Just like many activities related to your business, having a plan and being organize is key to be successful. Although you can write articles without any planning, you will soon find out that in order to keep your blog relevant, you will need to in some way organize and keep track of your articles. The following section will give you some pointers on how to get organize when managing a business blog.
- As we mentioned earlier in this guide, consistency in publishing content is very important when it comes to blogging. So, it is recommended that you plan to post new articles at least once per week.
- You might also want to have some idea on what topics you would want to write. Keep in mind that you should pick topics of interest to your visitors and related to their business in some way.
- Try to align and schedule your articles with events, seasons, holidays, or any other type event that can boost interest on the topic you are writing about.
- Determine what type of Call to Action or offer you want to include on your article so that you can convert your visitors into leads. Remember that one of the main objectives in writing articles is to convert visitors into leads, so clearly defining a Call to Action or offer increases the probability of achieving the objective.
- Define what style or form your article will follow. Articles can be presented as a The How-To Post, The List-Based Post, The Curated Collection Post, The Slide Share Presentation Post, The News-jacking Posts.
- Finally, use the content calendar template provided with this guide to organize and schedule the articles that need to be written.
Creating a Blog Post
In this section we will learn the steps and areas to follow when creating a blog post for generating leads and increasing visitor engagement. We will also cover some techniques to follow when creating the outline of the article so that we stay on topic when writing our post or article.
Step 1: Understanding Your Audience
Having a clear understanding of your target audience’s needs, interests and expectations is key for defining and writing compelling and useful articles. Try to think, what do they want to know about? Consider what you know about your buyers and their interest while coming up with a topic for your article.
Also consider creating a buyer persona in order to improve your understanding of your audience. Remember you might define more than one persona if you offer many services or product, so start defining your personas to help you better understand your audience.
Step 2: Pick a Topic
Start with a very general topic and define a working title. Select a topic that can provide value to your visitors. Something they might be interested in reading about. Remember that you can always ask your visitor, clients, and prospect, to help you find topics to write about. Just don’t forget that the topic you choose should be in some way related to your business or organization. Always keep your visitors in mind.
Also remember that title is a work in progress and it is not your final title. In this part worry more about choosing a good general title that fits the topic, you will improve it once you have finished writing the content of your post or article.
Step 3: Create an Outline for Your Post
This is easily the step that most people jump when writing a post. It is time consuming, but it helps you organize your ideas about the topic and it also helps you stay on track with delivering the right content for the topic you choose.
After you have nailed your working title you should start writing down as many distinct takeaways from the article as you can. In other words, write down all the things you want your readers to get out of the articles. Don’t worry about organizing your ideas at this point, just brainstorm as many as you can and write them down.
The next step in creating an outline for your post, is to take those takeaways and group into larger logical or similar sections, so that you have a clearer view on how they will fit into your post or article. After you have done grouping them, feel free to add new ones, if they come to mind.
Once you have finished creating the sections and grouping your ideas, you will want to revise, remove, and reorganize details in each section. Spend some time identifying ideas that don’t bring value to your post or just don’t support your topic. If that is the case, delete or eliminate them from the outline. Another important point to consider is to include links to your examples and/ or data.
Finally, save your list and print it out so that you can have it handy while writing the post.
Step 4: Organize Your Content
Sometimes your posts or articles can have an overwhelming amount of information or you might have other types of content that you want to use in your post. This content might be images, videos, infographics, or any other type of media that can aid you in presenting your topic. In this case, it is recommended to sit down and take the time to organize your content so that you can narrow it down into more manageable units, filtering down what brings value to your post and what doesn’t.
Step 5: Start Writing
Now you are ready to sit down and actually start writing the content that makes up your post. Don’t worry on styling, grammar or length of the article, just write, while trying to follow the outline that you created in step 3. Don’t forget to reference any external sources.
Step 6: Write an Introduction.
Once you have finished writing your article and you have included your takeaways, it is time to write a short introductory paragraph. The objective here is to grab the reader’s attention. Most visitors to your site asses if they want to continue reading your post or article when reading this paragraph; so, make it count.
Some suggestions when writing this paragraph, are for you to describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will solve a specific problem, or how it brings value. Doing it correctly will give the reader a reason to keep reading your article. Also remember that the longer the reader stays on the specific page, the better your bound rate will be for that specific page, helping you with your SEO. Try to make it interesting, so that the reader stays on your page, use Google Analytics to measure the time people are spending in each page.
Step 7: Format and Proofread Your Post
Once you have finished writing your post or article, take a step away and go do something else for a while. After a couple of hours or the next day, sit down and proofread your post. Check the point included in your article and determine if you followed the points included in the outline.
Likewise, you should also start formatting and styling the content, meaning that you should clearly format your headings, subheadings, citations, links and other type of format needed.
Also try to format your post and add the other content that you had organized in Step 4, like the image that you want to use as the Featured Image. This image should help the reader get an idea of what the article is about. It should also be optimized for web; meaning that you should not use the original image, as its size might be too big and slow down your site. Don’t forget to also include the Alt Tags. Remember that these tags are a brief description of what the image is about. So if I have an image of a Toyota Camry, I will need to type “image of a Toyota Camry” as the Alt Tag. All of these recommendation also apply to videos, infographics and any other type of media that you are using to improve the visual appearance of your article.
Depending on the blogging system you are using, you might also want to group your posts into categories and use tags to help with the indexing and organization of your article.
Once you have finished proofreading and formatting your article you would like to ask for someone with good grammar to edit and review you article, so that you can find errors, typos and bad grammar. Choose someone who knows how to write articles, or has very good grammar and that can actually help you proofread your article. Also, ask for suggestions and comments in order to be sure that you manage to get the message across, or if you need to fine tune your post some more.
Step 8: Use a Call-To-Action (CTA) or Special Offer.
Let’s remember that one of the main objectives of a business blog is to generate leads and engage with customers. A good way to achieve and measure the effectiveness of our articles is to insert a call-to-action or special offer in the article or post. The CTA should indicate what you want the readers to do next; for example, ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, so that they can receive timely updates on new articles or offers. You can also offer them to register for an event or download a white paper.
It is also important to know that using Call-To-Actions should not only be used to convert visitors into l eads but also to build trust and increase your reputation as an expert. Take advantage of this situation by also inviting your readers to read other articles that may be of interest to them. Doing so will help you build your reputation with them, generate internal traffic and help with your SEO.
Step 9: Pick an Attractive Title.
One of the last steps you need to do to finish writing your post is to finish your working title and turn it into a title that draws the visitor’s attention. When doing this step try and consider the following:
- Work on the clarity and accuracy of the title. This title needs to be representative of the content you are presenting.
- Modify your title and use catchy and inviting words to get the reader’s attention.
- When possible, optimize your title for search engines by including at least one focused keyword in it. Remember that your title will most likely make up your post URL, so you need to make it count for search engines.
- Finally, try to shorten the title to less than 65 characters.
Step 10: Optimize for Search Engines.
One of the last steps you need to do when writing your articles or post is to optimize your content for search engines. The main objective here is for us to optimize the post so that search engines can crawl the content of the article and index it correctly in order to display it in their search results when people are searching for that specific topic. We are not optimizing our content to help or site be ranked number one in search, so don’t obsess in spending too much time here modifying your articles to a stage that you have lost the main idea or taken away some takeaways. In simpler terms, don’t do keyword stuffing or any other SEO malpractice.
The areas in which you should pay attention when optimizing your content for search are:
- Page Title and Headers: Review your working title and headers and see if you can optimize them by using some keywords in them. Always remember, keep it to a minimum, so that you don’t do keyword stuffing. Also, make sure that the title of your page is being used as the URL for your page so that it contains the proper keywords and not just some random number or name that are not related to the topic of your post.
- Meta Description: Write a short summary of what the post is about. Again, try to use your keywords within the summary and keep the writing to a minimum. The description should contain up to 150 characters to a maximum. Also use verbs that imply action like “Read”, “Find”, “Learn”, etc.
- Internal Links: When possible, try to use internal links to reference other pages within your site or within you articles. These links serve the purpose of creating a type of backlinks to other pages within your site, helping with SEO. So when possible, try to consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. The same may apply to other media like infographics and images. You can use images to link to other parts of your site.