Considered an art (even a science) by some, blogging is one of the most powerful weapons of any content marketing strategy. And for good reason, too! Not only is the humble blog a great way of introducing fresh content to a website (something Google looks for when evaluating the relevance and usefulness of a website), a well written, keyword focused blog can do wonders for your SEO.
We will discuss the relationship between blogging and SEO another time. For now, we are simply going to concentrate on how to structure and write a blog as part of your content marketing strategy-ranking highly in Google is one thing, producing a useful, engaging piece of content that provides a solution to a problem faced by your customers is quite another.
Below are 11:FiftyNine’s top 4 tips for better blog writing…
Tip 1: Tone of Voice
This refers to your writing style or the way in which your personality shines through. Your tone of voice may differ depending on the type of audience you are writing for. For instance, if you work for a financial services company, a sincere, professional style of writing would be the most appropriate. If you write about fashion or celebrity culture, the adoption of a conversational style of writing may resonate more with your readers.
Be consistent – pick a writing style and stick with it, otherwise you run the risk of confusing, even alienating your audience. This is particularly important for corporate bloggers who work for companies with strict brand or content marketing guidelines.
Tip 2: Be Helpful/Relevant
Arguably, there are three main reasons why people read blogs:
To find a solution to a problem (i.e. how can I improve my blog posts?)
To learn about something new (i.e. a beginner’s guide to content marketing)
To form an opinion on a topic (i.e. which political party has the best manifesto?)
Don’t just blog for the sake of it. Make sure that whatever you write about provides solutions to the problems faced by your customers. For instance, 11:FiftyNine’s client base are, for the most part, micro business owners seeking ways in which they can improve their online presence. We therefore blog about the common problems our target customers may face (and this content marketing blog is no exception).
Tip 3: Structure
How you structure your blog is almost as important as the information contained within. You want your reader to follow your prose with ease, so readability is crucial. There are many factors that affect the structure and readability of a blog, so consider the following:
Font – pick one that is clear, easy to read and skim friendly- an important variable for mobile phone users who consume content on the go. Essentially, avoid Comic Sans and Times New Roman…
We consume data across a range of different devices, so font size is also important. As before, this is crucial for mobile users – too small and the blog will be difficult to read (or skim). Too big, and the reader will have to continually scroll down the page – this will ultimately cause frustration and, as a result, there is a higher chance your blog will be ignored.
Font/background colour – pick a font colour that is easy on the eye and a background theme that is complimentary. A tried and tested, albeit slightly boring, combination is black on white. Furthermore, plenty of white space will help break up the text and make the blog easier to follow. Bad colour combinations include:
Blue / red;
White / yellow
Blue / black
Green / purple
Paragraphs –We respond to online media differently to traditional print media so your blog must adapt accordingly. Break your blog up into manageable, bite size chunks and aim for an industry standard line length of approximately 50-60 characters. Lists are also a good idea as they are easily scanned-great for those on the go.
You may also want to consider line spacing – this blog, for example, has incorporated a line spacing measurement of 1.5 (as per Microsoft Word’s line spacing parameters).
Images – try to break up the text with carefully curated imagery. This is especially important if your subject matter is dry. Remember, a picture says a thousand words, so a complimentary image may help the reader further understand a point you are trying to make.
Other benefits of adding imagery to your content marketing efforts include:
They encourage sharing on social media;
They help elicit an emotional response, therefore the content may resonate more with the reader;
Let’s face it, images make things less boring! Vibrancy is key to holding reader attention.
[N.B – websites such as iStock provide a broad range of high quality, royalty free images for you to use is your blogs.]
Tip 4: Keep it short
We live in a fast-paced World, so people expect to obtain information quickly, too. Keep this in mind when crafting your blogs. An optimal size is between 800 – 1200 words, give or take. Keep your sentences short, concise and avoid jargon or unnecessary words/phrases.
Use simple, clear language, that conveys the point of the blog quickly. Also, get into the meat of the subject as soon as you can-superfluous opening paragraphs will only serve to turn readers away.
Producing good quality goods on a consistent basis can be tough to start. It’s all about practice and finding a writing style that resonates with your target audience. Do you need help with your content marketing strategy? Head over to the contact page and get in touch – the coffee is on us!