How To Write a Blog That People Will Read
What does your blog strategy look like for this year? Hopefully, you have one in place, especially when 52 percent of B2B marketers rank blogs as the most critical piece of a successful content marketing strategy in 2018. If your blog strategy is still taking shape, this particular blog may help. Read on for a step-by-step guide to writing a blog that your audience will want to read.
Step 1: Finding a Topic
Of course, if you’re going to write a blog, you need something to write about. Admittedly, it isn’t always easy to come up with a topic off the top of your head. There are a few sources that you can lean on to help you determine what to write about, though, which can help simplify the process.
Touch on Audience Concerns: What better way to touch upon the topics that are pertinent to your audience than to ask them what they want to hear, or to refer to the most common questions you receive from them? If you have frequently been fielding questions in regard to a particular subject, write a blog that answers those questions that your readers can refer to.
Leverage Your Team: Alternatively, you can lean on the team members of your various departments for insights into topics that may be important to touch upon. There may be a subject they have found themselves frequently addressing, or some new development that your audience should hear about.
Ask Your Audience: It doesn’t hurt to ask your audience what they would like to hear more about. Try including a call-to-action on a few of your blogs asking your audience to leave a comment that identifies what they would like to hear about next. This crowdsourcing can not only give you ideas for topics, it gives you an idea of the topics that your audience really cares about. Social media polls are an effective way to obtain this information as well, with a little more control than an open-ended question.
Update Old Information: Unless you’re brand new to blogging (and if you are, good for you for starting out with the right practices) you have older blogs published that may have some information that is outdated and no longer entirely relevant--or, for that matter, entirely accurate. Revisiting these topics with an updated take can provide you with invaluable inspiration for a new blog.
The same concept applies to evergreen topics that you just haven’t discussed in a while. Regularly touching on these topics will give your audience the ability to refer to your blog as a resource, without having to dig too much to find the blog they need.
Observe your Competition: All’s fair in love and war, which means there is nothing wrong with examining any content that your competitors have shared. This enables you to see what they’re talking about, and what gaps they have in their information that you can fill. By doing so, you not only can guarantee that you are providing as much value to your potential audience as they are, you can go the extra mile and provide what your competition isn’t.
Step 2: Researching your Topic
A big part of writing about a subject is knowing enough about that subject to have something to write about. This will require some research on your part. However, as you conduct your research, there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind.
The More, the Merrier: While you know that you know what you’re talking about, your audience may not. As a result, they will need some support. To provide this, make sure that you collect plenty of information from a variety of reliable sources. This way, you can show them that you are in agreement with other, trusted outlets, and therefore can be trusted yourself.
Plus, you also want to make sure that you have enough information to create convincing content in the first place. The more information you find to support your position, the more authority you can write into your content.
Step 3: Deciding on a Format
It is important to remember that a blog can take many different shapes, one of which may be more impactful to your target audience than another at any given time. Of course, any message you put out should be represented in a few different formats to both reinforce the message, and to communicate it to a wider sample of people, who will all have different preferences as to how they digest their content.
Common Blog: Possibly the most recognizable variety of content, a blog is simply a written article that presents a particular point or argument and supports it with facts, statistics, and anecdotal evidence.
Case Study: A case study is simply an account of a real-world event that demonstrates the value of a product or service that you offer. By comparing the situation before and after the product or service was introduced, it shows the reader what they might expect from that product or service.
FAQ or Expert Interview: These are each methods of presenting information from a place of authority, the frequently asked questions demonstrating that your answer has been effective multiple times before, and the expert interview shows that the position you take is supported by another, preferably an established authority.
Opinion Editorial from the CEO: When the CEO of a company speaks out, the assumption is that--in order to be the CEO--they know what they are talking about. Therefore, an audience is more driven to read what ‘the big boss’ has to say, and more inclined to accept what is written as fact.
Industry Best Practices: Oftentimes, someone will seek out information in the hopes of finding the right way of doing something, just to eliminate the risk of doing it the wrong way. Filling your content with industry best practices, which are just the accepted way to do something right, provides those looking for a description of how to do something with exactly what they need.
Interactive Content: If you’re trying to ensure that your audience stays engaged, including some interactive content in your blog can help to keep their attention and make them see themselves as a participant, rather than an onlooker. Calculators that help them establish where they stand in relation to your content or polls that allow them to share their reactions are just a few examples of interactive content to include in your blogs.
Infographics: Be honest--there have been times where you just didn’t feel like reading too much, haven’t there? Chances are that your audience may feel the same way, especially if they have been to many text-heavy sites before yours. Providing them with an infographic, which presents data in a more visual, pictographic format, can give them a break from all the text and help them engage with the lesson your content provides.
Live Event Reporting: Chances are, you have the opportunity to attend many more industry events than your audience is able to. However, it's your audience that needs to see the experience you can offer them as an educated member of your industry. By creating content based on these events and what there was to be learned, you can pass that information on to your audience and establish yourself as even more of a resource.
Furthermore, if the event in question isn’t an industry-focused one, but is more of a community affair, providing evidence that you participated with help humanize your company and make it more approachable for your prospects.
Book Reviews: Regardless of what industry you are in or what your business’ focus is, there is no shortage of literature on the subject. By creating and posting your reviews on some of these books and resources, you are giving your audience a roadmap of what will help them the most, which isn’t something they are likely to forget.
Step 4: Your Thesis and Outline
Once you’ve decided how your blog is to be shaped and what it will discuss, you need to create a thesis statement. This will sum up what your audience should learn from this particular piece of content, or what their final takeaway should be. For instance, let’s say that we were going to write a simple blog post on the values of writing content. Our thesis statement might be:
Content allows you to inspire confidence in your services.
Then, once we have a thesis statement that sums up our article, we can start to outline its main points. These points should support the conclusion that your thesis statement asserts and provide evidence that it is correct. So, to return to our example:
Content allows you to inspire confidence in your services.
- Provides evidence that you are knowledgeable in your field
- Establishes a history of experience with these services
- Proves that you are willing to share your experience with others
Without a thesis statement, your content will have no purpose, and without an outline, it can easily devolve into rambling.
Step 5: Crafting your Blog
Once your outline is set, you’re ready to begin composing your blog article. Your main concern is to make the blog easy to read. Remember, your audience is looking for a solution, not a puzzle they have to solve to get to the solution. Being straightforward and clear is your best bet, in this case.
Don’t Always Make a Long Story Short: However, being ‘easy to read’ is not synonymous with ‘short.’ While the ultimate length of your blog is up to you, and your blogs shouldn’t necessarily all be the same length, you should try to create content that is at least 100 words. Otherwise, your audience may not see it as worth reading.
Make it Visually Appealing: An effective means of keeping your audience engaged in your blog is to make it engaging to look at. Including elements that spice up the look of your text, like images and formatting, help to keep a reader from moving on to something else. Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power the right image can have. Not only does it help to contextualize what you have written, it gives your reader a break from reading and allows them to reset.
Step 6: Double-Check your Work
It would be a shame if, after all this work, a silly little mistake discredited your entire blog. This is what makes it so important to review your blog with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Spellcheck is Sometimes Your Friend: Little is more embarrassing, or more discrediting, than a simple typo. While spellcheck is a very handy tool, it isn’t infallible, and different programs will catch more spelling and grammar errors than others. Before you post your blog, it helps to paste it into multiple programs to ensure that you aren’t overlooking any mistakes, in addition to reviewing it multiple times. If possible, have someone who hasn’t read it before read it, as their fresh eyes are more likely to catch errors.
Is It the Right Tone?: Consider, for a moment, who it is that would be reading your blog. Additionally, reexamine your topic. What tone is most appropriate, in light of each of these considerations? You don’t want to have your message overlooked, just because it wasn’t presented in the right way.
In addition to this, a blog needs to flow smoothly from one point to another. If a blog is choppy and broken up, your audience isn’t likely to stick around very long.
Does it Look Nice?: Again, your blog is only valuable if anyone reads it. Formatting your blog properly will make it more appealing to your audience, as it will be simpler to read and digest.
With these strategies in place, your next blog will be much more likely to be read, and your message more likely to be accepted. For more assistance in blogging for your company, lean on us! Our blog service can help you get content on your website that your current and potential clients will be interested in. Contact us for more information and assistance.