The experts insist website content is the key to digital marketing, particularly SEO and social media, but what the hell are you meant to write about? Here’s a little guide that should apply to any business and help you invent fresh topics for blog writing.
A business guide to writing effective blogs
In what is the latest in a long line of blogs about blog writing, I’m going to dazzle you with a ground-breaking concept that will not only blow your mind but also become the impetus for all my future blogs on the Blak Ink Media site.
I have absolutely nailed this idea by ignoring thousands of knowledgeable marketing experts. I will no longer write articles based on keyword research, social media topic trends or popular hashtags. Are you ready for this very simple formula?
I’m going to write a blog whenever I feel like pulling what’s left of my hair out.
When I’m about to repeat myself due to a client’s perfectly reasonable request for advice, I’m not going to methodically pound my forehead against the keyboard of my laptop; I’m going to make sure I never have to repeat the explanation again, by simply turning my recommendations into an article.
“Surely it can’t be that simple!” I hear you cry.
Why not? It makes perfect sense, and I believe there are very few businesses that can’t use the ‘pulling my hair out’ formula. Why not raise your profile as an expert while also saving precious time?
So next time a client asks me what they should write about, I’ll direct them to this page, which advises them to ask the simple question: what am I sick of repeating? It will also be a logical starting point when clients use Blak Ink content services.
Depending on your product or service it could be related to process, policy, compliance, best practice, industry developments, techniques, cheats…anything that you can present as valuable information once instead of repeating it a hundred times.
The blog you are now reading will probably save me dozens of hair follicles and longwinded emails I would have written while quietly weeping due to the fact that I’d rather spend my time doing something much more enjoyable, like working out what the hell’s going on in the latest series of Twin Peaks.
I may have sounded cavalier up to this point, but I’d be remiss if I recommended carefree blog-writing that broke some of the basic rules, so here are the caveats and inclusions.
When a blog is not a blog
Advice on how to use your service or product is not a blog. It’s a tutorial. It belongs in the ‘how to’ or ‘help’ section of your site because it’s specific to your product and therefore too self-serving to be presented as an objective article.
Explaining why your product or service is the best in market is not a blog. That’s called advertising. It’s pure copywriting. When a blog meets ad copy, we call it an advertorial, and we all love those, don’t we?
A product comparison page that somehow (oh my God, how did that happen?) puts your product at the top of a top ten list, is not a blog. That’s called a bloody horrible manipulation of your audience that you deserve to go to hell for.
You don’t have to completely avoid mentioning your brand or product offering, but you may have to mention your competitors as well, just to make sure your reader believes you’re doing a fine job of being relatively impartial. Either don’t mention yourself at all, or mention yourself while dropping a few names of peers you sincerely respect.
Don’t write useless, short blogs
Value to the audience usually means information, which means detail, which means length. A 300-word article is usually just a desperate attempt to create some kind of content because of a strategy/schedule that you now realise is impractical due to the fact that you actually have a real job.
Word count limits
Why? Is a webpage a specific size? Will the words start falling off the bottom of the page like lemmings, screaming ‘why didn’t you read the brief?’ as they plummet to their collective death? What deranged moron came up with strict word counts for blogs? Bottom line (pardon the pun): the article’s length should be determined by the information that needs to be communicated.
Write your article for the user, then optimise for Google: title, headers, text, alt tags and link text. Make sure you also write an excellent meta description. These are basic requirements, so never skip this process. And remember what I always say: writers kill SEO, and SEOs kill copy. Find someone who can wear both hats.
Outbound and internal links
Save your outbound links for people you love, and carefully add internal links that are of real value to your reader. The point of links is to help people navigate and continue their user journey. The internal link may have decreasing value in terms of SEO, but it’s still an awesome way to keep people clicking and spending more time on your site.
Conclusion: the ‘pulling your hair out’ formula works
What better way to gauge demand than a direct request from a client or customer? For every customer who asks for a basic instructions or advice, there must be thousands across the globe who are about to draft identical emails. This is a win/win situation where inboxes are lighter, tear ducts aren’t utilised unnecessarily and, most importantly, I get heaps of hits on this page.