What are the most effective practices of blogging in 2021?
The TL;DR short answer: Adding a catchy title and subtitles, an engaging introduction, outlines are all effective blogging tools. Adding an estimated reading time, a read more button, engaging CTAs will make your blogs even more more effective for 2021!
Blogging forms a crucial part of any marketing campaigns’ success. So knowing the art of blogging to support your business is essential. Understanding the best practices of blogging is getting more important by the day!
Due to the corona pandemic, there are more businesses adopting online marketing strategies than ever before. The good news for bloggers everywhere is website traffic is increasing- which means more eyes on your blog; resulting in more leads for your business.
HubSpot Data reports “...That traffic increased by 16% from Q1 to Q2!”
Here is your essential guide that will show how you can be a black belt in the art of blogging!
- What is a blog post?
- Different examples of blog posts?
- What makes a blog post sparkle?
- What can you do to make your blog even more engaging?
- Blogging Trends in 2021 to look out for?
What is a blog Post?
Blog posts are pieces of written content that enable you to publish and share your insights, perspectives, and your stories with the world! They can help increase traffic to your website, amplify awareness of your brand, build trust and your authority, increase conversions, as well as revenue.
The Top 6 Most Popular types of blog posts
All types of people and businesses blog; businesses share the latest industry news, ordinary people share their stories.
Blogs can be instructional, educational, provide product information, share analyses or research and much more.
Six of the most popular types of blogs are:
- List based Posts (listicles)
- informational Posts
- Infographic Posts
- Pillar Page Posts
- Newsjacking Posts
How do you write an engaging blog post for your customers, prospects and buyer personas?
How Do You Make a Blog Sparkle?
Before you start blogging, there are two questions you need to ask:
- What would make someone want to read my entire blog?
- What would keep my audience interested, so they’ll come back for more?
The two goals that every blogger should have are:
- To make their work educational and engaging
- To provide “actionable steps” to entice an audience to continue reading.
How to write your first blog post?
Is your title “click worthy”?
Think of your title as an ad placed on Social Media or on Google. It has to be catchy enough to get someone to click on it. The most important thing is that it inspires the reader’s curiosity to find out more.
A blog post can be about solving a problem specific to one of your buyer personas, or about a new tool that makes their job easier.
Know your audience!
Before writing anything you’ll need to understand your audience. Ask yourself, “What information can I provide that my audience will find helpful?”
The first step is understanding your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictitious descriptions of a customer’s interests and pain points.To get this information you need to use real data and perform market research.
Let’s say that your buyer person is a salesperson struggling to generate leads. They’re finding cold calls frustrating and ineffective and are searching for something that works.
For this sales person you could write a blog on:
- How to use a HubSpot CRM.
- How to add forms on a website.
- How to set up chatbots so customers can type in their inquiry and receive an immediate response.
- How to write inspiring marketing emails.
- Content offer guides about effective methods to generate leads.
How to Pick a Blog Topic?
To start off with picking a topic you'll need to make it pretty generic.
Pro Tip: Begin with a How-To Blog.
If you’re writing a blog for a fundraiser, you could write about:“How to raise funds for a cause you believe in?” or about one of your successful campaigns.
A great starting point could also be a list-based blog.
- “5 effective ways of generating leads for your business”.
- A curated collection: “The 10 best ways of acquiring leads”.
- A Slideshare with colorful graphics titled: “5 reasons why inbound marketing is more effective for generating leads than outbound marketing".
- Newsworthy piece: “Research found that using Google ads generates 70% more leads than other methods”.
What if you get stuck?
American science fiction writer, Will Shetterly once said, “It is better to write a first draft than no draft at all”
Ginny Mineo writing for HubSpot gives the following advice:
- What kinds of questions do your customers ask you?
Think of what questions your customers might ask you, and then write a blog post about solutions for them. If you aren’t familiar with your customers' difficulties, sit in on a sales call or get ideas from a member of your customer service team.
- Move from your generic title to one that’s more specific: If you are writing about generic fundraising solutions, focus on a specific type of fundraising.
- Change the audience who you are targeting: bloggers usually write for different audiences. One suggestion is writing for a sales rep, rather than their manager. Both will look for different things in a blog.
- Change your blog’s angle from positive to negative: If you are writing about “ 5 effective ways to acquire lead” flip it around to “5 methods of acquiring leads you should never use”
The "Three Piece Suite" Intro
Blogger and SEO expert, Neil Patel says an introduction to your blog should have three parts:
- The Hook entices your readers to read your blog. A great hook has a captivating first sentence, a phrase, or even one word! They can also be open or closed questions. For some bloggers a hook is the inspiration behind why they chose to write about a specific topic.
- The Transition: The hook’s job is to grab the audience’s attention then lead them to the transition.Think of the transition as the bridge between the beginning and the body of your article. Transitions should also clarify the title and act as a GPS which guides the reader through your post
- The Thesis: The last part or great intro is the thesis. It summarizes your topic and persuades your audience to continue reading.If you’ve done a great job with the transition, the thesis should fall into place.
The ultimate goal is to create a captivating introduction that entices the audience to continue reading until the end.
Laura Belgray is one of the most creative and inspiring blog writers out there! Below is a great example of a hook that makes you want to find out more.
“I’ve tried to send email with straight info, but can’t...do...it. Must..put...in STORY”
Making an Outline of your post
Blogging is like any art. It needs to be organized in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them. This is especially important for longer posts.
A great example of a thoughtfully organized post is SmartBlogger’s: “How to Start a Blog: Easy Step-by Step Guide for Beginners. Pay attention to its well constructed sections with beautiful and engaging graphics .
Think of your outline as having the whole picture or map of a blog post in front of you. It helps plot the direction you want your readers to take.
Getting a Draft Down
Are you ready for your first draft?
Don’t expect it to be beautiful as first drafts seldom are. Often the hardest part for writers’ is the first draft. If your first draft feels like climbing a mountain, you’re in good company.
Don’t let fear put you off from producing a first draft; write and continue writing. Put as much down as you can. You can always add more information, research and quotes.
Remember the R&B classic, “Ain’t no stopping us now” by McFadden and Whitehead? It’s the writer’s version of “The Eye of the Tiger” made famous by the film “Rocky”.
If you find it difficult to get words down, here are some tools that may help:
- Help me Write: First create a profile called an ideas page, then share your page with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or Email. Ask your friends and colleagues to suggest ideas about what they think you should write about.
- Power Thesaurus: this tool will provide plenty of word alternatives.
- Grammarly and Hemmingway: are great proofing tools to iron out any mistakes you don’t see.
Proofing your post
Editing is a crucial piece of the blogging jigsaw. Editor’s are a blogger’s best friends. A second or third pair of eyes on your work is a must.
Tools like Grammarly (mentioned above) help you to edit as you write.
A word of advice: editing tools are great, but nothing replaces a human editor.
Choose a featured Image
Find an attractive image that’s relevant to your post. If you’re writing a blog for sales people, you want an image that resonates with your audience and fits your blog’s topic.
Pro Tip: visuals are a superb attention grabber and crucial for any blog post.
Now we’ve covered the fundamentals, here are the latest trends that we’ve seen in blog posts:
What are the latest trends to watch out for in 2021?
Things are changing in the blogging world.In this age of information overload attention spans are shrinking. Most readers prefer to skim a blog post to find the information they’re after.
By adding estimated reading time, you’re making the job of the reader easier. If your audience knows that a blog post takes 5 minutes to read, they’ll make sure they have enough time .
One popular approach used by HubSpot and others is adding the estimated reading time at the top of a blog post. It lets your audience know how long an article will take to read. It’s a good idea to add estimated time after the main sections of your blog post. This helps your audience to set time aside and it entices them to continue reading.
For more information on how to do it click here.
Using CTAs in blogs is nothing new, but it is still important. CTAs usually appear under the conclusion. The main function of any CTA is tell the reader what action you want them to perform next.
Examples of CTAs are:
- Downloadable content offers such as ebooks and how to guides
- Helpful Blogging or email templates
- Social media calendars.
- Inviting the reader to subscribe to a blog or email list.
CTAs can also entice the reader to click on other blogs that provide more information on a topic. This increases dwell time on your site and generates more leads.
For 39 great CTA ideas from HubSpot Click here
Read More Buttons are useful tools to engage your reader.The main function of a read more button is to truncate blog posts making it easy to digest The common practice is to add them at the beginning or middle of a blog post.
Jay Kang writing for SEO Optimizer suggests some ways to use Read More Buttons more effectively and strategically:
- Use language that inspires readers to take immediate action. For example "Read More to Improve your Blogging"...Other examples are: "Take advantage of today’s limited content offer!"... or "Read Now!" Kang recommends using words that reflect exclusivity. Here’s a great example “Content Offer Exclusive to Members Only!
- Add Benefit: entices readers to read on. Examples include “Read On to get your Free eBook”
- Keep it no more than 5 words.
- Optimize for mobiles: recognize that mobiles are different from desktop computers. Mobile devices require readers to touch the screen on their smartphone or tablet. Making a read-on bar easy to see and easy to click on is crucial.