Tip Of the Month: A beginner’s guide to writing a blog for your business

Let's speak friendly digital! Marie Nadal Sharma, Founder & Director of Them You & Me shares tips about demystifying digital marketing.

This month, her tips about blogs:

Blogs have evolved from serving as online journals to reliable sources of information and education. The shift in focus has been from an instrument of personal use to a business and marketing tool that is now focussed entirely on customer needs. 

Despite the ever-rising numbers of online blogs, there are still numerous businesses that lack the understanding of how blogs and content marketing play a vital role in helping businesses reach their audience.

Research reveals that blogging can help guide your target audience to your website, giving way to increased traffic, leads and sales. Of course, the fact remains that blogging must be done right, if these results are to be obtained. And that is exactly what this article aims –  to guide you in the right direction with blogging, right from choosing what to write, through to publishing your content and beyond.

 

1. How to choose what to write about

As mentioned above, blogs today are all about what your customer requires – not about your company. Hence, write about what your customer wants or is searching for. 

 

Determine search intent

Begin with the search intent. This is simply what an online user wants to find when they enter their words into a search engine’s search bar.

To get an idea, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider this – what would you type into Google’s search bar if you were searching for your own product? Let’s say you own a pizzeria that also caters to people with gluten intolerance. If you were searching for your product, you might enter this in your search bar - “gluten-free pizza near me.” Your keyword could then be gluten-free pizza. 

You can gain an insight into users’ purpose or intent behind these searches by identifying the keywords they use in their search queries. This will, in turn, help you identify the kind of content you should post on your company’s blog – whether informational, or educative, or answers to your customers’ questions.

 

Choose a topic 

Once you have an idea about what your customer wants, you can sharpen your search to find a keyword that a substantial number of people are using to search for your product. 

 

You can do a keyword search by:

  • Looking at your competitor’s websites and seeing what they are writing about
  • Running Google searches about your industry and seeing what the search results reveal
  • Reading the ‘People Also Ask’ boxes on Google to learn what people want to know regarding your line of business
  • Using online keyword research tools like the Keyword Planner and AnswerThePublic to identify the terms and words that people are using most in their searches
  • Using Google Autosuggest to see what Google offers as options that have been searched repeatedly

 

The keyword you determine will be used in your article and will form the basic part of its SEO-optimisation. 

Note: Every article you write for your blog will have a different keyword.

 

2. How to write your article

For your audience to spend time reading your article, it should offer them great value.  Since you are probably writing what your competitor, and plenty of others in the industry have already written about, you have to make sure that your content is the one customers will treat as a trusted source and keep returning to your blog.

How to do this?

Offer relevant, up-to-date information

Your blog must answer your customers’ questions in the present context. The information and solutions you share must be updated and relevant to your customers, and offer value.

 

Choose a catchy title

Pick a title that immediately grabs attention and is persuasive. People have a very small attention span, so you can expect them to read on, only if the title suggests there’s something to be gained in the article. Titles that work well are ‘How to…’, ‘10 tips to…’, ‘The ultimate guide to…’, ‘What you should know…’, Checklist…, and such. Make sure to include the keyword naturally in the title for SEO advantage.

 

Ensure good readability

There is a difference between standard writing for print, and writing for the online world. Web writing should offer meaning through a quick scan rather than require deep reading. Also, appreciate that there will be readers from across the world who will access your content. To ensure that your article is well understood, the writing must be simple. Good readability results from using:

  • Short sentences (less than 20 words)
  • Short paragraphs
  • Simple words
  • Subheadings to break your content into bite sizes
  • Bullet points or numbered points
  • The active voice
  • Transition words like ‘furthermore’, ‘in addition to’, ‘because’, ‘likewise’, ‘as a result’ and so on
  • A uniform tone of voice throughout the article
  • Links to other content on your blog or website, or other pages of authority to provide further information

 

Add a call-to-action (CTA)

Providing a CTA at the end of your article, like ‘contact us’, ‘subscribe to our newsletter’, and ‘buy now’, helps your customer take some action that will benefit them, and you. Including a question or inviting comments is another great way to engage with your customer and encourage a dialogue. 

 

Note: Make your article clear and easy to understand.

 

3. How to optimize your article for SEO

SEO is key to your article being found by your target audience. Here’s how you can give your blog the best chance to rank on Google’s search results pages and be read by more people:

Use keywords

Remember, you had identified a keyword for the article you were planning to write? Scatter the chosen keyword naturally all through the article, taking care not to use it too many times, or too obviously. After all, you are writing for your user, not for Google. Make sure you place the keyword in the first and last paragraphs of your article, and a few times through the middle. 

 

Apart from your article, where else must you use your keyword?

  • In the title
  • In the URL
  • Title tag (the text on the tab of your browser when you open a page) 
  • Meta description (the excerpt that appears when Google shows your page in response to a search)
  • Image file name and Alt Tag (the text that is displayed instead of the image)

 

Since search engines drive a major portion of website traffic, SEO is a crucial element to consider in your blogging efforts. Conversely, blogging strengthens your overall SEO efforts. It’s a win-win!

 

Note: Write with your user in mind.

 

4. What to do before you publish your article online

Proofrread, of course! (See what I did there?)

Go through your article with a clear mind, and minutely scan it for errors and typos. Once you’re satisfied everything is exactly how it should be, you can hit publish. 

 

5. What to do after publishing

Share your article on social media. Talk about it. Encourage others to talk about it. A large part of blogging success comes from the community it gives rise to and the networking and business opportunities that arise therein. 

 

Blogging myths

There is a misconception today around blogging. Some of these are:

1. Personal forum

Some companies consider blogging a personal activity, not suited to business purposes. However, as aforementioned, blogs have evolved into an effective marketing tool. To overcome this misconception, some businesses use words like ‘resources’ instead of ‘blog’, even though their function remains the same. 

 

2. Results will appear fast

You may have heard the success stories of some bloggers. However, this did not result overnight. It takes a reasonable amount of time to create content, settle into a consistent rhythm, finding your blogging voice, and building an audience or community. The results will come – just not immediately. 

 

3. It is about the business

No. It is about the customer, and what they need. When you write for yourself, it’s easy to forget that you have an audience. To write for a target audience, you need to find out what interests them, what problems they face, what answers they would like to learn – and then write for them. 

 

4. Blogging ends with publishing

Blogging is all about building a community. So, while you share valuable information and solutions to help your customers, you are also building a platform where its participants can connect, communicate and network. 

 

5. Increased traffic means money

Again, no. Just increased traffic to your website through successful blogging does not translate to an increased cash flow. Blogging is one part of your sales funnel that nudges your customers towards the ultimate goal of a sale; it is not the reason for the sale. 

Blogging might mean different things to different people. However, as a business owner, you must consider this as an advantageous tool for increasing your brand’s visibility. Start now, you will not regret it.

 

At Them You & Me, we help in the digital transformation of businesses. If you have any questions about content marketing for B2B or B2C, please get in touch with us. 

You can also visit our website to learn more about us and our services. 

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