The once geeky past-time of blogging is now common practice throughout the online world.
A well written blog can be a very powerful tool, from an SEO, social and PR perspective. However, there needs to be a balance because often too much emphasis is placed on the technical aspects of a blog and not enough on the content itself. We’ve said it a million times, we’ll say it again – write for people, not for search engines.
Here’s a few pointers to help you make blog posts awesome.
Quality is a word that’s banded around a lot in our profession, and it may seem like an obvious consideration. But it’s the most important point to consider when writing content, and one that’s over looked by many.
Do not make the mistake of sacrificing quality just because the content is digital rather than on paper, it’s as important.
As well as the usual dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s, ensure your posts are a high-quality read. Make them interesting, insightful, even humorous if it calls for it.
Make it natural
It’s important that your posts read naturally, no one wants to read a bunch of keywords that have been bolted together for Google’s sake.
It’s easy to get caught up with ‘keyword density’. Don’t, it’s nonsense. If your content covers the subject matter well, the keywords will write themselves. As soon as you try to squeeze keywords in to your content, it becomes clunky and unnatural.
Make it snappy
Time is precious, especially in the digital world. The snappier you can make your posts (without compensating quality), the better. Ask yourself, can parts of the post be bullet pointed? Do you really need a three paragraph introduction?
If your message doesn’t come across in the first few lines, you probably need to re-work it. Consider adding some images to break up big chunks of text.
See what’s already out there
Before you write a post, have a quick search of Google news to see what’s already out there. Have your competitors blogged about a similar subject? Is there an opportunity to fill a gap? Can you offer something extra to what’s already there?
Observing what content already exists and answering these questions will give you much better direction when writing your post. This leads us on to the next point…
Give an opinion / be controversial
Once you have your post inspiration, decide on an angle. Say, for example a big industry-specific news story breaks and you want to blog about it. You could simply cover the facts (impartial & informative but possibly boring & unoriginal) or you could give an opinion, even better, a conflicting opinion.
Putting a spin on a well documented subject is a great way to make your post stand out from the rest,just make sure your arguments are well informed, otherwise it could backfire.
There’s little more rewarding than sparking some healthy debate on your blog. Comments are a great way to engage with your readers and learn from their insights.
Also, people are more likely to share a post if they’ve left a comment.
Give it an eye-catching title
Your blog’s title is the first thing people will read, so it needs to be attention grabbing. it’s also what will appear in Twitter streams, social bookmarking sites etc.. The title should encapsulate the content of the post and provoke a sense of “ooooh”, tempting the reader to read more. Again, see what’s already out there and make yours better!
Make it social
Build it and they will come? Not so much. You may have written to best blog post the web has ever seen and this will go some way* to capturing the attention of Google and in turn, readers. But the more you can do to help it, the better. Tweet it, like it, Digg it, +1 it, print it on your forehead – make noise and get it out there for people to see.
*Yes, Google loves fresh content, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket…