This is a contribution from Gary Dek from StartABlog123.com.
Starting a blog is easy. Step-by-step tutorials to creating a blog and one-click CMS installations have ballooned the number of online blogs to over 200 million. But creating a blog isn’t the part you should worry about.
Unique and creative content can be hard to develop, especially when you are writing for a wide demographic. Am I producing something interesting, practical, actionable, valuable, and shareable? Would another blogger actually choose to link to it in the sea of other content available online?
Concerns like these are not uncommon when learning how to create a blog. All amateur and professional bloggers should evaluate their business strategies on a regular basis. It’s what drives us to constantly improve.
Fortunately, if you analyze some of the most successful bloggers online, it’s not that they are employing tactics or strategies that me or you can’t. There is no secret recipe or special club that builds traffic.
It’s the little things. Successful bloggers consistently execute on the little things that make their content relatable, shareable, and linkable.
Below, you will find a checklist of writing tips to help you create great content, increase your traffic and promote your blog. Don’t expect overnight results, but in the long-run, you and your readers will notice the difference. And to be more targeted, we’ve divided up the list between general writing advice, B2C, and B2B best practices.
Best General Writing Tips
- Start with a good headline. A good headline makes people want to click and read your content. Impart a sense of urgency, be dramatic, promise better results, or use a big number like “101 Ways…” Readers will be enticed out of curiosity.
- Write a good introduction. Your headline can get readers to click, but your intro needs to hook them to continue reading. Make an outrageous statement. Ask a difficult or relatable question. Tell them how the article is going to improve some aspect of their life.
- Have a conversation. Do you talk to your friends using 15-letter words or long, complex sentences? Readers don’t want to reference an online dictionary every other sentence, nor do they want a subject matter so complicated, they don’t understand what they are reading. Make reading easy by using simple words and sentences, which also makes for more shareable content.
- Talk directly to the reader. This is similar to the above point. Don’t alienate yourself. Use words like “you” and “I” freely. Write as if the reader were in front of you.
- Don’t BS. Don’t ramble to meet a word-count. Delete the fluff and unnecessary discussions. The sooner you make your points, the longer you will have them engaged.
- Write short paragraphs. No offense, but readers have short attention spans. I probably lost half the readers of this blog by now. There is no hard and fast rule, but generally, 5 to 7-sentence paragraphs are easier to comprehend.
- Break up your content with subheadings. Subheadings help organize content, making it easier on a reader’s eyes to scan the page.
- Use images. Start your post with an interesting, relevant image. Research shows that images increase click-through rates, shares and links. In fact, images (charts, graphs, spreadsheets, graphics, etc.) can often facilitate the transfer of information better than text.
- Tell a story. Everyone loves a good story. Don’t just present facts and figures. Share how the topic of discussion has changed or influenced your life or someone you know.
- Connect with your readers. You’re a human being with character, personality, and experiences. Allow your readers to relate to you and build a stronger connection.
- Write a good closing. Don’t leave your readers hanging. Just as a good intro hooks them, a good closing makes them feel that they didn’t waste their time.
- Proofread and fact-check. The facts and statistics you use to support your opinion/argument need to be accurate if you want to be seen as credible. Similarly, one or two typos is acceptable, but an article littered with poor grammar and incorrect spelling won’t get shared.
- Make social sharing buttons visible. It’s hard to expect social shares when you make the act of sharing difficult and tedious. If you are a B2B blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are your top platforms. If you are a visual B2C brand, such fashion or foodie blogs, you will want to leverage Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Research your target demographic and be active on the social mediums they utilize.
Tips For Business To Consumer (B2C) Blogs
- Be timely. Timing is crucial to earning exposure. Write news when it breaks, not days after.
- Be consistent. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you have undoubtedly developed a loyal following. Don’t let your readers down by posting randomly. If you don’t post on a daily basis, make sure your readers are aware of your editorial calendar. Furthermore, there is an SEO benefit to posting fresh content regularly.
- Keep up with pop culture. Consumers keep tabs on pop culture, and if you want to get their attention, you have to keep yourself up-to-date. Read, listen, and watch so you can write about current trends and make your content relevant and relatable. This is especially important if your target demographic is Millennials.
- Rotate between evergreen and trending content. Trending content can last a few weeks or months, but evergreen is timeless. Intersperse your content with both. It’s the equivalent of diversifying your investment portfolio between equities and bonds – one can offer huge upside, while the other is more consistent and stable. Combined, they offer balanced growth.
- Use videos and images freely. A creative or beautiful image at the start of a blog post can really draw in a reader, especially if it organizes information more effectively and clearly than a textual description. This is especially true with B2C writing because consumers often don’t like to read long, in-depth articles.
- Experiment with different types of content. Text may be the backbone of your blog, but if Upworthy and ViralBuzz have taught us anything, don’t underestimate the power of well-curated videos and images.
- Tap into emotions, but don’t exploit them. Consumers are prone to emotional stimuli, the most popular of which are humor, wonder, and empathy. But don’t exploit it and purposefully tug at the heart strings of your readerships. You will build a bad reputation of being overly emotional.
- Respect your readers. Be honest, open, and treat your audience like you would family. Even if your blog is instructional in nature, don’t talk down to them. Present concepts thoroughly, but assume a certain basic level of intellectual sophistication.
Tips For Business To Business (B2B) Blogs
Writing for business requires you to make slight adjustments. One positive is that B2B audiences are more focused and willing to spend money if your product or service genuinely solves a problem and furthers their professional interests.
- Use credible headlines with statistics. Headlines still need to be catchy in B2B writing, but business people are more likely to want data-driven analysis and results. For example, “How I Grew My Email List By 329% In A Week” explains the benefit of reading the article. However, don’t be full of it and use outrageous claims – they will hurt your brand and reputation. No one wants to feel duped.
- Narrow down your topics. Ever heard of “inch wide, mile deep”? This concept suggests you limit the scope of each article, but thoroughly and comprehensively cover every aspect of the subject matter. Businesses don’t need general information. Instead, B2B readers want very specific, actionable content that addresses an issue or problem they are dealing with.
- Write more evergreen content. Evergreen content is timeless and will always be relevant. For instance, “How To Start A Business” gets 40,500 monthly searches in the United States alone. A focus on this type of content will bring you consistent traffic for years.
- Provide credible supporting evidence. Use white papers, government figures, research studies, and professional publications to prove your point. Business people don’t want unsubstantiated opinions, but arguments molded by reputable sources.
- Offer step-by-step solutions to problems. To build a reputation as an authority in your niche, you must demonstrate that you understand the factors, issues and obstacles facing the industry. Delivering reliable solutions via free content builds trust and confidence so when you eventually want to sell a product/service, your readership sees the value in working with you.
- Show personality and liven things up. Veer away from the stereotypical dry, boring B2B content. Crack a joke now and then. Share an anecdote. Business people are human, too, and are not immune to humor.
- Highlight your achievements. Credibility is paramount in B2B writing. Use an author profile somewhere on the page, and craft a story that showcases what you have achieved. It’s not bragging. It’s telling the audience that you know what you’re talking about.
- Always over-deliver. It’s a matter of developing goodwill. Instead of selling a guide or eBook and earning a quick thousand dollars, give it away for free. In the long-run, the loyalty and brand value you build is worth far more.Don’t ever forget that blogging is your business. When running a business blog, remember that you not only represent yourself, but your company’s brand. As such, maintain some level of professionalism and always emphasize great customer service, support, and satisfaction.
Content creation doesn’t need to be a difficult process. Many successful bloggers don’t even consider themselves great writers. The key is to focus on finding your place and unique value-add to the internet, and you’ll develop your own niche and loyal community. Incorporate these writing tips and you’ll already be ahead of the curve.
What other ways have you leveraged to produce great content?
Gary Dek is the founder of StartABlog123.com, which provides a free step-by-step tutorial on building and growing a blog.
This article is very interesting because a lot of what you aid about the beginning of the article is very important. You need to hook your reader in with first sentence or you may lose your reader. also like how you explained to business using credible facts and statistics. These overall are somethings I will be sing again thank you!1
Agreed – the start of an article has a huge impact!
yes, agree with you, because loyal reader is worth for a blogger. as we know that traffic=money so should to hook your reader.
Thanks for this wonderful post i have read this and i am actually trying my best to get my website ranked high i currently receive around 1000 views a month and only post once a month maybe depending what i can think to write about as i lack in the blogging world and still learning. check my site what do you think i should do please?
I think using “You” and “I” is just such an important factor when writing. Nothing like placing them right there with you.
Also, your dead on with telling a story. I think it just adds value to what your trying to say because of your story tying right into it.
Thanks, Christopher. I used to not use personal pronouns, but I learned to do it after observing many successful bloggers. Since then, I’ve certainly noticed the difference in results.
And stories are just interesting because humans are naturally curious beings.
Gary, great tips! I always value using imagery to entice my readers as well as using unique headlines. Thanks for the tips!
Thank you, Elna! Glad you liked the post, although, as a freelance writer, I’m sure you already knew most of these. =)
Good and rich article. Question though: What’s the rationale behind blogging for a broad demographic, as opposed to a specific niche?
I suggest blogging for a specific niche because, unless you have the resources (time, energy, money, human capital), covering a broad spectrum of topics is almost impossible. You are essentially trying to compete with CNN or USNews.
In the end, readers (and Google) want credible experts with insights they can’t get from a WiseGeek article. As they say, “Jack of all trades, master of none”.
Thanks for the great article! Gave me some decent ideas about new content on my own website!
Yes, starting a blog is easy. But maintaining a blog is not easy. So you must focus one blog and also maintain relationship to readers / customers. Content is the king, so write high quality contents for human only, instead of the bot. And give the unique value add to the content which readers will not find at other blogs.
Hi Gary, nice post. It’s very helpful to all newbies like me. By following these simple tips anyone can easily write and publish their post with high quality and can get targeted traffic and shares. Thanks for the post and keep posting more content.
Unique and quality content give you more traffic and interest on blog. if people like your blog and your stuff they definitely share the blog URL in Social media. and Social media is the future of your blog in 2014-2015.
You have compiled a great article here. I already follow some of the tips here but one thing which I have learned from my experiment is when we are talking directly to reader, it creates much better impact and people are bound to get more involved.
I agree. It becomes more of a conversation rather than a lecture.
Give to get. I like over delivering to prosper. Example; I published a 6,000 word post 10 minutes ago. 2,000 would have sufficed. But 6 K worked nicely for me. I linked in, linked out, used images, a few lists and I included a clear call to action to wrap things up.
I asked a series of questions at post end to engage my readers. I posted at 7:05 AM EST to maximize my exposure. Even though I’m in Bali.
The devil is in the details. You shared so many great ones here. Readability makes your posts more popular because many scan without doing much else. Make posts easy on the eyes to drive your shares up.
I figure by creating in-depth stuff and connecting with niche leaders – by promoting them and by commenting on blogs – I can drive my traffic slowly and steadily.
Smart tips Gary.
Thank you for the kind words, Ryan! I’ll be checking out the 6K word article! =)
Ryan, be honest with me.. do you have an army of clones? :) You’re everywhere :) How do you even have time for everything you do online.
PS: Gary, the post is really great ;)
Nothing personally drives me away from a blog more than fluffy content that is apparently included to fill the pages. that is a practice that any serious blogger should avoid at all cost.
You just gave a blank cheque to newbies on how to be successful in blogging, really appreciate your time and effort in bringing this to bare, newbie bloggers and even old school bloggers should understand that it takes patience and also the art of writing to get to the top.
Also bloggers should embrace technologies at their disposal, especially podcast tools, youtube and the likes of instagram, have come to realize that Instagram tells alot of stories.
You can be creative when it comes to writing, by this I mean writing one piece of content in 20 different ways , take this for example
‘How To Increase Your Search Engine Results with Guest Blogging’
3 weeks later you can re-create that subject heading with
’10 ways to Improving your search engine results with Guest Blogging’
Being creative is a matter of learning and patience is like learning how to crawl as a toddler to walking
Quality content and meaningful online relationships is always an A+ when it comes to achieving the transformation of online education and webpreneurial excellence at full strength.
I learned a few things from this Gary Dek.
I run a B2C blog and being timely, consistent and respecting my readers has been on good use for me.
In addition to what you said about producing great contents, I’ll say a B2C (Business to Customer) blog should focus more on what works. It’s not enough to post new updates everyday. What’s important is to post only what is beneficial to your readers.
The readers will like you for that and trust you more to provide great contents that will be very useful to them.
This article covers a lot of interesting details about writing good and useful content for users. And when it comes to writing I don’t think there is another option but being creative and friendly.
Creativity is an amazing tool to attract more readers and help promote the content itself.
And, you almost forgot to mention to optimize images for Pinterest, so bloggers can get backlinks and traffic. Be sure to add number sign in the alt= section of the image code and the www dot com address so when ppl repin your pins on Pinterest, you get free backlinks from other people.
Great list, I’ll need to make sure I keep these in mind the next time I try to publish a new content on my site.
great tips…noted…thank you
This article is perfect timing. Being a long time photographer, I have always randomly blogged my sessions, a few sporadic personal posts every now and then, but starting this past October, I decided to get serious about it, and make a blogging calendar. It’s important that people can rely on your posting schedule. I definitely need to work on my opening statements, I think. Hook them in to stick around. These are great tips! Thanks for the article. (I know my blog is only a month and a half young, but I am really trying to get it to grow quickly, and avoid mistakes as much as possible!)
Awesome points for bloggers for getting more genuine traffic. Well appreciated your efforts here to get all the point consolidated in one article. Thanks for sharing the same..
Yet another great stuff from problogger.net. Always enjoyed reading such article.Nice tips to get more traffic towards our blog.Thanks for this.
Many things must be done to bring visitors are abundant. As your article earlier that the content is not king:-) If content is king, then simply with the content, our people would be subject.
Starting from the work to design a blog, create categories and tags, take the key points, and give visitors the article, after that … This article has shown the way where after creating content. Thanks Om Darren!
Great list, I’ll need to make sure I keep these in mind the next time I try to publish a new content on my site.
Indeed another great contribution done at ProBlogger. And you’ve nailed it Gary, loved the way you’ve elaborated the piece of content on promoting blog. For me, I believe writing great article title plays important role in term of getting noticed so it be crucial for us – bloggers – to write headline, that impacts.
I strongly believe that you’ve listed Gary – Have a conversation, since audiences want to learn from person who is knowing somewhat better than ’em, so a conversational article be mostly engaging and have higher changes of making good conversions too.
Thank a lot for the great contribution, hoping for more.
Hi Darren Rowse
This is an amazing post. It is really helpful for newbie bloggers like me. I see that usually people concentrate on the website SEO and Themes and all such other things. They don’t realize that writing a good content is necessary. Apart from this, many bloggers nowadays just writes a good english article and think it’s good and has quality. As you mentioned in this post being simple and straight forward is helpful and attracts the reader. I think this is a must read post for all those who neglect these facts and I myself learnt many new things from this.
Really good tips here, thanks. I thought I would be a “comment star” and so left my thoughts :)
I liked the tip about sharing music, not heard that one before!
Agree with you. Creating likeable content is the key. More and more emphasis is being placed on links and shares. Better content you create, more inbound links and shares you get – results in higher SERP rankings. It is not rocket science but people lack discipline to carry it on. That is the problem.
Another thing is that you must PROMOTE your blog posts. Otherwise there will be no shares or links. And that means you will not rank in SERPS too.
Read this article and read main information was very useful to me is enough for me
Great checklist Gary, thanks for sharing! Starting a blog is easy but keeping at it until the blog gets some first traction can be hard. Especially since most bloggers expect instant traffic and results.
Thank you a lot, this will help to me..
“Rotating content between Evergreen and Trending” is a huge help to me. I’ve struggled with what to write about next. It has hurt my productivity and output in the past. Having this ‘process’ to follow in the future is a relief and big help.
Content is king. But if you don’t put the work in to promote your content, it’ll never be seen. And in the information era you need to hustle if you want to be heard.
Because everyone is talking. But with thousands of communities dedicated to helping you connect with your audience, you just need to know where to look.
Great post. A catchy title, quality content and consistent posting can always do the trick. There will always be audience for quality stuff.
this is such a useful article, it must help many people to promote their bloggers of course for me also it is a great information.
This article nailed all of the information that you need when you want to have an informative content and grow your traffic through links and shares. It’s all about quality articles…spinning is history!
Great points here. Creating unique and interesting content isn’t easy. I like the idea of switching between evergreen and trending topics. It gives you the best of both worlds. You create content that’s always relevant, and you create content that shows you’re up to speed with the latest trends. And the reader walks away with the information or answers they need. It’s a win-win for everyone.
I read so many article before starting my blog but I am so surprised because I get less views on my blog post and I am not able to get any appreciation about my content but after reading your post and the way you explain all the tips so thoroughly which really helps the new bloggers like me and I am going to use it in my future posts.
In B2B blogs you provide lot of tips to write great content but can explain some points how we can reach more people who likes our post and we can engage more traffic towards our blogs.
Hi Gary Dek ,
Obviously, Headline matters a lot. when it comes to SEO or content promotion, post title does a majority of works: get the attention of readers, increase SERP rank by emphasizing the keywords and so on.
Thank you for sharing this fabulous article with us.
This is a great article with lots of useful writing tips. I like the way you broke up the writing tips for different audiences.
Thanks for a wonderful article. I would say this is a must read for anyone who wants to start promoting the blog/website. As per my observation, I feel that Linkedin is doing better when it comes to B2B marketing and B2C marketing is best suitable in facebook, twitter.
Great post. I agree with you on the most points. I would like to stress on the importance of infographics as a new and very powerful link building tool and gaining new audience.
thank you so much i will try all these things and then apply. my recent application disparoved now i got an idea how to get approval.
Unique and creative content is king Not just content. Every blogger must know this.
I currently running two B2C Blogs and I’m sure this post will be of great value to me.
Thanks for great post
Great article. Lots of tips I can utilize right away and good explanations of why they are important. Thanks!
Just wanted to thank everyone again for the kind words! Glad you guys found the article useful! =)
Cheers man! :) Thanks for writing it, Gary.
According to me having a good communication with the audience of your site is equally important as writing good content over there and this is big reason for the success of long term blogs that are running well.
Hi Gary, Wonderful post. I have been thinking to breaking down my post into sections such the list you mentioned above. Now I understand how to makes it easier for me to know what to expect when writing my post. WHEW! You just saved my african ass. ;). Nice post.