You needn’t be a professional copywriter or experienced marketer to write business blogs. To improve your blog posts, you just need to know how to use them to your advantage.
Whether you can knock out a quick article in under 30 minutes, or spend hours agonising over the right opening line to snag your audience, the most important thing to remember is that you know your business better than anyone else.
Couple that with these four essential steps, and you can improve your blog posts and increase your chances of converting readers.
1. Choose the right topics
Content marketing agency professionals spend years honing the craft of topic ideation and delivery – it’s why they’re so good at taking businesses large and small to the next level.
But you don’t have to be a content marketing expert to recognise the importance of choosing the right topics. After all, without an interesting topic, no one is going to read your blogs. And if no one reads your blogs, your online presence will suffer greatly.
So just how do you choose the right topics? Start by asking yourself the following:
- What are you passionate about? If you’re not interested in the topic, or it’s not relevant to your business, that will seep into your writing and turn off the reader.
- Who’s the audience? As a business owner, you likely cater to multiple demographics and have more than one target audience. Do your blogs appeal to everyone, or are they niche topics where you can drive readers towards a particular product or service?
- Is it evergreen? An ‘evergreen’ blog is one that has long-term appeal. It’s important to publish evergreen content as it means readers will visit your blog and still gain something of value months – and even years – down the track.
- Has someone already written about it? If so, is it a top-quality blog with high amounts of traffic? Can you improve on it? If not, it might be wiser to find a different topic.
2. Learn how to conduct keyword research
Keywords are the specific terms people enter into Google in order to find what they’re looking for. Knowing what keywords relate to your business and how to optimise your articles will improve your blog posts and even inform your content strategy.
If you’re just getting started on the technical side of blogging and the phrase ‘keyword research’ sounds the alarm, an online resource like Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO is a great place to start. Chapter five specifically focuses on keyword research, but there’s plenty of other useful material in the guide.
If you’re a freelance writer, you might like to check out our online course, Build Your Freelance Content Writing Business to learn about keyword research, finding work, rates and much more.
After you’ve decided on several topics you want to write about, take the following steps:
- Assign keywords to each topic: Brainstorm some keywords and key phrases that you think will relate to your topic. But remember that common terms for a café, for example, like ‘food’, ‘coffee’ and ‘breakfast’ are highly competitive and likely won’t be useful on their own. The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a good place to start.
- Use related search terms: Just punching in a few relevant search terms in Google will show you related searches. If you run a pet store, for example, and search for ‘cats as pets’, when you scroll to the bottom of that first search page you’ll see a box of related search terms like ‘cats vs dogs facts’, ‘having a cat as a pet’ etc. – all useful key phrases for your next pet blog.
- Use short- and long-tail keywords: As above, don’t just stick to the stock-standard keywords like ‘food’ and ‘coffee’ for your café blog. While you can certainly use them in your blog, also focus on long-tail keywords like ‘café breakfast menus’ and ‘best cafes in Sydney CBD’, depending on your location and offering.
3. Optimise your blogs
With Google declaring content as one of its top three ranking factors, you need to know how to optimise yours. But like the term ‘keyword research’, seeing ‘SEO’ might make you run for the hills.
Thankfully, SEO is very user-friendly once you wrap your head around the core elements. These elements are where you should insert your main keywords – though keep the language natural at all times:
- Title tag: This is the first thing your readers will see on Google’s search engine results page (SERP). You’ll want to include your best keyword in the first 60 characters of the title tag.
- URL: Yes, even your URL needs to have a cadence to it. It should be the same – or similar – to your title tag and include your keyword as well. No blog post’s URL should look like this: http://www.sydneycafeandrestaurant.com/blog/jdrus58!?jda-39s/
- Meta description: This sits under your title tag on the SERP and is a chance for the reader to see what your blog is about. Between 150 and 170 characters is a good limit – any longer and Google will cut off your description halfway through.
- Image alt text: The alt text appears in place of an image for the vision impaired, or if an image doesn’t load. Alt text is indexed, so when you’re describing the image, include a keyword. But keep it short – under 125 characters is optimum.
- The rest: For the header and body copy of your actual blog, just use your keywords wherever they fit naturally. But whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of keyword stuffing – you’ll be heavily penalised.
4. Don’t just blog – target your audience with quality content
While the first three steps involve research and technical nous, the final – and most important – step in improving your blog posts is to create something people actually want to read!
Yes, you can be a master at SEO and hit the top of Google SERPs for a range of high-ranking keywords, but if the content is poor then you’ll have a bounce rate higher than a jumping castle at a kid’s birthday party.
So consider Steps 2 and 3 here as the ‘guts’ of the blogging operation, and Steps 1 and 4 as its ‘heart’. You want your content to drive your readers towards an action – whether that’s a sale, downloading an information pack or engaging with your social channels. To achieve this, you need to target the right audience and provide them with insights they can’t get anywhere else.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years, a content strategy review will reveal all the areas that need improvement. With content experts who really get your business and brand, you can gain insights on exactly how to plug those gaps. Contact us today to find out more.