Blogging as a form of inbound marketing is both equally important and challenging. If you are like most busy people, finding topics to write about can be as cumbersome and time consuming as writing the blog itself. It can cause a lot of stress, especially if you don’t consider yourself a writer. One simple thing to keep in mind is you don’t need to be a writer to be able to write great blog content. You do, however, need to understand the basic anatomy of what makes a great blog post, know and understand what you are selling, and know your audience. If you have those three basic fundamentals down, you can begin writing confidently. Add in a little practice, and you will quickly learn that it isn’t a source of stress but an opportunity to set your business apart from the rest.
Why do we need to blog?
There are many hidden benefits of blogging. It not only helps you become a better salesperson and helps you understand your products and services through the eyes of your customers, but it shows that you are a credible, valuable, and reliable source of information about your industry. You become the goto person when a customer needs to know something… and wouldn’t you rather that customer find that through you as opposed to your competitors?
Are you ready to write?
First and foremost, when you begin blogging on a consistent basis, it’s important to map out what you will be writing about. Having an editorial calendar in place is a great way to be sure you are not only covering a broad range of topics, but also serves as a roadmap that will keep you on track.
If executed correctly, your editorial calendar will be your assignment book and tell you what you need to be writing about so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute for ideas, which is when most people seem to suffer from writer’s block.
Once you map out your road map with an editorial calendar, it’s time to start writing. We’ve compiled some tips to follow that will align with the anatomy of a great blog post.
The anatomy of a great blog post
Eye catching headline: People may not judge a book by its cover, but they most certainly will judge content by its title. Not only does your headline need to be eye catching, you need to tell the reader exactly what they will be reading. Don’t lure them in with a title that has nothing to do with what they are reading. If you do, you risk losing any future readers by false advertising.
Sub headings, bullets, and lists: It’s often a great idea to have a blog post that is broken up with sub headings, bullets, and lists. Not only is it a great way to break up wordy content and long paragraphs of text, it’s a great way for the reader to scan through blocks of content without having to read every single word. It’s common knowledge in the marketing industry that most readers on the Internet typically scan through articles before they commit to actually reading them. By using blocks of content, it’s also leads to a better user experience and is easier on the eyes than those posts that are extremely text heavy. Read more about how we read on the web.
Relevant and Great Content: A blog is not a diary of your personal experiences. The only exception to this rule is if you actually have a story to share that relates to your company or industry. Content needs to be precise, to the point, and targeted to your ideal audience or buyer personas. Online readers have even shorter attention spans (hence the aforementioned blocks of content) so getting to the point as quickly as possible is a must. Great topics to write about changes in your industry, social trends that impact the way we live, educational information, free tips, success stories, and case studies.
CTA (Call to Actions): Once you hook a reader and they take the time to read your post, you need to have a call to action. This is at the heart of what Inbound Marketing is and why it has become such a critical piece of a successful marketing strategy. What’s the next step that you want the reader to take? Do you want them to fill out a ‘request a quote’ form? Do you want them to download something? This needs to be specific and also be related to the blog post itself. For example, we use a call to action on all of our blog posts.
In this particular post, our call to action is for you to download our editorial calendar. This is a perfect call to action because it’s related to our blog post and it will help our readers create great content at no cost to them; but at the same time, we get to know a little about who is downloading our material because we ask for a name and email. By giving some free information to our readers through a call to action, it allows us to understand what resonates with our readers and how we can help them further.
Social Sharing Buttons: Having social sharing on your blog and individual blog posts is a must if you want to tap into the social media realm. When you have a blog post shared through social media, it’s like having a personal recommendation or referral. It gives your blog post some legs to walk on and gives you all the credit you deserve for your hard work. Get those social sharing buttons on you blog pronto if you don’t already use them.