Here I sit, using best practices to write a blog about best practices in blogging. How’s that for some meta blogging?
And there you sit, reading this blog because maybe your company writes its own blogs, or maybe you outsource them to a group like our our Made To Order original content services. Either way, below are the 5Ws+H to keep in mind when blogging. (And a side note about my proposal to start spelling “how” with a silent “w.”) Most of these are questions we ask our blogging clients during kickoff, but you can ask them internally as well.
WHO are we?
Since blogs often end up being written by various people, it can be easy to lose your brand’s voice. Make sure your writers have thorough, updated brand guidelines to follow. Of course, they should also inject their own voices because that’s part of the charm of a blog, but if your brand is authoritative yet friendly, that should come through even if Joe Blogger is submissive and kind of a jerk in real life.
WHAT should a blog contain?
A strong start and a strong finish are key. Grab people with a catchy headline—I know, that’s easier said than done—but avoid clickbait (unless that’s your brand’s thing, and to that I say “ugh."). End on a note that encourages the reader to take action, whether that’s a few questions to ask internally or a link to downloadable content or anything else that keeps the conversation going.
In the middle and throughout the post, link to other blog posts or website content. This is good for SEO, and it nudges the reader to other content.
And as a bonus, throw in some imagery. Graphs and charts often make sense, a picture of the author is always nice, and even stock imagery has it’s place. Check out how our friends at Quarry took content we wrote and gave it more personality with these silly clown shoes.
As for length, that will vary depending on the topics and your audience. If you have lots to say but want to keep the blogs digestible, split the topic into a short series.
WHERE will people find the blog?
Probably 3 places: 1) The internet. 2) Your website. 3) Any promotions you do.
The third part is easy because you’re pushing content to your readers. But the first two require them to find you, so make sure to include any relevant phrases for SEO, have a prominent link to the blogs throughout your website, and make past posts searchable.
WHEN do we blog?
Blogging, like potty training, takes patience and consistency, and you might have a few misses before finding your groove. Rarely has a blog been considered a success on day one. Some brands find that posting daily (or more) is worth the effort to drive traffic, and some brands focus on more robust posts weekly. Posting less frequently than weekly only makes sense seasonally for some businesses. I’m not really sure where this analogy is going, but the lesson is to post regularly and your blog will get sh*t done.
WHY are we blogging?
Why not? Oh, right, blogging takes lots of time, and it can be difficult to tell if it’s working. So yeah, there’s that. But there are also goals to hit, like driving website traffic, positioning your brand as an industry leader, and eventually selling things. Set your goals, then set up your tracking, and then start writing. Ideally you can track how buyers initially found your brand, and that can give support for the blog a boost.
(W)how do we blog?
You may have in-house content creators, guest bloggers, or third parties—or, most likely, a mix of all those writers. That’s what makes your blog varied and educational. If you’re curious about working with MarketingProfs on your blogs, hit up your Client Hero here. Or if you’d like to learn more about blogging from our team of in-house and guest bloggers, check out more on creating a blog persona, extending the shelf life of your blog posts, and setting content marketing goals.