In my experience, nobody has greater knowledge and passion for their business than the people that run it on a daily basis. Therefore, the most successful blog posts tend be written by the people at the sharp end. Since you are reading this blog post – perhaps that means you! Hopefully, you will have read my other post about why blogging is good for SEO.
Where do I start?
Many first time bloggers find it quite daunting to begin with. Often a business might not be in a niche that could be considered dynamic, exciting or glamorous. Some specialist business to business markets might fall into this category. – no offence! The question is always – what can I possibly write about, we make Thermocouples or Plastic Pipework or Conveyor belts??? The trick is – get creative.
The point is that there are potentially thousands of engineers, customers and businesses that need to know about Thermocouples or whatever it is you provide. For example, I might be an engineer that works for a brewery that needs to know which Thermocouples to buy. I do a quick search on-line and find your blog post or a link to it. Of course I can ring you but why not score some early points with an awesome blog post?
OK I’m sold…..so what do I blog about?
The most successful blog posts tend to be the ones that give away free , non product specific information. Using our Thermocouples example, some ideas might be –
- A beginners guide to Thermocouples
- How to install Thermocouples
- 5 differences between Type B & T Thermocouples
- Top 5 Thermocouples
- The history of Thermocouples
- Case Studies (get permission to name names – your client will get a free back-link from your blog post in return)
- Top 5 Thermocouple applications
There’s 7 ideas straight off the bat but the very best way to create blog posts is to listen to your customer service department. Start noting down frequently asked questions and write posts that answer these specific queries. You can save time and money by referring your clients to your blog. You might already have a FAQ section on your site but this is no substitute for a blog post with a knowledgeable and professional tone.
Do not be tempted to write an advert. Overly promotional copy with too many internal links is a massive turn-off for both readers and search engines. By all means mention products and link to them but don’t over do it and justify the link in the post. For example, if you are writing a ‘how to’ type guide, link to a few products that might solve a specific problem. Don’t turn the post into a price list. Remember that you are giving away free information in return for your readers time on your site.
How long should it be?
Don’t get hung up on this. Use as many or as few words as you need to get your point across.
If I had to put a figure on it I’d say around 500 – 800 words…ish to start until you get more confident. Pro bloggers can pull off long posts by keeping readers interested. Try to be consistent, your regular readers will probably know what to expect from you. However, consider that very short posts tend to look lazy. Long posts should be broken up into parts 1, 2 & 3 etc. Read it though, if it seems like hard work then break it up.
What should it look like?
Correctly formatting your blog posts is crucial for both your readers and search engines. Blogging is not new so we have the benefit of years of research and practice in what constitutes a well formatted blog post.
Be mindful that your posts are representing your company to a potentially massive audience so it’s worth putting in the time. Here are a few starting points –
Notice that in our example above, our keyword ‘Thermocouples’ appears in all the suggested titles. This is no accident. Since a blog posts is technically a web page in terms of how Google will see it, having your keyword in the title means that it will automatically be inserted in the URL and title tag. Google will know that this post is about ‘Thermocouples’ in this case using these elements. Try to keep the title under 70 characters otherwise it will be truncated in the Google results page.
Start with a summary introduction
Your first paragraph should clearly outline what the following post is about like in the above example. Try and make it interesting by avoiding cliches like ‘This blog post is about…’. For example, you could refer to a previous post and lead in (and link to it – internal linking is great for SEO) something like this –
In my last post, we discussed the different types of Thyristor available on the market, this time I’d like to examine how Thermocouples are used in the Brewing Industry…
Some blogging platforms will allow you to create a meta description. This is the text that appears underneath a link in the search engine results pages. You should do this. Don’t be tempted to use anything in the post itself. Write a unique meta description that mentions the subject and extols your virtues as the best Thermocouple expert in the land. Keep it to about 155 character otherwise it will be truncated in the search results.
Break long passages of text up into paragraphs
Don’t put your readers off. Break up long passages with bullet points, quotes and indents etc. Spend some time making the layout visually appealing. Zoom out and imagine it will appear in print.
Use lots of images
People love pictures and colour. Try and use original images rather than stuff pinched the web. Use ALT descriptions so that they might show up in Google image search and other verticals.
Use featured images that show in the blog summary if your blogging platform supports it (like this blog which uses WordPress). People prefer images to words so if you can use an illustration or diagram then do.
If you can, create video content. Host it on YouTube and drop it into your post. You can’t really go wrong with video – especially with the mighty YouTube behind you. However, make sure that you are comfortable with the quality and production values otherwise this can backfire.
Use proper semantic structure
Write as if you are writing for print so that means properly formatted headings (H1, H2, H3 and so on. Google looks for this semantic structure to find a theme on a web page. Your keyword should be in the H1. Some blogging platforms do this automatically using the post title.
Write a conclusion
Summarise what you have written about like this –
To sum up…
Once you get over the initial hurdle of blog post ideas, the rest comes naturally. Indeed, some web publishers have found that they enjoy it and have really discovered their ‘online voice’. This has helped them become an authority in their niche. With a little effort, you may create a whole community around your blog. Even if you don’t achieve these lofty heights, you will still have content to push through your Twitter, Facebook, Google + accounts which is also a major benefit.
So in this brave new digital world, if you put in the time, your blog can really become the centre of your on-line social universe.