You’ve got all the binary basics; the gumption, the good looks, the passion and the purpose but you’re not quite sure what to do with it all. Perhaps you’re pen-shy, you’re suffering from bullet-pointitis or you’re simply too close to the subject matter.
So how exactly do you go about getting all that hard-won industry knowledge and wisdom down on the page, and turn it into engaging content in the process?
1. Understanding your audience
There’s no point publishing content your demographic can’t relate to. It always helps to create a character or a buyer persona profiling their background, demographic and challenges. Reminiscing about the good ol’ days of the gramophone to Gen Z won’t do much good. Once you’ve identified the goals of your audience you’ll be able to create tailored content that cuts through. I always conduct an interview on my buyer persona, asking questions about goals, challenges, background and demographic.
2. Picking a topic
This is the point of the blogging cycle where people suffer from information overload. The best way to pick a topic is to put yourself in the shoes of your demographic and think about what problems they’re wishing to solve.
Example: You’re an online retailer of yoga and wellness products.
Start by referring back to your customer persona and profiling them. In this instance your demographic would have a keen interested in health, outdoors and healthy eating. They may be 35, live in the suburbs but work in the city and be time poor.
Keeping that in mind you may think laterally and put together a collection of recipes about slow food. Whilst this may not be directly related to yoga mats, it would resonate with your audience and increase engagement.
3. Putting pen to paper
At this stage one of two things usually happens – you stare blankly at the screen, watching the cursor flash in time to a dripping tap or you get carried away writing a thesis about this one time your neighbors’ estranged auntie broke a toe trying on a pair of Birkenstocks.
Ideally, your blog should be anywhere between 400-1000 words. Don’t be preoccupied counting commas; write it like you would say it. The most engaging blog posts are the ones where authenticity resonates and there’s a part of you that understands where the reader is coming from. People engage with people, not machines.
It’s not an exam or an exercise in grammatical correctness; it’s an opportunity to share your relevant and valued voice in your community. Words that fill up space are just noise.
4. Content is not just about words
Content is not just about words on a page. Blog content is a combination between written and visual. There is nothing worse than wading through a sea of words. This is not an invitation to start a collaging career, but a few pictures go a long way.
5. Optimising your blog post for SEO
There’s no point producing great content if no one can find it. Not optimising your blog posts is akin to a billboard in a desert.
Mobile friendly: The majority of people will see your site on mobile before they see it on a desktop – keep that in mind when you format your text and images.
Anchor text: Anchor text is words that link to a page within your site or an outside site. Search engines use anchor text as a guide to raking the relevancy of the keywords. Don’t go overboard, there’s no need to drop 30 anchors, Google will penalise you for keyword stuffing so keep it relevant.
Header Tags: Headings outline the general idea of the content, almost a snippet of relevancy and topic. Search engines use headings to get an idea of what your post is about. When you write your header and meta tags write them with your buyer persona in mind. Think about what search phrase they would use to find your blog post as opposed to what you think the search engine may want.
6. Call to action
At the end of every blog post, belongs a call to action. A good call to action aims to turn consideration into decision. Think of a CTA as a suggestive sound byte. Studies show that keeping it between 90 and 150 characters commands short attention spans. Avoid using vague, insincere phrases like “Buy Now” or “Download Here”. Think about the motivation behind the call to action and craft it accordingly.
Your business has a personality, a story, an energy and breadth. Sincere content has the ability to communicate your individuality and find your voice in a loud land.
Nicole Kersh is the founder of 4Cabling, building the company to annual revenue of $10 million. Nicole has notched up awards and listings including AFR Young Women to Watch 2013, Eastern Region nominee 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program and Deloitte ‘Technology Fast 500’ Asia Pacific Winner 2012. She recently sold 4Cabling and and now runs The Content Folk and consults in the area of e-commerce strategies.