Updated: Aug 10, 2020
SUMMARY | This article is a complete A-Z guide on how to write a blog.
How Blogging & Marketing Work Together ✅
The Number 1 Reason to Blog 🤔
How to Write Blogs That Provide Value 😃
The 6 Most Popular Blog Formats 🔖
Top 7 Blogging Facts You Need to Know 💯
Examples of 5-Star Blogs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
How to do Market Research for a Blog Post 🖥
How to do SEO for Blogs 📈
Best Practices for Writing Eyeball Stopping Blogs 🤓
[BONUS] How to Build a Relationship with a Blog Client 🥳
Blogging can be a very vague task if we do not understand how it is used in marketing. Questions that may come to mind include, what do I write about, how do I know if people will read my blog, and how can a business or myself grow from text on a webpage? The good news is, all of these questions have answers. There must be a reason why fortune 500 companies are writing blogs for their marketing efforts right? Learn exactly how to write a blog that will grow your business...starting now!
1. How Blogging & Marketing Work Together ✅
The first thing we need to do is understand how blogging and marketing work together- let's jump right into that. Marketing is to encourage consumers to buy products or services that are valuable to them. There are four stages to marketing, and these stages are named the conversion funnel (see below). The first stage of the conversion funnel is awareness, the second is interest, the third is desire, and the fourth stage is action. A business needs to achieve awareness before its leads can reach interest and so forth. Think about it, how can you develop an interest in a company or buy something that you don't even know about?
Moving on, the marketing strategy is the plan to move consumers through the conversion funnel (how will we turn a brand stranger into a customer?). Marketing strategies change with time and include a variety of ways to advertise. For example, TV ads, PPC ads, content marketing, email marketing, cold calling, plus there are even more. A marketing strategy is unique to every business and its specific needs.
A blog is part of content marketing, for obvious reasons, blogging is a form of content. Content marketing is great for creating awareness and interest in a company due to the entertainment, educational, and or informational value that it provides to readers. Think about a tech unboxing video & blog- it captures our awareness and interest for a product (for example, an Apple iPhone 11 unboxing on a tech blog).
A real estate company could write the blog “5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Home” to provide informational value, which grows awareness and interest in their business. Again, the purpose of content marketing is to generate awareness and interest. Therefore, the number 1 reason to blog is... continue reading below!
2. The Number 1 Reason to Blog 🤔
The #1 reason why you should write a blog is to introduce new consumers to your brand and to create hype for your products or services. In other words, the purpose of blogging is to increase awareness and interest in your company, product, or service.
Publishing blogs is an essential part of filling the top of the conversion funnel (refer to the funnel diagram in section 1). Subsequently, publishing blogs in a consistent manner improves website SEO and increases site traffic.
3. How to Write Blogs That Provide Value 😃
To be successful, blogs must always provide valuable & relevant information to a target audience. It is quite simple, blogs that are ‘salesy’ will always fail. Don't sell in your blog posts and you are more than halfway there to writing a valuable blog. A trick I use to write value-packed blogs is to imagine that I am the reader of the blog post I will write. I think what are my needs, what am I searching for to find this information, and what content is most important to me. Also, I do extensive market research on the topics I write about- we will talk more on this further in the article.
Again, blogs are not for selling, no sales pitches or pushes! Imagine you are looking up how to cook rice, and you find a how-to blog by Uncle Bens (rice brand). However, throughout the article, they are blatantly selling their product(s). You were not looking to make a purchase when you were searching up how to cook rice- you simply wanted to know how to do it. Therefore Uncle Bens' blog post would lack value to your needs.
Imagine this scenario as well. You are searching for a how-to cook rice guide and you already have dinner out. Most of the food is cooking and you have the rice prepared to start. It's not as if reading the how-to blog will cause you to stop everything you are doing to go out and buy rice because Uncle Bens told you to.
Blog readers, by nature, do not want to be sold to- that is extremely important to understand. Remember that the purpose of blogging is to have new consumers become aware of you and interested in you. Therefore, the most value that Uncle Ben’s could provide you is writing a blog that teaches you how to cook the best rice ever in the shortest time (for example).
4. The 6 Most Popular Blog Formats 🔖
The How-To Post
The List-Based Post
The "What Is This" Post
The Evergreen Post
The Newsjacking Post
The Infographic Post
5. Top 7 Blogging Facts You Need to Know 💯
77% of internet users read blogs regularly
80% of people read only the headline of your articles
Articles with images get 94% more views
36% of people prefer list-based headlines
The median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds
Blog titles with 6-13 words get the most consistent amount of traffic and hits
If a blog post is more than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes
6. Examples of 5-Star Blogs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When writing, keep in mind the blogs you read and attempt to replicate what you like about the post. Look at the structure/design of the blog posts, the use of images, videos, and links, the spacing, the title & subtitles, the text styles, the word choices, the categories and tags, and anything else that grabs you.
7. How to do Market Research for a Blog Post 🖥
Before writing a blog thou must do market research.
To write blog posts that are valuable for readers, research and familiarize yourself with the industry you want to write about. You want to feel 100% comfortable writing 500 to 2000 words on a topic. The goal of market research is to find topics to write on that will resonate with the target audience. The worst thing is when you have spent hours writing a blog post that will never be seen because people are not searching for that information. We need to write blog posts that provide consumers with the information they are already searching for and write blogs that attract consumers interested in the business.
Use these 3 tips in combination with each other for the best results. ⬇️
1. Ask the Client Questions to Discover Blog Topics
Seek to understand the needs and requirements of your client. Take the time to learn the business, the industry, and the overall culture within the niche. Build rapport with your blog client and it will become immensely easier to write blog posts.
Tell me about your business?
How is business lately?
Are you operational during this lockdown?
What are your best selling products/services?
Have you done blogging before?
How would you describe your customers?
What are the top search terms that you want to rank for?
What topics do you feel are necessary to blog?
What is the most crucial aspect(s) of your brand?
What problems does your product or service solve?
2. Use Google and YouTube Search Results to Find Blog Topics
You can use Google and YouTube search results to know what articles or videos are thriving now and that are related to the topic you will be writing. Read the articles that are similar to the blog topic you will write to get some inspiration. You can start out with a pretty generic topic and then niche it down as you get inspired by other blogs/websites/videos.
Alternatively, if you type the first few letters or words of a topic, Google & YouTube will automatically display related popular search terms (refer to the screenshot below). This is one of my favourite ways to find a blog topic because it instantly shows me related topics to write on. Plus, the Google & Youtube pop-up search results are the most popular topics right now. These related topics are also much more niche. Often I start my market research by searching a broad topic like 'dogs' and then narrow it down as I find related topics (dogs>dogs that don't shed).
3. Use Google Trends to Spot Blog Topics
Use Google Trends to find the top trending and relevant topics in a business niche. With this tool, we can search for topics related to what you need to write about. For example, you are drafting an article about dogs but you can’t quite think of a topic to narrow down on. Search ‘dogs’ in Google Trends and receive real data about trending topics within the dog industry. The software shows you related topics and search terms to ‘dogs’, as well as displaying search volume graphs. It is easy to tell if a topic is being searched more or less, over time by quickly reviewing the charts.
Write down the best blog ideas that are backed by healthy data. Continuing our example, when I search ‘dogs’ I found a topic called ‘dog booties’ which are shoes for dogs. Google Trends tells me they are a breakout topic meaning searches are way up. The data tells me over the last 12-months this topic is skyrocketing in searches. I did a quick Google search and found out they are specifically non-slip dog shoes. That will be my blog post topic; Top 6 Non-Slip Dog Booties for Big Dogs.
Tip: Use the Country drop-down in the top right corner to get results tailored to your area. Google Trends default location is the United States.
HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator
HubSpot's Blog Ideas Generator is an amazing free tool to help you get inspired on topics to write about. Simply type in up to 5 nouns related to your topic and click "Add" to submit each one. After that click "Give Me Blog Ideas" and now you have 100's of topics to write on.
I entered the nouns "website", "simple", and "fast" and one of the suggestions I got was: "Website: Expectations vs. Reality".
Click the link below to try out the HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator for yourself!
8. How to do SEO for Blogs 📈
Performing search engine optimization (SEO) and carrying out market research for your blog is quite similar and they can often be done at the same time. The key distinction to understand is that when we are doing SEO, we are solely focused on making our blog rank #1 in search engines. To do this we must find relevant and popular search terms or keywords for our post (alongside a few other things we will get in to later). We need to create a list of at least 20 different search terms that we can subtly add throughout the blog post. Therefore, while you are 'SEOing' for your post please have a Google Doc ready to write on. After you have made your list you will return to your blog draft and edit in these search terms where they fit.
Tip: Do NOT keyword stuff. That will have the opposite effect and actually hurt your SEO rankings.
Your readers will search for your blog post using various terminology. For instance, someone may search 'how to write a blog', 'how to make money from blogging', or 'blog guide 2020' to find this article you are reading now. We must find out all the relevant search terms for our post like the example above, as well as rank #1 on those terms. Imagine you are searching 'blog guide 2020' and find my how-to blog guide on the third page of Google- you would never get that far. Now imagine you search again and find my blog as the first result- do you think that would be beneficial for my blog? (YES!)
Keyword Definition: A keyword is a word or set of words that Google advertisers create for a given ad group to target their ads to customers.
Search Term Definition: A search term is an exact word or set of words a consumer enters when searching on Google.com or other search engines.
Keywords can be beneficial to use in SEO because we may access the search terms our competition is paying to advertise against. Understanding how many companies are paying for an ad and for what price can help us determine if the keyword is popular or not. Use your own judgement there.
Keywords Everywhere Tool
We can use the Keywords Everywhere tool to get the top related keywords for any topic we need (remember that keywords are different than search terms). The Keywords Everywhere tool is a browser extension that works with Google to show you even more related keywords for your blog topic (refer to the screenshot below). Please note, this is now a premium tool that requires payment to use all the features. Although it is still FREE to use the related keywords feature, we just can't view the data. We can use the Google Trends tool to access the data. I still highly recommend this tool- I use the free version all the time.
Click to download Keywords Everywhere: https://keywordseverywhere.com/
Google Keyword Planner
Similarly to the Keywords Everywhere tool, we can use the Google Keyword Planner tool (for FREE) to discover the most popular & relevant keywords to use for our blog post SEO. You may need to create a Google Ads account to access the tool. Within the Google Keyword Planner, you are able to discover new keywords, view search volumes, and obtain forecasts of how a keyword may perform in the future. Again, remember that keywords and search terms vary slightly in meaning. Keywords are a word or set of words advertisers use to run PPC ads against whereas search terms is a word or set of words consumers use to look up information on search engines.
If your business or client has Google Analytics, use this data to help create a list of keywords. Within Google Analytics you can see the search terms & keywords that are generating the most traffic & interest for the website. You can use the Google Keyword Planner, the Keywords Everywhere tool, or the Google Trends tool to verify the most searched keywords related to your client’s business. Place keywords strategically throughout your blog to ensure you optimize your post for search engines. Do NOT keyword stuff- this will do more harm than good.
It is also important to include high-quality links throughout your blog (links to other websites). Google uses high-quality links to determine the SEO and the quality of the blog. The best way to explain this is in an example; I am writing a review blog about a specific bicycle, and I will link the exact bike shopping-page, a review of the bike on youtube, and the specification of the bike throughout the blog post. All of these value-added content/ links benefit the reader and tells Google that our blog is high-quality.
Equally as important is image SEO. Optimize your images for search engines before uploading them! The file name should be descriptive, keyword-rich (and words separated with hyphens). The alternative text is read by the computer for those who are unable to see your images. Ensure that you include these on any image or video you use in your blog post. Visit the link to learn more image SEO.’
Local SEO for blog posts is exactly what it sounds like- ensuring your blog post ranks highly within a local area on search engines. Local SEO for blogs is a great strategy for people or businesses that depend heavily on surrounding areas for customers (restaurants, gyms, therapy clinics, office cleaners). The whole goal of Local SEO is to have your blog post show up when people from your area search. For instance, my company, Mango Digital, services Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Waterdown, Dundas, and surrounding areas and I want residents of those cities to see my blog post.
9. Blogging Best Practices for Writing Eyeball Stopping Blogs 🤓
Topic & Title
Pick a topic and explore various potential titles for your blog post. Remember to utilize keywords in your title. Create a captivating hook; your blog title is the first impression, and remember that 80% of people only read the headline! Ideally, keep your blog title 70 characters or less- if the title is more than 70 characters, it will get cut off by Google search results and display a partial title. Consider these two titles: A– “Use Olive Oil to Fry Your Egg” or B-“This One Ingredient Makes Frying 10 Times Better.” Which captures your interest more? A or B? Your headline should create interest- you only get one chance.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a must. Refer to the section ‘How to do SEO for Blogs’.
Categories & Tags
Ensure that you ‘categorize’ and ‘tag’ your blog post effectively so that consumers can easily navigate through blog posts on your website. Categories are broad topics and tags are specific like keywords or search terms.
The main goal is always to provide value to the target reader. You do not want the blog to be too short where it has no depth. On the other hand, you want to avoid writing long, dull posts. How-to blog articles tend to be longer than news articles. Also, some blogs are living (constantly being updated) whereas other posts are not. The point is to understand the purpose/value of the blog post. That will give you a good reference for how long the post should be. The length of my average blog article is roughly 1500 words, although I do have posts that are less than 150 and I am very happy with their outcome.
You will need to add images or videos to your blog post to create easy reading and improve SEO. Ensure photos are owned by the client, yourself, or are stock images and credit the source. Unsplash or Pexels are great resources for free stock images. In 2020 and beyond video is king- if you can add a relevant video(s) to your blog it will drastically improve the performance.
It is always helpful to be inspired by other people’s work; there is a saying, “good artists copy, and great artists steal.” However, be respectful and always cite your sources at the bottom of the page.
10. [BONUS] How to Build a Relationship with a Blog Client 🥳
Once your blog post is ready, you will need to share it with the client through a Google Drive or another remote-sharing software. That is so the client can add suggestions and or edits. Google Drive has an amazing feature where you can share the document with the client; though, they can only add comments. Again, it is key to remember that not all client suggestions require implementing. Include the following in your Google Document:
All the relevant keywords at the end of the document
Remember that you are the expert! The client is working with you because you know how to write blogs. The client will want many things done, and it is your job to direct their needs into blogs that will provide value.
A little miscommunication can lead to delays and failed results. As you create content, keep everyone in the loop (the client, project lead, and web developer). Email and phone are often the most beneficial ways to communicate with the client. However, it is best to do the first meeting in-person before the project starts. Come to the meeting prepared to ask questions and get vital information. Meetings can often become unnecessary when they are ill-prepared.
Again, the goal of blogging is not to sell a product or service. It is helpful to remember that while managing the client relationship. It will allow you to communicate what they can expect out of the blogs (brand awareness and interest, website SEO, increased web traffic). Additionally, the client will know how they can manage and measure the success of the blog.
Photos by Oberlo