So, you’ve made your website and some snazzy social media profiles to match — but there’s one problem… you haven’t got any content. That’s where the blogs come in.
In terms of bulking out your website to attract traffic, creative content is one of the most valuable assets you can have. Not only does it give you a chance to consolidate your distinct brand voice and show off your smarts, but it’s something you can do yourself in-house if you choose to.
Strangely, though, not many people realise that blog writing is *ahem* an art form (if we do say so ourselves). Much more than just 500 words and a funny title, blog writing is extremely nuanced — that is, at least, good blog writing.
From strategically slotting in keywords to negotiating tone of voice, creating blog content isn’t easy.
That’s why we’ve written a blog of our own (about writing blogs) to guide you through the blog-writing process — inception style.
Initial Stages Of Blog Writing
Before any kind of writing magic can happen, it is important to plan out your content carefully…
Gathering Research For Blogs
Knowing your audience is one of the most useful insights you can get as a blog writer. If you know who you are writing for, then how and what you should write becomes much easier.
- What’s trending? Use market research and seasonality data to find out what topics are hot right now in your sector. Riding the wave of a trend or contributing your brand’s opinion to an ongoing discussion is a sure-fire way to boost engagement.
- Be sneaky. Checking out the competition can’t hurt, right? Before choosing a topic of your own, it might be worth seeing what brands similar to yours are doing with some competitor analysis. Say you sell vegan burgers and your arch-nemesis starts selling some tasty beetroot patties, you want some of the action, right? Using tools like SEMRush’s Keyword Gap tool, you can identify your competition’s keywords… and steal them (*evil laughter*).
- Get up close and personal. Ok, maybe not ‘up close’, but getting personal with your audience members is a great way to ensure your content is well-received. Using tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Insights allows you to virtually ‘read the room’ and gather an insane amount of data about your audience to create content more tailored to their preferences, online behaviour, and demographics.
Finding Topics & Ideas For Blogs
At the same time as understanding your target audience comes choosing your topic. Obviously, before you start any sort of writing, you should have a topic — and maybe even a title — in mind.
To do this, there are a whole host of fancy-schmancy tools available like SEMrush’s KeyWord Magic Tool, Answer the Public, and Also Asked.com to name a few. What’s great about these tools is that they provide you with a whole host of search queries that potential consumers of your brand are searching for.
Sticking with the beetroot burger analogy, Also Asked revealed a high number of searches for both ‘what is beetroot burger made of’ and ‘are beetroot burgers good for you’. In which case, a banging article about the ingredients and nutritional benefits of your burgers would feed into an already lively conversation and, most importantly, fulfil user intent.
Choosing a Title For Your Blog
Right, beetroot burgers for the win — now you need a title. Using the keywords you’ve identified from your SEMrush exploration, craft an attractive, simple title that describes your content (psst: also mention your brand name).
In order to appear in full in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), your title should be no longer than 60 characters — or something terrible will happen (kidding, of course…). Here’s an example:
Top 10 Health Benefits of Beetroot Burgers | VeganBurger
At 56 characters with a brand name, a number to spark interest, and an engaging topic, this is the perfect blog title. This, on the other hand, is not:
Beetroot is so cool. Buy our burgers for £11.99. They are better than everyone else’s.
Structure your blog content
Depending on the nature of your content, the structure of your blog will need to be optimised accordingly. For example, if you’re writing a blog titled ‘Top 10 Beetroot Planting Hacks’ (we’re just running with the beetroot at this point), long, unformatted paragraphs without subheadings may put readers off.
The contents of a blog
Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty: the writing. Fear not, though, as this is easier than it seems.
Answer the user’s search query
The most important part of blog writing is that you satisfy user search intent. Generally speaking, to make sure your blog is actually something users want to read, our best advice is that you PEE (bear with us). All blogs should aim to either Persuade, Educate, or Entertain. If your blog isn’t PEEing, people won’t like it.
Tone of Voice
Depending on who you’re writing for, you’ve got to ‘talk the talk’, so to speak. Since all the cool kids nowadays are eating beetroot (we hear), a fun, conversational tone with lots of puns would appeal to a younger audience, like innocent’s brand voice. Selling beetroot-coloured zimmer frames, on the other hand (ok, we know we’re pushing it with the beetroot stuff now), requires a reassuring, informative, and clear tone of voice to persuade the older generation that yours is a product they can rely on.
When you’re finished crafting your masterpiece (500-800 words should do it, unless it’s a longer-form blog), there are a few finishing touches to add.
Funky (relevant) images
Adding some groovy visuals is always a good idea since visual content fares better on the web and breaks up any longer chunks of text, making it more readable. Make sure your images are relevant and size-optimised (<2000 pixel width) too. If you really want to spice it up, add alt-tag descriptions to your images to be not only accessible but SEO-savvy.
Pro tip: use royalty-free images or you’ll end up in hot water!
You know when text turns blue and has a line under it like this? That’s a hyperlink (and it’s very useful). Help users navigate your site more easily and browse other pages by popping in a few cheeky links to relevant articles of yours or any content you deem valuable.
Just like titles, meta descriptions are a great way to optimise your content. In 160 characters or less, tell your readers why they should read your blog and include a call to action (to nudge them a little).
Call to action
Finish your blog post with a subtle dash of self-promo to keep your readers coming back or to direct them to other useful resources, like this: