Blogging for business: a beginner's guide to blogging – from killer headlines to promotion & SEO | Sue Keogh | Skillshare

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Blogging for business: a beginner's guide to blogging – from killer headlines to promotion & SEO

teacher avatar Sue Keogh, Director and agency owner, Sookio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (2h 2m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. What IS a blog?

    • 3. Audience. Who are you writing for?

    • 4. Planning posts with purpose

    • 5. What are you going to write about?

    • 6. Make your blog structurally sound

    • 7. Make your posts easy to read!

    • 8. How to craft an attention-grabbing title

    • 9. Preparing to publish and tools to use

    • 10. The power of a strong image

    • 11. Get savvy with SEO

    • 12. How to promote your blog successfully

    • 13. Look at the data and measure results

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About This Class

Blogging is an excellent way of showing your expertise and helping customers find you on the web. It's also a brilliant way to stay relevant and keep your customers updated with industry, product or news- related topics, not to mention super helpful for your SEO (google loves blogs, always crawling and looking for timely, fresh content) - this means an updated blog can really help your Google rankings.

Having a blog is the best way to grow your business and build a loyal community that keeps coming back over and over to check out your new content. Paired with social media, a blog is a great way to help your brand stand out online.  

But if it's not done right, it can take a lot of time for little results. So, you need a plan!

I'll take you through the process, from planning and writing content that gets noticed and picked up by Google, creating killer headlines, making your blogs readable and shareable, opportunities for driving revenue, as well as great ways to promote your blog and maximize SEO. 

This fast-track course will give you the confidence you need to get your blog off the ground!

And don't forget to join the Sookio School community on Facebook to share ideas and ask questions!

Now, let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sue Keogh

Director and agency owner, Sookio


Hi everyone!

I'm Sue Keogh, founder of an award-winning UK digital marketing agency and a content producer for the BBC, ITV, Magic FM, Yahoo, AOL and more.

I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others, and have trained thousands of companies and business leaders around Europe in all aspects of the digital landscape. People like the University of Cambridge, Sony, and the UK government.

Now, with the power of Sookio School - and Skillshare! - I'm going to share this knowledge with you!  

The courses I have created are all designed to help you learn valuable new skills. They're full of helpful hints and expert tips and will give you the boost you need to help your business grow.

I hope you enjoy my courses – and I look forward to... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello. Welcome to blogging for business with the Sookio school. So if you're a start-up, small business or a much larger organization, then this course will give you the tools and the knowledge that you need to make your blog a success. I'm gonna take you through the whole process from planning content, to coming up with lots of ideas, making everything readable and shareable and then measuring results so that you know that all your hard work is paying off. So we've broken it down into lots of short bite sized modules, plenty of activities and quizzes along the way to help it all sink in. And I highly recommend that you download the worksheet from the website too, and this will help you get all your ideas in order as you go. We also have a Facebook group for the Sookio school. So do join that, and then you can chat to other people in the community. Okay, lets go 2. What IS a blog?: Let's get things started by running through what a blog actually is. So it's a regularly updated website, like the examples that you can see on screen now. And for some companies, then the whole website is a blog. So lots of posts that are regularly updated or it could be part of their website in general. So you could have the homepage, a services page, different products, contact page, and then you've got the blog. And it will be a series of posts that you may write. While some people, it's every day and it's quite short and sweet. Whereas for others maybe they'll do something a bit more in depth. And they'll write a post every month. And one of the nice things about blogs is that you can really mix up the format. So you might want to share behind the scenes insights in the form of a photo gallery perhaps, or a spotlight on a particular team member. Or you've had a project that's gone really well and you could write it up on your blog in a case study. And so the joy of blogging is that you're using this very kind of more informal tone of voice. Talking to people in a way that you might chat to them face to face and you doing something different each time and creating a bit more of a bond with the person reading it. So we'll come on to all of these things in a bit more detail throughout the course. So let's think about why you should blog. Now, to my mind, blogging gives you a whole new way of giving your customers an insight into your business that just wasn't there before the wonderful world of digital marketing came along. So let's say you're in a shop. So previously the only way that your customers could get to understand about the products that you sell would be to physically come into the store or let's say you more of a large corporate kind of organization. That would be to physically come to your reception and your big shiny building and pick up a lovely glossy brochure. Whereas through blogging, then it breaks things down a bit. You can show pride in your, in your team, talk a little bit more about the products and services and offer a way for your customers to really get to know you. So there are four main benefits of blogging for your business. The first one is that you're creating original, sharable content. You offering your customers something useful that they can't find elsewhere. So when you explain how to do something or you share insights into a particular topic, this has got a lot of value and it makes people feel positively towards you. It's the kind of thing they might find after Google search, or they might share with a friend on Facebook or in a forum. And if you think about your nearest competitors, if they are not blogging, then this is your chance to stand out from the crowd. And I must say that niche topics are good. You want to appeal to the types of people that are looking to buy your products rather than all and sundry. And the second benefit is that you are showing your expertise. So your blog is a way of showing you are a subject matter expert. People will read your post about classic cars. You tips on leadership or your insights into software development. And they'll think, yep, these guys really know what they're talking about. So when you're generous with your knowledge like this, it's a really positive thing to do. It shows you so confident about your subject matter that you're happy to share your experience and your knowledge. And in business terms, it means a customer might call in to see you rather than a competitor. Because they feel that you really know your stuff. So your blog is also a place where you can share behind the scenes insights. And I like to think that people buy from people. So if you show the human face of your business, then you're breaking down a barrier. You are already starting a conversation. Compared to the website that hasn't got a blog, hasn't gotten an About page, and who doesn't mention any one by name on the team page either. So this is where you can shine a spotlight on different team members. You can show everyone dressed up in silly outfits, doing a charity fun run. Or you can talk about in particular working processes, or follow an exciting refit in your business. All of these things give a taste of what your business is really like. And people tend to trust this a lot more than those glossy brochures and reception that we mentioned. And lastly, it's where you can attract visitors to your website. And I've left this one to last in the list because it's such an important objective. Once you get into blogging, it can be really fun and really rewarding when you start getting positive comments and lots of shares on social media. However, you, and also the people around you, they're going to want to see that you're getting a return on your investment in time. And so what you want is people to read your blog and then stick around. You don't know which part of the buyer journey they're on. Maybe at first they just join your mailing list. They might do some research into your products while deliberating over the price and the features. Or they might even go straight to the Buy page, credit card in hand. But what you're doing with your blog is creating the content that lures them in, in the first place. Google loves fresh content and it loves seeing content that matches the words that people are putting into the search bar. So if you can make it topical, so your content is right there waiting when there's a high volume of people searching for a particular topic, then that's even better. So let's recap and think about those four benefits to your business. So on your blog, you'll be creating original, sharable content. You'll be sharing your expertise and offering a few behind-the-scenes insights. And hopefully it's going to be driving lots of lovely traffic to your website too. And there's some pretty big stats out there about why blogging is so beneficial to your business. Now, it's over to you. And we're gonna do this a few times throughout the course. We're going to pause for a moment. And what I want you to do is scribble down some notes and think about what you are trying to achieve with your own blog. What's your overall objective? Is it all about the website traffic? Or is it a way of breaking down barriers and helping people get to know you? So write down your thoughts and then press play again when you're ready. So where does the blog actually go? And if you're new to blogging and you might be thinking that all of this sounds great. But what does it actually look like in practice? And the way I see it, there's four steps. So first of all, you need to plan what you're going to write about. And then of course, you need to actually write the thing. So you might wanna do this in Word first. So you can try out some ideas, do a couple of different drafts, get someone to proofread it and gathered together anything else that you need, like pictures or video. And then next you'll go to a blog publishing platforms like WordPress. And this will be set up so you don't need to touch any code. You can just fill in different sections like the title, the body text, different bits and bobs like that. And then once you've published your post, you need to think about distributing it, how you're going to share it so that people read it. So you put all this effort into writing your post so you don't want to be too shy to tell anybody that it's there. So you might share on social media or through your e-mail marketing list. And then last of all, in terms of where your blog goes, then think about your reader. So they might be in bed, looking through on their smart phone scrolling through, or they might be at work reading it at lunchtime, you know, really try and get into their mindset. So that's Module 1 complete. We've thought about what a blog is, about the actual benefits of blogging. And we've had a quick summary of what the process of blogging looks like. So there's going to be a quick quiz just to see if everything has sunk in. And then we'll move on to Module 2. 3. Audience. Who are you writing for?: Let's think about the audience for a moment. So who are you actually writing for? And the more time you can spend thinking about this right from the beginning, the more likely it is that content you're going to write will match up with what your readers want to read. So there's lots of different audiences who might be reading your blog. So let's run through some of those for a second. So you've got existing customers. And your blog is going to give you a brilliant way of keeping in touch with them. And the nice thing is that it's sort of cold, hard sales pitch. It's not like you're getting in touch out of the blue to say come buy our products, you're sharing something with them that will hopefully be of interest, will be useful and valuable to them. And so this makes them feel quite positively towards you and keeps you front of mind. And then of course you've got potential customers. So think of all those lovely people at their browsing the Internet, deciding what products to buy, who to buy from. And your blog is a great way of attracting attention and showcase and all the wonderful things that you've got to offer. And then there is your staff, so don't forget your staff might be reading your blog too. So it's a great way for the CEO to share information, show pride in the team. Plus you can encourage staff members to write for the blog too. It doesn't just have to be the people at the top. You've also got potential recruits. And I know for some businesses, attracting quality staff can be a really big problem. Can be quite competitive out there. And through the blog, you can really show what company culture is actually like in your business, which is really helpful to people who are thinking about applying. They're going to be researching your company ahead of the interview and through the blog they can get to know you a little bit more. And I also encourage companies to get a wide range of people to write for the blog. So if you can get apprentices, interns, graduates to blog for you as well, that's even better. And you might find that these people are really keen because for them it's going to be a really good way to make their mark. Don't forget as well that if you're featured in the press, then journalists might be another readership for your blog. So there'll be looking at your blog for any added insights and also gives you a place to take control of the narrative. So Starbucks, for example, had an issue a few years ago with them being accused not paying their taxes. And so they were able to use our official company blog to put across their own side of the story. So everybody was talking about it on social media and in the press and their own voice might have got drowned out. But through the blog, then they could state their own position quite clearly. And then other people reading your blog could include industry experts looking for your insights. So these are your peers. They're coming to you to see what you think about the state of whatever industry you're in. And your blog is the place where you can show real thought leadership. And then last of all, we can think about investors. So some businesses, you know that investors are really starting to sniff around and the blog gives you a really good opportunity to shout about your successes and your growth plans, which will make you seem even more attractive. Now we're going to pause again for a second, and I want you to think about your own readers. So who are the people who are coming to read your blog posts and who are the people that you want to be reading it a little bit more? Which of these are more important to you? So just take a moment to pause the video and then start again. When you feel ready. What I want you to do now is to really focus on building up a mental picture of your readers. And this is going to help you with tone of voice. It will help you decide on the sort of language to use, how informal to go, and also about the sort of topics people would be interested in. So have a think. Are they male or female? Are they young or old? Whereabouts do they live? What kind of what language they speak, and also what level of proficiency in this language have they got. And think are they busy, are they really impatient looking for quick answers? Or are they more likely to be reading your blog at a slightly more kind of leisurely sort of pace. And then lastly, and this one's quite important, is how much do they know about the topic? So are they subject matter experts or are they a little bit new? And this really affects the kind of language do you use. So if you're going to use lots of jargon and acronyms, then that might go completely over people's heads. But then equally, if you write in a way, that's a bit too simplistic and you've got a very scientific or technical or medical kind of audience than equally people might think, oh, that guy doesn't know what he's talking about. So what I'd like you to do now is press pause again, start scribbling and write down everything that you know about the different audiences that you've got. Hopefully you've made lots of notes about who your different types of readers are. And now we're going to think about the kinds of things that are going to spark their attention. So there's a bit of a split here between the B2B audience and B2C. And so by B2B, I mean business to business. So this is a business which will sell to other businesses. So it could be maybe you make car parts or maybe your PR and marketing agency, or maybe your firm of accountants. So using the accountants as an example, you might want to blog about the latest tax rate regulations are coming into force. Or you might want to do a post all about one of your senior members, all about his experience and the kind of approach that he brings to the company. Or you might want to do a little how-to guide on a topic to do with pensions, VAT, any of these kinds of topics that people are most interested in. And then the B2C audience. So this is business to consumer. So this could be maybe you're in retail in the food sector, restaurant for example, or maybe your chain of gyms. So let's think a gym for example. So you could be blogging about maybe you share advice on fitness and nutrition, or maybe one of someone that's been coming to your gym since January and it's now December. Then they've achieved their goal of losing five stone with your gym. So that's brilliant, you can do a whole post about that and it inspires other people. Or maybe you've got a promotional on offer coming up. So there's some sort of member offer. If you join then you get an extra month free, that kind of thing. So really think about the kind of audience you've got and the kind of content that's going to appeal. Whenever I talk to people about writing web content, I always stress the importance of putting yourself in the reader's shoes. So you want to be writing a sort of content they want to read, which sounds so obvious, but it's something that people sometimes forget. They sometimes go a little bit off track. And so what you need to be thinking about is what problems have they got? What challenges do they face? What are they trying to solve? You need to think about what is front of mind with them as well. So let's say it's run-up to Christmas. And so people will be thinking about what food to buy, what presents to get. They might be thinking about travel plans as well. Maybe you're travel company or maybe the economy is struggling a bit at the moment. And so what's the knock-on effect of that for various businesses? And think as well about the sort of queries that they have. And you can find all this from doing a search on the website. Because quite often people will be putting search terms into your own website if you've got search bar. But then they might be emailing you as well, or they might be phoning you up. Chat to the people on reception, what are the queries that people have all the time that they're dealing with. You know, don't overlook what's right under your nose. And if there's something that people keep on asking you about, then write a blog post on it, and then you can point people in the right direction. So let's pause for a moment and just jot down some of the things again. Some of the challenges that your reader are facing, the problems that they want to solve, the kind of topics that you think are going to be of interest. So in this module, we've been putting a lot of thought to who you're writing for. And hopefully along the way, if you're making lots of notes to help focus your mind. And now that you're in the mindset of your readers, then we can start moving on to thinking about planning the content and coming up with some really great ideas. 4. Planning posts with purpose: In this module, we're gonna move into planning mode. So we've already looked at the benefits floating for business. We've thought about who's going to be reading your posts. And now we're going to be thinking about the different objectives reached post. And the reason we do this is to help you stay focused. So the more focused you are about the overall objectives for each post, then the more likely it is that you're going to be creating valuable content. So like a lot of things in life, a bit of planning goes a long way. So firstly, this is going to help you stay on track. So I say all the time where people put their heart and soul into their very first blog post. And I spent hours over it in a very emotionally connected to it. And that scared to click published. But that after all of that work, they haven't got a plan in place. And it means they never quite make it to post number 2. And so makes me a bit sad. The Internet is littered with all these blocks, which are only one post long, so don't be like them. Get a plan in place and then this is going to help you stay on track. And then secondly, a bit of planning. It will help you create a good mix of content. So what you're trying to do through your blog is build up this interesting array of posts. So you've got different formats, different topics may be written by different people and it's all going to show an interesting side your business. It's going to build up a fuller picture. So what do we actually mean when we're talking about a good mix of content? So if you think about it, if you're always writing about the same topic, talk into the same type of reader, and writing in the same way. Every single time, it's going to get a bit boring. And you'll probably find that your bit bored by it as well. And you haven't got the same incentive to keep on writing a blog posts. So what you really need is a different objective. For each post. You've got your overall goal for the blog, which might be to drive more traffic to the website, for example. But what we wanna do is have a clear objective for each post itself. And this is good for the reader because it stays that helps the post stay focused so they know they can see straight away what the topic's about. And then it's good for Google as well because you're not kind of darting about all over the place. It's quite clear what this content is about. So it's easier for Google to kind of direct people straight to it. And so how are you gonna go about this? Well, in our company, we really like a, a thing called the content matrix developed by another company called Smart Insights. And this is all about creating the type of content that hits people at the right time. We're now on particular parts of their buying journey. So let's have a little look at that. Okay, So they've got more stuff here, different types of content. And obviously in this course we're just talking about blogging. They've got all this other useful stuff as well about white papers and guides and videos and that kind of thing. But just thinking about blogging for the moment. Then you want your content to do one of these four things. He wanted to inspire people. So this is where you give people ideas about how they can use your products and services. So like a hairdressers, you might be blogging about new trends in hair color or a software company talking about how other businesses can be more productive. Educate this is where you can give advice and share some tips. So you could just spotlight on a particular member of your team or talk about how you developed a particular product. Convince. So we're talking case studies, blog posts. You went to an award ceremony and you picked up three goals. Amazing. So put that in a blog post. We're talking facts, we're talking figures and lots of proof in the pudding that you're such a great company. And then we've got entertain or sometimes coolness engage. And this is where you aiming for a more lighthearted bite-size formats such as a list post of a Q and a. And just because the word who's entertained doesn't mean it has to be necessarily silly. Content shouldn't be off putting if you want a more sort of serious type of sector. But it just means it's content that's just going to engage your reader a little bit more than maybe a very, very long winded kind of text heavy post. Once you have your objectives, then you can start thinking about placed into content, into categories. And this is where you'll be looking ahead a little bit to, to sort of content, sort of topics that you'll be writing about. And the tip here is, don't make them so narrow that you can only write possibly one post and then it's really difficult after that. And then equally don't make it so broad that you're not just checking all sorts of random stuff in that. So to give you an example, Let's say you're a dentist. You might have categories like news and updates. And in there you'll talk about nutrient treatments that are available. Or maybe there's a new orthodontists it's doing you're joined your team. And then you might also have a category that's to do with helpful advice. So this could be about good dental hygiene or about how you can overcome nerves when you go to the dentist. Again, thinking about the challenges that people face are topics that they might be thinking about. Whereas a firm of architects would have different set of categories. So they might want to have one called projects and case studies. And this is where they can talk about the projects that they've worked on recently and show lots of pictures. They might want to have news as well. And they could also have sources of inspiration. So maybe members of the team, they traveled around the world and then they take lovely pictures when they're in different cities. And they can put this on the blog. And again, it shows that the people you'll be working with, they're interested in architecture. They've got a passion for it. And so once you've got these categories, it really helps you stay focused again and build it. This really appealing mix of content. And equally, when people come to your site, you'll kind of steering them towards the content as well. So they're not faced with this big sort of massive blog posts and they don't really know where to start. So let's show you how this works in practice. How you can build up a framework for your blog. So you want to be having this structure which goes audience objectives, different categories, and in fact, all our worksheet that comes with this course, then you'll find that all laid out for you. Let's say that a hospice is starting a blog and Mississippi and I always think is an excellent idea because it helps build a bit of a bridge with people who might find a whole concept a little bit scary and daunting. And so to things that they would consider when they're right in that blog, that overall goal is probably going to be how to get more supporters. Fundraisers. And then they need to think about the different objectives for each post and the different people reading each post as well. So the different audiences that they'd be talking to would be existing supporters who might donate again. And then you've got potential new supporters. They've got people in the hospice themselves, the patients. And they've got the friends and family of the patients in hospice. And let's not forget that the people who were actually in the hospice and the people who care for them, they're going to be going through a difficult time. So a sensitive approach is going to be needed in a sort of language that you use in the blogposts. And then you've got the local community who are going to be interested in the work of the hospice. And you've got local businesses. This would have people that might be up for doing charity fundamentals and that kind of thing. And you've got journalists who always looking for an interesting story about the good work that a hospice is doing. So that's a different audiences. And then the objectives for each post they could be maybe to inspire people to take part in fundraising events, to educate people about the work that the hospice is doing, to convince them, convince people to support them, and also for patients to feel like they're in a safe and supportive environment. And then entertain and engage in like, oh, saying it. Sometimes if it's a more sort of sensitive or serious sort of topic, you might feel entertained, doesn't quite fit. But what I'm talking about here is getting out a positive message and breaking down barriers for people getting in touch. And then from this, they can think about how they're going to group the content. So everything that they're going to write about will fall within one of these three categories. So you've got fundraising events and campaigns. You've got the war, the work that hospice does. And then you've got helpful information for parents and brothers and sisters and patients themselves. And then what they can do is turn us into a simple grid where they map out the posts for the next few months, making sure they achieved their different goals and talk to the different audiences. So for example, a post about joining us for this year is 570 dash could go the category of fundraising. It'll inspire people to take part and the audience could be potential supporters and local community. This, it says journalists. So it's completely fine to have more than one audience type and also more than one objective if you like. And other post maybe the next week or next month a day in a life of Allison palliative care does. So that's shining a light on the work that the hospice does, educating people about the charity and is interesting to relatives and supporters. And then another post could be about supporting children, helping them deal with bereavement. And that could be under the category of helpful info. And it will convince readers of the charities carrying approach and that be of interest to parents and families. So it's up to you how you do this, how you go about planning. A lot of people like an Excel spreadsheet, which is a bit similar to the worksheet that we've got with this course. You can also have this as a shared Google document, which could be quite useful if you want lots of people to contribute. Maybe you've got quite a global company and you really, really want to encourage people from different teams around the world to start blogging as well. So if you have a shared Google spreadsheet, then they've got no excuses for not adding their thoughts about what posts they could write about. One thing that we also do with a few clients is Trello. So I don't know if you've come across Trello, but it's a really nice project management tool which is based sort of on a system of almost like post-it notes. And so you can add thoughts for post-it note, slide around in the doing column and then done. And it's a really nice way of organizing your content. Just do whatever works for you, but always trying that structure in place. Because the more time we spend planning, the more likely is that your blood is going to be a success. Taken time to plan your content is certain that you will really thank yourself for further down the line. It gives you a real structure to work too, and helps you create a good balance of content and also makes the whole thing less daunting. And say we've spoken a bit about finding an objective for each post. So are you going to entertain your reader, engaged them in some way? Are you going to inspire them, educate them, or convince them? And so let's pause for a moment and think about your own blog. And what I'd like you to do is just carry on jotted down some notes, and think about the objectives that you like him to have for your posts, and also the different types of categories that you could greet your content into. And then you'll see your structure starting to take shape. 5. What are you going to write about?: So now for the fun part, we've looked at all the sensible stuff like objectives and who's going to be reading your blog? And what we're going to focus on now is how you can come up with fresh ideas for your blog posts. And this is always going to be the most important part of having a successful blog. And unfortunately, it's also the biggest stumbling block for a lot of businesses. So how do you keep on coming up with ideas for posts again and again? So my challenge is that by the end of this module, you will have come up with at least 10 ideas for posts that you can write in the coming months. And I know that might sound a bit daunting, but I've got lots of ideas to help you on your way. And what I'd like to see is that you always coming up with ideas. So maybe when you're at home on the weekend playing with the kids, you're out on the shop floor, you're driving to a meeting. There should always be those ideas formulating, you should always be thinking, yep, great, I can turn this into a post. So I've got 10 prompts if you like. And what we're going to do is run through each one. And then I'm going to ask you to pause the video, scribble something down, maybe have more than one idea, and then press play. We'll move on to the next one. So the first one, and this should be nice and obvious. It's right under your nose is new products and services. So let's say you're a train company and you've introduced a new payment system. So you can put together a blog post telling people you're thinking about it, how it's going to make their lives easier. And a few quick tips on how to use it. Or maybe you make kitchen gadgets. And you've developed this wonderful gadget which can help people to chop mangoes. So you can tell people why this is such a big problem and how it's going to help them in their cooking. So think about your own business and your products and services, and just jot down a couple of ideas for blog posts that you could write around them. So now let's think about what offers and promotions you've got running. So maybe you're beauty company. And if you buy two products, then you get a lovely free gift. Or you're a holiday company, you do travel and kids go free if you book before the end of January, that kind of thing. Or you could be a restaurant and you're launching a whole new menu. And there could be an offer to do with that where perhaps you give people a free bottle of wine when they come in on a week night. So think about what offers and promotions you might have running and see if you can write down a couple of notes about blogposts that you could write. Now we're going to go behind the scenes. So again, this is one of those areas where there's all sorts of content waiting for you just right under your nose. So you could perhaps shine a spotlight on your graduate program and blog about some of the new people that have joined your business. Or perhaps you're a bar and you've had a lovely refit and you could do some, take the camera, take your smartphone out and do a lovely kind of 360 view and talk about all the things that you've done to make this bar even more luxurious and comfortable in a great place to go for a night out. Or a museum, maybe you're having a big refurbishment or you've spent a long time putting together a great new exhibition. And you might want to talk people through how you've planned this exhibition. And all of the kind of challenges involved in shipping over these beautiful artworks from the continent, that kind of thing. So stop for a moment and have a think about all the things going on behind the scenes that you could be blogging about in your business. Now events, this is quite an easy one when you're thinking about putting together a content calendar for your blog for the coming year. So you might have an event coming up in June, for example, you're an ophthalmology company which sells devices and you're going to big trade show in Atlanta. So this blog post from its reference writes itself. You can talk about where you're going to be, what you're going to be showing, the sort of people you're going to meet. How people can find you, what stand you'll be at. And then while you're there, take lots of photos and then write it up for the blog afterwards. And so I always do this myself when I go to conferences. And so I'll talk about maybe the best talks that I've seen. And afterwards I'll tag the speaker, share the blog post on social media and make sure that the event organizer see it too. So think about what events you've got coming up in your calendar. Maybe you're going to be exhibiting or you'll be at a trade show yourself. Or maybe there's something that you're attending. Maybe you work in sports and leisure and you've got tickets to a really big sporting event. There could be something that you could blog about there. So again, just pause the video for a second. Think about what events you've got coming up and see if you can scribble down a few notes about posts that you could write. Next, we're going to think about a seasonal angle. Again, like events, this is, this is a relatively easy one to kind of crowbar in a blog post about. So there's always a seasonal angle that you can have. So maybe you're a recruitment company and you might want to share your advice on how to do well in an interview or explained to graduates how to write good covering letter. Or maybe if you're in food or retail, then there's always someone that you can talk about to do with Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and you don't have to be too cliched about it. You know, you can be quite clever with the topics and don't go for something too obvious. And if you're really clever then you can write it in a way that makes it evergreen content. And by that I mean, you can share it year after year. So try not to include too much about this year and things specifically happening right now to see if you can write a post that's about say, you have Valentine's Day or Christmas, which you can also share on your social networks the following year as well. So press pause. And then think about different seasonal things that happen every year. And think about how you could write some of your blog. So we've thought a little bit about a seasonal content that happens every year. Let's hone in on something really topical now. So think about what's going on in the general news cycle in the world around you. So it's things like, is there a World Cup coming up or the Olympics? Something that doesn't happen all the time, but there's masses of interest around it every so often, or the news cycle. So maybe there's a big election coming up. All these kind of things, they always offer opportunities to write something for your blog. There's always an angle that you can take. So for example, with something like the Olympics, something about branding for a marketing and PR agency. Or if you're in health and fitness, then you can write about people's training regimes, that kind of thing, how to get results. There's always an angle that you can take on something that's topical. And the good thing about topical content is that there's lots of interest in it. So people are doing searches on Google. They're going to be interested in this kind of content. So pause again for a moment and think about something that's topical right now that you could write about on your blog. Now, let's think about handy guides and how to blog posts. These are always going to be really useful, really valuable to your readers. Anything that explains how to do things. Demystifies a process, is really good when you're thinking about your blog. So say you run a wedding planning company, so to write something about how to write a great best man speech would always just be really, really useful. Or how to overcome nerves on the big day. Or if you run a software company, how to integrate your product with maybe your accountancy software or other products. And the beauty about this kind of content is that it works really well on Google. So people are already writing in search queries to say how can I integrate this with my accountancy software. They're already asking these questions. So think about things that you're doing in your business and how you can write helpful, handy guides and how to post about them which will be useful to your readers. Let's think about your industry now what's going on in your sector? There could be lots of things that you could be writing about where you really share your insights, your perspective, and share a little bit of thought leadership. So it could be something like maybe if you work in tech talking about artificial intelligence or the rise of machines and automation in the industry. And what this means for the way that we work nowadays. Or it could be something like fuel duties gone up. What will that mean for other businesses or new medical treatment has come out? What's the impact going to be? What side effects could people have? How should they take it? There's lots of room on your blog for you to share your own expertise, to show a few insights and talk about what the impact is going to really be on people. So think about that for a moment. Just pause the video. Think about what's going on in your sector and how you can write about it and share some of your own Insider insights and knowledge. Now let's think about guest posts. So this is where you invite somebody else to write a post for your blog. And the great thing about these is that it really takes the pressure off. So let's say you're aiming to write one post a month for a whole year. And so if you can get this to happen twice, that means you're only going to write 10. So there's a bit of work to do in setting it up and making sure that the quality of their posts is good as well. It's really nice, really adds a different element to your blog. And the beauty of it is as well, is if this other person has got quite a large social media following, then they're going to share it with their audience. And that means that you might pick up a few more readers for your blog as well. So we'll quite often do a swap where maybe we'll write about copywriting for a PR agency or a web design agency. And then they'll write something for us about, yeah, handling PR in a crisis or usability on websites, that kind of thing. So we do a little swap and we promote each other's work. So pause for a sec and think about who you could ask to write a blog post for your blog, and then press play again when you've scribbled down some ideas. Case studies. So there's a technique we use called show, not tell. So instead of saying we're passionate about this and we're experts in this and we're finding a solution to that. We talk people through an actual project that we've done, which illustrates this in more detail. So for example, if you, maybe you produce educational software, you could do a case study on your website, on your blog, which talks people through a project where you introduced this software into school in Birmingham. And the outcome was the pass rate increased by 76 percent or something amazing like that. And the nice thing with case studies is that the structure kind of writes itself. So you want to set out what the actual challenge was. You want to talk through how you all went about it and then the outcome at the end, which was hopefully a big success. So let's think about what projects you've had happening recently and scribble down some ideas for how you can turn these into posts. Great. So now we've gone through our 10 angles and prompts for posts. I hope you did really well and you've got at least 10 ideas. And so next we're going to have a little look at how this could work in practice. We're going to take an accountants firm as an example and think through the sort of topics that they could come up with for posts over the course of a year. So let's say this firm of accountants want to write a blog post at least once a month. And I've already mapped out their audience, their objectives, and their goals for each post. So let's have a look at how it's all coming together. So their overall goal might be to attract new clients, keep hold of existing ones, which is always a good thing to do and support them as their businesses grow. And they'll want to educate people about their services, convince clients to use them, not the competition inspire people to see the benefits of getting on top of their accounts and entertain in some way. By which I mean, showing a bit of a human side to the business. And they might have different audiences. So new clients, existing clients or new recruits. That they're trying to attract to join the company. They also want to raise a bit of awareness and the local business community and maybe be picked up by the local press. So when they're mapping out there 12-month plan, it could look a little bit like this. So they might have a bit of seasonal content in there, like beating the self-assessment deadline, which is always a bit of a worry for some businesses. They might have topical things. So there's a big celebrity divorce and they're using that as an angle to write something for their blog. They might go behind the scenes and chat to one of their senior management team and one of their apprentices. And they might do something very Google friendly. So they're comparing different types of accountancy software. So to recap, we've looked at lots and lots of different ways to come up with ideas for your blog posts. And hopefully you've written down lots of ideas and you've got ideas starting to formulate. So it'd be really great if you took another moment just to flesh them out a little bit more. And as well think about when you might write them, when you might publish them, and who else might want to contribute or the people in the team that might want to write them as well. So I'd love to hear more about how you get on. So do join the Facebook group as well and let us know the sort of ideas that you're coming up with. 6. Make your blog structurally sound: In this module, we're going to look at making your blogposts structurally sound. So you need to think of yourself like an architect. Imagine you're building a house. If you provide good foundations and a solid structure it's going to lead to much happier homeowners. And so we're going to look at the different component parts that make up your blog posts. So first of all, you need to think about the opening lines. So you want to leap straight in there. Your blog post is not some kind of crime novel where people are going to read through every word diligently and wait until they get to the end to find out what the plot twist is. They need to know right at the beginning what it is that so interesting about this, that's going to hold their attention. So a lot of people make the mistake. They start off by saying, Oh, I expect you've all been waiting to find out what happened in part two of my adventures. So take a seat, sit back, grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy. But unfortunately, by this time most people have clicked away and they're not interested. They're not going to hang around to find out what happened in part 2. Whereas if you have your opening lines that say something like 48 hours, five apprentice engineers, one brief to build a robot that can pour a glass of water without spilling any. And maybe put that in bold as well. It's right at the top of the blog post. Then straight away people can see, oh, this is interesting. This is what it's about. There's going be a bit of a challenge that's going to be a bit of tension here in this post. Really interesting. So think about your opening lines and how you can pull something out from the rest of the post and put that right at the beginning. That's going to be of interest to people. Now, let's think about the image. You've got such an opportunity here to really grab people's attention. There's a stat that I always see floating around that says that we process images 60,000 times as quickly as text. And a compelling image is really going to draw people into your post. What you want to try and do is make sure it compliments everything else. So it works with the title and it's going to help people tell at a glance what your post is about. And then you've got your lead in paragraph. This is where you're going to flesh out the introduction a little bit more, flesh out those opening lines and give people a little bit more background, a little bit more information so they know to read on. And then you've got your main point. So this is the point where you're really getting going. So you want to lay out your main points clearly, perhaps by this point using some bullet points, some subheadings to try and break things up a bit, keep it pacy, you don't want to present people with really long dense paragraph of text. And then when you get to the conclusion, you're gonna give people some final points to consider. So think about the one thing they should take away from the post. You find that people tend to read the introduction and they skip to the conclusion, and then they go back to read the bits in the middle. So it's not very logical, but this is how we read on the web. And so your conclusion is a really important part of the post. And then you want to finish with a call to action. So there's a thing called the recency effect, where we remember the thing that we heard or that we saw last. And in web content terms, there's evidence to show that people do spend a lot of time at the bottom of a post. They might even scan through the content and got to the bottom and they're unconsciously looking to be steered somewhere else. So say you've written a blog post about time management for small businesses. This is where you can say something like feeling overloaded with admin, chat to us about using a virtual assistant to take the pressure off. You can also tell people to download a brochure, join a mailing list, read a blog, or something like if you've got this built into your blocg design, then you can have the option to comment. So you can suggest that people share their thoughts too. Or another good tip is to have social share buttons. So this is where people can also share on Facebook or LinkedIn or e-mail it to a friend, that kind of thing. So it's always a good idea to include these in your blog design. So lastly, in this module where we're talking about making a blog post structurally sound, we're going to look at the excerpt. And this is a one or two line description, a summary of what your blog post is about. And you might also see it described as a meta description. So the reason this is so important is because this is content which is pulled through elsewhere. So it doesn't actually show up in the blog post itself, like the conclusion and the opening lines. But when people share on Facebook or LinkedIn, or if it shows up in a Google search, then this is what's going to show up. So it's really important to spend a bit of time on your excerpt and making sure that what goes into it is really going to kind of hook people. It's going to reel them in a be of interest. So we'll just show you a few examples here on screen. So as you can see, they really compelling, they really kind of draw people in. And we're just going to show you round the backend of our own blog as well. And as you can see, the excerpt, it's not always the same as the opening paragraph, but you might find that the opening paragraph, the opening lines are so strong that actually you can use it for the excerpt as well. And when you're using, say, WordPress or a similar blogging platform, there'll be a little field to fill in for the excerpt as well. And then that makes it nice and easy for you. So it's all part of those, all of those approaches to making your blog structurally sound so that when people come across it on the Internet, then everything's in the right place, everything's looking good. And my final tip on this is to write the excerpt last. So don't worry about getting the opening lines, the title, all of that ready at the very beginning. You want to write your post and then do those kind of really finishing touches at the end when you know what the post is going to be about. Okay, so we're going to have a little quiz, a few questions to see if this has all sunk in. And then we'll move on to the next module. 7. Make your posts easy to read!: So in module 5, we looked at how we can make your blog post structurally sound. And now we're going to look at making them more readable. So why do we want to make our blogposts readable? Well, what it does, it helps people understand the information and helps them retain it as well. And if they feel that they can read and understand the information, then it makes them much more likely to share it. And so if they share it, that helps us meet all our objectives, all our goals with the blog, which is things like driving more traffic to the website. And so what you need to do, you need to remember that people are coming to your website and your blog, and a lot of them don't really know anything about you. So it'd be great, an ideal world if they come to the homepage and they dutifully move around in a very logical order. Perhaps they go to the homepage, they visit your services page, they go to the blog, they read on the posts in order. But it doesn't work like that. So quite often people would have done a search in Google or another search engine and then they've arrived at your blog and they don't know anything about you. So what your job is, is to orient them a bit. So make them feel that they know where they are and that they can tell at a glance what the content is going to be about. So it's just things that we have discussed like a really clear and compelling title, a good summary at the top of your blog posts, maybe in bold just so it stands out a little bit more. A really strong image that kind of ties everything together and some keywords that they'll see at a glance and they'll be able to know, right okay, I'm in the right place. So how can we make our content more easy to read? Well, there have been, lots of studies carried out that show that we only really read about 30 percent of what we see when we're reading content on the web, which is a little bit depressing, isn't it? So you need to remember that you're writing for quite an impatient audience. The way that we read on the web we scan around. So we're looking for different keywords to jump out at us. We're looking for subheadings. We're really darting about from place to place until we finally settled on something that interests us. So we're not diligently reading line by line, word by word. We kind of reading about 30 percent of what we see in front of us. So what you need to do is really try and break up the content. Try and break up what you're writing so that you are adding a little bit more whitespace. And so you can do this in a few ways, you can include more subheadings. You can include more bullet points. Particularly if you have a really long waffling paragraph where you're making a big old kind of stream of points, then it's much better to have just a simple lead in line and then some clear bullet points underneath. And it's incredible how many redundant words, how much waffle this is going to take out. You can also break it up a bit by using more images, which is a really good, good trick to use. You know, you've got your strong image at the top. But then you can include a few images, maybe a video all the way through. And the other thing I'd like to do when I'm writing content for the web is maybe having a line break after each sentence or every, maybe every two sentences, whatever feels right. You know, you really need to avoid presenting people with big long kind of dense paragraphs of texts because it's very difficult to read on the screen. So this is a question we get a lot. How long should my blog post be? And the answer unfortunately is, well, it depends, Sorry. So a good, a good length that starts off is 500 or 600 words. And this is going to give something for search engines to latch onto. You know, there's something there, there's a bit of substance. However, if you really want your blogposts to take off, then you're looking at say, 1200 words plus. So they've got a bit of depth to them. There's a bit more value there. So why is this? So there's a couple of reasons. So one is that you're naturally going to be weaving in more key words and phrases along the way that are going to match what people are putting into search engines. So let's say that your hairdresser and you're writing a blog about trends for short hair. And so along the way, you're going to be naturally using these other keywords like brunette, bob, or styles for older women. All of these things people might be putting into Google. And you won't be doing it in a kind of artificial sort of stuffing keywords kind of way. It should feel quite natural. And then the other reason is that you keep in people on the page a bit longer. If there's more content there, then there's more for them to read. And I must say though, that you don't want to be kind of artificially padding it out and thinking, well this topic is only really a 500 word topic, but I need to get to this sort of 1200 point. You don't necessarily want to make it all wafflely and really wooly because some people won't read it either. So think about mixing up the format a little bit. Is there another section that you can put in like a testimonial from someone or a quote or some key takeaways or any other sort of way of padding out a little bit. So I really like what the Minimalists Baker, their a food blog. I really like what they do with their posts. So they start out with a really beautiful strong image of the recipe, the dish that we're making. And then they might have a little summary to talk about how lovely and delicious it is. And then maybe they'll have another picture. And then they'll include something about what this dish would go with. You know, what else you might serve up for dinner if you cook this. And then they'll have another picture, and then they'll have some core ingredients. And then another lovely picture. And then maybe the method how to cook it. And so what this is doing, it's keeping you on the page. But in a way that feels, it still feels like it's quality content. You know, you're not being forced to stay there. But what you're doing is staying longer on the page. And this is assigned to Google that there's some quality content on there because you're not clicking once and then going away straight away. So let me give you some tips about increasing the length but without reducing the quality of your posts. So firstly, and it always goes back to this. It's about planning. So you might want to sketch out what's going to be in the post first of all, and then just think, are there any elements that you could be weaving in, any other topics that you could be covering. And secondly, thinking about your reader, again, always really, really important. Just go back for a second and think about the challenges that they might have. Are you really answering all the questions that they've got. There could be a way of just adding it another little section in the post. And then of course, what other things could you draw in, could you add in some more pictures, maybe a little mini case study, a few kind of quick tips or FAQs. All these things can kind of add to the length of the post. But without people feeling that you're just padding it out or just making a bit more bulky for the sake of it. So in summary, in this section, we've looked at the importance of making your posts more readable. And it's all about orienting your reader. It's all about adding in content that makes it more interesting or keep them on the page a bit longer. And also breaking up with line breaks, sub-headings, bullet points, all these things to give more whitespace around these wonderful words that you're writing. And to make it a more readable, satisfying experience. 8. How to craft an attention-grabbing title: In this section we're going to talk about the power of a good title. So why they're so important? And I'm going to share some tips with you on writing them well. And you really can't underestimate the power of a good title with the blog content. It often, it makes a difference between someone reading it or just scrolling past. And so there's two reasons, two main reasons why they're so important. Firstly, it's for your reader. So it's going to tell your reader what to expect. So if you think about it, you've spent all his time, you've put all this planning and energy and possibly emotion into writing your post. And you know, it's a brilliant piece of work. It's witty, it's full of detail, It's really interesting. But from the other perspective, all the reader's got to go on is the title. They might have seen it shared on social media. They might see on a blog index page. And the thing is if the title isn't very good, then they're just going to scroll past. And then titles are also very good for Google and other search engines. So if you include lots of nice keywords and phrases, the sort of phrases that people are going to be searching for, then chances are that Google is going to push them your way as well. So the more time you can spend on the title, the better. So I'm going to share some tips with you now to help you write really, really strong titles. So the first thing I would suggest when it comes to writing a strong title is to be specific, not abstract. So what do I actually mean by this? Is it's all about using actual key words, specifics that people will see. And then they'll think, oh, I'm interested in that rather than more abstract terms. And to demonstrate what I mean, I've got a couple of examples from Google's own blog because they seem to write their titles in different ways. So we've got one blog here called Helping people in a crisis. And this is what I would call quite an abstract title, its not really anchored in any specifics. So if you take it away from the rest of the post, you don't know what the topic is, who the focus is on or what sort of benefit you'll get if you read it. So it's helping people. You don't really know which people. Crisis well, it could be all sorts of natural disasters for all we know. It's not really giving you anything any of those key words which tell me what it's about, whereas this one is much stronger. So Experienced Tunisia's rich culture with Street View imagery. So straight away, you know it's about Tunisia. You know, it's about culture rather than say, the political situation. You know, there's a tech angle and you know, there's going to be lots of pictures. Now we're going to pause for a second. And what I'd like you to do is look at your own blog or maybe one that you read regularly. And just look at the posts titles themselves. Imagine you don't know any of the other content around it. So you can't see the picture, you can't see the text or anything else. You've only got the text to go on. Now, have a look at these with refresh eyes. Do you feel that you know what the post is about? And if not, how would you treat that title to make it a little bit more specific? The second thing to think about when you're coming up with strong titles for your blog posts is to be bossy. And don't be afraid of being bossy, telling people what to do. They actually respond very well to this when it comes to web content. So we're talking about really direct verbs like build, create, make, sew, discover, download, watch, share, read. All of these very, very direct verbs. And we've got a couple of examples coming up on screen now, like this one from the Tate for example. And if you look at this, it tells the reader, it gives them an action to follow. Or this one from Raspberry Pi. Again, it's very direct the way it talks to you. It's not passive. And one good way of doing this is to take off the ING at the end of the word. So if you think about that other example from Google, helping people in a crisis, as soon as you take away that ING then it becomes a bit more direct, a bit more clear. Where say for example, that title was Help people in a crisis. It would make you feel that there is some kind of action you could take. Or it might be sharing some useful advice, for example. So yeah, don't be afraid to be quite bossy and direct and use very direct clear language in your titles. Now if you're struggling with your titles, one thing I always like to do is throw a W word in there. And so what I mean by a W word is something like a how, which when, why, what, all of these kind of words which are very often used by journalists when they're putting together the opening paragraph of their story. And what it does. It kind of acts like a signpost really. It tells you this post is going to have something quite concrete in it. It's going to be full of interesting information. And I've got some examples here for you to look at to show you what I mean. So Why a toaster is a design classic. So that use of the word why? It really tells you that actually there's gonna be a bit of background, a bit of depth. This is going to be quite an interesting kind of post. What I learned about politeness in a Korean flower shop. So this, because of the word what it kind of gives you this idea, there's going to be a bit of a story here. I love the way they've pulled out these specifics. So politeness, Korean flower shop, from the title alone, this is really building up a picture and you just get the feeling that there's gonna be an interesting story going on here. And then How to get a better night's sleep, which of course is something that everybody's interested in. And again, this use of the word how it tells you, oh right, there's going to be some information here which is going to tell me how to do this thing. So using these kind of how, when, why, which kind of words are really useful technique in your titles of making them a little bit clearer, given them a bit more focus. So let's get handy with punctuation. And another way for really, kind of firming up your titles and making them feel a bit less woolly is to use a bit more punctuation. So maybe a statement followed by a colon followed by something that kind of follows up the first statement or turning it into a question or putting brackets around something. That can make it feel a little bit more kind of cheeky and conversational in a way. And again, I've got some examples for you here on screen. This first one gives the, uses the quite classic technique of using a colon to break things up. But one thing I also like doing is breaking things up with a question mark in the middle. So it's like you're asking a question and then you're answering it. And this has this kind of nice sing-song kind of rhythm. It makes the title quite attractive. And it can sometimes help you out if you're struggling to come up with a title for that really great posts that you've got. Now, an important thing that you can do with your titles is to frontload them. So what do I mean by that? Front-loading is quite an ugly kind of term that we use in web content areas to talk about putting the best bits first. And so if you think how we naturally read from left to right, if you put the important keyword at the beginning of your title, then its quite, it helps them leap out a little bit more when people are scanning through Google search results or scrolling through their phone, that kind of thing. And so think about how you might want to move things around a little bit. So you can put the keywords first. So if you think about these examples we've got now, we're talking about extreme aged stake. We're talking about Google Analytics. You can see that really easily as you scroll down the screen. And so again, if you're struggling with your title, shifting things around, so you've got a keyword first can be really, really helpful. And it helps you make things a little bit more concise and specific and easy for people to find on the web. One good thing to do if you're finding that your titles, they're just not kind of falling into place. Maybe you've written a list of ten different titles and they all feel a little bit boring. And you're looking at them thinking I don't know actually to be honest, I wouldn't really click on this myself. Then try and be a little bit of a tease about it. And what I mean by this is that instead of just giving you a standard flat title, you pull something out of the article itself, out from the post itself. That's kind of a bit more for a juicy nugget, if you like. So this could be a quote, use a quote for a title instead, or you kind of hint at what happens at the end of the post. Or you pull out something that's a little bit more emotional or controversial. So I've got a couple of examples here that show you the kind of thing that I mean. So using adjectives here like stunning aurora time-lapse, then even the word stunning itself. That kind of tells you, well, something in this post is going to be very visually beautiful. Or 'As it dies, I die also': your Microsoft pay creations. You've got that lovely specific there about Microsoft Paint, which makes people feel slightly nostalgic for this old piece of software. But then that quote that's been pulled out is really strong as well. It kind of makes you laugh out loud a little bit. And you feel like you want to click on this to see what the post is all going to be about. And then lastly, when we're thinking about tips for coming up with strong titles, if you're really stuck, throw a number in there. People respond really well when they see a number in a title. And I think it's because it hints that there might be something kind of factual and informative in there as well. But sometimes if say you've got a list post, so you've got 10 ways you can do XYZ. Then it also tells people, oh actually, this is going to be quite an easy read. I just want to be able to scan through this and it's going to be broken up into this kind of quite easily digestible format. And the last thing to suggest, I never do go for 10 things. Always pick a nice kind of odd number. Say if you pick 27 things that do whatever, or 13, it always sounds a little bit more interesting and a bit more authentic than just doing 10. Ten is too easy, don't go for the easy option. So in summary, when you're crafting that wonderful title, you want to be specific, not abstract. You want to be bossy. So try and use lots of direct language. You can try using more W words. You can use more punctuation. You can try front-loading it. So that means you put some more keywords at the beginning. And you can tease the content a little bit, you know, hint at something wonderful that is all there, lying there in the post so people read on. And you can also put a number in the post. So some practical tips for you. The first thing is to always say to people with your titles for your blog posts is work backwards. So don't, don't stress yourself out trying to come up with that perfect title before you start writing. Often, the title just writes itself. So you spent all that time writing a blog post. And then when you get to the end, you kind of know, you think, Oh yeah, that's the thing I'm going to pull out. That's the most interesting element I'm going to place that in the title. The other thing I say is that you could just write loads and loads of titles. So don't delete them as you go, write one, write two, try different variations. Put the keywords at the beginning, try it with a colon on, turn it into question. That's another good way of approaching it. So just really experiment and keep writing that list. So sometimes you find you've written 15 and you realize there's just one thing you've done there. And if you put that into your first idea, it would all just come together. And then the last thing when coming up with a great title, it's about giving it room to breathe. So sometimes I'm looking at it thinking it's good but it's just not right. And I go make a cup of tea or something, It's probably something I do too much all day. And then I come back and I realize yep, no. It's this one. It's this last one that I've written that pulls it together completely. Or I might sleep on it, or I might show it to other people in the room. Anything where you just have that little bit of distance. And then when you look at it again, with fresh eyes. You think yep that the one that's going to work. 9. Preparing to publish and tools to use: In this module, we're going to look at publishing your posts. So you've done all this work now. So you've come up with a plan and you've come up with ideas, you've started to really bring it all together. So now it's time to actually published the content. Let's think about some of the tools that you've got at your disposal. So for a lot of people they really like an Excel spreadsheet to get all their ideas together. So a bit like the one that we've, got with this course. You can just have simple columns where you've got the title of the post, you've got a date for when you might publish. And maybe you want to write down who's going to be writing the posts as well. Some people, particularly if you're in an organization where you've got lots of people, maybe lots of different branches, different people around the world. It's really great to do this on a shared Google spreadsheet. And then it's easy for other people to contribute. And when it comes to writing your first draft, having a shared Google Doc is quite handy as well because then you can write the post. Other people can add their feedback and comments. And you're not in a situation where you've got one document which you didn't send out there, someone sends it back, and then the wrong version gets uploaded and it all becomes a bit of a mess. Some people also like Trello, which is a project management tool. And this works in the form of cards, so you can have one card per post. And then in there you scribble down all your ideas and the date for when you're going to publish it. And another thing that you might also want to do is create a blog post template. And this, again could be a word or a similar kind of word processing program. And you can have the different fields that you know you're going to include in your final post. So this could be title, it could be opening summary. It's good to have an idea of what the angle is for the post. And this is really good again, if you want to encourage other people to contribute to the blog, if you send this out to them, a nice template to get them started, then it's more likely that they actually go ahead and write the post because they feel a bit more confident, that they're doing it in the right way? And it also saves you time because it means that the content they create is going to be presented in quite a consistent kind of readable format. Whereas not everybody is going to be writing to the same standard as you perhaps shouldn't say that, but, I think it's probably true. So there are some of the tools that you can, you can use. And now let's think about some of the platforms where you can publish the posts. So there's lots of choices when you're thinking about where and how to publish your post. So something like WordPress is really popular. So is Blogger. And you might find that there is a blog already built in to the website that you're, you've got built for you anyway. So we use Squarespace in our company for example, and that has static pages. So you've got your About page, your services, and you can put whatever content on those you like, but they're fairly fixed. And then the blog section is already set up so it acts, it looks and feels like a blog. So when we publish content in there, it'll show on the site the most recent post first, they'll come with tags and categories, and it will look and feel like a blog. So what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna walk you through the backend of a WordPress post. So like I say, they're all different. But actually what you find is that whichever content management system you use to publish your post, then they'll all have quite similar, similar layouts, kind of similar things that you're going to need to fill in similar blocks of content. So let's start at the beginning. First of all, you need to go to add a new post. And this will have various different fields where you'll need to fill them up with lots of lovely content. So first of all, you'll have a title or headline field. And this is the title of your post. And what WordPress will do, it'll take words from your, your title and then turn them into the URL or the web address for your post. And you can usually overwrite this as well. So you might find that you want the adjust this to include a few more keywords in the web address that goes with your post, which is always handy for Google. And then you'll have a field where you can fill in the body copy. So this is a blank box where you enter all the text for the post. And you could add links, even put links on some of the words. You can embed images, you can embed video, you can change the formatting so you've got subheadings and bullet points. And I must say, as you add content, always keep saving regularly as a draft so you don't lose anything. It can be really annoying if you spend ages on a post and you're rejigging it and you're' adding in line breaks and you're moving stuff around. If you then find, i don't know the Internet goes down or something, and for some reason you lose the whole thing. Very annoying. So when you are adding the content into the middle field, you want to break up the paragraphs, use simple, everyday language that everyone can understand. Try and add lots of whitespace around the words to make it even more easy to read. And, you know, you're moving to publishing content on the web so you want to do everything you can to make it nice and readable. So you can also add images into the body of the post and set a featured image too. So this is what will come up as a thumbnail image on your homepage or index page, by which I mean, just a much smaller size. And it will also show up when it's pulled through onto social media sites. So when people share the link, then this is the image that will come up. You also want to fill in a bit that says alt text and the image description, which is very good for Google image searches. And the alt text as well, is really helpful for visually impaired people using screen readers. So what they do that they'll read out the description of the image. So always think about accessibility with your blog posts. You know, how can you make it easier for people to read? Preview button. Okay, so let's look at the preview button and this is really, really important. Always preview your post before publishing it. Don't just look at it in draft in word. Don't just look at it in the draft post itself. Have a look at it, how it's going to appear on screen. And this is a really good point. Get somebody else to have a look at it too. They might spot a glaring error that you'd missed yourself or just anything to do with the continuity with the post. Or they might spot that actually the image just doesn't work. You know, you've tried to be quite clever with the image and have certainly that's a bit kind of witty and tries to say something else, but actually sometimes it just doesn't work. So the Preview button, it gives you a really good point to, sort of stop and get a pair of fresh eyes on it. And now the publish button, the all important Publish button. So in this area, particularly in WordPress, this will control the state of your post. So you can have it in draft, you can have it pending review, or you can have it published. And often in content management systems, you can schedule a post so it doesn't go live until a particular date. And that's quite handy. Say if you've got some news, it's embargoed, or you want to update your blog after a particular event. Now categories, so these are the categories that posts are grouped into. So a photographer might have categories such as weddings, portraits, landscape, that kind of thing. It's worth putting a lot of thought into these categories to make sure that the content you right is going to fit. And then similar to categories, but a little bit different is the tags. So this is where you can list of relevant terms that relate to the post. So this photographer, for example, might type a post with words like wedding, Norfolk, the name of the venue, black and white, or another style of photography. And then that means that anybody coming to the site, maybe they're interested in posts to do with that particular wedding venue. They can click on that link, which will be showing up next to the post. And then that would take them to all your posts which are related to this venue in some way. So this is actually quite handy for the photographer because it shows to someone who's thinking of booking a wedding photography session with him that they've already got experience of photography, photography in that venue. And I think it's really important to be consistent with your tags. So make sure if you've got lots of people updating the blog, they're all up to speed with the way that you write certain terms. Otherwise it starts to look like a big old mess and we don't want that. And then we've got the excerpt. So this is a summary or a brief teaser of your post. So this is going to show up all over the place on the blogging section of your website and the index page. Or maybe if someone shares a link on Facebook, on LinkedIn, it's also going to show up in Google searches. So it's really important. It could be the thing that makes a difference on someone clicking through to read your post or not. So say try to get into the habit of writing your excerpt when writing a post. Otherwise, WordPress might just take the first couple of dozen words in the post and you don't have so much control over it. You might also have a plugin like Yoast plugin. That's an extra element that your designer a might build into your WordPress site. And you have similar ones for the type of blog publishing platforms. And this really helps optimize your posts for search engines. It'll help you get all of those nice keywords in and act as a good sense checker if you want your blog posts to do well on Google and other places. So there's been quite a lot to take in with this module. So we're going to have a quick quiz just to see if it all sinks in. 10. The power of a strong image: We're going to focus now on something that's a really important part of your blog posts and that's the visual element. So we're going to talk a bit more about why images are so important and how you can use them in your posts. So first of all, why are they so important? Why are they so effective? And there's five reasons as I see it. So the first one is that we process images, it's said to be about 60 thousand times as fast as we do text. So they're really effective in getting your message across. So say if you're an event organizer, then if you show a lovely picture with a crowded hall full of people chatting and laughing and eating great food. It really gets that message across that it's a really good event to attend. Or say you're a website that reviews luxury hotels. So if you couple the text that you've got with a beautiful image of that spa hotel in the Seychelles. Then the instance people look at your post and they start dreaming. It inspires them a little bit. It tells me a lot about what you're trying to say. And the second thing is that it helps people retain the information more effectively. So if you just hear a bit of information and there's no image with it, then three days later, you're likely to retain about 10 percent of that information. Whereas when you hear the information, if it's coupled with an image, then people are said to retain it about say, 65 percent of that information three days later. Images also make your content simply more visually appealing. And one thing that people say to me when they're talking about the challenges of blogging, particularly if they work, say in the financial sector, the legal sector, anywhere where the content is sometimes a little bit kind of heavyweight and potentially bit dry, then they find that that holds them back. And so one thing that I say, well, if you include more attractive images and your blog posts, then this is going to bring quite heavyweight content to life, which helps you feel a bit more comfortable about blogging. And images would also help explain what you mean. They illustrate your point. So let's say your museum and you've got an exhibition coming up, then it's quite easy. It's got a really good idea to try and take images of some of the pieces to be any exhibition. And that will just tell people at an instant, at a glance that this is the kind of thing that they're going to see when they go. So it's going to be beautiful paintings, it's going to be embroidery, it might be pottery all of that kind of thing. It really gets across the kind of visual element that they're going to see when they go to the exhibition. And then last of all, images are really good at driving traffic to your website. So sometimes your blog post might not ranked very highly. The images in it might do. And so what you want to do, as we were talking before about layout and that kind of thing. You want to make sure that you include the alt text on your images, which is the alternative text and description as well. So this is the kind of thing that might get picked up when people are searching on Google. And then of course, because when you share your blog post on Twitter, someone else shares on Facebook it's going to draw those images through. So their posts will include those beautiful images. And this in itself makes it more likely that people are going to click on the post in first place and hopefully read the post. And just lastly, when you tweet the link out that it's sharing a blog post. Even by having an image there, it's taking up more space on the page. So it's pushing everybody else's tweets down, which is really good. So that means that people are more likely to see the link to your post, which again will have this lovely knock-on effect that more people will click on it and then come through to your website. So where are you going to get these lovely images from? So the first thing to point out is that you can't just do a Google image search and then just pick the first image that comes up, save it, pop it in the blog post, publish off you go. And there's various laws surrounding who owns the rights to images. And if you think about it, then if your photographer and you are a professional, this is your livelihood. And people are always using your images without paying for them, then that's not very good. So you need to be a bit more careful when you're using images in your posts to make sure that you're getting them for the right places. So one thing that you can do on Google, you can search for, you can do an advanced search and look for Creative Commons or royalty free. There's various royalty free websites out there like free, Unsplash, which does beautiful, high resolution images, really nice. And Pixabay as well. So have a look around for royalty-free images and see what comes up. You might also want to take out a subscription to an image site like iStock, Shutterstock, Getty, that kind of thing. And you pay a certain amount every month. And this gives you an amount of images, say ten images a month, that you can use royalty-free, or you can buy individual ones for particular projects on a more kind of ad hoc basis. And this makes sure that the images that you're using in your posts, you've got the rights to use them, which is really important. And one thing to note, if you do use free image sites, do try and include a credit and a link back to the person that took it, which is just a really nice thing to do. We should always try and give credit in our web content. And lastly, and really obvious, but you can take more images yourself. So if you, we just mentioned if you're an events organizer, if you're going around and you're taking images at the event, then you've got the rights to use them, so that's completely fine. Or another thing that you might want to do is embed tweets or other posts, Instagram posts from other people. Or maybe you run a Pinterest board, then you can, you can embed actual Pinterest pins or Pinterest boards into your blog content. So it doesn't always have to be a static image. You know, you could embed a video, for example. And all these things really helping your post to life. And they help break it up, which keeps people on the page, makes it more, more readable and more usable. So there's lots of ways that you can weave images into your text. Now it's really important to watch the file size on your images. When you're out and about taking lots of pictures on your smart phone, they're going to be really good quality because the cameras in our phones nowadays are so good. And the only problem here is that if you upload them into your blog, they're all going to be a really big file size. So unless you edit them down and reduce the file size. It means your blog post with, say, nine or ten images in it is going to be huge. And this means if someone has got a slow Internet connection. When they go to open your post, it'll be really slow. So they'll click away instantly. And that tells Google there's nothing of value here. So I'm not going to direct people here very much in the future. So what you wanna do is try and edit the image before it goes in the post. And there's several really easy ways you can do this. So the first one is to install an app on your phone which allows you to edit images. So something like Pixlr are, is really good, really simple, straightforward little app. You can crop the image to get rid of some of the stuff around the outside you don't need. You can put a filter on, you can make it black and white, and you can save it as a smaller file size is really good to try and get something underneath a 100 K, for example. And then you know that it's not gonna be so big. You can also get desktop image editing stuff. So things like Photoshop. You can, if you don't want to pay for the full version, which is really expensive, then you can use more stripped down version, something like Photoshop elements something like would still gives you the same features, but is a lot less money, to be honest with you. And then there's some really great things out there called Canva and Pablo. And these make social media ready images. So we're talking about Facebook cover images. Images that are the right dimension for Twitter, images work really well in your blog. So when you write the post, if you've got an eye on how you're going to share it, how are you going to promote it? Then you can make those images at the same time, and then it's all there ready for you. It's really good. And lastly, content management systems, things like WordPress, Squarespace, all of these blog publishing platforms, they'll allow you to edit the images within the platform itself. So if you accidentally upload something and it is massive, then you can quickly, you can crop it to say, 400 pixels wide, something like that, instead of something which is actually absolutely massive. And so that's quite good if you've got as far as actually uploading the image, then you can still edit it while you're in the platform itself. So what do we actually mean when we're talking about powerful images or strong images? What really makes a good image? The thing is, it is a little bit subjective. So what will have a real impact on me, might not have the same impact on you. You know, we do react to them differently, but let me give you a few tips which will help you come up with stronger images for your blog. So firstly, remember that not everybody is looking at your blog post on a nice big monitor, just like the one where you're editing. A lot of people, they're scrolling through their phones and sort of whizzing up and down. So your images might actually come out quite small when people are viewing them. So I would say try to avoid anything that's too cluttered, a bit too busy. You know, where if it's really small or little thumbnail image, then you won't be able to tell what it is. You know, try and go over certain. It's quite bold and it's going to have a lot of impact. And another thing you can do, you can layer some text over the top. So maybe if it's a quite, I don't know, quite a complex post. You might want to put some text over the image, which is the title of the post. And then this means when it gets shared on social media, it shows even more clearly what the post is about. And another thing to remember is that you don't have to be too literal. You can have a little bit of fun with it. You know, you don't have to exactly match the keywords from the title to your image. You don't have to make it exactly the same thing. You can be a bit more creative, have a bit of fun. Maybe use an image in a way that's kind of going to tease the post little bit more, give a little bit of intrigue. And you can be creative with cropping as well. So you don't have to show the whole thing. You know, maybe you've been out and about and you've taken a picture of a landscape to go with your particular post, there might be a small detail that you want to hone in on and perhaps have that in the image at the top and then show the image in more detail down below further in the post. So lots of ways you can be creative with, with cropping to. And so one last point on images and this is somewhere that people sometimes go a little bit wrong. So maybe if you're someone that really likes the writing part and you put in all your energy into that, then the images can sometimes be a bit of an afterthought. And so what you do you think, I'll find whatever we'll just find a stock image, it'll be fine. It'll be great. And so maybe you're writing a blog post about leadership or, or something about the workplace, what goes on in the workplace. And so you get a lovely stock image. It's three people all in suits and all gathered around a laptop and they're pointing at it, you know, that sort of thing. That I mean, this stuff is everywhere and it looks awful. So try and look at your post with fresh eyes and think actually is that image a bit too much of a cheesy stock image and instead going to detract from the quality of the rest of the content. You know, always try and be a little bit more creative and come up with something a little bit more unique, a bit more individual, and a bit more striking. So last of all, we're going to think a little bit more about where we place the images in the post. So when you're using something like WordPress or Squarespace, it will ask you to set a featured image. And so the image that you put here is what will show up on the blog index page. So the blog page on your website. And it's probably what's going to be pulled through when someone shares your post on Facebook and Twitter and other platforms. And then in a blog post itself, what you really want to do is make sure you've got a strong image above the fold. And above the fold. It's, it's a term that goes back to the newspapers. So when you see a pile of that day's newspapers and we'll fold it over. This is the content that you see at the top of the paper. So the most important stuff, so it's really good to get strong image above the fold. And so people will say it before they even scroll down. And you can kind of scatter images around the post. This is really good because it helps break up the content. It helps keep people reading all the way through. Or you might want to embed a gallery. This is really nice. So if you've got a lot of pictures to include, you can have a little gallery that spans the width of the post. You could include them as a slideshow so that when people click on one, maybe opens up and you can scroll through lots of them. That's really nice to do. Or as I said earlier, you can embed something in the post embed video content, embed an image, all these things, they help you kind of break up the post and keep it interesting, Keep it going right to the end. But always make sure that one of your strongest images is right at the top because this is where you're really hooking people. This is where you're really grabbing their attention. 11. Get savvy with SEO: So you've spent all this time writing your blog post, and now you really want to make sure that people can find it. What we're talking about here is SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. And it's a bit of a mouthful, which is why people just say SEO. And you might have heard the phrase before, you might be really familiar with it, or it might be completely new to you. So in plain terms, what we're talking about is, is writing your content in such a way that it makes it more likely to be found on the web. So people might put a search into Google, and it's something related to what you're writing about. And Google will direct people there and other search engines as well. Google is so dominant in the market that we kind of talk about Google most. But of course there are other search engines like Bing and others as well. And so SEO is really, really crucial to some businesses. So let's say you're a photographer, you're a electrician, you're a plumber. People who do these kind of jobs. They know that they make a lot of business. They get a lot of new customers via search engines. Someone will just simply put in Suffolk photographer and then they're drawn to lots of websites and lots of blogs run by photographers in Suffolk. So it's really good, a good way for them to draw in potential new customers and new clients. So once they've arrived at the blog post, they're just kind of a hop skip and a jump away from the contact page and hopefully they'll give you a call. So there's other types of blogs as well. Maybe you might be a beauty blogger or a travel blogger, someone who wants to monetize your blog and you want to make this your livelihood in itself. And so what you really want to be able to do is show people that you're getting lots and lots of web traffic. So maybe you're a travel blogger and a hotel resort wants to fly you out there to review their beautiful hotel. So they're not gonna do that unless they can see that you've got lots of traffic to your website. Otherwise, they're just paying for you to have freebie and they're not getting very much a return. So let's think a little bit about some of the different techniques you can use to improve the SEO on your blog. The thing about SEO though, is that it's easy to get a little bit too hung up on it. So people get into situation where really they're trying to write for the algorithm and not for humans. So if you go back to the early days of the Internet, then what people tried to do, they may be wrote a load of keywords at the bottom of the post in white text. So it gets a white background, it wouldn't show up. And so they might say that they're a plumber and they work in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Peterborough, Cambridge, and all these kind of things try to cheat the search engines. And happily we've kind of moved on from this now. And it's a little bit more sophisticated. However, what you want to be doing is really writing for humans and not worrying about the algorithm the whole time. Because search engine are trying to replicate that human experience as much as possible. And what they're looking for is good quality, relevant, and fresh content. And I'm going to break those three things down. So let's look at good-quality content first. What is Google and other search engines? What are they actually looking for? So to sort of things, you need to think about our page duration. And that's, this means how long people are actually spending reading a post. And I hate to say it, you might be a bit disheartened the first time you look at the data, when you see these posts that you've spent all day writing. The average time that people spend reading it is something like one minute 37. This is quite common. But what you're looking at is making that much longer. So the longer you can keep people on a page to better. Bounce rate is also important. So if people come to your blog posts, they click away straight away. They don't visit any other pages on your site. That's not a good sign to Google. Page load time. So you want to watch these as well, bit more of a tech issue. But if you've got loads of clever little widgets that require lots of JavaScript to load, then this is going to slow down your load times. If your images are too big, then that might cause a few issues as well. So there are a couple of other tech issues to be on top off as well. One thing that's good to get, is lots of links into your blog. So if you can get a link from a highly traffic website like Wikipedia, the BBC, and newspaper website like the guardian or The Times. This is a really strong sign to Google and other search engines that there's certain quantity here and that it's good to direct more people your way. And then lastly, and then this is kinda going back to us replicate in the human experience. Then if you can throw in a few links outwards in your blog post, then that's a good thing to do to. So it might feel a little bit kind of counter-intuitive and you don't want to link to competitors, of course, but if you include a few links to other relevant, interesting content along the way, then this shows that maybe your blog, it has more of a kind of authentic, genuine feel to it because you're just trying to be helpful as you go. So these are all kind of things that you need to consider when thinking about good-quality content. And now we're going to think about relevant content. So search engines want you to use them, not competitors, um, so they keep directing you to contact that's not relevant to you, then you're going to start using someone else. They're not going to be so effective. And so what are the ways that can direct you to relevant content is through keywords. So a phrase that you put into Google and other search engines is going to drive you to relevant content on the web. So for you as someone who's creating content, you really want to think about weaving the right keywords, the right phrases, into your blog post. So it's going to match up with a sort of queries that people are putting into search engines. So you really want to make sure you get them into the URL. So that's the address for your blog post. You want to include them in the title. You want to include them in the intro text and into the body copy as well. So they're kind of peppered all the way through and also onto the descriptions and the titles that you give your images. And related keywords are really important here as well. So let's say someone does a search for Apple. So Google, it won't know whether to direct someone to content about tech products or about fruit. That can be quite difficult. So, whereas if someone puts in apple recipes, then if your blog post is about Apples, dessert recipes, autumn dishes, cooking with apples, all of these kind of related phrases. Then it shows the search engine, there's something relevant to the search term here. So think about how you can kind of weave in all of these related terms all the way through your post. You don't have to think, right? This post has got to be about this one particular keyword. So I'm going to stuff this blog post with it. So it's in every other line that can look quite artificial. So it's obvious that you're writing in this very kind of SEO focused way. And there is evidence to show that sometimes people get penalized for, for kind of overstuffing their posts with keywords. So you just try and write in a way that feels natural to you. And this is why it's so good to write posts that are of a greater length than 500 words, you know, up to 1200 words or longer. Because it means along the way you will very naturally be writing these related keywords and what you might want to do as well. Something I like doing, is to write the actual post first. And then I go back and I think actually have I got room. Can I just tuck in a couple more related keywords along the way? And then it means that I'm writing in a very kind of natural authentic way all the way through. And then weaving these other bits in afterwards, just kind of refines it that little bit further. But it means that I'm not writing this kind of artificial. It's got to be SEO focused kind of way from the outset, so it feels like a more quantity, genuine piece of work. And lastly, when we're thinking about the sort of content that search engines want to drive people towards. We can think about fresh content and your blog gives you a brilliant opportunity to include more fresh content on your website. So if you think about it, no search engine wants to drive traffic towards websites that are ten years out of date and your own website, it might be that you've got your Homepage, About Page, different products and services, Contact Us and these pages stay pretty unchanged over the years. And so if you've got a blog, then this means that you've got lots of fresh content happening. And so it's a really good idea. It sounds kind of obvious, but once you start blogging, keep it up, you know, you've got to keep going. So even if it's once a month, it doesn't have to be every day, doesn't have to be once a week, you know, even if it's once a month, It's assigned. There's lots of activity there and lots of topical relevant, fresh, up-to-date information. So what are the tools that you've got at your disposal when it comes to making your blog posts more SEO friendly? Well, one of the first places that people go to is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. And this is actually meant for people who are taking out Google Apps, Google AdWords. But it's really useful for content creators to, because what it does, it offers you a wealth of data and a sort of words and phrases that people are actually searching for. So it's a really good place to start when you want to see if a particular term is more popular in web searches compared to other ones. So yeah, Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It's a bit difficult to get to use at first, but you get a bit more familiar with overtime. Or you could also try Ubersuggest or Moz, who are SEO experts, really great content. They have really shined a light on SEO, really useful. They've got their own tools as well. SEMrush is one I like as well. They have a free version and a paid for version and as various other tools out there like that as well. But when we're thinking about research and keywords, don't overlook what's right under your nose. And this is everyday conversations with your customers. So they might be particular ways they phrase things, particular things that they talk about, which will give you insights into the sort of words you should use and chat to people on reception, for example, find out how people interact with you. Look at your social media feeds and think about the sort of words that people are actually using. So for example, artificial intelligence, you know are people saying that in full and they likely to write that term in full when they're doing a web search? Or would they write AI? What are the acronyms they're using, or what's the jargon that people are using? So another thing that you can do is look up Wikipedia and think about the related terms around a particular topic. Or something like Quora, which is a question and answer kind of platform. And this might give you ideas for blog posts. If you phrase a blog post as a question, use the title as a whole question, then this might match exactly certain that someone searching for, which could be really good. And Google autocomplete is helpful on this front as well. So when you start writing in a particular term, particular phrase into Google, it wants to complete it for you. And this can be quite revealing because it's going to show this sort of common phrase, the common searches people are putting into that search engine. And one thing that you could also do on your website back-end is install a plugin. So a plugin is an extra feature, an extra widget. I don't get too technical, but an extra feature which offers a bit of functionality. So what Yoast, which is a common one, we'll do a little SEO plugin. This will kind of prompt you to make your posts even more SEO friendly by kind of nudging you and saying No, you need to add more keywords in here, and you need to write it in this particular way. So there's lots of different tools out there which are going to make your posts more SEO friendly. 12. How to promote your blog successfully: Let's have a think now about how we can promote our blog. So of course you've done all this hard work and now you want to make sure that everybody's going to see your posts and read them. And then while they're there on your website, they're going to look around, discover more about your business, and discover all the different products and services that you've got to offer. So let's have a little think back to the beginning of the course when we were focusing on are different types of reader. So who are these people that are going to be coming to your blog? So do you have a very kind of niche and focused audience? So maybe you make baby weaning products, or maybe your company buys and sells classic cars. Or is it quite broad? So you might be a gig venue and you've got people with different tastes in music, different ages from different parts of the country. You know, just have a think for a second about who these people might be. And then from there you also want to think, well, where are you likely to find them? Where do these people hangout? So we have had it before where we've worked with clients who perhaps they sell something that's very B2B. So like medical devices for hospitals. And they want to have a Facebook group. But the thing is they're selling to people who do procurement in hospitals and they're not really in the Facebook mindset. Or equally if your baby food, retail, some sort of lifestyle or fitness related company, then Instagram is going to be somewhere that your potential customers are going to be. So really think about who your audience is and where are you likely to find them? You know, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. And then so once you've had that little think about who you're trying to reach, then think about the tools at your disposal. So again, let's not start from scratch here. You might have had quite a lot of marketing activity going on for several years. So think about what's already working for you and how you can use those channels even more to promote your blog. Let's start by thinking about your social media channels. So maybe you've been quite active on Twitter for the last few years and you've built up quite a following. Or you've got a big Facebook community or lots and lots of LinkedIn connections. So this is the first place you should start when you're thinking about promoting your blog posts. All of these people are interested in your business already, so it makes sense to share your posts with them. So you want to do some tweets. You might want to share the image from the blog post on Pinterest and Instagram with a link to the post. You'll want to share on Facebook. All of these places where you know that you've already got an existing following, it kind of makes sense. And what you might wanna do on Twitter is share a tweet several times. It doesn't have to be in quick, quick succession because this can get a little bit annoying. But think about when people are likely to be around. So say, you do lot of business in the US, but you're based in UK. So there's no point really tweeting about your new blog post at nine o'clock in the morning because over in the US they wont have woken up yet. So you might want to schedule your activity so that it's later in the day. And maybe think about doing one post at three in the afternoon, one overnight. And then one thing that we like to do is share the post several times, but rewrite them as well, because otherwise it gets boring. So we might write the post one way for Twitter and then another version for a subsequent tweet, and then again for another tweet. Perhaps each time pulling out something different from the post that's going to be of interest. And then we'll write it slightly differently for Facebook, slightly differently for Instagram, making sure we use various hashtags to go with it as well. And really taking care with each platform. Because if people are interested in you and your business, chances are they are following you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, everywhere else. So if you just fire out exactly the same post all over the place, it looks a bit boring. So that's one thing to remember. Say you're a recruitment company, Sunday night is quite good to catch people's attention. Because a lot of the time people are feeling miserable about going to work on a Monday morning. So Sunday night it's quite good if you're in that kind of HR recruitment kind of area. And so that's a good example of how, our audiences, they're not always around when we're around. So if you work nine to five Monday to Friday, it doesn't always mean that your social media audience is going to be there then as well. So they might be interested. And looking at Facebook on a Saturday or Sunday, for example. And one thing that you can do as well to increase how many people see your posts is think about who might be quite influential. So maybe you quote somebody in your blog post, or you've got a little Q&A with someone, or you've been to an event and you're writing it up and you mentioned the speakers. So when you share the post on social media, particularly on Twitter, then you can tag them in your tweet about the post. And so this means that they will see it and chances are they'll share it with their huge community as well. So that's going to be a really effective way of making sure the post gets seen. And then lastly, if it's a really strong blog post, you might want to put a few pennies behind it so that you can promote it on social media channels as well. So particularly on say, Facebook, if you've got a blog post which is very helpful and useful and valuable to people, then it's really nice to pay to boost that post. And that means many thousands, possibly, people might see it. And this is a good way of drawing people to your website, which is a little bit more effective and kind of friendly I suppose, than just an advert that says, Click here to, to like our page, then it's just a bit more useful and valuable to people. A really effective way of making sure that people read your blog posts is to send them out via email. So maybe you've got a really big e-mail marketing list that you've been building up over several years. Or maybe you're starting from scratch. Either way, when people sign up to your list, then they're kind of giving you the green light. You know, they're saying, I'm interested in this company and I want to hear more from them. So you might want to send out an email, it's got, maybe the blog post is to focus on it. Or maybe you are announcing a new promotion, new products and services. And then you add the blog posts as well as a bit of extra flavour if you like. And what you want to do over time is focused on building up this list. So you might want to have pop-ups on your website that come up maybe when someone's been reading a blog post after two minutes and it says, Hey, why don't you subscribe to hear more from us. This kind of thing is really effective and building up that list even more. And you might want to use a tool, something like Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, Constant contact. One of these that will help you design really nice, attractive email newsletters that make it even more likely that people will click. Let's have a think about a couple of kind of more tech design type things. So the first one of these is RSS feeds. So that stands for rich sites summary or really simple syndication. So you can see why they just call it RSS feed, its a bit easier to say. So what this means is once it's set up, every time you publish a new post, it goes out via RSS feeds. And so you, as a general reader, you can use something like Feedly to subscribe to lots and lots of different blogs. So that means you don't spend lots of time kind of going down this rabbit hole and looking things up on social media and going into blogs manually. You have all the latest posts. They can kind of come in into one app like Feedly or similar. And so that's really good. It's one of those things. Once it's set up, it's done. You don't have to do anything. And equally, social sharing buttons, this means that the reader does a lot of the work for you. So there are buttons and they'll have lots of icons like the Twitter icon, LinkedIn, etc. And you might want to place them at the end of the post or right at the top of the page. And what you can encourage people to do, you can say, if you like this post, please share, share on social media. And so when they click the Twitter icon, for example, it will create this kind of ready-made tweet, and then they just press a button and then it will go out on their own Twitter feed. So it's a really good way of just encouraging people to share your content and taking away any kind of barrier, making it as easy as possible for them to do that. And then now two things that we always do when we've published a new post, and one of these is to add it to our email signatures. So whoever in the team has just written a new post, e-mails around everybody else and shares the link and says, right add that to the bottom of your email signature. And it's very simple to do. You just add a little line that says read and then a link to the post. And to be honest, it's not going to be the biggest driver of traffic, but it's one of many elements. It's all going to kind of push people in that direction towards your blog post. And then the other thing is say if you have a Google business page, then you can also add the latest posts to your business page. And the nice thing about Google business pages is that they fill up half the screen and when people are searching for you as in your services, then your Google business page takes up a big chunk of the screen and people will see your blog posts sitting there as well. So there's a big chance that they'll read them. So we've thought about our social media channels, e-mail marketing, RSS feed, social sharing buttons and things like email signatures and Google business pages. And let's pause for a second and scribble down some ideas about all the channels that you could use to promote your blog. So I'm just going to run you through how it works for us in practice. So I run a digital marketing agency in Cambridge called Sookio. And we do a lot of blog content, and this is our usual way of doing things. So number one, we write the post, very important. Don't forget to do that bit. And then secondly, we think about how we're going to share it. So we use a scheduling tool like Buffer. There's also HootSuite, there's TweetDeck. And a thing to kind of automate the process a little bit more and make sure that we can schedule content to go out when we want. So we might, we've got a new post and we might do several tweets around it going out at different times. And we'll write them differently for the different channels. We might ask a question in one or we might take a quote from the blog post on another. On Instagram, we use particular hashtags. On Facebook we might pose it in a particular way. So we know it appeals to that kind of Facebook audience. Whereas on LinkedIn we might write it in a slightly more business like, professional kind of way. So we'll schedule some content around it. So we've got lots of channels, lots of people who are likely to see the post. And then thirdly, we'll do some e-mail marketing. So maybe this is a monthly e-mail and we've got several blogposts in it. Or maybe it's something every week. And it's for one of our e-commerce clients where it's actually about a product or an offer. And then we've got some blog posts as well. And then after that we'll start measuring the activity. And that's what we'll come on to in module 12. 13. Look at the data and measure results: Now we've come to the last module in the course on, we've looked at planning our posts. We've looked at writing them. And we've chatted a bit about how to share the far and wide so everybody can read them. Now let's think about measuring your activity so you can see if you're getting a good return on all this investment in time. So why should you measure all of this activity? So let's say that you are a beauty blogger or food blogger, or any kind of lifestyle blogger who might be looking to monetize your blog. If you can show that you're getting lots of lovely traffic to your website, then if a big brand comes to you and wants to pay you £250 to review their product, then you can say yep, great. This review is going be seen by 50,000 people, so it's going be worth your time. But then, for businesses more widely, it's really good to be able to measure the results so you can see what kind of return you're getting. So the sales team, for example, they can see that you're spending 10 hours a month on the blog and this is driving this amount of sales in the company. And it's a good way as well of convincing other people to write for the blog. Sometimes with a blog, it could be you writing on your own, and it's a bit of a hard sell, trying to get other people to contribute as well. Whereas if you can say well, actually these posts are really popular, and they're generating lots of social media activity as well, and they're getting lots of praise, that kind of thing. Then it could be a real kind of driving factor in encouraging other people to write for the blog as well. The great thing about digital marketing is that it's so flexible. So unlike print advertising, where you have your artwork, you send it of to the newspaper, you pay your money, it's fixed, it goes out in a certain print run, and that's the end of that. With digital marketing, then you can tweak things as you go, so you've got lots of data at your disposal. And you can decide, right we'll do more of this. If this is welcome, we'll do more of this, and then if that isn't working so well, then we'll shelve that for a bit. So what do you measuring. What are the things you're actually looking out for? The first one is going to be a website traffic. You know how many people are actually coming to your blog? It's always a nice figure to see, and hopefully it's going to build up and up, over time. You'll be able to see how many pages they visit when they come to the site. So hopefully they'll come via the blog, but then they'll visit lots of the pages while they're there. That's a really good sign that they're interested in your product and they're moving around the site and discovering more about your business. Hopefully, when they reach your blog, they'll stay on the page for quite a long time. So there'll be plenty there for them to read through. And, they're not clicking away straightaway. And, if they do click away just after landing on that one page, as we're were talking about in the SEO section, this is the bounce rate. So you don't want a high bounce rate, say something over 70% is getting quite high. You know, if more than 70% of people who come to your blog click away straight away. Don't go anywhere else. That's not so good. You know, you want to be keeping people there for longer. And, the other thing that you could look at when you're thinking about ROI your return on investment is conversions. So what this means is that you can set some goals in the background, and this could be that when people visit your blog post, you want them to click a button that says Book A demo. So, you can track the journey and think while people arrive at the website the blog page here, and then they can go and do that. Are people doing what you want them to do? And another thing to look out for, which is really useful, is the referral traffic. So referral traffic. This is where people have come from. So are you getting lots of visitors from LinkedIn? Are you getting lots of visitors from Twitter or your email marketing? Perhaps that's being really effective, so once you can see that, once you can, see how important it's being. The perhaps you might want to do a little bit more email marketing or maybe tweak your newsletters so that they're promoting the posts in a different way. Let's think about some of the tools that you can use to find out all this lovely data. The daddy of these is Google Analytics, and it's as easy as adding one line of code to your website, which you can either do yourself if you're quite handy at these things, or just ask your Web developer. And from the point that you have this code, then Google Analytics will start measuring all the data for you. And what you see is it's really nice dashboard on the left hand side, you'll see there's four different sections. So you've got audience, which is going to tell you lots of useful things, like where in the world your website visitors come from. It will tell you whether they using a smartphone or desktop, which could be quite handy, and then acquisition where have these people come from in terms of email marketing, social media, all that sort of stuff, and then we've got behaviour. This is the really fun bit so you can see what, what is the most popular post. What do people do when they come to your blog? Do they skip around? Visit lots of the pages? How long did they spend reading the posts? All of that kind of thing. Then we've got conversions. So we've just been talking about that a little bit, So you might want to get people to do a particular thing when they come to your blogs. So maybe book a demo or visit one of the product pages. And then from there you can attach a value to that, and you can think well, each time someone comes to the blog and then goes to a product page, they're likely to make a sale. So make a purchase, so you can attach a value to that, say, £3.50 pounds or whatever it is, and then it will help you get a better picture off the value that your blog is bringing to your business. And then there are also some in built analytics tools in platforms like Squarespace, so other content management systems. So this will give you perhaps kind of not so much data, but it's still an interesting snapshot about what's going on. So the most popular times that people visit your blogs, for example, or the posts that are most popular that everybody wants to read, and this will helps shape the content that you come up with in future. If you know what's popular, then you can write even more of it. And then also, let's not overlook our other channels. So if you think about the different social media tools that you're using, then a lot of these they have inbuilt analytics in them too, so Facebook Insights, for example, gives you a wealth of data. It shows which posts get the most engagement. It tells you about comments. Which ones get the most likes and shares, And also when you got the most activity on Facebook? So you might think, well, actually, our Facebook page, it's really busy on a Sunday. So let's share or blog posts then. So that could be really, really useful. Twitter analytics. So Twitter Analytics is built into Twitter. As you may well guess, And, this will give you lots of useful data as well. So when you share your post, you can see how many people have actually clicked on it on maybe some of these people clicked on our profile to find out more about our company, so that could be really useful. And, just to start the process with Twitter analytics all you do, you kind of start the process of advertising with Twitter, and you don't actually have to go ahead and set up any advertising. But this will start tracking the data for you. And then lastly, something like Mail Chimp or whichever, whichever told you're using for email marketing. This will have loads of analytics in it, too, and it's all real time. So you send your email newsletter out and then straight away. The report starts coming in and you can see who's clicking on the links, so you can tell if your your blog content is of interest. And even better than that, you could see who's clicked on which bits. So this again can help you with your sales activity. Because if you see the same people clicking on your content again and again, then that tells you that, yep they're very interested in your product. Maybe you could do some more sales activity with them. Now, one thing that's really good to do, which will save you masses of time is to use a reporting tool that's gonna bring together all these different sources of data about your blog. So if you want to take the really sort of time consuming approach, you could do in a power point and you could take little screen grabs, Facebook Insights and Google Analytics and place it in there and save it as a pdf and then you send out in this massive long document, send around for everybody with the monthly report. And no one ever reads it because it's just too big and looks too bulky and everybody hates PowerPoint. Whereas if you use a tool like Dashthis or Raven or Smply measured or Cyfe or Buzzsumo. There is lots out there Falcon is another one. There's new ones popping up the whole time. Then that allows you to feed in data from all these different places from your different social media channels, your email marketing, Google, Google Analytics into one lovely reporting platform, and from there you can run off a report, which is going to bring everything together, and from there you can add a few comments as well. So you can explain to people well, this post did particularly well this month. So lets write more like that. And this area performed particularly well, too. So that brings us to the end of our blogging for business course. I hope you've made lots of notes along the way, and you've got a strong plan formulating for all of posts that you're going to write. I'd love you to join the Facebook community that we've got for the Sookio School and share some of your ideas, some of your successes. And give us a link to your blogs as well, so we can all have a read. Please have a look around the Sookio School site and think about other courses you could try. There's always more to learn.