Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
12 tips on getting your blogs noticed
By Jenny Haken, Copywriter
Writing blogs should be fun, enjoyable and entertaining. Or at least educating in some way. But whether they’re used as a marketing tool or a means to provide useful information, blogs must read well and include key words (you know, those words that describe what you do, to hook your customer in!), and also keep the reader engaged. Tricky, huh?
Well, no! I was recently asked to create some blog writing tips specifically for a healthcare client, which I was delighted to do. So I’ve generalised them to share here with you. I can’t promise they will make your blogs go viral, but you never know! So here goes:
Make sure your heading includes key words and is formatted to H1. This is necessary for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes. Search engines like H1 headings and it will help your blog to be ‘found’ on the internet more easily.
Your first paragraph should always be treated as an introduction. Try to include key words as much as possible, but don’t get too hung up on them – Google is quite smart at picking out the right words. It’s more important that the copy flows nicely, gives a taster - a teaser, if you like - of the information they’re about to read, and captures the reader’s attention.
Now you can get down to the real writing. Just write your heart out! Put down everything you want to say and keep it interesting and friendly. Don’t try to be too clever. Add a bit of humour if you can. The important thing is to then go back and edit, hone, cut and cut some more until it’s clear and succinct – one of the best ways to do this is to get rid of superfluous words.
Keep it simple! This is important for all businesses and organisations. Try to put yourself in your prospective customers’ heads, especially in that all-important opening paragraph, or introduction. This is true of all marketing and advertising copy – simplicity is best! I often cringe at beautiful looking websites, brochures and leaflets when I read copy that’s too technical for their target audience. On the other hand, try not to fall into the trap of oversimplifying information so much that it sounds like you think your customers don’t have an iota of intelligence!
Make it personal. In other words, use ‘you’ and ‘your’. Try to relate to the individual. Write it as if you’re writing a letter to a friend.
Sub-headings are helpful. And bullet points. They break up the text a bit, drawing your readers’ eyes to a new point that they may find particularly useful.
Check for mistakes. Blogs, or any marketing material, that have a typo, spelling mistake or, heaven forbid, an apostrophe missing or in the wrong place (my particular bugbear!) will immediately make the more astute reader question as to how efficient and trustworthy that organisation is. Ideally, ask someone who you know as a bit of a grammar nazi to read through for mistakes. A fresh pair of eyes always helps, but if that’s not possible and time allows, leave it and read it again later.
Links to other authoritative articles can help. If you can provide links to websites, articles or studies that back up what you’re saying, that not only helps to improve your credibility but also helps for SEO purposes, too.
Use pictures! That’s often a great way to initially attract your target audience, especially if you’re trying to sell a product or service. But make sure they’re relevant and that you have the right to use them. There are many online photo agencies and resources where you can pay or, in some cases, get free photos to use in your blogs. Just remember to credit the photographer and/or the agency in your caption.
Have a 'Call To Action' at the end. This is another important marketing tool – all marketing blogs should finish with a CTA. Even if it's simply ‘Contact us now for further information’. But if you have a special offer, promotion or something you want the reader to do, repeat it at the end with clear instructions as to what to do next to benefit from this wonderful opportunity!
Keep it short! Ideally, a blog should be around 500 words to keep the reader interested. However, there are times when a longer article is necessary. I’ve seen (and sometimes been interested enough to keep reading!) blogs and articles of 1,000 words, 2,000 words or more.
And if you can’t be bothered to do any of this, ask me! I’m always happy to help.