Forget Everything you know About Blogging
With over 78% of consumers stating that they trust brands who provide customized content, it’s no surprise that so many businesses are searching for creative writers that can deliver results. Between finding a relevant topic to naturally optimizing your writing, the process of content creation is difficult. Yet, it can also be the most satisfying part of any marketing strategy.
Content creation takes many forms. From social media to blog posts, businesses and marketers distribute information in different ways to reach as many people as they can. Today, I’m going to talk about blogging and provide strategies of how to maximize the impact it can have for you. I’ll also provide examples of people who are using their blogs to produce amazing results.
The goal of any content marketing strategy is to move people from awareness to conversion. As you learn about the new direction of blogging, you should remember that it’s only one part of content marketing and should considered as a single piece of your marketing efforts.
Blogging has been around for a long time. Yet, it’s clear that the platform isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2016 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 81% of content marketers include blogging in their strategies.
Recent shifts in marketing practices and consumer behaviors, as well as advancements in technology, are changing how blogging fits into content marketing strategies.
Write Longer Posts filled with Quality Content
If you’re familiar with Google Panda, the company’s content-focused algorithm, you know how important quality over quantity is when it comes to blog posts. The general rule is that your content should offer value to your audience while avoiding hollow articles and self promotion.
This emphasis on quality doesn’t mean that blog posts should be short. Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios writes “Longer pages have more opportunities to indicate their relevance. Google sees longer pages as more likely to contain the answer to the searcher’s question.” Crestodina continues by explaining that a serpIQ report found that more text correlates with high rankings.
Longer content is also more likely to be linked to, which further increases the opportunity for the blog post to rank higher on search engine results and reach a larger audience. While there are no set rules for content length, studies have shown that aiming for 1,500 to 2,000 words improves the chances of it being read.
Case Study: VioletaNedko
In 2015, HubSpot published a post written by Nichole DeMere called 8 Great Marketing Blogs You Probably Don’t Follow (But Should). On this list, DeMere included VioletaNedkova.com, a marketing blog she describes as “impossible to put in a box” with a combination of industry savvy and creativity.
Nedkova’s blog takes lengthy posts and fills them with fun and interesting content. Furthermore, what she writes can be understood by both marketing professionals and casual readers. She also has a clear tone that can be easily identified through her writing style and how she interacts with her audience in the comment section.
Her down-to-earth communications blends perfectly with the creative nature of her blog. She uses white space and graphics to break up her text which make it easy to read. You can learn a lot from browsing through her archives and studying her blogging techniques.
I recommend checking out her post, 9 Steps to Making Your Writing Extra Engaging (A Guide for Bloggers). In the article, she outlines the best ways to write content that engages with an audience. Like the rest of her posts, it’s filled with useful advice and helpful tips that can applied to any blog.
Stop Posting Content to Your Blog Every Day
Between meetings, projects and other small tasks, finding the time to create and publish content for a blog can be challenging. According to CMI, there was an increase in 2015 over the previous year in the number of bloggers who posted daily to their platforms. However, the majority of writers are still publishing content less than daily but more than monthly.
Dries Cronje, from Productive Entrepreneur, recently wrote an article for SmartBlogger that he titled Why Posting Every Day is a Silly Strategy (And What to Do Instead). In the post he explains that publishing new content to a blog every day has three negative effects:
- Reduces the time a post has to acquire social proof
- Increases unsubscriptions because of flood of content
- Damages the bond with busy readers who can’t keep up
Instead of publishing new content every day, focus on planning and promoting what you do post. Put all of your energy into creating content that has tons of useful information that people will value. Take those posts and use them to connect with other professionals, building your reach and reputation in the process.
Even though less than 10% of bloggers publish the majority of their original content as guest posts, blogging on other websites is a great way to gain a larger following and increase your authority on a subject. Guest blogging can also help secure backlinks from influential and authoritative websites.
According to an article published on Moz, guest blogging is one of the most powerful ways of building strong, high-quality relationships. You should never use it as just another way to build links because that mindset promotes poorly written content with the wrong goals in mind.
Guest blogging has a number of benefits that can improve your writing and content creation skills. From learning to write for different audiences to creating unique formats, guest blogging is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone.
One of the most important parts of writing for someone else’s blog is building relationships with other professionals in your niche. Submitting a single post isn’t enough to do this. You need to follow-up with the owner of the blog to see how it performed and interact with the website’s audience.
Promoting the post, as well as the blog it’s published on, is an important part of guest blogging that benefits everyone involved. Sharing the content you’ve written is a great way to improve your chances of being asked to create more for the website.
Other benefits of guest blogging include improving your authority on a subject within your industry. If people see your name attached to a blog post that’s been well-researched and published on an authoritative website, there’s a better chance they’ll look at you as an authority figure on that subject.
There are some guidelines you should follow when considering which websites you should write for. First, you need to make sure that it’s an active website that has a good reputation. The last thing you want is your name attached to a blog that isn’t well received online. This will damage your credibility, especially if the content you write is shared through social media channels.
Secondly, you should be writing for a blog that’s in your niche. If you’re experienced in creating content that focuses on technology, you shouldn’t attach your name to a post about food. It’s important for your online presence that you remain consistent in order to create an identity that people can trust. This is especially true for businesses and marketers who are targeting a specific audience.
Last month, Shoutmeloud updated their popular article which lists over 50 high-quality blogs that accept guest posts. It’s an excellent resource if you’re not sure where to begin. Some of the categories include technology, SEO, social media, and marketing. Even if none of these subjects interest you, there are a lot of resources available online to help you find the perfect blog to guest post on.
Resources and Tools for Bloggers
The important part of posting content on a blog isn’t how often new information is published, but making sure that enough is being created to produce your desired results. As Cronje explained in his article, more isn’t better. In fact, having a consistent content schedule is more important to your growth than a flood of new posts.
By using an editorial calendar, you can plan the posts you’ll be creating so that you have a set schedule that your audience can rely on. Whether you publish weekly or monthly, creating that consistency lets people know when to expect new content.
Finding an editorial calendar that works for your marketing needs is as easy as heading over to Google. In case you want a place to start, the following is my list of favourites calendars and organizers:
Sometimes the best tool isn’t the most expensive or complicated. To figure out which option will help with your content creation plans, you need to identify the size of your team, as well as your scheduling and writing targets.
Editorial calendars aren’t the only tool you’ll need to create a blog people will flock towards. If you follow our advice and post less frequently, the content you do publish needs to be incredibly useful for your readers. Here are some steps to writing the perfect blog post:
Never to be outdone, HubSpot published an article that featured a list of free content creation tools and resources for it’s readers. Written by Lindsay Kolowich in 2015, the post is separated into different groups depending on the interested person’s role in the creation process.
From editors to writers, there are a ton of useful tools to help make the process of creating unique and compelling content easier. The following is my list of resources and tools that I find myself using every day.
I take advantage of Evernote in every stage of my writing process. From researching topics to saving notes on the go, this application is the foundation of my blogging habits. The automatic syncing between platforms is a useful feature that I haven’t seen duplicated as well in any other tool I’ve used.
Learning to write without grammatical errors takes a lot of time. Grammarly takes a lot of the guesswork out of writing so that you can focus on creating amazing posts. While other tools check for grammatical errors, Grammarly also looks for plagiarism. This free tool works across the internet and within most word processing applications.
The first thing I do after writing an article or blog post is paste the content into the Hemingway Application. I use this free app to make my writing easier to read. Because my biggest weaknesses are passive voice and complicated sentences, I rely on Hemingway to highlight those problem areas so I can identify them easier next time.
According to an article published on Slate.com, only 62% of people who click on an article read past the headline. Beginning with newspapers and evolving into online content, creating a headline that encourages people to continue reading takes practice and skill.
I use Headline Analyzer to create an emotional headline that will encourage my readers to move past the beginning of my posts. For more information about how to create a catchy headline, read this article posted on HubSpot.
These are just some of the tools I use on a daily basis. Some of these may not work for you, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to find a system that you’re comfortable with and become familiar with it. While there’s an endless supply of lists available online, these are the ones that stand out to me:
- Sproutsocial – 10 of the Best Blogging Tools
- SmartBlogger – 63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive
- SocialMedia Examiner – 22 Top Blogging Tools Loved by the Pros
If you have resources and tools that you can’t write without, leave the links in the comment section below. I love trying out new software and programs that can improve my writing and focus. In fact, if there’s a tool or resource that you’d like a complete tutorial on, feel free to leave your request below and we might create a post dedicated to the topic.
Thanks to big changes in the marketing industry and how consumers engage with content, blogging is undergoing a drastic evolution. Writing longer posts that are filled with useful content is more important than trying to get a short article out every day.
As Google’s algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, it’s the responsibility of marketers and content creators to write posts and articles that address the needs of their audience. Outdated practices such as keyword stuffing and hollow content are quickly being rejected for organic content that helps readers.
For more information about the latest changes in content creation or digital marketing, stay locked in to our blog. While not every post will be this detailed, we’re going to do our best to provide you with all the information you need to create strategies that has a lasting impact for your clients.
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