A successful digital marketing strategy involves keeping a blog, each article of which is designed and written in a way that supports the growth of the business.
A blog helps to strengthen SEO, build loyalty in a community on social networks, attract prospects and customers, and increase the number of calls to action in order to generate inbound leads.
Despite these advantages, many marketers are reluctant to get started. Some doubt their writing skills, others don't know where to start. Keeping a blog is however easier than it seems.
What is a blog?
The term blog is a digest of "web log", in other words, "online journal". Blogs appeared in the early 1990s. Like a newspaper, they allowed their authors to post thoughts and anecdotes on a personal website, in order to share them with a virtual community of readers. The first blogs were therefore much more intimate than today.
How to plan and organize your blog posts?
Currently, individuals and organizations are creating blogs to post analysis, advice, reviews and other observations in their area of expertise.
This article presents how to feed a blog on a daily basis thanks to a simple and fast method. Different types of articles are also discussed with examples:
Item in list form.
Article with examples.
Article with SlideShare presentation.
To keep a blog effectively, it is essential to know the subject area well. As experts in their sector of activity, companies are therefore well positioned.
How to write a blog post
1 - Understand the target audience
Before writing a blog post, it is essential to clearly define the target audience. What subjects interest him? What kind of information is it seeking to obtain? To answer these questions, it is recommended that you create buyer personas . Each blog article can thus be intended for a specific buyer persona.
For example, to address young millennials entrepreneurs, it is probably unnecessary to detail how social networks work, which they already master. On the other hand, it can be interesting to explain how to make a strategic use of these platforms for professional and commercial purposes. A blog article should therefore not be generic, but target a specific audience with defined interests.
2 - Create a blog domain
Once the personas have been identified, you must configure a domain to publish future blog posts. To this end, it is necessary to have a content management system (CMS) and a domain name host.
Choosing a content management system (CMS)
A CMS allows you to create a web domain in order to publish a blog. On this type of platform, it is possible to manage website hosting domains , as well as subdomains , linked to an existing site.
HubSpot customer websites are hosted on the HubSpot CMS . Some companies use services that are compatible with, for example, WordPress. A blog can just as well be hosted on a domain as on a subdomain.
Once the CMS has been selected, it is necessary to use a domain name host.
Register a domain or subdomain with a web host
The address of a blog hosted on a domain follows the format www.yourblog.com. Each company is free to choose a domain name, as long as it is available.
The address of a blog hosted on a subdomain of the site www.yourcompany.com takes the following form: blog.yourcompany.com . In this case, the blog subdomain is a reserved section of the yourcompany.com site.
Some CMS offer free subdomains, hosted directly on the platform rather than on the company's website. The address of a blog can then take the form of yourblog.votrecms.com. To add a blog to a business website, the subdomain must be registered with the host.
Most hosting services are very inexpensive (starting at around € 3 per month). Here are five of the most popular web hosts:
3 - Customize the blog theme
Once the blog domain is configured, the theme must be personalized, in harmony with the target industry and the branding of the brand.
Thus, a blog dedicated to sustainable development will generally adopt green tones.
The appearance and editorial line of a business blog should reflect that of its website. Two elements are essential for the consistency of the customer experience:
Logo: The brand logo allows the reader to identify the source of the content. It is up to each company to decide the level of branding it wants to apply to its blog.
"About" page: A professional website usually includes an introductory page. The "About" section of the blog must therefore echo the latter, by defining an editorial line aligned with the objectives of the company.
4 - Choose the subject of the first article
For a first article, it is preferable to remain generalist. For example, a plumbing company may start by addressing the issue of dripping faucets.
Some research will detail how to fix a leaky faucet depending on the cause.
It is also possible to write an article on the types of faucets currently available on the market, or to tell about a successful intervention in the matter.
For example, a plumbing company can publish a tutorial article on how to repair a faucet. Here are four more examples based on the above article categories:
Listed Article: 5 Ways To Fix A Leaking Faucet.
Example article: 10 brands of faucets to discover.
SlideShare presentation: 5 types of tap to replace yours (with photos).
News Article: Study Finds X% of Home People Do Not Replace Their Faucets Often Enough.
Additional examples are provided at the end of this guide.
To easily find article ideas, it helps to develop different facets of the same topic. For example :
Broaden the subject.
Update a topic.
Target a different audience.
Adopt a negative or positive angle.
Choose another article format.
5 - Find a working title
List headline ideas helps define the angle of the article. A subject can for example be refined: "What tools to repair a leaking faucet?" Or "Why is my faucet leaking?" ". This provisional title serves as a common thread for the drafting of the article.
For example, the article The Guide to Getting Started with Guest Blogging probably came from the generic topic “guest blogging”. The author may have used a working title like "How to Guest Blogging" before arriving at the one chosen.
The angle becomes clearer throughout the writing process, allowing the author to refine a broad subject to tackle a concrete point.
6 - write a captivating introduction
The introduction must effectively capture the visitor's attention, in order to encourage them to continue reading.
To arouse curiosity, several possibilities: tell an anecdote, show empathy for the target audience, quote figures or interesting data, etc.
The introduction should then state the purpose of the article, and specify how the issue will be addressed. Indeed, the first objective of a blog post is to provide useful information to the reader.
7 - Structure the content using a plan
A blog post can be information dense, both for the reader and for the author. In this case, it is important to organize the content in a clear and digestible way. Sections, lists, subtitles: the possibilities are numerous.
For example, the item Quality or quantity? 6 months of blogging analysis contains a lot of information. The content has therefore been structured using numbered titles and sub-titles. Each of these sections is then divided into paragraphs for ease of reading.
To structure a blog post, it helps to develop a detailed plan listing the points to be covered in logical order. There are also predefined article templates to speed up the task.
8 - Write the article
With the plan in place, it's time to get down to the actual writing.
To do this, simply follow the plan by detailing each of the points discussed. If necessary, the author can support his own expertise with examples and figures. The external sources used must be duly cited, in order to avoid any accusation of plagiarism. To maximize the credibility of the article, it is also important to check the quality and reliability of the data.
A few simple tips can help marketers overcome fear of the blank page. There are also many writing assistance tools, such as:
The electronic dictionary of synonyms : this free site makes it possible to avoid repetitions and to enrich the lexicon used.
ZenPen : This tool aims to avoid distractions. The interface is a minimalist text editor, which allows you to write text without worrying about formatting.
The dictionary of co-occurrences : a word on the tip of the tongue? This tool lists common expressions and contexts of use for the search term.
9 - Proofread and correct the article and the formatting
Proofreading is an important step in writing, which should not be overlooked. It is possible to entrust it to a competent colleague, who will check the spelling, grammar and style. Free text proofing tools like Scribens and Language Tool can also help. Finally, many writers and bloggers provide tips and advice on their personal and professional blogs.
As for formatting, a few essential elements are worth remembering:
The main image of an article should be relevant and aesthetic. This image appears prominently on social networks, and therefore has an impact on the number of clicks. In fact, content that includes one or more images get 94% more views than content without images.
Intellectual property law does apply, however, today it is easy to find quality royalty-free images .
Beyond the images, a blog post must be aesthetic, even in its formatting and organization.
Titles and subtitles thus make it possible to ventilate dense text. These should be formatted consistently. For example, screenshots should not give the impression of floating on the page. So, it is better to surround them with a border.
For a consistent and professional branding image, the same style rules should apply throughout the blog.
Topics and Tags
A tag is a specific, public keyword used to describe an article. Tags allow users to browse a blog by topic or category. Rather than producing long lists of tags, it is advisable to think strategically. Tags can be thought of as the headings of a blog. 10 to 20 tags are thus sufficient to cover the main themes addressed and to structure the entire blog.
10 - Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the article
Each blog post should end with a CTA inviting the reader to take a specific action: subscribe to the blog, download an e-book, register for a webinar or event, read a similar post, etc. This action must be aligned with the marketing objectives of the company, which aims to turn blog readers into leads. It must also be useful to the visitor: for example, a CTA can invite them to discover other content, in order to obtain more information on the subject that interests them.
When it comes to content marketing, the resources offered must benefit both the business and the visitor, who may become a lead, then a customer.
11 - Optimize on-page SEO
Once the article is written, a final proofreading is necessary in order to optimize the text for search engines.
The use of keywords must remain subtle and strategic. These must fit naturally into the text, without affecting the user experience. Likewise, the URL can be optimized and shortened using a few clear and relevant keywords. No need to multiply the keywords or aim for theoretical rates: Google's algorithm bypasses this type of practice.
In terms of SEO, certain elements remain essential:
The meta description appears below the page title in Google search results. It must therefore summarize the article and arouse the curiosity of users, in order to encourage them to click. Ideally, a meta description should be between 150 and 160 characters long, and start with a verb such as "Discover", "Learn" or "Read". Google's algorithm does not take into account the keywords included in the meta description. However, by providing visitors with insight into the content of the article, it helps improve click-through rates.
Page title and subtitles
Most blogging tools use the post title as the page title. The title of the page has a decisive impact on SEO. According to the method developed in this article, the working title naturally contains keywords likely to interest the target audience. No need to write convoluted titles in the hope of stuffing them with keywords. Better to focus on those that fit naturally into the titles and sub-titles. Finally, in order to prevent these from being truncated in search engines, it is recommended to limit them to 65 characters.
Anchor text is the text of links to other internal or external pages. It is important to pay attention to the keywords used to link an article to other web pages, as these are taken into consideration by the search engines.
The quality of the targeted pages should also be checked. Linking pages targeting the same or related keywords improves article SEO.
Optimization for mobiles
Of three minutes spent online, two are on a mobile device . Adaptive design, designed for mobile, has therefore become essential. In addition to optimizing the user experience, mobile compatibility has a significant impact on SEO.
Since 2015, Google's algorithm penalizes websites not adapted to mobile. Google reaffirmed this trend in May 2016, pushing marketers and developers to keep up with the times. Today, no blog or website can do without a mobile.
12 - Write a catchy title
Finally, the time has come to choose a final title . Some good practices can effectively capture the attention of users:
Start with the working title.
Note that a title must above all be clear and relevant.
Emphasize the title with phrases, puns, and other literary tactics.
If possible, include a keyword, provided the title stays natural.
Finally, try to shorten the title: above 65 characters, it may be truncated by Google, and clarity will be compromised.
Once the title is selected, it is still possible to make some adjustments to maximize SEO .