A blog allows you to educate, inspire, engage the public and even bring visibility to your products on a large scale. Brands and individuals love blogs because it’s an accessible way to get your voice heard. Although there is a “downside”: it is quite difficult to become a blogger, especially considering the internet scenario, where it is estimated that over 4 million articles are produced every day and it seems that the most successful content is video.
This does not mean that blogging is a thing of the past. The mere fact that you now read a blog post is proof of that. It just means that you need to use a different approach to emerge. How do you make sure your time spent blogging is well spent?
You need to think of blogging a bit like selling a product. Ultimately, the activities required are similar. Before you pick up a pen and paper or rather start typing, you also need to decide whether you are going to write the articles yourself or have someone write them. Is it better to write the articles yourself or hire a freelancer?
There is no right or wrong answer. Essentially, it all depends on the needs of the person asking the question. If your answer to all of these questions is yes, then consider creating the blog post yourself, at least at first. Never thought about article blogging before, or have you done it without profit? Here are the 5 steps to create a successful article.
Step 1: Find a good idea (and test its validity)
If you’re running out of ideas or have too many to choose from, the important thing is to be able to distinguish between the really good ones. You can’t start, let alone succeed, without an idea that you’re willing to invest time and dedication into.
What you write also depends on the context. For example, when you write a guest post, you are getting the attention of your existing audience by following their tastes, and at the same time you need to keep in mind the editorial lines of the blog and also your goals. If, on the other hand, you publish articles on your blog, you have much more freedom.
You can do blogging by essentially writing two types of content:
Content that stays relevant and continues to drive traffic over time. In this case, you are competitive by uploading quality content to the web.
Content that is short-lived but generates a lot of interest in the present. Here you compete on speed, being among the first to “break the news”. Then, once the public’s interest in the topic has waned, the traffic will also decrease.
If you organize your strategy well, you can create content that suits both goals. For example, a fall/winter fashion guide can become topical in subsequent years when the winter season returns.
Testing the validity of ideas for an article is a bit like validating the idea for a product. In both cases, you need to prove an opportunity exists by evaluating the consistency of the demand.
There are some sources where you can find inspiration and where you can test the validity of your ideas:
You also need to get an idea of the level of competitiveness around your chosen trending theme through a quick Google search. This research will help you quantify the interest of the audience. And that’s not all: it will encourage you to approach the topic in a new and current way, avoiding banality.
The next step, once you have established the idea to work on, is to find a title that works, on which to focus the article.
A working title should anticipate the direction and structure of the text. Don’t bother refining it until you’ve finished writing. Initially, just create a perspective.
Step 2: Create your article
Before you start creating your blog post, it is important to write at least a rough outline, defining the titles of the different paragraphs. Think of the table of contents a bit like the index of a book.
Once you have built the structure (the reader should understand the meaning of the article from the title and subtitles), it’s time to fill in the blanks.
Running a blog obviously involves writing. But an article is not just text. Think of it as a container of words, images, quotes, videos, infographics, slideshows and more. The fundamental point is not how many words you write, but how to create something that engages.
Even the best writers in the world struggle to engage the modern reader, who only gives you their attention for a few moments. So make sure that at a glance, your article is graphically appealing and varied.
In fact, articles with graphics every 75-100 words get twice as many shares on social media as articles with few images.
In his book “Writing,” Stephen King shares a strategy for staying on track with your writing. He suggests imagining you’re talking to your ideal reader, real or imagined, so you stick to consistent tones and coherent arguments. It’s kind of like in marketing, where you need to keep your “ideal buyer” in mind.
Your ideal reader is the one person you are writing for. And it’s your job to make sure they read it.
Starting with the title, and from the first word to the last, always keep your ideal reader in mind and then write. Throw the text away without processing it. You’ll deal with it later, when you edit.
Step 3: Editing and optimizing articles
One of the most glaring mistakes a blogger can make is to write, proofread and publish the article without taking care of the editing process.
Reading the article should be the last step in the editing process. But first there are a few steps to take:
Make sure the structure is sound
The first step is to make sure the structure of the article stands on its own. The title and subheadings should accurately reflect the text.
Make sure you have presented your ideas in the most effective manner and order
Because of the primacy and recency effect, if you are presented with a long series of items, you tend to remember the first and last ones more. The incipit and conclusion of your paper or the items listed are the ideal place for your best ideas.
Improve your understanding of the text (for people and search engines)
The value of the content can increase through SEO, which allows search engines to easily select it. Improve the readability of the text not only for search engines, by highlighting key phrases in bold and using the formatting options available to you.
Answer: do you always read each text in its entirety? Or do you also skip parts, trying to find the meaning at a glance? To make this process easier for readers, strategic article formatting is essential!
No big blocks of text!
Being wordy is a mistake many people have been making since they were in school. Also, content is easier to read when it is presented in several small paragraphs rather than large blocks of text.
Make calls to action clear
There is not necessarily a correlation between sharing and actual reading of content. Therefore, it’s also important to optimize articles with the short attention span of the reader type in mind.
The block has a motivation, though, whether it’s to give visibility or bring traffic to your products. Want the audience to do something after reading? Consider offering the option to share the article while reading it. This is done with a “Click to Tweet” button. This is meant to encourage readers to share statistics or catchphrases.
If your goal is to collect email addresses, use a lead magnet: a premium guide or other offer to entice readers to sign up.
Revisit the title and come up with a captivating hero image
The headline and hero image are the elements that “sell” your article. Whether it’s shared on Twitter, email or Facebook Messenger, these two elements, along with the meta description, are primarily responsible for the first impression your article will give to the audience.
A good title stimulates the reader’s curiosity and earns you their click
If you’re not convinced about the title, the Coschedule title analysis tool could put your mind at ease about it. You can also get inspiration from other popular sites in your industry.
The final verification!
The last step before publishing is proofreading or editing the text. Look for any distractions or grammatical errors. Check the facts and circumstances in the text and make sure the links work.
If you tend to be wordy, remove unnecessary words and find more concise ways to articulate your thoughts when possible. Unnecessary language is often concentrated at the beginning of sentences, or where language expresses uncertainty (“probably,” “maybe,” etc.).
When you do this last quality check, reread your work slowly, even better if it is done aloud.
Step 4: Launch and promote the article
Finally, it’s time to click the “Publish” button. If this is your first time, you may be a little nervous. What will others think? Criticism is scary.
But in fact, you have an even bigger potential problem than that. What if no one sees your article? An article, like any other product, needs to be promoted, or it could go completely unnoticed. It’s good that there are so many options for promoting articles.
Step 5: Measure your performance
It’s always hard to elevate your performance when you don’t even know how well you’re doing.
This is true for bloggers as well. You may be inclined to measure your performance by the number of shares you’ve gotten. After all, that’s how you’ll likely judge the success of the content you’re viewing as a user.
It’s true that shares give you an idea of how many people you’ve managed to engage; but also check the following metrics:
You should also look at what others are saying and who is sharing your content outside of your blog. It’s simple: just paste the blog URL into the Twitter search box to see who is sharing your content and contact them directly.
Finally, encouraging online conversations is also a way to increase the visibility of your article and fuel interest.
Blogging means writing something memorable for our audience
Writing an article can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the type of post you want to make. It’s not an insignificant investment of time and dedication. However, it is something that shows interest in the audience and your brand.
Success, ultimately, depends on your ability to serve your audience in a meaningful way, to entertain them, inform them, inspire them; or a combination of all three.
So when you’re creating a blog post, think about the audience and not yourself and… success will be assured!