Two million blog posts are published every single day. And according to research by Ignite Spot;
- 77% of web users read blogs
- 6.7 million people blog on sites like Tumblr and WordPress
- More than 12 million people blog via social networks
And with more than 630 million websites and 4.3 billion pages on the web, it’s important to stand out and get your potential customers’ attention with high quality content. There’s no reason for creating poor content in 2014. A great starting point to create content is to launch a blog.
Create guidelines to set the tone on your blog
Before starting your blog, you need to create a set of guidelines that each author must follow in order to produce high quality content. The guidelines we use for how to write a great blog post at eMarketeer are as follows;
- Posts must be a minimum of 1,000 words
- We only publish one post per week
- All blog posts must be well researched
- 1 post per month per blogger
- We’re going for quality, not quantity
Creating a set of guidelines for the blog is important and your success depends on it. Here are a few reasons that support how important they are.
Posts must be a minimum of 1,000 words
Research shows that longer posts receive more social shares, inbound links and generally rank better, which means more traffic. While the longer the post, the better chance is has as being successful, realistically, a good starting point is a one thousand word minimum.
We only publish one post per week
One post per week. That’s the goal. Content marketing is a long-term strategy and we want to pace ourselves. By keeping it at one post per week, we’re not going to run out of content too quickly. We aim to publish the new content on Tuesday’s, which is based on data from Google Analytics (traffic by day of week reports), as eMarketeer.com gets the most traffic on Tuesday’s.
All blog posts must be well researched
We don’t want to put out trash. When you have an idea for a blog post, Google it and see what else is out there than ranks high on the web. We want to create the best content on that particular topic. If we do, we’ll get a lot more success.
And when we use phrases like “Blogging is good for your business” or “These tips are proven to help you sell more”, we need to back it up with facts and proof of what we say. If we do not include proof, it becomes hearsay, which nobody believes.
1 post per month per blogger
We have 4 authors who write for the blog, which means one post per month for each blogger. We’re all busy and we need to keep the blog up to date with fresh content in order to succeed – But we don’t want to add a lot more work to the existing work we have. One post keeps things manageable for everyone.
We’re going for quality, not quantity
Above all, we want to create quality content and on a consistent basis. One great blog post is better than 100 poor blog posts. The web is full of noise. By creating quality content, we can stay above the noise and attract more readers.
10 tips on how to write a great blog post
I’ve seen it first hand; great content can quadruple organic traffic, triple website leads and double revenue but, it doesn’t happen overnight.
The following ten tips on how to write a great blog post are guaranteed to make your content marketing efforts successful and increase visitors, readers, subscribers and paying customers.
1. Tell a story
Before you write your blog post, think about what you want to convey and who you want to influence. And think about what you want the readers to learn about. Write down your keywords, questions and themes you want to explore. Talk to people and do some research to see what has been written about the topic before. Good stories make the message easier to read and to connect with.
To frame the blog post, explain WHAT you are writing about, WHY it is important and HOW the content helps the reader
2. The title and headings determine if the post is read
You might write the most amazing blog post, but if the title does not capture the reader’s attention, then your post will not be read. At Upworthy.com, the writers create 25 different versions of their title and then choose the best one based on A/B tests.
For example, here are three versions of the title I had initially created for this post, before choosing “10 ways to write a great blog post that guarantees success”:
- 10 tips to writing a great blog post
- How to create a successful post on your blog
- 10 ways to create a successful blog post for your readers
The headlines in the post are also crucial. 8 out of 10 readers read the headlines in your post, but only 2 out of 10 readers will read the rest of the post. Headings provide a quick overview of the content, and good headlines result in the reader spending more time reading the post and sharing it.
Before submitting your blog post for review, write a minimum of 3-5 new headlines for your blog post. There is always a better headline for your blog post waiting to be found.
3. Put the most important findings at the beginning
A well-structured blog post is formatted like a pyramid. First, the content presents the base of the topic, background material and data collection to support the research. Then comes the discussion and recommendations for further research.
4. Great content has a great structure
Great content is visually appealing. To break up your blog post, you can use:
- Bullet points
- Numbers and research
- Charts, graphs and slide decks
- Bold and italic important keywords
5. Use photos, videos and numbers
The web has become a visual media. It’s no longer webpage after webpage full of text. On the web, you will find photos, videos, diagrams and Infographics. Use this in your blog post to enrich it. Eyes are drawn more to visual elements and visual elements engage the reader more than compared to posts that are text only.
Anytime you use data, research and facts, include a link to the original source
6. Optimize your blog posts for SEO
While creating blog posts for your existing readers is a great starting point, eventually you will want to reach new readers. One of the best ways to reach new readers is through search engines, and by optimizing your blog posts you can do so. Best practices for optimizing your blog post include:
- Choose a keyword for your blog post (ie, Facebook marketing tips)
- Use your keyword in the Title tag, Meta description and the URL
- Format your blog posts and use H1, H2 and H3 tags
- Use your keyword in Image alt text and file name
7. Enhance the user experience with internal links
While Google algorithms continue to evolve, both yours and Google’s website goals are aligned – Provide a great user experience. Linking keywords to content that you cover is important for both SEO and the user experience. Here are some examples;
- If we talk about eMarketeer, link to the home page
- At eMarketeer, we agree that blogging is a way to grow traffic
- If we use product names in a blog post, link to the content on the website
- One of the hottest topics in marketing for 2014 is marketing automation.
- If we briefly mention in a sentence a topic we have covered previously, link to it.
- And while Facebook marketing tips are important, you should not ignore Twitter.
8. Don’t be afraid to link out
Links are one the most important ranking factors for Google. Not only links IN to your blog post, but links OUT from your blog post. If you have been inspired by others, tell the reader about it by linking to the resources you are inspired by.
Linking to websites such as newspapers, books and magazines tells Google that you are providing a better user experience, in a way that allows the reader to read more about research or information that you include in your post.
Linking to Wikipedia is lazy. Find a good blog post to link to instead – As the author of that post will most likely share your content too!
9. Promote your content in social networks
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all important when it comes to sharing blog content. These tools help you to get more readers and create a broader discussion that will help share your content amongst readers who may not be familiar with your blog or brand.
When you publish a post, or when a colleague publishes their post, take pride in the content and share it across all social channels – both professional and personal networks. Be a team – Don’t just share your own posts, share each others.
It’s perfectly fine to share content more than once. In fact, the more times you share content, the more readers you get.
10. End your post with a call to action
At the end of each blog post, where the reader is fully engaged you want them to take action. Examples of calls to action are;
- Leave a comment below
- Share the blog post with your friends
- Sign up for a free trial here
- Subscribe to our blog/ newsletter
You’ll want the reader to become more than a reader. You run a business, and you want the reader to become a paying customer. End each blog post with a call to action to increase leads generated from the blog.
Bonus: How to measure blog success
Successful content marketing takes time but how can you justify spending X hours per month contributing to the blog if you are unable to track its success?
Each time you include a call to action on a blog post, make sure that the URL is tagged using Google’s URL builder tool. By including this parameter, you can track visits, page views and conversions (providing you have accurate goal tracking enabled in your web analytics software).
For example, most call to actions would include a regular URL: www.company.com/sign-up
By using the Google URL builder, you can tag the URL to include the source – in this case, the blog. The new URL would be: www.company.com/sign-up?utm_source=website&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=blog
If you want more details on the URL builder tool and the details of a well “formatted” URL see Prateek’s great blog post up on the topic.
The average lifespan on a blog is less than two years according to a Technorati report in 2012. And if there’s one thing that the web doesn’t need, it’s another below par blog. Use the 10 tips above on how to write a great blog post and create great long-lasting content that is share-worthy to help you attract more readers and more customers.
Do you have any tips on how to write a great blog post? Let us know below.
And if you’re looking for more reasons on why to start blogging? Check out our recent “Why Blog? 5 “F” Words To Get You (and us) Going” post.