Blogging appears to be a permanent resident in the house of great marketing, but writing something helpful for your readers can be much more difficult than you’d think. Your audience is probably drowning in irrelevant search engine results, social media posts and spam already, making it exceedingly difficult to stand out amongst the clutter.
Fortunately, there are ways to check your writing to ensure it will not only be visible, but easily understood and actionable.
1. Do you understand your audience?
Though this seems like a basic question, understanding your audience can be quite the challenge. Your knowledge of the subject alone creates a giant obstacle in communicating effectively, and in the right tone. Try to break down your audience into very specific personas, such as “plumbers working on the coast who need to increase the rust resistance of their pipes.”
Because we want our readers coming to us rather than flagging them down, we want to be sure we are speaking to their specific problem. This effort to diminish ambiguity will help them find you through search engines alone.
2. Is your title clear?
Blogs are kind of like used cars. The most frustrating thing that can happen when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle is being told the car has a clear, accident-free title only to find out it had been badly wrecked and the incident and repairs were not reported. Luckily, blogging doesn’t come with as serious repercussions, but you can ruin your online reputation by being unclear or misleading.
You want people to navigate to your site and stay, instead of arriving for no good reason and turning away, so try the following steps when writing your title:
- Develop a working title, just for your own clarification.
- Strike your persona’s pain point in your published title, such as “How to Prevent Coastal Pipe Rust.”
- Give them an idea of the format, like “5 Ways to Prevent Coastal Pipe Rust.”
- Use expressive words, such as “5 Watertight Ways to Prevent Coastal Pipe Rust” or “How to Win The War On Coastal Pipe Rust.”
- Incorporate keywords when possible, without sounding like a SEO robot.
3. Is your blog scan-able?
In all likelihood, readers will scan your blog before committing to a thorough read.
This makes writing a captivating first paragraph and using subheads, lists and bullet points crucial. After drafting your post, have someone else take a look. Once you’re committed to a subject and immersed in the writing process, it can be difficult to step back and evaluate just how well organized your post really is.
4. Is your blog readable?
Scan-ability and readability are one in the same. Once your post is organized into manageable paragraphs with clear subheads, you’ll want to review how you explained each piece. Sometimes changing your wording or shortening a sentence can make a world of difference.
For example, this sentence: “In a situation in which your subheads are vague, you may want to rewrite them to be more specific.” Could become, “If your subheads don’t add clarity, making them more specific could help.”
5. Is your blog actionable?
Hopefully by this point you’ve written a valuable, informative blog your readers will love. You may even have them hanging on to the very last sentence, but have you offered any more value? You obviously know your stuff, but did you mention you could solve their problem with your own products or services?
Use 4-5 internal and external links throughout your blog, in case your readers need more evidence, and close each and every blog with a call-to-action (CTA). These can provide the next step in your readers’ workflow, pushing them to a download or product page, depending on how qualified they are to purchase your product.
Always make sure the CTA is clear and enticing. Providing them with your phone number will be far less effective than asking for their email address in exchange for an eBook or whitepaper, because it leaves the ball in their court. You want to be sure your sales team has the information it needs to keep highly interested leads from turning to your competitor after you’ve provided the answer.
6. Is it optimized?
Finally, blogs need several things to be SEO friendly, including a few you’ve already done:
- A captivating title with at least one target keyword.
- Subheads and bullets to divide the text.
- Internal and external links to increase credibility.
- Relevant images with alt text. (Alt text is the short description assigned to an image so that search engines know where it belongs in the image search results.)
Who knew blogs could have so many needs?! Just remember, quality over quantity.
Blogging is a great investment into your online reputation and SEO optimization that builds over time, which is precisely why it’s here to stay. Click here to contact us about a free blogging consultation.
Posted by Lacey Williams
Lacey is the Digital Marketing Manager at DMD. She is a Baylor graduate and previous marketer for the great City of Frisco and Ylang 23. She loves writing, awesome typography and traveling whenever possible!