Where Do You Start with Blogging, Anyway?
If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably been staring at a blank screen for 30 minutes already, thinking:
- “Is blogging even worth my time?”
- “How do I start a blog that my customers want to read?”
- “How long should it be?”
- “How often do I need to sit down and write?”
- “How does it work?”
Blogging will definitely help your business if you commit—it’s a part of every leading company’s long-term customer acquisition strategy. But you should also know what constitutes a reasonable investment of your time and energy.
With that in mind…where do you start?
Blogs Begin with Keyword Research
Every blog should focus on one keyword, also known as a “long tail phrase.” Keywords let search engines know what your blog is about, in turn including it on search result pages when people type that phrase into Google. It connects people to your website, which is why marketing agencies create blogs according to popular key words—they want to capitalize on that search volume.
How do you come up with keywords? Small businesses can usually get by with common phrases paired with locations, such as “home electrician in Kitchener,” but medium and large businesses should try to find keywords with low competition levels.
Start With These Keyword Research Resources:
I would also suggest looking at Backlinko’s guide on keyword research if you’re set on learning all about blogging. It’s not so much about which software is the “best,” but rather which one suits your comfort level with online marketing and SEO. Some are for industry veterans who want deeper strategies while others help you get started with the basics.
Above all, keep in mind that you need to favour an organic written style over “keyword density” every time. Sophisticated search engines have long since penalized web pages for spamming key words as often as possible—that comes straight from Google employees.
How Often Should I Blog?
Don’t take on too much at once, especially if you aren’t yet comfortable with writing blogs. Use this for a general guideline:
- Once per week is ideal for businesses comfortable with online marketing
- Bi-weekly posting is the ideal tempo for businesses on a limited budget
- Monthly posting is a good starting pace for those new to blogging
The trick is to commit to the pace that works for you. Don’t start with four blogs per month if you don’t have the time or creative juices to write them all. Instead, start with one per month until you make it a part of your regular routine. That’s when you can graduate to bi-weekly blogs.
But what is the “best” pace for blogging? HubSpot’s (anonymous) customer data shows that companies posting 11+ blogs per month gain 4.5 times the amount of leads.
There’s a caveat here, which we’ll explore in a moment—but think about that: 4.5 times the leads! If you can produce blogs economically, then the rewards are clearly worth your time.
How Long Should My Blogs Be?
There is no absolute answer here. But there is a relative answer, and that is: “it depends how frequently you post.”
HubSpot says you should blog 11-16 times per month—and it substantiates claims with sophisticated analytics, so we should all heed that wisdom.
But is writing 11-16 blog posts per month realistic for everyone? Probably not.
On the other hand, Brian Dean (founder of Backlinko, mentioned above) has garnered 1,000,000 unique readers with just 32 posts. He writes quality content that goes deeper than your average 300-word blog. He explores the depths of major trends in the industry by acknowledging the various schools of thought, relevant tools, and how to take next steps.
The key to successful blogging is to make each post work for you in the background after you publish them. Companies who post 16 blogs per month tend to produce shorter pieces around 300 words, but they run the risk of becoming dated news pieces instead of brand-defining evergreen content.
In contrast, those who post once per month will find success in creating longer pieces, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 words. That’s because longer (read: useful and thorough) content remains relevant for longer periods of time.
Publish a blog every week if you want to stay in your prospects’ orbit constantly. If you want to become known as a trusted industry veteran (or disruptor!) on a limited budget, then create more thoughtful pieces once per month. Consistency is still key—just adjust the dial to fit your existing schedule.
How Do I Actually Write a Blog?
Figure out what you want to say before starting anything—write down at least three topics to get the juices flowing. Empathizing with your clientele is the best approach here: what do they want to know, or what should they know? Don’t be afraid to answer questions your customers don’t even think to ask.
Make each blog scannable. Notice how this blog uses subtitles that ask key questions? Those are called headers, and they structure your blog post for search engines and humans alike. You want to divide up each post according to key subtopics so that your prospects can find what they need quickly—and if they don’t find it quickly, they’ll just start scanning somewhere else.
Consider These Technical Aspects of Every Blog:
- Title Tag – this tells search engines and people what your post is about.
- Meta Description – a blurb for people to really understand what you’re offering.
- Subheadings – these make your blog more accessible (people can scan it).
- Keywords – these let people discover your blog through search engines.
- Alt Text – this contains keywords for images in your post.
- Outbound Links – they build credibility by affiliating you with other websites.
- Call-to-Action – this guides your reader toward the next step, possible the sale!
These are the technical elements that should exist in every blog, and they don’t include the crucial “soft” elements such as research, hooks, structure, flow, or narrative arc (yes, even blogs contain compelling stories).
Putting it All Together
Blogs are a lot more complicated than they used to be, but that shouldn’t stop you from producing them for your business. Start with genuinely valuable ideas and conduct keyword research to connect the dots between your message and your customers’ interests.
Commit to a schedule that works for you, then—and only then—increase your posting frequency incrementally.
Once it’s drafted, make sure it checks off all of the technical boxes. You don’t want to miss out on long-term gains just because you forgot a call-to-action!
SEO and Content Marketing Consultant
Andrew is the digital marketing consultant at Webb Content. He's worked in a few different agencies full-time and with another seven or eight as a consultant.
He's usually writing new content, creating the occasional website, and constantly finding new ways to optimize those sites. It's kind of an addiction.
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