Blog & You’ll Win the Internet!
Before I began my career at Trademark Productions, I had no idea why the online community made such a big deal about blogs. It annoyed me, honestly. It was like the Golden Rule of being online: write a blog post every 5 seconds and you’ll win the internet. So much pressure! At the time, I didn’t read blogs very often, so I thought, “nobody even reads them, it’s pointless and a waste of time!”
Except… I wasn’t in the tech industry at that point in my life and certainly not in an industry where having an online presence is important. Now that I am, please cut me a little slack because I’m becoming that annoying blogger stressing the importance of blogging. Blog like your (company’s) life depends on it. Because, in some ways, it does.
When Google came out with the Panda (sounds so cuddly and adorable) update, everything changed. This update made spammy, ad-laden sites with crappy and unoriginal content rank lower — or not even at all — and rewarded sites that truly had the user in mind, with fresh content and relevant links or advertising.
Since Panda’s release, there have been plenty more updates, but Panda’s changes have only made blogging more important. Now Google considers fresh, original, and regularly updated content an important ranking factor. Your content must also be relevant to your website, and therefore your company. As long as you update your blog regularly with unique and relevant content, Google will be your friend. We all love friends, right?
Do you you know what else comes along with being friends with Google and creating continuously unique and relevant content? Website visitors. Visitors who are most likely in your industry or a related industry and who will respect your brand that much more when you can provide the information they’re looking for. Blogging gives you an amazing opportunity to get your brand out there and known as an expert in your industry. It’s that beautiful thing called brand recognition. It’s an amazing opportunity that, not that long ago, was nearly impossible to obtain without being a major corporation with big advertising dollars.
So, how do you apply the above concept? I mean, there’s only so much you can write about, right? Since Google wants fresh, unique, and relevant content, writing about the topics all the time doesn’t work because your content will eventually become dull and redundant. We’ve outlined 5 keys to writing great content to help you become an expert!
Key #1: Know Your Industry
It sounds so simple. There’s a good chance that you do know your industry pretty well, especially if you’re the one in charge of writing blog posts. First, consider all the relevant keywords that are associated with your company. If you’re unsure of what those are, do a some keyword research or contact us for a little direction!
We’ll use ourselves as an example. Some of the keywords relating to our industry are: web development, web design, branding, marketing, search engine optimization, etc. You get the point.
It’s important to note that it’s better to keep your keyword list basic. No, not Starbucks and Ugg’s basic. Becoming too specific in your keywords has the potential to limit you, unless you’ve spent a good amount of time refining those initial keywords to perfection.
Once you’ve outlined 10-12 keywords, you can break them down according to topic. Remember those mind maps you used to do way back in elementary school? Now is an amazing opportunity to use them!
Put your most relevant keyword in the middle and start to branch out. Eventually this exercise should begin to yield broad topics that you can then narrow down to more specific articles. You always have the option to group one topic group together to create a blog series, or get really granular and create a white paper! These blogs and methods of content mapping are tried and true- and consistently effective.
Key #2: Stay Current!
It’s easy to get busy and fall behind on all the latest and greatest industry trends. Make sure you’re up-to-date on current trends and events. Wake up a little earlier and browse through industry news, websites and articles. Subscribe to top industry-related newsletters or mailing lists so you’ll immediately be in the know. Sign up for Google Alerts and get notified any time new information on a particular topic of interest becomes available.
Consider being so up-to-date that you’re the first (or one of the first) to write about an industry topic. When others go searching Google for information on this new thing that they heard about, your blog will be one of the first few results. These will posts will be the “unicorns” of content that drive higher-than-average traffic to your site. Because, if you’re one of the first in the know, others will soon enough be flocking to your site to soak up all the information that they can!
For such posts, you’ll need to make them as informative as possible. If there’s a new development or industry happing, it’s possible that there might not be a plethora of information to report upon- and that’s to be expected. Just provide as much as you can, ensure your audience you’ll keep updating whenever new developments arise, and go back and edit the initial article when more information is available!
Stay committed and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in your industry.
Key #3: Be Specific
This key ties in with the first, but it’s important enough to get a shout, too. Remember how we needed to start with a basic keyword list and work to break it down? That’s because blogs aren’t books, they’re meant to be relatively quick articles full of relevant information. They get your reader up-to-speed quickly and effectively!
If you decided to write a post about branding, well… you could be writing a textbook series. But, if branding is your base keyword, break it down from there. Brand recognition, brand loyalty, ‘Best Branding Examples’ even.
Do some word association if you’re really stuck.
Let’s go with branding. We’ve got branding front and center (visualize it). What other words come to mind? Marketing. Image. Awareness. Identity. Concept. Keep going!
Those keywords create a great base on their own, so start to get more granular with those, too! Ask the 5W’s & H’s:
- Why &
The information written within our blog posts on branding could be combined to create a pretty great book! But, your website visitors aren’t coming to your site to read a book. They want that specific information right now. Fast. Easy. Relevant. They don’t want to know EVERYTHING about branding- just how to select the right typography for their project.
Key #4: SEO. Obviously.
Remember how much Google loves websites created and maintained with the user in mind? Well, Google also needs to be able to find your blog post. So, before you click “publish” make sure your blog posts are optimized for SEO!
Most websites are developed through a Content Management Systems (CMS). Blogging platforms are popularly developed using WordPress since it offers an extensive library of plug-ins able to assist with SEO. We totally recommend Yoast.
Regardless of which plug-in you use, just ensure your blog posts are optimized. This way Google has no trouble crawling your content and delivering it in relevant search results!
Key #5: Have Some Fun.
Luckily, blogs allow you to blow past the awkward small talk that plagues us nerdy-creative types, and dive straight in to the good stuff. That makes it so much easier to really express yourself, get a bit more personal, and develop a relationship with your audience!
Having fun with your blog posts allows you to inject some good ‘ol personality, and your readers will appreciate it. By creating a connection and showing people they relate to you (and your company!) on some level, you’ll start building a bit of brand loyalty. At the end of the day, that’s what businesses are after, right?
Of course new leads are always important, and a fun blog post will most certainly make a good impression on new readers, but you want to hook ‘em too. Have some fun and develop a consistent personality to your blog posts and you’ll have the blogosphere wrapped around your finger in no time.