76
102
Gini Dietrich

Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post

By: Gini Dietrich | April 4, 2013 | 
196

Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog PostAs many of you know, I’m writing my second book (Spin Sucks, due out in November!) and, because of that, I’m doing a ton of research (a TON) for case studies, examples, and stories to use to help tell the story.

I keep coming across something interesting: Lots of people are searching for how to write great blog content, but there are very few people who are providing tips on how to do it.

I’m going to get us started and then you can add to the list in the comments below.

Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post

  1. Choose a topic. I know this kind of seems like, “Duh!”, but it’s the hardest part of writing. I was just talking to a client yesterday who said, “I’ve been looking at our keywords and I’m out of ideas.” I often use the Google keyword tool, but I find I have better luck putting keywords or phrases directly into Google to see a) if anyone else is writing about the topic and b) what kinds of headlines they’re using.
  2. Create an editorial calendar. It doesn’t have to be, “This is my exact headline and content for the month,” rather do buckets. For instance, we created one for April for a client yesterday that has case studies on Mondays, how-tos and tips on Tuesdays, product features and benefits on Wednesdays, the monthly theme (chosen two weeks ago) on Thursdays, and community building on Fridays. Then our collective teams brainstormed topics for those categories and voila! They have enough content to get them through the month.
  3. Write scannable copy. I like to use subheads, bullet points, lists, and bolded copy to help our readers easily get the main points without having to read every word I write (as hurtful as they might be to me). I’m not egotistical enough to think people don’t scan. They do. I do. You do. Make it easy for them to do that.
  4. Understand search engine optimization. It’s ever-changing so it’s hard to stay on top of SEO, but if you write for the web, you have to understand it. No more ignoring it or thinking someone else will do it for you. You have to do it. I love Yoast because it gives you red, yellow, and green buttons based on how well you’ve optimized and it gives you tips on increasing your efforts. SEOMoz is probably the best place to not only learn, but to get tips and ideas.
  5. Edit yourself. For heaven’s sakes, please do this! I don’t know why this is so hard for people. Edit, read your post out loud, and edit one more time. I prefer to write, publish, and then read what’s actually on the page. I make edits and changes and then update the post. It’s rare someone sees the post before it’s been edited because I can do it inside of 10 minutes.
  6. Choose an image worth sharing. Particularly with people sharing content on Pinterest now, you want to choose an image that motivates users to click on it to come to your site. Also be sure to include the headline or what you want the Pinterest caption to read in the alt text of your image (can be found when you edit the image).
  7. Word count. This one is important because the search engines need a minimum of 300 words to scan the page and human beings won’t read much more then 1,000 words. I always aim for no more than 750 words (though sometimes I’m a little more verbose than that).
  8. Internal and external links. I always include a link to a Spin Sucks post in every blog post I write. What this does is alert me if someone swipes our content, but it also gives us search engine juice from sites that are aggregating it (PR Daily, Social Media Today, Ragan). Then I include one external link for every 100 words. If this post ends up being 800 words, I’ll have eight links to other sites in it.
  9. Ask questions. You’ll see I do that in nearly every blog post with, “Now it’s your turn.” Marcus Sheridan does this really well. He has a subhead called “Your Turn,” and then he says, “As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.” If you genuinely care about what others think, this approach invites people to comment and share. But – and this is important – if you invite people to share their thoughts, join the conversation! I respond to every comment. I do this not because I think I have to, but because I encourage debate, alternative thinking, and professional discourse.

And now it is your turn. What other tips make for a great blog post?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

187 comments
WriterDude
WriterDude

You definitely share some tips worth taking into consideration here. On the web there is a great demand these days for real, quality, unique and compelling content. Too many people are simply publishing poor content to try and catch the attention of search engines but now the search engines are catching on and it is more important than every to write "great" content.


Thank you for the valuable tips you shared!


- Jonathan Moore (Writer Dude) http://www.writerdude.com

godsonechezona
godsonechezona

This is really great! 

It just so happens that one of my new months resolutions is to be a more active part of the http://clockchat.com blogging world. I did read a lot of blogs but never had the time to add comments. This year I hope to be better about participating. 


Thanks for this very helpful post!


Godson

Amadou M Sall
Amadou M Sall

Excellent post as usual, Gini. I've shared it on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, and even Pinterest :-)

kmkeidan
kmkeidan

With respect to point two, you have posts coming out five times a week. As an almost college graduate blogging about the media/pr industry and professional development, how many posts might you recommend I publish weekly? I like the idea of an editorial calendar but five times every week seems like a lot to me. 

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

Finding a topic and an angle is always the hardest part for me! But once you have it, everything else seems to flow much better! I also find writing the gyst of the post and then taking a break and coming back with fresh eyes is very helpful!

pmccorkl
pmccorkl

All nine tips are great! As a Kent State University PR grad student, we are required to create and maintain a blog for a class. We've spent the semester discussing tips and tricks for driving traffic to our blogs.  I now really know the importance of SEO. There was one word I continued to use as a tag but I realized it's important to use tools such as Google Adwords to know what keywords people are searching. This greatly increased blog traffic because people use various terms to describe the same topic. My blog has been the best way to understand SEO and creating valuable, interesting content that people will want to read again and again. 

Karen_C_Wilson
Karen_C_Wilson

I'm so, so glad you included the one about search crawlers needing at least 300 words. I feel validated in my verbosity. I try really, really hard to keep my posts to 500 words, but 7-800 is usually where they fall. 

SusanNeal
SusanNeal

Great tips - no time to read 158 comments so someone might already have mentioned this, but I'd add that you need a killer headline.

SpinSucks
SpinSucks

@susebb Great post with great tips. Thanks for sharing Susan :)

tnfletch
tnfletch

Thank you for this post. I just started my personal blog about a month ago. This is probably my third (or fourth) attempt over the past few years. I think what gets me stuck is the lack of good info out there on how to get started. Thanks for the tips, this very helpful.

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

All good advices. Everyone talks about writing long posts, Big G loves 2000 words and more posts, etc. I usually find them at minimum hard to finish and I wonder how can anyone write one of them more then once a week, not usin ghostwriters I mean.


Maybe I'd add infographics, just to split hairs. :)


Happy weekend!

ezilon
ezilon

@stevensuchar I love the part about asking questions. It gives them a more personal feel and allows others to join in the conversation

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

Fab tips @ginidietrich and in the hallmark of what I consider a killer blog, even better discussion with the likes of @belllindsay @danperezfilms and many, many more. (And h/t to not thinking value has to be 'perfect' or 'awesome' all the time.) This post is great on the mechanics of blogging greatly.. writing greatly is a whole other story. I type that thinking I write pretty well, but blog.. not so much and it's something I need to improve (like my use of Yoast, etc.). 

THAT typed, I think my tips are: 1) get out of your own blog. I too am big on linking elsewhere, so that means trying to mix up what I read, comment, share. And 2) have a point. Many things I read that I don't like have no point - other than clicks and links, shares and 'subscribe now!' - there's no narrative, no beginning, middle, end. I know I ramble sometimes, know I'm not always 'on message' but I do try to have a point, and more than hope, a plan for writing something that gets readers thinking.  FWIW.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

You left out:


Be interesting. Have great content. Always include a like to Howie's blog. 


But besides that you did good Ma'am.

Kato42
Kato42

@ginidietrich You guys have great content. Consistently among the favourite in my RSS feed :)

jacque_PR
jacque_PR

@SpinSucks np, thx for putting together such a great list...and for the tip about using Talkwalker when Google Alerts ceases to exist

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

@rdopping Serious-amundo. There is no quicker turnoff (except for arrogance) than reading a bunch of filler language when someone could have just said something directly. Except for nuclear fission. That, I don't want dumbed down.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post  over at Spin Sucks. [...]

  2. [...] Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post, Spin Sucks [...]

  3. [...] Gini Dietrich shares “Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post” at Spin Sucks. [...]

  4. [...] Gini Dietrich shares “Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post” at Spin Sucks. [...]

  5. [...] You know that content is key and your editorial calendar will help you develop relevant and valuable content.  At the cafe, our blog strategy calls for us to include links, photos, videos, slideshows, and templates whenever possible. Rich and robust content is more shareable and more valuable to your followers.  (For help, read Gini Dietrich’s recent post on Spin Sucks, featuring 9 tips to write a great blog post.) [...]

  6. [...] I hope will be a professional writer page/blog and the basis of my social media platform. I found this article very helpful in organizing my [...]

  7. [...] are around 560 million articles out there about how to write a good blog post (seriously, according to Google) so I won’t belabor those points here. Just be sure to keep [...]

  8. […] Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post, Spin Sucks […]