19 Blog Writing Tips

Does  your business have a blog, one that engages and connects your audience with your overall mission and goals, regardless if you’re offering health advice or selling iPhone accessories?

If so, great. You’re a 1,000 steps ahead of many.

If not, you better take action.

Nothing has more value than a blog that directly engages with an audience on a more personal level over the basic sales pages with numerous Call to Actions.

A blog’s mission has three main tactics:

  • Educate about the product/service/brand
  • Create energy around a voice
  • Influence on a deeper emotional level

You must ask yourself if your blog does all three above. If not, or done sloppily without a consistent voice/style/upload schedule, engagement won’t happen.

Blogging

Blogging provides your business – or your personal brand – a direct connection of these three elements with the reader. 

Nobody wants sales talk in blogs. Readers seek valuable content that provides solutions to problems, entertains or simply relaxes. And nothing speaks more for an audience than directly talking to them. The best route is blogging.

After two decades of writing for both traditional and digital platforms, I continually revisited my tactics to provide the best value for readers, whether I was blogging at Ultimate Motorcycling, where I continue as Online Editor, or creating blogs and articles for numerous clients or publications such as Search Engine Journal.

To date I’ve written over 15,000 blogs, which includes ghostwriting for  CEOs across various high-traffic publications like Forbes and Entrepreneur.

For this article, I’ll focus on five areas of blog writing:

  • On Developing Topics/Strategies
  • On Writing Craft
  • On Content Structure
  • On Content SEO Elements
  • On Everything Else

Let’s get to it.

On Developing Topics/Strategies

1. Provide Solutions to Problems

For most blogging clients, ContentMender provides everything, from strategy to content creation to actual posting.

But others just want the topics and an SEO roadmap because they have an in-house writer or two. Most don’t know where to begin. But the answer begins simple – start with problems of clients/customers/prospects, and provide solutions.

That’s where the idea of this blog came from. As part of my consulting, a client asked for some blog writing tips. I also was asked this before, so I decided to simply create a blog about it.

In the future I can just provide this to those asking the same question. Thing is, most consulting clients turn into full-service clients because they can’t keep a consistent flow of content on their blogs. They realize it’s a huge time commitment and outsource everything.

2. Simply Ask

How do you find problems? The simplest way is to ask. Before you begin researching the problems within your industry, ask your largest clients and prospects.

Here’s where you can leverage your social media channels and newsletters.

Develop polls, like:

  • “What’s the number one issue you deal with within (industry)?”
  • “If you can change one thing within (industry), what would it be?”

Also, send out some questions to those on your newsletter lists. If they signed up for your newsletter, they are willing to engage. Ask them and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to develop a content marketing strategy once you have a list of problems.

Everyone has problems, regardless of B2B or B2C, or whether they’re promoting products, services or the news.


Stay Informed - Sign up for our Newsletter!

3. Google Searching: News, Suggest, Trending Topics

Google your topics, and check out the most recent articles in Google News. Also, the Google auto fill will suggest what people are searching for around your topic, and if you scroll to the bottom of the page in any search query there are always “searches related to” your main keyword query.

Another way is to enter some keywords from your industry into Google Trends, and check the lower right Queries box. There are always topics to check in there.

4. Engage with Reader Comments

Again, this is where you leverage your social media channels and any commentary on your existing blogs. Become part of the conversation, and you’ll have enough topics to write about for months.

In regards to personal comments on your website’s blog, make sure to have them open. This is easier for smaller businesses that can monitor comments (there are loads of WordPress plugins that automatically discover Spam and require authorization to post), but for those who can’t monitor everything, shut off the comments and use a Facebook plugin.

I’ve been working with WordPress for nearly a decade, and by engaging with prospects and existing clients, we discovered a need for migration services from other platforms to WordPress (SEO Redesign Migration Services).

On Writing Craft

Blog Writing Tips on writing craft

5. Frame of Mind

“Write drunk, edit sober” is a quote attributed to Hemingway. It’s arguable if he even said that, and some say he never wrote drunk, though he clearly had a romance with alcohol. Regardless of this, the “write drunk, edit sober” quote is a great way to look at writing.

You don’t have to be drunk, but write with zero cares for anything. This allows passions to surface, and allows your writing to be much more personal/interesting. But don’t forget the “edit sober” part. I sometimes have 5,000 words after a night of writing, and the next day or so later I typically cut that by more than half. Clarity is everything, and most first drafts are filled with nonsense.

6. Forgot About SEO

Yes – I put as much emphasis on SEO as I do writing, but not until the writing is complete. I always start – and provide all of my writers with – “SEO Content Templates.” This is where the target keyword(s), related keywords, optimal length, etc., are laid out along with an optimized title tag.

Sometimes I start with it, and other times I refer to just the title and optimize afterwards (what I’m doing with this piece).

7. Forget About Writer’s Block and Just Write

I’ve said it and wrote about it many times – writer’s block is complete BS. It’s a psychological fear that is just an excuse for laziness.

When words don’t come to mind, the best thing to do is simply start writing. The motions of the fingers sometimes can kick the mind into gear. Let things flow, and start writing, even if you have to rewrite the title a few times, or subheads.

A personal favorite of mine is writing the meta description before the actual article, or bullet points. This helps get my mind in tune with my fingers, and words flow.

8. Rewrite, Edit, Repeat

Some people say most of the magic happens while writing without distraction, and others say most of the magic occurs during the editing stages. I personally have a 50/50 blend.

Do what works – but  never allow sloppy copy to surface.

On Content Structure

9. Structure for TAR

Content structure means exactly that – the way you structure your content. And it’s all about building TAR – not the sticky stuff; rather, building Trust, Authority and Reputation (something I wrote about extensively for Search Engine Journal).

Structure your content by addressing each of the following in your copy:

  • Headline: Of course the headline’s got to be catchy to grab an audience’s attention – according to Statistic Brain Research Institute, you only have about eight seconds to grab the audience’s attention. Remember, you only have a few words for optimal headline length – only up to 60 characters, actually.
  • Lead: The lead – the opening sentences – must immediately reinforce the headline, and keep the audience engaged. But it must also do one more thing – set the criteria for:
    • The target Audience (who is this content for)
    • What that audience will gain by reading this
  • Rapport: To create a rapport with the reader, demonstrate three ideas you understand:
    • Reader’s pain
    • Problem that causes his reader’s pain
    • Solution to that problem
  • Credibility: Basically, why should the reader listen to you? What credibility do you offer? Here, you must never BS a reader. Always remain honest and don’t perform any proverbial sugarcoating. If you have proven your credibility being represented in other publications or credible social channels, don’t be afraid to mention these (and provide some links also).

Blog Writing Tips headlines

10. Use Bullets Where Possible

Use them wherever possible. They space out the document because most people first scan then read. These typically drive curiosity by highlighting a benefit, which is followed by a deeper explanation.

11. Provide a Clear Conclusion

A closing statement is also vital. Again, many readers scan, and will look quickly through bullet points and a concluding statement before reading the entire piece. Sum up the content and provide a call to action.

ContentMender uses “concluding thoughts” to end most of its content, whether its own or a client’s. This is a simple explanation, and “concluding thoughts” is always its own separate headline.

On Content SEO Elements

12. Keyword Research

Every blog-writing process should begin with keyword research. Each blog should be optimized for one or two target keywords, and these target keywords should be used in the Title Tag, url, header tags, meta description and throughout the content.

Find “target” terms that have high volume and low Cost-Per-Click (CPC).

You also need to use related keywords, or “semantically related keywords,” which are just keywords that are closely related to the target keywords, and show relevancy to the main topic.

I stick with Google Keyword Planner (need an active Google Ads account) and SEMRush.

13. Header Tags – or Simply Sub-Headings

I was going to mention these above, but they have as much important for SEO as they do for UX (user experience). For those non-SEOs, these are basically subheaders. They nicely divide your article up into sections that allow for readers to quickly skim.

Write them so they garner attention, but also use your target keyword(s) in them. This helps with SEO when tagged as a “header” or “H” tag, you’re telling search engines that these carry much importance.

There are headline 1, headline 2, headline 3, etc., tags, and each one gets smaller. I typically don’t go past a headline 3 tag, though I’ll occasionally use a headline 4 tag. Just look at the sizes. Also, for WordPress users, remember that your article title is your headline 1 tag.

It’s optimal to only use one headline 1 tag, which should be your main title. Throughout the article, though, stick with headline 2 or 3 tags on the titles of each sub section.

Blog Writing Tips with SEO Tacticts

14. Optimize On-Page SEO Elements

We mentioned headlined tags above, which are a part of on-page SEO elements. As for the others, its simplest to think from the URL down as you’re looking at a page. You’ll want to optimize your:

  • URL Structure: Use the target keywords, and make it readable. Hyphens-are-also-favored-over_underscores to separate words in the URL.
  • Title Tag: We explain this one above in structure. Your title tag is your blog/article headline, and the strongest SEO element on the page. Make sure it features a keyword, and entices the viewer to click and read. Pique curiosity.
  • Headline Tags: we explained these above.
  • Internal/External Links: Internal links throughout your copy are vital for SEO because they show relationships to other content across your website. External links to trusted sources also provides more authority to your article, helping the rankings. Make sure each “anchor text” is optimized; this is simply the word or phrase that you hyperlink to.

15. Optimize Images

Search engines can’t read images, which is why each one needs an Alt Text (alternative text) tag. This stands for alternative text, and basically provides a textual description of the image. Also use captions where necessary, and always custom title your photos before uploading, making sure to use the keywords.

16. Don’t forget that Meta Description!

Many people forget about customizing meta descriptions, but it’s a vital process for further engaging your prospective readers. Google says it has no ranking factor, but there’s many intangible factors that affect rankings. If a meta description supports the title, and further adds to curiosity, the click-through rate will be larger – obviously a huge ranking factor.

Other Blog Writing Thoughts

17. Consistent Posting/Promotion (Social Media, etc.)

It doesn’t matter if you post 10 blogs per month or 100 – the thing is to be consistent.

I recommend at the very least eight blogs per month, though we have clients that do as little as four per month. If optimized and under a content strategy, things will scale – but it’ll take MUCH longer than a client doing 25 blogs per month.

Also some companies create super engaging blogs, but forget to promote. I’ve witnessed this with multiple clients and businesses over the years. At the very least make sure to promote content across four major digital channels:

  • Newsletter
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Also, blogs can be promoted more than once. Stay clicked to ContentMender’s blog for upcoming strategies on how to promote blogs numerous times across social media channels.

Blog Writing Tips promote to engage content

18. ROI Timelines from Blogging

I get asked this all the time: how long until we see some real ROI out of these blogs? Again – it’s all about how much you’re blogging, along with quality (SEO and Content) and consistency.

If the uploads are consistent, and each one is designed with SEO in mind, and you have a technically sound website from an SEO perspective, expect some uptick in traffic and keyword rankings within four to six months. Keep with it, and the greater qualified traffic/keyword rankings at the 12-15-month timeline. From there the snowball effect begins.

19. Blogging Prices

This is always a question up front, and it should be answered immediately. I studied Blue Ocean strategies, and believe in their profit model that involves three elements: strategic price, target cost and pricing innovation. To remain on the blog writing tips topic, I won’t get into that here; just read up on it – it’s a genius strategy.

ContentMender provides “plug n’ play” blog writing campaigns that provide clients with qualitative writing from a traditional perspective that’s fully optimized. Included in each piece is everything needed to copy/paste for on-page SEO, including optimized url structures, headline tags, internal/external links, meta descriptions, etc.

For expertise on the subject, ContentMender matches passionate and subject-matter experts within the client’s vertical. This is why there are 20+ freelancers available. If ContentMender can’t match a current freelancer with a client, I personally go digging for one by approaching the most highly respected publications within that industry.

Expect to pay anywhere from $250 – $375 per piece for quality work, with deep discounts based on the size of the blog-per-month contract. Again, I recommend a minimum of eight blogs per month for ultimate traction and quicker ROI, but others are complacent with as little as four.

Note – these are blogging prices typical of service/product-based companies – not so much news organizations that produce a high-amount of blogs daily. There are unique content creation/blogging practices for news organizations, and I am working on some blogs directed towards this niche. 

Also, due to the timelines of blogs starting to garner traction, begin with a minimal contract of six months.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s clear that blog writing is essential to any type of brand, regardless if they are a top motorcycle manufacturer or a store that sells art supplies. Blogging helps establish a brand’s authority, and provides free education to readers.

Some businesses are still reluctant to “give away” all their valuable information. But they should remember that thousands of others do this daily, and those others become a more trusted source because they are immediately providing value without making a penny.

These blog writing tips will help with your success. And don’t forget the SEO side of things. There are thousands of freelance writers who create without SEO or qualitative  intentions. Sure, a business will save some marketing dollars outsourcing to the thousands of writers available, but at the same time the business brand image and website rankings will suffer. It all sounds good in the short term, but it’s the long term that matters. And that’s what blogging will do for you – add long-term value.

The best part about these organic blog postings is that if you keep your SEO and website fresh, the value of these blogs compound over time, delivering more and more ROI as the years go on.


Want a Free SEO Audit & Consultation?