legal blog writers

10 Smart, Easy Tips for Starting Your Law Blog and Working with Legal Blog Writers

The benefits of starting a blog for a law firm or legal business bear repeating, even if you’ve heard them before (and you probably have).

By now, you understand how blogging helps grow the chances of getting discovered through online search for any business.

You’re well aware of how it builds trust with readers.

You know how a blog helps position you (or, if you’re a marketer, your client) as an authority in any industry.

A blog can play a hugely instrumental role in the first part of the sales journey:

(Via Hubspot)

As a result of its ability to attract prospects, it can help grow your business, too.

Just look at this case study from Jeff Bullas to see five great examples of blogging success, including companies like Etsy and OptinMonster.

The benefits of blogging can’t be disputed. In fact, you’re probably ready to get going with a law blog right this second. After all, the sooner you begin, the sooner you can reap the rewards.

But where to begin?

If you need a little push making the first move toward content marketing success with a law blog, you’re in the right place. These tips for starting a blog with legal blog writers will show you how it’s done.

working with legal blog writers

How to Position a Law Business for Success with a Blog + Legal Blog Writers

The first must for starting a law blog? Hire the right writing talent!

1. Hire Legal Blog Writers!

A blog can’t be successful without good writing talent behind it.

You can’t just hire any writer, either. You’re working within a niche industry. Useful, thorough, factually accurate blogs about legal topics require expert knowledge. You need writers who are up to the task.

Generally, you won’t find these types of writers at a content mill. If you do end up hiring cheap services, it’ll leave you with cheap, inaccurate filler blogs that provide no value for your audience.

Bottom line: If you want a good legal blog, one that does everything you need it to do for successful content marketing and SEO, you need higher-level writers who know their way around legal topics.

You gotta hire and invest in expert legal blog writers.

For inspiration, here’s what a great law blog looks like:

The Startup Law Blog is a perfect example of a blog with solid writing and expert knowledge behind it.

It also gets tons of engagement!

For proof, look at how many comments a recent post got:

2. Don’t Give Legal Advice

Lawyers and law firms need to tread carefully when posting online and blogging. There are ethical lines you should not cross to avoid misleading readers.

The American Bar Association has outlined general guidelines to follow when posting online. One biggie is to know the distinction between offering legal information and giving legal advice.

Legal advice is specific and relates to the information and circumstances of an individual case. Legal information, on the other hand, is general, hypothetical, and can be applied to lots of different cases. To avoid ethical tangles, you should stick to the latter in your blog posts.

Here’s where hiring an expert legal blog writer can save you – they’ll know this distinction inside-out and can make clear statements in posts about it. They’ll let the reader know the information is general and not intended as legal advice.

3. Keep the Language General and the Tone Approachable

It could be easy to forget who you’re writing for and include legal-speak in your blog posts.

This is a big no-no. For one, your audience is probably much more general than you think. You’ll mainly be talking to people who have been searching the web for basic information and explanations about legal topics. These people won’t have any legal training.

This means you need to keep your language general. Don’t include legal jargon (unless you’re willing to define it in plain terms), and explain basic concepts in a down-to-earth way. Otherwise, you may turn visitors away.

4. Focus on Quality and Usefulness

It can be hard to come up with a steady stream of blog topics, but there are always two keys to keep in mind for subject matter. Focus on providing quality and usefulness to your readers.

What does quality look like?

  • Clear, easy-to-read text with good grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Ideas are broken up into short paragraphs for maximum readability.
  • The blog is organized with headers and subheaders.
  • One idea flows logically into the next, and the next, and so on.

What does usefulness look like?

  • The topic is one that would interest your target audience.
  • The blog features enlightening or practical information – it speaks to your readers’ lives, concerns, or pain points.
  • The blog is written in a relatable, understandable, clear tone.
  • It’s factually accurate.
  • The blog is timely, or better yet, timeless (it will still be good information a week from now, a month from now, or six months to a year from now).

Quality and usefulness are two universal aspects that should apply to every single blog you write, no matter the topic.

If you phone it in, your readers will know, and they’ll stop caring.

5. Write to Your Target Audience

With a blog, you can’t write to the entire world at large.

First of all, that’s impossible. Second of all, if you tried to do that, you would end up with something way, way too general to be useful.

You need to have an audience in mind when you write in order for your content to be effective and serve its purpose.

What’s that purpose? Helping people find answers you can provide.

You can’t help everyone, though. You can, however, help the people your professional law services target. Plus, this kind of targeting helps your business and your blog tie together seamlessly.

If you haven’t found your target audience yet, you need to get going on market research. Only then will you understand who to address in your blog posts.

Need training to become a more proficient writer? The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course is an in-depth training from Julia McCoy featuring A-Z teaching for online content creators, including legal ghostwriters. Get in today and save up to $130 on all-access enrollment with coupon BLOG10. 

6. Stay in Your Lane

You may be tempted to write about any law topic under the sun for your blog, but you really shouldn’t. Instead, focus on your expertise.

In other words, stay in your lane. This will help you build a unique blog that is incredibly useful.

Go too general, and you might not bring in the audience you’re looking for. Stick to that sweet spot where you can write about useful topics and employ your personal expertise and practice area. This combination will help you hit each blog out of the park.

For example, this blog successfully focuses on a niche legal topic/practice area – contract drafting:

Staying in your lane also includes writing about your specific geographic region. Focusing on law topics for your state or city will help you attract local readers who could become clients.

Take a look at this blog from a Nebraska law firm. They have targeted a specific county in this post to draw in readers from that region:

7. Use Your Voice

Over 2 million blogs get published on a daily basis. There are hordes upon hordes of voices clamoring for attention online.

To stand out, you have to use your voice. You have to position yourself as an individual. After all, there’s only one of you. Use that to your advantage!

General tips for finding and using your voice:

  • No matter what you’re writing about, pretend you’re talking to one person.
  • Imagine this person as an individual from your target audience (look at your brand personas and choose one to write for).
  • Write to them on a one-to-one level, like you would if you were addressing them face-to-face.
  • Really think about how that conversation might go. It would be professional, of course, but you might throw in a joke or two to lighten the mood. You might have a warmth and sincerity that comes out naturally. Or, you may prefer to get down to business and waste zero time.

Whatever your personality and conversational style, let it leak into your writing. Use your voice and stand out from the masses of other law blogs out there.

8. Avoid Sounding Salesy

If your blogs sound like you’re selling your legal services, you’re doing it wrong. To put it bluntly, you’re making yourself look like an ambulance-chaser.

Selling should be the very last thing you think about when you’re blogging (the call-to-action at the end of a blog post is the only exception).

9. Don’t Rehash Easy-to-Find News or Information

Planning to write a blog about a big law that just passed, or a high-profile case that’s in the news? Just say no to rehashing information that’s already out there and nothing more.

If your readers can easily google the topic and find a better-written news story about it, there’s no reason for you to rehash it. Instead, summarize the details briefly, then provide your take on the issue at hand.

For instance, approach it from your perspective as an expert in a specific type of law. Give your readers a professional’s opinion on the matter.

This tip goes along with #7, above. Don’t contribute to the wasteland of duplicate, useless content that’s already out there. Be unique, have an opinion, and avoid rehashing.

10. Change Up Your Posts

To help your blog stay fresh, change up the type of stuff you post. Don’t feel nailed to one style or format – think outside the box.

Here are some quick ideas:

  • Go slightly off-topic. As long as your blog has a general focus that you stick to regularly, you can feel free to go slightly off-topic every once in a while. This can shake things up and even draw in new readers.
  • Share a personal story. A personal story can help your blog and your brand seem relatable, friendly, and approachable – all great for business. The story can relate to your profession or not. If it’s entirely personal, this helps reinforce the idea that a human is behind the screen.
  • Invite discussion. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and let your audience take the reins. Introduce a hot-button issue or topic that’s deeply relevant to your readers, then hand it over to them in the comments and see what happens. Make sure you participate and add your two cents!
  • Do an interview. Do you have a wise mentor who guided you to where you are today? Have them drop some of this wisdom on your blog. Can a colleague provide some timely information? Or maybe there’s a law blogger you respect who you’d love to feature. Present any of these people in an interview format to shake things up.

A Law Blog + Legal Blog Writers = A Smart Business Move

Content marketing is proven. Blogging is proven. These facts are undisputed.

If you haven’t started blogging yet for your law business, what are you waiting for? People are out there on the internet, looking for expertise on legal topics that’s both solid and trustworthy. They have questions that need answering.

You are uniquely positioned to provide those answers. It’s a golden opportunity to build your reputation in your field and draw in new clients. All you need is a blog and legal blog writers to make it happen.

Ready to begin, but lack the time or expertise to start writing?

Express Writers has a team of general, expert, and authority writers who can do it for you. Try a blogging package today and start taking advantage of the power of blogging.

express writers cta 2017

professional blog writers

6 Reasons Professional Blog Writers Are Worth Every Last Cent of Your Investment

There are writers, and then there are writers.

Or, let’s put the distinction this way: There are cheap writers, and there are pro writers.

What’s the difference?

Cheap writers are cheap. That’s all they bring to the table.

Professional blog writers have experience, talent, skill, and style. There’s more, though.

Writing is a field of expertise, just like any other industry, and these people know it inside-out. They read widely and absorb different writing techniques. They know how to conduct thorough research. They understand the basics of constructing a solid article, whether short or long. They’re creative and dedicated to their craft.

Should I keep going?

writing skills

Proficient pro writers need to have all of these skills, plus more. (Via Learn How to Become)

And yet, despite the obvious benefits of hiring a professional writer for their content marketing, lots of brands and businesses still aren’t doing it. Instead, they think they can cut corners. Something’s gotta give somewhere, and, a lot of the time, that something is the writing.

You may be guilty of this, too.

If you are, I’m here to set you straight.

You have to understand exactly why professional writers are worth it. You need to know what cheap content mills are doing to your content marketing. You need to understand the value of good, professional writing.

why invest in professional blog writers

Why Professional Blog Writers Are Worth Every Last Cent of Investment

There are reams of blogs out there that try to tell you the secrets of professional writers.

Even more explain the basic elements that make up good content. You’re supposed to learn these and then apply them to your content marketing and copywriting.

Articles like these are all over the ‘net. They try to give you a lesson in skills which pro writers already have. (Via Quick Sprout)

Guess what? Professional writers have an entire arsenal of writing “secrets.” You’ll never learn them all, or understand them in the same way, because writing isn’t your bread-and-butter.

You haven’t been reading and writing for years upon years – for fun. You probably didn’t major in English, journalism, or communications in college. You most likely never attempted to write a hefty fantasy or detective novel when you were 12. (Seriously, ask any pro writer – they’ll tell you all about their ridiculous first novel, short story collection, etc., that they wrote when they were young and foolish.)

Of course, not every writer has professional training or education. However, every single pro writer has passion and experience.

Let’s get more basic. If you’re a marketer, marketing is what you do. If you’re a business owner, running your company is what you do, and all that it entails. If you’re a pro writer, writing is what you do.

If these still aren’t good enough arguments for you, here’s more about what good writers can do for your content marketing. These key factors set them apart.

1. Professional Blog Writers Treat Your Content with Care

Cheap writers are not concerned about quality – they only care about quantity. That’s because they sell their services for the cheapest price possible, then get as much volume as they can to make up the difference.

As such, the work they do has no craft behind it. They are focused on getting the words out as fast as possible to make a dime.

Pro writers, on the other hand, are concerned with quality and quantity in balance. They’re trying to make money, too, but they’re also worried about producing good work.

Because this balance is number one, that means…

2. They Spend the Necessary Time Getting the Writing Right

Any pro writer will tell you straight out: Good writing takes time.

You cannot dash out a page of text in 10 minutes and expect it to be worth anything, let alone readable.

Writing for content marketing requires even more diligence. It needs to mirror the brand’s voice, use the right keywords in the right places, address the target audience effectively, and be readable and useful.

If it’s really good, the content will also pull the reader into the text. It will encourage them to keep reading aaaaall the way down to the end of the page.

Interlude: Case Study Time

You want a good idea of what focusing on quantity over quality looks like (versus a focus on balancing quantity + quality)?

Let’s take a gander at the difference using a fantastic example from this real-life case study by Startup Grind.

They readily admit that they fell for the lure of cheap content. As such, they hired five writers offering ridiculously inexpensive rates to do a paid test assignment. What they got back made them balk, to say the least.

Here’s one example from the test. This piece was titled “Quantity Is the King in B2B Lead Generation”. (The phrasing of this headline alone is worth a long pause of concern. What follows is not all that surprising.)

If you can read this without wanting to bash your head against a wall, I sincerely applaud your effort.

What’s wrong with it? Everything, for starters.

It’s not engaging – it’s repetitive and wordy. The overuse of determiners also makes me suspect the writer’s first language isn’t English.

This is supposed to draw in leads? I don’t think so.

Naturally, Startup Grind abandoned this approach and tried a different tack. They did the research, came up with the blog title, and provided points to cover. They hired two test writers from cheap agencies who could fill in the blanks. Easy-peasy.

Well, actually…

Neither writer could deliver. One handed in an article that had nothing to do with the outline. (After two more revisions, the resulting article was still incoherent and messy.) The other writer included points from the outline but loaded it with filler and meaningless sentences in the gaps.

Yep, it turns out the old saying is true. You get what you pay for.

To drive this point home, let’s compare the example of cheap writing, above, to this introduction from a pro-written blog:

(Via Hubspot)

Can you compare them? They’re not just in different leagues… they’re in different universes.

Part of the reason they’re so different is not just about the overall quality, it’s also about the attention to detail.

This leads us to the next differentiator for pro writers…

3. Pros Love Good Grammar and Are Shameless Punctuation Nerds

Details. Good writers delight in details.

In fact, though it may be counterproductive, a writer can spend quite a bit of time perfecting even one sentence. They may agonize over the placement of a comma or whether an em-dash is necessary.

This is because they know the details are everything. Paying attention to them is how the writing reaches its height.

The details include grammar, spelling, word usage, and punctuation.

If you want to know the truth, writers are punctuation nerds at heart. A well-constructed sentence sets our hearts aflutter (go ahead, judge us all you want).

(Via Bored Panda)

4. Professional Blog Writers Are Often Subject Specialists

Good, thorough research must be an essential part of content creation for lots of niche industries.

Your content needs facts and stats to back up claims. The writer also needs underlying basic knowledge about key concepts within that industry.

Will a cheap writer from a content mill have that expertise? Will they be able to write about your specialization or niche industry with authority and confidence? Can they teach your readers and provide value?

No, no, and no.

In fact, if you go with a cheap writer for your specialized blog topics, you’re playing with fire.

Why?

Because you risk confusing, misleading, or turning off your readers altogether. Goodbye, leads.

This is the precise reason why so many professional writers are subject specialists in multiple areas. It lets them swoop in and write with clout, gravitas, and confidence for lots of different industries.

If you’re in an industry that requires specialized knowledge, like SaaS, stocks and trading, contract law, or advanced B2B marketing, you need a writer with a corresponding specialization. Neil Patel even lists specialization as one of the key essential skills for content marketing copywriters.

Need training if you’re a professional writer seeking to upgrade your skills? The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course is an in-depth training from Julia McCoy, with A-Z teaching for online content creators. Take your skills to the next level. Get in today and save up to $130 on the all-access pass with coupon BLOG10. 

Pro writers will have it. Cheap writers will not.

5. They Can Switch Between Tones and Styles

Another key factor that sets professional blog writers apart is they’re adaptable. Their writing skills can morph to fit the content need.

Part of the reason they can do this is they have immersed themselves in different styles of writing. This means they read. A lot. And, as any writer knows, reading is one of the best forms of training.

They are constantly reading, constantly writing, and continually work toward improving their game.

They can write in third-person, with an objective tone, for a blog in the medical industry. The next day, they can easily switch to writing in first-person for a beauty brand that requires a lighthearted, fun approach.

Pro writers are masters of flexibility. Can a cheap writer do that?

6. They’re Passionate about Writing

Here’s the main distinction between pro blog writers and content factory grunt writers: passion.

Professional writers become professionals because of their dedication to their craft. They have a passion to produce great work, get results for clients, and keep getting better.

After all, the writing profession is no joke. Like most creative career paths, it’s hard out there. Only the most dedicated scribes become true pros and make their living this way.

For writers offering cut-throat rates, the clients they take are no more than dollars and cents. They want to get hired, crank out some mediocre words, get paid, and move on to the next. There is no passion or craft involved here.

These people probably won’t be working as writers-for-hire for very long. They’re just trying to make a quick buck.

If You Need High-Quality Content, You Need High-Quality Professional Blog Writers

Good writing is essential for successful content marketing.

If you want content that’s engaging and grows your readership, you need a pro writer.

If your content needs to address specialized topics in your niche industry, you need a pro writer.

If you want your content marketing to succeed beyond your expectations, you need a pro writer.

If you want to grow your authority and your brand voice, you need a pro writer.

Still don’t think you need a professional writer? Consider this: Lots of marketers have expressed concern that we’re well on our way to reaching what they call “content shock.” It means that we will eventually produce so much mediocre, half-a** content, audiences won’t be able to keep up.

Not that they won’t want to – they just won’t be able to. There simply won’t be enough hours in the day. This means brands will be fighting over readership and paying people to look at their content. At least, this is the bleak future according to Mark Schaefer.

Here’s the thing. This is the future of crappy content. And who writes crappy content? Cheap, crappy writers!

Copyblogger sums this up nicely: “There is no glut of quality content.

“…there is not a glut of content that is useful, passionate, individual, and interesting.”

Useful, passionate, individual, and interesting.

This is exactly what professional blog writers bring to the table. If you want to set yourself apart, if you want to improve your content marketing, if you want to differentiate yourself – you have to have the right talent backing you up.

You’re not a writer. You can’t do it alone. And that’s okay.

If you’re ready to hire a pro blog writer, we’re here, ready to step in and level-up your word game.

Check out our awesome blogging packages and expert copy, and let’s get going!engagement cta

1000 blogs express writers

We Hit 1,000 Blogs! What It Looks Like to Blog One Thousand Times = And the Return

On Wednesday, October 4, we hit a major milestone:

We published our 1,000th blog.

write blog 1000 post

How crazy is that?!

Across the last five years, we never stopped blogging, and it has really paid off.

To celebrate, I’ve put together a short, interview Q/A style piece on why and how our blogging has brought us serious return and become a worthwhile investment.

Enjoy!

we hit 1000 blogs

We Hit 1,000 Blogs! What It Looks Like to Blog One Thousand Times = And the Return On Investment

Ready? Let’s jump in!

How Long Has the Write Blog Been Running?

Since September, 2012, we’ve been blogging at www.expresswriters.com/write-blog.

As of today, that makes 5 years and 1 month.

How Consistent Have We Been?

On average, we publish 3-4 blogs every single week, and have kept up this consistency since our first month.

How Much Has This Consistency Paid Off?

HUGE dividends.

1) Rankings: Today, we have over 11,000 keywords ranking organically in Google from the blogs we’ve posted:

express writers 11,000 rankings

Many of the ranking terms are long-tail keywords, and we see our blog posts hitting the top 3, 5, 10 and 15 spots in Google for these keywords. Over 400+ keywords are within the top 5 results of Google.

2) Direct leads and sales: Our talk to sales forms come in primarily when prospects find our content in Google. Here’s an example of one of those forms. Our Sales Manager, Tamila, assisted prospect Jeff with a cart containing the product he needed, and he bought within just a few days.

And…

We’ve had over 500 talk to sales forms filled out since 2012!

over 500 talk to sales

On average, 50-70% of our Talk to Sales close within 1-2 weeks. Our typical minimum investment is anywhere from $60 – $100 or $150, on a new client’s first order. If we were to shoot for the middle, $100, that’s $50,000 minimum right there. But, many of these Talk to Sales have worked out to much more. For instance, one contract was worth $75,000 over the course of 15 months.

Safe to say, these organic leads have brought us a HUGE majority of our income.

How Much Have You Invested Into It?

I write a major part of all the content on the Write Blog, with a lot of assistance. I have three trained expert writers on staff that help me create some of the content, while I research and write about the trends. I write and schedule all email content. We have a designer on staff that creates the content visuals for us.

Rachel, our social media manager, writes weekly recaps for #ContentWritingChat, and sometimes guest blogs as well as schedules shares on all our published content. Hannah, our Content Director, has also guest blogged on the site, along with one of our client social media copywriters, Krystal.

Content types like infographics, for example this one, can cost upwards of $500 to create, plan, and design. We do infographics quarterly.

Besides that, I audit and check our website content, product descriptions, and update as needed, which is usually a bi-weekly job. We have more than 90 site pages, not including product descriptions!

Tools and Costs Involved?

We use ConvertKit, which is $75/month for email marketing: MeetEdgar, $49/month to social share: and on average, I pay out a minimum of $250/weekly in content creation time to my designer, content creators, editors, and our staff social media manager. My hours are at least 5 weekly, sometimes more.

It’s Not Easy, But Done Right The Dividends of Blogging Are Huge

If you’re not regularly blogging, let this be a testament and inspiration to what happens when you do – and roll your sleeves up and get going!

We’re a team that lives what we say – we abide by the products we sell! Seriously, I don’t know of another content agency that lives and eats because of the huge amounts of content they’ve created. We’re able to see leads organically roll in from Google consistently – day in, day out.

And if you need help – because I for one know how tough this is to maintain! – our professionally written and managed blog packages are always here, anytime you need us to help you.

blog ideas for writers

20 Creative Blog Ideas for Writers: Never Run Out of Blog Ideas Again with This List!

Publishing a steady stream of ever-flowing content is important for ranking.

If you’re an online content writer in any capacity…

You need a seemingly endless river of blog ideas for writers, one that never runs dry.

So, what do you do when it does?

What do you do when you need to come up with topics, but you feel like you’re stranded in the middle of a rain-parched, burnt-out desert?

You’d better head toward that oasis shimmering on the horizon, and pray it’s the river.

Lucky for you, in this metaphorical scenario, it usually is.

The way to the river of content is a path full of writing prompts, research, brainstorming, and good old-fashioned hard work.

To make your journey 10 times easier, we’ve compiled our best strategies for getting there. Come back to this list again and again for a quick way to get on track.

Let’s get going with blog ideas for writers!

creative blog ideas for writers

Blog Ideas for Writers: 20 Prompts, Research Tips, Keyword Discovery Strategies & More to Keep You Rolling

Sometimes, all you need is a push in the right direction to get moving. That little nudge is enough to get ideas sprouting in your head, growing quickly, and bearing fruit.

1. Start with a Subject and Create Variations

Chances are, if you’re looking for blog ideas, you probably already have one or two percolating. Take these and create variations to start off with some quick ideas for lots of posts.

For instance, HubSpot recommends creating iterations of one topic by going both broader and narrower with it. If you start with “X Baking Tips and Tricks for Beginners,” you could narrow it down to “X Cookie-Baking Tips and Tricks for Beginners.” Or, go a little broader: “X Everyday Tips and Tricks for Baking and Cooking.”

Keep going up and down the broad/narrow ladder and you could come up with 10, 15, or even 20 ideas quite easily.

2. Use Topic Generators

Another way to find variations of one blog idea is to use topic generators. All you have to do is plug in a keyword, and the generator will spit out different ways to frame the topic.

Sometimes these won’t make grammatical sense, but the point is to get ideas flowing rather than grab ready-made, publishable topics.

One of the most popular topic generators is HubSpot’s. I entered the keywords “baking,” “cakes,” and “beginners” into the generator:

Some don’t make sense, but some are a great starting point for ideas. (I would really want to read “The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Cakes”!)

Another worthy tool is Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Mess around with these and see what comes out of it. You could make some good sparks that light up your idea fire.

3. Ask Basic Questions

If you’re stumped for blog ideas, go back to basics. Write about basic topics, but frame them in terms of your business/industry, your personal brand/growth, or your keys to success. Here are some good questions to ask to get you started:

  • What does your creative process look like?
  • Have you discovered any new tools recently that boosted your workflow?
  • What’s the top question customers ask you?
  • What’s the history of your business?

4. Find Trending Topics with BuzzSumo for Blog Ideas for Writers

BuzzSumo is a fantastic tool to aid you in your quest for blog ideas. There are seemingly hundreds of ways to search various topics and keywords and glean lots of helpful data. Here’s just one way.

Go to the site and head over to “Content Analysis.”

buzzsumo_contentanalysis

Plug your keyword or seed topic into the search box and hit “Search.” From there, scroll down until you get to the section with the heading “Popular Topics for Content Related to…”

Gold!

Here we can see the most popular topics for the keyword, which give us a good idea where we can go with further ideas. For instance, a post about beginner baking tips would probably land really well.

To get different stats, don’t forget to filter by date (scroll back up the top to find that filter).

Plus, for more general ideas on trending topics you can use, head to the “Trending Now” tab and filter the information by your industry. Below, the content is focused on trending stories in “Business” within the last 24 hours.

5. Read Competitor Blogs

Your competitors’ blogs are good benchmarks for success, but you also can get lots of ideas from them and add your personal spin.

Look at these blogs, especially solid ones, and see what they’re up to. What have they been writing about recently? Which posts are getting a ton of engagement?

Grab some good ideas for yourself, but remember: Never copy.

6. Search Quora for Questions

Quora is a great resource for discovering what trends and topics people are interested in right this second.

To find popular questions people are asking about topics in your industry (and whether they’ve been answered!) do a quick search.

First, type in your keyword in the search bar. A list of topics will pop up underneath.

Click on any of these to go to an overview page. You can also click on the bottom text that says “Search: [your topic].”

On this page, you can filter results to see the questions asked and which ones are most popular. You can also see how many people are following questions – this can help you determine which topics might get a better response.

Any of these questions would make great blog topics to address, especially if you have unique answers.

7. Use Keyword Explorer

If you want a quick way to brainstorm blog ideas, head to Moz’s Keyword Explorer and do a search.

An easy way to grab blog ideas is to search for a specific keyword and then check out the “Keyword Suggestions” page.

On that page, go to the first drop-down box and select “are questions” to only display keyword suggestions that are in question form. You’ll end up with a long list of blog ideas to address. You can sort them by relevancy and search volume, too. Score!

8. Crowdsource Blog Ideas

Your audience knows what they want to see from you. Why not ask them directly what that is?

You can do this on social media by posting a poll. Or, it can be as simple as asking your followers what they want to see and inviting them to comment. Most people like this type of transparency, and will be thankful when you dedicate a whole post to their suggested topic. That’s a great trust-builder.

9. Do an Interview

If you’re stumped for blog ideas, tap someone else’s brain and get into their headspace.

Interview somebody knowledgeable from within your industry. Get the lowdown on their secrets for success. Or, quiz them about their favorite creative tools, their process, or the advice they would give their younger selves.

Avoid going the boring route by asking unique questions for fresh insights.

10. Blog for a Niche in Your Target Audience

Here’s another great angle for repurposing or rewriting old posts: try writing them for a different niche audience.

For instance, a post about baking tips for hobby bakers could be morphed into tips for hopeless bakers who want to improve. Similarly, a post about baking for health nuts could go further. It could be repurposed as a post with tips or advice for vegan bakers.

Just make sure the niche you’re writing for isn’t too niche – otherwise, nobody will find the post useful.

11. Approach the Positive/Negative Side

Don’t forget to explore both sides of a story when coming up with blog ideas. This means flipping the coin and looking at a topic from the opposite point of view.

For instance, “X Baking Mistakes You’re Making Right Now” could become “X Baking Techniques You’re Getting Right.” “The Worst Content Marketing Advice We’ve Ever Heard” could become “The Best Content Marketing Advice You Need to Hear.”

12. Write in a Different Format

This one is pretty straightforward: Take a topic you already wrote about. Now, rewrite it for a new format.

For instance, turn an old blog post that performed well into an infographic. Expand on a list-based post and transform it into a long-form guide. Use your imagination and keep things useful for best results.

13. Write a Parody Post

Who doesn’t love a little humor? Spice up your blog roster with a brief break from serious topics. Lighten things up with a parody post based on clichés, jokes, or common mistakes or misconceptions in your industry.

Look at this post from Copyblogger about the anatomy of a web writer for inspiration. It’s mainly a useful guide, but they added some tongue-in-cheek humor that’s a nice change of pace:

14. Make a List of Best Blogs/Articles from Around the Web

You’ve got go-to blogs you rabidly read, plus resources you navigate to over and over when you’re in a pinch. Share these with the world for a top-notch, useful blog post.

You can even create a blog series that splits up your must-visit link list by topic, with one topic covered per blog. I.e., expand your favorite writing links into multiple posts, like “My Top 10 Favorite Writing Tools” followed by “15 of the Best Writing Blogs I Read Daily.”

15. Go Behind-the-Scenes

Getting personal is always a good idea on your blog. It makes you, and your business by extension, seem more real, approachable, and trustworthy.

In this vein, do a “behind-the-scenes” post (or series of posts) that explores the inner-workings of your brand. Do an office tour, write features on your staff members, or even show how you get things done day-to-day.

16. Do “Best-of” Round-Ups with Your Past Posts

Once you start amassing a library of blog posts, you can use these for new post ideas.

Go into your archives and see which topics you’ve given a lot of attention to. If you’ve covered plenty of different angles for a certain topic, do a “round-up” post that puts all the best blogs on that subject together in one handy place.

This is incredibly useful for visitors looking for specific information. They’ll spend a lot of time clicking links to posts in the round-up, browsing information, and getting all your expertise on the subject.

The best part? You can do scores of round-up blogs if you have a trove of quality content about a variety of subjects.

17. Pull from Blog Comments

You probably follow your blog comments closely, but did you know they could be fodder for blog ideas?

Look at the questions visitors are asking, the discussions that may be happening, or the related topics that are raised. Pull ideas from these comments and address them in a fresh blog.

If a reader had a question you answered briefly in the comments, you can also reference this experience. Expand on the answer and the topic further in the post.

You can also head to industry authority blogs and check out their comment sections with the same aim. See what people are talking about, then use that for blog ideas.

18. Search for Topic Variations on Google

On your search for blog ideas for writers, don’t forget to hit up Google. A quick search can help you immensely if you’re totally blank.

Type your keyword into Google, then scroll all the way to the bottom. There you’ll find “Searches related to…” that can give you some quick ideas in a pinch.

Look at these great ideas for “how to bake a cake:”

19. Mine Twitter Chats

If you want the down-low on what people in your immediate network are talking about – stuff you could potentially write about – head to Twitter and find out the scuttlebutt (for non-word nerds, that means “gossip”).

Check popular hashtags, including industry chats and topics. What questions are people asking? What topics are popping up over and over? Keep a notepad and pen handy while you do your research, and jot down your discoveries. These can be turned into great blog ideas that are of-the-moment.

For example, here’s what our own Twitter Chat #ContentWritingChat brings up in Twitter search.

twitter search

20. Have an Opinion!

It’s better to have an opinion than to blindly (and blandly) go along with the status quo. Readers don’t necessarily need your unbiased rehash of hot-button issues in your industry.

What’s more interesting? Your personal take on these matters.

Don’t be afraid to have a point of view and assert it. This could win you more readers and more trust than if you stayed safely in your lane.

So, shake things up a little bit. Try being a contrarian in your industry. Don’t just churn out blog ideas; create blogs that have your personal stamp all over them. Don’t just say something – say something with passion.

Turn to Our Blog Ideas for Writers and Get Creating

Hopefully, these blog ideas for writers have switched on that light bulb in your brain and gotten you excited to create. Maybe you already have 10 or 15 new ideas jotted down, or maybe you have a bunch swimming around in your brain ready to be fleshed-out.

Whatever you do, remember you can’t reinvent the wheel. Nobody is an idea powerhouse 24/7. Consider this your helpful little nudge to get you going. After that, picking up speed is entirely up to you.

At Express Writers, we like to think of ourselves as content creation genies. If you need fresh ideas and a fresh content approach, see how we can help.

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how to create blog images

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Best Blog Images: Sizes, Optimization & More

We’ve all heard the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words.

But how does this impact blogging?

Today, it’s virtually impossible to create a great blog without also creating strong visual content. In other words, your words matter less when they stand on their own. Modern readers want to be engaged on all fronts, and they look to visual materials to facilitate this.

It’s proven: blogs with high-quality, original images rank better, get more attention, and earn more shares than those without. And with 2 million blogs going out daily, you can’t afford not to stand out!

Here’s a crazy eye-tracking statistic by Springer International Publishing about the importance of good visuals in online content: people following a set of directions (which is common to long-form blogs) do 323% better with illustrations included along the way!

This leaves one big question, though…

How, exactly, do you go about creating “high-quality, original images?”

What does that even mean?

Here’s your complete guide.

guide on how to create blog images

The Ultimate Guide on How to Create Your Best Blog Images Ever: First, The Importance of Visuals in Your Blogs

Today, a massive 37% of marketers report that visual marketing is the single most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging.

With this in mind, consider what happens when you combine the two!

While the combination of visuals and blogs has gained steam in recent years, it’s not a new thing. In fact, visuals have always been a critical form of marketing. In addition to the fact that people are more likely to remember what they see than they are what they read or hear, content with images has a long history of performing better in search results, social media platforms, and private channels than its image-less counterparts.

In fact, BuzzSumo once reported that blog posts with images every 75-100 words earned twice as many shares on social media as posts with few or no images!

With all of this in mind, it’s clear that adding images to your blogs is more important today than ever before.

Be aware, though, that it’s not enough to simply slap a stock photo into your WordPress post. Instead, you’ve got to go the extra mile and create high-quality, custom images that provide relevance for your users, and context for your content. That’s what we’re here to talk about.

How to Create Your Best Blog Images (7 Keys)

Like learning to blog or use Twitter effectively, learning how to create blog images that are highly effective is a process. Luckily, these simple tips will help you get off to a great start:

1. Don’t Shy Away From Themed Images

Here at Express Writers, we believe deeply in creating themed images. We create custom themed images in our posts on The Write Blog and have seen great examples of themed images on sites like twelveskip.com.

Check out some of our examples from the blog roll:

blog roll

 

While most people imagine some hokey holiday thing when they think of “themed images,” the reality is much different.

Themed images are actually a series of images that fall into a specific design structure. Of course, this design structure varies from company to company, but it’s always predictable, reliable, and recognizable.

This serves a critical purpose. By making your blog content more recognizable to your consumers, themed images help promote brand recognition and develop a consistent branding presence.

If you’re going to create themed images, keep things like your company’s color scheme, typeface, and voice in mind as you work through the process.

2. Hire a Designer

While platforms like Canva have made it easy to create your own graphic content, it remains a difficult and time-consuming task for people who don’t do it frequently. If you, like so many marketers, have your hands full with other responsibilities, consider hiring a professional designer to create your images for you.

Not only will you get a large batch of high-quality images all at once, but you’ll save the time you would have otherwise spent struggling to create them. This time can then be applied to more productive business pursuits that help grow your company and your social presence.

Not sure where to find a designer? You can go through a content agency (Express Writers offers custom image design for social media and blogs!) or work on finding a freelancer on your own.

3. Develop a Format

Regardless of whether you choose to design the images on your own or hire a professional to do it for you, one big time-saving tip is to create a standard image format that you can work off of and customize down the road. Our agency calls this an “image set.” Put simply, it’s your best featured image size with minimal text, then a formula for an inset image that can be shared on Instagram or other social platforms like Pinterest.

While each of the images you create should be unique, saving these presets in your system will streamline the creation process and ensure you wind up with high-quality images every time. To give you a head start, here’s the best image sizes for all major social platforms, according to Louisem.com:

  • Instagram: Instagram posts look best when they’re 1080PX x 1080PX.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn images should be 1200 x 628PX.
  • Facebook: The ideal image size for Facebook is 170PX x 170PX, although experts recommend uploading images of at least twice that size to ensure quality.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest Pins should be about 736PX x 1104PX, while board covers are 736PX x 736PX.
Want to create blog images that stand out? @ExpWriters is sharing how to size and optimize every online image!Click To Tweet

4. Pay Attention to Alt Text

While frequently overlooked, alt text on featured images matters hugely to SEO. Alt text is the string of text input “behind” an image, which makes it readable for search engines and people with visual disabilities.

According to Yoast, they look like this:

< img src=“image.jpg” alt=“image description” title=“image tooltip”>

But, you probably won’t have to deal with the “code” if you’re in WordPress.

Here’s what alt text looks like on the featured image upload section in your WordPress (arrow on the right):

featured image alt text in wordpress

If you have a target keyword for the blog post you’re writing, it should always be in your alt text.

This helps search engines make sense of your image and rank your content accordingly.

Unlike meta descriptions or tags, alt text doesn’t have a hard-and-fast maximum length. The better rule to consider is to always include your focus keyword here. It is important, however, that you add alt text to every image in your blog (especially the featured image) and that you’re including relevant information, like full product names and product IDs, as well as head or long-tail keywords.

So…

To end tip #4:

  • ALWAYS include your keyword in your ALT text on images uploaded to your blog.
  • This is extremely important to focus on in the Featured Image section, where Google usually indexes key images from to show with your blog in knowledge graph search results.

5. Upload the Right File Format

While most people don’t realize it, the type of files you upload for your images has an impact on their quality! While many people upload JPEGs to the web, there may be another option. First, here’s a quick breakdown of the three main file types for visual content, and their strong suits:

  • JPEG. JPEG files are common in photographs and images where places, things, and people are featured.
  • PNG. PNG files are the best for logos, text-heavy designs, and graphics. They’re also ideal for screenshots and images that have a transparent background, such as a logo designed for website use.
  • GIFs. GIFs are animated files and typically feature in memes.

When it comes to creating visuals for your blogs, you basically have to remember two rules: JPEGs for standard photos, and PNGs for any custom graphics you create.

In addition to the file format you choose, you’ll want to pay attention to your image dimensions, as well. Huge files take forever to download, and can affect the final quality of your image.

While many web publishing platforms (like WordPress) have functionalities built-in that automatically re-size images, it’s still wise to use an editor like Lightroom or Photoshop to resize your images (according to the above guidelines) before you upload them to the web.

6. Be Cautious With Stock Photos

While stock photos can be a valuable tool in blog image creation, they’re best used carefully. Too many stock photos in your visual strategy will make your blog look, well, boring. While it’s best to use original photos whenever possible (take a look at how LMS platform Wisetail does this on their site), this isn’t an option for companies that don’t have the photography power or the personnel to do it.

In these cases, using stock photos is fine. If you’re going to use stock photos, just be sure to follow these tips:

  • Look For High-Quality Options. Stock photos come from professional platforms, yes, but that doesn’t always mean they’re nicely done. As you search for images to use in your visual strategy, look for ones that are clear, crisp, and on-brand. Make sure the people in the photo (if there are any) reflect your target audience and that the topic of the photo is relevant to your post.
  • Focus on White Space. For a stock photo to perform well in your visual strategy, it needs to have enough white or empty space to take to text. While you can enhance the visibility of text overlay with filters, layers, and font colors and sizes, it’s always difficult to get text to show up well on top of a complex and colorful stock image.
  • Understand Attribution. Most stock photos don’t require any attribution when you use them. The operative word there, though, is most. By understanding the topics of attribution and copyright, you can avoid legal issues arising from your stock photo use, and keep your blog images thoroughly between the lines.

7. Focus on 10x Content

While they’re intensely important, most people regard blog images as an afterthought in the larger scheme of their blogging strategy. Unfortunately, this is exactly the wrong approach. Instead, you need to apply the principals of 10x content to your blog images. Coined by Rand Fishkin at Moz, “10x content” refers to content that breaks the mold and does something truly astounding.

It’s essential for good blogs and social media posts, and no less important for blog images.

Instead of just scraping by with your blog images, you’ll want to invest the time and energy required to grow a true visual strategy, and to ensure that every image you publish is the best one yet. While it’s true that this takes extra effort, it’s well worth it.

Think of it this way: your blog image features right next to your headline when you post new content.

While the headline has long been considered one of the most essential pieces of any blog, it’s arguable now that the featured image is up there, too.

When your featured image is high-quality, unique, attractive, and interesting, it draws people in. When paired with a great headline and a strong hook and body content, it makes for irresistible written material that is far too powerful to underestimate.

With this in mind, never stop striving for better blog images. When your visuals move up the content quality scale, the rest of your material will, as well. For more research on this, learn about the Skyscraper Technique and figure out unique ways to apply it to your blog strategy.

For example, can you evaluate your old blog images and come up with ways to make them better? Maybe you can partner with other companies or professionals to create images that the web has never seen before!

How about a hand-drawn image to accompany a fun blog post? We did this for a typically “boring” SEO blog post on a numbered list of SEO tips, by adding “to rule your content castle” at the end of the topic, then giving the title to our creative designer! Here’s the result:

seo dragon castle

The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to you to get creative.

Learn How to Create Blog Images that Win & Become a Better Visual Blogger

Today, there’s no room on the web for low-quality content – not even in your visuals. Of all the digital resources your company has, your blog is one of the most essential.

After all, 70% of customers prefer to get to know a company through content rather than ads, and 61% of consumers make purchases based on information from blogs!

With this in mind, it’s clear that you can’t afford to overlook your blog, or the images that accompany your text.

By getting proactive about your image creation strategy and actively looking for ways to improve your visual content, it’s easy to develop a high-quality approach to images that will benefit your blog for years to come.

 

Don’t waste any more time on sub-par blog images. Check out our custom image design services today!

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blog topics

What Blog Topics Get the Most Shares & Reads? A Data Driven Answer

You’ve listened to the data.

You’re consistently writing great long-form content that’s supposed to be generating plenty of shares and traffic for your blog.

But, for some reason, it’s not working.

Over and over again, you’re finding that a large majority of your content generates minimal levels of social engagement.

You’re not alone.

After taking a look at over 1 million blog posts, the team at OkDork found that 89% of posts have less than 100 social shares.

ok dork chart

Yikes. (Remember the post I wrote a while back: social shares are not your best ROI tracker?)

But why is this? And what can you do to make sure that more than 1 out of 10 of your posts generate 100+ social shares?

It all starts with choosing the right blog topics.

Marketing expert Brandon Gaille created a useful infographic that outlines the hottest blog topics by popularity and revenue.

According to his research, the top 10 blog topics include:

Top Blog Topics

As we move through this article, we’re going to use data and examples to show you which of the above topics can help you get the most shares and reads.

We’ll also take a look at some other topics that are proven to perform well.

Let’s get started.

blog topics

The Hottest Blog Topics Today: 5 Topics That Attract Readers & Shares

1. Saving Time

People love to read and hear about what they can do to save time.

In fact, they love to hear about it so much that they’re willing to spend a whole lot of their time reading and sharing content on the topic.

Take a look at BuzzSumo statistics for these two productivity based posts:

Saving Time Screenshot

While both articles are fairly basic, the headline promises to readers that they’ll be able to save “tons” or “loads” of time.

And, since they’re able to deliver on that promise, they both generated over 450k social shares.

Writer and speaker Laura Vanderkam leveraged the power of talking about time management in her TED talk, How to Gain Control of Your Free Time.

Ted Talk on Time

The talk has generated almost 4 million views to date and has proved vital in helping Vanderkam grow her personal brand.

People naturally want to be better at time management. If you’re able to find ways to help your audience become more productive, they’ll reward you with shares and reads.

2. Health & Fitness

Just like time management, health and fitness shines in topic popularity because it’s something that everyone wants to be better at.

When BuzzSumo created a list of the most viral content of 2016, three of the top 10 articles were in the health and fitness niche.

This article, about healthy and portable high-protein snacks, generated over 2 million social shares.

healthy-snacks

And this article, about the top 10 ab exercises, generated almost 2 million as well.

ab-exercises

Now, depending on your audience, talking about health may seem like an odd thing to do.

For example, if you’re a financial consultant, writing about ab exercises isn’t going to yield the results that it will for a blog that already writes in that niche.

What you can do, however, is generate health topics that are relevant to your target audience and the unique situations that they face in their daily life.

In the financial consultant example, you could write an article for business owners about how consistent exercise contributes to increased productivity (which, in turn, contributes to wealth).

And, if you can pull it off, there is clear evidence that people will share and read your content.

3. Money

More time, better health, and more money. Hopefully you’re catching on to the trend.

The blog topics that perform best are the things that people want most in life.

The Penny Hoarder has generated tons of loyal fans by providing readers with advice on how to make and save money.

Here’s an example of one of their most successful money based articles:

Money Article

The article isn’t overly in-depth, but it does provide brief information for readers on how to earn extra money.

And that’s not the only article they’ve written on the topic that has yielded great results. Over the last 12 months, three of the top four articles around the term ‘making money’ were created by their writers.

Making Money Buzzsumo

With social shares above 173k for each article, it’s safe to say that they have a pretty firm handle on what their readers want to hear about.

It’s also safe to say that writing about money, and how to save and/or make it, is a great way to generate the type of interest that produces social shares and visitors.

4. Happiness and Getting What You Want Out of Life

Want to be happy? Of course you do. And so does everyone else.

That’s why content related to happiness, and achieving it, gets shared so much.

Take a look at these six pieces of happiness-related content that have all been shared over 95,000 times to date.

happiness

As we look at these BuzzSumo results, it’s also important to note the platforms where the content is being shared.

The written articles about happiness were most likely to receive a majority of their shares on Facebook.

The content that features quotes, however, received over 95k shares on Pinterest but only 88 on Facebook.

As we move along in this article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of considering the platform when deciding on a blog topic.

5. Travel

Travel content doesn’t have the share power that the above topics do, but it can certainly produce solid numbers when the topic is implemented into your content strategy correctly.

Not everyone is an adventurer. But as science tells us, there are quite a few people who are born to travel.

And there are a lot of content creators generating massive shares from taking advantage of this.

Take these articles for example:

travel

As you can see, Facebook is where the majority of shares are being seen for this topic.

Pinterest is another platform where travel content works well, especially when it’s posted alongside an appealing visual.

Try to work relevant travel based articles into your blog. Doing so is a great way to break free of the monotony of utilizing the same topics while satisfying the interests of your readers along the way.

Are you writing about today's hottest topics on your blog? Find out via @ExpWriters!Click To Tweet

Tying These Blog Topics in With Your Target Audience

As you browse through the above blog topics, you might be thinking, “Well, that’s great that these topics perform well, but my niche has nothing to do with these things.”

With a little creativity, however, you can find ways to work all of these blog topics into the content that you write.

Take Evernote for example. Their app is designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving. So you’d think they’d stick to articles about productivity and saving time.

But they don’t. Instead, they diversify their blog by writing travel articles that give users a better sense of how they can use Evernote to travel better with their app.

They also feature articles about minimalism and happiness, both of which are topics that are trending in recent years.

minimalism

This article generated over 500 social shares. And while that’s nothing to gloat about, it’s certainly a worthwhile number for a brand whose main focus lies in productivity.

Choosing Topics Based on Social Media Platforms

When you’re choosing a blog topic that you want to be read and shared, you absolutely need to consider where it will be posted.

Social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk frequently talks about the necessity of respecting the platform that your content will be featured on.

Vaynerchuk is relentless about this as he feels that you absolutely must, “Respect the psychology of what people are doing when they’re on a platform.”

Someone’s mindset is much different on Facebook than it is on Pinterest. And that mindset varies even more when they’re on LinkedIn.

Vaynerchuk could not be more on point here. Kissmetrics put a post together, titled The Science Behind What People Love to Share on Social Media, that echoes his sentiment.

On Facebook, the most shared articles are those with a word count between 2,000-2,500 words. Articles between 3,000-4,000 words received the least amount of shares.

2-facebook-share-by-article-word-count

On LinkedIn, the opposite is true. Professionals there are looking for in-depth content, and are therefore more likely to share content between 3,500-4,000 words.

4-linkedin-shares-by-article-word-count

As far as blog topics go, LinkedIn users tend to read and share more content related to self-improvement than any other topic.

The keywords that were most often found in frequently shared content there included:

LinkedIn

But writing about these topics and keywords on Pinterest would be an awful idea.

Their users love food, DIY, and wedding related content.

Focus on the Platform and Your Audience

As you continue to work towards creating amazing content that gets shares, be sure that you’re respecting the platform and the mental state that the audience there is in.

By doing so, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to earn the highest possible number of visitors and shares.

If you’d like some help coming up with blog topics, our team of experts would be more than happy to provide assistance. Talk to us today!

art of writing cta

how to work with blog writers

The Business Owner’s Guide: How to Work With Blog Writers to Create & Publish High-ROI Brand Content

You’ve seen the data.

You know that content marketing adopters have conversion rates that are nearly 6x higher than non-adopters.

You’re finally ready to take the plunge and focus on content marketing as a key strategy in your lead generation arsenal.

But then it hits you.

How are you going to produce all this content?

HubSpot is telling you that, in order to optimize your efforts, you need to publish 16+ blog posts per month.

hubspot blog_monthly_traffic

“16 per month?!? My team and I can’t produce that many high quality blogs per month!”

Fortunately, you don’t have to go at it alone.

The proven effectiveness of content marketing has helped to create tens of thousands of capable blog writers that you can handle much of the work for you.

You just need to know how to efficiently find and work with them.

And, through this post, we’re going to teach you how to do it. Let’s get started.

business guide on how to work with blog writers

The Business Owner’s Guide: How to Work With Blog Writers to Create & Publish High-ROI Content

Let’s start at the fundamentals: outlining your writing standards.

1. Creating Writing Standards to Communicate to Writers

If you have a blog, then you probably already have some type of vague writing standards in place.

And while your current standards can be used, they will almost certainly need to be expanded upon now that you’ve decided to outsource your writing.

Your standards set the stage for how you will communicate, hire, and work with your blog writers.

Establishing the Goal of Your Blog

The first thing you’ll need to do is to clearly establish the goal of your blog so it can be communicated to the writers you work with.

HuffPost contributor Danny Wong provides a few options. Some of them include:

  • Tell your brand’s story
  • Express your brand’s identity
  • Build an email list
  • Attract top industry talent
  • Build credibility
  • Become an authority figure in your industry
  • Connect personally with customers and fans
  • Capture media attention
  • Facilitate word-of-mouth
  • Create a competitive advantage

After browsing this list, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just focus on all of these goals.

The simple answer is…because having too many goals and priorities doesn’t work.

As Harvard Business Review contributors Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi have said, your business needs to stop chasing too many priorities.

According to a survey they conducted, having fewer strategic priorities can actually lead to higher revenue growth for your business.

brand growth goals

If you’re determined to chase multiple goals, make sure they work together.

For instance, your goal can be that you want to build your email list while connecting with fans and facilitating word-of-mouth marketing.

Or, it can be to build credibility and become an authority figure in your industry in order to create a competitive advantage.

Each example has three goals that work together.

Hone your focus and create goals that you can clearly communicate to your writers. It will make working with blog writers a much smoother process.

Helping Writers Create Amazing Content

You know that creating amazing content is essential to high ROI content marketing. You may even know how to do it.

Don’t assume, however, that the writers you’re working with automatically follow the same rules of creating great content that you do.

If you’re looking for a checklist to provide to your writers, KissMetrics Director of Marketing Sean Marks created a great one. It includes nine ingredients. They are:

  1. Make sure the content is original
  2. Focus on creating a strong headline
  3. Make the content actionable
  4. Provide answers to reader’s questions
  5. Include accurate reporting and sourcing of information
  6. Make the content engaging
  7. Communicate through visuals
  8. Eliminate fluff and get to the point
  9. Update the blog regularly

Your outsourced writers will be responsible for producing content that includes the top eight ingredients.

You and your team will be responsible for the last one.

Determining Content Length for Writers

While it will obviously be much easier to get to 16 blog posts per month if they’re of the 400-500 word variety, the argument for long-form content is too convincing to ignore.

If you want to achieve your blog goals, ranking for targeted keywords on search engines is the ticket to getting there.

And if you want your content to rank on search engines, long form content is the way to go. Just take a look at this illustration produced by SerpIQ:

content length serp iq

Sure, it’s going to be more expensive to outsource long form content than it is to do the same for 500-word articles.

As you can see, however, the ROI of long form content is significantly higher.

And isn’t the point of marketing to achieve the highest ROI possible?

Breaking it Down

At this point, you should have a solid understanding of what you want your writing standards to look like.

Now you just need to communicate them to your writers. Here’s a quick example of what you can tell them:

  1. Focus on the goal of our blog
  2. Utilize the ingredients of creating amazing content
  3. Make sure the post is long form (1,500-3,000 words)

2. How to Hire the Perfect Writers for Your Blog

Your writing standards help create an overview of the type of writers that you want and need for your blog.

Your job now is to seek out writers that have already proven capable of following the standards that you have established.

This can, for the most part, be done in one of two ways; hire a freelancer or work with a writing agency.

Freelancers vs. Writing Agencies

Ahh, the great debate. Should you hire freelancers or go with a writing agency?

And while there are many advantages and disadvantages to both choices, your decision should always come down to the value provided.

Let’s break down the process of working with each so you can make the best possible decision for your business.

Working With a Freelancer

The typical process for hiring a freelancer involves a few steps. They include:

  1. Find a freelance job posting site. Upwork, Freelancer.com, Textbroker, and even Craigslist are generally considered the most popular options.
  2. Post your project. Outline what the job entails and what skills are needed to complete it.
  3. Choose the best freelancer for the job. This can be based on their past work, their reputation, or after their completion of a test project.
  4. Freelancer is offered project and completes work. Details of project are provided and freelancer successfully completes it.
  5. You receive work and pay freelancer. Work is delivered on time and freelancer is paid.

Easy, right? Yeah, but if you’ve ever worked with freelancers, you’re probably laughing at this.

The thing is, steps 3-5 almost never go according to plan.

If you work with freelancers long enough, you’ll find that misleading portfolios, missed deadlines, and subpar content are more the norm than the exception.

That creates a whole lot of time and energy wasted.

Working With Writing Agencies

Working with writing agencies is a whole different story.

Interestingly enough, a lot of writing agencies are created by successful freelancers that couldn’t handle all of the work that was coming their way.

That’s exactly how Express Writers got its start.

You’ll also find that most successful agencies have a simple yet effective process for working with clients.

At EW, our process looks like this:

Process at express writers

As far as the actual content, it involves six stages.

They include:

  1. Your Input. Your project starts when you send us your relevant project details.
  2. Assigning. Our Content Manager assigns your project to the writer that best fits your topic, industry, and content type.
  3. Creating. Our writer, along with the Content Manager, editorial team, and designer, completes the project.
  4. Editing. Our editorial staff reviews the content using a 5-point quality process that we developed in-house.
  5. Additional Creation. This step varies depending on what type of content you’ve purchased.
  6. Your Review. Content is uploaded for your review and you’re granted up to two free revisions within 20 days of receiving the content.

While this is how we work, it’s fairly common for most agencies to follow a similar process.

The Advantages of Working With a Writing Agency

At the end of the day, the major advantage to working with a writing agency is that we eliminate your risk.

We take care of the hiring process and make sure that the writers handling your project are qualified to deliver the best possible work.

We make sure that you don’t have to worry about missed deadlines or poor quality content and have provisions in place to protect you if this does happen.

Best of all, we make sure that you receive great content that will deliver ROI for your business.

While I’m not saying that you can’t find a freelancer that can do the same, I am saying that it will take a lot more time and energy to do so.

With the time saved and ROI produced, it’s hard to argue against the value that agencies provide when compared to freelancers.

3. Using Your Content Calendar to Guide Your Hiring Process

Hopefully you’ve already gone through the process of creating a content calendar that outlines what type of content you need to produce and when it will be published.

If you haven’t, you’ll want to get on that as soon as possible.

Your content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar, doesn’t have to be too complex. Here’s an example of a simple one created through Excel:

content calendar

If you’re looking for something more in-depth, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you put together a solid content calendar in just a few minutes.

Regardless of the method you choose, the important thing is that you use it to plan your content ahead of time so you know when you’ll need to outsource the writing.

How Far Ahead Should You Plan Your Content?

This is where things get tricky. It’s almost impossible to identify a timeline that works for every business.

A lot of larger blogs prefer to plan their content at least six months into the future. Others tend to go with a monthly calendar that they add onto weekly.

As much as I hate to say this, it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer here.

If you’re unsure of where to even begin, I would suggest starting by outlining your content for the next month. Then, every week, pick a day to plan out another week of content.

So long as you’re able to consistently carve out a day every week for future plans, this process should work just fine.

Identifying Who Will Write Your Content

So you’ve got your content topics and publishing dates lined up.

Now it’s time to plan out who will actually complete the writing.

This is a fairly simple process.

Here is an example of how the team at Shape and Sound does it in their content calendar:

Content calendar with authors

As you can see, they create three pieces of content for each topic. Each type of content has an author listed.

By doing this, they know exactly who is accountable for each piece of content.

Since you need to outsource some or all of your writing, you would simply plug in the freelancer or writing agency responsible for the work.

Like I said, simple stuff.

By having your content calendar, and the author section, filled out at least a month in advance, working with writers will be a much smoother process.

Creating and Handling Deadlines

When creating your deadlines for the freelancers and agencies that you work with, it’s always a good idea to set a deadline that is at least a week in advance of when it will be published.

This helps you avoid many of the issues caused by missed deadlines. It also helps ensure you have time to revise poor quality work or, if needed, hire another writer to rewrite the content entirely.

In addition to protecting yourself by setting your deadline a week ahead, you’ll also want to set a policy for what happens when work is delivered late.

Most professional freelancers and agencies will offer a discount when this happens (20-50% is common).

In order to protect their reputation, some will even complete the project for free.

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to handle deadlines. The important thing is that there is a clear policy established between both you and the writer before work begins.

4. How Much Should You Pay Writers?

This is easily one of the biggest questions in the content marketing world. If you’re like most businesses, you have absolutely no idea how much to pay your outsourced writers.

To identify how much you’ll have to budget, there are a few basic factors that you’ll need to consider. They include:

  • Length of content. We’ve already identified that long-form content produces optimal ROI.
  • Depth of content. Are you looking for a beginner, intermediate, pro, or expert writer?
  • Visuals or no visuals. Content with visuals is optimal, but it will come at a higher price.
  • How quickly the content needs to be delivered. Rushed content will come at a premium.

While there are many other factors, most freelancers and agencies create their prices after considering these four things.

For a general list of the prices you can expect to pay, take a look at this infographic:

Writing prices

On the expert level for this chart, you’re looking at $400+ per email.

Now you’re probably looking at this and saying, “I can’t afford those rates!”

And fortunately, you don’t have to. You can still get amazing content delivered by professionals at rates significantly lower than $.15-.50 per word.

You just have to know where to look.

Our writing levels include expert and authority, and we’re reasonably priced! Check out our pricing page here.

A Word of Caution

Before we start diving further into what you should expect to pay writers, it should be noted that the old saying, “you get what you pay for,” is as true in writing as it is everywhere else.

If you make your way over to a freelance platform like UpWork, you’ll quickly find that there are many job postings that look like this:

Upwork

Yes, you can find freelancers that will write your content for $.01/word.

99 times out of 100, however, the content they deliver will be low quality content that’s littered with grammar mistakes.

You don’t want that for your brand.

How Much Do We Charge?

At Express Writers, we’ve created a Content Shop detailing how much every piece of content that we produce costs.

To ensure we offer options that fit the needs of our clients, we offer two options; general copywriting and expert copywriting.

For a long-form article (1,500-2,000 words) by a general copywriter, you’re looking at a price tag of $140.

For that same article by an industry expert, you’ll be paying $300.

So, for high quality content that delivers optimal ROI, you’ll be paying $.10-.20 per word.

The General Consensus

In the end, if you want to maximize the ROI of your content marketing efforts, you should expect to budget at least $.10/word.

While you can find freelancers that will produce content at a much lower rate, be aware of the risk involved when compared to the detailed processes and deadline provisions provided by a writing agency.

5. Maintaining Communication Throughout the Process

Whenever you’re outsourcing content, communication is absolutely vital to the success of the project.

This is true whether you decide to work with a freelancer or writing agency.

As Tamila McDonald, our Client Engagement Specialist, says:

tamila quote outsourcing your writing

Successful communication starts with providing clear instructions to your writer about exactly what you want your content to accomplish.

You won’t find too many writers that complain about detailed instructions.

You will, however, find plenty that become frustrated when instructions are too brief or general.

On the writer side, be wary of writers that don’t respond to update requests or questions within 24 hours. This is especially common when dealing with writers on freelancer platforms.

If the communication isn’t there, it may be time to move on.

6. Focusing on the Long Term

You’re hopefully already aware that success in content marketing doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes week after week of consistently producing high quality content.

But when can you expect your content marketing efforts to finally bear fruit?

Well, as Neil Patel tells us, “At the beginning, you’ll grow slowly and will need to add value drops to your content creation pot. Once your pot is filled considerably, you’ll start seeing the enormous benefits of content marketing.”

This visual by HubSpot shows us that, for most companies, inbound traffic grows fairly slow in the beginning:

hubspot blog_monthly_traffic

Once these businesses hit the 300 blog post mark, however, their traffic begins to take off.

While it’s unlikely that your blog will follow this exact pattern, it illustrates the fact that it’s important to focus on the long term.

Proof that Your Long Term Commitment Will Pay Off

Business owners like Neil Patel have used content marketing to become authorities in their industry and build multi-million dollar businesses from scratch.

At Express Writers, we’ve built a million dollar agency by using content as our only marketing strategy.

Both of us have used outsourced writers to help us get to where we are today. And you can do the exact same thing with your business.

Building Long-Term Relationships With Writers

As you begin outsourcing your content, you’ll find that there are some writers that just get it.

They’re consistently on point with following your instructions and never fail to produce engaging content.

When you find these writers, do everything you can to keep them on board.

Work to develop long term relationships with writers that consistently prove themselves to you. You’ll be saving yourself a whole lot of time and stress in the process.

Outsource Your Writing and Take Your Content Marketing to the Next Level

You now have everything you need to move forward and use outsourced writers to help you dominate your content marketing efforts.

If you’d like some help along the way, feel free to contact us to hear more about what we can do for you!

express writers

writing a blog

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule

Writing a blog can be difficult. Keeping up with your blog and writing consistently can be even more challenging.

And while you’re already aware of the power of blogging for both personal and business brands, actually putting one together is another story.

To do it consistently, and to do it well, you need a process.

Your process serves as your armor for making sure you never just sit there, wondering what to do next.

Having a sound process in place means you don’t need inspiration to create something that can have an impact on your readers.

The goal of this guide is to show you that process and give you a bird’s eye view of everything you need to write a blog and do it consistently.

Let’s get started.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule inset

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule: What’s Ahead

This is a long post. To help you, we’ve tabulated a short list of contents to guide you on what’s ahead. Enjoy, and bring a latte, coffee or tea to hang with us for the full ride. 😉

  • Foundations of Writing a Blog that Matters
  • The Golden Rule in Writing Blogs
  • How Long Should Your Content Be?
  • 4 Steps for Creating Compelling Headlines That Click With Your Audience
  • 6 Steps for Writing a Blog and Doing it Consistently
  • Self Editing Like a Pro, Even If You Aren’t One (Infographic)
  • How to Come Up with Blog Ideas (Infographic)

Let’s dive in!

The Foundation for Writing a Blog Post That Matters

Here’s a quote to inspire you (Chuck Close):

quote chuck The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule inset

Just like anything else, the blog writing process starts with a foundation.

Without this foundation, everything else becomes confusing and inefficient. With it, you can regularly create great content that your readers will love.

The foundation involves three things:

  1. The “Golden Rule.” Write for ONE reader.
  2. Determine Content Length. Focus on creating the right content.
  3. Create a Strong Headline. Intrigue your ONE reader.

Tweet:

The foundation of #writing a great blog post: write for 1 reader, determine length, create a strong headline.Click To Tweet

Let’s dive into these a little deeper.

1. Foundation: The “Golden Rule”

The “Golden Rule” of writing a blog is simple; write for ONE reader.

The hope would be that you already have a good idea of who your ONE reader is.

Hopefully you also have a good idea of where they are, what problems they’re having, and how they communicate.

Entire books and long form guides have been written on defining, finding, and targeting your ONE reader (also called target audience, target market, etc.)

You should read them. If you don’t have time for that, Forbes has a great evergreen piece on decoding your target audience.

Don’t fall into the trap of attempting to write for a viral audience.

As Forbes contributor AJ Agrawal points out, ‘Go Viral’ is not a smart marketing strategy.

Since most viral content is based on trends, it’s not evergreen and therefore has an exceptionally short shelf-life. That makes it a bad investment.

Avoid the masses and follow the “Golden Rule” by writing for ONE reader. It’s the only strategy that has long term value for your blog.

2. Foundation: How Long Should Your Content Be?

Google the above question and you’ll find that there are over 179 million answers telling you how long your content should be.

Everyone who’s anyone has tried their hand at answering this question – it’s clearly one of the biggest debates among content marketers across the web.

I’ll say that long-form has tremendous benefits. I’ve created an argument for long-form content here: in all reality, it does the best for SEO purposes. That’s also why I launched authority content at Express Writers last year.

But along with realizing the benefits of long, authoritative content, you want to think most about how to do the right content.

Less of the wrong, high-volume, no return content: more of the right content.

Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, has a great statement on this point.

He says: to focus on creating more of the right content.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule inset quote

What does the right content accomplish?

Fishkin outlines four things:

  1. The right content serves visitor’s intent by answering their questions and helping them complete their goals.
  2. The right content delivers an easy, pleasurable, accessible experience on every device and every browser.
  3. The right content gets the right information and experience to visitors FAST.
  4. The right content does all of the above better than any of the competitors in the space.

But that’s all well and nice to hear what you need to do. How do you actually go about creating the right content when writing a blog?

You create your content with these things in mind and use your editing efforts to ensure that they’re followed.

4 Steps for Creating Compelling Headlines That Click With Your Audience

While I’m sure you’ve heard it more times than you can count, compelling headlines are crucial if you want readers to actually read your blog.

Copywriting legend David Ogilvy is famous for saying:

david ogilvy

But you know the headline is important. How do you create one that works?

Do you use a template that so many others have already used? That’s certainly the easiest option.

Do you list a dozen different options and narrow them down one by one until you find a winner? That can work too.

Do you include a number or ask a question? Sure, go for it.

The truth is, there isn’t a stand-alone strategy that works best for creating compelling headlines when writing a blog.

What is a given, however, is that you must identify who your one reader is and you build your headline around what would intrigue them to read on.

How to Actually Create the Headline

While your headline will differ depending on your ONE reader, there is a simple formula that you can use to short-line the process.

After all, writing a blog is hard enough. You don’t want to spend five hours coming up with an intriguing headline.

Jeff Goins, founder and owner of the popular blog Goins, Writer, has a headline writing formula that many of the top bloggers in the world utilize.

It looks like this:

Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Your best bet is to brainstorm at least 10 headlines that follow this formula. This shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes.

If you’re feeling ambitious and really want to nail it with your headline (which you should), using Upworthy’s editorial process is always a good idea.

Upworthy Editorial Process

If, after coming up with your headlines, you’re able to combine this simple formula with the four U’s of headline writing, you’ll have something that will truly intrigue your ONE reader.

Those four U’s include:

quote5

  • Unique
  • Ultra-specific
  • Urgent
  • Useful

Let’s take a look at an example of a high performing blog that has utilized Goins’ formula along with the four U’s and ONE reader philosophy.

hubspot Headline 1

First off, we see that the ONE reader is sales reps.

Following Goins’ formula, we can immediately write off three of the four factors that make great headlines.

Number or trigger word? Check. Adjective? Check. Keyword? Check.

While no promise is made directly, it can be assumed that Aja Frost, the writer, will provide alternative phrases for sales reps to use that aren’t so harmful (which she does).

What about the four U’s?

Well, is it unique? You don’t see too many articles related to deadly sales phrases.

Is it ultra-specific? No doubt about that.

Is it urgent? If you’re a sales rep then I’d say it’s pretty urgent to get rid of bad practices that are preventing you from making sales.

Useful? For sales reps, definitely.

Simplifying the Headline Creation Process

If you want a simple headline creation process that can consistently get you results, just follow the steps outlined below.

quote6

  • Step #1: Focus on your ONE reader throughout the creation process.
  • Step #2: Come up at least 10 (or 25) headlines using Goins’ formula.
  • Step #3: Create a chart to see which headlines pass the four U’s test.
  • Step #4: Choose your headline based on the results.

6 Steps for Writing a Blog and Doing it Consistently

Step #1 – Creating Outlines That Provide Structure for Your Content

Outlines are crucial if you don’t want to end up fumbling around for hours trying to come up with ideas for what to write.

While you already know that you should be writing for ONE reader, your outline helps ensure that you put yourself on the right path to solving their problems or answering their questions.

Putting this together should be a fairly simple process.

You’ll want to start by doing some research about your title so you have a general idea of what to include (20-25 minutes should more than suffice).

While you may be sucked into trying to find the perfect template and using it to detail everything you plan on writing about, this can be a huge waste of time.

The outline isn’t what makes great content, it just provides the structure to help you do it.

As you get into the actual stage of doing extensive research, you’ll also find that you’ll want to alter many of the things that you’ve included; either by including more, giving more detail, or eliminating parts of it.

Think of your initial outline as something that will guide your research. By thinking this way, you’ll ensure that you don’t end up wandering mindlessly with 53 tabs open during the research stage.

If you’re looking for some inspiration as to exactly how to structure your article, Ginny Mineo of HubSpot wrote a tremendous guide on how to write a blog post outline.

Her outline for a fictitious article titled “How to Use Images to Generate Leads on Twitter” looked like this:

Outline 1

As you can see, it isn’t overly extensive. It does, however, provide the structure necessary to move to the next step.

Step #2 – Researching for Your Blog Post

While every step associated with writing a blog is important, the quality of your research will have implications across the board.

As time consuming as it can be, it cannot be avoided if your goal is to create great content that your ONE reader will love.

Not only will it help you put together awesome content, but researching well means that you won’t give yourself the opportunity to have nothing to write when you get to the drafting stage.

Fortunately, you’re in a time when it has never been easier to find resources, data, case studies, images, etc. that you can include in your content.

Before we get into where and how to research, a few words of caution are necessary…

There are a TON of resources out there that you can use. And as we mentioned previously, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up wandering aimlessly with 50+ tabs on your screen.

If you take the route of trying to find as many resources as possible, you’ll turn a blog post that should’ve taken you 4-5 hours into one that takes 4-5 days.

Kevan Lee, the director of marketing at Buffer, says that the research phase tends to take him about 40 minutes per 2,000 word article.

His average time spent on each part of the writing process looks like this:

Research

While Kevan’s experience enables him to complete the process sooner than most, this is still a solid guideline for where you want to be.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to your initial outline as much as possible and find 2-3 resources per sub-heading that can be used within the content.

If you find something that doesn’t relate to your current outline but feel that it could positively impact your content, go ahead and include it.

Just don’t do this with every ‘great’ resource you find.

Where Do You Research for Your Blog Article?

While there are tons of options for performing research nowadays, nothing beats search engines.

Google, Bing, and Google Scholar are all great options that allow you to find relevant and authoritative content quickly.

Other solid options include StumbleUpon, Twitter and Facebook searches, online publications, research-based sites, industry blogs, and good old-fashioned books.

To make sure that your sources are legitimate and authoritative, your best bet is to gauge link quality using Alexa.

This easy guide should help you do that:

Link Quality Using Alexa

Last but not least, be sure that you understand how to cite sources if you intend to use them in your content.

Step #3 – Writing Your Blog Content

While it doesn’t always seem like it a lot of the time, actually putting the fingers to the keyboard and writing a blog is the easy part.

You have your outline. You’ve done your research. You know what you want to accomplish.

Now you just have to get to work!

Other than words, however, there are a few other things that you’ll want to keep in mind along the way.

#1 – Visuals MUST Be Included

BuzzSumo ran a study of over one million articles and found that articles that included an image every 75-100 words got 2x the shares of articles with fewer images.

Image Graph

Visuals, which includes images, videos, screenshots, and infographics, need to be a major part of your content if you want to keep your reader’s attention.

#2 – Keywords are Important, But Not More Than Purposeful Writing

SEO expert and Entrepreneur contributor Jon Rognerud recommends that you should include your keyword 2-5% of the time.

He warns, however, that including a keyword should never be your main priority.

Instead, focus on creating content that serves your reader’s purpose for being there and only use keywords when they make sense in the text.

Basically, when someone reads your content, they shouldn’t be able to pick out what keyword you’re using unless they’re actively searching for it.

#3 – Utilize Up-to-Date Statistics and Facts

Everyone wants to create evergreen content that’s still earning traffic years down the road.

But that doesn’t happen by accident. As Content Marketing Institute contributor Al Gomez points out, evergreen content is always comprehensive.

To be comprehensive, your content needs to include a strong mix of up-to-date statistics and facts.

And since search engines care about fresh content, you’ll also need to make sure you’re updating your evergreen content with new statistics and facts as time goes on.

Don’t Fret the First Draft

As you’re writing your article, don’t worry about getting everything right the first time.

Your initial content will be molded into great content through the editing process. For now, just get those fingers typing.

Step #4 – Self Editing Like a Pro, Even If You Aren’t One (Infographic)

Jeff Goins, of the Goins, Writer blog, has a theory about good writers.

His theory is that,

“The difference between good writers and bad writers has little to do with skill. It has to do with perseverance. Bad writers quit. Good writers keep going. That’s all there is to it.”

But while this may look like nothing more than inspirational talk to motivate writers, it’s important to understand that Goins is actually talking about the fact that good writers commit to editing.

As he says, “They’re (good writers) resigned to the fact that first drafts suck…”

Effective editing is the name of the game when it comes to creating great content. No one, not even Stephen King, regularly produces first drafts that are ready made for publication.

Here’s a look at a simple guide that can help you with the process of editing and proofreading your content:

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule - Proofreading Checklist

Our list of 25 Editing Tips for the Modern Marketer can also be used to help ensure that your first draft is eventually turned into content gold.

Step #5 – Optimizing Your Content for SEO

Optimizing your content for SEO isn’t easy, but it certainly is necessary.

After all, isn’t your goal of writing a blog to rank on search engines and generate traffic?

Rather than providing you with a short overview that lacks the girth to actually show you how to optimize for SEO, you’d be much better served taking a look at this extensive guide on How to Write Content for SEO.

You’ll find everything you need there to ensure that your content is performing up to its fullest potential in search engines.

Step #6 – Blogging Consistently by Creating a Regular Blogging Schedule

When it comes to content marketing, statistics across the board show that consistency is the key to success.

HubSpot’s survey of over 13,000 of their clients showed that the companies that published 16+ blog posts per month received about 3.5x more traffic than those that published 0-4 posts per month.

Monthly Blog Post Impact

This isn’t much of a surprise to anyone in the content marketing game. Everyone knows that more great content equals more success.

The problem that most bloggers face, however, is that they feel they don’t have the time to post consistently enough to keep up.

Fortunately, by organizing your content marketing efforts and creating a regular posting schedule, you can create an efficient system that allows you to consistently produce great content.

How Do You Create a Regular Posting Schedule?

Before you get started, you’ll want to choose the right platform for creating your editorial calendar.

If you’re looking for a free version to get started, Google Calendar can do the trick. Be aware, however, that it’s limited in its abilities.

If you want something that will make the process easier and are willing to drop some money to save time, DivvyHQ and CoSchedule are both great options.

These paid options are especially useful if you plan on collaborating with co-workers or contractors.

Ian Cleary of Razor Social put together an incredibly useful article on getting started with an editorial calendar on each of the three platforms. You’d be wise to check it out.

How Often Are You Going to Post?

You already know that more is better when it comes to posting on your blog. But what is even worse than not posting enough is not posting consistently.

It’s almost impossible to develop a loyal readership if you aren’t consistent with when and how you’re posting your content.

Be realistic about how often you can post. Once a week is fine if that’s all you can accommodate with the resources you have. When you make your decision, however, stick to it.

How to Come Up with Blog Ideas (Infographic)

One of the biggest fears of bloggers when they first create a regular posting schedule is that they won’t be able to come up with enough ideas to maintain their schedule.

That’s why it’s important to maintain a running list of 20-40 ideas.

Your ideas should be based on the main goal of your blog.

Are you trying to educate potential customers? Are you trying to build your personal brand?

Know what your main objective is and base your blog ideas off of it.

If you need further guidance or inspiration, this list should help:

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Blog & a Regular Posting Schedule infographic

Determine Your Process and Create Content Consistently

The key to positioning yourself as an authority within your niche is to create content consistently.

As this guide has shown, you can do that by determining your process for writing a blog and committing to a regular posting schedule.

Feeling overwhelmed and need some content assistance? We’re here for you.

cta great copy

blogging statistics

52 Incredible Blogging Statistics to Inspire You to Blog

Are you struggling to get the results you want from blogging?

Wondering if it even makes sense for your business?

Is this whole blogging thing starting to feel like a gigantic waste of time?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s crucial you understand two key points:

  • It’s important not to give up too soon in blogging.
  • The game has changed a lot in the past few years.

Giving up too early can be the worst decision of your life (for real: results come 8+ months in the game, listen to my podcast with Sujan Patel for more on that.)

And the battle for attention has gotten tougher. A lot tougher. Over the past five years blogging has evolved into a serious online marketing activity.

If you’re not approaching blogging with a serious mindset these days, then frustration is almost inevitable.

But don’t lose hope. Today’s blog is here to shed some light and inspiration – and my goal is that your blogging commitment will stay strong! Because blogging works if you stay committed to it.

blogging statistics

52 Incredible Blogging Statistics to Inspire You to Keep Blogging

In this post, we’re going to explore 52 statistics about blogging that will help you refocus your efforts and get back on track.

Keep reading to the end, because I’ll also reveal the #1 critical success factor that will allow you to fashion your blog into an indispensable online resource in your market space.

Let’s dive in!

Note: some sources are not linked because the pages are dead, but upon research, the stat provided is still valid and quoted online in major publications (Neil Patel, CMI, etc). 

1. Featuring a blog as a key part of your website will give you a 434% better chance of being ranked highly on search engines. (Source: Tech Client)

434?! That’s HUGE!

It’s no secret that Google loves content. And as a factor for SEO, nothing beats regularly publishing fresh, hot, relevant content.

Not only will the Google-bots love your site, but searchers will also more readily view your blog as an authority hub, a resource for answering their most pressing questions and solving their problems.

2. B2B businesses are more inclined to use blogging for business than B2C businesses. (Source: Social Media Examiner)

B2B businesses tend to use blogging more than B2C businesses because of the nature of how B2B sales work these days.

B2B businesses are often technical or highly specialized in nature, and it sometimes takes some unpacking to answer the questions, “What is it you do, exactly?” and “Why should I care?”

A good content marketing strategy can shorten the sales cycle considerably, and a blog is an excellent platform for delivering this kind of educational content, as well as a powerful lead capture device. Blogs also demonstrate that the B2B company is relevant, up to date and willing to meet the market where they are.

3. Buyers consume content before making a purchasing decision – in fact, 47% consumed 3-5 pieces of content before taking the first step towards making a purchase. (Source: Hubspot)

The biggest hurdle to doing business online is the lack of trust. Blogs are typically top-of-funnel content and are an excellent opportunity to start a conversation with your ideal prospects and educate them into your solution. And because your blog is perceived as a source of trusted information and problem-solving tips, guess who your readers will call on when it comes time to buy?

4. Using images in your blog posts gets them 94% more views. (Source: Jeff Bullas)

As I mentioned in the introduction, blogging has become a serious marketing activity. Which means your blog has not only got to have quality, professionally-produced written content, it has also got to be visually appealing.

5. 94% of people share blog content because they think it might be useful to other people. (Source: nymarketing.com)

This statistic is a biggie. It speaks to the fact that in order to make your content more shareable, you have to make it useful. In fact, not only does making your content helpful increase the possibility of it being shared, but publishing content like “how to” posts and case studies also makes your blog more credible, as you’ll see from statistic #12.

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6. B2B marketers who use blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those that don’t. (Source: Hubspot)

This comes back to the factor of trust again. If your business is consistently publishing content and engaging with prospects and buyers, you’re contributing to the conversations going on in the marketplace (and in the mind of your audience), meeting your market where they are in their customer journey, and guiding them to make better-informed decisions.

Generating leads out of all this accumulated goodwill is like falling off a log, because over time you become the obvious expert to solve your market’s problems.

7. B2B marketers have found blogging to be significantly more time and cost-effective than traditional lead generation methods (Source: Hubspot)

Advertising in general has lost much of its effectiveness and credibility. And taking into account the rising cost of all media, whether online or offline, this statistic makes perfect sense. Besides, when was the last time you saw a truly great ad for a B2B company?

Instead of paying thousands of dollars for a radio spot or an ad placement that runs one time in a trade magazine or newspaper, you can use the same budget for a content strategy over three to six months, and get multiple opportunities to touch your ideal prospects and build trust with them.

8. Companies that published 16 or more blog posts per month got 4.5X the leads than companies that published 4 or less monthly posts. (Source: Hubspot)

This statistic really speaks for itself, and this is what I mean when I say that the bar has been raised when it comes to blogging. If you could generate almost five times the leads of your competitors by simply publishing more often, wouldn’t you do it?

Four posts a week seems to be the sweet spot for getting the best results from your blogging efforts. This regular publishing schedule is also clearly the factor separating the serious content marketer from the casual.

9. B2B companies that blogged 11 times or more per month got 3X more traffic than those blogging only once or less per month. (Source: Hubspot)

Even though four posts a week seems to be the sweet spot for blogging success, according to this statistic, you can still get positive ROI from posting less if you’re in a B2B business.

10. B2C companies that blogged 11 times or more got more than 4X as many leads than those that publish only 4-5 posts per month. (Source: Hubspot)

B2C seems to be more forgiving in terms of frequency of publishing to get results, but there is still a demanding schedule you need to stick to get those results.

11. Blogs that post daily get 5X more traffic compared to those that don’t (Source: Social Media Examiner)

If you ever needed proof that blogging is the most reliable way to get traffic, well, here it is. Of course, committing to a daily posting schedule is a tall order, so if you decide to go down this path, consider outsourcing to professional writers or a content marketing service.

If you’re getting five times the traffic of your competitors (and you are getting positive ROI), investing in content marketing management services is an easy decision to make.

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12. Written articles, especially “how to” posts, as well as case studies, are the kinds of content that lend blogs the most credibility. (Source: Social Marketing Writing)

Searchers are looking for answers, and more often than not they are looking for solutions to problems. So it makes sense that the kinds of content that make a blog “credible” in the eyes of a person looking for a solution are the kinds that help them with a pressing issue.

(It’s also why the Problem-Agitate-Solution copywriting formula works so well for blog posts – but that’s a subject for another article.)

13. 58% of marketers voted for “original written content” as the most important type of content, outdoing images, videos, and infographics. (Source: Social Media Examiner)

Even though the online experience is shifting from text to visuals and video, original written content still seems to be king of the hill when it comes to effective content marketing.

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14. 82% of marketers who blog get positive ROI from their inbound marketing activities. (Source: Hubspot)

And isn’t the whole reason to do inbound marketing – of which blogging is arguably the most essential part – to get positive ROI on your marketing efforts?

15. 76% of B2B marketers blog, and 73% publish case studies. (Source: CMI)

Case studies and whitepapers are still considered to be the gold standard when it comes to B2B marketing. They are powerful sales tools and are essential for describing key milestones on the customer journey. The thing is, they are like full meals, with multiple ingredients and complex flavors.

Blogging on the other hand is like an ongoing series of tasty snacks, whetting your readers’ appetite to know more. Combining case studies, whitepapers and blogging is probably one of the most impactful things you can do as a content marketer.

16. 7 million people publish blogs on blogging websites, and another 12 million write blogs via their social networks. (Source: NM Incite)

As this statistic demonstrates, competition in the blogosphere is fierce. But then you already knew that. So what do you do to stand out?

The answer is simple, but not easy: become an influencer (or at the very least, a leader – see stats 28 and 29 for more on this).

Being in the top 5-10% of bloggers and content marketers in your industry is fast becoming the price of entry for success when it comes to capturing the attention of your market. Evolving from a publisher to a content aggregator and opinion shaper is how you will win the battle for attention in 2017.

17. Blogs are trusted sources of information and advice say 81% of US online consumers. (Source: BlogHer)

This statistic is proof positive that the model of mass marketing online isn’t viable. Markets aren’t amorphous blobs, they’re fragmented and segmented. What people are often looking for online is information to make a decision; they want to read options, hear about customer experiences, and have the opportunity to talk about and compare options.

Your blog is an opportunity to satisfy this need in your audience. Leverage the inherent trust people already have in blogs as valid sources of information and offer your unique take on the problem you solve in your market.

18. Company websites with active blogs have 97% more inbound links than websites without blogs. (Source: Hubspot)

This is pretty obvious, right? But what should be clear by now is that just having a blog is not enough. You need a strategy and you need to work that strategy to be successful.

19. 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog. (Source: Hubspot)

Multiple posts a day probably seems like a steep hill to climb, but the rewards look to be pretty predictable, according to this statistic. What this means, however, is that you will need to have someone in your organization who is dedicated to producing and managing content. You could of course also outsource it, but you should still have a clear content strategy in place before you commit to this level of output.

20. 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing. (Source: Content Plus)

While I agree, not all blogs are created equal. The way I see things, your blog should be a content repository, a starting point for potential customers to get to know you and your company before taking the next step, whether that be signing up for a newsletter or downloading a free ebook or whitepaper. Yes, blogs are valuable, but only in the context of a well–thought-out strategy.

21. 81% of companies think that their blogs are “useful,” “important,” or “critical.” (Source: Hubspot)

This statistic may be true, but what would their readers say? I think it is always useful to have a clear-eyed perspective on any piece of marketing collateral you create, and always with your audience in mind.

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22. Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic can increase by up to 30%. (Source: TrafficGenerationCafe)

This little nugget points out the essence of blogging as a long-term strategy. Too many content marketers want results yesterday, not fully appreciating the value of consistency, in combination with quality publishing, as the criteria for making blogging work.

23. Companies that blog get twice as much traffic from their email marketing than those who don’t blog. (Source: HubSpot)

Again, this is proof that your blog should be a communication hub for your business. Your blog should also work in harmony with all the other content channels you have up and running, if you want to maximize your results.

24. 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, which means organic search increases their traffic over time. (Source: HubSpot)

Sometimes called “pillar content,” these posts are the ones that consistently rank highly, get the most traffic, comments and shares, and generally make you look like a smart cookie. Having said that though, a “compounding” post isn’t always necessarily what you feel is your best content.

This is the great thing about blogging: your audience will let you know by their engagement what they feel is important and valuable about your content. Listen, then create more of what they like.

25. Compounding blog posts generate 38% of overall traffic, even though only 10% of posts perform this way. (Source: HubSpot)

 This statistic is another reason to publish regularly. You can never predict with 100% certainty how a particular post will perform. But once you have enough content (the 21-54 post mark mentioned in stat #22) you’ll be able to determine your best performing content and make more like it.

26. One compounding blog post can create as much traffic as six decaying posts. (Source: HubSpot)

Because these compounding posts are like traffic magnets for your blog, you can also assess whether you can repurpose these posts into different media, and possibly even into ebooks and other info products.

27. 72% of marketers are producing significantly more content each year. (Source: CMI)

While it is certainly important to be producing content on a regular basis, and even though it has been said that quantity has a quality all its own, this isn’t necessarily true for content. Try producing less content, but with higher value, as “authority” pieces, and get more bang for your content marketing buck. Check out the next stat to see what I mean.

28. Growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs 2.5%). (Source: Aberdeen)

To assume a leadership position in your market, you actually have to lead. And you won’t be able to do it if you’re just producing “me too” content. Tell stories, give your unique twist on the major pain points in your market and invest in quality content producers. Have something unique to say, and say it with style.

29. 96% of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders. (Source: Demand Gen Report, 2016)

I’m sure you’re starting to notice a trend by now when it comes to making your blog a success. Leadership, authority, quality, and frequency seem to be the clear indicators of how to make your blog truly outstanding in your market space.

30. 55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. (Content Marketing Institute, 2016)

To me, this statistic relates to #27. And it also points to not having a clear goal with your content marketing efforts. If you don’t know what success looks like, how do you know when you have achieved it? And producing a ton of mediocre content isn’t it. If you aren’t sure what you need to do to make content marketing work for you, speak to the experts to make sure you get a positive ROI on every marketing dollar you spend.

31. In 2014, 57% of marketers reported custom content was their top marketing priority. (Source: Altimeter)

Custom content is the ideal all good content marketers are striving towards, but there is value in smart content curation, too. Curated content can (and I think should) always be customized by adding your particular spin to the topic.

32. 72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine ads. (Source: Custom Content Council)

Content that tells stories, meets the market where it is, and solves problems in context is naturally more persuasive than a company essentially bragging about itself in a public forum. The nature of content is inherently conversational and invites response, comment and criticism, which is what makes blogging so effective. This kind of marketing is in stark contrast to the one-way conversation of advertising that simply shouts at you. Let your customers brag on your behalf through case studies and testimonials.

33. 69% of marketers praise content as superior to direct mail and PR. (Source: Custom Content Council)

Done right, direct mail and PR can certainly support an effective content strategy. But it is up to you and your business to take the approach of delivering valuable content first, before hitting prospects with offers.

34. Almost 60% of marketers repurpose their content 2-5 times. (Source: Contently)

Repurposing content is an essential piece of the content marketing puzzle, and blogs are excellent for testing and refining topics, angles and ideas that can be effectively repurposed.

35. 68% of consumers are likely to spend time reading content produced by a company they are interested in.(Source: The CMA)

Similar to statistic #32, if you make your content valuable and interesting to read, your audience is far more likely to consume it. A blog is a low-cost, low-risk way to invite readers into your world and begin a conversation with your company.

36. Twitter users are 506% more likely to write a blog, and 314% more likely to post a comment or review than other internet users. (Source: Associated Press Poll)

Never underestimate the power of social, especially the “microblogging” feature of platforms like Twitter. Blog posts are the perfect kind of content to share on Twitter, so make sure at least some of your posts – especially ones on controversial or timely topics – are written in a way that makes people want to tweet. You can do this with list posts, by offering interesting quotes in your articles, and by offering up useful statistics about your industry.

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37. Small businesses that blog get 126% more leads than small businesses that do not blog. (Source: Think Creative)

Some online marketing “gurus” think that blogging for small business is a waste of time and resources, and tend to advise going after paid traffic. But it’s difficult to argue with a statistic like this. Even if you are in the paid traffic camp, consider adding a blog to your marketing mix to collect those organic leads.

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38. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. (Source: Search Engine People)

This is a pretty intriguing statistic, considering that anyone can publish a blog. If you’re looking to build up trust for your business in a market, you can’t go wrong with starting a blog.

39. The only thing blogging costs you: your time. (Source: Hubspot)

Here’s another good argument for choosing blogging over paid traffic. If you’re on a budget, but you still want all the benefits content marketing can bring you, start a blog and begin earning your position in the market, one post at a time.

40. 23% of total time spent online is devoted to social networks or blogs. (Source: Mashable)

So if almost a quarter of Internet time is spent on social networks and blogs, that means your best prospects are reading someone’s blog. What shouldn’t it be yours?

41. 61% of US online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. (Source: BlogHer)

Affiliate marketing is one of the key ways of monetizing a blog. Cultivating relationships with influential bloggers in your niche or industry is a great way to get trusted, organic exposure to other segments of your market, and could even help you penetrate new markets.

42. 75% of HubSpot’s blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts. (Source: HubSpot)

When you create blog posts you’re creating a series of content assets, which you can potentially leverage for years. This is, of course, provided you can link your post to evergreen topics, issues and concerns in your market. What are the perennial problems in your market?

43. 6-13 word titles tend to attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. (Source: HubSpot)

Some aspects of blogging just work, even if they don’t seem to make any logical sense. Like the word count in headlines being a factor for attracting traffic. Wait…how many words in the title of this post again?

44. 63% of online users perceive blogs with multiple authors to be more credible (Source: Social Marketing Writing)

Blogs with multiple contributors are becoming the standard for authority sites. Varied perspectives, a wide range of topics and an opportunity to contribute in a more impactful way to the main conversations going on in your market will make your blog the trusted resource for your audience.

45. Social shares from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter add the most credibility to blogs. (Source: Social Marketing Writing)

Leveraging the reach of these three power players of social media is essential to your success. Make some of your content bite-sized and “light” for Twitter, engaging and polarizing for Facebook, angled towards business minds for LinkedIn and get people sharing your content.

46. Quality content, regular publishing, good design, and an established social media presence are ranked as the four highest factors determining the credibility of a blog. (Source: Social Marketing Writing)

This statistic gives you the blueprint for making your blog a success, from a reader’s perspective.

47. Almost 50% of marketers are interested in driving content to align with the customer’s journey. (Source: Contently)

This is the real power of content marketing in general, and blogging in particular: the ability to map the entire process of engaging someone as a prospect, turning them into a customer, and finally, converting them into a raving fan. Your blog is the point of entry where you have the opportunity to pull people into your world in such a way that your solution eventually becomes the only solution.

48. When consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product video, brand engagement can increase by up to 28%. (Source: comScore)

Vary your content, mix and match, and give your potential customer an experience they can’t get anywhere else and you will win this game. This is what Seth Godin means when he says “be remarkable” – be worthy of being talked about.

49. 78% of consumers believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships. (Source: TMG Custom Media)

Good business is built on good relationships. Businesses that have caught on to this fact, are beginning to make their marketing match this realization. I also believe we have reached the tipping point where consumers are expecting businesses to communicate with them through content.

50. 43% of people tend to skim blog posts. (Source: HubSpot)

As I said right at the beginning of this post, the bar has been raised for blogging. Your readers’ attention is the most precious thing they own.

The Internet is a marketplace for ideas, and ideas are literally the new currency of commerce. Make your content worth reading. If you can, make what you publish as close to the best thing your audience will read on any given day and they will reward with you with their attention and their money.

51. 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. (Source: Yahoo! Advertising Solutions)

They’re right!

52. According to 60% of marketers, blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (Source: HubSpot)

As it should be. By now you should be thoroughly sold on the idea of blogging. I’ve outlined the benefits for you, broken down some best practices and given you a clear blueprint for blogging success (based on some pretty compelling proof).

However, right at the beginning, and really throughout this post, I’ve teased you about the secret sauce for making blogging work for you. Well, here it is…

The #1 Critical Success Factor When It Comes to Blogging

If I had to isolate one thing from the list above that makes all the difference between blogs that win and blogs that lose it is this: consistency.

Actually, this is true of any kind of marketing you do, especially online. It’s a process.

You see, every keyword is a conversation going on in the mind of someone searching to solve a problem.

By blogging frequently, that is, by posting new, interesting and relevant content about key ideas from your industry or field, you are serving a burning need in the minds of your readers: the desire for solutions.

You’re also creating more pages to be indexed by Google, which as you’ve seen from blogging statistic #1, is great for SEO. This naturally leads to higher rankings in search engine results, which means your website is more likely to be viewed as a trusted resource by your potential customers. Everybody wins.

So, there you have it. Not only do you now have a wealth of proven data about blogging you can use as a benchmark to take your online marketing to the next level, you also have the key strategy for building top-of-mind (and top of Google) status with your readers.

Sure, it’s a lot of work, but with focus, combined with the right strategy, you can win the battle for your readers’ attention.

SlideShare: 52 Incredible Blogging Statistics to Inspire You to Blog

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how to blog for a photography business

How to Blog for a Photography Business: An Essential Guide

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

But that doesn’t mean that photography businesses get off the hook when it comes to content marketing. 😉

Today, everyone that has a business presence needs to blog.

Blogging is essential in the current digital landscape, and photographers have a unique opportunity to harness the power of blogging for their benefit and online reach will fall behind.

Fortunately, you can take proactive steps to learn how to blog for a photography business successfully and enjoy a more lucrative business, as a result. Here’s how.

how to blog for a photographer

How to Blog for a Photography Business: Why Should I Blog?

If you’re thinking, “Come on. I run a photography business! Why does blogging matter to me?” you’re not alone.

Today, lots of companies are confused about how and why blogging has become so critical to a good online presence.

The answer, however, is simple: blogging is the most efficient way to communicate with customers online, right now. What’s more, it’s seriously lucrative. Here are a few quick stats about how blogging impacts your ROI and bottom line, from Impact Branding and Design:

  • Websites that blog have an average of 434% more indexed pages than websites that don’t blog.
  • 47% of customers view 3-5 pieces of content before ever talking to a salesperson.
  • Companies that prioritize blogging are 13x as likely as their competitors to enjoy a positive ROI.
  • Compared to outbound leads, which have a close rate of 1.7%, inbound and blogging-focused leads have a close rate of 14.6%.
  • Businesses that blog earn 97% more inbound links to their site.
  • As many as 80% of customers ignore the paid ads at the top of Google’s results (this is a BIG deal for photo businesses!) and only focus on organic results.
  • Blogs are currently the web’s 5th most trusted source of online information.

We ourselves at Express Writers rely on consistent content creation to generate our inbound leads. (Here’s a case study on that.)

As you can see, effective blogging has a massive impact not only on your company’s visibility on the web but also on the way people perceive your brand.

If you’re bypassing blogging for paid advertising or (worse) no digital strategy at all, you’re missing out!

How to Blog for a Photography Business: An Example of Success

Jasmine Star is a great example of a Google success as a photography blogger.

She writes a lot of posts and even offers tips that appeal to a typical photography buyer, but aren’t necessarily photography related. Her target clientele is marketers and those who need beautiful professional photography, and she blogs in a wide sphere of topics that will get the attention of her target clientele. How to Get Your Social Media Posts Seen By More People is one of her blog topics, for example.

how to be a photographer blogger

Are you sitting down for this?

Her blog ranks in the top 3-4 organic results of Google for the highly competitive keyword photography blog.

photography blog

Jasmine’s consistent, awesome blogging has won her a top spot in Google’s organic results. And for a HUGE keyword.

To find out just how huge, I took that keyword to my favorite SEO tool, KWFinder, and found that this keyword brings in 22,200 monthly visitors. 

Jasmine’s blog gets an estimated large chunk of that volume.

photographer blogger

Keep in mind this is traffic fueled by Jasmine’s blog, fully organic, without a paid advertisement.

She gained this incredible keyword spot solely through her blogging chops!

Take inspiration: your one time investment per blog, as long as it’s quality and matches what your readers would expect to read (and will love and share), can last for years!

5 Reasons Blogging Matters for Photographers, Specifically

There are more reasons than the tremendous value in SEO traffic, although that’s pretty huge alone.

While it’s true that blogging is critical for all brands, everywhere, it has some unique benefits for photographers. Let’s break it down:

1. Blogging Lets You Show Your Customers Who You Are

For people outside the photography business, it might seem like all photographers are the same.  Of course, you know this isn’t true! While all photographers take pictures, each has their own individual style, focus, and strengths.

Luckily, blogging helps you showcase these.

By using a blog, you can show your customers what’s important to you and what you value as a professional. This, in turn, helps you connect with the most valuable, relevant clients and build a sense of recognition on the web.

2. Blogging Allows You To Showcase Your Work

Today, it can be tough for working photographers to find a way to display their recent photographs. After all, few photographers have physical galleries, and, even the ones who do don’t get tons of foot traffic to them.

Fortunately, blogging solves this problem by giving you a centralized location to display your newest work and update your customers. This helps you keep your portfolio fresh and ensures that your clients always see your latest and best images.

3. Blogging Boosts Your SEO in a Way Portfolio Sites Never Could

Some photographers address the issue listed in the point above by creating an online portfolio.

And while this is a smart idea, it’s not a super effective approach when it comes to SEO. The reason being that portfolio sites don’t do much in the way of including keywords, offering indexable pages, or providing valuable, customer-focused content.

They just exist.

They seldom get lots of traffic, and they certainly don’t do much to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Blogs, on the other hand, are much more symbiotic – as we saw in Jasmine’s example.

Designed to allow you to communicate directly with customers, blogs make it easy to target relevant keywords, keep your content fresh, and answer the biggest questions your customers have about your services, different photographic methods, and the industry as a whole.

4. Blogging Makes Your Content Shareable

Imagine this: you shoot a wedding or maternity shoot. You post the photos on your blog and share them on social media (with your customers’ permission, of course). The customer sees them, loves them, and shares the link to the blog gallery on their social media pages. Friends and family of that client, many of whom have been looking for reputable photography services, see the link and contact you to shoot their events. That’s the best-case scenario, right? When you run a reputable blog and update it frequently, it’s also a very likely one. Blogging makes your content shareable, which is critical for a salient photo business.

 5. Blogging Helps You Establish Your Personal Brand

Differentiating yourself from the competition is essential for photographers, and blogging makes it easy. Everything from the layout to the color scheme of the blog can be customized to suit your brand image, not to mention that you have complete control over the voice you use to interact with customers.

How to Blog for a Photography Business: 10 Actionable Tips for Your Photography Blog

If you’re reading this, you’re likely considering blogging for your photography business for the first time. While it can seem intimidating to start your first business blog, it’s not nearly as difficult as it might seem. Just follow these guidelines.

1. Understand Your “Why”

The key to a successful blog is having a reason for doing it. While it’s true that blogging is an essential part of running a modern photography business, it’s also not enough to just have a blog you update only occasionally.

Instead, you need to make a conscious decision about why you’re operating your blog and what you hope to achieve. For example, is your blog going to act as a strategy for recognition, helping your customers recognize your work and your brand where it appears?

Or is your blog a movable portfolio that you’ll update regularly? If you’re like most photographers, the answer will be several things at once.

No matter why you’re operating your blog, though, you need to understand the motivation behind it and what you’re hoping to gain from the blog. This will help direct everything else.

2. Pinpoint Your Audience

Today, there are 3,583,926,400 people using the internet.

Can you imagine trying to speak to all of them?

Of course not! For one, not all these people are interested in hiring you, and even the fraction of them who need a photographer won’t hire you for various reasons, ranging from geographical issues to a different preferred style.

One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make in their photography blogs is trying to talk to everyone. In addition to being impossible, it’s tiring to be everything to everyone.

As such, you’ve got to pinpoint your audience.

Who are the model customers who hire you? And how can you speak to them more effectively?

Answering these questions by constructing a target persona is an essential method for starting your blog off strong and stable.

persona

Read our guide for more on how to develop a target persona.

3. Offer Relevance

The best photography blogs out there succeed because they’re relevant. For example, a great wedding photographer might blog about how many hours of wedding coverage customers should consider purchasing (most people assume they need less than they do, and a relevant blog about how long everything takes would be helpful).

Photographers that specialize in alternative processes might talk about why cyanotypes are so unique, or how large format cameras play into modern-day photography. Photographers who specialize in newborn and maternity portraits might offer helpful tips for getting your baby to pose on picture day or how to help other siblings join the photos in a constructive and equal way.

The more relevant you can be with your blog post topics, the better. In addition to helping your customers connect with your content, it will also make them want to come back for more.

4. Make Converting Simple

When you start blogging as a new photographer, you want to make it as easy as possible for your blog to draw new customers. Initially, this means making it simple for your customers to convert. For best results, ensure that the blog posts you write have all the information your customers need to feel comfortable and trusting in your brand.

This goes for your website, as well, which should feature everything from your location and contact information to your pricing and testimonials. You’ll also want to find creative ways to incorporate calls-to-action (such as “book your session now” or “Get a quote”) throughout your page. The easier your blog makes it for readers to convert, the better off you’ll be.

5. Be Consistent in Your Blogging

You know what’s worse than no blog at all? A stagnant blog that never gets updated. Not only does this show customers that you don’t care about your content, but it also sends the message that you’re not very good at following through. Instead of falling victim to this dreaded fate, ensure that once you start a blog, you can update it regularly.

While the frequency will depend on you and your goals, it’s wise to update your blog at least once a week, if not more often. Once you’ve found a blogging schedule that works for you, stick with it. This is the only way to earn readers and grow your audience, after all.

6. Integrate With Social

If you’re not integrating your blog with your social media accounts, you’re missing out on a large piece of the puzzle. Today, blogs and social media go together like peanut butter and jelly. Without one, the other can’t reach its full potential.

Every time you write a new blog, share it on your social profiles, as well. Most blogging platforms, like WordPress, for example, offer built-in functionalities that make it easy to share the blog post automatically. As you gain likes and shares on your social profile, you’ll also gain readers on your blog.

7. Save Your Best For The Blog

Thanks to the immediacy of blogs, people often assume they’re a place for half-baked thoughts and hastily rattled off ideas. Not so. In fact, your blog should be the home of your best and brightest content.

With this in mind, ensure that everything you publish on your blog has been vetted thoroughly by your quality-control methods. You want to proofread everything adequately, showcase only your best photos and ensure that the formatting of the blog is perfect before you fire it off.

Don’t ever write and publish anything in one day, if you can avoid it. Instead, start drafts and then hone them until they’re perfect. While it’s true that this takes more time, it’s also true that it will deliver better results in the end. When it comes to blogging for your photography business, it’s always quality over quantity.

8. Keep It Professional

Photography is a very personal profession, and that’s bound to come out on your blog. For best results, though, you want to keep it personal but still professional.

This means always getting permission from your clients to share their photos, using discretion when sharing intimate or private photos, and being careful to protect the identities of the people you mention. Over-sharing isn’t cute in any aspect of business, especially photography. When in doubt, don’t share it.

9. Learn Some SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a critical part of blogging, and learning the fundamentals of it can take your blog from good to great. Ideally, you’ll want to learn how to include target keywords, how to format headlines, meta descriptions and titles, and body content, and how to optimize the images in your post so Google can discover them.

While these sound like complicated steps, they’re not!

Here are a few tips to follow:

Keep Your Paragraphs Short

Paragraphs should be between 2-4 sentences.

Include Keywords Naturally

If you’re targeting “portrait photographer in Boston,” you’ll want to include it in your headline, a sub header or two, and throughout your body copy a few times. Don’t overstuff your content with it, though, or you’ll come off as spammy and cheap.

Optimize Images With Alt Text

When you plug an image into a blog, it’s important to use alt text to help search engines “Read it.” Right now, Google can’t interpret images without alt text, so this is a critical SEO component of ranking well. Here’s an example of what good alt text looks like, from Yoast.

image-alt-title-wordpress

Write like you speak. While you always want to be professional in your blogs, it’s also essential to be natural. The more natural you can be in your writing, the more attractive and approachable you’ll be to readers.

10. Keep your topics fresh

It’s easy to get stale as you blog for your photography business. Fortunately, you can keep your topics fresh by writing about things like your recent work, adventures you or your clients have taken, your personal experiences, and general photography tips, tricks, and questions.

Be sure to keep an ear to your readers to ensure you’re writing about topics they find interesting, and covering the areas they want to read about. For example, topics like “10 Tips to Prepare for Your Engagement Shoot” or “What’s the Right Age for Newborn Pictures?” are both great topics.

Remember Jasmine Star’s example of unique photography topics that appeal to her specific audience.

Your topics should be narrow enough to match your niche. For example, if you’re a portrait photographer, you might not want to write about which lenses to use for landscape photography.

The more you can narrow your topics and your niche, the more successful your blog will be.

How to Blog for a Photography Business, Made Simple

While blogging for your photography business may seem like a new idea, it’s one of the smartest ways to make your company stand out from the crowd.

Learning how to blog for a photography business is crucial. In addition to labeling you as an authority, boosting your SEO, and making it easier for would-be customers to find you, blogging also helps you hone your skills and expand your offering to clients.

This, in turn, can boost your entire business and help you grow your bottom line in a big way.

For more information about blogging for your photography business, or to find a team of writers who can help you create content you’re proud of, contact Express Writers today! We have photography writers ready to create your blogs, and blogging packages that are completely hands-off.