Data is now the most valuable asset in the world, Google and Facebook (in particular) have proven it.
This is the number 1 reason that content is the hottest thing in marketing right now.
Content offers marketers, brands and businesses the opportunity to:
- Capture data
- Use data to prime campaigns to appeal to their target market and convert prospects to leads, and leads to customers
There are a few different types of content available to marketers, but today I’m going to talk about one that I have tons of experience and authority in, blogging.
So much so, that I could publish a terrible blog tomorrow (fingers crossed that won’t happen) and it would still pull 1,000’s of social shares.
This is a privilege that I’ve gained from perfecting my game and publishing high quality content consistently…
…and right now, I’m going to show you the tactics that will get you the same results.
If you’re already publishing blogs, stick around, if you’re thinking about it, start here, if you’re interested in blogging but don’t have any belief in your writing skills, DON’T GO ANYWHERE!
Let’s start with a short introduction (for anybody who doesn’t know me).
Should You Trust Me?
I am a content marketer by trade (and Director, shareholder and Content Director of Einstein Marketer).
This year alone (2019) I have won the UK Blog Awards for Einstein Marketer’s blog, been nominated for a bunch of other similar awards (that haven’t all been awarded yet) and have taken a blog that was at 0 in 2018, to where it is today.
Creating content is my specialism and as an average in 2019, my content has generated 2500+ leads per month for Einstein Marketer alone. As you’d imagine, our list is not only an invaluable commodity, but it has also earned serious sales numbers for us.If anybody says that blogging is a dying strategy or doesn’t produce returns, send them to this page.Click To Tweet
The blog, website and everything that goes into it, is completely on my shoulders (as well as a lot of social content). That means strategy, planning, (the majority of) creation and execution.
Before we get into my favoured blogging techniques, I need to squash something…
Do I Need to Be a Writer to Blog?
….anybody who says they can’t blog because they ‘can’t write’, is either:
- Both of the above
If you can string a sentence together with your friends, you can blog.
Here is a secret that the world’s top bloggers do not want anybody to know:People don’t visit blogs for writing quality, they go there for the content. All the value is in the content, not the way a blog is written.Click To Tweet
Think about this for a second, if J.K. Rowling had not invented Harry Potter as a character (and the world that surrounded him) would people still consider her an amazing writer?
Probably not. It was the content of her books (the story) that lifted her above others.
If you want to create an amazing blog, it will be the content that sets you apart, not the writing. Remember that.
Whenever anybody asks me about getting started with writing blogs, I always say the same thing:Write in the same way that you’d speak to a friend. Conversational, informal writing is engaging and less intimidating for readers.Click To Tweet
The First (and Most Crucial Step)
Before you do anything content-wise, you must target a specific niche. You cannot be the master of everything, so pick something you know and are passionate about.
If you’re a brand, marketer or business, the decision will already be made for you.
It’s crucial that you stick to your niche. You can then use sub-categories to break-up your targeted content’s themes.
If you need an example, look at the Einstein Marketer blog.
We create content on digital marketing strategies, tactics and news that will help businesses. Everything that goes into our blog must fit into this criterion. From here, we have 5 categories to help navigation (and improve our search performance).
All of our categories directly relate to our key specialisms in the broader topic of ‘digital marketing’.
As a result, I will not publish anything (even if it will definitely help our audience) if it does not fit into our content topic strategy, e.g. business finance or business news.
My aim is for Einstein Marketer to be the go-to-resource for digital marketing knowledge, so I must focus ONLY on content that fits into this (and it’s working so far).
You must do the same. Be strict with your content.
How Can I Find Content For My Blog?
I’m going to reel off a few amazing resources in just a minute, but first:If you aren’t blogging about something you know and are passionate about, your blog is going to fail before you see results.Click To Tweet
Blogging takes knowledge, value and consistency. If you don’t really care about your subject, it’s game over.
As a blogger your first key resource is your own knowledge. What do you know that very few others do? What problems can you solve? What excites you in your industry? What opinions do you have?The most searched word on the internet is ‘how’. Really start to think about what you know ‘how-to-do’ and create content around this.Click To Tweet
BTW: Try to include the word ‘HOW’ in your headlines if it is a ‘how-to’ style blog (like this one!).
When you create a blog that shows people how to do something, you automatically inject value into your content.
Create a bank of ideas for your blog from your own knowledge. As soon as you come up with an idea, write it down. I have a sticky-notes app that is crammed with 100+ ideas (right now).
If you’ve already exhausted your own knowledge or need some inspiration, get over to your competitors’ blogs. Look for the blogs with the highest social shares, or anything that is prominently stuck to the top of their feed.
BTW: If you can’t find many competitors, try Similarsites.com to discover more of them!
You should also keep a close eye on your competitors’ social profiles because they will definitely promote their blog there. Follow them and check out everything they do!
If your research provides results, DO NOT copy your competitor. Your blog must be unique to be successful, this means the key-takeaways should be unique to you.
Use your research for inspiration, not plagiarism.
What Tools Can I Use to Find Blog Ideas?
I don’t want us to get too hung-up on blog ideas (here), because it will change the direction I’m heading with this blog (and I’ve already created a massive guide to finding content ideas)…
…but, as promised, here are a couple of content inspiration tools that will help load up your blog ideas bank:
Regular readers will already know this tool, I’ve recommended it on a ton of different occasions.
BuzzSumo’s search engine reveals the content that has generated the highest level of engagement on social media, around a chosen keyword (or term).
This gives content creators (like bloggers) a great deal of knowledge about what their target audience are most interested in.
Make a keyword search for your targeted industry.
A content search looks like this:
Remember, you are not on BuzzSumo to copy, you’re there to discover points of inspiration. Only write blogs about what you know and are passionate about, otherwise it’ll be really hard-work.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public is another search tool that reveals some super-valuable results for content creators.
This free tool will reveal the most searched for terms on search engines around your chosen keyword.
This information is invaluable for content creators, especially the ‘questions’ section. This area of the results will show you the long-tail questions that include your keyword.
When you know what questions your target market are asking, you can create blogs that answer these highly-searched for questions and HELP your audience.
HELP = VALUE
VALUE = QUALITY CONTENT
BTW: Make sure you include these questions in your blog, it will help it rank for those long-tail keyword queries on search engines. Look at the sub-headings in this blog.
Target the questions that you know most about and answer them as concisely and detailed as possible.
Remember, content will build your blog audience and bring true value to your website (in terms of traffic, leads and sales), the more value you can pack into one blog, the faster you’ll grow!
I always try to give my audience information that other companies would charge for. Aim for the same and people will keep coming back!
What Type of Content Gets Followers?
A blog doesn’t technically have ‘followers’ like social media, but I look at return readers, subscribers and ‘true fans’ as the blogging equivalent.
These are the people who will make your blog highly valuable (and profitable).
There are two types of content that guarantee your blog to grow a loyal brigade of followers:
If you’re just starting out as a blogger, you’ll quickly discover that being entertaining is much harder (when it comes to writing) but if you can hit this factor, you have a much better chance of your content going ‘viral’.
BTW: A really simple way to get the entertainment factor in your blog is to use (or layer) stories in your content.
Whatever you do, make sure that everything you publish has one (or both) of these factors. If you write something and it doesn’t tick either of these boxes, don’t publish it.Keep the value and quality of your blog high. Every single blog you publish has the potential to attract a future ‘follower’ (AKA a lead).Click To Tweet
If you publish a poor-quality blog, every reader (who visits that blog) will associate you with that standard and probably never sign-up or ‘follow’ you.
Remember, entertaining or educational (both wherever possible!).
What Type of Blogs Do People Follow?
By now, you should really understand the importance of your blog’s content and how to include as much value as possible in everything you publish.
It’s time to talk about publishing and how to present that value in a way that people will want to follow.
The sad fact is that the majority of people who visit your website will not actually read your entire blogs. Most visitors are skim readers.
This means that they’ll skim through your blog, read the sub-heads, look at the visuals and pick out only some of the information in your blog.
Your main aim (when it comes to publishing and presenting your blog) is to draw as many of these skim readers back into your content, so you can show off the value in your content.
The blogs that are able to do this are the most successful.
This is why the format of your blog is fundamental to your success as a blogger.
BTW: Including stories, opening loops and constantly reminding readers about the importance of your current (and next) point will help keep skim readers to a minimum.
Blog Presentation, Publishing and Format Tactics
If the value in your content is not presented correctly, you’ll lose potential followers, encourage skim readers and have low time-on-page stats.
Here are a few tactics that prevent those negatives:
It might sound counter-intuitive, but white space actually stops people leaving sooner.White space makes the page look less intimidating, focusses your audience on the content and makes it easier for your readers to follow your writing.Click To Tweet
My paragraphs are rarely longer than three lines, my margins are centred (with lots of white space on either side of the text) and I have lots of line breaks.
This is all aimed at keeping people engaged and increasing the tempo of my content.
Most skim-readers will go through your blog and ONLY read the sub-headings.
Every sub-head is an opportunity to recapture a skim-reader, and this is why you MUST include them.
Make sure that you don’t ever write more than 300 words without a new sub-head.
Even if you’re still writing about the same topic as the previous sub-head, use a smaller header (H3) to break-up the text.
Try to make your sub-heads as engaging as possible. In a ‘how-to’ blog (like this) use questions that your target audience are likely to ask.
Visuals create rhythm, break from the text and give you the chance to draw skim-readers back into the content.
They are also another great way to insert value into your content.
The Einstein Marketer blog is about digital marketing, so I always try to include as many screenshots as possible. Screenshots give clear direction, allow me to annotate and highlight relatable images.
BTW: I use an app called Skitch to edit and annotate my screenshots. It’s available for desktop and mobile.
As a rule, I do my best to keep stock photos to a minimum. Stock photos are a good alternative when you have nothing else to use, but they are widely used (and don’t offer you any chance of separation), have little value and are pretty boring (in my opinion).I’ve seen tons of bloggers who completely ruin amazing blogs by publishing loads of stock photos alongside them. Do everything you can to keep these to a minimum!Click To Tweet
Visuals should be used in a rhythm throughout your blog. This means spacing them at regular intervals. This can vary (for each blog), just make sure it is consistent WITHIN every blog itself.
Another hot-tip is to separate your key written take-aways visually from the rest of your blog.
I do this by making them into their own image (with text only) in a quote style format, using ‘click-to-tweet’ or adding a BTW.The ‘click-to-tweet’ format visually breaks up my content, gets us tons of shares (on Twitter) and draws skim readers back into the text. Try it out. There are different colours, fonts and styles available.Click To Tweet
BTW: I haven’t seen anybody else use BTW like this yet, but it works for us! It stands out in the blog and allows me to impart a very valuable point. If you haven’t visited our blog before, check out some of our other posts to see how often I use it!
Every blog is an opportunity to promote the value of other content on your website.
If you have a published something that has resonated with visitors (or you know has tons of value) it’s probably worth mentioning it in other blogs.
This means linking to it from your blog (which will also give it a tiny boost on search engines).
There are a few different ways of doing this. I try to include all three of these cross-linking strategies in every blog I publish:
- Embedded links: A link that is anchored in a keyword within a sentence. Embedded links don’t break from the flow of text or promote themselves. They sit in normal sentences.
- The More Info Link: If I touch on a subject that I’ve already covered in a different blog, I will make a line break and say something like, ‘learn more about this in our guide to…’ These get lots of clicks when surrounded by the correct content.
- Recommended blogs: At the bottom of every blog, I add in 3 titles that I think would interest the reader. They are all relevant and keep visitors on our site when they’ve finished consuming our content.
BTW: Always try to seed (and sell) the importance of your links (AKA your other blogs, lead magnets and products).
First Impressions/Above the Fold
First impressions count, especially to first time visitors.
The tactics (above) about white space, visuals, stand-out text and direction will help when visitors get into your content, but before that, you can lose lots of potential followers if your first impressions are wrong.
The first part of a webpage that can be seen, is known as ‘above the fold’. This is what people see before they scroll.
You must ensure that your ‘above the fold’ is visually appealing and makes visitors want to read your blog.
My ‘above the fold’ strategy is to include a visually appealing billboard image, that includes colour, a relevant design and content promises (in the form of bullet-points).
These promises tell a visitor what they stand to gain by reading through my content.
I’ve only added these bullet-points into our ‘above the fold’ strategy this year, and they have made a massive difference to our bounce rate, email subscriptions and time-on-page stats. If you aren’t already, try highlighting your key blog take-aways ‘above the fold’.
There are tons of tips, tactics and examples included in this blog.
If anything can demonstrate the amount of value and take-aways that you need to include to grow your blog, this blog shows it!
Blogging requires consistently sticking to high-standards and being prepared to fight through the initial hard-times (because you won’t get many readers when you start out).
After you’ve created a blog with all these tactics, you’ll need to distribute and promote it. Discover how to do exactly that with these value-packed articles:
- Facebook Page Likes: How to Get 1,000’s for FREE
- 3 Big Mistakes That Are Killing Your Organic Reach On Facebook
- Instagram Reach: 9 Killer Tactics to Increase Your Instagram Post Reach