Blogs can be one of the easiest ways to reach your audience. But getting started can be nerve-racking if you’ve never done it before. Figuring out where to start, what to say, how to say it—it’s a lot to consider. But it doesn’t have to be scary.

With a few simple things to keep in mind, you can create a blog that resonates with your audience and achieves your goals.

Getting Your Message Out

First things first: think about what you want your blog to say then outline how you’re going to convey that message. With so much competition, it’s important to pick a topic that you can become the go-to expert on that your audience will actually find useful.

Once you’ve determined your topic, blogging is a lot like writing a paper. Start with an outline and build from there. Here’s an example breakdown:

Title: The title for your post carries a lot of weight. It’s the first thing people will read and should be short, use keywords, and define the topic. Remember that you’re writing for digital—not print— and people will be able to search. The title should include keywords that relate to the post and have high search rates (more on this later).

Introduction: Your intro should be captivating. State the main point of your post and provide a quick overview of what you’ll be discussing. This is where you hook your readers. Give them just enough information to pique their interest so that they continue reading and want to know more.Having a hard time getting started? Work on the main body first and come back to the intro. Just because it’s one of the first pieces readers will see doesn’t mean it has to be your starting point when writing. By working backwards, you can ensure that the sections within your post align.

Main Body and Proof Points: Have supporting statements that back up your main message. The more the better (fun fact: posts with more than 1,500 words outperform shorter posts). Make your blog easy to read by breaking up paragraphs and including bulleted lists if it makes sense.

Wrap Up: Bring everything together. This is a good opportunity to summarize your message and point readers to take some kind of follow-up action. If you’ve got additional pieces of collateral like a webinar or report, share it. Not only will it further prove that you are a subject matter expert, but it will also help you build relationships and pull in leads. Win-win-win.

Knowing Your Audience

As important as knowing your topic, so is knowing your audience and speaking their language. It sounds simple enough, but this will help you determine how much (or little) detail you need to go into on a topic. Use tools like Moz and Google Search Console to understand what your audience is searching for and what keywords to include that have big opportunity with small competition. These keywords should be used in the title and throughout the post.

The Nitty Gritty Details

Here are things to keep in mind for a successful post:

  • Drive Traffic: How people find your blog should go beyond a good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Make sure you have supporting pieces like emails, social media posts, and updates on your website that lead to the blog. These should meet the needs of your audience, pertain to the sector your targeting, and compliment your overarching business goals.
  • Measure Your Audiences Behavior: If you’re not paying attention to how your content performs—how long someone stays on a page, where they go after, and what action they took on the site—it’s nearly impossible to understand what’s working. You have to look beyond the vanity metrics to understand who your audience is and what kind of content resonates and drives action.
  • Look at the ResultsGoogle Analytics is a quick, easy tool to use that can show you how well your blog performs and all it takes from you is including a tracking pixel. Use it to create dashboards, track visits, measure overall performance, and

Lastly, don’t forget to proof your post. There’s nothing worse than working on a great blog post only to find typos and grammar errors. Things like that not only throw readers for a loop, but you lose credibility. Ask a coworker or friend to read behind you. Not only will they be able to point out an errors, but they can also tell you if your post makes sense or not.

Written by Rachel Croyle. Special thanks to Madeline Turner for her help with this post.

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