People always ask us what the easiest way to get started with content marketing is, and our answer is always blogging. Blogging is an essential element to every content marketing strategy for a number of reasons. Chief among them is the ability to drive organic growth for your website, followed closely by the opportunity to establish your business or personal brand as an industry knowledge leader.
Blogging takes a few more steps than simply typing 300 words on your website. To truly get reach out of your blogs, they must come from a strategic place and be well-constructed.
Here are the Hughes & Co. best practices for constructing a successful blog post.
Create an engaging title
If you want your blogs to be read, you need a title that draws people in. Titles are the real sellers of content, so play with them, follow established titling patterns and keep them short and to the point. On the other side of a snappy title is a title that gets searched and found. What are your target customers asking? What are their needs? Answer those questions and address those needs in your blog titles and they'll get found.
Hook the reader
Like any piece of writing, you have about four sentences to convince the reader to hang in there and keep reading. The strongest part of your blog should be in these first few sentences, we suggest making a compelling argument, posing a question or telling a story to really draw the reader in.
Use content sections and headlines
A blog is not an essay, however it should be written in a voice that engages your target customers. People like to consume information in bite size pieces, so a blog with content sections and leading subtitles helps readers digest info the way they like. Your sections should concentrate on one theme or topic and match what the headline suggests.
Add in the visuals
What serves a blog well? Visuals. Photos are great, videos are awesome and best yet, they add some personality to your blogs. Use them as much or as little as you want, they are a great way to break up text and add context. Don't forget to include alt text to extend your search potential.
Tell your visitors what to do next
Your visitors have reached the end of the blog, now what? Take this opportunity to use a compelling call-to-action. Ask them to download a piece of premium content, ask them to take advantage of a free offer or tell them what to explore on your website next. The opportunity is sitting there waiting for you, use it to get more out of these eyes.
If you have hit all the marks above, the next step is to educate yourself further on search engine optimization (SEO). There are a number of areas in which you should focus, conduct keyword research, link to other relevant pages on your website within your blog and include a meta description. We cover how to optimize a page (or blog) for SEO here so you can get the most out of your hard work.