Writing a blog post—is it really that difficult? In general terms, having the writing chops to craft a blog isn’t hard. However, it takes more than being an exceptional writer to create a blog post that delivers content marketing results.
Enterprise content teams have members with varying levels of experience and skills, but wouldn’t it be great to develop a framework for writing a blog post that ensures consistency and drives value? Of course it would. To help your group achieve this, we’re offering this step-by-step process for creating amazing content every time!
First, the Foundation
Content writing should never happen in silos. The foundation for all your content should be your content strategy. In this document, you’ve defined your audience, content pillars, objectives, and SEO tactics. Writing without a strategy is like driving without a map. You’ll get somewhere, just not where you were expecting.
From your foundation, you’ll ideate and put topics on your content calendar that:
- Provide relevant information to your audience regarding their challenges and needs.
- Relate to your solutions.
- Offer a chance for your company to show its thought leadership and expertise.
- State your value prop and central messaging.
- Drive buyers to your solutions.
- Include target keywords.
With this base, it’s time to start the process.
Step One: Planning
In planning your blog piece, you already have the topic and keyword. You should also align the post to a buyer persona and buying stage. This gives you guideposts. For example, awareness content is introductory, while decision content should be rich in examples and persuasion.
Next, it’s a good idea to develop an outline to include:
- Key points with descriptions
- Conclusion and the specific CTA (call to action)
As you are constructing your outline, you’ll need to do research. There are several buckets of research:
- Competitive landscape: What posts are currently ranking well for this keyword? What makes them unique and high-quality? You want your content to outrank this, so see where you have opportunities to improve and innovate.
- Audience research: What are your buyers’ pain points relating to this topic? Most blog content is problem-solution; thus, you need to know the specifics of what they face, which should be part of your persona documents.
- Internal research: How does your company’s product or solution resolve the challenge? Not every blog post has to relate specifically to your offering, and it should never be a commercial for it. Your solution, however, has attributes and characteristics that help your audience overcome their obstacles.
- Data and statistics: Are there reputable, verifiable studies or research to support your points? Always cite from the original source (How many times do you click a link that’s just a list of stats from that industry? It’s frustrating).
Step Two: Nailing the Title
Your title is your hook. The title is what will garner their interest, whether they see it on social media, an email, or on your website. The majority—80 percent of readers—won’t ever make it past the headline.
Is there an optimal length or format for a title? Many companies have researched this topic. What’s ideal varies, but SEMRush found that blogs with 10-13-word titles drive more traffic than those with less than seven.
Other Best Practices and Tips for Titles
- Number headlines do well because a number with text catches the eye.
- Asking questions in the title can create interest.
- How-to or educational blogs offer immediate value to the reader.
- Action words reduce ambiguity.
- Your keyword should be in the title.
You can learn a lot about title performance by looking at content analytics. For those blogs with the most views and shares, see what they have in common in terms of the title.
Step Three: Write It
You have your research, outline, and title, so it’s time to make the magic happen. A skilled writer should have a way with words and hold knowledge about the topic. There’s more to writing blogs than talent.
When writing a blog post, there are some important parameters to consider. By following this, your content will rank well, be highly readable, and deliver value.
- Write at least 500 words (more on this below).
- Include internal links to other blogs or pages (at least two).
- Use the keyword in the first paragraph and throughout (It should be a maximum of 3 percent of your post).
- Follow SEO best practices by creating a meta title and description within the right character length and including the keyword (50-60 characters for the title and less than 156 for the description).
- Make sure it follows your brand’s voice and tone.
- Optimize for readability. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for a score of 70 on the Flesch scale, which grades how easy the content is to read. You can do this by using active voice rather than passive. Shorter sentences and paragraphs help, too. Finally, bulleted lists, headers, and using common vocabulary improve readability.
- Cite data, research, and statistics from reputable websites.
Does length matter?
This is another area of frequent research and commentary. The length of content has been growing steadily, even as attention spans shrink. SEMRush studied lots of posts to find that 7000+ words had the most pageviews; however, that’s unrealistic for most bloggers. Content between 1501 and 2000 words performed well in shares, and content between 1201 and 1500 words had the most backlinks.
Step Four: Edit and Check
The next step is editing and checking for grammar and readability. If you have copy editors on your team, that’s their role. If not, use apps like Grammarly. Grammarly will check spelling, grammar, and syntax, and it will score your content. See how it works in the video below.
Step Five: Add the Final Touches
After editing and approval, it’s time to add visuals. Sprinkling in imagery, video, charts, and graphs breaks up the content. Visualizations of the topics and statistics you’re writing about will improve your SEO ranking and reader engagement.
Writing a Blog Post: It’s Not Easy
Blogging for your brand isn’t easy. There are many rules, best practices, and guidelines to keep in mind. The more you do it, the better you’ll get! Blogging is a critical part of content marketing, so doing it often and well delivers results. Get more tips by subscribing to our blog, written by and for content marketers.