The other day I’d sat down to write a blog post as I normally would, except this time I had found myself fall into a trap common to nearly all content writers at some point. You see as I was writing, I was three-quarters of the way through my blog post when I told myself, ‘this is enough, I’ll just post this’. Blog writing, like many other tasks, can be a long process for some. But like other rewarding tasks, there’s nothing more satisfying than finishing off something that you’re proud of, or in my case, hitting that glorious publish button. After taking a brief break, I came back to my blog and was able to see that there was still so much more value to be added in the post for my readers.
As a blog writer, it’s important to not fall into the trap of settling for mediocracy when scripting your content. You need to remember that a blog post is a representation of yourself and your thoughts, so it’s important to make your content count. I wanted to write this post to share my insight into how I make each individual post of mine count.
Don’t just write it for the sake of it!
Too many times, content writers can get caught in this trap. These days it seems that in order for your blog to be recognized, you need to be oozing out glorious content to get the attention of the almighty Google. But that’s just not the case! If you want your content to be king, you need to give it a purpose to serve its people.
I’m seeing too many writers now creating content that doesn’t go anywhere, but instead is just a page filled with over 500 words to try and improve your search rankings. It’s always important to remember why it is exactly that you’re writing your piece of content. Channel in on what value proposition it offers to readers and how it can educate them. If a reader gives their precious time to read something that leads to nowhere, I can almost guarantee that they won’t come back for more. Always remember to have your reader in mind so you can think about what value you can bring to this prospect.
Put the good stuff at the top:
With so much content online, and not enough hours in the day to consume it all, it’s becoming harder for writers to win the engagement of their audience. Nowadays, users will often engage with a page for only 20 seconds before making a split decision to continue reading that post, or to go and check their Facebook newsfeeds again. If you’re trying to compete with cat videos, memes and other content online, you really do have to grab your readers attention quickly or else you’ll end up seeing what I call the ‘squirrel effect’ come into play…
When writing a blog post, always put the most important information at the top of the post. Give your reader a reason to continue reading and let them know exactly what it is they’ll gain by fully engaging in your post.
Make it readable:
If you’re writing longer, more in-depth pieces of content, always remember to utilize the use of effective paragraphing and subheadings. The last thing a reader wants to see when they land on your content page is mass blocks of writing conjoined together with no breaks in between. That’s a sure way to scare your reader off. You can also utilize the use of images or gifs to separate your copy whilst keeping the reader entertained at the same time.
If you’re someone like myself, you often won’t have time read the entirety of a full blog post, however you will have time to skim through and scope out the key points to take away. Writing content in the form of a list is always an effective measure of enticing readers, e.g: ‘My Top Five – Digital Marketing Inspiration‘. This allows readers to skim over points that they may already be educated on, or seek out the best points to actively engage with.
OPTIMIZE, OPTIMIZE, OPTIMZE!
This should always be a high priority when writing your content. As we all know, blog writing is a major part of an SEO strategy, so it’s important to do it right. If you’re going to go through the effort of constructing a blog post, why not spend that little bit longer ensuring that the post is optimized to align with your keyword strategy.
It’s important to construct an SEO checklist for each blog post you write. Your checklist should look a little something like this:
- Identify target keywords for post
- Ensure there’s a good keyword density throughout the whole post
- Your keyword is used effectively in your heading
- Utilize outbound links when referencing
- Ensure your post has a bare minimum of 300 words
- Ensure the blog post flows and keywords naturally fit in place (avoid keyword stuffing)
- Optimize your image titles and alt text.
- Optimize meta description of post
- Optimize URL/permalink
- Optimize social links and social descriptions
- Use relevant categories and tags for your post
If you’re thinking that is all a bit too much, there are of course copious tools out there to help you do this right. A few of my favourites are the SEO assistants from Yoast and Hubspot. Both programs provide you with an easy to follow checklist that takes care of most of the hard work for you, so that way there’s no excuses for not optimizing your posts.
Once you have a content writing process that’s effective and easy to follow, I have no doubt that you’ll turn into be a content writing fiend…
What’s your process to writing better content? I’d love to know! Perhaps I’ve missed something that you include before publishing your content? Feel free to let me know by connecting with me on LinkedIn or Tweeting me @lachlankirkwood.