Learning how to write a blog is an amazing idea, both for you and your business. You’ve probably heard how good blogs are for SEO , credibility, and implementing a cracking content strategy, and it’s all true. Good blog writing is all about creating content that offers value to your readers, but also, directly supports your business. So, it’s essential for business owners to learn how to write a blog.
What is a blog?
Back in the day, a blog was like an online journal — anyone remember LiveJournal? What about when people used WordPress as an actual personal blog format? Anyway. As the internet developed and evolved, so did blogs. Personal blogs do still exist, but largely, a blog is now kind of like a mini, online publication. Where online publications might publish upwards of 10 articles a day, a blog might post once a week, or month, depending on your commitment levels. A blog will usually consist of a range of subheadings, text, and images. But it might also include infographics, video content, and GIFs too.
Why do you need a blog?
Your blog is a key element of your content strategy . In fact, for many businesses, especially small businesses, your blog will be the only element in your content marketing strategy . So, you need to make it count. Your blog is your chance to the crap out of your website, honestly. Improve your website’s internal linking structure, integrate more and more keywords, especially long tail keywords, and direct more traffic over to your website.
What part does your blog play in your content marketing strategy?
A huge part. A super duper, massive chunk. In fact, the biggest part, probably. See, your blog will either be the only or “core” part of your content marketing strategy. By this, we mean you’ll send your traffic there using LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, but your blog is where they’ll be headed. Or, your blog will be at the centre of your other content marketing efforts. You’ll do video content, make tutorials for IGTV, and have a full array of landing pages — but your blog is still a CTA and your leading SEO effort.
How to come up with blog topics
The biggest writing struggle is usually working out what to write. Writer’s block is about a writer not being able to write or write anything worthwhile. But usually, it’s actually about the content, what to actually write If this is relatable, you’re in good company. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Adele, and Ernest Hemingway are all reported to have suffered from writer’s block. The good new is though, that unlike fiction, with blog topics, there are a bunch of resources you can use, along with logic and research that can heavily guide you. Soz Hemingway.
Keyword research, your competitors’ blogs, and putting yourself in the shoes of your customers. That’s how you come up with blog topics. Keyword research helps you work out what’s getting searched, what people are asking about your industry or your product. Your competitors’ blogs help too. This bit sounds dodgy… We’re absolutely not telling you to go and rip off your competitors. We’re telling you to go and look at what they’re doing, then build on it. Create something more useful and resourceful. Then, there’s putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. What do they need to know? What are they always asking you? What would help someone get ready to enter a project with you?
There’s trends too. Is everyone in your industry talking about something specific? Find a unique angle, ask different questions to everyone else — make sure to jump on the bandwagon too. The other way to come up with unique, interesting, or valuable blog topics? Literally just ask your customers what they want. Throw the question out there in a Facebook poll or an Instagram story. Then, take the feedback on board.
How to write a blog
1. Pick your topic
First up, pick a topic, a working title, and a question (or a few) that you’re answering.
2. Pick your keywords
Do your keyword research for the topic to work out what your keywords are for the post, as well as what the commonly Googled questions are. Then, do some competitive analysis. Who’s already ranking? Why? The top three posts should inform your blog’s word count and layout.
3. Map out your post
Sitting down and just writing out a blog post with no map or bones or structure? That’s chaotic AF. Map it out first. Otherwise, you’ll get super off track, talk about one topic for too long, or it just generally won’t flow. Letting a 1,000 word blog post just flow out of you leaves a lot of room for things to go wrong. Plan ahead. Go through and set out your sections and their subheadings.
4. Fill it in with your research
Now, you fill in those mapped out sections with research and the facts you want to include. Place each relevant piece of information under its destined heading. Be sure to keep your references or potential internal links in your notes too. Nothing’s more frustrating than not being able to find a reference for that juicy stat.
5. Time to write
Now you just have to turn your notes into coherent sentences. You can optimise your headings and change things around so they flow just right. Double check your keyword densities and make sure you’ve used plenty of external and internal links throughout your copy.
6. Proofread x 3
Ideally, you’ll leave your blog post alone for a day. When you proofread immediately after writing, you’ll remember what you’ve written way too well, so you won’t notice your mistakes. Sleep on it and come back to proofread the next day. If you can, read it out loud to yourself too. You’ll trip on sentences that don’t work and you’re more likely to pick up on any mistakes this way.
Time to post! Head below to learn how to post your blog in WordPress.
How to write a blog post in WordPress
1. Start a new post
Click on ‘Posts’ on your dashboard’s sidebar, then click ‘Add New’.
2. Fill in your blog post
Copy and paste your blog body text and title into the post. If you have links and formatting in your blog post already, make sure you paste the post into the visual editor rather than the text editor.
3. Add in images
Next, set your featured image and add in any additional images into the blog’s body text. Be sure to attribute any images where needed and set alt text on your images, so Google can find them. Bonus points if you naturally place some keywords in your alt tags.
4. Add in any videos or GIFS
Go through your blog post and add in any relevant videos, social media posts or GIFs. Youtube links will embed automatically, so there’s no need to find an embed code. For your social posts and GIFs, you’ll need to head the options button and click on ‘Embed post’. Then you just paste that code into your post.
5. Pick categories & tags
Pick any relevant categories, or enter tags in these sections on the right-hand sidebar. It’s best to keep categories kind of broad if you don’t have enough content to fill them. So, don’t make a new category for every blog post you write.
Optimise your post using an SEO plugin. At Sonder, we use SmartCrawl, but Yoast is the most popular and user-friendly plugin. It’s also used by online publications. The plugin will let you optimise your title length and meta description, so your post shows up on Google perfectly. Your title tag should include your blog title and your business name. Your meta description can either be the first sentence or two of your post, or a really interesting section from your post. Remember, title tags and meta descriptions are what entices Googlers to click on your post.
7. Excerpts & Socials
The Yoast plugin will also let you optimise your image, title, and an excerpt for Facebook. Sometimes, Facebook seems to have a bit of beef with your links and it’ll pull the wrong image for your post. The Yoast plugin lets you make sure it appears perfectly on Facebook as well.
8. Pick an author
You should probably have an author profile on your WordPress account, but if you’re on a different account, make sure you pick an author. Head down below your post to ‘Alternative Author’ and pick the right one.
9. Preview & Proof
Just above the ‘Publish’ button is ‘Preview’. Preview lets you see what your blog post will look like when it’s live, but without the commitment. Preview your blog post first so that you can spot any formatting issues or accidental gaps.
10. Hit Publish!
Now it’s time to hit ‘Publish’ and send that post live. From here, you can go ahead and share the post around on your socials or your Google My Business .
Originally published at https://sonder.com.au on January 31, 2020.