Improving your blogging skills will draw additional traffic to your website, will encourage people to follow your content on your website and on your social media, and will inspire potential customers to ask you questions. Communicating with your audience through a blog is crucial for your online branding and online presence; use your online marketing skills to communicate with your audience and create the right image for yourself and/or for your company.

Photo Credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/09/04/23/28/wordpress-923188_960_720.jpg

First, to generate motivation and to see some examples first hand, look at the blogs of your competitors or of the top influencers in the area you wish to blog in. Check out the blogs you admire and dedicate time to reading them regularly. Once you are ready to start your own blog, remember to consider these essential elements of a perfect blog:

Titles and Headlines

The title of a blog, or the headline, is the first information a reader sees. If the title doesn’t hook readers, then they won’t click on your blog and read the content you spent valuable time perfecting. Practice writing catchy, attention-grabbing titles that will increase the click-through rate to your blog from your social media profiles, your audience’s newsfeed, and your website.

Creating a sense of urgency in the title goes a long way in convincing readers with very little time that what you have written is worth skimming through. This brings us to the second element of a perfect blog.

Content

Once you attract readers to your blog with an engaging title or headline, the content must be valuable enough to engage and keep their interest. The best way to keep someone engaged in your writing is to know your audience. Write directly to your audience about information they will use, will be excited to read, and will likely share with their friends. Consider your audience for a moment: what motivates and interests them? What information is helpful and beneficial to them?

Tone and Voice

The best content in the world won’t get you very far if it isn’t written in an appropriate tone and voice. Additionally, creating a specific voice in your blogs will add to your online branding and presence. For example, if you want to encourage readers to visit your store or your venue, people will be attracted to a friendly and passionate tone about what you do. If your goal is to educate your readers, then you need to present information in a fun and fascinating way.

If your audience is young and hip, you don’t want to come off as dry and serious. Furthermore, you don’t want to make your readership feel uncomfortable. Make sure that the tone is appropriate for the content you are promoting and publishing. Strike the right balance; don’t sound too boring or too serious, but don’t come off as too casual, either. The company culture you decide to reflect may depend upon the industry or the topic. A homemaker’s blog is going to have a different tone and voice than a real estate agent’s blog.

Design

Your content may be phenomenal, but you will lose your audience if you don’t present your blog posts in a format that people can easily read online. While on the computer or on a mobile device, users prefer content that they can scan and absorb quickly. Break up the post with subheadings, text formatting, and images. Choose a recognizable theme and a color palette for your blog.

Note how Zillow’s blog, in the example below, formats all of its blogs consistently with blue font. The heading of each blog is accompanied by a large cover photo captioned with a byline. Each post is laid out in the same manner and the same colors are used on each page.

Photo Credit: https://www.zillow.com/blog/vashon-greenhouse-216863/

In this next example from The Kitchn titled “The Best and Worst Ways to Organize Your Spices,” a photo is used to illustrate the ideas described in the text of the blog. The photo assists with breaking up the text as well as providing a visual for readers’ to fully understand the author’s main points. Additionally, note how credit is given to the original poster of the image within the blog at the bottom of the image. Readers who click on the Pin It button that appears over the image have the option to pin the blog to their Pinterest boards.

Photo Credit: http://www.thekitchn.com/the-best-and-worst-ways-to-organize-your-spices-246581

Videos & Photos

As mentioned previously, photos help break up the text of the blog. Embedded videos serve this function as well. They also keep visitors on the webpage for a longer amount of time as they check out the video. If you have made a video that relates to the blog topic, feel free to add it to the post, and when possible, shoot videos to include in your blogs. Embed videos from your YouTube account or videos posted on your Facebook page. If you’re blogging about your product, then insert photos of the product features to accompany your descriptions. Customers researching your products will be happy to read more of your blog.

Cross post different visual content between multiple medias. For example, when you publish a blog containing a video, embed the same video in your email marketing newsletter, on your Facebook newsfeed, on a Pinterest board, and tweet it out. This will attract more users from your different followings to your blog posts.

Photo Credit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/news

In the example above from Buzzfeed News, a post title (in this case “Here’s a Look at the New iPad”) is followed by the thumbnail of a video. The video draws readers’ eyes and attention.

Keywords

It isn’t enough to plan, produce, and publish great content. You also should consider how readers are going to find your blog. Include keywords in your blog posts, titles, and metadata, so your audience can easily find your writing. Your efforts to make your enjoyable blog easy to find will improve SEO and the results of your online marketing efforts. Publishing your blog posts to your social media accounts with captions containing keywords will also help readers find your content.

Call to Action

A call to action prompts your readers to complete or follow through on a specific behavior, whether that’s visiting other pages within your website, contacting you for services or a consultation, or changing their consumption practices. A DIYer may want to inspire readers to stop shopping for mass produced items and start thrift shopping and going to yard sales to create beautiful designs in their homes. A water bottle manufacturer may want to encourage readers to be more sustainable and to start carrying around a reusable water bottle.

Note how after the call to action, many blogs include a boilerplate at the end of the post that describes the author, the company, or furthers the call to action. In this example from Home Depot, the reader is prompted to browse the store’s selection of patio furniture.

Photo Credit: http://blog.homedepot.com/3-patio-entertaining-spaces/

Popular blogs pictured above do a fantastic job of keeping up with blogging trends and posting practices. Whether the blog you are working on is personal or for your company, as you keep blogging, your skills and the quality of your content will improve over time. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start developing your online presence.

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