How do we define high quality content? If you’ve spent more than an hour on the internet in your lifetime, you’ve probably already encountered it. But what makes a blog post on one website superior to one somewhere else? Google is the most often used search engine on the internet, and their judgment of content is based on authority, credibility, and relevance. Achieving these qualities, and therefore climbing the search rank, is no piece of cake, but we’ve got a few pointers that will put you on the right path to writing some killer blog content.
Choose a topic that resonates
The content you create has to relate to both your site and your customers’ interests. What your business sells and what your customers are looking for may seem synonymous, but the internet can be a gaping canyon between the two. This is usually where analytics and keyword lists come in handy. Check to see what queries get punched into Google. Also, information on your site and blogs should be up-to-date. The timelier your content is, the higher its rank will rise. Try posting about topics relevant to both your site and the season, or keep an eye out for what’s trending and what’s newsworthy. Before you start talking, make sure someone’s interested in listening.
Be sure to stand out
Just because other people are posting it, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. It’s important to keep your thumb on the pulse of the internet, but try to develop blog ideas that say something that stands out. Put a twist on your film review by writing about a lesser-known character. Change your New Year’s Resolution post into the ten worst promises you can keep this year. Write something weird about big cats. But remember not to get too out there. Finding a balance between common searches and uncommon topics is the key to catching a reader’s eye.
Know what the heck you’re talking about
Maybe you think of your blog as just a farm to funnel traffic to your site, but if you actually want to prove that theory right, you have to populate your posts with carefully-researched, factual information. There is only so much bologna a person can take before they start to catch on to your scheme. So, while you’re making sure the topic you’ve chosen is unique, see if you can soak up information from other bloggers. Grab a book from the library and browse a few chapters. Gulp down a couple news articles. At the very least, read the Wikipedia page. If you check your facts and cite your sources, you don’t have to be an expert— readers will know you did your homework.
Structure is the foundation of a great post
So, you have a topic, you know your keywords, and you’ve done some research. Now, it’s time to write, right? Hold your horses. If you put pen to paper without a layout in mind, meaningless ramblings could ensue. I outline each of my posts before I even think of writing. No matter how complex or outrageous your content is, a coherent structure will ensure it is digestible. Bloggers these days most often post numbered or bulleted lists, and that is what readers will be expecting to see. Why? Because that’s extremely effective. At the very least divide your body paragraphs up by subtopic. Once you have a plan, actually writing your post will be about a million times easier.
Don’t just write something good, write something well
What you write is equally as important as how you write it. However, if you keep in mind a few tips, you’ll find that you don’t need to be Joseph Pulitzer to craft a good article. Varied word use is essential to maintain a good flow, especially on a very specific topic, so keep a thesaurus handy. Also keep sentence size and shape in flux. So long as you’re grammatically sound, differing phrases and clauses will keep readers engaged. Watch out for repetitive points; try to trim the fat as you go. If you’re stumped on correct usage, check the AP style handbook, which is still a universal standard, even on the web.
“To write is human, to edit is divine.”
Do not be satisfied after your first draft. Just because it’s complete, that doesn’t mean it’s finished. Spellcheck can catch certain errors, but it occasionally misses some of the more subtle problems. Read it through twice, once in your head and once aloud. Even if you’re confident in your writing ability, give it to a colleague or a friend. There is a strong chance that they will catch something your eyes glanced over. They don’t have to have professional proofing experience, because the average reader won’t either.
For sale by owner
If you want to maintain web traffic, posting to your blog with some frequency is a must. This keeps your site relevant for Google’s ranking. Getting a post onto third party sites can take time (and sometimes cold hard cash), but this will dramatically increase traffic to your site. Find a site that reviews products in your industry, or a blog that posts tips about the kind of services your company offers. Have a post ready to pitch that matches their quality blog content and voice, then shoot an email their way. The worst they can do is say no, so it never hurts to ask.
If you’re careful about how you post and where you post it, your website will have no trouble taking off. It pays to invest time in pumping out a decent blog. However, some businesses, especially small companies and startups, might not have an hour to spare in a busy schedule. If this sounds like you, it may be worthwhile to hire a digital marketing firm. They can do the same thing on their time, and they’ll even spruce up your website while they’re at it. Whether you go with a contractor, a firm, or trust your own skills on your own time, choosing to post is one of the best decisions your business will ever make.