Blogging can propel you closer to your goals if done right. It establishes authority and leads potential clients to your website. It should come as no surprise that 53% of marketers consider it their top marketing priority according to Hubspot.
But blogging is more competitive than ever. Over 80 million blog posts are published every month according to data from WordPress. This number is only expected to grow higher as more people get Internet access.
It’s easy for your blog posts to get lost in such a crowded space. Writing blog posts that stand head and shoulders above the crowd is key.
In this blog post, we’re not going to tell you to “create good content.” We’re going to break the entire process down into concrete steps you can implement right away.
Let’s get started.
Decide what you’re going to write about.
Back in the old days, people used to write purely for search engines. They would reuse the same keywords over and over in a single blog post, rendering the content unreadable for users. Thanks to updates like Google Hummingbird, those days are long gone.
Google now looks at the bigger picture instead of specific keywords. For example, if your keyword is “men’s clothing Sydney,” you can’t repeat it over and over. Google sees if you’re using related words like jacket, suit and so forth.
Now that we’ve established why it’s important to write for users, it’s time to narrow down who you’re writing for.
Identify your ideal client.
Knowing your ideal client dictates what type of content you create and when and how you post it. It serves as a guide for your entire digital marketing strategy.
If you’d like to work with a business entity, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who makes the marketing decisions for this business?
- What is his job title?
- What industry does he belong to?
- How old is he?
- Where is he located?
- What are his interests and hobbies?
- What are his pain points?
- How does your product or service help resolve these paint points?
Don’t stop after answering the above questions. Dig deeper and flesh out your ideal client profile into an actual living person. It would be even better if you give your “ideal client” a name.
If you’re marketing to a fifty-something executive, you would need to use a different brand voice than if you were to a twenty-something digital marketing lead.
Create an ideal client profile in a Google Doc or Word Document. Add a picture of someone who represents him or her. You can then return to the document when you’re unsure about the blog post you’re writing.
Search for keywords.
If you still remember, we asked you to identify your ideal client’s pain points. Use those pain points as a jumping off point. Determine how you can resolve them through a blog post.
This is where your keyword research begins. Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Consider how they’ll find solutions to their common paint points and other questions through search engines. How will they state things? What keywords will they use?
Create an Excel file or a Google Sheets document and jot down your ideas.
To find more keywords, you can give the following tools a try:
Answer the Public
This is a free tool that shows you the related searches for a keyword. All you have to do is enter your keyword in the search bar. It will then show you results you can download as CSV or image files.
Answer the Public will also give you ideas for expanding your blog post. It’ll generate other common questions users have about your topic, and you can answer each one.
This is a website where users ask questions and get answers from other users. It lets you see how users phrase questions. You can then use the same phrasing for your blog titles and content.
Let’s go back to our men’s clothing store example from earlier. If you want to write a how-to guide, you can enter the words “choosing a suit” in Quora. The following are some of the questions that come up:
- How to choose a suit for a wedding?
- How do I choose a suit?
- How do I choose a suit as a woman?
- How do I choose a man’s suit?
The first question could be both your keyword and your blog title.
Google Keyword Suggestions
Google is quite helpful when it comes to finding keywords. If you search for something and scroll to the bottom of the search results, you’ll find a bunch of related searches.
For example, if you enter “how to choose a suit” in Google, you’ll find the following related searches:
- how to choose a suit for your body type
- how to choose a suit colour
- suit buying guide
- suit guide
- types of suits
These related searches don’t only give you more keywords. They also serve as inspiration for future blog posts and can be used as titles.
Ubersuggest is a free tool that lets you see how difficult it would be to rank for a keyword. It shows you the following information:
- Search Volume – The number of times users search for a keyword in a given timeframe.
- SEO Difficulty – This is how difficult it is to rank for a keyword.
- Keyword Ideas – These are related keywords you can try to rank for. If a related keyword has a higher search volume and a lower SEO difficulty, you might attempt to rank for it instead.
It will help you narrow down your initial keyword list. Ideally, a keyword would have a high search volume and low competition but that’s rarely the case.
Find your competition.
Earlier, we stated that your target audience dictates what type of content you create and how and when you post it.
That’s still true but your competition is also an important deciding factor. Your ideal customer decides what you’re going to write about. Your competition determines how good it has to be.
Conduct a Google search.
A quick Google search will give you a ton of important data about your competition. Let’s go back to our example from earlier.
Let’s say you want to create paid content for a men’s clothing store in Sydney. You’ve decided on “how to choose a suit” as a keyword. Entering that keyword in Google will show you a bunch of search results.
The top results are your biggest competition. Take a careful look at them. See what they’re doing right and how you can do better.
Buzzsumo is a tool that shows you the most shared content for a specific keyword. This tells you which posts resonated the most with people. These are the posts you need to analyse.
You can use Buzzsumo for free, but you need a premium account to see more extensive results.
Analyse your competition.
You’re now armed with a final keyword list, and you know who you need to beat. It’s time to figure out how to create better content. Begin analysing the top competition.
How long are their blog posts?
Quality isn’t synonymous with quantity, but it’s no secret that Google loves longer content. According to a study, the average word count for Google first page results is 1,890 words.
Check the competition and see how long their blog posts are. You can download the Google Chrome extension Word Counter Plus to speed up the process.
Once you’ve downloaded the extension, all you have to do is highlight the blog post and right click. It will then show you the word count for the blog post.
Repeat this process for several top-ranking blog posts and find an average word count.
What did they fail to cover?
Writing a lengthy blog post that’s full of fluff won’t help. If your competition is writing 2,000-word blog posts, you need to write something longer…and more informative.
Let’s say your competition wrote a blog post entitled 10 Tips for Choosing a Men’s Suit. Write something that contains 15 or even 20 tips.
This is where Answer the Public comes in handy again. Enter your keyword in the free tool and see what questions your competitors failed to answer.
You can also check the comments of top-ranking blog posts. Some users sometimes provide insights that aren’t mentioned in the blog post. You can expand on that in your own blog post.
Blogging may seem competitive, but with a concrete strategy and consistency, you can rise above the competition.
Identify your target audience. Write blog posts for them, not for search engines. Make sure you’re using the right keywords in an organic manner.
Find your competition through tools like Buzzsumo and related Google searches. The top-ranking search results for your target keywords serve as the baseline for your blog post’s quality.
Analyse the competition. Understand what they did right and aim to create something twice as good. If they missed something, make sure to expand on it in your own blog post.
Leave the competition in the dust by putting a blogging strategy that’s well-researched and razor-sharp in place.
About the author: Darlyn Herradura is the resident copywriter for Cornerstone Digital, a Sydney-based digital marketing agency. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.