We are constantly hearing about the value of content marketing and passing this information on to our clients. Typically, blogging is the cornerstone of any content marketing plan that we develop for our clients. Blogging draws traffic to your Web site, demonstrates thought leadership, and gives you a great base of content to repurpose for other marketing tactics like newsletters, webinars, and videos. Blogging is one of the best and most cost efficient ways to generate and share your unique thought leadership. With this in mind, we go to great lengths to educate our clients on the basics of blogging and also offer in-depth training sessions with tips and best practices. While the training is great, a one-on-one training session is not always feasible and I found myself in need of a blogging “cheat sheet” so to speak. I wanted to have a quick reference guide that would convey the most important blogging practices (in our eyes). As a result, I’ve compiled the following list of what we consider to be our Top 10 Blogging Practices:
- Share your unique perspective and experience. Be sure to infuse your blog posts with the knowledge and resources that you typically share with your own clients – this will provide value to your readers.
- Solve or address a problem. After reading your blog post, readers should have a solution or approach to tackle a particular issue or problem.
- Keep it conversational. Blog posts are intended to be short and informal. Write in a conversational tone and don’t be afraid to use a little personality and humor.
- Provide a call to action. What do you want your readers to do after reading your post? Share a comment, visit a Web site, attend an event, check back for another post. Invite readers to participate in some way.
- Use keywords. Be sure to use keywords related to your business in your blog post and its title. Think of needs or pain points your audience might have and what terms they might search in effort to solve them. These will help your posts get pulled into search engine results and will also alert your reader to the overall subject of your post.
- Keep it to 400-600 words. This is the ideal length for a blog post and is the amount that people tend to read from start to finish. 250 words is considered too short for search engine optimization, and 1,000 words is too much for readers to digest.
- Create an attention-grabbing headline. If readers are using a syndication tool, they can be sifting through hundreds of different blog post titles at one time. The title of your blog often determines whether your post gets read or not. People tend to be drawn to lists, provocative questions, or benefits-oriented headlines.
- Promote your blog. Once you’ve created the content, don’t be afraid to promote it by sharing on all your social networks, or even by emailing it to clients and colleagues who might find it interesting.
- Categorize and tag. If your company blog allows for categorizing posts, take advantage of this feature. It will help readers easily find content that interests them. Many blog sites also offer a “tagging” capability, which enables you to attach certain terms relevant to your post. This helps search engines to further identify your post as relevant to keyword searches.
- Syndicate. Make sure your blog is optimized for use with RSS feeds, this allows people to subscribe to your blog. You can also submit your posts for syndication by general (Example: Alltop) and industry specific (Example for B2B Marketing: Business 2 Community) blog aggregators.
What would be on your blogging best practices “cheat sheet?” I’d love to hear your top picks.