Content marketing has proven to be incredibly effective, and can be invaluable to starting and growing a brand.
Effective content marketing drives quality traffic to websites, which in turn leads to lead conversions, revenue, and business growth.
But the question is how can you write content, such as a blog post, that will fulfill with these goals?
With so many factors such as SEO optimization, keyword choice, content, lead magnets, and more, it can be overwhelming!
That is why we here at Tryd have developed a simple, 10-step process in order to help YOU;
These simple principles and techniques will revolutionize your marketing strategy!
Planning is a crucial part of any endeavor. Planning, visualizing, and organizing thoughts before beginning will lead to a much more coherent and effective blog post.
Investing the time and energy to plan up front will pay dividends in the long run.
What are my goals?
What’s the point of writing a blog post if you don’t even know what you want to get out of it?
Before starting, you should think about the outcome you want and expect for the blog post. If you just write to write, you will waste your own valuable time.
Are you trying to promote a new product or service? Increase website traffic?
When you define your purpose BEFORE writing, you will be able to have a clear vision about what you need to do to accomplish these goals.
Who is my audience?
Who are you writing to? You must know who your target audience is in order to effectively write your blog post.
Make sure you define this before you start; if you are writing to small business owners, you should write in a manner that will appeal to them; if you are writing to an audience of sports fans, same thing - write in a manner that will appeal to sports fans!
It seems obvious, but this makes a huge difference, as engaged readers are more likely to keep reading until the end or request more information.
On the other hand, if you fail to engage your intended audience, you will not get the results you want, as they will exit your post and just go on to the next one. Not what you, I, or anyone wants!
Is your topic SEO-friendly?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. If you’ve heard about it, you’ll know of its great importance in content marketing. If not, it’s high time you’ve heard about it!
We will go into more detail on this point later, but it is important to know if your topic is SEO-friendly; in other words you should know if it is something that is actually searched for on Google or other competing search engines.
If your topic is not searched for, then it won’t matter HOW good your post is, no one is searching for the content you are creating and thus you won’t be able to use this blog post as a method to increase internet traffic and sales.
Now that you have a plan for your post, it’s time to prepare for the execution phase.
You can’t do ANYTHING in the online business world without hearing about SEO. What in the world is SEO, and why is it so important?
SEO is the process of improving a website’s or webpage’s search engine visibility and results. This is what determines whether your article shows up as the number 2 result or on the 11th page of results when your potential customers type in the topic that your article addresses.
It is unpaid, and thus is known as natural or “organic” results, as opposed to running ads to pay to have your website show up in the top results.
The better you rank in SEO, the higher up you will rank, and thus the more traffic you will generate to your blog post.
One key way to rank in SEO is to research the keyword for your post.
There are several factors that go into this, but you can use a free tool such as google adwords in order to help to pick a long-tail keyword that has good search volume, but not something so short or generic that you will be outranked by companies paying for ads.
Make sure your URL uses your keyword, and is readable to give your SEO another easy boost.
Yoast specializes in SEO optimization.
Yoast is extremely useful, as it is a top notch SEO tool that is free to use as a WordPress plugin. It is user-friendly and intuitive. It will check your SEO, and give suggestions on what you should do to improve this.
We recommend using Yoast on all future blog posts; it really will do an excellent job of giving your content the extra boost it needs to get seen and noticed.
Now that you have your title picked and your keyword and URL ready to go, you’re all set! It’s time to write the main part of your blog post! If you have prepared correctly, this part will be much easier and more effective.
The actual substance of your post will be what people will read and react to, so make it count!
The importance of the headline cannot be overstated! It’s the first thing that people will see!
This first impression may make or break your chances to entice a reader to read through the rest of your article! So don’t blow it! How can you do this?
Well, for starters, make sure that your headline is interesting!
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many bloggers write headlines (and titles for that matter) that sound destined for a scientific journal instead of a vibrant traffic-driving interest-creating business website.
The headline is an opportunity to catch the reader’s attention; once you have her attention, you are able to deliver with the rest of the content of your article.
But without an effective headline, even with the best article in the world, many people will just click onto the next article.
An effective intro builds off of the success of your headline.
You now have a little more time and ability to explain about the purpose of your article. As a reader, why should I read your article? What question/concern/problem/difficulty (you get the idea) does your article answer or solve? What have you done that I need to know about?
The reader needs to feel that the time they put into reading and researching your article will make a difference in their life in some way; there is clearly something that they are looking for - that’s why they clicked on your article in the first place!
During your intro, warm up the reader to you and the topic, and make sure you restate the problem or idea addressed in your headline; this will help to start to drive your point home, and put you and the reader on the same page - literally!
Some techniques to get readers “hooked” (to get them to keep reading basically) are to:
- Ask a question, especially an intriguing one (you want them to relate to the question, but also want them to see your take on it)
- Use an example (or examples)
- Use relevant numbers or statistics in order to make a point or identify an issue, or support the argument you will make
Hopefully you get the idea! There are so many things you can do, just pick something that will engage the readers for your specific topic.
For any intro, make sure you are clear, concise, and compelling. With these three characteristics, you are sure to have an excellent intro.
Now that you’ve written an excellent intro, you are ready to write the body of your article. This is the meat of your blog post, the most important content that you want to be read and acted upon.
There are several common strategies to write a blog post body, you should play around and find out what works best for you.
One common and effective strategy is called the AIDA model. More experienced bloggers have probably heard of this before, and many inexperienced bloggers may not have. Either way, it is a useful skill to review or to learn. I’ll break it down for you:
AIDA stands for:
This series of four steps represent a strategy of funneling the maximum amount of readers through each one of these phases of involvement.
Awareness refers to the catching of the reader’s attention: you must catch their attention in order to make any headway in the building of a relationship with a potential customer or client. A big part of this is your introduction, including using strategies such as the ones I discussed, and then following this with continuing to interest and engage your reader throughout the body of the article.
Interest refers to the deepening of the original awareness or attentiveness of the reader into something that is even more involved. They are reading more intently now, and their interest is truly piqued now as they want to find out what your views are on the topic you have chosen.
Desire refers to strengthening the interest of the reader even more - offer bulleted lists, descriptive diagrams, graphics, or charts, and make good use of images and visuals (we will discuss this soon). This step leads people to the next, and most important, phase, the whole reason for using a strategy like this.
Action refers to a Call to Action. This means that you ask readers to do something. This could be to share something on social media, to sign up for a free trial, to get on an email list, or to download a document or something. By this time, readers should have developed enough interest to have the desire to sign up for something to try it out, or share with others. This is a win-win, as both you as a writer and her as a reader get what you want. I will discuss in greater detail later in this article how to make and execute an effective Call to Action, one that will help increase your traffic and number of followers and subscribers.
No matter what type of strategy you use to write your blog post, make sure you follow a few basic techniques:
- Make sure you use short and powerful statements.
- Make sure you sound friendly and personable in your writing voice
- Make sure you represent your expertise in the given topic
- Once again, stay engaging and informative. Make it worthwhile for the reader to work their way through your article.
By following these strategies and principles, you are sure to have a killer article body that will be a foundation for great future content as well!
Before you end your article, it is important that you write a conclusion.
The conclusion is a priceless tool to wrap up your article with the spin you want - you make sure the reader understands and comes away with the purpose of your article that you intended, and the conclusion is usually another opportunity for one last, firm, call to action.
Thus, make sure your conclusion accomplishes these objectives - a pointed and pithy summary of main points, and a concise wrap up of the idea you introduced at the beginning.
A picture really does speak a thousand words!
Imagine a poor, dedicated reader, genuinely interested in your article, but totally overwhelmed by an unbroken chain of text.
This reader may want to pay attention and understand your point, but against this wall of characters, he doesn’t stand a chance!
Less interested readers will hardly blink an eye before clicking to your competitor’s site.
Image Selection and Execution
Make sure to select catchy, professional images for your blog that will:
- Break up chunks of text with images
- Emphasize and illustrate points with image or graphic
- Make your own graphic if needed to explain a point you have made
- Choose images that match the overall theme of your article, and your page design - it should look clean and well planned, not just images thrown helter-skelter onto a page
Add a share trigger
What is a share trigger? Well it’s really pretty simple. Share triggers are a specific type of images and visual intended to prompt the reader to share that image with others, usually via social media.
These are essential, because they can greatly increase your presence on social media, basically free organic advertising for your article and thus your business!
Share triggers are more work than simply adding images, but make sure you put at least one into your article!
Obvious right? You should edit before publishing!
But there are a few different things you should check for when you edit a blog post, that may not apply to your run of the mill editing.
This step is essential, and will lead to a polished, professional finished product, and thus will increase traffic and conversion rates.
Check for typos or grammatical mistakes in all sections: including URL and meta description!
Super important! Imagine a reader trying to fight through distracting and confusing typos while they read your article!
Typos and grammatical mistakes will detract from the professionalism of your post, and reduces your credibility as a blogger as well.
Be especially careful with typos and grammar in your URL and meta description!
While typos and grammar can be edited in the article body after publishing, it’s not so simple for editing a URL or meta description after the fact, because a change in these items can change your SEO rankings, or make it difficult to find the article. So it’s much better just to get these right the first time!
A little time spent up front editing your post will pay off in the long run as you will avoid many potential headaches later on.
Break text into small sections with headlines
After writing the whole article and adding visuals, you are also ready to make sure your text is broken up into smaller (but logical!) sections.
As I mentioned earlier, this ensures a smoother reading experience, especially with the extremely short attention spans that are omnipresent in our society.
Make sure the finished product looks appealing!
After finishing all of your tweaking and editing, there is one last very important editing step: the eye test.
You need to go through your post and look at it through the eyes of a reader.
Do the visuals, text sections, share triggers, and other components work together in a cohesive fashion? Does it look good? Check your formatting here too. Are there any parts that stand out that shouldn’t? Your post should look neat, organized, and exciting!
The little details make a huge difference here. Just by changing a few formatting or image sizings, you can change from an okay post to a spectacular one.
Get someone else to look over your post as well during this step for feedback, someone who hasn’t spent all of time you have staring at the post in question! This helps for a much more accurate eye test as well.
6. Lead Magnet
Digitalmarketer.com defines a lead magnet as “an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.”
It makes sense! You give something of value to a prospect, and they give you something of value in return - their contact info.
There are many different types of lead magnets that are effective, the type you should use depends on what type of business you have, who your intended audience is, and what you want to accomplish with the lead magnet.
When executed properly, usually many different types of lead magnets could work for the same situation.
No matter what type of lead magnet you choose, you should remember to follow these two very important guidelines:
First, be SPECIFIC! The consumer needs to know exactly WHAT they will get from your lead magnet, and WHY they should choose to get it.
Second, the lead magnet must BE WORTH IT! There should be a high perceived and actual value; the perceived value is what will prompt the consumer to click on the lead magnet, and the actual lead the consumer to convert into a revenue-driving customer.
Digitalmarketer.com mentions nine major types of Lead Magnets:
Simple enough, just offer a guide or report on how to do something. As a general rule, it should not be TOO long, but will be longer than cheat sheets or handouts.
2. Cheat Sheet/Handout
These are a shorter version of the guides and reports, usually these are most effective if you fit them onto one page. They are simple, specific, and user-friendly, and must be visually appealing. (As a lead magnet for this article, we created a 10-step checklist to write better blog posts - download this checklist to see how we did it)
3. Toolkit/Resource List
Offering a toolkit or list of resources can be a very attractive lead magnet, make sure to be creative and appealing in the layout.
4. Video Training
Offering a free video to explain how to do something can also be an excellent lead magnet.
5. Software Download/Free Trial
For many companies, especially software companies, one of the most effective lead magnets is a free trial or a demo of the actually product; the idea is that the service you offer will knock the customer’s socks off, and they will decide it is worth the price to keep receiving this service. Lots of work up front, but with a high-quality product, the payoff will be worth it!
6. Discount/Free Shipping
Simple principle, offering this type of discount or promotion can entice the consumer to sign up to be on a mailing list, and may help them decide to actually purchase your product at the discounted price or with the free shipping.
A quiz or survey can be a great way to make an interactive and engaging lead magnet! Here’s how you do it:
Make a quiz or survey with several questions
The reader answers the questions
After the last question, the reader is prompted to enter an email and other info on an opt-in page in order to receive the survey results and other related context via email.
For this one, you offer an online delivered assessment, the appeal of this one is the speed at which the consumer receives the results.
9. Blind/Sales Material
For some specific cases, pricing and descriptions of products can be the lead magnet; consumers subscribe to receive catalogs or pricing and product info. Speedy delivery is also essential for this one: if possible, electronic delivery is ideal.
In addition, they offer 8 great guidelines for these lead magnets:
Be extremely clear about your specific solution to the specific problem!
2. One Big Thing
Make one promise or guarantee instead of varied smaller ones.
3. Speaks to a Known Desired End Result
Highlight the end result that the lead magnet will proffer the consumer.
4. Immediate Gratification
Make the results or solutions come as fast as possible, in order to please the consumer.
5. Shifts the Relationship
A well designed and quality lead magnet should prepare the prospect to be disposed to do business with you in the future, to build and strengthen your relation with that prospect - you need to impress him!
6. High Perceived Value
The lead magnet, though free, should look impressive, professional, and like it would be worth it even if it was paid! Portray the high value of your lead magnet.
7. High Actual Value
Make sure your lead magnet delivers on the promise and description you give with it; if not, even though you have the prospect’s email or contact info, the chances of them ever doing business with you are slim to none.
8. Rapid Consumption
As we mentioned earlier, make sure your lead magnet can be consumed in a short amount of time - no long book or month long online course. The lead magnet should impress the customer, but leave them wanting more with an urgency.
7. Last Check
To be 100% sure the article you are posting is the one you want to post, make sure you look through it one last time:
Check SEO one last time
As mentioned in step 2, use an SEO-checker tool such as Yoast to go through and resolve any issues that it finds, so that your post is all ready to go SEO wise.
This is huge, as getting this part as good as you can is sure to help get the maximum possible amount of traffic to your post.
Link to existing content
Also, you should link the new content you are creating to existing content you may already have, other parts of your website, or other parts of your business.
Linking between content will help all of your posts, new and past, get more traffic and become more popular.
It also helps as you build a reputation for quality posts, because people will be able to see, read, and react to your existing work as well.
Review Call to Action
Make sure your call to action you have chosen is convincing and compelling, and that you are able to deliver on what you have promised. This call to action is what will drive your success and build your following as prospects act on it.
Self-explanatory right?!? CLICK PUBLISH! FINALLY!
Maybe you thought you were done when you clicked publish. Well, you were wrong! At least if you want to get the most possible out of that post that you put so much effort into.
So get back to work and next couple of steps, I promise it’ll be worth it!
Share with email list
First of all, share your post with the people that already are in your email list! These people have already shown interest in your business and want to hear from you.
This helps retain the people on your email list as well, as they will see that you are current and creating new content frequently.
Share on social media
Another must do, similar to sharing with your email list, but on a larger and more general scale. Share to your business’ facebook, twitter, instagram, whatever you have!
This will greatly increase the exposure of your article, and will help more prospects to find you via social media. There are software services offered to automate social media share, such as Zapier, so if you have a larger business, it might be something to look into.
Also, if you don’t have social media pages/profile, now would be the time to get started! And then post the article you just posted. Just trust me.
Reach out to and thank contributors
Another important related step is to reach out to contributors of the article you wrote, if this applies to your article.
This would mean a heartfelt thank you with any help or guest advice you used for your post.
An added benefit of doing this, besides for the fact that it is just the polite thing to do, is that you can ask them if they would like to share your post on their website, or on their social media, anything along those lines.
This helps to increase your article’s exposure even more, as it gains credibility by being backed by an expert in the field.
Reach out to influencers
Along the same lines, it is important for you to reach out to influencers, people not involved with the writing of the content, but influential people in your target area.
You could ask for them to post your article to their own website or blog, or repost or highlight your post on their social media, and this would help to get more exposure for your content as well as helping out the influencer with your quality content for a guest article on their site.
As your company grows and you keep creating quality content, these mutually beneficial relationships will keep growing.
After all is said and done, hopefully this won’t be your last blog post for your website!
It is very important to learn and adjust based on past articles, so that you continue doing the things you are doing well, and avoid perpetuating bad habits or things that don’t have the result you expect.
Analyze site traffic and article success
Using tools like Google Analytics, measure how much traffic your site and your article are generating, and see how this changes.
This is a great way to check the efficiency of ads as well, as you can check to see if your investment is paying off.
You should also check the success of the lead magnet you used, as this is probably one of the main reasons you wrote the article in the first place. Are people clicking and following through with your lead magnet? Are you growing your email lists? Are the prospects found by this article converting into clients, customers, or at least followers of your business?
After you have identified these things, try to figure out why things happened as they did.
Rinse and Repeat
Finally, as you continue this process of analysis and more content writing, make sure to apply your findings to future posts.
It is certainly not an exact science, but by doing this you are sure to make steady progress. Just keep going!
If you go through this blog post checklist every time you write an article, you will avoid those simple, yet important mistakes so prevalent in blog articles these days.
Just making sure to have these small details in each post will drastically increase the exposure, credibility, and success of your business.
Make the most of the precious time you use to write these articles, make each one count!
Let us here at Tryd help you! Make sure to download our free 10 step blog post checklist for an easy way to check each and every post!
Good luck with the content writing!