Your blog is probably the epicenter of your company's content marketing program. You want to turn it into an educational hub and establish yourself as a thought leader. But building that thought leadership takes much more than just having great content. You need a strategy to attract your target audience to your blog and then keep them engaged when they get there.
Writing an Article is Like Producing a Movie
Every movie project goes through pre-production, production, and post-production puzzles on its way to hitting the big screen. Although your content will end up on a much smaller screen, you should follow the same 11-step process when you write an article for your blog.
1. Research your target audience's behavior
Performing keyword research is an important first step to writing an article. From a SEO standpoint, it's very helpful to know what high-value terms prospects are searching for so you have a better chance of actually getting your content in front of them. Use your favorite keyword research tool and choose a focus keyword phrase that is popular but not too competitive.
2. Research your topic
Even if you know your topic inside and out, every article can benefit from a key industry statistic, an expert's quote, or other information that supports your assertions. For example, HubSpot performed a study that showed businesses with an active blog report 97 percent more leads. That's a powerful statistic for our target audience.
3. Write your headline
Try to come up with an intriguing headline before you start writing an article. This focuses your thinking and helps you build content around a theme. Give your headline plenty of attention. After all, it's the first-but hopefully not the last-thing your readers will pay attention to. Remember to include your focus keyword phrase in the headline.
4. Write your article
Try not to edit yourself too much in your first draft. A stream of consciousness approach typically works best to get all of your thoughts on paper as quickly as possible. Then you can organize and revise the content into a more coherent structure. We call this the purge and polish process.
5. Break up the copy
If you captured your prospects' attention with your headline, you do not want to lose them by writing an article that is difficult to read. Use subheads and bullet points to segment your content into sections that are easy to quickly read and digest.
6. Optimize the content
Without getting into the specifics of optimizing an article for SEO purposes, in addition to the headline you want to include your focus keyword phrase where it naturally fits within the article.
7. Link to other pages on your site
Encourage your readers to dive deer into your site by using links within the copy. This can include linking to a product / service page on your site or to other articles on your blog.
8. Use great images
Every article needs a little eye candy. Choose one or two images that complement your content and give your article personality. Do not forget to optimize images by including your focus keyword phrase in the alt text.
9. Include a call-to-action
Do not miss out on the opportunity to tell your readers what you want them to do when they finish reading an article. Whether it's subscribing to your blog, downloading an eBook, viewing a case study, or anything else, always include a specific call-to-action to keep them in your sales funnel.
You've spent all of this time writing an article. The last thing you want to do is post it without performing a careful review to catch typos, poorly worded sentences, and other mistakes. These simple mistakes can distract your readers from the great content you've created and potentially damage your brand.
11. Share your article
Last, but certainly not least, leverage social media to strategically share your articles. Make sure your blog includes social sharing buttons to make it easy for visitors to share them with their network. Post teaser copy with links to articles in status updates, and use articles to spark conversations on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other sites where your target audience hangs out.
As you can see, writing an article for your blog is more complex than it might seem. It takes a lot more than simply sharing your ideas on a given topic. Also, remember that you're always better off writing and posting one high-quality article per week rather than several articles that ignore portions of this process. It requires more time and effort, but the results will definitely be worth it.
Now it's your turn. Share your comments about what else you do to write a great article for your blog.
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