The secret to a successful blog

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 5 years ago

Why blog? It takes time and effort to maintain a blog, but it does pay off.

Here are a few good reasons to keep blogging:

- Business blogging is steadily on the rise.
- Higher blogging frequency is more effective.
- A B2B blog has tremendous SEO benefits and organic search attracts high-quality leads.
- A company blog has more long-term ROI than traditional marketing efforts.
- Longer blog content tends to perform better in search engines and average word count numbers have increased in the last couple of years.
- Visual content is in higher demand and marketers will be incorporating even more graphics, charts, and photos in their blog content in 2016.
- Paid promotion/distribution for blog content has dramatically increased.
- B2B companies with a blog receive more leads than those that don't.

What is the secret to a successful blog?

Hard work.

Not the answer you were looking for? Unfortunately, I don't have one single thing you can do to get instant success, but I do have a few questions you need to ask (and help finding the answers) to make your blog successful.

5 questions you need to ask to make your blog successful:

Who is your target audience?

This should be your first concern. If you are blogging for your business, or to create a business, you need to target your audience. If you are selling organic lotion for babies, you are probably targeting mothers who have more money to spend on premium products. Carefully define your audience, and even pick someone you know from that audience, so you have a clear picture in mind of exactly WHO is reading your blog. 

What are they interested in reading about?

Now that you know who your audience is, think about what might concern or interest them. It doesn’t have to always be about your product or service, but always try to bring the subject around to it at some point. 

Let’s go back to the example of organic lotion for babies. These mothers are probably concerned about additives in food and toiletries and the overall health and well-being of their babies. Picking topics that discuss unsafe products or food ingredients to watch out for, types of foods with the highest nutrition, or related subjects like "how to better bond with you baby" will be sure to grab the interest of your target audience.

What title will capture their interest? 

Once you’ve identified the subjects your target audience cares about, think about how or why they will be searching for these subjects. What would YOU type into Google? “What vegetables have the most nutrition?” “What ingredients in foods are worst for babies?”
These questions are the titles of your blogs. You can use the question themselves as the title, or answer it with your title. “10 Vegetables You MUST Feed your Baby” or “The Top Deadly Food Ingredients.”

A few things to keep in mind when writing your title:

- Search is very “question-driven”, meaning people aren’t just using keywords anymore, they are asking questions. And search engines are tailoring search results to best answer them. Make sure your title answers the questions.

- People purchase (and read) based on emotion. Appeal to your reader’s emotions by using evocative words, like in our example above, “deadly” or “must feed your baby” are all going to generate a sense of urgency in mothers, making them compelled to click on your blog.

- Don’t be too vague or people won’t know if the article is what they are looking for, but also don’t tell too much, or they won’t have a reason to click and keep reading.

Keep the body content light yet informative.

The average person reads at a sixth grade level. Unless your audience is college professors, try to keep your blog content easy-to-read. 
Avoid industry phrases or buzz terms that average people won’t be familiar with.

Make the paragraphs small with headings and bolded sentences that allow for easy skimming. Almost no one will read your article word-for-word. The easier it is to read, the more likely they are to keep reading.

Make sure your blog content is actually answering the answer posed or promised in the title. I’ve clicked on interesting titles of blogs, only to find the actual content did not answer my question as the title implied. This is called link-baiting, and not only angers your readers, content providers such as Facebook have also created algorithms that can identify link-baiting and will stop showing your content as a result.

Read as much as you write. If you really want to be successful at blogging, read other blogs and articles as much if not more than you write them. Notice the things you like and don’t like, and keep them in mind when creating your own blog.

What action do you want readers to take?

Now that you’ve got a great title and article to go with it, you need to consider what you want readers to do after consuming your interesting content. What is your call-to-action? You’ve worked hard to get them to your website, so don’t let them leave after reading your article. Get them to sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog. Show them more articles like the one they just read. Perhaps you have a cool product you’d like them to purchase. You can use a pop-up to accomplish this, or utilize a killer blog sidebar.

If you can answer all these questions, you are well on your way to crafting a blog that will bring lots of traffic and build your business brand. Do you have any questions or ways to improve? Share them below!