During our March HUG, we explored the foundational element of inbound marketing: the blog. Now, it probably goes without saying that blogging is a subject that can be discussed, dissected and perfected for hours, days, and even months or years. We spent a whole 60 minutes or so on the subject matter—and there is surely more to cover. However, one of the things we did quite well was outline the core checklist of blogging best practices, sharing best practices and ideas to supercharge traffic so that even the novice bloggers and very first blog posts can see traction now.
A Checklist for Every Single Blog Post
This part is critical—and adherence to blogging tips, formulas and processes are half the battle in succeeding with your blog. Make sure every single blog post checks off every box or you will waste simple opportunities at the start.
- A catchy title with at least one targeted keyword. Seriously, focus on the catchy title—if it wouldn’t grab your interest, it won’t grab anyone else’s either.
- An informative and descriptive meta description, including targeted keywords. Remember this is the part that the browsers and social media posts will often display, so make sure it is clean, well-written and accurate. There is nothing worse than a poorly written description to turn off potential readers.
- A featured image, appropriately named to match your blog post subject. For example, image001.jpg tells search engines absolutely nothing. But an image named 10-steps-to-a-better-job.jpg is extremely helpful.
- Proper HTML formatting (<h2>, <h3>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>, <p> tags, etc.). Remember that you’re writing for your readers but also for search engines. They read your work better when proper HTML tags are used.
- Internal links to other pages or blog content. Of course, this will get easier once you have many blog posts to choose from but for now just make sure your anchor text (the text you choose to turn into the link) accurately reflects keywords you’re interested in AND the material it links to. Also, the more often you use keywords in your titles and URLs, the easier it will be to find and link to that content later when you search for content by keyword.
- A buyer persona (your target audience) and a specific topic. This means do not write really general blog posts to try to suit everyone. It may seem odd to write about a niche topic at first when there are so very many topics to consider, but once you have written many, the rhythm and structure of your blog will make more sense. And your content will be more likely to resonate with your buyer persona if it direct and specific.
- Always include a CTA or next step at the end of your post. Direct your reader to another post, another step or another important page of your site to encourage engagement.
How To Come Up With A Blog Post
We’ll be writing a lot more on this particular issue but for now, consider the following sources for ideas. And don’t forget to be prepared for ideas to “come to you”—write them down so you don’t forget them later. Plan ahead by jotting down as many as you can think of so you have content ideas for the times you hit a writer’s block.
- Competitor Content
- Industry Research, Trends and Articles
- Repurposing Old Content or Refreshing Information
- Delegating or Outsourcing to Quality Content Producers
- Third Party Content Companies
- Other Departments In Your Company
- Guest Bloggers You Know (or Feel Comfortable Reaching Out To)
Keep in mind that the more you read and keep on top of what others are saying or doing in your industry (or related verticals), the more likely you are to find inspiration or track trends for what resonates with your target audience.
Share With Everyone, Everywhere You Can!
It goes without saying that sharing on social media is critical—but if it were that simple, everyone would be a pro. You need to share your content AND share it well. This means creating interesting messages to introduce your content and encourage others to read or share it. It means leveraging all the channels you have at your disposal, and crafting messages that are appropriate for each one. If you’re sharing on behalf of multiple LinkedIn profiles or Facebook users, remember that repetitive, canned messages come across as spammy and will ruin an otherwise positive experience with your content.
You also need to make your content as present as possible. Include recent blog post listings on sidebars of your site pages, create RSS feed emails to send new posts to your subscribers or prospects, and give the very best content longer life by transforming into white papers and downloads.
Consider Promoting The Best Ones
Most social media sites give companies the opportunity to promote their content through paid media campaigns with very granular targeting metrics to establish the right audience. For B2B companies, this may mean funneling money into LinkedIn Sponsored Posts. For B2C companies, Facebook or Twitter might provide more beneficial. But either way, if you have the budget (which can be relatively small to get started), consider leveraging promoted and sponsored content to extend your best content’s reach to your target audiences. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer self serve platforms that are relatively easy to use and have little or no minimums to get started.
Are you blogging like a pro these days or struggling to overcome challenges? Let us know how you’re rocking it OR how we can help you get past your current issues and get going in the comments below.
View the presentation deck from the March Long Island Hubspot User Group meeting:
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