asking.
- Answer The Public – a free tool for you to enter your keywords and you'll get tons questions in return.
- Twitter Advanced Search – type your keyword and select the filter “questions” to see the questions people in your industry are asking.
3. Write a Catchy Headline
“How Green Widgets Saved the Word in 1980” is more interesting than “Learn about Green Widgets.” The trick is to grip the audience you identified with a headline that’s likely to keep them reading. Several free analyzer tools help you gauge the appeal of your headline.
Boring headlines will turn readers away. Even if your post is written well, it won’t capture the attention of the audience. The trick here is to encapsulate what the post is all about. Then, you summarize it in a way that stirs the imagination of the reader.
When the reader wants to know more, they won’t click away from your page.
4. Create Blog Post Content with Purpose
The primary purpose of these pages was to communicate what their company, product or service did.
In the process, they overlooked one of the most critical methods for converting leads into buyers. However, there’s more to blog writing than meets the eye.
It’s not enough to write a quick first-person narrative of what went on that day at the factory. Similarly, it shouldn’t be a long-winded “buy me” post that’s little more than an advertisement with many product links sprinkled into the narrative. Rather, learning how to write a blog post that converts introduces you to the mix of art and science.
It integrates inbound sales finesse with solid writing. Similarly, it should read like something that you wouldn’t mind seeing on a blog. If it bores you, there’s a good chance that it won’t interest your audience, either.
5. Create Visually Aesthetic Content
If you think that the audience will read every word you write, you’re wrong. Instead, most readers skim through the information. The longer your post is, the more likely it is to get scanned. That’s why it needs to have a visual appeal.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is having the blog post look like a page from a textbook. Long paragraphs without breaks require exceedingly dedicated readers. And even they might not stay on your page.
Think of the post as a work of art.
These headings label the various paragraphs. They tell the skimmer what each one is about. If the reader doesn’t need a brief history of green widgets, they might skim over to the pricing structure of the product. It also enables the reader to look ahead and get a feel for where your writing is going. This can keep them interested.
Within the paragraphs, break down essential facts with bullet points. They’re super-easy on the eyes and making skimming simple. Writing a blog post without bullet points typically isn’t a good idea. Also, remember that bullet points force you to be succinct. That’s a great asset when blogging commercially.
Images make the post look pretty. Besides that, they’re mnemonic devices. Your audience has an easier time remembering that green widgets help computers process three times faster when you tie the information to a picture. That’s in part because the human brain processes images more quickly than text. Several free image websites let you pick from a broad range of available graphics.
6. Search Engine Optimization Isn’t Optional
You’ve heard about SEO. Maybe it scared you. However, search engine optimization isn’t something you can put off. Instead, it’s one of the most crucial blog writing tips.
Without SEO, your prospective customers won’t find the posts. Search engines sort content by usefulness. For example, they look for meta titles and descriptions that harmonize with what most people search for. Google snippets take pertinent parts of your text and place it near the top of the search engine results. That’s a great way to drive traffic to your post.
Therefore, your keywords should be in line with the search terms someone might put into the Google field. Most importantly, your blog post must focus on one keyword or phrase. It’s a common misconception that you should fit as many keywords in as possible. Not only does it make the writing cumbersome, but it’s clear that you drafted the post only to put keywords into sentences.
Readers catch on to this practice quickly. This hurts your credibility. Almost any reader who’s subjected to one of these posts won’t stick around to read any others. While it might help you in the short term to get clicks, it hurts in the long run.
One vital element of SEO is interlinking with existing content that you already have on your site. This might refer to other blog posts, landing pages, or even sales lists. It depends on the content. These links are excellent for encouraging readers to explore more of your site.
7. Tell the Reader What to Do
In copywriting, this is referred to as the call to action. What do you want readers to do? You caught their attention. They read or skimmed through the content. But what comes next?
- Social media shares. Maybe you want to grow your social media reach. In this case, ask your readers to share your post on their social media profiles. It’ll introduce your brand and product lines to new audiences. Witty, funny, or image-rich posts are ideally suited for this call to action.
- Purchase. The most common action that bloggers ask for is the sale. You want the reader to buy the product that you mention in the post. Put in a link that leads to the sales page. Make it easy for the shopper to click just one link and head to the checkout.
- Connection. In some cases, blog writers acknowledge that the reader might not yet be ready to make a buying decision. This is the case when you want to help the reader move along the sales funnel. In this scenario, you might ask the consumer to connect with a sales representative to learn more about the product and talk about their needs.
Finishing a blog post without a call to action is incomplete. It’s a bit like saying that now you know how to write a blog post that converts – and leaving it at that.