If you’ve spent any time digging into online marketing, you know that web content is non-negotiable. You may also know that there’s an impossible number of content formats to choose from when developing a strategy.
Whitepapers, case studies, infographics, articles, TikTok videos—it’s not possible to use them all. And you shouldn’t. Instead, choose the formats that make the most impact on your audience and business.
If you’re starting your strategy from scratch or simply dipping your toes into web content, there are a few formats you can’t go wrong with. And one of those is the blog post.
Blog Posts Are a Top Web Content Format
HubSpot, a known marketing authority, recently published its 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Report. The report gathers data from 1,000+ global marketers in a variety of industries.
According to the report, 48% of marketers surveyed are using blog posts as part of their marketing strategies. This is the second-most-used media format, right behind video. Falling behind blog posts are images, infographics and case studies.
Why the hype about blogging? According to HubSpot, blogs have the third-highest ROI of any content format. Plus, businesses that blog experience 55% more visitors than those that don’t.
The best part? Blogging is relatively simple to start when compared to other media formats. While formats such as video often require costly equipment, all that’s required for blog posts are an idea, some writing skills and a place to type. Plus, you can reuse the content you create for your blog posts in other formats such as social media posts, infographics and more.
Ready to start blogging right now? We’re here to help! Send us a message.
How to Write an Effective & Compelling Blog Post
We won’t lie and say that writing a blog post is as simple as throwing some words on a page and publishing. You should never publish content for the sake of publishing. Everything you create should have a purpose and should fulfill a need for your audience.
Ready to dive into writing your first blog post? Want to improve the posts you’ve been writing thus far? Here is a repeatable process you can follow to create compelling, audience-driven blog copy each time.
1. Pick a Blog Post Topic
“I don’t know what to even write about.”
This is a statement we’ve heard from many business owners just getting started. And we get it. This step is often the most challenging, especially if you’re just getting started.
Here’s the key: don’t make this step more complicated than it actually is. Every post you create doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering piece of literature that changes your industry. Most blog posts won’t be that.
Instead, focus on what you know and what your audience needs from you.
And don’t ever underestimate the power of a simple blog post that answers a common customer question or delivers steps to take to reach a goal. You just might help someone frantically searching the web for an answer at 3:00 a.m. and gain them as a customer for life.
How to Find Blog Post Topics
To brainstorm topics to start with, here are six simple things you can do now:
- Visit Reddit: Yes, Reddit. This website is a treasure trove of ideas. When you hop onto the website, throw one of your services into the search bar. Then, take a look at the results to find comments, questions and more from the discussion surrounding that service. Jot down anything that stands out to you. Then, use those thoughts to generate topics you can write about.
- Try Quora: Quora is a Q&A platform that allows anyone to ask questions about anything. In the search bar, add in a keyword that pertains to your business niche. The result should hopefully be some questions asked by consumers. As you dig into the results, take note of the questions you can answer or the topics you can dive deeper into via blog posts.
- Look to Google: Throw a service or word that pertains to your niche into Google. Then, take a look at the People Also Ask section to see questions searchers are frequently typing into Google. You can use these questions as a starting point for brainstorming blog topics.
- Conduct a brain dump: Just open a document on your computer or phone and start typing. Think about your business, services and audience and type whatever comes to mind. As you go, you might just uncover some blog post ideas.
- Reach out to those in your circle: Ask your colleagues or friends what questions, concerns or thoughts they might have about your industry. See what topics arise from these conversations.
- Interview your current or previous customers: One of the best ways to gather audience-driven blog post topics is to go straight to the source. Ask your customers what questions they have. Ask what type of blog posts might be helpful for them or what posts they enjoy.
Selecting the Type of Blog Post You Want to Create
After some brainstorming, you should have a blog post topic picked and ready to go. Now, it’s time to choose the type of blog post you want to put together. There are various options to choose from, depending on the topic you chose:
- How-To: A how-to blog post will explain the steps required to reach a goal. For example, this post.
- Thought Leadership: A thought leadership post shares your original ideas or thoughts about your industry, your services, issues affecting your industry and beyond.
- Q&A: A Q&A post simply answers a question on behalf of your audience.
- Listicle: A listicle provides a numbered list of resources, products, services, stats and more. For example, “21 Ways to Brainstorm Blog Post Topics” would be an example of a listicle. See this post as an example.
- News: A news piece covers a specific event or happening within your industry. For example, maybe a new study was just released that offers unique insights that you could dive into in a blog post.
2. Consider Your Audience’s Needs Surrounding the Topic
Whew. Trust us when we say that most of the hard stuff is over with now. With a topic and a format, you’re ready to move forward. To determine what’s important to include in your post, you’ll want to consider your ideal audience.
What about the blog topic does your specific audience need and want to know?
Start writing down what you come up with and you’ll begin to see an outline of your piece (more on that below). Remember, the best blog posts are written specifically for those who read them. Don’t skip this step.
3. Do Some Competitor Research
Another way to know what you should include in your post is through some basic competitive research. This is an easy way to see what competitors are including in their posts about the same topic and how you can then improve what they’ve written in your own.
This is as simple as typing your topic into Google and seeing what comes up in the first few results. Visit the posts and take note of what they’ve missed that you could dive deeper into in your post. As you read, consider what you would do differently.
4. Choose a Simple Keyword
What good is a fantastic blog post that no one will ever read? Search engine optimization (SEO) is important, especially when you’re using content to build your business. One of the easiest ways to optimize your post for search is by adding in keywords.
Keywords and phrases are those your audience types into Google to find specific content. You’ll want to pick a main keyword for each blog post to help improve its rank.
What keyword should you pick? For the sake of simplicity, we recommend starting with a simple word or phrase you want to be found under in search. For example, our keyword for this blog post is “web content.” Why? It’s one thing we want to rank for in the Googs.
Okay, But What Do I Do With the Keyword in My Blog Copy?
Great question. You’ll want to add the keyword where it makes sense as you write. For example, in your title, your headlines and throughout your body copy. However, whatever you do, don’t stuff your keywords. Instead, write naturally. The right keyword should naturally fit in your copy without force.
Remember, the value delivered by your blog post is what matters most. Write for the human on the other end of the screen first and then optimize later. Your audience should always come first.
5. Develop a Blog Post Outline
Alright, it’s time to get down to business. The best way to get started actually writing your post is to start with an outline. Here is a basic outline you can start to fill out with your ideas thus far:
- Main Point #1
- Main Point #2
- Main Point #3
- Conclusion / Call to Action
Each main point should be a talking point you want to highlight. Your subpoints then add more information about that specific main point. We recommend using H2 headers for main talking points and H3 headings for your subpoints. This makes your post easy to scan for readers who just want the highlights.
Don’t worry about going into too much detail in your outline. It’s simply a structure for you to use as you write—a tool for organizing your thoughts.
6. Write Your Blog Post
Now for our favorite part. It’s time to write. We want to preface by saying don’t overthink it. Simply get your thoughts out in your document. You’ll go back later and edit to make sure everything is concise and ready to publish.
Just start writing. As you do, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs: Brevity is best. Keep paragraphs to a minimum of 3-4 sentences. And sentences shouldn’t include over 20 words. This improves the readability of your blog post which ensures all members of your audience can read and understand your insights.
- Keep your language simple: Leave the industry jargon behind. After all, stuffy jargon has a way of scaring readers away. Use simple language that’s easy to grasp.
- Add visual interest: Images, GIFs, videos and more are fun elements for any blog post. Plus, they break up the copy which can improve readability. Our favorite visual tools? Giphy, Canva and Unsplash.
- Don’t forget a CTA: A call to action or CTA is a critical part of any blog post. This can be as simple as a quick, “Hey, give us a call” with your phone number at the end of your post. Whatever you do, give your audience a next step.
- Edit, edit, edit: Once you finish writing, you must edit. Read through your blog post and delete what’s unnecessary and add thoughts to improve clarity. Then, make sure you edit for spelling and grammar mistakes. Grammarly is a great tool you can use for those checks.
Start Taking Advantage of Blogging Within Your Business
At this point, you should have an amazing blog post to share with the world. If you’re still struggling or if you simply don’t have the time to write, we’re here to help. Reach out to the Word Nerds by sending us a message.