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  • Kathy Wilson

Blogs: We Don't Need to Reinvent the Wheel

AI image of wooden wheel on the left turning into a high tech metal wheel on the right side

In a very short time, blogs have gone from being “the new kid on the block” to the “go-to format” for many, even most categories of web content. There are so many of them on seemingly every imaginable topic, it’s hard to know where to begin. So which ones get read and which ones are ignored? In short, what makes a good blog?

What is your objective and who is your target audience

Whether you’re a freelance blogger or a member of your company’s marketing team, you wouldn’t be writing a blog if you didn’t have something to say and an intended audience. Because blogs can inform, entertain, educate, market, influence and sometimes combine all of these, the first order of business is to focus on what you want to say and to what audience. Who are you targeting, what is your objective, and (if applicable) what is the call to action at the end of your blog?

It all starts with your title

To engage a target audience, the blog writer has a number of variables to work with (title, headers, tone, content, length, point of view, colorful graphics, and sometimes giveaways). Your blog title is the first opportunity to grab attention, set the tone, and if you’re lucky, prevent readers from moving on. Stale or predictable titles will most likely be passed by. If your title is fresh and engaging (and your blog is accompanied by eye-catching graphics), there’s a much better chance readers will keep reading.

Hook, capture, and grab hold

If the title acts as your hook, the first paragraph needs to capture your audience’s attention, sparking interest in what your blog has to offer. Start to tell your story in a way that is both fresh and informative for your target audience. A good title helps hook readers in, while your first paragraph incents them to care about what you have to say and keep reading.

Well-structured design, high-quality content

Like all marketing copy, content is king. Are you offering up something that is easy to read, has a unique perspective, and provides fresh insights on your topic? Your blog needs to be informative, well-researched, and engaging to maximize value for your readers. And of course, it needs to be well-written, well-organized, and free from spelling and grammatical errors.

Originality, credibility, and readability

Originality is a tough one, particularly with so much already on the web covering every conceivable topic. The trick with each new blog is to rise above the noise with something authentic and relevant, not something that rehashes existing content. Offer fresh ideas and build trust by backing up key points with credible sources, data, and references. For readability and retention, make your content easy to consume with subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs.

Visual appeal

A well-structured and visually appealing blog is more likely to retain readers. Posts with images typically perform better than text-only posts on social media and other online platforms. In fact, the right image (or images) can raise your blog to a whole new level, increasing engagement, improving click-through rates, enhancing storytelling, and driving better retention. It’s also important to use a clean and easy-to-navigate layout with readable fonts, proper spacing, and a mobile-responsive design.

According to a report by HubSpot, social media posts with images receive 650% higher engagement than text-only posts. This heightened engagement can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, higher sales.

Optimize your blog to be more readily found using search (SEO)

Knowing your audience and the topics they are searching for will help you know which in-document SEO keywords to embed throughout your blog to optimize search results. In the same way that every blog post should have a clearly defined goal and target audience, each piece of content should correspond with the specific search intent of your readers, which will improve your blog’s visibility in search results. Ideally, your blog will appear in the first 50 in Google searches for your “target” keywords. The length of your blog can be an SEO success factor as well.

Use analytics to understand and finetune

Search engine analytics are the data and insights from various tools and platforms that measure how your blog is performing with readers. By measuring your blog’s performance across several key criteria, you can see how many users have clicked on your blog, how they found you, and find out what keywords work. Search engine analytics are complicated with many moving parts, so you might want to turn to SEO experts who are familiar with popular search engine analytics, tools, and scores (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and Moz).

Social media posts

Once your blog has been published, you can add posts to your social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and X) to broaden exposure, build your business and brand, and grow traffic. Sharing your blogs on social media is a great way to establish expertise that can make you a thought leader, and a desired influencer. As a bonus, posts are often shared by readers, which helps spread the word even further.

Calls to action

One way to gauge the effectiveness of your blog is to add a call to action, and then see how many people take that extra step. You might offer a free white paper, upcoming webinar, consultation, or assessment that readers can sign up for based on your topic and their interest. Remember – what makes a good blog can vary depending on your niche and your audience, so your job is to always keep it relevant and valuable to your readers.

So the thing about blogs is …

Whether you’re a freelance blogger or a member of a company’s marketing team, there’s a lot to consider when writing your next blog. Each one is different, each one has a specific target audience, and each one requires a certain level of knowledge and craftsmanship to deliver on your objectives. There are some very useful tools in your toolbox if you choose to use them. And you can gauge your blog’s effectiveness with analytics that measure traffic and audience engagement.

What do you think – I guess it’s only fair to ask, does this one pass the test?

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