Have you decided to get serious about writing your company’s blog content, but you don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve decided against outsourcing the job to a freelance SEO content writer. Or maybe you already tried that, and it didn’t work out so well.
Whatever the case, if you’re looking to write your own posts, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips and tools of the trade, courtesy of our own SteadyContent writers.
Part One: The Big Picture
First of all, let’s take a step back and look at the blog as part of a larger picture: the customer experience.
When someone comes to your website for the first time, they’re going to be scrutinizing everything — looking at your design, the quality of information, and the ease of use.
When new visitors arrive on your site, they usually generate a fairly accurate picture of how professional your operation actually is. If something is wrong, they’ll know it.
They may not be able to articulate why, exactly. And they might not be able to do a better job themselves, either. But if the website that houses the blog is poorly designed, or if the blog itself is dull or full of errors, it’s going to become a stumbling block in your quest to convert “visitors” to “customers.”
So what we need to do is start from the ground up, thinking about the customer experience every step of the way.
Have a Strategy
Know what you want your customer to do. Do you want them to sign up for a subscription or membership? Buy a product that you’ll ship to them? Visit a physical location somewhere?
When you know exactly what you want the typical “ideal interaction” to look like, you can start designing content that appeals to your ideal customer.
Know Your Tone and Keep It Consistent
Depending on your industry, the feel of your blog is going to change a little bit. For instance, if you run a business that specializes in baking supplies, you’re going to want a blog full of baking tips. The post might talk about cakes, cupcakes, recipes for the perfect lemon bar… but it’s also likely that the tone of your blog will be fun, and maybe a little humorous and carefree.
Meanwhile, if you run an outdoor supply company that specializes in survival gear, your customers are going to expect a slightly more serious tone. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, but because you’re dealing with different subject material, the overall feel of the blog will probably focus more on the practical side of things.
So decide what sort of emotional tone you want to strike. Then once you’ve done that, keep it consistent.
Come Up With Topics Ahead of Time
Coming up with a new blog topic every week (or multiple times a week, even!) can be a lot of work. One of the best ideas is to write out a list of potential topics ahead of time.
Usually, it’s a good idea to write more than you need. If you want a post a week for an entire year, you’re going to need 52 topics, so it’s actually better to come up with 60-70 in case some of them are too similar, or become irrelevant as your business changes.
It seems like a lot of work upfront, but it will save you time to do it this way.
One thing to keep in mind: you’re also going to be integrating this process with your SEO and keyword research. So doing this at the same time will give you a chance to see the whole blog laid out well in advance.
Vary Titles, Keywords, and Topics
We’ll get to the actual SEO research in a second, but the other thing to consider is this: your blog is a two-way street. It exists to do two things. You’re giving something to potential customers (free information that can help them answer questions), and you’re also giving something to yourself (traffic to your site.)
As a result, you’re going to want to vary your titles and your topics in order to solve a wide range of potential questions. Don’t use the same keywords for every post, and don’t just talk about one part of your business. Give customers variety as well as depth.
Part Two: Search Engine Optimization Research
This is a little more daunting, and there are a lot of SEO tools out there. There’s not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” answer here. Some of this is subjective, and even experts will argue over what’s best. It’s more about finding the tools that work for you, and that you feel comfortable using.
Every SEO content writer is looking to drive traffic to a specific site through the use of keywords and key phrases. This is how search engines discover and index a site, which means it’s also how customers find the site.
To begin with, one of our favorites is a Google Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere. This is an add-on that you can look up and get for free, and whenever you go to Google (and many other sites as well) it shows which searches are also being performed that are similar.
Why does this matter?
If you have a company that specializes in home repairs, you may decide to create an article using keywords surrounding the phrase “home repair contractors.” But you may not realize that half your customers are conducting searches with the word “repairman” instead of “contractors.”
If you add Keywords Everywhere, you get a peek under the hood, and that allows you to customize your content. Then you can match with the searches actually being performed.
You’re going to want to find a Keyword Research Tool. There are quite a few of these out there as well, but some include Soovle, Keyword Keg, TheHoth, SEOBook’s Keyword Tool, and many others.
The important thing here is less about which tool you use, and about how you use it. You’re going to want to keep in mind your region (USA? Canada?) as well as the individual search engines your customers use (is this the sort of thing someone will look for on Amazon as well as Google?)
With some of these tools, you also start to get a picture of which keywords are oversaturated, and thus less effective. Some of the keywords will see a high degree of revenue generation per search, while others will see barely any.
Look for high volume keywords that are also low difficulty, whenever possible. In addition, think about which keywords are perfect for your site, and weave those into your content as well.
Part Three: The Posts
Now that you’ve got some topics, and have isolated a few dozen ideal keywords, it’s time to get down to writing.
Solve a Problem
Pretty much every person who comes to your site is doing so because they have some sort of problem they need solved. A leaky roof, birthday party ideas for their child, tips on how to exercise more efficiently.
Knowing what problem (or problems) your customers will want to solve is absolutely the best place to start. If you make sure your posts to this, you’ll get traffic.
Be Direct and Clear
Write clearly and concisely. If readers want a huge amount of information, they’ll buy a book. Most don’t want to have to sift through a lot of excess material to get to the point.
Have Something to Say
In addition to figuring out their problem, you also want to provide your customers with some solutions (and maybe gently nudge them in the direction of your services or products page).
In short, quality content means providing something of value. When you approach every post by asking this question, you ensure that every post has a purpose.
Part Four: When to Look for Outside Help
Having said all that, there are times with the costs of self-production outweigh the benefits. Usually, this refers to the sheer amount of time needed to do all the research and writing.
Are you truly up for the hours of work it is going to take in order to make the blog viable?
Maybe the answer is yes. But just in case, here’s when you need to bring in some reinforcements.
You’re Spending All Your Time on It
The blog is not the only thing in your business. It’s a tool for connecting with customers. If you’re spending more time connecting with your blog than with those customers… it might be time to get an SEO content writer.
You’re Not Seeing the Results You Want
Perhaps, in spite of doing the research and writing, you’re just not seeing the traffic boost that you’d hoped. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes and an expert team can help.
You Just Don’t Like Doing It
And lastly, it’s sometimes good to know if it’s just not something you enjoy. Writing isn’t for everyone, and although some people really love it, others really don’t.
Running a business occasionally means doing some things you don’t always love doing. But if the blog is dead in the water, or if it feels like it’s become a millstone around your neck, then it’s time to get some help.
The SteadyContent Alternative: Hiring an Experienced SEO Content Writer
When you look to SteadyContent, you are looking at a well-oiled machine: a team of over 500 writers, ready to take all the research and writing off your hands.
All you need to do is give some initial information about how you see the blog. Maybe you’ll share some ideas about what topics to include, or what your aims might be. After that, the hard work goes elsewhere, and posts appear regularly and punctually.
You will find you have a lot more time to get other things done. And your customers will get drawn to your site with quality posts—content they love; content you can count on; content people engage with.
Talk to us today about our introductory offers. With SteadyContent, getting an amazing blog doesn’t mean you have to become an SEO content writer yourself.