I know what you’re thinking: Writing is the worst! You haven’t had to write a paper since graduation; why ruin that streak now by writing a blog?
While writing may in fact be the worst (said the writer), it’s an important part of any digital marketing campaign. Why? Because blogs are one of the best things you can do to get noticed online.
Studies have shown that websites with blogs have a 434% chance of ranking higher in the search engine results! And everyone knows that higher rankings means more views and more conversions.
To ease the writing pains (at least a little), here are a few tips to help you write great blog posts to engage with your website visitors and increase online visibility.
Know Your Audience
Rule number one when it comes to blog writing: know your audience. Your blog should be written in a way that the reader finds entertaining, informational, and easy to digest. Since everyone is different, there’s no “one size fits all” style that works for all readers.
For example, we know our readers have the best sense of humor on the internet, so we like to write blogs in a fun, humorous style. It works for us. But a law firm that deals with car accidents probably shouldn’t be cracking silly jokes. It’s not appropriate for the topic and it’s definitely not what their readers want to see. Can you imagine being in a car accident, looking for help online, and reading a blog that makes light of your situation? Not a good look.
Learn what your audience likes and what they’re looking for. Once you understand their needs, you can give it to them! It’ll make your blog more engaging for readers.
Come up with a Killer Headline
Everyone always says, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all do it anyway. That’s why you need to come up with a killer headline to draw people in.
The goal is threefold:
- Tell the reader what the blog is about.
- Tell them why reading would be worth their time (value proposition)
- Sneak in some keywords
For example, would you have clicked on this article if the title just said “Write a Blog?” What’s it about? Is it a blog explaining why you should write a blog, how to write a blog, or just general information about what a blog is? Plus, there’s no reason to click. What benefit would there be in reading such a blog?
Instead, we used “How to Write a Great Blog.” It tells readers that the article is a guide to writing a blog (goal one), and they should click on it because it’ll make them a great blog writer (goal two). Even better, it will help you capture people who are searching for, “How do I write a great blog?”
Accomplish these goals, and more people will read and share your awesome blog content!
Make Your Blog Easily Scannable
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but nobody will read your blog in its entirety. Most website visitors (as in 79% of them) will only scan your blog instead of reading everything word-for-word. So, with that in mind, make your blogs easily scannable:
- Use meaningful subheadings (and lots of them)
- Have one idea per section
- Highlight important information (bold, italics, hyperlinks, etc.)
- Include plenty of bulleted lists
- Use short paragraphs
For those of you who didn’t just scan this section (thank you!), you can see this idea in action. If you don’t feel like reading ALL the tips for great blog writing, you can just look down the subheadings for the topic you’re most interested in.
If you come to one that might need some elaboration—like “Make Your Blog Easily Scannable”—there’s a handy bulleted list of tips to increase scannability, so you don’t even need to read the whole section to get the gist.
Plus, nothing is scarier than a giant “wall of text” staring you in the face when you click on an article. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world, nobody on the internet wants to read all that.
Breaking up text with subheadings, lists, and short paragraphs makes your blog look much more “appetizing” to readers and can reduce your bounce rate (visitors taking one look at your page and hitting the back button immediately).
Keep SEO in Mind (to an Extent)
Even business owners who live under a rock have heard of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s basically a few special tricks that get your web pages organically noticed by Google, so you can show up at the top of the search results.
Since the entire goal of writing a blog is to get noticed, using SEO best practices is very important:
- Include related keywords at regular intervals
- Use keyword-rich headings (and format them correctly)
- Keep your article short and concise
- Have both internal and external links
Now, before you go writing sentences like, “small business digital marketing tips for writing great blog posts to boost search engine optimization for more engagement and generating conversions” (ouch…), know that there is a limit to how much SEO is too much SEO.
Google is very smart. In addition to, well, everything in the universe, Google knows the difference between SEO stuffing and good writing. That means if they catch you writing horrible content for the sake of boosting your SEO (see awful keyword-stuffed sentence above), they’re going to punish you with low search rankings.
Above all, make your blog writing readable, relevant, and informational. Include keywords but only if they sound natural—and DON’T GO OVERBOARD. Good, solid content will win every time. So, think readability first and SEO second.
Tell Readers Where to Go Next with a Call to Action
All blogs should have a goal. You’re not writing just for funsies; you want readers to do something with the information they just learned. Instead of letting them figure it out for themselves, tell them the next step of the process with a clear call to action (CTA).
A call to action is like a stepping stone. It tells users where to go next. For example, if you write a blog for your coffee company about “the five best types of coffee,” you don’t want readers to go “oh, that was interesting” and close out of the page after reading. You want them to buy your coffee!
So, at the bottom of your blog, include a CTA that says something like, “hey, if you want to try any of these amazing types of coffee, come visit us or order online.” It tells visitors the next step of the process.
Think about what you want your blog to accomplish and include a strong CTA at the end to get users to stick with you on this exciting journey.
Now Get to Writing that great blog!
Alright, procrastination time is over. You know the tricks, and it’s time to get to writing. Think about your audience, draw them in with a killer headline, make your blog easy to scan, include a healthy dose of SEO, and finish it all off with a clear call to action. Do all that, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a great blog writer in no time!
And, of course, to follow our own advice, if you need help with your blog-writing or content marketing, just reach out to us here at Urban Sherpa. We’d love to help!
Urban Sherpa Marketing Co. provides marketing and advisory services – and, yes, blog-writing! – to small and medium sized businesses across the U.S. Cameron Ripley is our blogger extraordinaire.