A digital marketer’s toolbox includes websites, social media, videos, podcasts and more. Each channel offers a unique opportunity to present content that attracts and engages. Here are some tips for blogging – the tried and true staple of online marketing – that you should be aware of (and implement) in 2020 and beyond.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, these tips for blogging will be helpful. In fact, we’d argue that these 3 insights are geared more for the experienced blogger. So if you’re one of the true believers of blogs – and you should be – then read on for some ways to pump up your results.
This quick video below is a nice complement to the points we make in this post. In fact, some of Neil Patel’s ideas made it into our list below. He offers some additional tips that are worth pursuing, so give it a view.
What Is The Best Blogging Platform?
There are many platforms that you can blog from like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Medium or even Instagram. However, the best answer to where you should blog is: your website. Your blog should fall under your website’s domain. One aspect of the power of blogging is creating authority. And one of the few ways to get domain authority is to blog from your main website’s URL. In other words, writing posts from yourdomain.org/blog is better than having a separate domain name for your blog like yourblogdomain.org.
Is WordPress The Best Blogging Platform?
We offer WordPress to our clients exclusively because we believe in the software as a website CMS, but most importantly – since it started as blogging software – because it has a natural tendency to be SEO-friendly, especially when you use a plug-in like Yoast that guides you through what parts of your web page or post are search engine optimization-ready and which aren’t. According to BuildThis, 34% of the Internet is powered by WordPress and over 59% of the content management system market is held by WordPress.
Now that we have some of the basics out of the way, let’s dive into our 3 tips for blogging.
Tip #1: Blogging should create engagement
Simply stated, your organization should have a blog, if you don’t have one already. This might seem like an argument straight out of 2004, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses have given up on a blog or never even tried. The breakdown was likely because they weren’t clear on a plan or what they were trying to achieve. Or maybe they just never had the benefits of blogging presented to them.
If that’s you…read on.
The next 2 tips lay the foundation for why blogging is essential.
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark, Copyblogger
We know that a well-written blog post can lead to excellent engagement for your site visitors. But is that a given? Driving people to a blog post that ranks high on Google for an industry keyword is fantastic, but what are you asking the user to do after that? Most blogs present excellent relevant content, but then never ask the user to take an action. In other words, many blogs are created to display an expertise around a topic – and that’s great – but why not add a call-to-action (CTA) to the body area of your blog post to get the user to act after reading.
See a screenshot below of a blog post from our client, American Society for Nutrition. See how they’ve dropped a CTA toward the end of the post? This allows users to finish up reading and then, upon finding value in the content, join the organization.
Tip #2: Blogging leads to improved SEO and traffic
You can read more on the value of SEO, but suffice it to say that blogs are your gateway to great Google rankings.
But how do you get beyond the idea that your blog is a place for hot topics and expert advice and instead leverage it as a tool to generate additional traffic and (shout out to #1 above) create meaningful engagement with your visitors? The answer is making search engine optimization a high (if not the highest) priority for your blog. There are plenty of articles on the web about how best to optimize for SEO, but for the purpose of blogging, here are three areas you want to make sure you’re covering. Missing one of these could affect your rankings significantly.
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
On-page is what most of us think of when we hear the term SEO. This refers to optimizing your title tags, headers, body copy, alt tags and more for your chosen keyphrase. Off-page includes getting backlinks from other web pages related to your keyphrase as well as things like influencer marketing and guest blogging. Technical is one that isn’t talked about a lot, but it’s critical. This includes making sure your page load time is fast and that your site is under HTTPS and not HTTP. These affect how your blog post is ranked as much, if not more, than on-page and off-page.
The balance around SEO comes in when you’re deciding on topics for your blog posts that relate to your industry and will be valuable to your members or customers versus deciding on a topic that you know you can rank well for. You also want to ensure that you’re not over-optimizing your blog post – for the sake of SEO – to a point where you have an article that is confusing and/or not meaningful. Take a look at this recent post from the American Diabetes Association and see if you think it has prioritized packing keywords onto a page (which Google frowns on, by the way) over providing quality content.
We’ve highlighted some areas to take a look at more closely. Check out the whole post here and be the judge on whether the ADA is providing relevant, quality, Google-friendly content. And, if not, what would you do differently?
The primary takeaway here is, SEO and blogging go hand-in-hand. If you’re writing high-quality content, but more in a journalistic fashion without really considering what Google might try to optimize the article for, you’re missing a huge opportunity. A good rule of thumb for your organization should simply be, “If you publish online, then optimize.”
Tip #3: Blogging is best with a purpose
Outside of knowing what you want to write about and that you need to optimize your blog content, there needs to be a consistent thread of purpose to your posts. In fact, going so far as to write a purpose statement for your blog could help a great deal.
A common formula is:
Our blog is where [audience] gets [content] to help them achieve [goal].
Before you dismiss the idea of writing down your purpose statement, keep in mind that according to a B2B Content Marketing Report, most marketers who do write it down consider themselves more successful. Yet only about 28% of marketing teams actually do it. When would now be a good time to write your blog purpose statement?
Besides the data reinforcing that having a purposeful blog is the key to prosperity, it can also help you determine what to blog about. We have a system we offer our clients called the Pillar/Satellite approach. So, for example, if you were going to blog about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in your industry, you might first create a pillar post. This would be a long-form (over 1,800 words) post focusing on a keyphrase that is more overarching like “SEO for Furniture Wholesalers”. Then you would write two or three short-form (500 – 750 words) blog posts that are similar to your pillar content (but not duplicative in any way) and link them into the pillar post. One of these posts might be “Master Local SEO As A Wholesaler”. See below for a graphical representation of the pillar/satellite approach.
So, having a purpose for your blog will not only help your vision for and execution of quality content, it can also help you define clusters of posts that power each other up the ranks of Google.
Tips for Blogging – In closing
So, as you consider how best to market your organization online in 2020, consider these 3 no B.S. tips for blogging. They will keep you focused on what’s important and make sure you’re maximizing your efforts. Leave a comment below if you think there is another tip people would find helpful and feel free to reach out to us if you’d like assistance making your blog a winner.