Blogging and the blog writing process can be easy if you follow a few simple steps.
1) Decide On Your Topic & Aim
Before you start writing a blog you need to first know what you are going to blog about, sounds obvious doesn’t it? However people new to blogging will often begin writing with no real aim, or topic, this can make it very difficult to see any real result from your efforts.
You should treat blog writing like any other marketing technique, you should first understand what it is you are trying to achieve, here are a few examples of possible aims of your blog writing.
Possible Blog Aims
- Brand Awareness
- Provide Useful Information To Your Community
- To Appear As A Professional In Your Industry
- SEO Keyword Targeting
- SEO Link Building
- Attracting Links From Other Bloggers
- Manually Seek Out Other Bloggers To Link With
You may be able to think of more aims but you get the idea… They will make the blog writing process a lot easier.
Choosing The Topic
The overall topic of your blog will already be determined; mine for example focuses on the huge topic of “internet marketing”. Each blog post will also have a topic which should relate to a “category” on your blog.
There are a few techniques I use when trying to think of what to blog about.
- Current events (in your industry or related to your industry)
- What are people searching for and already finding your site for (what can you improve your rankings for).
- Using what you have already written up for “offline” purposes. (In the past I have written training documents, procedure documents etc… these can be “tweaked” for blog use.)
- Things you have learnt recently.
- Answers to questions you may have been asked recently.
- Write a product review or service review.
2) Research & Preparation
You should always try to research your post before starting to write it, this piece of advice is easier said than done, as quite often this is where I fall down with my blogging.
In theory your should perform some aspects of “keyword research” to determine if people are a) searching for the topic you have chosen to blog about and b) the keywords they are actually typing into the search engines. This research will help you drive traffic through to your website once the post has been created. There is very little point in spending the time writing if nobody is going to be able to find what you have written!
You can use many tools online for finding these keywords, pay attention to your Google Analytics keyword referrals reports and also check out the search queries report in Google Webmaster Tools.
You should also determine how many other bloggers have covered the topic, and how well they have covered it. You should also look at how they have promoted their post and the types of people who have commented on their posts, this will give you an insight into the “audience” your blog post should be written for.
If possible try to approach the topic slightly differently to other bloggers (even offer and opposite opinion), this will help provide more value to your post and will also help you promote your post in later stages.
If you are going to need some graphics creating, make sure you spend time using Photoshop to produce these. Always try to use original graphics, photos and artwork where possible. If you are going to include an “info graphic” in your post to help explain your topic, make sure you spend time creating a professional looking graphic, if you are not very skilled in Photoshop then consider outsourcing the production of these graphics.
You should always try to appear to be giving high quality information, if your graphics are low quality then you are going to struggle to convince people, and make them “trust” that you know what you are talking about. (Pay attention to the image file names, as you may get traffic via Google image search.)
The best bloggers are the people who research and prepare thoroughly, they are often the people who have the best success with using blogging as a marketing and promotional technique.
3) Create The Post
Now you should have researched and prepared the post, chosen the topic and bullet pointed what you want to cover, you should be well placed to start writing the post.
Try to stick to one style of writing, this will depend on the website you are writing for, if it is your own site then that’s fine. If you are writing for somebody else’s blog try to emulate their writing style.
I always try to write in such a manner that it reflects my personality, mainly because it is easier and more natural to me. (Be careful if you are blogging on behalf of a company or guest blogging for somebody else.)
Use the keyword research you have done in order to give your post the best chance of driving traffic through to your website.
Make sure you Optimise your post <title> tags, <meta> “description” and “keywords” tags. These will help the posts rank within the search engines and also help people find and read the post. Also make sure you mention your keywords throughout the post.
When writing if you mention other people or other posts on your own site then make sure you place a link through to them, this will help give your post more of an authentic feel and also help produce those all important “deep links” to other parts of your website. These deep links will help the search engines find and index all parts of your website. There is a great knock on effect from linking to other bloggers in your own posts, these links will create a “pingback” to their blog, effectively alerting them that you have linked to them, if they approve these “pingbacks” an automatic link will be placed back to your post at the bottom or their post (a method of SEO link building).
Proofread! Always make sure you proof read your writing before making it LIVE, I have learnt this the hard way, in the past I have had my readers tell me that I have left a typo or a spelling mistake in the post.
This is obviously not very professional.
I usually write all my posts in Microsoft Word or similar, this way I can take advantage of the spellchecking facilities, and also gives me the opportunity to save my work for use offline, I may be able to use what I have written as training material for my staff in my day job! Or use it when I give talks at colleges etc…
4) Promote The Post
Remember that with each post you write you are trying to add a small amount of traffic to your website, targeting monthly searches by your potential readers.
This step is vital in the success or failure of a blog post! Just because you have written something doesn’t mean people will find it. Sometimes you need to give it a little push, tell people about the great piece of content you have produced!
Spread the word over the social media channels; tell your Twitter followers, your FaceBook friends, your connections on LinkedIn etc… Some of these people will not only read your post but depending on your relationship to these people they may also share and promote it for you! FANTASTIC! (a large element to the success of this tactic is knowing how to build yourself a network.)
Social Media Groups, these can be very useful in helping promote your blog post. Join the LinkedIn or FaceBook groups which are related to your post topic (and overall blog topic). It is important that you are seen to be an active member of these groups, and not simple seen as a spammer. Place links to your blog posts on the “wall” of these groups, encourage some discussion around the subject via these groups. Often you will see that the community will comment either on the post itself or comment on the wall of the social media site, this will give you a great opportunity to respond and build your network and reader base.
Another great tactic is to find other bloggers writing similar posts to yours, comment on their blog posts pointing them back to your “useful” source of information. When you do this make sure you are seen to be adding value to their post, this way your comment is more likely to be approved. (adding a backlink to your post from a related webpage).
5) Backlink Building
An important part of running and promoting your website is to actively seek out and build backlinks. Blogging is no different; you should always try to build links to your individual blog posts. This is great as it will also help the SEO of your site overall – “The Rising Tide Lifts All Ships”, (read more about this saying on the SEOmoz site http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-rising-tide-lifts-all-ships).
There are various methods you can use for building links back to your blog post, I have already mentioned a couple (Social Media Mentions and Blog Commenting).
You can also try the following:
- RSS Feed Submissions
- Reciprocal Link Exchanges With Other Bloggers (Scratch My Back & I Will Scratch Yours)
- One Way Link Exchange (Seek out other sites containing your keywords and approach them for a one way link back to your post.)
- Link Baiting – Providing a useful source of information which will naturally build links.
- Ego Baiting – Massage somebody’s ego, tell them how good they are and they will likely link back to you, sing their praises in your blog post, and they will likely link to it. (we all like to be made to feel good).
- Guest Posting – When you write for somebody else, try to include a link back to your blog posts.
- Article Submissions – Write similar articles and reference your blog post within it, submit these articles to article directories.
6) Re-Visit The Post.
Now your post is live and has had links built to it you would be forgiven for thinking that you have finished with that particular post. You would be right in some instances, but generally there are always things you can do to improve the post and its performance. You may find that your post is being found for various other search terms (by looking through your traffic reports in Google Analytics) these additional search terms should be added to the content of your post (if appropriate to do so) when you discover them.
Your posts should always grow and evolve if you are to achieve the best result for your website, you should always try to spot link building opportunities for each and every post you write.
I hope my 6 steps have helped you understand the blog writing process and will help your blog acheive what you have set out to. As always if you liked the post or would like to add to it please fill out my comments section below.
You can also follow me on Twitter @Andy_Morley.