It seems every business wants to blog these days: To position their organization and people as thought leaders and to increase their SEO, driving more traffic to their websites. Which is great news for us at Glance, since that’s a big part of what we do!
But in the race to produce more and more content, we often see organizations forgetting some of the important best practices that transform a blog post from “just another piece of content” into a piece of content that actually makes a difference. We brought our heads together to bring you the blogging best practices that we think are the most important things to remember when blogging.
Define your blogging purpose
Andrea Vacl: If you’re going to be spending time and effort (or maybe money) on blogging it’s important that you have a purpose or goal in mind. Decide one thing that you would like for your business which blogging can help with and let that be your guide.
For example, let’s say you want to attract more ideal clients to your business. Picture your ideal client and then ask yourself what do they care about, what are they interested in reading, and in what voice do they like to be spoken to? Let those answers help you while deciding what will be on your blog and how it will be presented.
Taking a little time to define your blog’s purpose has a lot of benefits. Having a purpose for your blog can help you achieve your business goals, give more meaning and drive to your blogging efforts, as well as help shape and differentiate your blog content.
Open with a bang!
Mike Valenti: According to modern science, you have a seven-second window to make a great first impression – and the digital world is no different in cementing your reputation. Command their attention early with a seductive title and a killer opening paragraph that leaves them no choice but to dive deeper into your content. In order to earn eyes all the way to the bottom of the page, it has to pass the “why should someone care” test.
This prime real estate provides the opportunity to capture their imagination and let the reader know what type of value they can expect from the rest of your content. They need to know what type of new knowledge they can expect to acquire or what problem you’re helping them solve.
Digital marketing is all about earning your audience’s attention with inspired copy, which led advertising legend, David Ogilvy to once proclaim, “the headlines which work best are those that promise the reader a benefit.”
Use colourful, impactful and exquisite language as the key ingredients to your prologue and watch how many people will stay tuned to read the full story.
Ditch the sales pitch
Julie Ford: While the ultimate goal of any business blog is to generate sales, it’s not the right place to talk specifically about the features and benefits of your products and services. No one likes being sold to. The second your reader starts to feel like they’re being sold to, they’re gone!
What should you blog about then? One easy place to start is by blogging about the challenges that you solve for your customers. Rather than explaining why you’re the best company to solve the challenge, share your knowledge and expertise on the subject.
People want to do business with people and companies they trust. So focus on establishing yourself and your company as experts at what you do. Gaining target customers’ trust will help you get more business than any sales pitch ever will!
Always include a call-to-action
Josh Kern: One of the worst things you can do when publishing a blog post is to leave the reader with no place to go next. It’s critical to give them some place to go—another piece of content, a contact form, even just a phone number and a message to “call us”—so that they don’t finish reading your article and them move on to another website (such as the competition’s). So always include a call-to-action (CTA) somewhere on each post.
Ideally, you want that CTA to guide your reader on their buying journey. So if your blog is a top-of-funnel piece, that helps the reader identify or familiarize themselves with the problem they need solved, your CTA should lead them to a piece of content that helps them identify the solutions to their problem. If your blog post is solution-specific, then your CTA should be more sales-ready, like “book a demo” or “Take a tour.”
But even if it’s just a link to another related piece of content in the same funnel stage, just make sure you don’t leave your reader hanging!
Keep these four things in mind, not just when you’re writing your next blog, but when you’re considering your overall content marketing strategy. They’ll go a long ways towards helping ensure your content marketing efforts are successful!