We all know that content is central to a successful marketing strategy. In fact, you will have trouble implementing any type of inbound marketing strategy if you aren’t able to produce great content. One of the best ways to publish great content is to create a blog with educational content that you can then promote to your target audience. Writing quality blog posts will help you:
- Attract your target audience
- Deliver valuable information to prospects
- Develop your expert reputation
However, producing great content is difficult for most of us. Yes, including me. Blog posts take me at least two days to complete. So don’t worry if it is difficult for you to get started. You just need to start.
Writing quality content takes practice. If you are new to writing website and blog content, there are some beginner’s guides to help you get started. There are prolific writers, able to capture your attention, tell a story and keep you entertained, but unfortunately many of us are not.
Is there a magic formula for creating audience attracting content?
No, magic won’t help but this formula can point you in the right (or write) direction.
Your 8 Step Formula for Writing Quality Blog Posts
Step 1: Identify the target audience for your content
First, I have to assume that you understand your target audience and what type of content they value. If not, don’t start writing your blog until you do. Dust off your marketing plan and make sure that it clearly answers the five online marketing strategy questions. Then focus on those topics that interest them the most.
Step 2: Determine the topics that will help your audience
Once you have a good grasp of the issues your target audience faces, you can then determine the topics that will help them address their particular need. Spend some time brainstorming blog post topics. Use a tool like Evernote to jot down ideas when they come to you. Here are some ways to help you find topics:
- Check Google Analytics or Google Search Console to get a list of search terms associated with your website
- Conduct keyword research using tools like Keyword Surfer or Keywords Everywhere that returns related keywords from Google Suggest and related searches. There are Chrome extensions for both and a Firefox extension for Keywords Everywhere.
- Review questions from customers
- Read other blogs for ideas
Now you have data that can guide your choice of topics. Create an editorial calendar for your content to keep you on track.
Step 3: Create an outline of your post
Now pick a topic and before you start writing, research your topic using Thruuu, a free SEO tool that helps you with content marketing activities. It gives you comprehensive insights about your competition content and details about the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) of Google.
Using this data, you can now create an outline. It will help you complete the initial draft faster than if you write aimlessly. Your outline should include at least the:
- Introduction – The opening of your post, after the title, is the next area to draw in your reader. Use emotion, statistics, a famous quote, ask a question or tell a story.
- Supporting content – Write the rest of the post sentence by sentence, making sure there is relevance to the topic at hand. Make sure each sentence passes the “So What?” test as this will make sure each sentence adds to the value of the post and isn’t just fluff.
- Call to action – What do you want your audience to do? I usually like to encourage people to comment with “What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.” You can ask them to share the post on their favorite social platform or you can direct them, using related post plugins, to other posts on your blog.
Feel free to add more areas to your outline if that helps. However, if you focus on title, introduction and call to action, the rest of the post should fall into place.
Step 4: Work on a title that grabs the reader’s attention
Information is flowing at us at an extremely fast rate. Your post title is the best way to get the attention of your audience. Write your title after you have written the content. This usually helps you find the write title that will help both attract the reader and position you correctly in the search engine results.
Although not a simple exercise, writing a title that draws in your reader is the first step to gaining visibility. Spend some time working on a compelling title for your post.
Step 5: Find a visual that works with the content
Choose a visual that conveys what the post is about. A quality visual, whether it’s an image, video or infographic, can convey the post message more effectively than words. Plus people tend to share posts that have visuals. I know I’ve bypassed sharing posts because of a lack of an image.
Just make sure the visual is high quality and professional. With the many stock photo sites today that also offer vectors and illustrations, you can create a quality image, even if you are not a designer.
Step 6: Research quality links that support your topic
Once you have written the post, link to other posts that support your topic. Link internally to help the search engine find other related content. Link externally to expert content that supports your views. No sense repeating the content if there is another post that fills in the gaps. Linking gets noticed and encourages other blogs to link to you.
Step 7: Optimize the content using on-page SEO tactics
Effective use of keywords in your writing makes your content more relevant to your target while helping search engines index the content. Take advantage of the WordPress SEO plugin to implement on-page optimization for your post. Don’t forget to optimize your images using keywords and adding the alt tag.
Step 8: Review and edit the final draft
It’s pretty obvious when people write a post and hit the publish button quickly. Reviewing and editing your post will help you ensure the content is clear, the writing is crisp and is free of mistakes.
- Write your post then let it sit. By taking a break from your content, you can review it with a fresh set of eyes.
- Read the article out loud. It’s amazing how many edits you will make when you hear the content rather than see it.
- Review for grammatical errors. Grammar can be tricky and if you’re not good at it, get someone who is to review the post for you.
- Eliminate typos. Typos will distract your readers and for many, will chase them away.
Once you’ve completed these steps, go ahead, hit the publish button! Your post is ready.
Writing can be hard or easy. For many small business owners, writing is at least time-consuming. But providing quality, educational content that your audience wants and appreciates, makes you stand out over your competition.