In an increasingly digital world, you need to market your business online. When it comes to marketing a product/service offering online, content marketing through blog writing is one of the most effective methods to spread the word about your company and position you as an industry expert. But an effective blog post is not the same as churning out written copy.
Effective content marketing is about telling really great stories that engage your target audience. To write a great blog that attracts clicks, reads and shares from your target consumers, there are strategies that need to be incorporated.
As part of my blog writing practices for Launchpad Digital and our clients, I have examined the methodology applied by Online Marketing expert Neil Patel and formatted the key content marketing elements to accomplish the writing goals of successful Online Marketing.
So, without further ado, here are the four key elements of successful blog posts when marketing your company.
The headline is vital to the success of a blog post, as it is the first piece of content your audience will read. You may have spent a considerable amount of effort and time to writing the blog, but if no one clicks it because the headline is boring, you shouldn’t have written anything to promote your business to begin with.
Research from Copyblogger found that approximately 8 out of 10 people will see the headline, but only 2 out of 10 will continue on to read the blog post. So how do you produce a title that has the power to draw eyes and clicks?
Use the following practices to create your blog headline:
Give yourself at least 30 minutes to produce a great headline
Do not rush the key component to grabbing the attention of your target readers. Instead, apply a different kind of R&R once you have written the blog content: Research & Review.
Research articles that cover related topics to your business, as well as the titles of those that received lots of shares and comments from readers. How were the headlines successful in getting online browsers to read the article?
Review the blog content you have prepared. More specifically, assess the keywords you have used throughout the blog. This will help in understanding the point you want to communicate in the headline and the keywords that lead your audience to be engaged, read on and, in turn, browse your business’s website.
Include numbers to grab the attention of readers
Research has found that including numbers in a title correlates to more clicks and shares of the written content. Along with a subtitle of how long the blog takes to read (E.g. Read in 5 minutes), this technique lets readers know exactly what to expect, time wise. If a title includes that the blog has a total of ‘4 tips’, no more and no less, than the audience can promptly decide whether they have the time to read on.
Example: The title for Launchpad’s ‘Naming Your App’ Blog
✗ How to Name An App – Clichéd phrase in ‘How to’ with no keywords that express the blog’s benefits or prompts a call-to-action from the reader.
✓ A 3 Step Guide to Naming Your App – Clearly states what the reader can expect if they read on (‘3 Step Guide’) and engages them to do so (‘Your App’).
So your title has persuaded people to click on the blog article. Now your content needs to sell your product/service.
Here’s some proof why content sells: 71% of B2B marketers implemented content marketing to generate leads, and content marketing spawned three times as many leads as conventional outbound marketing, but with 62% less costs.
If you want potential customers to read on and engage with the blog, you need to arrange the layout of your post. Structuring the flow of the blog into easily digestible parts will determine if readers leave your website without a care or stick around to get the most out of your business’s offering.
Follow the model below to engage readers with your blog content:
Introduction – Set the stage for your discussion
The next step after the title is hooking the interest of your audience. Therefore, your introduction has to include a hook. The hook of your introduction is where you truly grab the attention of the reader and is preferably attained by presenting a problem that your reader desperately wants solved.
So what constitutes a hook?
A question is a highly effective technique to draw people in. Once a question is posed, our natural response is to find the answer. Another method is to tell a story. Depending on your particular audience, a story the reader can relate to is the fastest way to grab the attention of your target audience.
Example: The hook in ‘The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups’
- What are the shared characteristics of apps like Airbnb and Uber that lead to them becoming impactful multinational companies? While the answer may differ depending on industry and business model, we share the four most common traits of successful app startups.
✓ Presents a premise that an App Startup can relate to.
✓ Poses a question to prompt the action to read on and discover the answer.
Body – State your points and explain them
Your planned blog is made up of any number of tips, ideas, steps or any other particular way to itemise your written copy. Each of these points make up the body of your blog post. Therefore, each point must provide something that your readers can grasp by solving the problem you have presented in the premise.
Make sure you outline each point and explain them in a succinct manner by using bullet points, paragraph breaks and subheadings. Do this for each point you want communicated to the reader. Solving the reader’s problem in this clear and organised manner will ultimately decide whether they respond to the call to action at the end of your blog.
The Visual Appeal
Reading text from a screen is quite different than reading it from paper. A magazine article may feature long paragraphs and complex sentences. In comparison, blogs need to be visually broken up in some way to help readers understand the written copy. Consequently, how you present your blog in terms of format, length and imagery is what will make the written content look approachable and professional to the reader.
To improve the visual appeal of your blog, focus on the following:
Format – Utilise headings, subheadings and dot points
When reading online content, research has indicated that Internet browsers prefer shorter blocks of text that are broken up with space around and between lines. This is because most browsers often skim through online blog posts in comparison to printed articles.
Therefore, you should structure your blog in a way that lets the reader to easily speed-read through it, while still digesting the written copy and being driven to your call to action. The best way to achieve this is shorter paragraphs and sentences, subheadings for each point you make, and dot points to communicate a concept in an efficient and effective manner.
Images – Use them to enrich the written content
First things first: The written copy of your blog is the most important thing to spread the word about your business and for search engine optimisation. However, your blog will be more visually appealing if it features complimentary images with the written content. Therefore, you should aim to incorporate 1 to 3 strategically placed images that benefit your readers and enhance your written content.
Content-relevant images enhance the visual appeal of your blog post. Source: Launchpad App Development
Length – As long as it takes to say what needs to be said
The best length for a blog article is a matter that remains under constant debate. Nevertheless, all the market data and research points to long-form blogs performing better in search indexing, social sharing, organic traffic and conversions.
You should aim to frequently write content that is in the 1,000 to 1,500-word scope. As long as the written copy is broken up into digestible blocks with strategic images, your blog will attract readers based on aesthetic appeal.
The Call to Action
The call to action is how you get results from a blog post. The blog content has an attention-grabbing title, a well-defined structure and is visually appealing. Now that the reader is ready to respond, click, do and/or engage, you must have a call to action.
What do you want the blog readers to do? Whether it’s visiting another page, capturing an email address, or downloading an app, the call to action is crucial to accomplish this.
An effective call to action begins and ends with a compelling, strong conclusion to your blog post. The conclusion needs to feature an appeal – the reader should be encouraged to do the next logical thing or take the next step.
Example: The conclusion and call to action for this very blog!
Blog writing is one of the most effective content marketing methods for businesses to connect with their target customers.
In my experience, you need to thoroughly plan the Title, Visual Appeal, Structure and Call to Action of your blog to make sure that your potential customers engage with your website.
If you have an approach to marketing that includes this blog writing method, you’ll start generate more traffic, and, most importantly, increase the number of customers that visit and stay on your business’s website.
Do you have any other tips for blog writing? Please share your thoughts and let other readers know!
✓ Compelling and strong in summarising the blog’s main points.
✓ Guides and invites the reader towards the next logical step.