blog writing

The Ultimate Checklist for Knockout Blog Writing

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Content marketing, Inbound marketing, Marketing

The ultimate checklist for knockout blog writing

Blog writing isn’t exactly rocket science, but there is a science to writing an amazing blog post, people want to share and engage with.

Do you struggle when trying to come up with ideas for writing a blog post, or maybe you think you have the perfect recipe?

Blog writing isn’t exactly rocket science, but there is a science to writing an amazing blog post people want to share and engage with.

I put together the idea of an ‘ultimate checklist’ on Tuesday afternoon, when admittedly a sunny Easter bank holiday weekend had clouded my reality (and apparently my ability to think straight too).

I was putting together an article for a client when it all got too much, and inking out my thoughts in pen and paper was the only way I could see and think clearer to make sure I wasn’t missing a trick.

The outcome?

The ultimate checklist for knock out blog writing. (Jazz hands)

What’s covered in the checklist?

  1. Know who you’re writing for
  2. Keyword research
  3. Content outline
  4. A working title and introduction
  5. Writing a story
  6. Optimising and formatting
  7. Sharing the love

Let’s get started

 

Know who you’re writing for

This is probably the most important part of the whole checklist.

You can’t write knock out content without an intended audience. It’s like our age old analogy of going into a bar and just standing and talking in the hopes someone will respond to you.

If you don’t know who your buyer persons are or even what they are, HubSpot can help, how do you expect people to resonate with what you are saying.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When you’re creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better!

The details help you identify exactly who you’re writing for so you can address their needs, interests and wants.

When you come to thinking about blog writing and who you’re writing for, come back to these 3 things:

  • What’s the problem your persona is facing you want to address?
  • How much do they already know about the topic?
  • What’s the goal of your post? To educate, inspire, motivate..or maybe to simply to entertain?

Keyword Research

Don’t panic, this doesn’t need to be extensive.

Some basic keyword research should be done in the early stages of developing your idea.

A keyword could steer the direction of your topic or tone. Don’t waste your efforts on writing for a topic no one searches for or engages with.

I like to think of keyword planning as a tool for getting inside the minds of your prospective customers. What are they thinking about? What are they searching for online? What words do they use to describe what they’re looking for?

We use and love the following tools when keyword planning:

This tool was created by a fellow Brightonian! Besides being biased on that basis, this    tool is great for searching out what people are searching for. All you have to do is tap in a couple of keywords and it will pump out a whole list of search in the form of questions people are searching for. Very clever and handy! It’s almost like using Mystic Megs magic ball.

If you don’t already use this tool, you should start. It’s a staple when looking for search volumes, costs and competitiveness on your keyword. This will tell you the gritty information like the level of competition you are up against and the cost of tackling those words.

Autocomplete. The classic google search will provide you with countless options of search queries you can use to shape your blog writing. All you need to do is start to type in some possible topics then wait for Google to automatically produce possible search endings.

blog writing

Content Outline

You don’t need to be fancy with this.

This is for you to collect ideas and start shaping them into your fabulous blog post later on.

It’s just for you to use as a guide for writing your content. Kind of like building the structure of a tree house. You don’t just go straight in. You take your time and you make sure the foundations are right.

Create a list of a working title, the main topic and subtopics for headings. Once you’ve built the list of possible subtopics you can use this as the outline for your article in the introduction, so your readers can glance at your post and gauge what it is they will be reading about.

These subtopics are pure gold for your content strategy. Think about it, each subtopic can be take and developed into it’s very own article! Crafty, right?

You’re main article becomes your pillar page and each article and subtopic article after that can be linked to and from, creating a spiderweb of content for your readers to get caught up in! Neil Patel explains why pillar pages are so good for your SEO.

Use content you already have to get started. Want to learn how to repurpose your existing content?

We did this at the beginning of this very article.

You most likely skimmed the points discussed and made a decision there and then whether you want to read the whole post.

For extra ease for the reader, you can turn these outline points into anchor points for your article. Your reader can click on any of the points they want to read more about and be automatically taken there without having to scroll down looking for the right content.

blog writing

A Working Title and Introduction

Titles are down to your own preference.

Everyone has a different strategy for coming up with a title. Some like to finalise the title before they’ve even started writing, while others like write the title once they’re done.

But what you should really be doing is creating a basic working title before you create the body of the content for you to have have a direction from the word go.

TOP TIP!!

Ensure you use your keyword in the title.

Your introduction should sum up what your reader will take away or learn from the rest of the article.

Use your keyword inside the introduction (the smashing research you completed above), Google will use the first paragraph of your article when creating preview text if you haven’t optimised your meta description.

Google will always rank searches with an easy to find, relevant keyword higher up the organic search rankings.

Again, some people will choose to write the introduction last.

But to write a knock out blog you really have to leave that to the end. Don’t allow your conclusion to determine the body of your story.

Think of your introduction as a blurb on the back of a book. It draws in the reader, gives them a brief outline of the rest of the story and makes them want to read more!

Writing Your Story

I use the word ‘story’ here because that’s what every good blog post should be, a story.

You want your reader to be engaged. You want them to live what you are telling them. They shouldn’t just be words on a screen.

Creating and telling a story is waaay more interesting for you to write and inevitably more interesting for your reader to read.

When you do something you like, you typically deliver a much better outcome anyway.

If you find what you’re writing boring, it will shine through in your writing and turn people off reading your content. There’s a quote by Roald Dahl that says:

“If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams.”  I think this applies to blog writing too.

Keep your buyer persona at the forefront of your mind as you write.

Too often, we use personas to choose a topic, but then forget about them as we actually write the post.

Questions to ask yourself throughout the process are:

  • What questions might my persona have at this point?
  • What other information might they be looking for that I haven’t included?
  • Is my tone appropriate for the audience I’m writing for?

If you write with these questions always in your mind, your blog is far more likely to go down well, and you’ll probably find the writing process goes much more smoothly, too.

Optimising and Formatting for a Knockout, the Final Blow.

blog writing

You have the main content written and you’re pretty darn happy with it.

Now comes the part where you optimise and format to make it a Mike Tyson knockout.

You need to set your blog post up for success. You’ve written a fabulous piece of content and now you need to optimise with your keyword of choice so that your target clients can find it.

But.

Don’t go overboard by inserting your keyword after every other sentence in a frantic panic to have Google rank you in search.

This is called keyword stuffing and Google don’t take lightly to it.

Things to think about when formatting your blog post:

  • Images

Blog articles with images get 94% more views! 94%!!! You can’t afford to not have images. Think about when you’re reading a blog post, it’s much easier to read and digest with relevant images that break up the text, right?

  • Subheadings

These make it easier for your reader to find the information they’re looking for and also help to break down the content into chunks to read and digest.

  • Internal/External links

Building backlinks to other industry leaders will help build relationships and your status as a thought leader. Your internal links are great for SEO, you want to build a spiderweb of content to link people from one piece of content to the next, to keep people on your website for longer. Want to find out more about internal and external links? 

  • Call-to-action (CTA)

What do you want to accomplish through your post? Are you just looking for page views? Or do you want readers to sign up for your list? Visit a product page or landing page? Buy a product? Decide exactly which action (just one) you want your readers to take, and then make it really clear within your CTA. Make it compelling, make people want to click that button or link.

Lastly that brings us to..

Social Sharing

Make it ridiculously easy for people to share your content. Your readers shouldn’t have to struggle to spread your good work.

There’s no point following these steps and writing a knockout blog post if it’s not going to be seen by the masses!

Make it easy for people to click the social media icon and share with colleagues, friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask people to share your post, what’s the worst that can happen?

Places to think about sharing your blogpost:

  • LinkedIn (add it as an article and share in relevant groups)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Medium
  • Pinterest
  • Email

Our posts typically hit 1,000+ reads within a week.  

If we had a trumpet in the office, we would most probably be guilty of blowing it right now.

These are the steps I use to make sure I’m covering every process for writing the ultimate knockout blog post.

Blog posts are a huge part of your inbound marketing content strategy, and are important for attracting your target clients to you, in a helpful and holistic way.

Are you struggling to see any backlash from your blog posts/content?

What if we told you we can deliver measurable results from your content marketing.

Well, we can do just that.

We have our boxing gloves on, have you?

Communicate Your Brand
inbound marketing

The Difference Between Owned, Earned & Paid Media

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Content marketing, Inbound marketing, Marketing

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EARNED, OWNED & PAID MEDIA

We will be exploring the difference between types of media and looking at how each of them are beneficial for both your content strategy and ultimately your inbound marketing.

An effective content strategy doesn’t rely on only one tactic. Generating qualified leads requires you to regularly publish compelling, valuable content, explore guest blogging opportunities, identify co-marketing campaigns, and devise a strategy for promoting said content.

  1. What is owned media?
  2. What is earned media?
  3. What is paid media
  4. Implementing this in your inbound marketing content strategy.

inbound marketing

What is Owned Media? 

 
Owned media are the assets your brand has full control over. For example, your website, blog and social media channels.These are the places you should be creating valuable content providing value to your leads as they move down the sales funnel.  
 
This content should be unique to your brand. Make it yours. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competitors. 
 
Your owned media is what you have full control over. You should be using this to your advantage. 
 
Answer helpful relevant questions, for the right people, at the right time in the buyer’s journey. At the end of the day, this content can help leads determine whether your brand is right for them, and whether they want to work with you. 
 
Note, owned media will consume the majority of your time. Creating and brainstorming thought provoking articles.  The output matches your input. The more time you put in to this stage of the process, the better the response will be. 
 
Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising. 
 
There are six different type of owned media:
  • Blog posts
  • Case Studies
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Whitepapers & E-books
  • Video

What is Earned Media?

Put simply, earned media refers to media exposure you’ve earned through word-of-mouth.

Whether it was the amazing content you’ve distributed, your SEO efforts, the customer experience you’ve delivered or a combination of all three. Earned media refers to the recognition you receive as a result of your amazing content.

Earned media doesn’t just have to come directly from you, content or quotes to external industry publications are a powerful tool. Whether you’re receiving mentions on external sites or you’ve earned an opportunity to contribute to them regularly.

External publications help fuel the top of your funnel and introduce you to new leads.

A big driver behind earned media, if the increase in credibility, someone who isn’t paid by your company believes enough in your products, insights.

Typically, this comes in the form of: mention, quote, or promote your brand’s content on their own platforms.

This speaks volumes to a prospective clients.

“92% of people trust recommendations from individuals over brands.”

Here is the power of reviews and earned media.

The Content Marketing Institute have written a piece on 3 Earned Media Strategies for Content Marketing Plans.

There are five different types of earned media:

  • Press mentions
  • Positive reviews
  • Reposts
  • Recommendations
  • Contributing thought leadership content to industry publications.

What is Paid Media?

Paid media serves as a method for promoting content and driving exposure.

To get the most out of paid media you should be using it to promote your earned media. Paid Media is about amplifying the media you have already invested heavily in.

Paying to promote content creates exposure and pushes your content to a defined audience. Usually defined by your buyer persona.

Need some help building your buyer persona? Head over to Hubspot- the experts. 

Remember to think about where your buyer persona is likely to be hanging out.

For example Google Adwords is likely to be the most suitable starting position In 2017, Google accounted for over 79% of all global desktop search traffic, chances are your target client will be part of that 79%.

There are six types of paid media:

 

How to implement the three types of media in to your inbound marketing strategy

A comprehensive and effective content strategy includes a healthy mix of earned, owned and paid media.

Content is a fairly general term. But now you know the differences between earned media, owned media, and paid media.

Do not use these in isolation to one another. They combine to be a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy to deliver more leads directly to you.

Your content strategy is your secret weapon and crucial part of your inbound marketing strategy.

Utilise your content to engage and nurture your prospects, leads and customers all the way through the buyer’s journey – After all 67% of the buyer’s journey is digital.

Learn how best to build your content strategy.

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NEGATIVE REVIEWS ARE THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO YOUR BUSINESS

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Content marketing, Marketing

Negative Reviews are the best thing that could happen to your business

We’re going to give you some really awesome quick wins to build a social strategy.

In this blog post we’re going to cover the basics on how to build a social strategy, that not only kicks ass but produces measurable results and not just vanity metrics.

  1. Setting Your Goals.
  2. Social Media Audit 
  3. Define Your Audience
  4. Choose Your Weapon
  5. Create a Content Calendar
  6. Test, test & test.

What is a Social Media Strategy & Why Do You Need One?

A social media strategy is about putting in place a coherent and effective plan of communication.

Designed to outline the goals and measurable objectives for using social media and your desired outcomes outcomes you want to achieve to ultimately increase your return on investment (ROI).

Why do I need to build a strategy?! I hear you ask. My posts are getting lots of engagement and I have thousands of followers already. If you’re posting willy nilly without a defined strategy or set objectives, chances are you’re seeing sporadic returns for your efforts. Apart from those obvious vanity metrics like.. You know.. likes and followers.

Besides the tangible ROI, a social media strategy is beneficial in so many more ways. Not only is a kick ass strategy going to build brand awareness and develop a strong brand identity but also to save time, enable you to stay on top of competition and target your clients more effectively.

Ultimately, it’s down to your business to decide on what goals you want to achieve. But let’s give you those basics.

Setting Your Goals

As a rule of thumb when setting your goals, we always use S.M.A.R.T goals strongly aligned with your business objectives. This allows for all employees across all teams to be working cooperatively towards the same goal. Let’s break it down.

Specific- be specific in defining your goals. This means associating a physical benefit like… maybe… 12% increase in engagement.

Measurable- are they measureable, if they aren’t then they’re probably not specific enough. Let’s say, 12% increase in engagement within 3 months.

Attainable- set goals that are realistic and within your reach. Doubling your engagement is unrealistic… 12% is a pretty good start.

Relevant- is your goal relevant to your business success? We know, an increase in engagement is increasing our brand awareness, and most likely driving traffic to our website.

Timely- decide on a time frame for each goal and stick to it.

Don’t just take our word for it… For a more in-depth look at S.M.A.R.T goals for your social media strategy, Hootsuite have a fantastic blog post. 

Conduct a Social Media Audit

If you’re already using social media, (if you aren’t, where have you been?! Are you still using a fax machine for communication?!) then you need to take a step back and examine your current efforts. Ask yourself the following questions;

What channels are you on?- How many followers do you have? How much engagement do you get?

Who has access to the accounts?

What’s working? – What content is receiving the most engagement and interaction?

Alternatively, what’s not working? – What isn’t getting as much engagement and why?

What platforms are your target audience on?

Are you posting consistently?

Once you’ve gathered all this information into the best format for your business, Hootsuite have a template, it’s time for you to build a clearer picture. You should now be able to see what channels are your best performing, which ones do you want to sunset, what content is best for each channel and identify ways in which you can engage better with your target audience.

The five things to examine:

  • Correct channels
  • Type of content
  • Delivery methods
  • Target audience
  • Hashtags

It’s a great opportunity to develop new key performance indicators (KPI’s), adjust budgets accordingly and calculate your ROI.

Performing an audit is a key part of your business development. Do it every 6 months.

Define Your Audience- Buyer Personas

Unless you know who your target audience do you really know how to deliver some kick ass content to them?

Need a hand building your buyer personas? Go on, head over here. 

It makes sense to attract and engage new prospects you need to be on the same channels as them, right?!

Find out what they like engaging with, this will be crucial when turning prospects into leads and in turn, customers. Maybe they might even start building your brand for you.

Turn your target customer into a buyer persona- give them a name, a job and think about their interest, what are they passionate about?.

This is where you will need to really use your imagination. Dream them up into a real person, this will allow you to think more clearly about what to offer them and how to market it to them.

Don’t just make a stab in the dark at what you think your target customer is like (you will most probably miss), conduct interviews with past customers, analyse your database for certain patterns in behaviour and make educated guesses.

The master of inbound marketing themselves; Hubspot have written a detailed blog on how to identify your buyer persona. 

social media marketing

Choose Your Weapon of Choice

Ok, so you have compiled your audit. Analysed it and you are pretty confident on your buyer persona. t’s time to choose which tools you’re going to need to carry out this kick ass strategy.

There are a plethora of helpful tools and platforms to effectively aid you in your social media content creation and scheduling. Too many, in fact to begin to share them all with you- luckily for us The Juicer Blog has done the hard work for us. 

But just in case you were wondering, we’re going to share with you our ride or dies!

Unsplash – amazing for finding royalty free stock images.

Hubspot – we use Hubspot as our Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM)l, through here we have access to social media scheduling, monitoring and listening tools.

Sprout social image resizer – these guys make it super easy to resize images into the correct platform format. Apparently their scheduling tool isn’t too bad either.

Create a Content Calendar

The most important part of the recipe, the content! This is where you get creative, everything we’ve covered so far in this blog has been leading up to this moment..no pressure.

How you choose to format your calendar is up to you, whether that’s a spreadsheet, word document or a dedicated tool. We recommend planning your content 12 weeks at a time and splitting it up into a different topic each week and further splitting this into subtopics- each focusing around a different keyword.

We suggest having a 80/20 mix of content dedicated to interesting your audience and your own promotional content.

As great as created content is, curated content is also great for  saving time and money, building industry connections and showing diverse knowledge.

We use Feedly a supercharged RSS feed- simply add a few of your favorite news sources then you can aggregate and browse these feeds in one place to always stay on top of industry news and trends.

Sticking to your content calendar rigidly will mean your missing ample opportunities and conversations to join in on. Hijacking relevant hashtags or joining real-time conversation about worldly affairs are all opportunities to show brand personality.

Flexibility is a key part of your success here.

social media strategy

Test, Test, Test

You’re not going to get your social media strategy right first time, if you do- kudos. We’re constantly playing with and testing different factors to see what works best or alternatively, if something could work better.

Even when you think you’ve got it right there’s probably a different hashtag you could be using on Instagram to maximise reach or a different day that works better for your LinkedIn posts- think of this process as a constant learning curve.

Your ready. It’s your foundations to building your very own kick ass social media strategy.If you’re not quite ready or want some more tips and tricks then schedule a phone call or face-to-face down below!

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The art of repurposing content

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Content marketing, Marketing

The Art of Repurposing Content

Peter Kay is the perfect example of how you can repurpose content to deliver the same message to your audience time and time again in a new and innovative way.

Peter Kay is no cub on the comedy scene. He has been an evident part of our lives over the past ten, fifteen years. He has bought laughter to our homes, to the theatre and on the road. Over time, we all hit a brick wall with our idea generation and developing existing ideas. Do we create something new? Do we utilise a different channel? Or do we just change our approach entirely?

Peter Kay, now hunt us down if you disagree, may have hit his brick wall on generating new ideas. His Comedy Shuffle show is evidence if this. Simply creating a new show with snippets of old shows. As viewers, we see a brand new piece of content formed the old content we have already seen. However, the new spin and approach to this tells us the same story but in an alternative way. Reminding us of his highlights from: SONG ONE to SCENE ONE we get to relive and re-experience the comedy.

Peter Kay is not just simply cutting and pasting parts of different programmes to create a new one. He is repurposing his old content and making a new fresh approach. A fresh approach we deem as new content. As we are aware, the digital plain is full of content these days. The rapid rise of content marketing, as determined by Matt Cutts over at Google, has meant anyone and everyone is simply attempting to churn out as much content as possible. Whilst there are some awesome pieces out there to be read, there are also some carcasses with not meat or pulse to them. They are simply sitting in the plain distracting us from the real and genuine story.

This increases the importance of repurposing good content and distributing this.

Importance of repurposes

In essence, repurposing content means you can write the same story in a variety of methods. The new content ensures your original research can be used time and time again. Repurposing content provides you with the chance to deliver a piece of content hitting your key words.

You shouldn’t simply repurpose all of your content. If something didn’t work the first time round then it is unlikely to work a second or third time round. Identify which content was particularly effective in achieving your desired results.

How to repurpose

Repurposing a piece of content can at times feel like climbing Kilimanjaro. You have already rattled every idea and argument from your research. Where do you go to for innovative ways of telling the same story? Try the following steps:

    • Break down each key point within the argument
    • Identify the stronger aspect
    • Marry up two or three arguments which could bounce off one another
  • Create a separate article using the argument identified

Alternatively, you can re-write the same article with a different view on the point being raised. Similar to the example of Peter Kay. Peter simply jumbled up content from various mediums and created a new viewing telling a new story. Sure, it is easier for someone such as Peter Kay to do this and be successful. But take inspiration, generate new content rapidly from previous research and arguments.

Importance of repurposing content?

You know your readers are already buying into the topic and considering it value adding. So why not stay on topic and create content based around the same story? Re-write the piece of content and provide your readers with the information they desire.

In addition to this. Your original piece of content had its focused key words right? Creating an additional piece of content will help your website SEO. Reinforce those key words you were stressing in the original article. Warning, simply re-posting the same article time and time again will lead to you being penalised by our good friends over at Google. Make your content different and unique each time around when stressing the same key words.

A lot to take in? Remember… Catch the Cat are here to help! Get in touch through any of the available methods. Now let’s follow Peter Kay’s example of repurposing content!