Type. Type. Type.
You keep writing content but your audience size seems to have reached a plateau — the shares and “likes” are always the same three people. Three thumbs up and two shares? It’s the worst. Who’s with me?
I mean, you already decided to blog. You must be thinking, “Can’t I just dive in and start writing?” I wish it were that easy. It’s not just about typing words into a blank page, you should keep the readers in mind. Writing valuable content — and the way you write it — will keep your readers interested and coming back for more.
Let’s break down the why, what, and how of writing a blog post
In the first article of our Content Marketing series I talked to you about the importance of a blog. By now you should know that in this day and age, blogging for your business is no longer a luxury, it’s essential. Consumers are constantly evolving, but so is marketing.
Content marketing is proven to bring you sales. TechClient shares with us some stats that back this claim:
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads.
- 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
- 81% of consumers in the United States trust advice and information from blogs.
It’s important to remember that the results of blogging will not necessarily happen overnight. If a business owner is unhappy with the current state of his or her content, it’s usually because of one of these three reasons:
- They’re not consistent with the delivery. This is usually due to lack of time.
- The content can’t be considered as valuable. This could happen if the writer doesn’t know enough about the industry.
- They lack of skill. By trying to tackle a lot, most business owners try to write the posts themselves, even though they sometimes lack the necessary writing skills.
If you still have doubts about creating your own content, let me tell you this: it works! As a business owner whose success is due in large part to content marketing, I’ve seen firsthand the difference that blogging can make in terms of search visibility, leads, and sales.
You’ve got the blog. Let’s get you some readers.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. This blog post will outline several steps that will allow almost anybody to create a thriving blog that people will read.
1. Set clear objectives
Beginning with the end in mind will help you define your business and what you want to accomplish. Determine the main goal of your blog and stick to it. Start by establishing your business and what readers you want to serve, and then work on a strategy about how to reach them. This will help you set and accomplish realistic goals.
2. Speak to your audience
A better understanding of your market can help you engage them through your blog. Generic blogs about generic stuff usually end up in an internet black hole — lost, never catching anyone’s attention. Think about your customers and ask yourself:
- Who are they? (gender, age)
- What do they want to know about?
- What will resonate with them?
Getting to know your audience and writing about the things they really want to know is what will separate your blog from the rest and find you readers.
3. Pick a topic — that interests you too
Before you even put your fingers on the keyboard, you need to choose a topic for your blog post. I usually start with brainstorming a working headline and a few keywords. Make sure you spend enough time going through the different angles and ideas of what you can write about. If you write about something that doesn’t interest you, your audience will be able to sense it, and will probably end up mirroring that same feeling.
4. Establish your writing style and voice
First, remember that a blog is a friendly conversation. Try to write the way you speak. It might help if you read your post out loud as you may notice some irregularities or even an “unnatural” tone.
Write your blog with someone in mind. Think of a friend or family member who might want to read what you have to say; this will help relax your writing style. You want your readers to feel at ease and comfortable.
Browse and read through other blogs related to what you’re planning to write. You might get some awesome ideas for your own blog from what seems interesting and compelling in other people’s posts — just don’t plagiarize.
5. Hook ‘em with the headline and intro
You created a working title on step 3, now let’s get creative with it! After all, it’s what will grab your reader’s attention. The headline is 80% of your blog. David Ogilvy, often considered the “father of advertising” said so better than anyone:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
If the headline is 80%, the intro is 15%. If you want your audience to keep on reading past the headline, you’ve got to grab and keep their attention with an irresistible introduction. Make sure your intro is related to your article.
6. Provide interesting and useful information
Aim to become a trusted source of industry information for your target market. That’s the way to get your posts linked to other websites, increase search engine traffic, and establish your presence on social media. If a blog post isn’t useful or worth sharing, it won’t be of much value to anyone.
7. Let your readers interact with you
Promote your posts across every social network that your business is in, and give your readers the option to share your content with their friends and followers on social networks. Include a comment section on all your blog posts: this is an easy way to involve your audience and get valuable feedback about what you’re doing with your blog.
8. Blog regularly
Having a consistent posting schedule helps you develop an audience more quickly. A successful blog is one that attract the most readers are also the ones with frequent updates. If you have finally decided to host a blog on your website, be prepared to spend some time working on it every day.
To recap, the #1 way to use content marketing to increase your online presence is to start adding valuable content to your business blog. Come up with a content plan, and stick to it. A blog with little or poorly written content is unlikely to come up in the search results. Having a friendly style and voice makes people want to read what you have to say, and making sure your content is valuable will keep your readers interested and coming back for more.
Still having issues with building a successful blog?
As business owners, we understand if even after knowing the why, what, and how of writing a blog, you simply can’t find the time to do so. Invest in the best to create and manage your company content. Depending on your business and how much content you plan to have, there are several positions you may need to fill: Content Manager, SEO Manager, Graphic Designer, Writers, Editors, etc. But 8 Signal helps you keep it simple, as your one-stop shop for all your content marketing needs.