While there are many different objectives for blogs, this article will focus on how to write a blog post with a goal of ranking for a keyword. SEO articles like these are meant to be part of a larger marketing strategy, made up of keyword clusters, pillar pages, blogs, and expert articles. To learn more about how to create a great marketing strategy, check out our monthly consultant marketing plan.
Identify an Audience
Who are you writing for? Before you even think of putting pen to paper, figure out your target audience. Who would be searching for this keyword? What are they interested in learning about? What are you offering them?
There’s a lot of different directions you can take when choosing an audience; who you choose to write for can really mold your article. For example, if you’re writing for a teenage audience but your topic focuses on how to rank number one for marketing in Frederick, Maryland, you most likely won’t get too many views. They’re just not interested in your topic.
Who you choose to write for should be influenced by your company’s target niche, your expertise, and, of course, the editorial calendar. Make sure to balance what you’re interested in with who you’re writing for. If you don’t care about your topic, it’ll easily come across in an article. No one wants to read something boring, and you don’t want to write it.
Pick a Topic and Keyword
What are you writing about? In my experience, I have more success choosing a keyword first and then branching into a topic off of that. The broader your keyword, the more options you have for a topic. For example, if my keyword is marketing in Frederick, Maryland, then I can write about a wide variety of topics (maybe even how to write a blog). Other keywords are extremely niche, such as SEO for managed service providers. This limits you to an SEO-related topic, but you could still discuss SEO optimization, ten common SEO mistakes, the benefits of a killer SEO strategy, etc.
When choosing your keyword, be sure to run an analysis of who is searching for your keyword, the search volume it gets, and watch for something that’s too jargon-y. Be sure to balance the search volume and competition. Yes, you may be able to rank really easily for “search engine optimization for animal marketing in Frederick, Maryland.” But it’s very unlikely that anyone is searching for that. My previous example keyword, marketing in Frederick, Maryland, will have a much higher search volume. However, it will also be much more competitive and more difficult to rank for.
The balance that you choose for search volume versus competition will differ based on your overall marketing strategy. It’s a good idea to combine your content strategy with a Google Ads strategy. This way they can support each other and both will have a higher success rate.
Outline Your Headings
Everyone outlines their blog posts in their own way. For some people, a really detailed outline leaves them feeling too constrained. Others want a heading outline with bullet points and lots of details. Which style you choose depends on whether you write by the seat of your points or are a planner. For me, I like to have my headings listed before I get started.
No matter how you choose to outline, be sure your article has a logical flow. Even before you start writing, your outline should have a story. For example, this article is a step-by-step guide that helps the struggling writer create a killer blog that adds to their marketing strategy. I like to think of my headlines as telling the main story, while the keyword is kind of a subplot that is threaded throughout.
To really give your SEO a boost, try and thread your keyword into some of your headings. Google uses the heading hierarchy to understand the structure and organization of your articles. You want to make it as easy as possible for their crawlers to pull out the relevant information that will help your article rank.
Start to Write
Now this is the hard part. It sounds so simple. Sit down, pick up your pen, pencil, laptop—I don’t care if it’s a typewriter—and start writing. Believe me, I understand that some days, it’s just not that simple.
The Frederick Maryland marketing community has plenty of nooks and crannies to help you find your inspiration. Beans and Bagels is usually pretty quiet and has a nice casual atmosphere with plenty of cheap coffee to keep you going. If you’re an outdoor person, try out the benches on the creek. And if you haven’t been in the Frederick public library yet, start there. If that rotunda and spiral staircase doesn’t inspire you, then you’ll have to read a few more articles until you’re feeling ready to write.
The right playlist can also have a big impact on your writing flow. Lucky for you, Spotify has an entire Focus section. Personally, I’m a big fan of Lo-Fi Beats. To give Google context and rank well in SERPs, you need to hit at least eight hundred words – and more is better. At New North, we like to aim for around one thousand.
End with a Killer CTA
So, you’ve hit your 800 words (or 900 for this article) – how do you end your SEO article? You might be desperately trying to remember the pyramid shape you used for all of your papers in college. But this is the real world – you’ve taken your audience this far. Where do you want them to end up? What valuable take away can you give them? Where do you direct them for more information?
Your entire article should lead up to a great call-to-action that gives your reader the extra information, download, or service that they need to truly give them a great answer to their original search query. After you write every article, ask yourself: Is my CTA actually helpful, or is it just another sales pitch?
If you still have more questions about how to write your best blog post yet, learn more about how to improve your writing for marketing skills here.