A recent survey from HubSpot found that 53 percent of respondents consider blogging to be one of their primary marketing strategies, with one in 10 blog posts increasing their traffic over time. But there’s more to effective blogging than just great content, so we asked the experts to share their best tips for running a blog that successfully converts.
Here are the top 25 blogging tips from the pros.
1. Provide Statistics That Your Target Audience Wouldn’t Find on Their Own
Dr. Marc Dussault, Business Coach and Mentor, The Exponential Growth Strategist
One of the best ways to create instant authority that the search engines rank highest is to collect and publish statistics on the topic or theme that is of interest to your target audience. Make sure each statistic or fact is linked to a credible, respected source. The first benefit is that search engines will rank you as a knowledgeable and respected authority on that subject, which is great for search SEO to generate (free) organic traffic.
The second, less well-known and possibly even more valuable benefit is that with the increased focus on the search engines’ optimization for personalization and localization, you’ll get more qualified traffic when the topic and demographics coincide. For example, statistics on female entrepreneurs will attract more women interested in business because the search engine algorithms will make that logical connection. When done correctly, it’s a two-for-one bonus!
2. Spend Time Crafting a Powerful Headline
Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO, Three Girls Media, Inc.
Draw on emotions by including a surprising fact, a perplexing question or an unexpected claim that you explain in your post. Also keep it short and to the point, choosing catchy or compelling elements of your post to use in your headline. Remember to use strong keywords so search engines recognize your content as relevant to users searching for those terms. Also, we live in a data-driven society, so take the time to do some research when blogging. Use numbers, percentages and statistics in your headline to catch your reader’s eye and give them the information they need to know right off the bat.
3. Keep Your Stories Authentic
Kari Sayers, Founder, MompreneurMoney.com
Share your story and your experiences authentically through your blog. This means sharing your personal and business stories, your ah-hah moments, your barriers to success, and even your oops moments with your audience. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth through your blogging. When you share your story authentically, you will attract an audience that better relates to you and is more likely to purchase from you in the future.
4. Ask Your Audience What They Want to Read About
Alina Bradford, Freelance Writer, The No-Fluff Writer
To have a successful blog, you need to listen to what your customers want to read about. The best way to figure that out? Ask them. Go to one of your most successful social media pages and ask your followers what their number one question about your product is. Or, ask them what’s been on their mind lately. Use the answers to brainstorm post topics.
5. Learn How to Actively Market Your Blog
Deb Dey, CEO, 3Leaps
We all know that the blogosphere has become overly saturated. Just a couple of years back, things were much different. You could have come across a handful of blogger producing content on a regular basis that tended to get popular almost instantly. Now things have changed. There are so many people blogging on so many things that making your blog popular among your targeted audience has become probably the most difficult job on the planet. You might even think of quitting your passion for blogging, but you need to hold on to it if you want to be a successful blogger in the near future.
Just producing high quality articles is not enough to gain attention anymore—you need to know how to market it well so that your content gets read by the maximum number of people. Blogging is now all about tenacity and perseverance. You need to believe in your writing skills and learn some marketing tactics to grab the attention of the targeted audience.
6. Get Traffic as a Beginner Blogger by Networking
Kate Sanders, Blog Admin/ Content Writer & Blogger Outreach Specialist, IPPIO.com
While most bloggers are caught up in gaining a social media following or improving their SEO, they tend to overlook the potential of blogger networking. Building relationships with bloggers who already have a well-established following is the fastest way to get high quality traffic to your site. If they share your content or mention you in theirs (along with a link back to your blog), it gets you in front of their audience and eventually drives traffic back to your site. And while most beginner bloggers may find networking intimidating, there are best practices that can help build that connection. Find out more about Blogger Outreach here.
7. Remember That Quality Imagery and Video Are Crucial
Caroline Pinal, Co-Founder, GivebackHomes
A lot of sites rely on stock imagery, but it’s important to have your own images in order to be distinctive. One way to do this is to shoot a lot of images at once and then build a library of videos and images you can use over time. People spend less time reading long-form content online these days, and shareable pieces that feature words on top of images can help drive home your key messages.
8. Be Persistent and Honest in Your Posts
Barbara Fonyó, Blogger and Journalist, Mom with Five
A good blog’s base is real, quality content. But you can’t only depend on that—the blogger’s authentic and constant presence on social media is just as important. If you can, stay away from like-hunting strategies, even if that means slower growth for the blog or the site builds up slower.
The other key to success is being personal—that is what grabs the reader and turns her into a dedicated follower. As a blogger, I always try to answer my reader’s questions personally. I don’t only share my experiences, but my failures, mistakes and clumsiness as well, and I am glad to listen to their advice. With honesty and personal connection, you can build a well-working, supportive community.
9. Follow Blogging Best Practices
Daniel E. Lofaso, President & Founder, Digital Elevator
An effective blog has a lot of moving parts that need to work together to meet the goals of the author(s). That said, it is important to start with specific goals in mind—drive brand awareness, increase traffic, convert visitors to customers, etc.—so that you can build, measure, and learn. Once the goals and benchmarks are set, next comes the research. This part is integral and should factor in how competitive your topic is. When it comes to search engines, the goal is to research high volume, low competition topics that are simple to rank for.
If you are in a competitive niche, you’ll be shooting for the best piece of content on the web and will have to dedicate a lot of time to outreach efforts such as social media promotion, email marketing, link building, and forum conversations if you are going to stand a chance of ranking and driving traffic organically. If your blog begins to meet your goals, you know you’ve done things right and can see opportunities for improvement, as you’ve already put a measurement system in place.
10. Focus on Writing Quality Content
Steve Ryan, Founder & CEO, RyTech, LLC
Your blog needs to be thoughtfully included in an overall search engine marketing program so that you can leverage the content that you’re creating to be found online. By generating long-form content on a less frequent basis, you’ll see how individuals are finding your website online through search engine results. Focus on writing quality content, as opposed to being concerned about quantity of content. Your best blog posts will be the ones that fit within the overall marketing plan for your business, demonstrate that you understand your services, and generate return on investment.
11. Answer Frequently Asked Questions in Your Blog Posts
Andrew Schutt, Founder and CEO, Elevated Web Marketing
The most effective strategy for blogging that I’ve found is giving readers exactly what they want by using blog posts to answer Frequently Asked Questions about your business. By answering your frequently asked questions about your business on your blog, you’re providing a great resource for people who find your site, and you’re building credibility by showcasing your expertise on the topic. However, the biggest benefit is ranking in Google for the specific question your blog posts answer.
For example, say you own a dental clinic and people often ask you if electric toothbrushes are better than regular ones. You can then publish a blog article where you compare the pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush vs. a regular toothbrush. That way, when someone in your local area Google’s “are electric toothbrushes better than regular ones” and they find your article on the topic, they’ll be far more likely to do business with you than some other dentist.
12. Commit to a Regular Posting Schedule and Stick to It
Linda Pophal, Owner/Consultant, Strategic Communications, LLC
One of the biggest missteps that many new bloggers make is that they start, and then stop, and then start, and then often give up entirely. Yes, blogging can take time, but if you develop a schedule and process and commit to staying with it, you will achieve results. We’ve been blogging regularly on our site since 2009, and we can tell through Google Analytics that it’s the most trafficked section of our website. In fact, our blog comes up high in search rankings for “strategic communications.”
13. Aim for Your Blog to Become a Resource for Your Target Audience
Nellie Akalp, Serial Entrepreneur and CEO, CorpNet.com
An effective blog post is all about strong content that answers questions people are searching for. You don’t want to blog about your latest sales push or offerings as it will just fall to deaf ears and you won’t build that community that could eventually become a customer. My ultimate goal for my blog is for it to become a resource for people. If someone has a question about incorporating a business – I want them to know that they can go to my blog and find the answer to their question. It’s not necessarily about them using my service – but about them reading the information on my blog, getting an answer, trusting my knowledge and using me as a resource for the future.
Blog post topics can get redundant if you don’t keep your ears and eyes open. You don’t want to answer the same question 100 different ways. Instead find outlets where you can source a variety of questions and then you can build up your topics. Facebook groups are very effective for finding tons of questions on different topics that can result in very informative blog posts.
14. Focus on Readability
Carolyn Mann, Marketing Strategist, Larch & Lake Consulting Inc.
Gone are the days where you can type out an essay, post it to your blog and have people read it through. Keep your paragraphs short, use headings to break up the content and allow for quick scanning. Think of the articles/blog posts that you actually read and follow a similar format. We are all busy and are quickly scanning through all the content we consume on a daily basis.
15. Blog About Your Social Media Posts
Alex Cheng, Owner, Boutique Websites
Blogging is like hitting two birds with one stone; every blog post is also three or more social media posts for each of your social platforms. Blogging is just one of the many online marketing activities a business owner does. Another popular activity is social media. If you don’t know what to post about, how about promoting the new blog post you just wrote? Don’t be afraid to dedicate more than two social media posts per article per platform. Not everyone of your followers are online when you are posting. To ensure your blog post gets maximum exposure, dedicate more than one post per social media platform for each blog post you publish.
If you are blogging for the purpose of SEO, it’s a good signal for Google to see that there is traffic coming to the new post.
16. Integrate Your Blog and Social Media Calendars
Stuart Ridge, Chief Marketing Officer, VitaMedica
Most businesses will share their newest blog content on their social channels when it first goes live, but they fail to utilize this content on an ongoing basis. Schedule a series of tweets or posts with different quotes from the same post spread out over a month or more, or create a few unique graphics to accompany the post each time it is shared. Planning these strategies together makes both a blog and social media accounts more effective for a business, and posting older but still relevant blog content drives consistent traffic to the site.
17. Not All Content Should Be Evergreen — Some Should Have a Shelf Life
Jonathan Jenkins, Lead SEO Consultant and Founder, Lofty Rankings
Evergreen content is content that continues to offer value regardless of the season, and continues to be good over the long haul, possibly only needing very minor tweaks with time. A lot of content, however, is only valuable in the short term, and soon becomes white noise on your site. If you published a post wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving two years ago, that’s not offering any value anymore, and you’ll likely end up with another, nearly identical post each year. The best thing to do with this sort of time-sensitive content is to remove and de-index it once it’s no longer valuable. If you must produce seasonal content, or see it providing real results, the best practice would be to ‘refresh’ the same post next year, ensuring it’s up-to-date.
18. Blog About What’s Trending and Topical
Seth Worby, CEO & Founder, Champ Internet
Determine your content by capitalizing on what’s trending online. Use Google Trends to find popular search terms or checkout “What’s Trending” on Twitter to view the hottest topics and hashtags. Think about how these topics can be applied to your blog and your target audience.
19. Write Responses to Someone Else’s Insight
Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, Brand Editor, House Method
One of the most common questions I am asked about creating great content is how do come up with new and novel posts every day? One of the most reliable ways to consistently create new content is to respond to what someone else has said. If you keep this in mind when brainstorming new content, you’ll never run out of ideas. Set a Google Alert on five to ten topics relevant to your business and read the roundups every day. Note that your response doesn’t have to be disagreement. You might respond with, “I agree, but you missed something / you misinterpreted a point / I have a better solution.” You might even send it to the writer of the original article via email or social, I’ve gotten retweets that way.
20. Make Use of Online Tools to Determine Popular Blog-Worthy Topics
Dave Hermansen, CEO, Store Coach
Instead of guessing what people will like, use a tool like BuzzSumo to see what the hot articles in your niche are. See what kind of pieces people are sharing on social networks and then write a similar, complementary, contrasting or otherwise related type of piece that you know will get shared a lot socially. Let the people who shared the original piece socially know about yours. Getting a whole lot of social links will definitely bring traffic to your blog. Even better, try to get some backlinks by reaching out to companies that linked to that original “source” piece and let them know about what you just created.
21. Optimize Your Use of Informational and Commercial Content
Zack West, Director of Digital Marketing, Novomotus, Inc
Separate the content of your website into two distinct categories—informational and commercial. Informational content is the juicy stuff that keeps people coming back and can take deep dives into very specific and nuanced topics. Commercial content should be based around commercial keyword terms that have large amounts of interest in channels such as search engines or social media. A handful of commercial pieces, when marketed effectively, could float the bill for hundreds of other articles on a website—all while affording them the freedom to refrain from annoying forms of advertising.
22. Start with Keyword Search
Stacy Caprio, Founder, Growth Marketing
It is important to do your keyword research before writing a blog post. If you pick a keyword with zero search volume per month, it doesn’t matter how good your article is because it has zero chance of getting any traffic. To do keyword research, you can try using the Google Keyword planner, which will give you volume estimates and keyword suggestions. Keyword research is the foundation of any successful blogging effort, especially one you hope to gain organic traffic from.
23. Structure Titles of Your Blog Post Before You Start Writing
Bill Roberts, Founder, VloggerGear
One of the most time saving and effective tips I use for Blogging is structuring the titles in a Blog post before I start writing it. I find by coming up with five to eight subtopics for a Blog post before starting almost eliminates writing block. This means I can view this subtopics as five to eight mini 300-word articles rather than one 2,000 blog post. Also, I have found that this type of content is more consumable to readers as they can skim to the part that is more relevant to them. End result is more traffic and faster writing speeds while keeping quality at a high standard.
24. Always Break Up Your Blog Content Into Identifiable Sections
Hilary Young, Owner, Content and Brand Marketing Expert, Hilary Young Creative
When it comes to creating effective blog content, I have a few tips that I abide by, including breaking up blog content into identifiable sections. This not only makes it more skim-able, which is ideal in our oversaturated digital age, but also helps boost SEO efforts by creating well-titled H2 titles for each section. Also, not everyone sells a sexy product, but that doesn’t mean that their content has to be boring. There are ways to get creative when it comes to dry content topics, like incorporating images and/or video in the post. And my final tip is to create a strong brand voice and to be consistent with it throughout everything you do, not just the blog. Striking the right tone with the right audience is beyond valuable when it comes to building a blog following.
25. Batch Tasks for Better Efficiency
David Vallance, Head of Content, LeaseFetcher
As humans, we’re not very good at jumping between multiple different tasks. So, if you’re researching a topic, writing your blog, editing the copy and publishing it all in one day, you’re working in a super inefficient way. Instead, you should batch tasks together to help you get in the productive groove and stay efficient. Spend a full day researching topics, a full day writing blogs, a full day editing and a full day publishing or scheduling. You will be amazed at how much more work you get through when you remove all the work associated with switching tasks.
BONUS: It’s All About Content Promotion, Not Just Creation!
Zac Johnson, CEO, Blogging.org
Way too many people are focusing on just creating content and going live with a new article daily. Instead, they need to focus more time and effort on creating really great 2,000+ word articles that can be used as ‘pillar content’ and referenced to time and time again. This will make your outreach and SEO efforts a lot more effective.
Over To You
If you haven’t started a blog for your website yet, now’s the best time to start. Remember these blogging tips from the experts and you’ll build a captivated audience in no time.
Got more expert blogging tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!