11 things you should be doing to your blog posts
Blogging can be an extremely effective strategy for your content marketing. Share your knowledge, grow your customer base, rank higher on search engines — publishing a blog post has many benefits for your brand.
But when it comes to creating great blog posts, there are several important tactics and strategies that you should do before and after you hit ‘Publish’.
If all you do is publish one post and move onto the next, you are missing out on the opportunity to maximise the impact of your content and grow your business. If you want to improve the visibility and circulation of your blog posts, follow these 11 simple tactics.
Things to do before you publish:
1. Write an effective headline
The importance of an effective post title cannot be overlooked. On average, eight out of ten people will read a headline, but only two out of ten people will read the rest.
We’ve written about writing great headlines before, but there are only three things you really need to remember:
- Include relevant and searchable keywords.
- Make it attention-grabbing and persuasive to encourage click-throughs.
- Deliver on your promise in the body of the post.
When it comes to marketing your blog post, a clickable headline is perhaps the most important factor. A well-written post title can persuade people to explore your content, improve share rates, and — if you’ve added keywords — optimise your post for search engines.
Your blog post title will appear in archives, links, social media sites and search engine results, so spend some time to get it right.
2. Divide the text into readable portions
Massive blocks of text can be intimidating. Be careful not to overwhelm your readers. Many people will skim through a post to see if it interests them. If they’re unable to easily absorb the information, they will likely dump your blog post in favour of something that’s better formatted for their sanity.
A few simple tips to help are:
- Lay your thoughts out clearly with headings and paragraphs.
- Try to limit your paragraphs to no more than 6-7 lines of text.
- Use bullets points or numbered lists (or both) to create a clear structure.
- Include relevant images (more on that below).
Your main goal is to make life easier for your readers. Ensure people can easily see what your post is actually saying!
For many of you, this will be blindingly obvious. Nevertheless, I will stress the importance of proofreading your posts several times before you send them live.
You needn’t be a scholar to write good blog posts, but you should be able to work through your writing and correct any misspellings, incorrect punctuation, or other errors. You may like to proofread sections at a time during your writing process, or finish your first draft and proofread the next day. Try reading out loud or going backwards one sentence at a time. It can also be helpful to have someone else proofread for you to pick up on anything you may have missed.
4. Vary your content
Bloggers who bring variety to their content can target their readers, increase web traffic, improve conversion rates, build a valuable connection with customers, improve SEO, and discover a wealth of writing options.
List-based posts, long-length posts, how-to instructions, infographics and more — there are many different types of blog posts, and some styles will work more effectively than others for your specific blog and readers.
If you’re just starting out, experiment with different types of posts and see what engages your readers. The potential for content is endless, so find your niche and create the blog posts that work for your brand and audience.
5. Backlink to previous blog posts
Backlinking means providing a clickable link in your writing that will take a reader back to any previous, relevant blog posts. (In fact, we’ve already done this twice.)
Whenever you mention a topic that you’ve written about before, include a link to that post. This not only provides your readers with more information, but also makes your brand appear more knowledgeable, increases traffic to older blog posts, and improves conversion rates by keeping people on your website for longer.
6. Include high-quality, on-brand images
Images will make your blog post more vivid and interesting for readers, but you need to use the right pictures. Having on-brand imagery basically means that each picture is suited to your brand’s personality, style and audience. This will make your post images more consistent and unique to your blog.
If you’re on WordPress, you’ll also want to add a featured image. A featured image represents the content, theme or mood of your post. This pic may appear in the ‘recent posts’ slider or as the header image — and could be the compelling push someone needs to decide to click on your post.
WordPress can teach you how to add and remove featured images on your website.
7. Make your images SEO-ready
It is also important that your images are optimised for search engines. That simply means changing the file name and writing alt-text for each pic.
When naming your images, you’ll want to include specific keywords. So if you had this picture of a cake, you could change the default name from “IMG_1306” to “rainbow-birthday-cake.jpg”. Consider the other images in your Media Library when renaming them. “Chocolate-cake”, “sponge-cake” and “carrot-cake” are more useful to users and search engines than “cake-1”, “cake-2” and “cake-3”.
Meanwhile, an image’s alt-text is (as the name suggests) a text alternative for when a browser is unable to render the image, which may occur if the user has a poor internet connection, has turned off images in their web browser, or is using a screen reader for visual impairment. Alt-text should accurately describe the contents of the image.
Here are some simple tips for writing effective alt-text:
- Describe your images clearly and concisely.
- Use relevant keywords and phrases.
- Avoid keyword-stuffing (e.g. “womens shoes fashion accessories on sale cheap buy now”).
- Consider using a call to action and persuasive text.
- If the image is of a product with a model/serial number, include that in your alt text.
These factors are crucial for your overall on-page SEO strategy. Appropriate titles and alt-text can help your website rank higher on search engines, so make sure you know how to use an image’s underlying setting and options to your advantage/
WordPress can help you navigate the image settings.
Things to do after you publish:
8. Share on social media
You’ve put time and energy into your blog post — now it’s time to get it noticed! Social media networks are ideal for sharing posts and improving visibility. Garner attention by including an image, infographic or excerpt from your post, tagging other businesses or influencers when relevant, and divvying your social posting schedule to different times and dates.
Here are a few specific tips for some of the most effective social media platforms:
- When posting on Facebook, add a short sentence or two that captures the essence of your post content. An image is also a must-have — and all the better if it’s a custom-image for your brand. Facebook links that include a picture will generally get more likes, shares and comments.
- Sharing on Twitter will obviously limit you to 140 characters. That means it’s the perfect place for a short, snazzy caption that piques the curiosity of your readers. Make sure to include a contextual hashtag or two to improve engagement.
- LinkedIn is the go-to place for highly professional and knowledgable blog posts. Connect with plugged-in LinkedIn users and share posts that are insightful and relevant to your industry.
Whether you share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Google+, share your content and get it seen on the sites you think are most beneficial to you.
9. Send it to your customers directly
While sharing on social media is a good way to get the post seen by a broad audience, it is also a good idea to target some customers directly.
Depending on your business and blog content, you may know of certain customers or a specific demographic that would benefit from your post. Send them an email with a shortened link and a personalised note (“thought this could really help you with your next marketing project”). Alternatively, add a link and a short teaser to your blog post in your next e-newsletter. Your subscribers are an ideal audience — if they’ve subscribed to you, they probably like you and will be more susceptible to your content.
10. Respond to comments
If a reader takes the time to leave you a comment (either on the blog directly or through social media), you should always make the effort to respond to them.
Responding to commenters is a simple way to build relationships and ensure future engagement. It may become a little time-consuming, particularly if you receive dozens (or hundreds) of comments, but it is well worth being responsive to each one in a timely and personal manner. You don’t need to write a particularly long response, but also avoid bland copy-and-paste replies.
Simply thank them for the comment, answer any questions they may have asked, and acknowledge their thoughts.
11. Dig into your post data
The final step is critical, not only for the published post but for your future writing ventures — check the analytics of your blog.
Study your Google Analytics account to see what is working and what isn’t. Which posts receive the most pageviews? Which were shared on social media? Which received more comments? Don’t feel like you need to check the statistics every day — try doing it on the first of each month.
Your post data can be very telling, as it shows:
how much engagement each post received (which can help you identify topics, content or styles that are most popular).
where the traffic is coming from (which can help you decide where you should focus your promotion efforts).
Use this information to improve your blogging schedule, choose topics that your audience will love, and share it to the people most interested in what you have to say.
When it comes to blogging, simply churning out content is not going to get the results you’re hoping for. Even the best blog post will fail to earn traffic, interaction and engagement if it is not backed by strategies and SEO-tactics.
These 11 simple steps are the secret to publishing and promoting blog posts that gain leads and a loyal following of readers. Get in touch with núcleo to change your ‘launch it and leave it’ blogging habits — we can help you grow your blog and market your business.