In 2018, it seems like there’s more and more to remember when writing a blog post. Platforms, keywords, page crawlers, backlinks… Nailing blog best practices feels like a pipe dream.

Honestly, lately I’ve felt exhausted just at the thought of it. Why can’t it be as simple as it used to be?

But then I recalled why writing is so special to me. (In fact, I expressed it here in writing!) And I remembered that it doesn’t need to be that complicated. Effective blogging is more or less based on the same principles as it was when it began in 1994.

In this blog post, I aim to demystify business blogging and provide advice on blog best practices with examples and actionable tips, so you can create inspiring content that performs online…

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2017 Blog Best Practices

Blog best practices: Tell a story

We talk about storytelling all the time here at Narrative Marketing. (And we explain why storytelling is the best approach in marketing – and in life.)

Your organisation should already have key messages that state succinctly what you want to say to your audience. But they’re not going to make very engaging blog posts.

Research shows that people understand better when information is organised within the framework of a story. Storytelling is also the easiest way to provoke an emotional response. The principles are the same whether you’re writing a blog post, shooting a video, or delivering a speech.

Former CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, included in a speech the story of his injured father being laid off work when he was 7. “I saw my parents go through hopelessness and despair,” he said.

This personal story was his lead-in to details about the company’s comprehensive health insurance policy. It was his “why”. The audience related to his motivations and they were more engaged with his business message as a result.

In a business blogging context, telling a story is often as simple as considering and communicating your motivations. Readers want to feel connected to the person behind the words.

Ask Yourself:
Why are you writing this blog post? What does this topic mean to you? What can you tell people now that you wish you’d been told? Consider your personal experience: What problems have you overcome? What unique perspectives can you bring? Tell that story.

Blog best practices: Do your research

Before you start writing, brainstorm a few things:

  • What do you know about or what do you want to promote
  • What does your audience want to know about
  • How much has already been written about the topic

Unless you consider all of these things in tandem, you’re not giving your content the best shot at performing online.

Communication with customers is a two-way street. Simply broadcasting whatever you think is important will not necessarily get them to pay attention to you. Make sure you also consider what they’re looking for.

Use our free buyer persona tool to help you profile your customers.

Best Blog Practices: Who's Your Customer?

Find out what information your customers really want to know before you start writing.

There’s little point writing about a topic that’s already been extensively covered online.

It might feel like every topic under the sun has already been done to death. But a subtle change or unique angle will allow you to present that topic in a new way. This is where storytelling comes in! 

Input your unique topic idea into a free keyword research tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner, or Moz Explorer to assess its suitability. Type it into Google to see what results already come up. Can you improve upon this content?

Blog best practices: Optimise your content

Every blog post published on your website is a new page. The content of each page has the potential to be optimised for search ranking.

As a minimum, include your focus keyword in these five places:

  • Page URL 
    • Sometimes called “slug”.
  • Image file names and “alt descriptions” 
    • “Alt descriptions” are shown if images don’t appear – contact us if you need help locating these.
  • Blog post title or SEO title
    • Your focus keyword should appear ideally at the beginning, so search engines can recognise it quickly.
  • Body text and headings
    • SEO blog best practices stipulate a minimum keyword density of 0.5% – but don’t litter your text with it as search engines penalise “keyword stuffing”! Also, ensure there’s a sprinkling of words and terms in there that are similar or analogous to your keyword.
  • Meta description
    • The snippet of text that appears in search engine results – make sure it’s “clickable”!

Here’s a great meta description:

Blog Best Practices: Great Meta Description

Esquire‘s meta description is creative and optimised with their target keyword (in bold). I don’t know about you but my mouth is watering.

If you’re using WordPress to write your blog, Yoast is a great free plugin that will help you with your on-page optimisation.

Ok, that’s just a few ways you can optimise your content for better performance online. For more blog best practices and tips for better writing, subscribe to the blog today — enter your details into the form on the right.

And if you’re still struggling to find the time to craft relevant, optimised blog content, we can help! All the information you need to know about    our content writing services is on this page.

photo credits:
giulia.forsythe Demystifying Search Engine Optimization [viz notes] #wcyvr via photopin (license)
Peter Grifoni Stranger #251 – Lucy via photopin (license)

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