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How to write a great blog post

This week we have a special guest blog from Victoria Tomlinson who is chief executive, Northern Lights PR, BBC expert woman on social media and business and author of a new ebook on writing a blog, out on Tuesday 19 November. Read on to hear why you should blog – and buy the ebook!

 

How to write a great blog is the question that most bloggers worry about when they start.  Actually the first worry is – what should I write about?

If you are asking yourself either of these questions, you want to turn your thinking around.  Don’t write about or for yourself – but for your customers and clients.

What do they struggle with?  What questions have you been asked in the last week?

  • How do you know the quality of a diamond?
  • What is an infographic?
  • How are Councils responding to the latest law on …?
  • Can you help me to …?

All these could form the basis of a great blog.  And if your customers are asking these questions, the chances are that others who are not yet your clients may be asking the same thing.  And searching on Google for the answer.

We do this when our clients ask interesting questions.  Not long ago we were emailed ‘Where should internal communications sit? HR or external communications?’ We decided to put it on Twitter and LinkedIn to get views – and then wrote a blog on it.

Now if you put this question into Google – we come up #1 globally, see below.  And it is clearly a question that exercises a number of minds.  Look at all the other questions around this

-          Should internal comms be controlled by HR? communicatemagazine

-          Why internal comms should sit within marketing. Marketing Week

-          Where is the right home for internal communications? commsandengage

-          Where does internal communications fit in? gcn.civilservice.gov.uk

-          Internal communications – whose job is it?  HRMagazine

 

So how do we get our blog appearing above these other big hitters?  It is not because we have a massive following.  It’s because we get really niche subjects and write great content to help our clients.  And Google likes that.  We are now appearing #1 on all sorts of Google searches – because of our blog, not because we spend a fortune (or in fact any money) on SEO (search engine optimisation).

And you can do the same.  Our new ebook comes out on Tuesday 19 November, How to write a top-ranked business blog and in it we share everything we know about blogging – and lots of other bloggers share their tips too.  Although we say ‘business blog’, the book is written for academics, marketing teams, journalists, professionals, scientists – anyone who has something to say to help those they work with.  This is what it covers

1. Writing a headline that people want to open

For me, this has always been one of the hardest parts of blogging.  I recently got a great tip from Jonny Ross: to use Google search predictor.  You know how when you start typing something on Google, it comes up with suggestions?  Well those suggestions are because they are the biggest searches – so you can write a blog title to match what people are searching for.  See what I searched for this blog heading and how I then changed it slightly!

 2. What to write so that Google finds you

Above all, Google wants to see great content that people find, stay and read and click in and out of the blog.  There are some things you can do to help this, all covered in the ebook, such as hyperlinks, the number of words, images, good structure and so on.

3. Vulnerability

If you are a professional or expert in your field, you are used to giving advice.

But the best blogs have a sense of ‘vulnerability’, that we don’t have quite all the answers and that we are all still learning.  That way people also want to respond to your blog – and offer their own tips.

So in this blog I have included two bits of vulnerability (so far)

-          I’ve said that I always find writing headlines the most difficult part.  So although I am helping you with my expertise, I am opening the door for you to agree with me or offer your own tips.  That is the ‘social’ bit of ‘social media’ – you want to encourage sharing and debates

-          The other bit is when I say I have just learnt something from Jonny Ross on Google search predictors.  It shows we are all still learning

4. Getting a structure

We have trained a number of bloggers for our team.  One of the things they can struggle with is the informal style – but there still has to be a structure.

Just like a school exam, you need to get the reader’s attention quickly, tell them what will be covered and then deliver on the promise.

While some people can rant or ramble in a blog – and some are really interesting – for most of us they read better if people know what they are going to get from the content.

You can buy our ebook for a special launch price of £2.13 just on Tuesday (RRP £8.13).

Please buy it – and tell us what you have learned or even disagree with!  We will share all your stories.  You can download it to your PC, smartphone or tablet – instructions in how to do this in Sandy’s blog.

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5 Comments

  1. Great blog and loved the Google search predictor tip! Looking forward to the book.

    I’d add develop your own style and voice. As Louis Walsh would say, make it your own. And while we all use the ‘ten killer tips’ formula and it is effective, vary the treatment and keep it fresh.

    • Jonny Ross says:

      Google suggest is a great tool, it’s a definitive list of phrases that users actually search on a daily basis!

      Very good point re variety, it’s too easy to switch off these days, so you have to have a personality and keep showing it!

      Thanks for taking time to pop over Mark,

      Jonny

  2. Great point about headings Mark – and thanks for the lovely feedback.
    In fact in the ebook I explain the ten killer tips formula but say exactly what you do, that I think you need variety or your subscribers just switch off.

  3. […] big thank you to Victoria Tomlinson for putting together an eBook on exactly this subject and even more so for letting me contribute […]

  4. […] big thank you to Victoria Tomlinson for putting together an eBook on exactly this subject and even more so for letting me contribute […]