How to Write a Blog Post that Gets Read

As I was thinking about this post, I remembered the professor who used a “shuffle the cards” exercise in his writing class. We were all so focused on giving good, clear instructions for shuffling cards, that we forgot the obvious step number one: “Start by obtaining a deck of cards.”

Sjuffle Cards to find the right topicSo, the obvious step number one in writing a blog post that gets read is, “Do you want to blog?” There are many good ways to pass along your information. Everything from phone calls, to text messages, to emails, and beyond.

If you have decided you want to write a blog, why?

There are different kinds of blogs. There are different ways to write a blog post, and different reasons for posting your content. You may want to express your feelings about a certain issue or happening. You may have a subject, or some ideas that you just need to share. Or, you may be supporting your organization or your business. Your blog site may be a personal one, or a business one. Next come the toughest questions:

What do you want each post on your blog site to achieve? What do you want your blog site overall to do for you? Are these goals consistent with each other?

With this in mind, what reading audience are you writing your posts for? Who will be interested in what you’re writing about? Are you speaking your language or theirs – both visually, and in words? Are the readers you’ve identified consistent with your reasons for blogging, and with what you want to achieve with your posts? Do they have the resources to do what you want them to do? How will you obtain, create, and maintain a good, appropriate mailing list?

When your medium (the blog posts); the type of content you want to write about, and the type of blog site you want to create; your reasons for writing it; the reader; the tone – the personal nature or the business nature of your blog site; and your expectations for the results you will get from each post, and from the blog site overall can be expected to work together, you’re ready to write.

At this point, with your strategy settled,

1. Figure out what you want to write about with this post. To give you clarity and focus, a good place to start is by giving the post a rough title that says what you are posting about. Later on, you can rewrite that rough title into a headline for your post.

2. When you write your introductory paragraph(s), appeal to the interests of your readers. Let them know what this post is about. Suggest how it will solve a problem they may be having.

3. Organize and write your content for easy reading. The longer the post, the more important this becomes. Consider using sections, lists, and visual clues such as drawings, charts, and photos; type sizes and weights; perhaps videos, and colors to help your reader follow your conversation.

4. Make it pretty. If it looks professional you gain credibility. Consistency in appearance helps your readers to recognize your company and your brand at first glance, reinforcing your other consistent activities.

5. Give the post a final once-over. Revise your working title into an accurate, clear, appealing “grabber” to bring your readers in. Check for awkward spots, typos and inaccuracies. Now you’re ready to go!

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Timing and Frequency for Blog Posts

What is the right blog frequency?Many organizations, from very small businesses to large corporations, use blogging  to stay in touch with their clients and prospects, and to maintain a web presence. Many use their posts to sell products and services.

How important is the timing and frequency of these posts, what should the timing and frequency be, and does it really matter? As my business partner used to say, “Timing is everything in this life!” Was he right?

Fortunately for all of us who want to provide something of value to our old (and new!) friends and clients, there is considerable research ongoing, and a great deal of results sharing online. And the recommendations are in a constant state of change.

Joe Pulizzi offered some practical advice back in 2011 that still makes sense today. When he asked his research group, “How many blog posts make the correct frequency for corporate bloggers?” He received answers varying from twice a month to once a week to at least once per month.

Considering each of these answers correct for the time, he summarized by saying that as long as your blog post serves two goals: (1) providing interesting and compelling information to your readers; and (2) serving your objective for your blog; do a post, and post it. Frequency, he added, depends on these two criteria, plus consistency. Consistency, he emphasized, is the key. Once you have decided on your frequency, whether it’s five times a day, once a week, or twice a month, stick with it.

Kevan Lee in a May 28, 2014 post, suggests that based on Track Maven research covering 4600 blogs and 1.2 million blog posts, blog posts get more shares on Saturday and Sunday than any other day of the week.

Additional Track Maven results suggest that, “the late-night infomercial effect might come into play… Essentially when there’s less competition, the more your post stands out….”

On the other hand, many professional bloggers advise that the best time to publish your blog post is when your reader is most likely to be reading. If this is on the job, a workday could be more appropriate.

You will most likely experiment a bit to figure out the frequency, and the schedule that works best for you and for your readers, based on your goals, and what your readers want. There does, however, seem to be consensus on three important things:

  1. Publish a new blog post at least once a week
  2. Publish on the same day of the week consistently
  3. Place your focus on creating the best content you can

Blogger Christina Walker recommends, “…Publishing at least one new blog post a week is optimal because it helps maintain good relationships with customers, attract natural search traffic, and avoid burnout from writing too often.” Three very practical reasons indeed.

“Once you discover the best times to blog, being consistent with your publishing schedule also increases SEO value and encourages readers to come back regularly for more,” Walker added.

An article from Marketing Savant offers three important questions to ask yourself when planning your publishing schedule:

  1. Can you keep this schedule consistently?
  2. Can you always publish high-quality content at this rate?
  3. Will you have enough content for this schedule?

Adjust the frequency of your publishing schedule so that you can answer “yes” to each of these questions. “It’s okay to tone down or ramp up your blogging frequency as your goals, resources, and audience desire change over time,” the article points out.

One final piece of excellent practical advice: “… Before you finalize how often to blog, consider ways to avoid burn-out…blogging less often, using guest posts, assigning blogging responsibilities to a team…and anything else you can think of.”

What are the best times to blog for business? Jason Keith noted that the most popular weekday time appears to be 9 AM to 10 AM, with Tuesdays and Wednesdays the most popular weekdays.

Dan Zarrella, a social media scientist at HubSpot, found the best time to blog for page views is Monday between 8 and 11 AM, and the best time to blog for increased engagement is Saturday between 8 and 11 AM.

His recommendations?

“Keep in mind that the best time to blog varies by your audience. If they are mostly business people, blogging on Saturday probably won’t work very well. If they are mostly located in a certain time zone, schedule your posts to publish in their mornings, not yours.”

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations, executive coaching, consulting, and writing services. To discuss how we can help, call Gail at 503/292-9681, Toll-free at 888-634-4875 or email gail@gailtycer.com

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Advice for Bloggers – Rule #3: Be Original

This week, we’re welcoming back blogger Marilyn Tycer. Marilyn is a graphic designer and blogger, and we’ve asked her to share some of her tips for bloggers. (Click for Rule #1 and Rule #2).

Advice for Bloggers: Rule #3

Be original.

[Image source]

While we live in an era where everything seems to be up for grabs on the internet, take care to protect your reputation by using your own original material, or by attributing when appropriate. No, blog posts aren’t like formal papers that you turned in to a professor, but your name is listed as the author of your posts. Be honest as to where you got your ideas. Continue reading

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