For many of us, crafting a blog can be the most dreaded part of the work week. Whether you’re writing for your company’s website or even a client, sitting down and writing content that’s actuate, organized, and engaging can be one of the most intimidating challenges you face.
Knowing how to write the perfect blog isn’t easy. Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company or a small family-owned business, there are several rules of thumb you can use to help craft a wonderful post for your blog. Here we’ve put together our list of the best tips and tricks we use every day to craft blogs, press releases, and content we publish for our clients.
Know Your Audience
Knowing how to write the perfect blog starts with developing an understanding of your audience. Taking a step back and asking yourself “What are my readers looking for?” and “What do my readers need to know?” is a great way to develop an approach to your blog.
Let’s use the example of writing a blog for a manufacturing company. Many manufacturers may be tempted to write posts highlighting their products, processes, and the latest industry trends on the market. In hindsight this is fine, but you need to approach your blog from your readers perspective.
Are your readers’ customers with little product/industry knowledge or are they seasoned executives with advanced degrees and years of experience? Understanding how much your readers know and tailoring the content, tone, and vocabulary of your messaging will help your chances of cutting through the clutter of a crowded inbox and reaching your target audience.
Sending readers blogs on topics about advanced aeronautical engineering when they are simply looking for cheap flights to Atlanta is another common example of how writers scare away readers and end up writing content that isn’t relevant to their audience.
Bottom line? When writing any form of content for your business, you need to understand your audiences’ needs and develop unique content to help them achieve their goals.
Like many writers, you probably have general goals you want to accomplish with your blog. You probably want readers to read your blog, follow a link to your website, and maybe fill out a contact form in the future. These goals are perfectly fine from your perspective, but in order reach your audience, you need to take into account their goals as well.
One of the most important things I’ve learned about blogging in relation to building a successful content strategy is the concept of delivering value. Whether you’re writing a cooking blog or want to highlight the latest Six-Sigma Processing trends, you need to understand your reader’s goals and establish a clear value to help your readers achieve those goals.
Many readers just like you visit blogs and web pages across the internet with the goal of finding useful information that captures their interest and helps them with their day-to-day lives. Whether they’re looking for the latest SEO tactics or how to cook the perfect casserole, readers turn to online content for help solving their most basic problems.
Tailor our blog posts to our client’s unique needs and try to create a comprehensive resource for them to turn to whenever they need help. It not only drives leads to our website but also helps build our credibility in the market.
Tailoring Your Content Strategy
Knowing how to write the perfect blog is only one component of reaching your audience and helping them achieve their goals. Understanding how your blog integrates with your other communication channels like social media, advertising, and marketing literature is a critical aspect of building a successful content strategy.
One of the biggest issues we see today with clients is the general disconnect they have between their different touch points. Their blog might position them as an industry leader in their market with the most advanced technology available and their social media and print material might convey a value-based proposition instead.
Regardless of your value proposition and positioning, when putting together your blog, you need to have a clear and consistent message in relation to your other communication channels. This will help you create a more unified brand image overall and help build your credibility in the market.
Keywords vs. Content
Writing amazing content only helps if people can actually find it. Some of you may be familiar with keyword research and SEO related tactics and others may be new to the game. For those of you who are just learning, here’s a crash course.
Whenever we write a blog, we try to tailor the content around a few specific long-tail keywords. In simple terms, long-tail keywords are a string of words users type into the search bar of a search engine. Usually, they look something like “How to write a great blog” or “Japanese Restaurants Near Me”.
Whenever users type these words into a search bar, search engines like Yahoo and Google review web pages in their databases and return results that are relevant to what the user is searching for. They determine this relevancy based on keywords derived from web pages and content.
If you’re writing a blog and want to have it rank organically on a search engine, you should tailor the topics and content around long-tail keywords that your visitors are actively searching for. Maybe you’re a pharmaceutical company and your visitors are searching for “Cold and Flu Remedies”.
Writing a blog about different remedies MDs recommend might be a great start and if you have a product that can help these visitors, highlighting it might be a bonus. The choice is yours.
Blogs vs. Press Releases
In the world of digital content, readers have endless options to choose from when deciding what they read and what ends up in file 13. Many of our clients come to us with the goal of publishing their latest achievements and company news for everyone to see. While blogs are a great way to keep everybody in-the-know, press releases are a better way to send out important updates to a larger audience.
Similar to blogs, press releases provide an overview of a specific topic but also act as a source of news for readers. Like product samples you receive in the mail, press releases are designed to get your appetite flowing and provide just enough info for you to crave more.
Typically, when we’re putting together a press release, we contact a local news source like Penn Live or the Central Penn Business Journal and talk with a journalist about what’s going at VIG or with one of our clients. We’ve done press releases for new hires, market expansions, and even company milestones.
Once we talk with a journalist, we usually put together about a 50-100-word description of what’s new and send it over in a templated format. Once everything is approved, the release is published for thousands of readers to see.
Through creating a brief story in the form of a press release, we’re able to capture the interest of readers and drive traffic.
Here are some thoughts:
- Use a formal tone – Press releases share official company “news”. The way you deliver that is pretty conservative. Think of it as an email going to your boss vs an email going to a close friend, you’ll probably be relaying information a bit differently!
- Report on news & not opinion – Keep it factual and hit the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why…and how) when necessary! Remember, you want to keep the content relevant so the user can form their own opinion, not hear yours!
- Write in third-person – You’re representing your company, even if the article is about yourself, you’re speaking on behalf of your company. Structure the messaging in a way that explains things objectively and from an outsider-looking-in perspective.
- Compose for reporters – Increase your credibility with reports and learn to write in AP Style. It will be greatly appreciated!
- Use a conversational tone – Blogs are meant to be personal and reflect the blogger’s unique experience on the topic to connect directly with the reader. Go ahead and say it like it is!
- Offer opinion or commentary – No reason to stick to the facts, well, not as strictly as you would with a press release. Blogs are meant to educate readers and generally offer tips, tricks, and advice.
- Write in first or second person – This is your blog, your opinion, and views. Using “I”, “we” and “our” is acceptable.
- Create exclusive content – This time you’re not supplying news outlets with specific information, develop related assets and media related to your messaging!
Text vs. Images & Videos
Like most readers, when you’re scrolling through the pages of your favorite website or blog, you instantly notice unique images and videos. Reading through the text you likely gravitate towards images that contain diagrams, helpful info, and even the occasional “How-To” YouTube video linked right into the page. Believe it or not, online articles and blogs with images or other media get 94% more total views compared to posts with just text.
Not only do images and videos help break up longer content and provide a better understanding of the material, they also help create a better user experience overall. Through drawing attention to the most important areas of your content using different types of media, you can increase valuable traffic metrics and create a resource for your readers to reference in the future.
Just on the topic of SEO alone, there are several popular infographics and diagrams that have been circulating the internet on hundreds of different blogs. These images not only help aspiring professionals and researchers understand the material, they also help drive leads back to their original source. We at VIG have referenced a few of these images from time to time and give shout-outs whenever we can.
Bottom line? Pictures are worth far more than a thousand words. They can help improve the value of your content and drive leads to your website far into the future.
Optimizing Blogs for Search Engines
Getting your blog in front of the right people at the right time is critical to delivering your message to your audience. There are several SEO tips & tricks that we like to use at VIG that helps our blogs be search engine friendly.
In the above section, I mentioned the importance of topic selection and long-tail keywords. For blogs specifically, you need to be careful with how many keywords you insert into your post. A general rule of thumb we use recommends a keyword density between 0.5 and 2.5%. This means that if your keyword shows up more or less than this percentage range, you could see negative effects on search engines.
This simply means that as long as you naturally insert relevant keywords into your post and refrain from “keyword stuffing”, search engines will be able to index and crawl your content and direct the right users to your page.
Another useful trick is creating inbound and outbound links. Through inserting hyperlinks into your post, you can direct readers to useful information on the web. Whether its another blog on your website or even a link to a reference in your post, creating links is a great way to get noticed and can also help your search rankings.
Creating the perfect blog isn’t easy. It’s a skill writers’ need to practice over and over again. If you’ve read this far and still have questions about how to write the perfect blog for your business, don’t be afraid to reach out. We love working with new clients and guiding them to a successful, content-driven future.
Want to learn more about how our copywriters can help you grow your business? Think VIG!