16 Jul The top 10 steps to creating awesome blogs
As I have mentioned in my previous blog, every fitness trainer or business should be blogging. Not only will it help you with your SEO but will also position you as an authority in your area.
Whether you are already blogging or just about to jump onto the blog bandwagon, then read my top 10 tips on how to write awesome blogs that people will actually read!
1. Set Goals for Your Blogs
First things first, you need to consider what you want to achieve with your blogs.
Start by looking at your overall marketing goals. Think about what you want to achieve in the next 12 months to help grow your brand. More brand awareness? More engagement from fans? Building trust and loyalty? Generating more leads, conversions and clients?
Your blogging goals should help you achieve these marketing goals. To establish quality blogging goals, make sure your goals use the SMART principal – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
So for example, one goal may be to boost your email list by 20% in 60 days by increasing targeted gated content on your blog (gated content is when people need to fill in a form to access it). Or increase your website traffic by 10% in 45 days by providing more targeted content.
Once you work this out, then you can focus on creating and publishing the exact type of content to help you achieve your goals.
2. Create Audience Personas
To get the most out of your blog content, you need to know who your target audience is, and what their interests, pain points and needs are. This information allows you to create better-targeted content that drives results (clicks and traffic, downloads, conversions, shares and so forth).
Consider the different people you’re targeting and put together audience personas for each. While everyone is different, there are similarities among groups of readers. By putting together audience personas, you’re giving yourself a clear picture of the person to target with your content. This helps you create content for your audiences’ needs and interests.
For example, suppose one of your personas is Michelle (great name) – she wants to get leaner, loves group fitness classes and would like information on how to prepare quick and healthy meals (as she is very time poor). So this gives you a better understanding of what information she is looking for and what type of content you should be focusing on.
3. Create your Calendar
You’ve got your goals and know whom you’re targeting. Now you’re ready to create your calendar. Keep it simple, create a blank spreadsheet template in Google Sheets or Excel. Use the first sheet (or tab) for the planning of your editorial calendar, starting with the content mix.
Consider having a new sheet for each blog – to help with your planning, make sure you add for each sheet:
- To-be-published date
- Deadline for the first draft
- Headline of the blog post
- Author of the blog post
- Content type (opinion article, how-to guide, infographic, etc)
- Keywords you’re targeting with that post
- Call to action for the post
- Any images to be used (featured image, screenshots and any other visuals needed)
4. Outline Your Content Mix
To keep things interesting for your audience, it’s a good strategy to mix up the types of content you create, not just in terms of the topics but also in the content format. Here are some examples:
- How-to guides
- Opinion articles
- Listicles (an informal term for an article made up of a series of facts, tips, quotations, or examples organised around a particular theme)
- Product reviews
- Case studies
- Interactive content: quizzes, polls, interactive maps, personality tests, and so on
- Studies and research papers
5. Set your posting schedule
To be a successful blogger, ideally you should create a consistent publishing schedule and stick to it – whether it’s one new post per week or a blog per month. By keeping a clear schedule, this will help you build your readership.
As for when to publish, use your social media analytics to find out the best days to post, or rather to promote. Blog posts aren’t like social media updates. They aren’t necessarily read the second they’re published, so it’s more about when and how you promote your blog posts.
Because so many people are active on social media, your analytics can help you determine when people are most active online and therefore what days to publish and promote your posts.
For example, on Facebook, go to Insights for your page and click Posts on the left. Here you can see what days your fans are online, as well as the times of day when they’re most active.
6. Generate Blog Post Ideas
Now that you have the framework for your calendar, you need to brainstorm some blog post ideas. Coming up with lots of engaging topics and other types of content in one go will take time and effort, but you’ll save a lot of time in the long run.
Make sure to keep your goals and audience personas in mind. Each piece of content you create should be strategic. It should help you reach your goals by feeding a need or interest of your target audience.
Remember to always think about your audience to understand what type of content is being shared and what content gets the best results.
7. Where to find some ideas for your blogs
When coming up with new blog post ideas, it’s not just about coming up with any idea, but rather ideas that will work and get you results. There are a number of channels you can use to get some ideas on what would be some good topics to write about.
- What about holidays and special events? Depending on your audience, these dates might bring an opportunity for some themed content (such as a blog on how Mum’s can keep fit on Mother’s Day or maybe a blog about keeping fit over Christmas and the holidays or staying active over Winter).
- Look at your competitors and other relevant bloggers – you may find some inspiration in what they share.
- Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you come up with blog post ideas. These tools can help you understand how people search online and what keywords they use so you can improve your headlines and your blog’s overall SEO.
- Use a tool like BuzzSumo to discover the most searched-for content based on your keywords. BuzzSumo lets you filter your results by date, as well as content type, word count, and other filters. You can also order them by the number of total social media shares or total shares by your preferred social network.
- Take a look at Google Analytics for your blog to find your best-performing content. Identify which posts have generated the most traffic and then think about how to use that information to create new posts.
- Look at your best-performing content on social media. Use your social media networks to see which blog posts received the most engagement and clicks when shared. Likewise, use these top-performing posts as inspiration for new ideas.
- Go straight to the horse’s mouth – ask your fans and followers what they would like to hear about – what problems they have and what they need more information on.
8. What about your old blogs?
Look at your older blogs and your best-performing content on social media. What about covering the same topic but from a different angle? For example:
- Common mistakes
- How-to posts
- Case studies
- Real-life examples
- Best tools/apps listicle
- Best tips and tricks listicle
- Research others’ content
9. Check your blogs achieve your goals
After you’ve worked out your blog topics, take a look again at all of the content you’ve planned and answer these questions:
- How does this benefit my target audience?
- What value does it bring?
- How will this help me achieve my goals?
10. Make sure your audience reads all about it
Once your blogs are written and ready to go, post your best blog posts on the optimal days. How-to posts for instance, tend to generate more traffic and engagement, so publish (or rather promote) them on the days of the week when your audience is most active. Do likewise with any other content that provides a lot of value to your audience.
Make sure you post your blogs in all areas such as:
- All your social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so forth)
- Your own web site
- Email and newsletters
- Your own personal Facebook page
- Groups such as Facebook or LinkedIn
Include social sharing buttons so people can easily share your blogs with their colleagues and friends.
And don’t just post it once and forget it. Sharing more than once brings many more clicks as most followers don’t see the first post. Only a small percentage of your total audience actually sees what you publish in social media.