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.

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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.

blog intro

Hook ‘Em: How to Write a Killer Blog Intro

Eight seconds.

According to Time, that’s how long the average human’s attention span is these days.

For content marketers, that means grabbing someone’s attention is a lot of work and you have less time than ever to do it. This requires more than a little bit of strategic thinking.

How do you claim your readers’ attention? Is it even possible?

The truth is, you still have the chance to do it, but that chance is slimmer than ever.

It all comes down to your introduction and the first few sentences.

But no pressure! 😉

To help you craft that picture-perfect intro, here’s everything you need to know about crafting killer blog intros in the modern world.

how to write a killer blog intro

Why Are Your Blog Intros So Important?

In a world of rapidly shrinking attention spans, the intro serves a critical purpose: it hooks the reader like bait hooks a hungry fish.

Today, people are accustomed to making split-second decisions about people, places, topics, and yes, online content. They swipe right or left, so to speak, without giving much thought to anything beyond how the thing in question makes them feel at first glance.

This can easily be bad news for your online content because it means that anything that doesn’t jump off the page as interesting, exciting, funny, or relevant is liable to get slashed. What’s more, your intros are some of the most high-visibility pieces of your content.

While most people will at least glance at your intro, not everyone will take the time to read your entire body copy, which means that the intro is the perfect and one of the few places to grab those readers you so desperately want.

Finally, the intro sets the tone for the rest of your content. If it’s boring, everything else is likely to follow suit. If it’s exciting and compelling, you can bet the rest of the content will be, too.

By using your intro to show your readers you understand them and want to provide material they love, you can boost their confidence in you while also branding yourself as an engaging and worthwhile writer. Even a strong headline isn’t enough to do this. Many a blog had a strong headline and a weak intro and lost readers as a result.

The Death of the Weak Word

Writing a compelling lede is a lot like writing an impactful haiku or a great tweet: it takes technique.

One of the most essential techniques you can learn to overhaul your introduction is how to kill weak words.

weak words image

Source: Neil Patel

While this seems simple, it’s the foundation of great opening paragraphs.

Think about it: if your intros are filled with weak, flabby words, they won’t be impactful, and if they’re not impactful, your readers won’t stick around.

For your introductions to succeed, weak words need to be chopped out and replaced with more exciting and emotive alternatives.

Thanks in large part to the dismal nature of the human attention span and the fact that introductions can’t, by nature, ramble on forever, there isn’t a lot of room to include bulky, pointless, or weak words. This means that killing them is essential.

At the end of the day, learning how to trim the fat in your writing, and especially in your introduction, is the only way to create strong content that reflects well on your brand.

Include weak words, and you’ll sink, cut them, and you’ll float to the top of your readers’ minds.

Example of a Strong Vs. Weak Blog Intro

Let’s put a strong blog intro vs. weak side by side to truly impact you on why studying how to write a great blog intro is so very crucial.

Can you spot which one is “strong” as you review these two blog intros, pulled from the web?

First example:

weak blog intro

Second example:

smart blogger example

The first was from GoDotMedia, the second from SmartBlogger.com.

Can you see at a glance which one you personally like better?

It probably took you less than 8 seconds to make that decision. At a glance, there is one that sticks out far more powerfully.

Let’s explore how you can write powerful intros for your blogs, all the time, without fail. Ready?

How to Write Killer Blog Intros 101: 10 Fundamental Tips for Greatness

Writing great blog intros is a little bit like becoming a weightlifter – you have to work up to it and learn the right steps along the way. Here are ten foolproof tricks to get you there.

1. Embrace The Process Of Self-Editing

editing meme

Quick: what’s your favorite novel? Okay, now how many drafts of that book do you think its author penned? When it comes to great writing, self-editing is essential.

Even the best writer needs to go back through his or her writing, again and again, to ensure it shines, and anyone who doesn’t embrace this process is likely to fall short.

Hemingway is famous for having said “I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times…the first draft of anything is s&*t.”

With this in mind, don’t expect the first version of your introduction to also be the last version of your headline. To succeed in this business, you must master the process of self-editing, especially when it comes to your most critical piece of content –  the first few paragraphs.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Great introductions are formulaic, which is both good and bad news. It’s good because formulas are, by definition, things that can be memorized and learned. It’s bad because it means you’ll have to put in the work required to master it.

Luckily, practicing your introduction writing skills and learning which tricks help churn out the best ones is something everyone can master.

3. Minimize Modifiers

Modifiers:

“really,” “very,” and “literally” are “fluff”

These are words that don’t belong in your introductions, or anywhere in your content!

The more you can cut these out, the more impactful your headlines will be.

Instead of using these low-impact filler words, use a replacement verb that’s more powerful and compelling than the one that came before it.

Check out our free resource of 120 powerful words to boost your vocabulary skills!

4. Test Your Headlines

Did you know that there are a series of online tools that you can use to improve your headlines, which, in turn, improves your introduction?

Options like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and AMI’s Headline Tool both allow you to input your headline and analyze it for its concentration of common, emotional, and uncommon words.

headline analyzer

They also evaluate length, impact, and wordiness to help you craft your best headlines yet. Once you’ve nailed a great headline, you can use that momentum to carry you through a stellar opening paragraph, as well.

5. Conduct Multiple Rounds Of Edits

If you’re only editing your intro once, or not editing it at all, you’re falling into dangerous territory. For your intro to be impactful and compelling, you need to put in the elbow grease required to make it shine.

This means at least two rounds of edits, separated by at least six hours. Don’t ever publish a blog without this. The two rounds might seem overkill, but they serve an important purpose.

The second round of edits allows you to see things you missed the first time, and identify different areas for improvement in your intros.

6. Keep Your Opening Sentences One Line

Look back at the opening sentences of this blog.

neil patel

Source: Neil Patel

See how the first sentences live on their own line?

That’s a great tactic because it’s visually impactful and simple enough to root its way into the reader’s brain.

Continue this all the way down to your first headline, where it makes sense to.

The shorter your first (and first few after that) sentence is, the punchier it will be, and the more likely your readers are to remember it.

7. Get Weird

Okay, you don’t have to be weird for the sake of being weird, but if you can say something unusual (while still being relevant and professional), do it!

Take a tip from Kafka’s Metamorphosis, here, which is widely considered to have one of the best opening lines of all time,

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

This opening line has been studied in colleges down around the world, and the words that compile this one sentence are tremendously powerful. What’s more, variations abound, because the book wasn’t even originally in English – it’s been loved across multiple countries. (Guardian)

 Metamorphosis Franz Kafka

Who, pray tell, is going to stop reading after that?

The more unique you can be in your opening lines, the better chance you have of hooking your reader and keeping them interested.

8. Don’t Repeat Yourself

At this point in your content, you’re still so close to the title that one of the worst things you can do is repeat it.

For example, if your title is “10 Ways to Make Money and Be Successful,” your opening line should not be “Everyone wants to make money and be successful.”

Not only is this repetitive, but it’s also insulting to the reader’s intelligence. According to HubSpot, it’s much wiser to assume the reader has already read the title, and move on with a statement that reinforces or adds to it.

9. Write In The Second Person

Second person is the most personal type of voice to use in your online blog writing.

To grab your reader right off the bat, and show them that you understand what it’s like to be in their shoes, use the word “you” as you write.

first person

Source: Right Attitudes

This will showcase to your readers not only that you’re creating content with them in mind, but also that you care about them and have developed the content to be useful and relevant to them. When it comes to intros, that’s an attractive place to start from.

10. Follow A Structure

I mentioned earlier that great intros are formulaic, and they are.

As a general rule, you should dedicate two sentences to the topic of the article (“This article is about X”), two sentences to why it matters (“This affects you because Y”) and at least one sentence addressing a pain point, outcome, or lesson the content will cover.

While there’s some flexibility in how you structure these components, being sure to include them is essential for great intros.

BONUS: 4 Industry Secrets to Create Stellar Intros

Curious how you, too, can create great intros?

Here are four secrets used by the pros.

1. Talk Directly To Your Reader

I know, I know. You’ve heard this before.

But I’m proposing something different. I’m not proposing you just write to one person; I’m proposing you talk to your reader as if he or she was a real person standing directly in front of you.

This adds a whole new level of engagement to your piece and makes it much more impactful and exciting. Talk to your reader like a friend and show them, in your intro, how much you care about helping them find the answers they need.

2. Play On Emotion

To make your introductions more compelling, use them as a place to play on your readers’ emotions. Strong descriptors are an excellent way to do this, as are intros that show that you understand the reader’s experience. Here’s an example:

“We’ve all been there. You sit down at your computer to start a new day of work, but your screen stays black. You start to panic. What’s going to happen to your documents? While computer issues like this are frightening, they’re so common, and they’re more troubling now that we rely on our devices for everything from work to socialization.”

This paragraph elicits emotion from the reader, and will likely encourage them to keep reading, as a result.

3. Break It Up

The best intros don’t confront readers with a huge block of text. Instead, they use short, 2-4 sentence paragraphs to keep the reader engaged and pull them through the content.

We do this all the time on The Write Blog posts:

write blog intro example

 

This intro uses short, sweet sentences to make the text seem more accessible and inviting to the reader.

4. Spend At Least As Much Time, If Not More, Editing The Intro As You Did The Whole Piece

The more efficiently you can edit your intro, the better. Spend a significant chunk of time going back through it to make it shine. Many professionals recommend that you give your intro at least three rounds of editing, since it’s such a critical piece of your content.

As you go back through it, look for weak words and phrases and anything that is fluffy, not emotive, or not as powerful as it should be. If you’re not sure, read it out loud and look for places where you stumble or hesitate, which probably need work. Bonus points for passing it along for a friend or family member to read, as well.

In Defense of a Great Blog Intro

A blog without a shockingly good introduction is just a sad shell of a thing.

By taking the time to create an introduction that will knock your readers’ socks off, you can improve your content, boost your engagement rates, and earn yourself more readers, both now and in the future.

Take that plunge!

Need experienced copywriters to help you craft once-in-a-lifetime introductions?

Contact Express Writers to work with your ideal team of writers today!

blog writers

How to Find & Work With Your Best-Fit Blog Writers

Today, content is everything.

Unfortunately, most companies simply don’t have the time, resources, or skill level to create quality content in-house. While many businesses try to scrape by, anyway, the truth is that opting to skimp on content is an excellent way to damage your business and put your livelihood at risk.

Luckily, there’s a better way.

By hiring professional blog writers to create your content for you, you can reap all of the skill and expertise these professionals have to offer, without pulling your hair out in the process. Read on to learn more.

blog writer

Why Hire Professional Blog Writers?

While many marketers believe that hiring professional blog writers is just an unneeded expense, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, today, blog writers are more important than they’ve ever been before. As it stands right now, the U.S. population conducts roughly 12 billion Google searches each month, and 60% of the clicks produced by those searches go directly to the top 3 search results on Google’s SERPs.

With this in mind, it’s clear that customers have more than enough websites and companies to choose from online, but that they consistently choose the ones that establish themselves as authorities in their niches and industries. While many companies believe this can be achieved through a mixture of paid advertisements and link building, the fact of the matter is that content is the single best way to produce a great business strategy that lasts.

By hiring professional blog writers to manage your content for you, you’ll reap the following benefits:

  • Authority. Customers want valuable, authoritative content that helps them learn something new. Hiring professional blog writers is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re offering this for your audience. Because professional blog writers know how to craft concise, compelling, unique content for your site, their services are a fantastic way to boost your brand authority and become a better-known entity in your industry.
  • Relevancy. Professional blog writers have an intimate understanding of how to make sure content is as relevant as possible. Because blog writers are skilled at writing in an approachable, conversational, friendly tone peppered with heavy research, and then adapting that voice to suit your particular audience and segment of the market, hiring a professional blog writer is a fantastic way to boost your relevance across the board.
  • Skill. Let’s face it – writing well takes skill, and many people simply don’t have it. When you hire a professional team of blog writers, though, you’ll get a skilled, high-quality team of writers who know how to craft flawless content for your brand. From spelling and grammar to today’s most current SEO standards, blog writers understand how to make content shine.
  • Simplicity. As a business owner, you’re incredibly busy. While you might not have the time or the effort to put into crafting quality content, professional blog writers do, and this can help you boost your business. According to HubSpot, companies that have between 401-1000 pages on their website earn six times as many leads as those with between 51-100 pages. With this in mind, more is better, and blog writers can help you populate your site with quality content without sacrificing your sanity or home life.
  • Adjustability. Your business is going to grow and change, and a skilled team of blog writers will be there to see you through it. Because bloggers are highly adaptable and adjustable, they’re the ideal people to have on your side – whether you need to create a blog post, press release, or a simple product description.

Google’s Standards Now Demand Expert Writers

While all the reasons I just mentioned are valid ones to hire blog writers, there’s one huge reason that rules them all: Google demands it. Last year, Google released the entire transcript of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. The document was 160-pages long and designed to assist Google’s infamous human search quality evaluators understand what constitutes a quality site and what doesn’t.

While there was plenty of highly useful information within the long document, two acronyms stood out: EAT and YMYL.

EAT

EAT

EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness and refers to three of the top things websites need to rank well in Google. The acronym, while useful on many levels, provides increased evidence for Google’s obsession with expert writers.

Because there are so many low-quality web pages across the internet, Google rewards sites that offer high levels of EAT. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to obtain unless you hire a professional writer. For a page to have high levels of EAT, it must be concise, expert, and relevant.

Be advised that these guidelines shift depending upon what type of page we’re dealing with. While a page that deals with breaking a young horse will require exactly as much expertise as a page that talks about how to become a stand-up comedian, the industries are slightly different and, as such, the knowledge required for each will be slightly different.

While Google does differentiate between formal (Educated) and non-formal (lived) experience, it’s critical to have a high level of expertise to rank well in the search engine.

YMYL

YMYL

While EAT describes what a page needs to rank well, YMYL provides some additional insight on which pages need the most of it. YMYL stands for “your money or your life” and is a critical acronym for marketers who want to improve their content across the board.

You see, YMYL pages are distinct: they’re the web pages that have the potential to have a direct and negative impact on a person’s health, wealth, or well-being if the content within them is not perfect. These pages include financial advice pages, family law pages, any medical page, and the like.

While YMYL pages have always been important, Google underscored how critical it is to have expert writers construct these back in 2015, and recently updated the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines to reflect an increased importance on both EAT and YMYL.

5 Rules for Working with a Blog Writer

Now that you know why working with a blog writer is such a good idea, let’s talk about how to do it effectively.

1. Set clear expectations

Your writers are only as good as your instructions. By providing clear, concise instructions and expectations, you make it easier for writers to live up to them and create content you’ll love. This, in turn, smooths the relationship between you and your writer and makes it easier to succeed both now and down the road.

2. Understand your target audience

If you don’t understand your target audience, it’s going to be harder for you to guide your writer to create quality, helpful, informative content. While a blog writer will be able to research your audience for you, it’s still essential that you have enough of a grip on who you’re trying to reach that you can provide quality feedback both now and in the future.

3. Be flexible

Blog writers aren’t just blog writers – they’re also social media experts, marketers, and psychologists. To get the most out of working with a blog writer, keep your mind open. Your writer may be able to propose an alternative track or solution that appeals to your company, but may seem shocking at first. Don’t write anything off before understanding why, for example, your writer things you should boost your social content.

4. Read and respond

While a writer can help you craft quality content, you’re still the site owner, and it’s your job to continue engaging your audience. As you notice comments and interaction pop up on your writer’s piece, take the time to reach out and respond. In addition to solidifying bonds with your customers, this approach will also make it easier for your content to succeed in the future.

5. Adjust as needed

As you move on with your content strategy, you may notice that certain things need to be boosted while others can afford to fall by the wayside. Follow your writer’s lead on this and don’t be afraid to adjust as needed.

The Case for Professional Blog Writers

While hiring professional blog writers may be a foreign concept to you, it’s a step that can have a huge, positive impact on your content as a whole.

Get your dream content with the help of our expert blog writers!

summer blogging

3 Easy Ways to Keep Up Your Blogging This Summer

Can’t wait to escape to the beach and enjoy your margarita this summer?

Hold on there, if you’re a business owner or marketer…

The sad news is your business and marketing won’t run itself, if you’re gone and no one else is left to run it.

That’s especially true of your online presence, like blogging and social media.

It might seem ridiculously tempting to just let the blog sit still for a month and take off, but here are some killer statistics that prove why you shouldn’t let your blog stagnate (even for a week).

summer blogging

Why Consistent Blogging Wins

Why would you put all of that on hold for a month? Don’t let your online exposure and presence drop because of time off.

The good news is that you don’t have to fold up that beach towel just yet.

3 Ways to Keep Your Blogging Healthy Despite the Summer Holiday

Keep reading for my top three methods to have a consistent content flow to boost your online presence despite the summer vacation season.

1. Stock topics and keyword research in advance.

This one’s very simple. I’ll break topic skeletons and keyword research topic searches into two points.

#1: Topic skeleton fodder

For the topic skeletons, all you need is Word and a couple hours of time.

Come up with great blog topics by asking yourself a few questions and digging down with solid answers. It doesn’t even have to be perfect, what you write down: a professional blog writer can finalize your content to perfection and come up with headlines that will earn more clicks than your rough sketches.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. Outline your answers in a doc, which can be a rough sketch you send to your writer.

  • Your story: Your founding story alone can make multiple great blog topics. Think of the value points of your company and why you believe in what you do. For example: “My T-shirt printing company stands out because of the ink we produce and the quality assurance we give our clients.”
  • What are your client’s biggest pain points? Each pain point can make a new blog topic possibility. Example, “My T-shirt printing clients come to me with the problem that a lot of shirts are made cheaply. The print might come off in the wash or with use too quickly.” Aha! 7 Ways to Preserve Your T-Shirt Print-Ons, or How to Wash Your T-Shirt And Avoid Fading (Every Time). There you go – winning blog topics out of a few customer pain points.

The second side of this point can garner a double list of blog topics.

#2: Keyword Research

For keyword research opportunities to help you come up with great SEO topics, I love SEMrush and KWFinder. It’s simple to research for your best keyword opportunities when using these tools.

Check out my nutshell guide to keyword research for an in-depth guide.

If keyword discovery requires too much time to figure out, check to see if the writing solution you’re using can do the keyword research for you. (We offer keyword strategy ourselves here.)

2. Invest in a blog writing service.

There’s no way around this one. If you want your blog to literally run itself, you’ll need to invest in a good blog writer (or two).

Here are key things to ask for when you’re reaching out to your potential blog ghostwriter so you can find a perfect fit:

  • Writing samples: This is key. Those with experience will have a large portfolio available and diverse samples.
  • Online & search optimization writing skills: Although the creative skills of a genius writer are at the core of successful online writing, and that should be your primary concern, you should check secondarily for a skill set in SEO content optimization skills. Make sure your writer knows how to write a unique meta description for every blog, meta title, and how to use your topical keywords naturally throughout the post.

3. Don’t just hire a writer; get a specialist who fits your industry.

Have you heard of the Google E-A-T and Y-M-Y-L standards? Basically, Google looks for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust in every post going out on the web. For the intense industries, like finance or law, Google looks for even higher standards (Your Money or Your Life).

You need an expert copywriter if your content falls in a high level category to get the most results out of your Google presence. To make sure your blogger can match these standards, ask for relevant samples in your industry and their real-life expertise in your niche (example, 10 years as a paralegal).

Conclusion

Don’t let summer get your ‪content strategy down. With a serious, active blog strategy, your leads, online presence and revenue will stay on the rise.

10 off blogging

It’s easy to enjoy time off when you have experts keeping your blog up. Invest in your online content today & save with code summer5. Visit the Content Shop.

floating by blogger syndrome

The Floating-By Blogger Syndrome: How Not To Be Just Another Blogger

Have you ever felt like everyone in the world has a blog?

If yes, you’re actually not too far off in your thinking. 58.6 million new blog posts are being published each month on WordPress; and there are over 76 million entire blogs that exist on WordPress. There are over 288 million more bloggers on Tumblr!

With this many bloggers hooked up and running online, it can be difficult to understand how you could ever stand out from the crowd. There’s a seriously overflowing river (flood) of blogs. So, how are you going to excel in the middle of all of them? Or do anything but float by?

While there are truly millions of active blogs out there, I have a little secret for you: many of them are lacking in what I’m about to show you. That means you DO have a chance, if you’re prepared to put in the elbow grease, dedicate yourself, and follow my tips. Read on to learn more about how you can prevent your blog from stagnating beneath the weight of the unhealthy, unsuccessful floating-by blogger syndrome.

floating by blogger syndrome

The Curse of the Floating-By Blogger Syndrome: Identifying the Floaters

Regardless of the topic, writer, or platform, most blogs are snooze-worthy. They’re just another getup, floating by on the same raft structure every blog is using.

Why?

This unfortunate blogging syndrome has stemmed from the fact that everyone with some kind of brand, business, or story to tell, has heard from their brother, mother, sister, neighbor, marketer, or anyone really: you need to start a blog!

Those that take this advice suddenly and without another thought become one of the following floating-by bloggers: 

  • Bloggers that don’t take the time needed to master the art of blogging. I mean the art of getting down, nitty-gritty, and write to stir emotions. Create to produce helpful thoughts that will shake the Internet. As Grant Cardone puts it—work to dominate, not compete. That’s the work involved in “mastering the art” of blogging.
  • Bloggers that–wait for it–don’t write well. Many bloggers who have hastily taken the advice of “build a blog for your business now!” are poor writers, or are simply churning out content about topics they don’t care about. If there’s one floating-by type that irks me, it’s that one.
  • Bloggers that just follow the lead of bloggers they admire without any new insights or thoughts, which has resulted in them being unoriginal carbon copies of other writers. Nothing new to see folks, just passing by here.
  • The rushed blogger. They haven’t dedicated the time to find their niche, audience, people–and just blog in the dark without inspiration or a mission.

Hence my coined term: the “Floating-by Blogger Syndrome.” Does it make sense now? These bloggers are all just floating by, and while they may be creating content, they’re failing to create anything original, unique, or attention-grabbing.

With so many blogs in the world, it’s tough to imagine that many of them are the same, but it’s true. You could skim thousands of blogs right now and find that they all look and sound exactly alike.

Gosh, it’s really become a sea, hasn’t it? In addition to the fact that cookie-cutter blogs clog up the Internet, they also don’t provide readers with the value they are so desperately seeking.

Let’s talk about how you can completely miss the boat and reach a mountain instead: avoid the floating-by syndrome and become a stand-out blogger.

5 Ways to Be Better Than the Floating-By Blogger

I guarantee that if you follow my five steps below, you have a 100% chance of NOT becoming the next floating-by blogger.

1. Focus on your audience

Your blog is not about you.

It’s not about your brand.

Or what you want to sell.

It’s all about, can I repeat that all about, the person you’re writing to and for.

Too many blogs are bogged down in the mire of old-school SEO wisdom, sales tactics, and tired conventions. While things like keywords, CTAs, and optimization are important, they’re not the whole picture and bloggers that focus on them too much risk sacrificing the human connection that makes blogging work.

To avoid this, be sure that you’re focusing on your audience and your topics first, and your message and ranking (CTA or your keywords) second.

Developing an audience-focused perspective is a foreign concept for many bloggers, but it’s quite easy. It starts by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • Who is my audience? This question can be answered by defining a target audience. While the practice may seem a bit granular to some bloggers, it’s an incredibly important step in developing a genuinely audience-centric outlook. When you know who your target audience is, what they want, how they shop, and what they’re concerned about, you can create content that caters specifically to them.
  • How will you reach your audience? Do you know which content formats your audience prefers? Do they love image-dense websites like The Verge or would they rather interact with your content through Tweets or long-form Facebook posts? Answer this question by taking the time to determine which of your content performs the best. If you’re still having a tough time determining where your audience most wants to find you, just ask them! Sites like SurveyMonkey can help you create simple surveys that provide you with valuable perspective into your audiences’ true desires.
  • Make your topics deep. One of the most common mistakes floating-by bloggers make is that they fail to provide in-depth topics. All too often, bloggers assume that briefer is better, and they miss out on the value of long-form content. The truth is, long-form content converts better (about 37% better) than shorter content. In light of this, don’t be afraid to develop in-depth content that your readers can use as a guide. Provide actionable tips, relatable scenarios, plenty of images or screenshots, and a decent amount of links to help your readers find the information they’re looking for. They’ll thank you, and you’ll quickly become one of their favorite blogs on the web.

2. Work hard

There is NO way around this. I spend hours and hours a week to create my blogs now.(I create 2-3 a week for our own site; my team members create infographics and Twitter chat recaps. I guest blog – A LOT. We post about 40 pieces all in all a month.) I work my fingers off. Blogging is a serious commitment, if you’re in it to win it. If you’re not, never mind. Don’t waste our time. The world doesn’t need more floaters-by. The world DOES need more exceptional bloggers who will put out a masterpiece every time, and not be afraid to share authenticity, a genuine perspective, and unique insights that no one else is offering.

That’s how to look at blogging. As a blogger, be prepared to face what every successful story has faced before they hit success: hard work. Here’s a little something to inspire you: my results when I committed to blogging this hard. 

Case Study: How We’ve Succeeded Blogging Through a Butt Load of Hard Work

January 2016, I made a promise to myself: to put out content I’d be prouder of than any content I’d ever written or published before. Every single post now has my personal touch—I’m spending more time, investing more team power (and money to pay them), and more resources than I EVER have. I now stress over headlines. Work for hours on a concept. Take a day over a visual, with two other team members helping me. Finalize a written piece by rewriting it for an hour. Spend an hour every morning just to amplify it and get the word out.

And guess how it’s paying off?

We’ve had the most site traffic we’ve ever had—look at that spike that started in January! (screenshot from SEMrush)

semrush express writersWe’ve had the most shares and comments we’ve ever had on our content to date, too. Here are three blogs shared over 200 times, with varying share counts across all platforms:

 

express writers blogging strategy

express writers share counts

express writers shares

Hard work pays off, people.

But you actually have to work really hard. If you invest in blogging as if it’s your main channel, that’s how you garner real results—and, for us, it is our main marketing channel. And that’s what’s cool. As a content writing agency, blogging is 95% of our lead generation: we know how well it works. (Why you should hire us. But hey, I’m not here just to plug. Keep reading and learning first.)

3. Work smart

You know how #1 said work hard? Now, I’m telling you how to work smart as a blogger. So you don’t spend every day writing a blog and 0 days building your business or leaving that rock you’ll be under, if you take on blogging all by yourself. Just don’t do it. Don’t kill yourself.

So, work smart. That means you should be using your tools. Many bloggers fail to take advantage of the ample number of tools that are currently available online. I’m not talking about simple spell-checkers and thesauruses – I’m talking about topic research tools, analytics, and social tools. These tools can do many things – from helping you determine which of your content is most popular to helping you manage your social platforms from one easy dashboard. Here are two I’m currently loving.

  • BuzzSumo: One of my favorite tools ever for content marketing is also perfect for developing your best blog content and topic research. The tool is called BuzzSumo, and it’s designed to help bloggers find the content that’s performing best in their industry. Use BuzzSumo to search for content by keyword and then use the results to harvest new topic ideas or develop more in-depth posts. Ideal for bloggers at all levels of the game, this is one tool that can be a game-changer for your blogging.
  • Headline Help: Another favorite tool of mine is the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. Let me tell you: every time I’ve worked on my header (which is every time I write a piece of content), I tailor it, rewrite it, and edit it until it hits 25% or more on this radar. And every time I’ve done that, I’ve seen more than average shares on that piece of content. Your headline matters: and one way to get it right is to use this analyzer. Another way is to use powerful words. To make sure you’re doing that, download our list of 120 power words.

Now, working smart includes—wait for it—the art of hiring someone else! Yes, I just said the dirty. Want in on a little blogging secret? Many bloggers don’t write all of their content. The reason for this is that content creation is difficult and time-consuming! Between harvesting ideas for topics, writing, editing, publishing, promoting, and engaging with audiences, you can easily find yourself without much free time. Unless your sole living is being a blogger, it’s tough to keep all of those balls in the air at once. Fortunately, you don’t have to struggle through it alone.

Many bloggers hire professional writers as their blogs grow. In addition to relieving some of the burdens of content creation and distribution, the decision to hire writers also helps a blog maintain its diversity and interest by bringing in different voices and viewpoints. And don’t worry – hiring a writer doesn’t mean that you have to stop blogging altogether! Writers can help you supplement your content, assist you in research, and help you organize or develop your topics. You can still write your blogs, just with less stress and more time.

A word of caution, though: If you do decide to hire writers, be sure that you avoid average or novice writers and opt for an expert writer who knows your industry. Google’s standards demand expertise and your blog will be rewarded for it.

4. Build your OWN visuals

So much of becoming a unique blogger is simply about going the extra mile. Too many run-of-the-mill bloggers just slap stock images into their blog posts and call it good.

But you can go much further by bucking the status quo and developing your own unique visuals for your blog.

Here are three things I’ve done to provide unique imagery across the board for Express Writers:

1. A custom photoshoot with various happy, sad, etc. writing poses featuring me, for example to get this kind of image:

#ContentWritingChat recap

2. Illustrations drawn from scratch and colored in InDesign by our in-team illustrator, like the one for this blog and a couple more:

floating by blogger syndrome

blog is our business card illustration

Small business blog

These custom drawings have by far boosted our blog, shares and outreach more than any other visual I’ve added to a written content piece yet. Huge, huge results if you invest the time, effort and trouble to make your own designs from scratch.

3. Infographics developed from scratch by our team writers and designers.

Inside the Brain of a Copywriter cover for blog

Check out the Copywriter’s Brain!

4. Bonus: GIFs! A gif always adds a moving visual treat to any content piece. Take Dwight from The Office, for example:

idiot

Even if you’re not an expert graphic designer, sites like Canva can allow you to create your own beautiful visuals easily and with zero stress. If you would rather hire a designer than make your own images on Canva, you can easily find talented graphic artists on sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

5. Don’t forget to promote your content!

Now that you’ve gone to all this trouble to create unique content don’t forget to promote it. While many bloggers advertise their posts through simple Facebook updates or Tweets, it’s easy to get better results by going a few steps further than the average blogger.

One great way to do this is by using a tool called ContentMarketer.io. Designed to help bloggers and content marketers manage promotion easily, ContentMarketer.io is a comprehensive and broad-ranging tool that includes innovative connection and notification features. Use the Connection platform to harness the power of promotional templates that allow you to share your content, network with industry influencers, secure guest posting opportunities, reach out to investors, and send out professional follow-ups.

You can also use the platform’s Notifier feature to find mentions in your posts and notify the relevant influencers. This can help you build your reputation and gain a more prominent spot in the blogosphere. If you’re interested in ContentMarketer.io, you can get both the Notifier and Connector features for about $9 a month, so there’s no breaking the bank to promote your content. Using a service like ContentMarketer.io is an excellent way to give yourself a leg-up on your competition and ensure that your blog gets the attention it deserves from readers and influencers.

3 Blogs That ARE Unique

We’ve established that there are millions of blogs on the web and that most of them are boring.

And then there are the ones that aren’t boring. Those that really do put in the hard work and/or invest the resources.

These blogs that aren’t boring or cookie-cutter have mastered the art of being unique, which allows them to stand out from the crowd.

Take The Verge, for example. What makes this blog different from other science, entertainment, and technology blogs? Is it the rich visuals or the attention-grabbing headlines? Maybe it’s the mind-boggling array of content – ranging from tech to science and entertainment. The truth is that it’s all of these things, and the fact that The Verge has managed to roll interest, beauty, and content into one attractive package is why people love the blog so much.

The Verge Screenshot

If The Verge isn’t your cup of tea, consider Listverse – a blog dedicated entirely to lists on topics like travel and “weird stuff.”

Listverse Screenshot

And then, of course, there’s Airbnb, which is exceling at a beautiful, well-put together blog. If they have one huge fundamental, it would be visuals. They do exceptionally well with great graphics.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 1.43.09 PM

Most people who look at any of these blogs would agree that they’re decidedly not boring.

5 Key Principles That Set Apart Unique, Stand-Out Bloggers from the Floating-By Blogger

So what’s the difference? What sets these blogs apart from the rest of the flotsam in the blogging sea? The answer comes down to these five things:

1. Unique blogs understand the competition

Both The Verge and ListVerse understand that they’re not the only kid on the playground when it comes to their content. There are dozens of blogs featuring list-focused posts, and The Verge has hundreds of competitors, PopsciThe New YorkerThe Huffington PostBuzzFeed, and Wired, to name a few. What sets both The Verge and ListVerse apart, however, is that they recognize these competitors and understand what they can do to offer something different.

The Verge, for example, is decidedly edgier than its competitors while Listverse has just taken popular and in-demand list-focused blog posts and consolidated them into a single, wide-ranging platform. Because these blogs have focused more on outsmarting the competition than they have overshadowing it, they stand out as some of the most interesting blogs on the web today.

2. Unique blogs employ lateral thinking

Too many bloggers fail to move forward because they’re too tied up in the fantasy of explosive creativity. While explosive creativity is great when and where it exists, it’s also exceedingly rare. Much more often, innovation is driven by the willingness to think laterally. Blogs that manage to become successful owe their success in large part to a desire to think laterally. Because lateral thinking is creative thinking that is also rooted in legitimate demand and context, it’s often more successful and much more attainable than raw creativity.

3. Unique blogs target fresh angles

There is nothing new in the world and bloggers who spend all of their time searching for that unturned stone are never going to write a word. The fact of the matter is this: there are millions of blogs online right now and we live in an age when upwards of 27 million pieces of content are shared every single day. In light of this, it’s impossible to be entirely original, which means that your energy is much better spent being fresh. Unique blogs succeed by approaching existing topics in new ways. By doing this, they provide value for readers and help boost the level of discourse in their industry.

4. Unique blogs are credible

It’s all well and good to create a blog that looks unique, but that effort is for naught if the information on the blog isn’t reliable or credible. Unique bloggers aren’t afraid to step outside of their comfort zones, but they also understand how important it is to research, back claims up, and use credible sources. It’s impossible to build a good reputation without a hearty share of credibility, and truly unique bloggers understand this.

5. Unique bloggers understand the value of their content

To create powerful, exciting content that readers want to read, bloggers need to understand the value of the content they’re publishing. If you asked the owner of any exceedingly unique blog on the web why their content was valuable, they’d be able to tell you quickly and easily. This is because unique bloggers understand what makes their content exciting. They understand which viewpoints, perspectives, language, and writing styles benefit their content, and they capitalize upon it accordingly.

Nobody wants to be the owner of a boring blog. Fortunately, you don’t have to be. These five traits are what make some blogs stand out from the crowd while others simply blend in and by cultivating them in your blog, you can create a content destination that visitors are excited to stumble upon.

Don’t Join the “Floating-By” Crowd: Swim Upstream Instead

When it comes to being a blogger, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

One one hand, you could follow the crowd and become one of the thousands of “floating-by bloggers” who are just getting along.

On the other hand, you could take your content creation into your hands and become a unique, distinctive blogger that readers are genuinely excited to find.

By understanding what makes blogs unique and then following the five steps laid out above, it’s easy to create a unique blogging style that allows you to connect with your audiences and build a following.

The web doesn’t need more sub-par bloggers, so don’t be afraid to go against the flow and stand out!

Need to hire a professional writer to help you build a unique blog? Visit our Content Shop today!

blog is our business card illustration

From Start to Finish: A Guide On Creating & Maintaining a Solid Blog

Blogging is crucial for brands and businesses. One simple reason: marketers that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

If you haven’t launched your blog yet, or you have one but you’re not yet serious about it, it’s time you make that commitment. And I’m here to help you.

If you’re ready to write for and launch your blog, just how do you launch a successful blog?

Many people experience a fear of the blank page, or let’s say blank blog, and try to think up ways to conquer the world, or make a dent when they hurry up to meet a blogging schedule or launch their new blog. Then the worst of the worst happens, in the blogger world (or blogosphere). With no definite direction, newbies risk the all-too common problem of floating by: becoming the next sub-par blogger with no audience presence and no ranking potential on Google. Don’t be that blogger; read our guide to start off strong and maintain a blog that you’re proud to show off to your friends, family, and most importantly, potential customers.

blog is our business card illustration

Your Brief But Ultimate Guide On Creating & Maintaining a Solid Blog

After years of writing and publishing blogs, and with over 300 keywords in the top 10 pages of Google, I like to think that I know how to write blogs that rank; I’ve also been the most-read guest blogger at Search Engine Journal and Content Marketing Institute. So, here’s a few thoughts from my vault.

I. How to Start a Blog

Without further ado, here are thirteen ways to start and maintain a solid blog: and to make it easier, I’m going to break them up into I. How to Start a Blog & II. How to Maintain a Blog.

1. Find YOUR Niche

Not just a niche but your niche. The one that makes you thrilled to wake up, excited to voice your thoughts on. Yeah – if you know that feeling, and you can identify what makes you feel that, you’re golden.

And narrow down here. Do you like the business niche? Okay, what kind of business? Coaching entreprenuers? OK, what age group? You like young, inspired people? Okay, that’s your blogging niche. Could you be the world’s foremost peanut butter authority or an expert on locksmith tips for an average homeowner?

Hone down, my friend, hone down. Find your niche and your viewpoint on any and everything about your topic.

And here’s a tip for those who have a niche that’s somewhat broad and maybe a bit unoriginal. It’s okay: businesses and people may have been ruminating on the topic for years, but as long as you’re able to follow the next few steps, you’ll find yourself running with the big dogs.

2. Develop a Unique Idea and a Point

Developing a unique idea is difficult and somewhat daunting, but it’s doable. Maybe you want to explore how to write a unique post in an in depth way that few bloggers, if anyone, has explored before.

The post linked to in the last sentence isn’t necessarily a unique blog topic, as many people have explored how to write a unique post before, but it is very unique in its depth and how it gives the step-by-step process the author takes to come up with an idea, writing the blog, and posting it.

Although you can also develop a unique blog post by giving broad strokes, you want it to be at least somewhat focused. A successful blog post won’t be titled “5 tips on X” and ramble for 1,000 words; you’ll get very few hits. What you can do is expand your idea and tie together seemingly disparate concepts in an interesting way.

Unique spins show that you’re well versed in your topic as well as gives your blog some SEO weight.

3. Analyze the Competition and Keywords

Figure out what the crux of your blog is and whittle it down to a key word or phrase (one to two words in most cases). Use SEMrush (see my guide here) to take a look at how often your SEO keyword is searched. If it looks good, make sure to put it in your title, description, and metadata. Also, have some minor keywords sprinkled throughout your post. This will generate a few more hits you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

After you have your unique idea and keywords, analyze what you’re up against. Search common keywords related to your topic and check out what the competition on the first page looks like.

Domain authority is a big one. If you’re up against heavy hitters and massive corporations, you may want to rethink your keywords. Again, keep it natural enough that the average person will search for it, but try to avoid going up against H&R Block if you’re blogging about tax law.

You’ll also want to be mindful of backlinks. This will let you know if you’re going up against blogs or posts with 54 viewers or 54k viewers. Needless to say, one is easier to knock out than the other one.

Finally, take note of the age of the blog. Shoot for blogs that are older and not updated or newer. Those are the low hanging fruit you want to compete against. Older blogs that are updated frequently get an air of authority about them in the search engines.

4. Research and Find Links

There are two types of links that you’ll want to use to create a successful blog: internal and external links.

Internal links are links to your own site. This will generate more hits to your site and show the search engines that people are staying on your page for longer. This correlates directly to domain authority.

External links should be chosen carefully and should be to high-ranking sites. These links, again, add up to domain authority, a higher ranking in the search engines, and more page views. Keep in mind that this should come naturally. Ideally, backlinks in today’s SEO era come through shares: you reach out to someone who has a great site, ask them to share your content, and if they really like it, link to it; or someone likes your content so much they’ll link to it. (That usually comes in time after you’re more of a known blogger.)

A simple way to do this is to leave a thoughtful blog comment on someone’s high-quality blog that’s relevant to your topic, and leave a link to your blog. Something like: Hey, Joe! Thanks so much for this helpful piece on content marketing. I’m going to try to work on scoring my headlines according to your tips in #8 now. Would you like to read the blog I wrote as well on a similar topic, How to Create Headlines for Your Email Campaigns? {link}

5. Outline a Structure

This post would be an unreadable mess if it were a simple stream of consciousness. Rather than write how a person would say all this in a casual conversation, there was a deliberate outline and structure that went into it.

The structure of this blog post is as follows: introduction, a step-by-step process for your first blog post that can be used for subsequent blog posts, and a guide for maintaining a successful blog.

Make sure that your reader can digest each point in its entirety before you go on to the next one. Just because a strangely laid out narrative structure worked for the movies Memento and Pulp Fiction doesn’t mean that it will work for your blog.

6. Write

By this simple “write” I mean that you should put your outlined ideas down how they come out naturally. Just let them flow and don’t worry about the details.

When you’re writing, be mindful of the word count. Short form blogs are all well and good if you can pump them out by the bushel full but longer posts can gain hits too. For instance, this post is roughly 2,000 words long. That was decided before pen hit the page (or fingers hit the keyboard in this case).

7. Get Visual

Once you have your basic structure pinned down, get some images. They break up your blog into easily digestible pieces, illustrate the point further, and look fantastic.

Get our guide: 20 incredible FREE stock photo resources

Think of a longer Wikipedia post like “Philosophy.” It doesn’t necessarily need pictures; it’s an abstract concept. That being said, it has pictures of famous philosophers because it breaks up the post and looks nice to the reader. A successful blog post will have a smattering of images throughout.

8. Proofread

After you write and find images, take a day away from the post. Come back to it with fresh eyes and really get into the nitty gritty of your post. Reword awkward sentences. Check for flow. Deliberate every comma. Ensure the post reads well and is flawless in spelling and grammar.

As you become a bit more successful with your blog, you’ll find that it’s nice to have a new set of eyes take a look at what you’re writing. This is beneficial in a few ways.

The benefits of someone not being emotionally invested in the content can’t be understated. They’ll take an objective eye to the project and won’t hesitate to cut out the fat and correct your mistakes.

Another massively important benefit to an outsourced writer is that you, as a writer, will learn things about writing that you never thought about before. This will make you a better writer and your blog more successful.

II. How to Maintain Your Blog

Maybe you wrote your first post and it was a runaway hit. Or maybe you wrote your first post and it got a few hits, but you want to keep writing either for the love of the game or to create a successful, unique blog.

It takes work on your part. Blog posts don’t grow on trees.

9. Pay Attention to & Answer Comments

If your post gained enough traction to have a significant amount of comments, take a look at them. Find out what is being discussed or what common threads go through each user’s input.

They’re telling you what they want to hear. Take those ideas and run with them for subsequent posts, even if they’re not your next ones.

Then, answer those people to encourage them to keep reading and commenting.

10. Write Down Ideas

Keep a notebook of your ideas, whether it’s virtual or physical. Note the word “a” in the preceding sentence. You won’t want your blog ideas written down on a dozen restaurant napkins, in three notebooks you used for college, and inside of a book you were reading last year. You want them accessible at any time and easy to find. I use a Google Doc.

Ideas don’t need to be limited to blog titles or subjects. Anything that catches your fancy might be used in a future blog. As they say, it’s the little things that matter.

Every week or two you should take an inventory of the ideas. Pick out the good ones and ignore the bad ones. Keep the “bad” ones around; they may be helpful in the future.

11. Motivate Yourself

Motivation is a tricky one. Everyone has different motivations in life and different motivation techniques work for different people.

One piece of advice that will motivate you from the start is to pick a niche that interests you and you’re passionate about. If you’re not at all interested in Ancient Rome, don’t blog about it just because it’s a topic you can choose from. If you love what you’re writing about then it’s easier to motivate yourself to write.

One way you’ll find yourself lethargic, scared, and unmotivated is to set your bar too high. If you’re thinking that you’ll make a living off of three or four blog posts, you might set the bar low for yourself in terms of writing content. Make the expectations realistic so you aren’t quickly burnt out.

Another way to stay motivated is to get inspiration from others! I hold weekly Skype sessions where my team and I “brain-dump” on new topics. It’s fantastic for new ideas!

12. Find, and Maintain, a Schedule

The holy grail of writing a successful blog is figuring out how often to write your pieces. This was briefly touched on before but it bears going into more detail.

Your schedule should be directly affected by how much you plan to write per piece.

If you’re writing brief, pithy posts about current events, you may want to write a few pieces per day. This is dangerous territory, especially for those who have full time jobs. If you’re only putting out 300-500 word pieces once a week, you likely won’t have people sticking around on your blog for too long, hurting your domain authority. Read my post on why evergreen content (which is long-form, very thorough content) matters so much.

Newer blogs or blogs that have short, but original content can be updated about once every day. This is still somewhat trying, but it can be done if you’re taking a few hours to write every day and laying out blogs a week or two ahead of time.

Some people decide to post certain topics on regular days. For a fashion blog this might mean posting “Wardrobe Wednesdays” or “Monday’s Workday Apparel.” For these types of blogs, a few postings a week will suffice since they are frequent, but regular.

Finally, longer blogs can be written and posted around once a week. Don’t take the risk of posting bi-weekly or monthly since readership might decline and people might lose interest in that long amount of time.

In the end there is something to be said for experimentation in this area. Successful blogs tend to follow a set schedule and a few rules, but there is some flexibility in posting frequency.

I publish to our own blog three times weekly: the third post on Fridays however is created by Rachel, our Social Media Specialist, and is a recap of our Twitter chat #ContentWritingChat. On guest blogs, I publish an average of 10 blogs/weekly. I know – I write a lot!

13. Want to Stay Committed? Get Blogging Backup

I wouldn’t be here without my writing & design team. I seriously feel like I have the world at my fingertips with the resources I have here at the writing agency I’ve built.

And while I realize not everyone has the luxury of owning an Express Writers, I also know it’s easy to find some accountability partners, or simpler yet, a writing solution backup. Whether that’s just ordering a blog from time to time.

Remember, blog posting doesn’t just mean you need to be writing and posting 365 day a year. Quality over quantity. But, don’t disappoint your audience. Blogging does mean a serious commitment of both time, effort and actual published pieces; if you’re not blogging at least twice a week, I don’t think you have the opportunity to really build a sure audience, especially as you’re new. If you’re not blogging at least once a week – you, my friend, are not a serious blogger.

But as you get further into the world of blogging, get regular readership, and find a few blogging buddies, you’ll find it easy to ask for a guest blog or two. Guest blogs are great for a few reasons – just remember to get a high-quality guest on your blog, or it’s all worth crap (really). First, the owner of the blog gets some much-needed rest while still providing content. Second, the owner of the blog gets a bit more recognition since the guest will link to the post on your blog. Third, the guest gets some exposure to your readership and a few more hits because of it. Finally, the reader is exposed to a blogger they may not have heard of before and may come to love.

Conclusion

Reality: my thirteen steps listed above are not easy and blogging isn’t a quick way to drive business or earn a living. It takes tons of work, dedication, and creativity to gain traction. I have over 600 blogs on my site in the last 4 years to earn my 300+ keywords in the top 10 positions in Google. (Say whaaa?)

However, I can tell you right here, right now that blogging can be a massively rewarding undertaking in and of itself, for your brand, business, credibility boost, and lead generation.

Also, blogging gets creative juices flowing, allows you to integrate with social media, causes you to see the world in a new way, and provides an insight into what drives people. Not only are these things useful for businesses, they’re beneficial for the individual who wants to get out there and start a successful blog.

Need a blog, several blogs, or a monthly package? Check out our services!

be a better blogger

15 Tactics To Start Using Today for Better Blogging

You’ve got a blog, but where are the readers?

It’s gotten to the point where you’re wondering if you’ve got something worthwhile to say.

If you’ve had this thought, even though you don’t know how to put it in action yet, I have good news–you’re headed in the right direction.

It’s not just about reaching a lot of people. If you can reach millions and your content is useless, your Return On Investment (ROI) will be so low it doesn’t justify the time spent writing.

There are some crucial things you can start doing right now, in the fundamentals of your blog writing process itself, that will turn around and bring you more readers and more success. Get on the road to better blogging today with a few simple, but key, tips.

be a better blogger

15 Keys to Start Using Immediately And Get on a Path of Better Blogging

You’ve got to have a good mix of value and reach, but finding that mix is daunting. Following is a list of fifteen ways that have proven successful in helping blogs reach a wider audience and becoming a better blogger, overall.

1. Outrage, Uplift, Mystery: Emotions in Headlines Matter!

Whatever you’re writing, it needs to catch the eye and be emotional. Upworthy established a formula proven successful in the increase of clicks. It is comprised of creating headlines that alert customers of an “outrage” they can resonate with, uplifting them with the possibility of a solution or some other fulfillment, and establishing mystery throughout. Here are examples of headlines that use this formula:

  • You Won’t Believe The Discount Opportunities This Weekend, Or The Secret Coupons
  • Don’t Be A Victim Of Internet Scamming Through Hidden False Flag Social Media Campaigns
  • Is Our Government Losing Its Mind? Insider Tips On Corporate Savings

Note how each of these hits the reader in a relatable way at the beginning of the headline. Then, each title gives the reader a possible “uplift” (opportunities, don’t be a victim, tips). Finally, none of these titles give away enough information to let the reader move onward without clicking.

Now, one thing I’d bet we all hate is the “click-bait-that-doesn’t-deliver” title. You know, the ones that get you to do a thousand clicks through a ton of ads before you can get anywhere. Don’t be that person. You can be honestly outrageous without outing a cold lie about what your content delivers.

So, a couple do’s and don’t’s here:

  • Do: Be authoritative, challenging, fun, and even shocking in your title–as long as your content delivers on what the title actually says. (Give them those coupons and the coupon code. Give them actual examples of those bad social media campaigns. Show them a list of 10 great insider tips–not something that’s common knowledge.)
  • Don’t: Mislead. Click-bait title with no content that actually delivers on what you’re offering in the topic. (10 Ways You Can Actually Find Your Soulmate Today, for example, is pretty hard to fulfill on.)

CoSchedule has some pretty awesome headline resources. Check out their headline analyzer and read their tips on how to get more emotional with your headlines. Check out the Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyzer as well.

We also have a free guide with over 120 power words for better headlines: get it here.

Playing around with that tool and utilizing guides with power words can get you great results.

I worked on the headline of this very blog for about 20 minutes to get this score from the AMI tool:

advanced marketing institute headline tool

2. Is Your Blog Mobile Friendly?

Simple, but key. Half of all consumers conducting a search locally on their smartphone followed their search with a visit to the store within 24 hours, while only 34% did the same on a computer tablet. As smartphones become regular features of society, blogs that are easy to navigate on them will naturally increase in readership. When writing a blog, don’t forget to keep the mobile angle in mind.

3. Utilize Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques

3 out of 4 people (75%) who conduct a search on a search engine won’t scroll further than the first page of results. This means that if your blog doesn’t show up within that first page, it is 75% less likely to even be seen. You’ve got to have it optimized for a search engine, and SEO techniques like keyword inclusion are a great way to do that. You shouldn’t go overboard with keywords, but the right amount will very likely increase your readership. Writing a good meta description for every blog is also a key of SEO blogging. Also, beyond outrage, uplift, and mystery, have a title that is likewise optimized with your keyword.

4. Aim Your Blog At The Right Audience (Share-ability)

It’s all about opportunity cost. You want the greatest opportunity for the least cost. That means you want to aim your content at an audience who’s likely to share your blog. If you give your content value and properly engage this audience, you stand to see circulation in a way that’s wider than any solo efforts could produce (Moz).

5. Do You Have Share Buttons Visible on Every Blog Post?

Not only that, but share your blog on every social media platform yourself. Making sure your share buttons are visible is important to give every reader a chance to share with their network. Twitter has nearly the entire population of the United States in worldwide users monthly making posts, Facebook has about one billion users that are active, while Google+ and LinkedIn both have constituents that transcend 300 million. Between the four of them, that’s 1.871 billion potential readers—though certainly some crossover between the platforms is to be expected. The point is, you’ve got at least a billion possible readers out there through social media, just waiting to check out your blog. Increasing readership through social media is really worth your time. A lot of people in the above-listed networks share content they agree with. If you get yours trending, the potential for cost-free marketing is high. I’ll give you a secret here, too: I’ve found huge engagement through sharing my content within private social media groups (I’ll talk about that soon).

6. Use Google Analytics to Review Your Content

Using Google to analyze the effectiveness of your blog is a quantifiable way to identify trends and successful practices; plus it’s free, and can save you a lot of time.

7. Reach Out and Be a Guest Blogger

Getting an established blog to host your posts can put your blogs in front of a diverse, established readership that is more likely to offer a high ROI-quotient than solo marketing. Find blogs that are of high quality and resonate with products and services you’re purveying. Contact people who run the site and see if there’s a way you can do a guest post.

5. Never Refrain From Humor

Next to sex, you can’t beat humor. According to authors Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini, as well as Steven J. Martin (despite his humorous involvement, it’s a different one than the SNL alum), a cartoon strip that isn’t offensive sent during negotiations is integral to generating higher levels of trust. This is quantifiable to the tune of 15% higher profits.

Say you’re in the business of dog grooming. Here’s a great example of a pertinent cartoon that is inoffensive and has to do with the business of dogs:

Image credit Funny Paws

Image credit Funny Paws

The Far Side is a well-known comic strip with many fans, and you can usually find a joke that in some way pertains to your blog post. Not always, but there are numerous comic strips out there. If you can’t write humorously, pull in the big guns and go with jokes you know will work. A funny blog is a lot easier to read than one that’s purely serious.

9. Offer Truly Useful Content

Another simple key. Design your blog not just to sell your products or services, exposit them, or market. All these things are definitely useful to your audience and potential clients; but the blog that goes above and beyond in a relatable way will have more readers. Give the reader something they can sink their teeth into. Something that affects them directly, and is useful in their daily lives. If you’re selling a lawn service, maybe relate a memory about an extremely well-groomed garden that has affected you throughout your adult life. Then maybe offer some reasons why neglecting to groom a lawn can keep such memories from coming to others. The more useful your content is, the more likely it will be shared.

10. Long-Form Content

Dichotomously, despite the short form writing which attracts mobile phone readers, long form content actually gets more shares—ten percent more, in fact. (Read my recent post on how to create long-form content.) One of the reasons for this is that a reader is more likely to become invested in a long-form post and share its content. The key is to have both short and long form posts. Be sure your long-form posts are optimized for mobile viewing, and that you’ve got a short list or takeaway to summarize the long post inside at some point (10 key takeaways, etc.).

11. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals

More pictures doesn’t automatically equate to more readers, but having at least one image on your blog post more than doubles both Twitter and Facebook Shares. Branded images that have the topic + blogger’s identity are more and more becoming the norm, replacing crappy, standard old stock imagery.

12. Hit All The Emotional Chords

Humor was touched on earlier because it’s easier to facilitate than awe, but as the graphic from Buzzsumo demonstrates, by far awe is the most popular emotion, followed by laughter, amusement, other, and joy.

13. Establish a Regular Publication Schedule

Add content to your blog predictably, so readers can incorporate you into their routine. I can’t tell you how much a regular schedule is key to consistent rankings, too. Google knows to eat up new content from you, and will regularly (use long-term key phrases to win at blogging). I blog 3 times weekly, over 1000 words each post, and our rankings have been increasing since 2014 when I seriously committed to that many blogs. We have over 300 keywords in the top 10 spots of Google. (Read our blog post on how we gained 300 spots for more on our content schedule.)

14. Boost Old Blogposts That Are Relevant

An old post already has hit its peak of readers, but sometimes an old post becomes relevant again. Think of the economy. Certain stocks go up, and they come down; and different blogs over the years could prove useful in identifying trends. If you’ve written a past blog that suddenly becomes relevant again, blast it across social media with a new blurb citing your clairvoyance. It’ll help build trust and awe, and if you’ve got a colloquial amount of charming snark, you might even get a laugh.

15. Analyze and Try, Try, Try Again

Okay, you can’t try everything, but you can go after a number of different tactics and see which ones work the best for you. The old adage, “you don’t know unless you try” is as true here as it is anywhere else. Don’t be too risky, but don’t be afraid to take risks either; after all: “fortune favors the bold.” Don’t forget to analyze and track your results.

Successful Blogging Doesn’t Come Overnight (Or Does It?)

Now that you’ve got some useful tips to help you get started, try a few out and see if you don’t start getting more readers. You may not have success overnight, but then again, with the viral nature of the Internet, you just might.

Need great blogs (or maybe a blogging plan)? Let us do the heavy lifting (*cough* writing) for you! Shop here.

long-form blog content

How To Create Long-Form Blogs That Google & Your Readers Will Love

Have you had a blog for a while and just aren’t getting the results that you want?

Maybe you post every day with high-quality content, promote yourself, and you make sure that your content is perfect?

You might even have a lot of readership. But you’re nowhere near where you want to be.

The problem may not lie within your content, or that you’re not promoting yourself properly.

The problem could be that your blogs are simply not long or thorough enough, like long-form blogs would be. Let’s discuss more. 

long-form blog content

What, Exactly, IS A Long-Form Blog?

Long-form blogs is basically a lengthy blog, upwards of 1,500 words and sometimes 3,000 words in length. (Wordstream defines it as 1,200 words long.) I’d agree with a minimum of 1,500 words.

The content within is evergreen—meaning that it will stand relevant and worthy, no matter what season or year it’s read in.

These “long blogs” go against the convention of normal blogging by providing the readers with a large amount of information. This information is set to the tune of words, pictures and statistics. Long-form blogs are meant to provide comprehensive information on the subject that the blog is about.

In a world where people have short attention spans and want instant gratification caused by the influence of the Internet, it can be hard to find anything of substance online. Long-form blogs are like a breath of fresh air in an Internet-driven culture where we commonly see short lists and quick infographics.

When publishing a long-form blog, many bloggers may be concerned about the connotations that come from having long-winded excerpts of information, but the way that a long-form blog can be put together is anything but boring.

By using short paragraphs, interesting facts and user-grabbing language throughout, bloggers can hold onto the readers’ attention for much longer than they would if they wrote an eBook, for example.

One of the biggest elements that can be seen in long-form blogs is personal branding strategies. When you walk into a Ralph Lauren store, you instantly know where you are because of the big logo polo horses slapped onto everything. When you “walk” into a blog, you should instantly know which blog you are looking at because of the language that is used and the format that outlines the blog.

This is personal branding and it is what works for the long-form blog to keep the attention of the readers.

So you think you can write julia mccoy 

How Can A Long-Form Blog Attract More Readers?

“A lengthy, wordy blog will never work for me. My readers like quick content.”

This protest comes from many bloggers. These bloggers may have been doing their blog for a while and getting stellar results, but they still need something more. The way of thinking makes no sense because they clearly need help increasing their readership, but are unwilling to do something unconventional to up the total number of people who come to their blog.

Long-form blogging is usually just what the doctor prescribed for blogs that are getting excellent results, but need that extra push to skyrocket their blog’s numbers.

The way that long-form blogs can drastically increase readership can be seen in blogs that went from “eh” to “WOW!” with just a few switches in the format.

From 400 Words to 1500 Words: The Difference Is BIG

Blogs that are between 400 and 699 words (the conventional number for blog word count) see a lot of quick traffic. Readers come to the site, read what they came for and move onto the next site.

Blogs that have 1,500 words or more give reader substance and allow them to stick around on the site, increasing metrics and clicks on the site.

Bloggers who are still skeptical about the long-form blogging procedure can see that long-form blogging is set to be a great new trend in this world. In 2015, the average top five blog results boasted between 2300 and 2500 words. The remaining five in the top ten had anywhere between 700 and 2000 words, much higher than the commonly respected blogging norm.

Taking a chance with a higher word count blog could be just what your blog needs to increase readership.

2 Tools To Make Your Long-Form Blogs Better: SEMrush & BuzzSumo

Long-form blogs are great, but they cannot just be walls of text with no valuable information or statistics. The substance that they have needs to be backed up with real-world facts, up to date statistics and keywords meant to draw in the most readership possible.

1. SEMRush

A long blog is worthless without rich keywords and other analytic tools. SEMrush for blogs allows bloggers to get the information that they need to perfectly optimize the long blog.

SEMrush is a huge SEO tool (and one of the best online) that allows you to conduct keyword research and find top opportunities for your blog; run an entire audit on your whole site and blogs, and find out where broken or bad links are, or missing/duplicate metas, entire duplicate or bad pages, besides myriads of other factors inside the audit; research competitor sites and their top keywords in the rankings; and export any findings in an Excel so you can track your SEO keywords and work from there.

Besides that, you can conduct research on backlinks and know exactly who is linking to you; create all kinds of ad campaigns; and even research your competitors on social media with their Social Media analysis tool. Lastly, you can run any research as an ongoing project, which means you can log back into SEMrush and check your rankings (drops or gains) immediately, within seconds.

Here’s a sneak peek at the dashboard (we’re running a project for Express Writers):

semrush express writers

2. BuzzSumo

Another fantastic tool for improving your long-form blog content is BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows marketers to analyze content and find out what sorts of topics and keywords are performing best in any given niche. For example, if you wanted to write a piece on lead generation, you simply sign into your BuzzSumo account and search a keyword phrase like “Inbound Lead Generation.”

buzzsumo

According to the BuzzSumo results, you can see that the most popular result by far was a HubSpot article which gained 3.3K shares across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. This allows you a pretty solid idea of what types of content will perform well in your industry. BuzzSumo also allows for content curation, which is an important piece of any great content strategy. With the tool, you can locate trending or valuable content and share it through your various distribution channels right to your audience. Additionally, BuzzSumo allows you to program content alerts that allow you to track which content is mentioning your keyword or when competitors in your industry publish new content you want to know about. You can also use the platform for tracking the performance of your competitors, analyzing comparative analytics, and exporting all data into an easy-to-track spreadsheet that will help you determine what’s working and what’s not in your content strategy.

Think of BuzzSumo as your best friend in long-form content creation: the platform allows you to know what’s going to perform well and then tap into the analytics you need to write content people genuinely want to share and interact with.

Question: Aren’t Short And Sweet Blogs Better? 

Sometimes, sometimes: short blogs have their place. Take Seth Godin, for instance. The dude writes 100 or less word blogs. He is a best-selling author (of 18 books); owner of two companies; and—ready for it?—owner of one of the most popular blogs in the world.

Overall, here’s my advice: Unless you’re the next Seth Godin, Ted Rubin, Brian Clark…don’t take years establishing a personality if you’re trying to build a business and brand online in SEO. Focus on long-form blogs instead. Be invested in the meat of blogging: long-form blogs.

Blogs that manage to be long, but captivate the attention of the reader tend to do better in the way of readership, return users and organic clicks. Blogs that boast long-form content give readers exactly what they need all in one place. The best long-form blogs have short paragraphs that are easy for readers to get through, but still have all of the information gathered into one blog. Would you rather read one seemingly long blog post that has a large amount of information stashed in it or three short blogs with the same amount of information posted on separate pages?

The answer is simple: it is much easier to read long-form blogs that have short, eye-catching paragraphs and information that is not likely to change any time in the near future.

To better understand why long blogs are better than short blogs, you can break down some of the statistics that were gathered over the course of several months from blogs that come in many different categories. A blog that has between 400 and 699 words (remember that magic, average blog word count number), gets shared an average 32.19 times. This may seem like a big number, especially for you new bloggers who are excited to have your first post shared once.

In comparison, a blog that has 1500 or more words will be shared an average of 56.89 times. This number is almost double the number for shorter blogs.

Not only will your properly formatted long-form blog attract more readers, but it will be shared many more times than a traditional blog of only around 500 words.

Where Can I Find Content?

Now that you’re fully aware of how awesome long-form blogging is, it’s time to get started. We understand how daunting it can seem to write a big blog, especially when you’re used to smaller ones. On the hot topic of Google’s search quality guidelines, when Google’s 160-page doc came out in November 2015, we wrote a 3,500-word blog and it turned out to be our most-shared blog at over 300 shares.

The best advice that we have for your long-form blog is to break it down into smaller parts, use the long-form blogging tools, gather as many statistics as possible, and write–well.

Remember, it’s simpler, better in the long run, and just darn easier to hire a professional who can give you the a long-form blog that is perfectly optimized to your blogging genre and guaranteed to attract more readers to your blog.