Quality blog content is a great way to grow your business. A strong blog can expand your audience, get industry attention, and help you sell products. However, writing a blog is very different from writing ad material – and creating a series of advertorials won’t have the same effect as a quality blog.
So how can you ensure that you’re creating high-quality content that your audience will go crazy for? Here are five key writing tips to keep in mind the next time you start planning out your blog content.
Write For Humans First, Machines Second
One place where businesses go embarrassingly wrong when crafting quality blog content is their SEO strategy. Smart business owners will write content that is carefully crafted to tug at heartstrings, give useful information, and genuinely make people’s lives better. Only after developing something that humans will love should you consider how the search engines will rank you.
In contrast, online advertorials often include SEO tactics (like copious inline keywords) in order to try to boost their page rank. UK flower site Interflora released a large-scale Valentines Day advertorial campaign in February 2013 that used keyword rich links to boost their SEO score. The following month, Interflora was banned from Google UK searches for link selling.
The moral of the story? Forget about a link scheme and focus on building real value for your audience.
Look At Magazine Articles For Inspiration
Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out what constitutes a quality blog article. What kind of a length should you write for? Do you need to include references to research?
If you’re having problems with your blog writing plan or you can’t figure out how to write a quality blog article, you’d do well to read a magazine – preferably one in your industry. For the past several years, reputable blogs have been moving to a more magazine-like format for their content in response to consumer demand for high-quality articles. So before you start writing your blog content, check out industry publications to see what their writing looks like. Or better yet, hire an experienced content marketing firm to write your blog articles for you.
What’s Your Purpose? Make Sure You Have One!
Quality articles and advertorials may have a similar shape and structure, but they serve two different purposes. Advertorials exist only to sell a product or service. Great blog articles exist to educate, entertain, or solve a problem for your audience.
An educational blog article would be chock full of verifiable facts and data – and possibly links to some studies – or give your readers some interesting new perspective on what they already know.
Looking to entertain your readers? Tell them a fun story that relates to what your business does. If possible, tie it into their worldview so they see it as relevant to them.
And of course, high-quality how-to or strategy content can help your readers to solve their problems. At the end of your blog article, readers should have gained some kind of real and immediate benefit.
Count The Number Of Times You Say ‘We’
One easy trick to figure out whether you’ve written a blog article or an advertorial is to count the number of times you refer to yourself or your business in the blog content – and compare that to the number of times you refer to the reader. If every paragraph includes the words “we”, “us”, “I”, or “ourselves”, (or if these words occur more often than the word “you”,) then you haven’t written a blog article – you’ve written an advertorial. If you want to create a quality article that people will love, comb back through the content and try to turn “we” statements into “you” statements.
Put Limits On Your Calls To Action
An advertorial is designed to sell, which means any good advertorial will feature one or more strong calls to action – usually encouraging people to buy something. If you want to make sure your blog article is really a blog article and not an advertorial, you’ll want to keep your calls to action to a minimum. You should have just one call to action in the whole article, and it should be a soft sell (like “contact us today for your free consultation/join the newsletter to learn more”) instead of a hard sell. (“Buy now and don’t pay for two years! Only 3 widgets remaining! Look at all these features!”).
Blog article writing and advertorial writing are very different beasts, and writing one when you should be writing the other could kill your authority and turn off your most dedicated audience. But with a clear understanding of what a blog article should look like, you’ll have no trouble delighting your readers and winning their loyalty for the long haul. The next time you sit down to write a blog article, keep these tips handy – it’ll help you give your blog that wow factor that people love.