Writing a Brilliant Blog Post

Howard Lerner

Howard Lerner

Writing a Brilliant Blog Post

Writing a Brilliant Blog Post

Writing a Brilliant Blog Post

Writing a blog post is the most effective way to improve your online authority.

After all, 87 percent of shoppers start their buying journey with a web search. Even when that customer purchases from a physical store, they almost always educate themselves online, before getting in the car.

Think about all the businesses you interact with every week. Of those, how many have a website you’ve visited? It’s probably more than you realize. Googling a business is an almost reflexive action.

We don’t just visit a website to shop for products, make appointments, or do deep research. We also visit to:

Those short visits, where people pop in to get a quick question answered, present valuable opportunities for bloggers. Simply finding directions to your shop can lead to deeper engagement – if you’ve got the content.

Think of it this way, if you operate a bakery and a visitor pokes their head in the door just to ask when you close, they’re probably going to smell something delicious.

For a bakery business, aroma is content.

Of course you’ll tell the visitor that you close at 6pm, but the aroma of freshly baked cookies will almost certainly elicit some sort of emotional response and a comment.

For a bakery business, a comment about aroma is engagement.

The deeper the engagement, the more likely they’ll stick around. The longer they stick around, the more likely they are to buy.

Blog content works the same way.

Customers always prefer to buy from those who demonstrate professional expertise and passion for their craft. Blog posts do both, and more.

Our culture values writers. Generally, we tend to believe what we read, even more than what we watch on video. That’s why so many successful business professionals write books – even if they have to self-publish. Writing is a path to public speaking opportunities and industry thought leadership.

A blog elevates the reputation of a business in three ways:

  1. by tapping into the cultural belief that people who write are experts in their subjects
  2. by demonstrating a passion for the products and services in which the reader is interested
  3. by being generous with valuable information

Producing quality content, regularly, will also impress Google. New content is a well-documented ranking factor for all search engines. A ranking factor is a metric used to determine whether your content will be served to visitors searching for websites such as yours.

It’s been said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Same with blogging. If you’re not blogging regularly for your business, start now.

Finding a blog post Subject

There are two approaches to identifying a great blog post subject:

  1. Write what you know
  2. Write what your audience wants to know

Write What you Know

You’re an expert in your subject area. You’ve been doing what you do for a long time and your audience visit your website to be informed and inspired.

Ask yourself:

What brought you into this industry?
The answer is likely what your reader’s find interesting, too. Remember the early days and tap into that excitement and fear about jumping into something new. What would your current, experienced self tell the younger inexperienced you?

How does the reality of your industry compare with the fantasy?
This is an excellent way to establish yourself as an experienced veteran in your field. You know where all the landmines are located and can help newbies navigate. That’s value and expert positioning.

What are your biggest challenges?
This question can be expanded into several lines of inquiry. There are daily tactical challenges and long-term strategic challenges. For instance, as a web developer, my daily challenges include keeping up with client requests and responding to new business opportunities. My long-term challenges include educating myself about advances in web development technology and marketing my services.

I can write about regular maintenance tasks that clients can easily perform for themselves with no cost. I can also write about how I educate myself and keep my skills relevant. Both of these lines – short-term and long-term – are fertile ground for blog post ideas.

Write What Your Audience Wants To Know

Tapping into your readers’ interests (and the behaviors that drive those interests) is the most popular approach to finding great blog topics. There is so much data out there for free, it would be a waste not to take advantage of it.

Look to your email inbox for blog post topics.
Clients are an excellent source of topics because they tell you what they’re interested in. Scan your email inbox. Find the last five questions you were asked by clients. You’ll probably discover a handful of the most commonly asked questions. Turn each question into a blog post.

There’s another incentive to turn common client questions into blog posts. Every time you post an answer, it will save you from the need to answer that question by phone, email, or text.

I went through my inbox and came up with:

  • How do I maintain my website after it’s published?
  • What if I want to add a new feature to my website a year after the site is built?
  • I’m getting a weird message whenever I log in. What does it mean?
  • How do I generate more leads with my website?
  • I keep forgetting my password. How do I create strong passwords and still remember them?

For every client who asks a question, you can safely assume there are hundreds or thousands people out there who are too shy or busy to reach out for help.

Ask your receptionist
When I’m building a website for a professional, I always ask the client’s receptionist for the five most frequently asked questions. Those questions can help me understand what their customers want from the website. Whoever answers your business phone is a great source of blog post ideas.

Let Google tell you what to write
Here’s an interesting observation: nobody lies to Google. Nobody enters words into a search engine just to look cool or impress people with their smart-looking browser history. Google and Bing are where customers go to get their most urgent questions answered.

Position yourself as the source of answers.

Google Trends delivers relevant topics
Let’s say you’re a mental health counselor searching for a good blog post subject. Google Trends is a tool that will show you the most popular search topics of the moment and whether they’re trending up or down. Think of it like Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 Hits – but for the world’s interests rather than pop music.

Today, the top three trending searches in the United States are:

  1. Recon Expert – a new Fortnite video game skin is being released and more than 20,000 people have searched the topic. Could a post about the most popular video game in history and its effects on mental health be interesting to lots of readers? Certainly.
  2. George Floyd – Yesterday was a tragic day in Minneapolis. Police are under fire for the death of a civilian. What does that sort of stress do to the population of a city. A graphic video of the incident can traumatize viewers and children. Sounds like a very interesting topic for a mental health blog post.
  3. SpaceX Launch – What could be a more hopeful subject for such a bleak time than civilians being launched into space? How does good news and wonder affect our well being?
Blog posts can reference trends
Google Trends tells you what people are searching in real time.

I like to search without a topic and let Google tell me what people are interested in. But you can enter your specific topic and drill down to your target audience for clues. You can even find out what’s trending in your city or county – perfect for businesses wishing to connect with local customers.

There’s always a relevant angle to pursue. And, if you apply your niche to the most popular topic on Google, you’ll likely strike a nerve, generate traffic, and inspire engagement.

Write Long Blog Posts

Google wants to serve its search users the most relevant and substantial content. According to Hubspot, the internet’s authority on content marketing, the ideal blog post length should be 2,100 to 2,400 words.

Based on studies of thousands of their own wildly popular blog posts, Hubspot researchers report that the average post was 2,332 words. Of course, the nature of your subject and your format matters.

List blog posts, or “listicles,” are a popular format we’ve all seen. Just about any subject can be made into a list post.

  • a numbered list of steps to organize your home office
  • a list of the best restaurants in a neighborhood
  • five ways to improve your credit score

Listicles are effective because the reader has an option to consume the entire long post or easily scan the content, which can be bullet points or headers with text description.

Consider a blog post “table of contents”

For extremely long content, 3,000 words or more, consider using a post “table of contents (ToC).” The feature allows visitors to jump to the content most relevant to them. It also helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because Google sometimes adds ToC jump links to search results, amplifying the visibility of your post.

Contact your WordPress consultant for ToC installation options.

Link to Other Websites

The internet is all about sharing information. Search engines such as Google and Bing reward content that encourages readers to expand their understanding of the topic by linking to other websites.

Just make sure that, when the reader clicks on a link to another website, that content opens in a new browser tab. After all, you don’t want to lose visitors, you just want to provide an additional resource.

the best blog posts contain external links
Always open external links in a new browser tab.

Link to content within your own website

You’ve spent a lot of time and effort building out your own website content. Make sure you’re getting full credit for your work. Feel free to reference your own content by connecting relevant internal pages and posts using “internal links.”

Internal links work exactly like external links, but even easier. I wrote a post about the value of blogging several months ago. It might be a good idea to link visitors to that older post, providing a richer experience.

WordPress makes it easy to find relevant content for internal linking.

  • Highlight the word or words you’d like to associate with a link (ex: “that older post” in the previous paragraph).
  • Click the “chain link” icon at the top of the editor.
  • Type a relevant word into the box and WordPress will suggest posts and pages to link.
  • Click the down angle and select “open in new tab.”
  • Click “enter” and your internal link is done.

Identify a blog post focus keyword

Every blog post must have one main point. The term “keyword” actually refers to either a single word or a phrase that defines the essence of the post.

For this post, the keyword is “blog post.”

Make sure the focus keyword prevalent throughout your blog post. Include it in your headers, image captions, and paragraphs. Don’t pack your content with the focus keyword. Use natural language, otherwise the post may appear spammy.

Overuse of keywords is called “keyword stuffing” and may be penalized by Google. This post scores 99 percent with Rank Math and has a keyword density of 1.46 percent, which means the focus keyword appears in this 2,567-word post 38 times (38 / 2567 = .0148 or 1.48 percent).

Optimize your blog post with an SEO Tool

Search Engine optimization is the science of formatting website content for maximum search engine rank. Sites with high rank appear at or near the top of search results.

SEO is a huge topic, but the process is made easier with the help of an SEO plugin such as Yoast or Rank Math. These tools are installed in your WordPress dashboard, giving you instant feedback about the elements of your post that Google and Bing care about most. These elements are called “ranking factors” because they are the most important levers that can be adjusted to make your website content, including blog posts, attractive to search engines.

Ranking factors monitored by SEO tools include:

Focus Keyword – the word or phrase that represents the essence of your blog post.

Use of the Focus Keyword – the frequency and placement of your focus keyword throughout the post.

Blog Post Length – is your content long enough to be considered relevant to Google?

Keyword Density – how often is your focus keyword appear in your blog post relative to other words. Shoot for one to two percent density.

External Linking – make sure you link to other resources on the web to provide a richer experience for your readers.

Title Readability – The most effective blog post titles include the focus keyword, a positive or negative word, a power word and a number.

Content Readability – use short paragraphs and images to break up text and improve the reading experience. Try to write your blog posts so an eighth grader can understand.

Blog Post Excerpt – your blog post should also feature a short description that will appear under the title when you share the post through social media, email marketing, and featured post teasers throughout your website.

Featured Image – you can include as many images as you like within your blog post, but always select one image as your “featured image.” This image will represent your post whenever you share the post link on social media or through email marketing.

SEO tool scores your blog post.
Most SEO tools will give you a score or a green light when your post has satisfied all the ranking factors.

Share your blog post

Once you click “publish,” your post is live on the internet for anyone in the world to see. Of course, you can still edit and update the post if you need to add additional content, correct grammar, update external links.

Subcribers to your blog can receive new posts delivered to their email inboxes. Make sure you have a blog subscription call-to-action enabled on your website.

MailChimp, a popular email marketing tool, makes it easy to automatically send out new blog posts to your entire email list. It’s also good for creating a list from scratch. You can get a free Mailchimp account and send out tons of emails and blog post updates to up to 2,500 subscribers.

Sharing your posts on social media is a great way to increase engagement. The post link will automatically include the featured image, blog post title, and post excerpt.

example of blog post link rendered by Twitter
If you’ve added a featured image, title, and excerpt, your blog post will look great on social media. The image above is how Twitter will display a link back to this post.

Include a Call-To-Action

Brilliant blog posts inspire action. If your reader has stayed with you until the end, there’s probably some trust established. Calls-to-Action are buttons (see the orange button below) or forms or even simple asks that you make of your visitors to increase engagement and sales conversions.

If you’d like help making your business blog search-friendly, readable, and actionable, let DecemberPress design and optimize your site for maximum clicks.

And that’s how you write a brilliant blog post. Of course there are endless ways to optimize your content, but if you follow these steps, you can be confident your blog post will be findable, readable, and engaging to your visitors.

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