Five points to review before publishing your next blog post
Mickey Baines Jun 9, 2014
Mickey Baines is the President & Founding Partner at Fourth Dimension Partners, a higher education consulting practice. In addition, he appears regularly as an on-air guest for QVC and co-hosts a local TV show in central Pennsylvania. You can tweet Mickey @4DPartners.
If you know me, or been on my site, then you know I am a believer in blogs as a tool to build your expertise, increase your leads and cultivate your prospective clients. Yet, I learned about blogging the hard way – on my own through trial and error. It took me a while to find my writing style, even longer to compose posts that were truly worthy of my readers’ time and finally, to infuse the right keywords naturally to begin improving my site’s optimization.
So, before you publish your next post, do yourself a favor and make sure you’ve done these five things:
- Content: Have you written a post that answers questions your prospective clients actually have. The point of a blog is to create content that interests your prospects. So, you need to identify topics that help you keep them on your site. You don’t have to look hard. Just look at the questions prospective clients ask most often. You can also consider the questions your current clients ask – especially those that come during the on-boarding phase of your work.
That may generate an idea that eases a prospect’s mind – a prospect that is nearing the purchasing decision phase of your development process (I prefer to call it the buyer’s journey – with appropriate given to Hubspot (link to http://www.hubspot.com) for the term). Once you have a topic that your prospects will find interesting, be sure to provide content that shares your view and analysis of the topic, and find a way to differentiate yourself and your point-of-view in a that makes your post stand out from others.
- Title: Don’t worry about the title until you’ve written the post. Don’t get me wrong – the title is critical in your post’s success, but wait until you’ve finished the post before deciding on a title. You may find that the topic becomes modified as you continue to write, or find a keyword that organically emerges from your post. Once you’ve finished the post, then take a good amount of time reading and re-reading the post and consider titles that draw readers in. What have you written about? Have you given advice (5 tips to improve your blog), analyzed a piece of news (What Google’s Panda 4.0 release means for your website), etc. I generally put together a draft title to use as I begin a post. But I do this because I may begin writing multiple posts at a time, and it may be a month or two before I come back to re-write the draft into a final piece and get it ready to be published. Having a draft title helps keep me focused on the content’s purpose as well as finding the draft when I need it. (FYI – I use the Evernote app (link to http://www.evernote.com) to keep all of my draft posts.)
Keywords: Don’t force any keywords while you write the post. Wait until you’ve finished, then identify one or two keywords you’ve already identified for your site that fit most naturally with the post’s content. Can you find a spot or two where they fit? Once you get them inserted, be sure to have someone else read it. Make sure the inserted keywords seem natural and not forced. If it appears forced, your readers will catch it, and so will Google.
Call-to-action: As your reader finishes your post, what do you want her to do next? How can you keep her engaged? Do you have an offer for a download, webinar, or if appropriate, a free or discounted product for purchase that may be connected to the topic? Do you have any links that can connect your readers to other related posts? The goal is to keep them interested and on your site.
Review and review again: To be honest, this is my weakest point. But you need to review your work, and read the post at least two more times before you post. Of course, look for spelling and basic grammatical errors, but also look for the flow in your piece to make sure it makes sense and reads well.
Check the length of your post. If it’s fewer than 400 words, look to see if you can expand on the topic. In so few words, have you offered any insight or information that your reader can’t find 100 other places. And if they can, keep in mind that those other places probably have more thorough and useful information than you do. Have a colleague or co-worker read it to be sure they get your point and find the content and title interesting and worthy of the time your prospect will invest.
Also ensure your post isn’t too long – under 1,000 words. Your readers will typically only give you 3-7 minutes of time – unless of course, you are a brilliant writer that can very naturally engage readers for a longer period of time.
What did I miss? Share your ideas and additional tactics to consider before you publish your posts.
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