A blog is an online journal that small businesses can use as part of their content marketing strategy to engage with prospects and customers. Blog posts are typically informative and conversational, sometimes even provocative, and can display your expertise and thought leadership in your particular industry.
Neil Patel—co-founder of KISSmetrics, a San Francisco-based company that tracks, analyzes and optimizes digital marketing—recommends these steps for making your blog posts stand out:
1. Have something meaningful to say.
Your blog post needs to be about something, with a clearly communicated point that readers can grasp and remember easily. The sharper the point, the more likely that the post will be shared with others or generate a response. Inserting keywords related to your point can boost search results.
2. Add images to your posts.
Patel almost always includes an image in his blog posts to draw readers in and engage more fully with the text. Images should "enhance" the reading experience and illustrate something important in the content.
3. Give the post a coherent structure.
Blog posts should have an easy-to-follow order for clarity and comprehension. One pattern that Patel uses is to introduce the topic, state and explain the supporting points, and end with a call to action. Another structure could involve posing an attention-getting question, supplying evidence for your position, and inviting readers to agree or rebut your response.
4. Provide content not found elsewhere.
It's better to provide a fresh slant on something than to repeat what others have said. Putting out original material with a distinct viewpoint is likely to generate higher engagement and action from your readers.
5. Give each blog post a sufficient length.
Long-form pieces of 1,000 to 1,500 words tend to pull in more readers and rate higher in search indexing than shorter lengths—but don't pad your posts just to pump up the word count.
6. Follow proper rules of grammar and spelling.
Don't be lax with established rules of composition simply because you're writing for an online audience. Give your posts the same attention as you would a printed piece in a respected publication. Put aside your first draft for a day, if possible, and then reread and revise with fresh eyes. Print a hard copy to proofread and don't rely on software to do the work for you.
7. Include a call to action.
After the conclusion of your post, direct the reader to take the next step. Effective calls to action could move them to give their email address, take a survey, buy a product, or download further information—something that gets them to act or react to your post.
Effective blog posts take extra effort, but they can result in a more devoted client base.
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