Publisher Channel Content by Content Plan A lot of time and effort can be put into the creation of a blog post with the hope of producing content ‘that flies’ yet, when published, that content does not meet the expectation that had been placed upon it. It’s a deflating feeling as you may feel that the content substance is good but either Your content is not being absorbed thoroughly Your content is not reaching your target audience This frustration can be somewhat eased with sometimes just a few tweaks to your blog post, its presentation and the ease at which it can be shared. Let’s look at the different ways that can enable you to write a good blog post. Own the Content Sounds slightly weird however there are many blog posts that have been written on subjects that the writer is not familiar with. Being dependent on pure research rather than the substance your own knowledge and experience on a subject can make the difference between a stilted and stuffy read instead of a natural flow with some personality thrown in. I know which one I would read to the end! So own the content you write and make it yours. Let your personality shine through. Write for your Target Audience Think about the people you want to read your blog. Whether they are B2B,B2C or just family and friends; tailor your wording, sentence structure and tone to your target market. Certain topics will require industry jargon, which is fine as the substance of the topic and the people who read it will expect it, whereas if you are aiming at an entry level audience based on that particular topic it may be helpful to explain the jargon as a first post! Blog Post Title A blog post title is the first thing a potential reader is going to see to make a decision on whether they click to read further. That’s how important it is! Tips on Titles Make sure they are accurate and reflect the substance of the content. This way you manage expectations well. Start with a makeshift title; ten tips to manage your content may turn into fifteen! Show clarity with regards to value. Ten Tips to Manage your Content could be made clearer if it is put as Ten Tips to Get Your Content Seen. The reader knows that the value is they will reach a wider audience with their post. Use Powerful Words. You want to grab attention with your title and let the reader know there is some amazing content behind it. Ten Tips for Killer Content sounds better than Ten Tips for Better Content doesn’t it? Keep your target audience in mind when you are creating your content though. They may prefer a more academic tone to your headline. Make it Snappy! A short title can pack a huge impact, especially if you play around with the wording using alliteration and tongue twisting words. Ten Tasty Tips to create Trendy Content is an example. Use SEO techniques for ease of search. Do not let this detract from the message of the title though it should work naturally as it is relevant to your topic. (more on this later!) Open with IMPACT The first paragraph in your blog will set the message and tone for the rest of the post. In these words the reader should be clear on what to expect as they read further and the message or learning you wish to convey to them throughout. Set out the background to the subject, the message and the intention of the post. This paragraph is where, you as a business, will make a first impression and where the reader makes a decision as to whether to progress further in reading the post. Make sure you convey the value to the reader in continuing on. Format We wrote a great piece on the different ways you can write your blog which showcases ideas such as interviews, reviews, top ten lists and more. When you format your blog, use bite size chunks of content and lists whenever you can as it makes it easier for the reader to skim through and find their section of interest. Using headers and sub-headings starting with H1 Headings to break up large chunks of text will make the overview of the blog more appealing. You can use HTML Headings that start with the large H1 heading and progressively get smaller down to H5. It is good to provide consistency in this visual look throughout the post as it conveys a more professional image. How Long is Your Blog Post? The debatable question! Content should be as long as it takes to get your message across and the length of a post can be relevant based on your type of Company, your brand image and your audience. As a business centered around content, our blog posts tend to be 1200 words and above (this one is over 1900) as we tend to write about in depth topics. Even this blog post will spark off a series of others as we cannot fit all the detail here or it will turn into a book! We recommend over 1200 words of RELEVANT content that will be searched and read to an optimum. Research has shown that a post peaks at around 7 minutes of being read which equates to around 1600 words. Images Images are fantastic in the fact they can convey a snapshot of your content in one appealing visual and a reader’s eye will be drawn to them before they read the text. This is why it is so important to include the right image within your blog. As well as breaking up the text, so providing a natural formatting technique, they can also be used for search by using keywords in the alt text behind and can enhance the message of that particular section. Sourcing Images We will write a blog post fully dedicated to this in the future as there is quite a bit involved, however the main thing to note with regards to images is that just because they are on the internet, they are not yours to use! There are instances of the misuse of images costing companies a lot of money as they do not have the ownership rights to publish on their site. You can avoid this mistake by using stock image sites which usually charge a fee. If you search online you will find sites such as istockphoto that will have generic images for use. I currently use Pixabay for any additional free images I need and format them using Canva. Call To Action: CTA A main focus of blog creation with regards to inbound marketing is using this content to enhance conversions on your website. Otherwise what’s the point! You can dream and expect consistent conversion without a CTA where you presume that because someone is reading your post they are immediately going to check out your product/service offering on other pages. Keep dreaming! You have to give people a gentle (or not so gentle) push to your landing page. This is where a dynamic call to action on your blog post matters. You can include CTA’s within your blog post and relate them to that particular point of content that aligns with a relevant marketing offering however you should always use a CTA at the end of your post. Think about what you would like the reader to do next, which offering is relevant to the post in general and what type of message you wish to convey to get them to click to that landing page. If you wish to expand your following on social media platforms your CTA may not lead to a landing page but an invitation to join your social community on a platform of your choice; in fact the CTA should guide the reader in accordance with your particular goal. Some examples: Straight to Product/Service Offering Subscribe to a Newsletter Subscribe to a Blog Join your Social Media Community Download a Report or eBook There are so many ways you can use CTA’s … again this will constitute a separate in depth post! SEO Friendly for Search With this section, it is important to stress that, whilst the optimisation of your post for search is of great importance, the main focus should be in the creation of content that will add value to the reader. Research your relevant keywords before you begin a post and then commence the writing with these keywords in mind. If the keywords have a major relevance to the post (which they should) then they will fall into place with natural ease. URL: It is important to include the keyword in your URL as search engines will use this to determine the subject of your post. You can edit your URL in your content management system to reflect this. Title: Your keywords should be included in the title as this is the first step for search and for the reader to decide whether your content is relevant for them, or not. Headings: The use of HTML Headings within your Blog Posts makes it easier for your Keywords to be picked up by Search Engines. We have mentioned the use of headings already with regards to the visual look of a blog post and noted that the H1 heading is the larger one to use at the start of a post with the keyword included. The heading size goes downwards from H1 to H5 so, if it fits naturally, utilise these headings and employ the keywords when you can. Body: Make sure that you do not overuse the keywords as you can be penalised for that when it comes to search. Use the keywords naturally within the body of your content making sure that the focus is on the value of the content and is reader friendly. Tags: These are used for ease in finding relevant content in one place however they can also be useful to search so make sure your tags are clear. The use of canonical tags is recommended as it can enable search to distinguish the tag with the relevant URL so creating a more specific search path. Meta: The meta description is the content that appears under the title in Search Engine lists. It is the content that a reader will see first on that page and will determine whether they feel the content is relevant enough for them to click through and read in its entirety. The meta should naturally include your keyword if you have correctly applied your SEO within the post already. Images: The alt text on images is used for SEO as this is the focus for search engines who can’t interpret the image alone without the text. If you place your cursor to hover over an image, you will see the alt text appear. This might not have as big an SEO impact as the others but it is a necessary requirement to aid in search. There are plugins available to assist with SEO optimisation with posts. One we use regularly is Yoast. Social Sharing Ah, don’t publish a blog post without giving others the opportunity to share it! The propensity to extend your blog post reach to a wider audience can be huge if a reader can do this with the ease of one or two clicks. Content that Flies is Content that gets shared and seen by as many eyes as possible. Help people to do that by adding sharing buttons to your blog. Its also a great measure (as well as analytics) of seeing the scale of sharing on your post as many buttons will add a count beside it. What other ways do you use to optimise your Blog Posts? ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.