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blog-commentsWhy do some Blogs get tons of followers and comments and others just float in the cyber breeze, unbeknownst to all?  There has to be a reason!

There is – it’s strategy.

As with all things digital marketing you get the best results when you have a smart and comprehensive strategy guiding you.  Ready to dive into some strategy now?

Just a quick note – I’ve sprinkled some stats throughout the post that I found interesting.  You should also know that this post is made up of the knowledge I have from my years of Blogging experience and extensive testing.  I have generated hundreds of thousands of views on my content and know what I’m talking about.  Take some notes and most importantly, put this stuff into action right away. 

Let’s start with topics – that should be covered by your Editorial Calendar and content Marketing Strategy.  If that’s not in place, get on it people!

Understand what the goal of your piece is, which should be done as part of your content marketing strategy.  Without a clear purpose, it’s hard for the post to live up to your expectations.

The content is your opportunity to really show your knowledge and create the start of a relationship with your potential clients.  There are some guidelines that you should adhere to…

Let’s start with size.  Does it matter?  It certainly does!


Be Epic!

There are 2 kinds of posts and as if often the case, varying things a little is usually the best way to go.  Give your audience a bit of both. You can shoot for the epic post – the tell-all, in-depth, detailed post that really demonstrates your knowledge and allows your audience to walk away with a good working knowledge of your topic.  Those posts typically range between 1000-5000 words.  Huge range, I know.  Bottom line, it starts to become epic at about 1000 words and above 5000 you are no longer talking Blog post and are essentially publishing a little book!

And the less panic-inducing post is around 300-600 words.  You definitely don’t want to go less than 300, the engines don’t like it and you really don’t get to convey details in a post that is less than 300 words.

If you find yourself hitting that 5000 word mark frequently, first I want to meet you, and secondly you could always break it up into a 2 or 3 part series and get some extra momentum on the post by hyping parts two and three after the successful launch of post one.

A couple years ago we were advocating shorter posts, with the idea that less content in any given post meant you would probably turn out more posts.  Thankfully we’ve evolved to where it’s quality over quantity and you really need to use as many words as long as it takes to share meaningful information.  The engines appreciate content that goes deep, so you are fine there.

seoLet’s talk SEO for just a minute.  Google’s goal is to determine the theme of the page and then rank it for relevant queries.  You’ll use keywords in your copy but if you’ve done a good job of crafting the content and establishing the theme, you should rank for so many other words and phrases.  When you give Google a lot of content, there is more chance for them to see the broader theme and the nuances within it, which will lead to ranking for a multitude of “bonus” phrases.

Longer posts also allow for more sub-heads, links and more graphics – all of which give you the opportunity to add some extra optimization.

But – and yes, there is always a but – on the other side of the argument, longer posts sometimes alienate readers who skim and may become overwhelmed or readers that start reading and drop off.

To combat this, you have to pay a lot of attention to the quality of the writing, the formatting, the white space and the actual material you are sharing. It doesn’t help to get ranked well for a page that everyone abandons.

scroll-depthThe best thing to do when deciding on the length of posts is to see how your particular audience interacts with your content and tailor the length to them.  If your audience is hungry for info and greedily consumes every word – then you want to strive for longer posts to keep them satiated.

You can use in-page Analytics and various other tools (like Crazy Egg or Lucky Orange <my favorite>) to see how deep people scroll and where they click and engage with the page.

If you are going with a long post – make sure you include some stats and facts with proper source details, some graphics, little soundbites and quotes that can be shared on social.  In addition to news or facts, share some opinions and insights to make it personal and relatable.

If you are pushing 3000 words or more, try a little index or table of contents at the start so people not only see a teaser of what they will get but they can also jump right to certain areas of interest.

Keep the paragraphs short so there aren’t too many dense blocks.  Use images and don’t be afraid of white space.  Use bullets and bold and italicizing to break up the font.

assertiveDon’t be passive in your tone and voice, be direct and conversational and interesting. 

Quotes from influencers help keep people in engaged and help you when it comes time to promote the post.  Ping the influencer and let them know you gave them a shout-out and they will likely promote to their audience.

While things like formatting and structure matter, the truth is if the content is not compelling and informative and if it doesn’t appear credible, you are going to lose your readers.

know-your-audienceMake sure you always know who you are writing for.  You should have a persona defined and write in a tone and style that they can relate to.  Avoid jargon and lingo that will confuse and alienate them.

Always be sure you address their burning questions, needs, fears, challenges, pain points and make sure they know what’s in it for them.  If they are going to spend their time reading, you have to give them something in return.  A good laugh, an education on something, a solution.

Have a clear message or point that you share at the start and reiterate at the end.  Provide a summary or key insights and take-aways.

Be authoritative.  No wishy washy suggestions.  Be bold in your statements and back them up.

Consider yourself a journalist.  Which means always touch on the who, what, when, where, why and how.  Go into the “how” so the readers walk away with an action plan,  don’t forget to try to explain the why too.  When someone understands why they need to do something, it usually helps serve them better than just following instructions blindly.

Make it personal with anecdotal stories and opinions and lessons learned.

Abstract is fine for some posts but you also want to get concrete with stats and data to enhance your credibility.

Consider supplementing your core content with templates, checklists, how to guides and more.

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Here’s some of me in my writing!

Be authentic.  People can sense when something is genuine.  Don’t be afraid to put some of YOU into your writing.

Include a call to action at the end. You didn’t write your heart out just to let people escape through your fingertips.  Hook ‘em with great content and reel them in so you can continue to impress them with your mad Blog skills and some email marketing.

Your first and only chance to get people to read your content is your headline.  It has to grab them and make them feel like they are really missing out on something if they don’t read it RIGHT NOW!  As you progress with your Blog, try testing headlines to see what readers respond to.

Once the post is done, you can focus on promoting it to your list and social channels, as well as influences and evangelists.

Include social sharing buttons so it’s for people to share the love.

Be consistent in your posting – your audience will only become loyal if they can count on quality of posts and on a schedule of fresh content.  Everyone takes breaks and goes on vacation, but you can always write your content in advance and schedule it to go out and work for you while you sip cocktails on the beach.

Following these guidelines will create consistently higher quality content that will engage your audience and lay the groundwork for converting them into customers.

Not sure if your Blog measures up?  Request a Blog review today.  Let’s face it, you don’t have time to waste on writing content that is missing the mark and not going to get you results.  Discover how to improve your Blog strategy now.