Blogging is the new black.
That may not flow as well as Orange Is the New Black, but oh well, I was trying to be trendy. After all, that is what blogging has become.
As blogging gets more and more popular, every business should be doing it. Its obvious blogging isn't going away any time soon, so it's important to invest time into the content you are publishing. Keep up with what is important in your industry and write about what's trending.
Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links (source: Writtent).
Blogging is a great way to share your ideas, experiences, company updates, inspirational content, and build SEO.
What is a blog?
A blog is an online journal or informational website displaying information in the reverse chronological order, with the latest posts appearing first. It is a platform where a writer or even a group of writers share their views on an individual subject.
For a small business, a blog is a way to become a thought leader in your industry. We recommend that everyone who has a website starts a blog. A blog helps with SEO, website awareness, reliability, and many different brand awareness strategies. Post blogs that inform your audience how to do something, a comparison, or best practices.
Close to 50% of marketers say, given a chance to start their content marketing over, they would focus on blogging.
But, one of the primary purposes of a blog is to help rank your website higher in Google SERPs – increasing your visibility. Google SERPs is the Search Engine Results Page. This page displays responses to a query by a user. The higher you are on a search page for a search query shows that you have credibility and knowledge in that specific area.
Steer your marketing strategy in the right direction.
Our Ultimate Guide for Small Business Marketing will lead the way.
7 steps to creating a blog post
While every blogger goes into creating a blog differently, I am going to bring you through the journey of what we do here at DirectLync.
Unlike writing a personal blog, where you can write about whatever you’d like whenever the mood strikes, a business blog needs to be grammatically correct, full of informative content, provide pictures, find sources, and more. When it comes to corporate writing, the biggest struggle I have faced when writing a blog is a roadblock. Not a literal barrier, but in the brain. It's the inability to think of content for the blog. To decrease the possibility of a roadblock, we have come up with easy to follow steps on how to create a blog post in ease.
Let’s get into the steps!
Researching isn’t just Googling, "what should I write a blog about?" The first step to a blog is to figure out what your audience is Googling. What are their pain points? What can we answer for them? What can you do to educate them?
If you are a lawyer, you don't want to be writing about the best hair products to use in curly hair; it doesn't fit in your industry, and it's not what your audience is searching for.
Spend time on Google, Reddit, Quora, and find out what topics are trending in your industry or questions your audience is asking.
One of my favorite ways to find a topic is to go on Reddit, type in my industry field, and find a subreddit group that fits with what I entered. Spend time in that group and read up on the conversations. You may even come across some of your audience’s pain points, and you know exactly how to help. Bam! There you have a perfect idea for your next blog topic.
Another tool I like to use when it comes to finding a topic to write about is Answer the Public. If you have been to this website, you know what I am talking about when I say, “you’ll know you’re at the right place when you see a very creepy, curious man on your screen." If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well then take a look at this:
With this tool, you can enter any topic that comes to mind, and it generates content topic ideas for you. For instance, I entered "hair products for curly hair," and the wheel produces topics under all questions of why, who, where, what, when, which, can, will, how, and are.
Research is the most critical part of creating a blog. Without research, you wouldn't know what your audience wants to know, and without that information, you won't have content to create. Use your research time to figure out how you can help your audience.
2. Determine your keywords
Keywords are important. They’re not only to provide content for your blog but also to get recognized by Google SERP as relevant and informative.
Now that you have your blog topic from the research, check out Google Ads. Google Ads has a Keyword Discovery Tool that discovers new keywords for you. Search for words or phrases related to your products or services. It will help you find the keywords that are most relevant for your topic entered.
When researching keywords, this tool gives you insight into how often certain words are searched and how those searches have changed over time. This tool can help you narrow your keyword list down to the ones you want.
3. Create an outline
I may sound like your high school writing teacher, but an outline is the best way to a more organized, less stressful writing experience.
It's time to put together your research and keywords to create your blog outline. This outline will be a brief, bulleted look at what you want your blog to include.
To begin, create your title and your headlines. These will be the topics you will be hitting in your blog. Each heading should include keywords and be phrased in a way people would search it in Google.
For example, if your blog is about the best products for curly hair, your blog title could be “Best Products for Curly Hair,” a section within the article could be, “Best Shampoos for Curly Hair.”
Also, when writing your headlines, label each headline with a heading tag – H1, H2, or H3. By adding in headline tags, it helps you organize your thoughts into a more organized outline. Plus, it makes it easier at the end when it’s time to enter your blog in your CMS.
- H1 – page title, large
- H2 – new sections within the article, medium
- H3 – sub-points, small
The image below represents how a H1, H2, and H3 should be written.
Always remember, when writing your headlines, include keywords, common questions, and keep it simple.
Now, it’s time to fill in the blanks under the headlines that you just wrote.
Under each headline, jot down what pops in your head. That might be an idea for content that could be added to this section. This isn’t you writing a paragraph or two at the moment; it is just writing bullet points of what you want to add in the blog.
These bullet points can be ideas, examples, thoughts, anything, and everything that you can think of. It’s never a bad idea to write more than you need, sometimes your best ideas come later on in the brainstorming process.
For our blog called 5 Strategies for Building Strong Customer Relationships, I wrote down bullet points under each section. For the first strategy of personalization, here are my bullet points.
- Personalized experience – individual, not selling
- Industry based
- Create questions – family, personal, general
- Email marketing – get to know customers – not just business
- Remembered and appreciated – build relationships – happy customers – happier customers mean more business – referrals, etc.
- Bring in CRM software – benefits with customers – track journey – communicate personally
Take this step and spend time writing down your thoughts and content for the blog.
4. Write it out
It’s time to get typing.
Since all of your content ideas are already down on paper, start from the beginning and “fill in the blanks.” By that, I mean make your bullet points full sentences.
For the above example, see here how I turned those bullet points and ideas into a well-thought-out, educational paragraph.
This is the time to expand your thoughts and answer the questions to your headlines. Get more in-depth about your topic and just write. It's that simple. The first round going through it doesn't have to be perfect, but you are building thoughts and expanding the blog. Another way to add more resourceful content is by doing research and adding in data to back up your points. There are all sorts of sources you can get data from, like Pew Research.
One question that we hear a lot from our customers when they are writing their blogs is, “how long a blog post should be?”. While it varies per industry, the optimal length for a blog post is in the 2,250 – 2,500 words range.
Once you get typing, your bullet points will turn into a blog in no time. We promise!
5. Include Add-ins
Add-ins can be any sort of different pieces of content you can add to a blog. For instance, you can add images, CTAs, a comment section, and so much more.
Every blog should include imagery. Whether that imagery is fact bubbles or an example of what you are trying to show, it is essential to include it in a blog.
Images within a blog break up the content and make it visually appealing for the reader. Images also give you pieces of content to post on social media channels and provide your audience with something to share with their followers.
Whether it is in the middle of the blog or at the end, each blog post should include a call-to-action. You can tell your readers to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, download content, register for a webinar, or whatever applies to your business!
A CTA doesn't only generate a lead, but it helps your readers get more informed and educated on what they are reading. One piece of content leads them to another piece of content, and so on, down the content path. Plus, you get a new lead, and that's exciting.
“A successful blog does not come without its readers.” – Pat Flynn
Comments are a great way to make your readers feel like they are heard. In the comments, they can share their thoughts about the blog, their experiences, examples, and critical feedback as well.
6. Edit and finalize
You are now so close to the finish line. With a few edits and touch-ups, you are on your way to posting your blog.
The last step is to edit. I highly recommend using Grammarly, a free writing app, to make your writing clear and effective. It helps you easily improve any text and eliminate all errors.
Once you finish editing your blog post, re-read it to make sure you hit all the points you wanted to mention in the blog. During this time, I recommend taking a second look at your title as well. Is your title effective? If people were to search this topic, would the title make them want to click your post? Ask yourself these questions to set your blog up for success.
Last but not least, add in backlinks to your own content or website. Backlinks are when an external site links to yours. The more backlinks your content has, the more Google will recognize it as a reliable source. Do yourself a favor and help your brand out.
7. Promote your blog
You put all this time and effort into creating content that engages with your audience; it’s time to get it in front of your audience!
Follow the 80/20 to help you remember to promote your blogs. The rule is that you should spend 20% of your time writing a blog, and 80% of your time promoting it.
Bloggers always miss out on high traffic to their blog because they miss the opportunity to promote them. It’s not as hard as you think.
For instance, if your blog about products for curly hair has an image of a girl with really curly hair, use that image to promote the blog on your social channels. You can post that image on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even TikTok. After you’ve shared it on social, send out an email to your customers and prospects enticing them to read your article.
Lastly, search for blogs that could link to your article. This is a great way to get new traffic to your website. If you reach out to other bloggers and ask them to include a link to your blog, you can gain a whole new source of readers!
Start blogging today!
I know writing a blog can be overwhelming, but when you break it down and follow the process that I explained above, you’ll eventually be able to write blogs in your sleep. Get started with writing your blogs, and don’t forget to promote them! Think outside the box and be unique. That's what’s going to get your readers to keep coming back for more.