Blogs are one of the best ways to find your voice and share it, but it can be tricky to get it right, and even more so to get it read. So what’s the secret to creating a brilliant blog post?
We’ve all been there – where we’ve written something brilliant, filled with some of the best thoughts, ideas and concepts that we have ever come up with, only to publish it, share it with the world, and watch the tumbleweed blow across our screens.
Was it not as good as we thought? Did we get it wrong? Were there errors there to provoke the Grammar Nazis? Sometimes, it’s not just enough to have good content. You may have some really useful points to make, but if they aren’t laid-out properly, or you haven’t taken advantage of a little bit of SEO, then your blog post may never get the appreciation it deserves.
So what are our tips?
It goes without saying that good content should come first. This may seem like a slightly obvious point to make, but in a world where content is much more than just words, it’s an easy one to forget. While it’s easy to concentrate on what will get your post indexed, it’s actually recommended by Google itself that you put content first. So yes, peppering your text with keywords and popular search terms will help, but, as Google says: “interesting sites will increase recognition on their own.” There’s no point putting in every keyword in that you can think of and then ending up with a post that is more of a riddle than anything else.
Readers will return to sites that they can identify with, or relate to, and eventually, so will Google too. Patience is the first lesson of the day.
Perfect your tone
A lot of organisations struggle to identify what sort of tone their blog posts should have. There is, of course, no right or wrong answer to this, but do you do need to consider consistency and how you want your organisation to come across. A chatty tone, for example, can be used to make readers feel relaxed and welcome, but sometimes it can give off the wrong sort of impression.
For example, if you are an organisation that works with young people, you want to make sure you are connecting with them – speak to them, not at them – but, at the same time, using stereotypical street phrases and slang can be a little patronising too. A good point to remember is that a blog post is usually an extension of your site – a place to express your more human side – so don’t feel like you can’t have an opinion or let your personality shine through. People usually come back to a blog if they relate to the author or what is being said – it’s all part of a blog’s charm.
Get it right
Everyone has different skills, that’s a given, but with all of the spell-checking tools available these days, there’s no reason to worry if you aren’t the best speller, or grammar guru in the world. While it’s sad, it’s true, poor spelling and grammar can cause a negative reaction towards your organisation. Paying attention to this shows that you care about the little things and show a pride in your work.
A good idea would be to get someone else to check through your posts, or delegate blogging to your best writer, who could even ghost write for other members of your team after a quick chat about a blog idea. Good spelling and grammar often isn’t noticed, but everyone will be quick to point out a mistake. This infographic is a great example!
Return the favour
If you want people to enjoy your words, or link to your posts, you’ll need to return the favour. Blogging, like most things online these days, is part of a wider community. If you make a little effort to interact with others, you’ll soon find that they do the same thing. Whether you mention those you have paid tribute to on your latest post via Twitter, or you share an inspiring post by someone else, soon you’ll find that people will be far more willing to do the same for you.
The guide to search engine optimisation (SEO) is not something that can be crammed into one paragraph, but here are a few tips to get you started.
- Keywords – don’t go crazy, but if you want to show up in searches for “best charity website designer” (ahem!) then make sure you incorporate that phrase into your post title or early on in the post.
- Share – are you sharing your links on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, offline, via email? If you have answered no to any one of these, it’s best to rectify it.
- But really, what you want to do is read Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Thank us later.
What’s your schedule?
People like to know what’s coming next. For example, you watch the first episode of a new television series and you love it. The first thing you do is check for the next episode and set a reminder on your phone, or even record it on one of those fancy television boxes you can get these days. Imagine if you had no information about when the next episode would be? You’d be less likely to be there for episode two. And this applies to blogs too. People like to know that, if they like what they read, they can expect a new blog post from every week or so, or every few days, so they make a conscious effort to come back for more. There’s nothing more disappointing than visiting your favourite website, to find that it hasn’t been updated for a few weeks.
If you are really into blogging, then you may want to look at getting Google Analytics for your site. Why? It’s free, it tells you what posts and pages are the most popular and how people are arriving at your site. It’s a brilliant tool to learn from – particularly when it comes to blog posts. You may find that certain techniques or topics are gaining the most respect and views, and this could be a way to learn how to get the most from your knowledge.
So the next time you write a blog post, make sure you give your words the platform they deserve and shout it from the rooftops. We’re certain these tips will help!