OK, Now It’s Time to Start Writing
By now, you’ve created a list of several topics and narrowed that list down to one topic that you want to write about. Then you created an outline and listed the takeaways that your readers will receive. So, you’re now ready to discover how to write a blog entry.
Simple Guidelines About How To Write A Blog Entry:
A lot of bloggers will tell you that you should keep your content under 1,500 words and that’s bullshit!
Your content should be as long as it needs to be. No more. No less. Just make sure that you don’t bore your readers.
But if you want people to share your content, BuzzSumo analyzed over 100,000,000 posts and determined that longer content gets shared more. So, you might want to…
- Focus on writing content that is OVER 2,000 words.
- Keep in mind that if writing long posts stops you from posting new content then shorter posts might be appropriate.
- Case in point, check out Seth Godin’s blog. None of his content is very long. Frankly, if you write ten posts that get shared ten times each, that’s the same thing as writing one post that gets shared 100 times.
- Attract more visitors since people are generally more visual.
- Generate 3X as many shares on Twitter and Facebook and therefore even more visitors.
Make sure that you include an image in every post because it will…
Create a conversation by appealing to people’s emotions and asking them questions.
You have to play to your reader’s emotions
Positive emotions like awe, laughter and amusement tend to get the most shares whereas anger and sadness are passed along the least.
However, don’t mistake this for ignoring anger because that negative emotions be a strong way to kick off an article. Appeal to a person’s anger over a they are having problem (because nobody ever feels good about having a problem) but then transition to the joy of having solved their problem with the joy far outweighing the anger.
When you ask your reader’s a question, they will answer it in their head kind of in the way that I would tell you, “Don’t think about pink elephants.” It’s impossible to not then think about pink elephants. Likewise, they might actually answer your question in your blog comments.
Use data to support your argument or advice
You might have noticed that I have given you data like “3X as many shares”. While I could have said “this will cause your visitors to share your content more,” that doesn’t have the same power. Be as specific as possible with your data and people will trust you more.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
There’s an SEO expert I follow who refers to himself as “The Don” because he really knows his stuff but he writes like a mobster with a 6th grade education.
Instead of writing “the wonderful ____”, he’ll write, “da mofo ____”.
Well, it’s really distracting and usually I have to read his post three times to understand what he’s saying.
Who knows how many visitors to his site aren’t as patient as I am and leave simply because he’s made his content hard to read?
So follow the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
Set a time limit to write your blog post
Writing a blog entry is not like writing a novel. It doesn’t have to be perfect and, therefore, you don’t have spend a ton of time on it. So make sure that you set a reasonable time limit that will also push you to get the post written faster than you are normally comfortable.
Just don’t misunderstand me. Because you set a time limit of say two hours doesn’t mean that you can’t spend more time on it. Yet, setting a time limit makes you aware of how much time you are spending on your writing. Then when you get to the end of that time limit, you can set aside more time if you feel you have to.
And this is not the same thing as tracking how much time you spent writing because people tend to justify their actions. Therefore, if you simply kept track that it took you three hours to write the article, you’d probably justify it by saying, “Well, that’s just how long it takes.”
Setting time limits actually help you get more done in less time and with less effort because it focuses your mind on what you are set to accomplish.
Guidelines for Writing for Search Engines
Google Likes Text
Google can’t watch a video and tell you what it’s about nor can it look at an image of a light bulb and interpret it as a metaphor for having an idea. That’s why it’s very important to make sure that your text is correct and properly formatted.
In fact, as long as your blog doesn’t have to look completely professional, you might even consider including a few misspelled words. I do it all of the time with the keywords I’m targeting.
Also, you can use alternate spellings. For example, in the United States we write, “search engine optimization”; whereas, in Britain, it’s “search engine optimization”. Color vs. colour. You get the idea, right?
Google Likes Freshness
Refresh Old Content
Have you ever thought about simply updating a post instead of writing a new one?
Frankly, I do this all of the time because while most SEO principles have remained the same over the years, with every Google update, a few things change. But instead of writing a whole new post, I simply update a post to correct it and then write a little note at the top telling my readers that the post was updated.
And when you do this, be sure post a quick comment in the comments section about the update because a lot of your commenters will subscribe to the comments feed, will receive an email about the update and then visit your post again.
Write New Content
Of course, most of your content will be new and very fresh when it’s first posted. However, “evergreen” content remains fresh throughout time just like a redwood tree never goes dormant. This article you’re reading right now is evergreen because advice about writing a blog entry doesn’t change over time.
And if you are having a hard time generating new ideas for your blog posts, try tools like these:QuickSprout
– Neil Patel created an amazing tool in which you paste your competitor’s URL and it pumps out their most shared post topics.BuzzSumo
– As I mentioned earlier in this article, BuzzSumo shows you what content about your topic has be shared and what’s hot.Quora
– Do you want immediate visitors? Head over to Quora and…
- Search for a question that hasn’t been answered yet.
- Answer the question.
- Write an in-depth answer on your blog.
- Go back to Quora and let people know about the in-depth answer.
Or you can even post a new question and ask people what they would like to know about your topic. Then answer their questions on Quora and on your blog.Google Trends
– Discover what Google thinks is popular and then give the people what they want! Simple.
– I hate wasting time trying to figure out if a particular blog is an authority or not and whether I should be following them. Well, AllTop chooses only the best blogs to include in their database. Plus, you can quickly see what people are writing about on any topic.
Twitter Advanced Search and Google Search with HootSuite Hootlet – Use the Advanced Twitter Search to see what people are tweeting about your topic right now. Alternatively, you can install the HootSuite Hootlet, search Google and see recent Tweets to the right of the search engine results.
Link to Other Great Content
When you write a paper for school, what’s one of the critical things you must do? Cite your sources.
Likewise, Google likes you to do the same thing. So, if you refer to another blog or site then be sure to give them credit and link to them.
Also, always keep your visitors in mind and think about what they would like to know. For example, in this article, I’ve written some bullet points that don’t go into a lot of detail so I’ve linked to other sites that delve more into that subjects.
Side note: when linking to other sites, always have the link open in a new browser tab or page.
Link To Other Great Content On Your Site
Like above, if you have already created content that delves more into a subject than the current post… link to it! However, don’t have it open in a new browser tab or page since your visitor is remaining on your site.
Google Likes To Know Your Location
Too many people are worried that Google is tracking them and while it’s partly true, it’s also completely overblown. Why? It’s pretty simple really.
Google wants to know where you are to give you relevant results. Additionally, when you tell Google where you’re located (especially if you run a blog that is local) it gives better results to potential visitors.
To Become An Authority, Apply Authority
Since you’re ready this, I’m guessing that you don’t have much authority on your topic yet. Am I right?
That’s not a problem at all as long as you are willing to do the research to help other people. Frankly, 90% of this article is curated from other sites. For example, Henneke at Copyblogger recommends:
- Quote industry experts to demonstrate you have current knowledge of your field
- Insert book citations to show you’ve done your research
- Include credible statistics to add substance to your content
- Present detailed examples or case studies to show you can apply your knowledge
- Share strong opinions, and don’t be afraid to alienate readers who aren’t right for your business
It’s Not About You
I see this all of the time. I visit a site and read something like, “I boosted my site’s rankings” and then it goes on to the point of bragging. Who the BLEEP cares what they did?!
I don’t! I want to know how it’s going to help me.
So, always, always, always answer the reader’s main question, “What’s in it for me?”
Additionally, write to a specific reader instead of all readers. This will help you add flavor to your content and, while it will “speak” to fewer readers, it will speak to those readers better.
For example, I try to be funny even if it offends some of my readers because, frankly, I have enough people in my life that seem to have sticks up their asses with sticks up the sticks’ asses. I don’t want any more around me so my writing scares prudish people away.
Get Into The Nitty Gritty Details
I don’t know about you but I hate it when I see an intriguing title, I click on the link, start reading and then discover that the post doesn’t really tell me what I need to do because they don’t go into details. It’s just a waste of my time.
So, don’t piss your readers off and waste their time. Get into the details like I did in this article and if you can’t cover everything in the post then let your readers know that you will be posting more details really soon and get them to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed.
I did that with this article which is actually part 3 of a series about writing blog posts and so I have people visiting my site three (and maybe even four or five times by I cover everything about writing a blog entry.)
In fact, since I’m closing in on the 2,000 word mark and have other things to do today, I’m going to tell you that I will be posting Part 4 tomorrow and encourage you to sign up for my newsletter to receive an update about how to write a blog entry.