6 Ways to Make Your Blog Content Useful
With over four million blog posts written every day, is it any wonder readers consider them a dime a dozen?
But for you, the marketer, publishing blog content costs far more than that in time, effort and money.
With so many other blogs competing for prospective customers’ attention, you have to make sure your content stands out and provides value. Otherwise, all the work and resources you put into it won’t give you a return on your investment.
How can you make sure your blog content cuts through the noise and gives your audience a reason to read it, share it and come back for more?
Here are some tips to help you achieve that.
6 Tips for Writing Blog Content That Commands — and Deserves — Attention
#1. Develop topics based on what your customers care about most.
This may seem obvious and basic, but I’d be remiss not to mention it. For a blog to appeal to customers, it needs to serve customers’ interests.
Your blog needs to fill a void for your audience. It needs to give readers information they didn’t have before, give them practical knowledge that will help them improve themselves or situations that they face, or offer inspiration.
How do you uncover what your readers want to know and what challenges are keeping them up at night?
Here are some ways:
- Ask on social media.
- Finish your blog posts with a CTA to share what they want to read about next.
- Generate a survey (a tool like SurveyMonkey can help).
- Review your company’s FAQ list for inspiration.
- Take a peek to see what subjects your competitors are writing about. Can you approach them from a different viewpoint or deliver information the other blogs did not?
#2. Demonstrate significance with statistics.
Statistics from credible sources can help give your audience perspective on the importance or impact of a topic. They strengthen your writing by offering evidence to support the points you’re making. Dig a little to find the most current statistics available, and always link to or cite your sources.
#3. Mix up your M.O.
After you arrive at what you want to write about, consider different ways you might present the subject matter to attract reader interest and keep them engaged from one post to the next.
- Posts along the lines of “The Top 10 Ways to … ” or “A Dozen Resources to Help … ”, etc., provide information on which readers can act.
- Case studies. Write about select clients’ success stories and how your business helped them achieve their goals. Or if you see something going exceptionally poorly in your industry, call it out as a “lessons learned” moment to help readers avoid making the same mistakes.
- Product review. If you’ve recently used a product or app that your readers might also be considering, write an honest review of it to help others understand the pros and cons before they try it.
- Conduct an interview with a subject matter expert. Whether featuring someone from your company or another professional in your industry, sharing a specialist’s insights can enable you to dig deeper into topics.
- Invite a respected industry professional to write a guest blog on a topic of choice. This is a win for you (free content from an expert) and for them (free publicity and expanded reach).
- Incorporate some pop culture. From movie quotes to quirky TV commercials to fads gone by, brainstorm how you can reference fun bits of pop culture into your posts as they relate to your topics. For example, in a guest post I had written for Straight North, I found a way to weave in a 1970s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial that starred teen heartthrob Robby Benson and actor Don Most (best known for his role as Ralph Malph on the sitcom “Happy Days”).
#4. Use meta descriptions to the advantage of you and your readers.
A well-crafted meta description will provide a compelling summary/teaser of what your post is about. This helps you by enticing people to read your content — and it helps readers by giving them a sense of what they’ll discover in your post.
#5. Categorize and tag your blog posts effectively
By organizing your blog posts into appropriate categories, you give your readers a simple way to browse the types of subject matter your blog covers. Tags can help immensely, too, when readers are looking for posts about specific topics.
#6. Write clean.
While readers might forgive the occasional slip-up, frequent spelling and grammar errors can cause confusion and make you look unprofessional and careless. Edit and proofread your blog content, and ask another set of eyes to review it. Another way to find mistakes that may have gotten by you is to read your content out loud. I recommend using Grammarly, too, which can help detect repetitive word choice, punctuation errors, run-on sentences, passive voice and more.
Also, make sure your audience doesn’t have to work to read your posts. Structure your content so that it flows logically from one point to the next. Help readers follow your thought process by using subheadings (h2, h3, etc.), bullets and numbered lists to make it easy to identify the key points, sub-points and sequences of information in your posts.
Making It Worthwhile Is Always Worth It
Albert Einstein once said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
Fortunately, being of value is a direct route to success.
Consistently creating content that your audience will find relevant, informative, helpful and inspiring requires a lot of work, but the return on your investment will be well worth the effort. When your blog provides value to your readers, you earn customer trust and gain a reputation of expertise in your field — and those things result in more traffic to your website and more interest in your products and services.
Author bio: Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading professional SEO firm in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.