Ep 162 | How To Craft a Perfect Blog Post

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If you're putting in all the work to put up a new blog post then you want to make sure as many people as possible are seeing it. This isn't just getting traffic to the page, it's also how you set up the post. Its also important that people have a great next step to keep engaging with you and take action.

What you'll learn:

→ why consistency matters.
→ how to create a better user experience.
→ ways to link to other pages and blog posts.
→ getting people to take the next step.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[3:35] Consistency Start with a long form blog post with general information about a topic. Continue by sending smaller posts with more detailed information relating back to the original post. You can write all of these at once since they relate to the same topic, and send them out weekly to your audience.
[7:02] Presenting Content Use Anchor Links to allow users to drop down to the information they want to read. Using big headlines can make it easier for your users to navigate and find the information most important to them.
[11:06] Internal Linking Link your smaller posts back to the original long form main post to help users move through the content.This will lead to the original post gaining more traffic as users link back to it.
[12:57] Call to Action Include calls to action in the middle and end of your long form blog post. Use big banners with links that can direct traffic to specific pages.


EP 156 | How to Come Up with Content Ideas

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So we all know that we need to be creating content on our website for the overall health of our website and user experience. If you go back to Episode 156, I talked about how to come up with those content ideas. So in today's episode, I want to talk to you all about how to write and craft that perfect blog post. Because, yes, we want it to help us rank better in search. But we also want to make sure that the users that are taking in that information are finding value in it, that they're using it and that it makes sense for that user experience is really key. So we're going to talk through some key elements for all of those things like how long should your blog posts be? What should be included in them? How can you get better conversions, just kind of some top level stuff so that you can take those content ideas that you've generated, and turn them into blog posts that keep people coming back, give you ways to talk to your audience more and most importantly, convert those visitors into purchasers, whether that be utilizing your services, becoming a customer, or buying your product depending on what you do, or becoming a donor, right, that is the ultimate goal. My name is Sami, and I'm excited to be here with another episode of the digital marketing therapy podcast. So thank you so much for listening. But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our office hours, our digital marketing therapy sessions. These are 30 minute sessions, you can book with me, if you need some time with a marketing consultant, but don't want to commit to a long monthly retainer. You can go to thefirstclick.net/office hours, grab that time and we can discuss your content, take a look at what you've got on your website. And I can help you improve it and give you tools for your specific content to make it better and higher converting. So again, that's thefirstclick.net/office hours. Let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Now, before we're really creating content, we want to think about what we're creating it for. So we did a little bit of work in that, on episode 156, so I'm going to reference that again, thefirstclick.net/156, when we're coming up with our content ideas. So that's when you're really going to be doing some of that keyword research thinking about what are some of the topics that we want to talk about? But most importantly, how are it how is it tied to your goals, because you might find some really great keywords that are ranking well on the SEO standpoint, and they're kind of tied to your topic or what you do, but they're not really hitting the mark, versus maybe some keywords that have a little bit less traffic, but are really targeted, and really ideal for who your audience is. And we also talked a lot in the episode about matching it up to your goals and what you have going on. So sometimes we might write content or push out blog posts that are a little bit more obscure or a little bit more informative, or a little bit more just kind of, you know, fluff because we know it's something that we're going to use for a very specific purpose within our existing list. So also know that every single piece of content that we put out is not going to do well, right. So we have to test and we have to find out with our audience what they like. But here we're talking about the body. So you already know what you're going to talk about. So let's talk about how it's written. 

And the first thing that I'm going to talk about is how long we typically want to see them for rankings, and then how to take that length and turn it into a good user experience. Because really, you want it to be a strong user experience. Your users are coming to the website, they see that blog post, they're intrigued by the title, they click on it and they leave, you've wasted your time, right? Whether it shows up in ranks or not. So take a deep breath. Long form content is still definitely what we want to see. And what I mean by that is something between 1,600 to 2,000 words. Now, don't shut this off and say, Well, I can't do this. The other piece is consistency. So whatever it is, whatever it looks like, if you can only write one long form blog post once a month, that's great. If you can do it weekly, that's great. If you can do one long form blog post, and then a handful of smaller blog posts throughout the month. Great. Remember that it's about consistency, and it's about showing up. So they don't all have to be that way. But we want to think about, kind of, some of those core topics. So let's, let's go back to the one of the examples that I like to reference, which was like, how much does it cost to buy, to adopt a dog from, you know, from adopting it to like what Does it cost to take care of that animal once I have it home? So you could do one really long blog post about that, right. And we call that kind of pillar content. So this is like the core thing. So this one might have the bulk of the information for everything from, you know, how much it costs to adopt, and what all those fees are, and then breaking down all of the different, from that cost and different vet options, to food options, to toys right. So you can have one really long blog post. And then what you can do is if you want to break it down into different categories, so that you can have lots of other posts afterwards, then you can start to build that in. So think of it like a spoken wheel, right? So your pillar pieces in the center, and then you might have smaller ones that are kind of going out from that. So then you might have like 350 word blog posts that's all about small dogs, one about medium dogs, one about large dogs. You might have one about toys, you might have one about food, right? So then you can dive a little bit more into detail on those posts, and have them a little bit shorter, but those are all linking to each other. So people can get more information and dive deeper into the things that they want to do. Let me know if that makes sense. So that's a way to kind of really plan out what you're doing. So maybe Pet Adoption Month is in June, I don't know when it is. So I'm so sorry. But maybe Pet Adoption Awareness Month is in June. So maybe the first week of June, you have that big post that goes up. And then you have three smaller posts that go out afterwards, in each consecutive week. Now the great thing about that, too, is when you're writing that content, it's going to be really easy to write all four all at once because the topic is similar. And you already are doing the research. And so you'll be able to really pull those through and make that happen much faster than if you were going to just sit down and write them one at a time as you go.

When it comes to the actual content and how you present it, we want to remember to use a combination of visuals. And this can be images, this can be illustrations, this can be videos, icons, I know a lot of builders have tons of icons already built in. So it's super easy to use. But you want to lay it out in a way that is easy for people to scan and skim. So if we're reading long form content, I want to be able to scroll through and get to the point, or the place that makes the most sense for the information that I want. That's how we work towards the user experience. And there's a couple of ways that you can make this easier. Number one is using something called anchor links. So what that means is, you see this, if you're a Pinterest fanatic like I am, when I am looking for recipes for dinner, you'll see at the very top it says jump to the recipe. When I click that, it's going to drop me down on that page to where the recipe is. So let's go back and reference the blog post I just talked about. So you want to talk about costs associated with all these different categories. Well, you could show the categories, a lot of times you see these in like a bulleted list. And people can click on that category, it's going to drop them down, they can easily scroll back up and look at a different category or scroll through the whole thing if they want to. But that's a great way for people to find information immediately those that are landing on your page that know exactly what they want. Click that and get that information right away. That's a great user experience. Another way to do it is and should also be used are great headlines. So we don't want to see just a big long body of text right with you, we're gonna sit down and read 1600 to 2500 words, that's a lot. And that can be really overwhelming and really just are, we're just not working that way right now. So breaking it up in chunks of content with really big bold headers. So people again, can skim to get to the information that they want. And then also using images and or icons in conjunction with that, so that people can visually see, you know, if I'm reading the section about small breeds, and there's a small dog there, as I'm scanning, I'll see the words but I'll also see the image. So if I know I have a small dog, or I want a small dog, I'm gonna stop there and take a look and see what that information entails. So those are just some great ways from a quick visual standpoint. Again, using bulleted lists, using columns to break up some information can be really helpful. And then just making sure that it all flows. Another thing that you probably see is TLDR. Too long, don't read. So people are also putting in some cases if it's a really long post, you can bold some text that says TLDR. You probably have seen this and it just has a summary of what was just above in that piece of content. So maybe you do like a big long story or conversation about the food that small dogs need and how much that's gonna cost and why you might maybe you have more information on like, why you might want to do raw food versus dry food, right or wet food. So then maybe your bulleted at the bottom is kind of that one sentence takeaway. So what that does is provides a quick win for the reader. Okay, yeah, that's value. And then also, if they're like, Okay, well, that's really cool, then they might go back up and read that fuller section. We do this on our podcast show notes, where we timestamp specific wins that we talked about in these episodes and give you that quick, short win. So then, you know, okay, yeah, yeah, this is something I want to learn more about, I could just go straight to that time point in the podcast episode, and grab that information. So again, helping to build that user experience. Because we want people to stay on our websites longer. And we want them to take in more content, the more that they continue to link through and build and go, the more that they're likely to become a patron of yours. So that's kind of with the content piece. 

The last thing I want to mention is kind of keeping track of your internal linking. So we talked about that a little bit with the spoke and wheel situation, so you might write your first post. And then if you write those next three, you can't necessarily link them out right away. So kind of making sure that every time so you know, kind of what your pillar content pieces are. So maybe you only have four or five big blog posts that you write. So maybe those are the six pieces that you write this year, and then the rest of them are a little bit smaller. Every time you write a new blog post that can link back to that main one, you want to make sure you're connecting the two, because that's going to allow users to move through, it also allows search engines to learn more about what is the most important content, so that they can show it up. So if you're linking a series of blog posts, so it's food cost for the size of your dog, it's toys, it's vets, it's like all of these things that are associated with cost. And you start linking all of them back to this main pillar piece of content. And then people continue to go back then that one blog post is going to get a lot of traffic, there's a lot of things that are feeding it. So then that's the post that's most likely to show up. It's long form, and your website is showing that it is a more trafficked page on your website, the search engines are understanding a little bit more about the content that's in it. And it's more likely to get served up, which is good, because it has lots of information on it that can drive people out to the other pieces. I hope that you can visualize this. And we might need to create a graphic for the show notes of this episode, for those of you that are visual people like myself, so you can see what that looks like. 

There's a couple other critical elements when it comes to conversions on your blog post. So we don't want to just see a blog post, here's all the information, yada, yada, yada, and like cross our fingers, that people are going to take action and take the next step, talked about this a lot, I'm going to always say we have to tell people what they need to do next. So what does that look like? You definitely want to have a call to action at the bottom of every blog post that relates to the topic. So maybe you have a customer service person whose whole responsibility is just to kind of pre vet and talk further with people that are interested in adopting. So maybe it's contact our customer service line if you have any questions about this post, or maybe it is, like share a win or share a fact that surprised you on our social media or share this post on social media, whatever it might be, but a call to action for sure. Then, within your blog posts, you always want to make sure you also have calls to action. So because they're longer, you can have these kind of chunked up in the middle. So you'll see with a lot of consultants will include our freebies or our downloadables in the middle. So it is something that's relevant. That makes sense. I love quizzes, and this is a whole nother conversation that we can have. But we have a quiz. Should you DIY your website? And so anything, any posts that's website related that goes in there as a call to action, like if you have questions, take this quiz. So maybe you have a PDF. That is a just like the official resource for pet adoption. So you know, half of the way down, you could have a nice little banner image that says, you know, have questions about pet adoption, download our free guide here, right. So you're using that to collect email addresses. If it's a more fundraising focused blog post, maybe it is talking about your fundraising efforts for the year, maybe it's talking about a capital campaign, maybe it's talking about giving Tuesday, right? In those posts, you definitely want to have a big banner link that is going to say, like donate here. Or if you like what you're reading, donate here, and it can go to your donation page, whatever page that may need to be. You probably will have a donate link in several places of that post. But you really want to make sure whatever your main call to action is for your business, that you have that at least somewhere in the middle of the post and probably at the end, but making sure that it's relevant to the post. So if it's not a post selling something or asking for money, let's not put a donation thing right in the middle, let's offer them a different resource or something else. So those are just some key elements to get you started with writing your content in a way that makes sense. The last thing that I'll leave you with, is I really recommend creating a Google sheet. So that you can list the blog title, the date that it went live, the URL, you want to have your call to action listed on there, because that's really critical. So that, you know, if you need to go back in and change links, it's really easy to go to that spreadsheet to pull that information. And then probably even last day updated, because here's, here's where it gets really fun is, you know, after you've been creating content for about six months, let's say on a regular basis, if you're doing it only once a month, maybe a full year, then you can simply go back and start to just update your content, you don't have to create new content all the time. So then you can go back in and, let's say then next year, we're gonna go revisit all of those posts, see if anything's changed, maybe the products we're recommending have changed. And then you can just revise, but you know, you'll see this all the time, like revised on June 16 2022, you can change the date on that post. So it becomes a new post, like it becomes the most recent one in your lineup, and reshare all of that information, because for a lot of you, the bulk of your information isn't necessarily changing. So once you build out that set of resources, then you just go back in each year, or whatever and revise them. So then the next year or in six months, you're not creating four new blog posts a month, maybe you're creating one and revising two, which is beautiful, you can still reuse all of that for social media. And maybe you're just updating some images, maybe you're adding additional information, additional research that you learned. So it can really be putting in the effort now, and then just doubling down on the posts that are getting a lot of traffic. So you're gonna learn a lot about what your audience wants to hear about, what they care about, what they're most interested in. And that's going to also help guide you to the topics that you continue to work on and build out as you go. So pay attention to those analytics, keep that spreadsheet, and then you can just go through an update content as needed. Now, there's a lot in this episode. So hopefully, you'll listen to it a couple times to get all the tips. But really just get started with creating content, even if it's just once a month on your website, because there's so many ways that you can use it. Once you have a regular content strategy, your social media becomes easier, your email marketing becomes easier. Maximizing on the Google Ad grant becomes easier. And oh by the way, when you're doing that, you're gonna get tons of data about what people are wanting and what to double down on as well. And it can just really help you build that better, deeper relationship so that you know which consumers, which visitors, who you can kind of start to talk to to build those one on one relationships. I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much for listening. Again, make sure you go back to 156 to talk about content ideas first if you haven't started crafting those and I hope that you'll subscribe or wherever you listen and give us that five star review if you don't mind and head on over to thefirstclick.net/YouTube to check out the video versions of all these episodes. See in the next one

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