Are you struggling to take your blog posts from boring to awesome?
Blog posts are the best way to build your online reputation and often work to support and back up your marketing strategies.
Blog posts also help to build a connection between you and your audience and helps them to know what your skills and talents are and how you can help them.
Building a tribe of devoted readers is also the best way to scoring more sales and more leads.
If you want to know how to transform your blog posts into awesome gems that your readers will actually want to read, you need to work on tailoring and finessing not only what you write, but how you write it.
In order for your blog’s to win you copious amounts of traffic and conversions, you also need to ensure that some strategies are put into place to help with the process.
Crafting an awesome blog post is a blend between between strategy and content and we are going to take you through a 20 step checklist of everything that you need to do. Let’s begin-
Step 1: Pick a Category
Before you begin writing, work out which category your blog post is going to fit into. It helps if your blog post is already divided into categories, but if it’s not you may definitely want to consider this for easy readability.
To determine the best category to write about, think about the number of blog posts per category and which categories are most popular.
You may also want to consider any problems or issues that your target audience is having and how you can use your blog posts to help offer them some advice.
Step 2: Check the Lifetime Value
Just like customers, blog posts also have lifetime values. These include how timeless the blog post is and if it will help open doors to write another blog post surrounding the same category.
With every post that you write, it is important to keep in mind the role that it is going to play in the bigger picture and how it is going to benefit your brand.
To help you with this step, think about-
- How the title may lead you to your next post
- How relevant the article will be in the future
- If your article meets the key objectives of your brand
While there is nothing wrong with having a time specific post, you may want to ensure that your blog has a blend of long-term posts as well, as this may help to keep your flow of traffic more consistent.
Step 3: Check Keywords
Along with choosing the perfect category and considering the life time value, it is important to focus on which keywords you are going to use.
The keywords that you choose have to be relevant to your blog post and they also need to be something that your audience is actively searching for.
Aim to use high volume keywords for your titles, headings and subheadings and then long tail keywords for the body of your posts.
Remember, good content does not have keywords stuffed into every line. It is important to have some idea of your keywords, but to keep them as somewhat of an after-thought while you are writing your content.
Step 4: The Headline
Statistics show us that only 20% of people who read your headline will actually click on it and weak headlines are likely to convert less than this.
You may have the greatest blog post written in all of history, but if your headline doesn’t grab your readers attention and encourage them to click, no one will ever read your content, no matter how good it is.
Starting off with a solid headline will help you to construct the arc of your blog post, but you can also go back and change it when you are done if you receive fresh inspiration.
In order to construct an actionable and enticing blog post headline, think about using emotive words to engage your readers.
Some of the top emotive words used by bloggers include-
- How to
“A good title must tell all the story, but leave room for a click”- Unknown
A good way to tell if your headline is going to inspire a click is to go to your own Facebook or social media pages and observe the types of headlines that you choose to click on.
You can also look at other headlines out there and see what type of response they have received.
From this, you can then determine the types of headlines that sell and the types of headlines that are largely ignored.
Other factors that you need to consider when it comes to creating the perfect headline is whether your headline matches the style and theme of your writing and whether it alerts readers enough to let them know what you are writing about.
To help break this down, you may want to ask yourself-
- Is my headline relevant and meaningful?
- Does my headline reveal the topic?
- Will my headline interest my target audience?
- Does my headline include keywords?
- Does my headline provoke emotion?
Step 5: The Introduction
Other than your headline, your introduction is the second most important part of your blog posts as it is going to help your reader determine if they want to keep reading.
This is the part of your blog post that you really have to finesse in order to hook your reader and have them continue along into paragraph two.
To help you with this process, you may want to adopt the APP method which is-
A: Agree– Pitch an idea that your reader is going to agree with
P: Promise– Promise your reader that you will show them how to solve their problem
P: Preview– Make clear to your readers what they are going to learn throughout the article
This formula doesn’t have to be rigid, but it can help you to understand what to include in the opening paragraphs of your blog post.
Step 6: The Body of the Blog
The body of your blog should represent your main ideas that were mentioned during the introduction of your post.
How long you choose to make your blog post will depend on the topic and on your audience, but typically research has found that longer blog posts of 2,000 or more words tend to rank higher in Google’s search results.
This may or may not work for your demographic, but it is something that may be worth testing.
If you do have a long blog post or meaty content, it may also be beneficial to break your post up into subheadings or bullet points.
Throughout the body of your blog post, your main keyword should also be featured at least once. You may also want to search related words to your main keyword and also include those throughout your content.
This helps you to structure a blog that is going to be both readable and searchable, which is key to creating awesome content.
Step 7: The Conclusion
A good conclusion not only needs to be powerful and summarise the content of your blog post, but it also needs to offer a call to action. This is truly the secret sauce in turning your blog post into a powerful converting tool.
Including a call to action in your conclusion helps to steer your audience down your funnel and in the long run, it can help to facilitate more sales and more profits.
While you never want to bombard your readers with “Buy, Buy, Buy” you do want to gently nudge them into the direction of your choice.
This direction may include-
- Signing up to your email list
- Getting more comments
- Subscribing to your webinar/event
- Purchasing a product or service
- Receiving Social Shares
Having a strong call to action at the end of your blog posts will help you to see an improvement in your conversion rates and will help you to ensure that your blog posts are actively working for you.
Step 8: Engagement
The best way to tell if your post is “engaging” is the number of comments it has received. When your audience responds with their own thoughts and queries, it means that your post has stirred something within them and made them sit up and take notice.
Before you publish your content, think about how engaging your words are and if they provoke any type of discussion, differing view points or feelings.
It may be difficult to discern this in your own writing, but try to be objective and view your content through the eyes of your readers.
In order to assist this process you may want to consider-
- Who your blog post speaks to
- How effective it is at solving a problem
- How insightful it is surrounding the topic
- Does it offer a viewpoint that is debatable
- If your comments are enabled
Step 9: Review the Language
One of the most important features of your blogs is that it helps to set a tone. There is probably a lot of content out there on your chosen topic, but it is your tone that will continually attract your readers.
It is important, no matter who is writing the content, to ensure that your blog posts support the overall tone of your brand.
Adjectives can be a great way to help develop the tone of your writing. For example, instead of “awesome blog post” your brand may be better suited to “powerful blog post” or “thought-worthy blog post” or even, “strategic blog post”. By changing this one word it helps to set the tone.
Along with tone setting, your text should also be clear, well thought out and follow correct punctuation, spelling and grammar. There is nothing worse than having typo’s in your blog posts, so be sure to proofread your work.
To help you with this step, here is a checklist-
- Does your language convey the tone of your brand
- Is your language natural? Does it read naturally?
- Did you proof read your work for spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.?
Step 10: The Image
Picking the perfect image is super important for getting your article opened and read. In fact, the image that you choose is about as important as the headline.
Just like the words used in your blog posts, your images need to convey the right tone, theme and design of your blog and your brand. The image should also help to show off some aspect of personality as well.
There are plenty of free and paid image sources on the web, so spend the time to come up with the perfect image. When you find one, make sure it is high quality, eye catching and is relevant to your content.
If your blog has a particular style, you may also want to use images that have the same filter or colour scheme.
Step 11: Include Images/Graphs/Tables Throughout
The golden rule when it comes to content creation is that for every 350 words you should have one image, graph or table to follow it.
This may depend on your demographic and audience, however you may want to experiment with using more images in order to back up your written content.
We are visual creatures and images can help us to receive information quickly, easily and in a more engaged way.
Image types to include through your content include-
Step 12: Add Links
When it comes to blog posts there are two types of links that you want to consider- internal and external.
Internal links are links that direct your users to other blog posts and content on your website. External links are ones that take your audience to a different webpage.
You may wonder if having your audience redirected to another site is such a good idea, but there can be some value in it.
When you link to a credible site it helps your readers to trust you more and it also helps you to become part of a bigger web of links. Research has also shown that linking can also help you to appear more credible and can help you to build your reputation.
If you are still feeling nervous about sharing external links, try having them open on a separate tab. This will help to minimise the chances of your readers leaving your page.
Internal linking has also been shown to be valuable for your SEO and can help to keep your readers on your site for longer, so definitely take advantage of it where appropriate.
Another note on this is that you don’t want to have too many links. For every 500 words, 1-2 links is ample.
Step 13: Offer Content Upgrades
Content upgrades offer more content or a different content style in exchange for your readers email. They are a great way to build your list of leads and can help you to understand what topics are really of interest to them.
Most visitors who are interested in your content will often be happy to hand over their email address in exchange for your content, so you might as well take advantage of it by including an opt-in box at some point throughout your post.
Content upgrades are also an effective way to build a more solid reader-base and once you have their email, you can also market other products and services to them as well.
Step 14: Take a Look at SEO
We have already touched on keywords, but there are other factors that you also need to pay attention to.
For example it is important to ensure-
- Your URL’s are short and contain your main keyword
- Your meta tags are present (title, description, alt-tag for images)
- Your links are working and are not broken
- Your blog post is mobile friendly
“True online marketing professionals will recognise that both content marketing and SEO are star players in an enterprise focused marketing strategy”- Barry Feldman
Step 15: The Author
No matter who has written the blog post, it is important that you include an author box with a biography and a photo. This helps your audience to identify with the author and also helps to build your credibility as a brand.
Step 16: Technical Check
There are a few technical aspects that need to checked before you hit publish on your blog. These include-
- The formatting: check on different browsers and mobile devices to check for any issues
- That your blog posts and images are loading quickly (small file sizes)
- That the URL match the blog headline
- That font is easy to read
You may also want to check if your analytics are all functioning and that any conversion pixels are installed and working.
Step 17: Synchronise with your Calendar
You don’t want to be publishing an article about Christmas in the month of August. Similarly, you don’t want to publish an article titled- “Top Marketing Trends for 2016” in November.
Having a content schedule that is synchronised with your calendar is important not just for creating an awesome blog post but also helping to drive traffic.
This is because you can work on capitalising on big holidays and events by writing appropriate blog posts. For example, around January 2017 an article titled- “Marketing predictions for 2017” is likely to do well.
This also applies to the time of day that you post. Research suggests that the best time to post new content is in the morning around 9am and then again in the afternoon around 3-4pm, however this will depend on your demographic.
You may also find that certain post do better when they are published earlier in the week as apposed to later in the week and vice versa.
This will take some trial and error but the results can be well worth it when you learn the optimal times to publish.
Step 18: Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3….
If you can, it may be helpful to get someone to proof read your work. Having another set of eyes look at your content can help you to get a new perspective and can also help you to fix any typos or edit any information.
Another way to test your content is to put it up against an article that is similar to your competitors. Check to see if your post offers more value and delivers a different point of view that reflects your brands unique style.
Step 19: Promotion
For any blogger, this step is probably the most exciting and the most crucial. As you start promoting your work you are sending an invitation for others to read it and critique what you have to say.
Having a promotion strategy can be helpful and can also help you set the intention of your blog post more firmly and succinctly.
In order to run a successful promotion you need to consider where you are going to share your content and how you are going to display any necessary images to draw in your readers.
To start with this step, consider-
- The various platforms you are going to share your content on
- How much money you are going to spend on advertising
- Titles, images and headlines you are going to use to promote your content
Step 20: Publish Your Blog Post
The big moment is finally here. After you have worked your way through these 19 steps, you blog post is ready to be published and sent out to the masses.
After publishing, you want to track your audiences response and monitor things that are doing well and other things that you can improve on for next time.
There is a lot of work that goes in to making a blog post truly awesome. Here is a summary of the checklist to help you navigate the process with ease-
- Get clear about your topic and how it fits with your brand
- Select the appropriate keywords
- Craft an engaging headline that is emotive
- Flesh out your ideas with well written paragraphs and subheadings
- Use images, graphs and other visuals throughout
- Include a call to action in your conclusion
- Offer a content upgrade to collect leads
- Make sure your blog post is SEO friendly
- Ensure your blog post looks great on all devices and browsers
- Be sure to proof read your blog
- Develop a strong promotion strategy
- Schedule your blog to be released at the best time
Blogging is definitely an art form and the more you can learn to tune into what your readers want and how you can help them, the more successful your blog posts will be.
By following these suggestions you will be well on your way to creating awesome blog posts that not only get read and opened but also shared across multiple platforms many times over.