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Posts Tagged ‘blog writing’


How to Use Keywords to Improve Your Blog’s Search Results

December 12th, 2011 ::

Keywords

If you have never thought to use keyword research as a way to improve the visibility of your blog posts, think again.

Whenever we search for information online, what do we do?  We do a Google (or Bing, or Yahoo) search.  It makes sense, then, that if you want your blog to get found and read (and shared and commented on), you should include the keywords people are currently using in their searches.

For instance, I just did a search for web video templates for another blog post I was writing.  Not only did I find companies that offer templates, but I found plenty of blog posts, articles, and videos about web videos in general and web video templates specifically in the search results.

Now, the term “web video” is a very broad keyword search term and is therefore pretty competitive.  Whether you are a management consultant, graphic designer, plumber, or attorney, you’ll run into the same problem: broad keywords won’t help you get found because they are used so often.

You need to do 2 things to find better keywords: 1.) get more specific and find less competitive keywords, and 2.) hone in on those keywords that could generate huge traffic.

Let’s use an attorney as our example, because I know a bunch of super fun and very capabile attorneys who must compete in this very broad category.

Our attorney specializes in employment law; specifically litigating discrimination cases.  He is writing a series of blog posts about employment law that are aimed at small businesses.

Using Market Samurai (you can download a free trial version that is good for 2 weeks), I searched “employment law” and got 47 million results.  This blog post, though, is a guide for small businesses – that gets 15.2 million results –that focuses on racial disrimination – that gets just under 3.5 million results.

So you see, the more our attorney focused on keywords specific to this particular blog post, the better the chance his blog post will be found online.

To really take advantage of search engine optimization, our attorney needs to use those keywords in the title of his post, in subheadings in the body of his post, in the text itself (of course!), and in the image tags.

Try it yourself and see if it helps your blog posts generate more traffic!

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae.

5 Quick Tips to Attract More Blog Readers

April 7th, 2011 ::

Mosaic of people readingIf you are struggling to attract and retain readers to your blog, the problem could be easily fixable.  Check out these five quick tips, and if you’re not already using them on your blog, time to start!

1. Provide relevant information

The number one rule when creating content for marketing purposes is to write and distribute relevant, useful information your readers want.

If you don’t know what your readers might be interested in reading, worry not.  It’s actually very easy to find out what information your readers are hungry for: You can either ask them by creating a quick survey, or do a little online research.  Take a look around Quora and LinkedIn Answers to see what questions are being asked, or use Google and Twitter to learn what topics are hot.

2. “You,” not “I”

Another content rule that is frequently broken is the emphasis on you and not your audience.  While it is oh-so-tempting to write about yourself, resist the urge.  In all honesty, we don’t care about you, we only care about ourselves.  Frame your blog posts so the emphasis is on your audience and their experience.

Now, there is a slight exception to this rule.  It is perfectly OK to use yourself or your company as an example in a blog post.  Say you are writing about cloud computing and are comparing several different backup solutions.  Your experience using those different solutions is really helpful to your audience, as you will be providing them a service with your critiques and recommendations.

3. Solve problems

Any marketing content you create should also address a problem your reader is having, from trying to figure out how to choose a florist for their wedding to creating the most attention-grabbing Facebook landing page possible.  What it really comes down to is education: the more educational your blog content, the better.

4. Stick to one idea per post

This tip is really more common sense than anything else.  If you write about multiple topics in one post, chances are no one will read it all the way through.  That’s due to the simple fact that you cannot possibly cover each topic thoroughly without making the post super long.  If it’s too long, readers will bail on you (or at least your blog post).  If no one finishes reading it, no one will share it, either, which isn’t good.

5. Style counts

With blog posts, both your writing and visual styles count for a lot.

For your writing style, focus on short paragraphs, one-sentence paragraphs, bulleted items and mini-headlines—all of these elements make the post quicker to read or skim.  Speaking of quick-to-read, leave out the SAT words and complicated sentences—you want to make your audience’s reading experience as pain-free as possible.

Visually, your blog posts should include a great graphic and have a neat and clean layout—lots of white space makes it easier to focus on the words.  Too much stuff in the sidebar(s), from ads to blog plug-ins, can be distracting.

Image by Flickr user m kasahara (Creative Commons)

The 5 Types of Blog Posts You Should Be Writing

January 19th, 2011 ::

A woman writingMixing up the types of blog posts you publish is crucial for a few reasons. One, you don’t want to bore your readers. Two, when you are building thought leadership, sharing your knowledge is just as important as opining on trends in your industry.  And three, taking the time to create a video, post someone else’s video (with your own commentary), or film a short video blog from the comfort of your desk is like hitting the SEO jackpot.

The key to success with any of the blog posts you write is to make sure they are keyword-rich.  Try using Scribe SEO or Zemanta—they are online tools that will ensure your blog posts contain the keywords that your customers use.  In no specific order, here are the 5 types of blog posts you should be writing:

1. How-to’s

These contain information your customers can actually use.  They are usually short and can be written quickly.  This blog post is the perfect example!

2. Fun

These are meant to be purely entertaining, and they are a great way to humanize your company.  Whether your customers are other businesses or consumers, everyone likes to put a face (and personality) with a name.  If done well (meaning, they really are funny), they’ll end up driving a lot of traffic to your blog and you’ll get lots of links.  Here’s a great example from Hubspot.

3. Opinion pieces

These are a great way to establish thought leadership, but they require time to write.  You can analyze trends; offer your view on a popular or emerging subject/tool/software/business process that is relevant to your audience; dissect someone else’s article, blog post or video; yor interview a thought leader in our industry—let them offer their opinion to your audience.   If you write a few times a week, I would only do an opinion piece once or twice a month.  Here’s an example, written by Ben Casnocha.

4. Bold contrarian opinion pieces

These are totally different from regular opinion pieces, which are more thoughtful in nature.  A bold, contrarian opinion piece is written to start a debate, ruffle feathers and generate a lot of attention.  You’ll most likely receive numerous comments, so be sure you can defend your statements.   Here’s an example, written by Penelope Trunk.

5. Series

A blog series will take time to write as well, as you will be delving down deep into a particular subject.  They will probably include a lot of links, screen shots, and maybe videos, but once you are done, you can turn the series into an e-book to sell or to use as a promotion to gain leads, new fans on Facebook, new subscribers to your newsletter, etc.  A great example is the three- part social media series I just wrote for the Network Solutions blog.

Image by Flickr user Brice Ambrosiak (Creative Commons)

9 Ideas for Great Blog Posts

June 21st, 2010 ::

Last fall I met a woman at a networking lunch who is a wedding planner.  When I suggested she start a blog, she asked me, “But, what would I write about?”  I almost spewed out my water all over the table!  Here is someone working in a zillion-dollar industry that is filled with drama, out-of-whack budgets and emotions, food and wine and open bars, and a diverse range of vendors and venues, and she thinks she has nothing to write about.  She could probably write a blog post every day, for pete’s sake!

While not all of us work in action-packed industries, thinking up ideas for blog posts is not that hard, especially when you consider that blog posts should not be that long. Here’s a list of topics that you can base your blog on, no matter what you do:

Industry best practices. You probably don’t think much about the products and knowledge you rely on to get the job done, so share it with the rest of us non-experts.  For example, if you’re a landscaper, tell me how short I should cut my grass during a hot summer when it’s not raining much.

What not to do. This is the opposite of best practices.  If you’re a dermatologist, write about how not to use sunscreen: put it on once, don’t reapply it after swimming, skimp on it, use a bottle from two years ago, use too low of an SPF, etc.

Helpful tips. Give people ideas on how to best use your product or service that they may have overlooked in the manual, on your website, or in your marketing materials. If it’s a nifty feature that no one else has, definitely write about that.

Success stories. Share how you’ve helped clients succeed.  It’s a great way to highlight how great your product or service is without sounding like you’re selling.  Include quotes if you can.

Lessons you’ve learned. By “lessons learned”, I do not mean broadcasting mistakes you’ve made but rather problems you’ve overcome for both clients and your own business.

Client interviews. Also known as a full-length testimonial!

Conferences and seminars. Write about the people you met, what you learned, new products you got to test out, etc. at conferences and seminars you attend.

Profiles of/interviews with industry leaders. You’ll look not only look plugged in and well-connected, but as a great source of information on where your industry has been, is right now, and headed in the future.

Vendors. I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who works in a bubble.  Write about the people and companies you work with to create and deliver your product or service.

On the very day I started writing this blog post, good old Hubspot published their own list of topics for great blog posts.  There is, surprisingly, very little overlap between our lists, so take a moment to read Hubspot’s tips for more ideas.