Blogging, Content Marketing, SEO
Have you ever wondered what makes a blog post great? Several elements go into writing a great blog post. Sometimes you read a post and learn a lot; other times, you read one and wish you had the time back because you got nothing new. Right? You absolutely don't want to do that on your blog or your ideal customer, and Google won't be happy. You have to have content that's helpful and provides value to win with Google's algorithm in 2023.
Let’s get right to the point, what makes some blog posts great? It starts with an idea, followed by research, solid writing, good information, and images that help tell the story. It provides value, insights, data, personal experiences, or other elements that help tell the story and connect with the audience. It's not just a regurgitation of facts that are boring to read. It's also not something you've copied and pasted from a tool like ChatGPT because the content it creates isn't what I'd call great (at least not yet).
A good blog post needs to have a good foundational idea. If you don't have a strong topic, you're going to struggle to write a great post. Strong topics may vary by field, but the general concept is that they are topics that your audience wants. You want to focus on an idea that matters to your audience and one where you have experience, input, and something to add to the conversation. Don't just choose a topic because it sounds fun. Choose a topic where you have background and can provide new information or a personal anecdote to help illustrate the story.
Once your topic is determined, it’s important to do some research. See what’s been shared before; a great blog post doesn’t just reiterate what someone else has said; it brings new information to the consumer. The research phase should include keyword research because if you’re not doing a bit of SEO on your blog post, you’re missing a critical element.
Starting with keyword research also lets you verify interest in the topic you want to blog about. If you choose a blog topic that no one is searching for, it's not going to be read by very many people. You'll have a better chance of growing your audience and your business if you choose topics with search demand and keywords your website has a better chance of ranking for.
Great writing takes time and effort. If you sit down at your laptop and develop your blog post in 15 minutes, it's probably going to show. Once you've done your homework and have a solid idea, targeted keywords, and influencers identified, it's time to get to work. Think of your blog post as a story; you must include a beginning, middle, and end. There should be a hook to get the reader interested and engaged. Ensure the blog post provides useful information and is easy to read and understand.
The #1 question I get about blog writing is, "How long should my blog post be" while you'll hear different answers, the bottom line is it needs to tell a great story. I've always told my writers to focus on telling the story, not the word count. A simple, one-subject, straightforward blog post normally runs around 500 words.
An in-depth piece will run 1,000-1,500 words, and we're starting to see 1,500-word and up pieces. When you start writing, you may not know how many words you'll end up with, and that's OK. Outline your story and tell it completely – beginning middle, and end and it will come together.
Don't use filler words because you want to have more words on the page. Don't be like my little brother circa 1987, who used the word very 27 times to fill the page in elementary school English – true story! It was very, very, very, very, very…. You get the point. Don't do it.
We tend to see that longer, more in-depth blog posts rank higher on Google, but you need to focus on your ideal customer and what information they need on this subject more than the word count when you're writing.
Be sure your blog post provides helpful information, don’t just scratch the surface; dig deep. If there are tools or resources you use when working on X subject, share them. Link to the websites that might be useful to your readers and tell them why it might help. By providing actionable information, you’ll help cement yourself as a resource in the field. Hopefully, they’ll go directly to your blog or website the next time they have a question. Even better, they might tell a friend about your site or share your blog post because it’s got such great information.
Pictures tell stories better than words in many cases. And in content, the photo is what your audience will see first on social media. It may even be what grabs their attention on your blog. The pictures you choose need to help tell the story. A good rule of thumb is one image for every 500 words of copy. If you explain something and screenshots would help tell the story, include them where applicable. You’ll also want to use images when you distribute your blog post on social media. Ensure you note the correct sizes and have images that won’t lose their impact because they’ve been cropped.
If you follow the guidelines above and write blog posts that are well thought out, researched, written, and have images that align and help tell the story, you will write great blog posts. And great blog posts are what your readers want and will respond to. Provide helpful information, dig deep, and become a resource. That’s how content marketing is supposed to work.
Updated May 2023, Rachel