Before you hit publish on your next blog post, use this checklist to make sure you craft content that engages, inspires and ultimately drives profitable action from your readers.
Planning & Research
- Each blog post should start its life with a mini plan. Sketch out a working title for your content and a skeleton of headings and sub-headings. What key messages do you want the reader to take away with them? Having a clear objective in mind from the get-go will guide your writing and make the message clearer to your audiences.
- Who are you writing to? Have a clear target audience in mind and write to them as if they were right in front of you. Draw on marketing personas or insight from your customer or client-facing team.
- What action do you want your audience to take? For example, is the goal of the post to drive traffic to products or services pages, or increase email subscribers?
- What is the purpose of the content? How does it tie into your marketing goals?
- If one of the purposes of the blog post is to increase organic traffic, now’s the time to put your search engine optimisation (SEO) hat on. Has your business had keyword research mapping? Draw on those insights to optimise your pages or use tools, such as Google Console and SEM Rush to delve into your audience’s search behaviour and identify common queries and phrases to address in your blog post
- With a plan in place, you’re ready to write! My top tip is to free write the first version – there will be time to self-edit later on! Remember your blog post needs to have the magic combination of persuading the reader to action and being optimised for search engines!
- Review what you’ve written. Some writers put the first version down and pick it up again 24 hours later or after a short break. Look out for common pitfalls: is it easy to understand? Are there confusing, long sentences? Are there enormous blocks of texts which could be divided into smaller chunks with sub-headings?
- Add calls to action. These can be as subtle as peppering the content with hyperlinks and adding in clickthrough product images and captions, to visual blocks enticing the prospective customer to download a brochure or sign up to an email newsletter
- Link to past posts. If your business has a historic library of blog posts, can you link back to relevant content? This assists readers in learning more about a product, service or topic and keeps them on your website for longer, encouraging conversion!
- Now you’ve written your blog post, if possible, send it to another member of your team for editing. Ask them to give it a onceover for grammar and punctuation mishaps you might have missed and to confirm whether it serves a clear purpose
- Add on-brand images to your text. Product, services or other images from your in-house media library is ideal, or services like Shutterstock offer engaging imagery for a fee
- Is the blog post technically optimised for SEO? Caption images and add in alt text that’s optimised with target keywords
- If the purpose of the blog post is to encourage the reader to take action, consider setting up an event or goal in Google Analytics to track performance
- Go live! Shout it from the rooftops by sharing your post on social media and email marketing.
Reporting & Measurement
- Check in on the performance of your published blog post at regular intervals. Tools like Google Analytics track the number of visitors, time spent reading, next page path, goal completions and ecommerce value. Remember, if its organic traffic you’re after then SEO is a long game and it might be several months before you see results
Ruth’s top tip –
The best way to manage writing a blog post is to put a time limit on each part of the content production process. For example, 1 hour planning, 2 hours writing and 1.5 hours editing and uploading content adds up to a 4.5 hour production process. What time frame works best for you?
Here are some further insights on producing blog posts from Spindogs: