A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging
We all know that content rules, right? You have probably been given some story about it being king or queen or at minimum, belonging to the royals in some capacity. While that is true, we think a little more strategically than just “do more content.” We think more like “make strategic content.”
Maintaining a blog or news section on a website, when done strategically, can go a long way for your business’ or organization’s online presence. An active blog demonstrates thought leadership and relevance, making it easier for visitors to trust you. Depending on the subject matter, the blog can show timeliness with current trends or news, company updates, industry chatter and helpfulness through how-to guides.
Finally, consistently publishing new content contributes to your website’s SEO! Expanding the content available can attract new organic traffic, indicate freshness to search engines and provide content to share on social media, in email marketing and more — which can ultimately lead to more visits to your website.
While maintaining a consistent posting schedule helps with signaling to search engines that your website is current, posting for the sake of posting is not a helpful strategy. The content you publish should be relevant to your business and interesting or helpful for your audience.
Topics could include discussion of industry trends and news, tips and tricks related to your product or service, Q&A/interviews, company news and common misconceptions related to your product or service.
Create content that is aligned with your marketing goals, but created with the intended audience in mind (read more on human-centered content). Besides the information itself being human-centered, breaking up text with headers and images is a great way to give readers visual rests and entice them to spend more time engaging with the content. A quick test for making sure your blog posts are human-centered: Put yourself in the shoes of a member of your target audience. If you wouldn’t be interested in the topic, don’t publish it.
Because we’re the “good guys” we love creating tools that help folks make better content which makes for better search — so in that vein, we’ve developed a content creation checklist for you. This doesn’t act alone of course. You need a sound strategy before you just start to willy nilly make content. Don’t simply make cool tactics. Make cool tactics work for your strategy and your overall business plan.
Content Creation Checklist
1. Choose a topic
- Aim to solve a problem for your audience.
- Focus on pain points.
- Answer common questions.
- For easier planning, develop a quarterly content calendar with input from your staff.
Go-to topic Ideas when you’re feeling stuck:
— Industry trends and news
— Tips/DIY/How to _____
— Common misconceptions
— Company news
As you begin writing about a topic, answer these questions:
- What words or phrases might people use when performing an online search on this topic? (Consider, and focus on, non-branded keywords.)
- Is this idea helpful, clear and interesting?
- Consider your audience: Who are you writing for? What are their needs?
- Pre-write: Create a brief outline, mind map, etc.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes, and write your entire piece — no breaks or interruptions.
- Lead with the problem or topic you’re addressing.
- Write like a person — don’t "keyword stuff."
- Aim for a 500-word draft.
- Set it aside, preferably for 24 hours, and then let someone else read it over to fact-check and/or give feedback.
4. Edit and finalize
- Edit, edit, edit. And then edit some more. (Hemingway App is a great tool for this.)
- Use subheadings to organize ideas and break up text.
- Use key words and phrases for your topic in the title, headings and body copy.
- Consider how the concepts discussed relate to other site content and link appropriately.
- Use visuals when you can.
- Include a call to action.
- Publish/submit for publication.
5. Syndicate and share
- Schedule or share to social media channels.
- Chunk sections of the blog into graphics and text that can be shared in other contexts.
- Have employees share via their personal networks.
- Incorporate into email marketing.
- Share to professional groups or organizations.
- Include link in staff email signatures or when contacting leads when relevant.