A definitive list of everything I wish someone else had shared with me when I first started writing a blog for my business 7 years ago…
I started writing a blog for my business way back in 2013 as a way to answer many of the questions clients were asking me. I’d also heard blogging was good for my website presence and might even help clients and Google find me more easily. These days I publish a blog or LinkedIn article 2-4 times a month.
In many ways, what I am sharing with you here is what I wish someone had shared with me when I first began blogging for my business!
Here’s my first blog, 5 Ways to Say NO at work. It survived my recent website upgrade for sentimental reasons. I’m not sharing it with you as an example of how to write a blog, I am sharing it as an example of the importance of beginning. While I have removed the visual I originally used with this blog post, you will note I have not attended to the formatting issues. I love that this blog post breaks many of the formats I now follow. It is a trip down memory lane and remains to this day a concept I still discuss with regular clients.
Why I serve my ideal clients first and Google second
My focus on knowing the ideal clients or target market we serve and who we do our best work with is the driving force behind my blog content, social media focus and email marketing. While I do use data driven insights from my website’s Google Analytics, and LinkedIn article and LinkedIn Company Page analytics, I am also mindful of what is happening in my client’s world and how I can help them. By sharing value adding content it is my aim to help current and potential clients deal with their business and career issues as they relate to the services my business offers.
My blog topics are chosen as part of an overall content planning framework based on my commercial goals and answering the questions my clients are asking. Once the core content of the blog is written, I then follow a checklist for ensuring my blogs deliver against the needs of my clients and then, and only then, Google’s requirements for being discovered in search. My decision for what’s included in this checklist has been developed over my 7 years of writing my blog and publishing LinkedIn articles and is based on feedback from clients and colleagues as to what they find useful and resources I’ve read about blogging over the years.
Here’s some examples of my checklist items after I have written the first draft of my blog.
Headline: I try to choose a relevant headline that addresses a topic my clients can relate to. I may sometimes use a headline checker.
Focused Opening Statement: If you revisit the opening statement of this article you will see I speak directly to the reader and explain very quickly what I am writing about and what they can expect from the article.
A Sense of Me: I also try to inject a sense of how I think or approach my client work so potential clients can get to know what I am like to work with and what drives my approach to Think Bespoke and our service offerings. This can also often include links to previous articles I have written.
Feature Image: Image and headline selection can take me as long to decide as the time it takes to write the article. I normally pay for my images and make sure I describe the images with the same wording as the headline (Alt Text).
Title, Description & Key Words: These are chosen based on the overall content marketing framework (as mentioned earlier) and need to be completed in full and consistently with the Headline and Headings (H1, H2 and H3) used throughout the blog. This relates to SEO, which is a big topic and far beyond the scope of the purpose of today’s article. I recommend you visit the resources mentioned at the end of this article for more on this topic.
Categories: Start out as you mean to go and set your categories with your ideal client in mind. As you build a library of content (blogs, vlogs and podcasts) you can point prospective clients to these resources on your website to help explain concepts and ideas you find yourself repeating.
Publish, Edit, Edit: By creating the regular discipline of writing my blog I am mostly able to stick to my self imposed deadlines. Sometimes I will publish and then go back and edit over the next few days. If I miss my self imposed deadline, I will back date the article by a day or two to keep the consistency of timing. Sometimes I am in my flow and will write three blogs at once.
Some resources you may find helpful to stay informed about blogging, content marketing trends and SEO include Problogger, Moz, Social Media Examiner, Content Marketing Institute and Kate Toon.