You’ve been staring at a blank page for what feels like hours on end, trying to start a blog for your website. So, you’ve typed into your search engine, “how to write a blog” and luckily, you’ve stumbled across this helpful article. You know your website needs content, but if you’ve never sat down at a computer and put something together, it can be difficult to know where to get started.
What’s the purpose of writing blogs anyway?
Regularly publishing blogs to your website is a great way to grow your brand and introduce people to your product or services. Blogs help to keep your audience informed about your business and industry in an engaging way. Well written blog articles can boost your website’s search engine visibility, driving traffic to your website. How? Through Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) which is basically a bunch of terms people use when they search for things, just like you probably typed “how to write a blog” into your search engine. Even if you’re planning on reaching your potential clients through an email newsletter, writing blogs for your website is the first step in getting them to sign up for further information and in having information to share with them.
Alright, I’m ready to write a blog, but where do I start?
First, you need to understand the audience you’re writing to. Start by thinking about what customers generally ask when they first interact with your business. What is it they’re looking for when they find you? Is there anything you think they should know before they contact you? Understanding who your client base is and what they want to know will help you get started. For example, if you’re a real estate agent and the majority of your clients are first-home buyers, writing blogs on how to secure their pre-approval with their bank is something that they’ll likely be looking for information on.
Now that you know who you’re writing to, you should have a basic keyword strategy. This is what’s going to help drive traffic to your website and help you get a sense of what your blogs should be focused on. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a great way to find phrases that people are using to search for your products or services. Moz too can help you find the most effective keywords to rank for. These keywords should be included in the blog you write so that when people search those terms, your website shows up in their search results. If you’re not confident in researching and using SEO keywords, don’t fret, they’re not the be-all and end-all. Your blog will still be a valuable asset to your website and email newsletters.
You’ve got your potential blog topics ready but before you go ahead and start putting words to screen, you’ll need to decide what type of article you’re going to write. Your readers might benefit from a to-do list, checklist, an educational ‘how to’ style blog or a series of instructional blogs. Educational articles like how-to’s are a great starting place. As an internet user yourself, you’ve probably searched for an answer to something by typing “how to…” into your search engine. Going back to our example of a real estate agent trying to target first-home buyers, you might write something along the lines of “how to apply for a mortgage”. If you’re a travel agent though, a list based blog could be more beneficial for your targeted audience such as, “10 things to pack for a winter holiday in Europe” which is more likely to resonate with your readers.
Get your keyboard ready – it’s time to type!
So, you’ve done the research and you know who you’re writing to and what you’re going to write about, it’s time to do just that – write!
Step 1: Write a working title
Getting started is the hardest part but once you have an idea for your blog and a working title, the rest should fall into place. Working titles are flexible so you can always go back and change the title to suit the entire blog after you’ve written it. The style of blog you’re writing and the topic you’re writing about will help you get started. Think along the lines of the questions your customers might ask “how to…” or “why I should…” or the things you think they need to know more about “five reasons why…” or “when should I…”
Step 2: Write an introduction
The intro of your blog is your chance to grab the reader’s attention. You only have a couple of sentences to do this in, so try and get those creative juices flowing. You could tell a joke, share a story which involves a common problem your audience might face and that blog will solve, or an interesting fact or statistic. Whatever it is, make it something you’d want to read yourself. Once you’ve done that, explain how your blog is going to address a problem your audience may have. This gives them a reason to keep reading. Need a bit more help? Go back and read the intro we wrote – if you’re here, we managed to keep you reading on.
Step 3: Write an outline
You probably have a couple of ideas of the things you want to mention in your blog. Jot them down on your screen so you can rearrange them in an order that’s going to make the most logical sense for a reader. Take this blog for example. We didn’t start by explaining how to write an outline of a blog before we explained its purpose and how to research a topic to write about first.
Step 4: Write that content
Now it’s time to put fingers to the keyboard and get typing. Just remember to write what you know. It’s your expertise and knowledge that your audience wants to read. Write down everything you want to say and don’t worry if it’s not flowing as well as you’d hoped, you can always take breaks and come back to it later. When it comes to the word limit, 43% of readers admit to skimming blogs online so aim for 500 words. That being said, longer content (1,000+ words) does perform better in search engine rankings, as long as the content is relevant. Don’t stress too much over the word count, as long as you’re writing quality content that your audience wants to read.
Step 5: Don’t forget your call-to-action
At the end of your blog, tell your readers what they should do now – whether that’s sign up to your email list for further information, or call your company for a quote. Not only does this give your audience an action to complete if they’ve enjoyed your blog, it also helps remind them that you’re the expert behind the words, and you’re there to help.
Step 6: Don’t forget to make it look pretty
Have you ever sat at your computer screen and read thousands and thousands of words on end? Very few people have the time (or patience) to do that. So, make your blog more visually appealing by using headings and subheadings, images and graphs. Images also add more value to your blog. Let’s say you’re a yoga instructor and you’re writing a blog on “how to master the headstand,” having images that follow your step-by-step guide helps readers visualize what you’re actually saying, especially if you’re using terms to describe poses they’re not yet familiar with.
Step 7: Edit your blog
Well done, you’ve written your first blog! You’re so close now, all you need to do is re-read what you’ve written and check it for any spelling or grammatical errors. Make sure your sentences aren’t too long and that they make sense. Now go back to that title you wrote right at the beginning of your blog – is it still relevant or does it need to be tweaked? Once you’re happy, all you need to do is upload it to your website!
Step 8: Utilize your blog
Now that you’ve uploaded your blog to your website, it’s going to start ranking for SEO. But there are a number of other ways your potential clients can find your blog. You can share the blog in an email newsletter or to your social media pages, including a link to the article on your website.
Writing an article doesn’t need to be as painstaking as writing a college-grade essay. Just start with what you already know about the problems your potential clients are looking for answers to. And remember, you already have the answers – it’s just a matter of writing them down in a blog and sharing them to your website.
You’ve heard the term being thrown around by marketing gurus but what is content marketing exactly? While it might not sound like anything too different from what you’re used to in regards to traditional marketing, content marketing is actually very different. Let’s clear up exactly what content marketing is and how to know if your approach is working effectively.
Ok, so what is marketing then?
So, content marketing, in a nutshell, is written material that is educational, not promotional. Instead of writing about your brand, products or services, it’s content written for your audience and designed to teach them something about the industry you’re in. For example, a travel consultant might share a blog on how to score a free flight upgrade to business class. The blog doesn’t advertise the fact that they’re a travel consultant who can book your flight in business class, only how you might go about getting an upgrade. It’s educational and doesn’t push a sales message. It answers the question that travel consultant probably gets asked by their customers too. That’s content marketing.
What does content marketing actually look like?
An estimated 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing so chances are you’ve seen what it looks like without even knowing it! The most obvious form of content marketing is informative blogs that you find on a business’s website. Like the example given above, they answer a question potential customers are searching for online. Content marketing can also take shape in e-books, videos, infographics and webinars. Basically, any content that’s designed to answer a specific question and can provide your audience with educational information is content marketing.
As a business, what will I need content marketing for?
We’re glad you asked! Marketing is impossible without great, valuable content. Content marketing is the best way to turn your service or product into something different from everyone else’s on the market, no matter how common it is. By sharing engaging and educational information your audience wants to hear, your brand becomes credible and authoritative on topics that matter to your potential customers. It’s a great way to be discovered by the right audience and earn their trust and loyalty. Content marketing is a long term strategy that often works out more affordable than traditional marketing. In fact, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
How do I know that the content I’m sharing is right?
First off, it’s important to remember that content marketing requires a lot of persistence and patience. However, it should be measurable. The right strategy should see your customer relationships grow and strengthen, traffic to your website should increase, your active and engaged subscriber base should grow and you should see an increase in open rates for your email newsletters. To achieve these goals, consistency is key. According to emarketer, 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content a day. That might sound like a lot of content. But if it’s valuable and something your potential customers are looking for, it’s going to be worth it in the long run.
Where can I find more valuable content?
There are a few ways you can go about getting the content you need for your business.
Write the content yourself: First off, you could write the content yourself. You’re the expert when it comes to your business and the industry you work in so it makes sense that you start blogging the answers to the most common problems and questions your customers have. Need help getting started? Read our article on how to write a blog.
Hire a freelance writer: So, that one piece of content a day is probably going to take up some of your valuable time. If you don’t have the resources to create that content in house, you might consider hiring a content writer. Freelance content writers are able to take a brief and produce an article that you can then upload straight to your website. This requires you sending the writer a brief, negotiating a price, editing the work and then uploading it to your website. It’s a lot less time consuming than writing it yourself, but it’s still a fair bit of work.
Buy the content you need: That brings us to our final method of getting content – purchasing it from a content marketplace. This gives you the ability to buy the content you actually need and want, without having to hire a writer to produce it for you. Simply purchase the blog you like, edit it to make sure it suits your website and brand, then upload it to your website! You can also use the content in your email newsletters and share it to your social media pages.