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How to Blog Like a Pro

Are you blogging?

You need to be.

If you don’t want to hire someone to do it for you, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and start typing. Check out the infographic below and then keep scrolling — I have some insider secrets that I’ll share with you. (And hey, if the doing-it-on-your-own thing doesn’t work out, give me a call. I’ll be happy to take the reins.)Hire a Blogger

 

So you get it — you need to blog. But where in the world do you start?

If you’re not up for hiring a professional copywriter to create them for you, there’s still hope. You can do it (and be pretty damn good at it, too).

Here’s how to blog like a pro.

Set Up a Blog Posting Schedule

While off-the-cuff blog posts are great sometimes, and you should blog whenever it strikes your fancy, it’s a good idea to keep feeding into the machine on a regular schedule. If you’re lucky enough to have subscribers, they’ll appreciate the routine, too.

Plan Your Blog Topics Ahead of Time

If you can, use the Google Keyword Planner to your advantage. While it won’t guarantee that you’ll capture any traffic, it can give you valuable insight into what people are searching for on the Internet.

Here’s how:

Sign in using your Google account. If you don’t have one, get one. Really.

Your first screen will look like this:

How to Blog

Click “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas” and you’ll get a screen like this:

How to blog like a writer

Enter what you do. For me, I chose to put in “copywriting service.” Click the “Get ideas” button and you’ll be taken here:

How to blog like a copywriter

If you want to, click on one of the ad group ideas that Google gives you. However, you can skip to clicking the tab that says “Keyword ideas” instead.

How to blog like a professional copywriter

That’s what your screen will look like if you hop over to the “Keyword ideas” tab. Now, you and I both know that I can’t play with the big dogs when it comes to competing for a top spot on Google for the search term “seo,” so let’s get a more realistic goal. See where it says “Avg. monthly searches” (right above the staggeringly huge number of people who search “seo” each month — 90,500)? Click that text. Here’s what you’ll see next:

How do professionals blog?

Awesome. We found one that gets about 9,900 searches a month. It loosely relates to my business, so if I was interested in doing so, I’d create a post targeted toward people who want to copy content from other sites and use it on their own. Since I know that it’s a bad idea, I have a great angle from which to write the post — but I’d have to make sure it was optimized for readers first and search engines second.

Why?

Because as a copywriter who does this stuff every day, I know it’s more important to make a person happy with the content than it is to make a search engine happy. If people come in through search engines and find some garbage copy, they’re going to leave…

…and they’re never. going. to. come. back.

So let’s talk about optimizing your blog posts.

Optimizing Your Posts Like the Pros Do

Let’s say we’re going to write a blog post centered around the topic “What is plagiarism?”

If I want to know what plagiarism is, I’m going to Google it. I really want the answer NOW, just like every other searcher online does. With that in mind, it’s important to put the big, important stuff at the top of your posts. That’s where readers want it — and if you care about your readers, you want them to stay and find all the valuable information you have to offer. Once they see that you’re a real pro, they’re going to want to work with you.

We need to title the page properly, so we’ll call the post “What is Plagiarism?”

We’ll write an introduction and make sure that readers get an answer right away. Let’s say something like this:

Plagiarism is the act of taking words that don’t belong to you and using them as your own.

Easy enough, right? Now pretend you’re explaining it to a ninth-grader who doesn’t quite get it — expand on the idea. Think about the questions your readers have and answer them briefly.

Then break your post up into reader-friendly and search engine-friendly subheads. If you’re using WordPress, highlight them and click the little box that says “Paragraph.” Scroll down in that box to “Heading 2” and select it. This is kind-of important, so if you can do it, do it.

Subheads need to address pain points for your readers. If somebody doesn’t know what plagiarism is, they’ll want to know when it applies, how much copy they can use and how they need to attribute it. They’ll also need to know that it could cost them their Google rankings and affect whether they’ll show up in search engine results at all (it really can — so please, don’t do it! Crappy content is better than plagiarized content).

For this piece, we could use these subheadings:

  • Plagiarism Can Cost You with Google
  • How Much Content Can You Copy?
  • Attribution: How Not to Plagiarize

Each can address those points, and at the end, we’ll tie it all together nicely. If you want to use a call-to-action (“Call me if you want to learn more about not taking someone else’s content on the Internet”), that’s okay, too.

While you’re writing the blog post, keep in mind related terms that people who would be searching for that might use. Someone searching for “what is plagiarism?” might also search “can I copy someone’s content” and “what happens to plagiarizers,” so in addition to weaving your main term (what is plagiarism) into the post, use your new ideas as well.

Remember: Google will only give your page to searchers if it thinks it’s valuable and that you’re not trying to game the system. You need to read up on keyword stuffing before you start writing.

Got the optimization basics? There’s more to it than that, but if I told you everything, you’d never come to your senses and pay me to write blog posts for you.

Good. Let’s move on.

Making Sure Readers Enjoy Your Posts

You want people to enjoy your posts, right? So don’t give them a big wall of text. Break everything up with subheads (like the ones we already talked about and those you see in this mammoth post that should’ve been an ebook… but I digress…) and then break up your paragraphs. Web readers want short, two-to-three-sentence paragraphs. They like to scan. We like to scan; we all do it.

Spell-check before you hit “Publish.” Don’t you dare release your post out into the wild without checking — and re-checking — your spelling. Do the grammar, too. While you’re at it, look to see if you’ve said “amazing” a million times, and make sure your sentences aren’t too long.

Look, all you really have to do beyond optimization and making your post valuable to readers is to make it interesting. Find their pain points, give them the best way to address their issue, and let the content of your post do the rest of the work. Of course, you need to share it on your Facebook page, your Google+ page and tweet about it (and it doesn’t hurt if you enlist your friends to help). But basically, say what you know your readers need to hear — you’ll be doing the blogosphere and the world at large a big favor.

And if you need me, call me or drop me an email. I’m always around.

About Angie Papple Johnston

Angie Papple Johnston was formally trained as a journalist by the U.S. Army and now makes her living writing engaging and informative B2B and B2C sales copy, website content, press releases and more. Connect with Angie on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.