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How to write a blog. Your 10-step guide [Content calendar included]

March 25, 2020

Blogging. It’s hard to maintain a constant flow of production. Not to mention that it can seem overwhelming to get going. It’s a tough gig out there. 

But take a look at these stats:

  • According to Demand Metric, 47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts or content pieces before talking with a salesperson. 
  • According to HubSpot, marketers who prioritise blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI. 
  • According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising.

Blogging works. 

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at how to construct a great blog for your business and hopefully encourage you to develop a content calendar along the way 😉.

Let’s get started: 

 

Step 1. Make a list of topics. 

There are several ways you can come up with a list of topic ideas, and you can do this without expensive subscriptions to SEMRush or Ahrefs. 

Although if you do have access to those tools, that’s great. 

As for the research you can do for free, take a look at:

Google’s keyword planner, Answer the public and I found a pretty nifty tool called Exploding topics

Now, jot down a list of the most relevant topics in your industry. You will likely have well over 10 - 20 topics. Don’t worry we’re going to refine that list in our next step. 

 

Step 2. Pick a topic. 

This step requires you to refine the list of topics you have. 

There are a number of things you need to think about as you go about this process. 

  1. What topics speak directly to your buyer persona’s goals or challenges? 
  2. What topics align closely with your businesses products or services? 

With those things at the top of your mind, let’s narrow your topic list down to three or four topics at the most. 

 

Step 3. Check the rankability of that topic. 

Great, you’ve narrowed your list to find the most relevant topics for your business to write about 👏.

In this step, we’re going to take a look at the ranking and search volumes of those topics. These are two really important steps in constructing a great blog. 

If a keyword has a high difficulty ranking, this is generally anything over Keyword Difficulty (KD) 65. You may want to consider an easier keyword to go after that’s a little easier to eventually rank for. 

Secondly, the search volume of your keyword or phrase is important. There needs to be a decent monthly search volume attached to your keyword as you’re wanting to attract traffic. There’s no point in targeting a keyword no one is searching for.  

You will need a tool to help you do this. 

As far as free tools go, Ubersuggest is great. It provides you with all the data you need to make an informed decision. 

 

Step 4. Title variations. Pick the best one. 

Okay. Your topic is locked down, based on the research you did in the previous step. 

It’s time to get that topic into a title, one that’s creative, interesting and helpful. 

Here’s how we suggest going about this. 

  1. Jot down 10 - 15 title variations (make sure you include your keyword). 
  2. Run your variations past your team to narrow down some of your favourites. 
  3. Use strong language like “accelerate” or “supercharge” or even “sneak peak”
  4. List posts work well, so do “how-to” posts. 

 

Step 5. Develop an outline for your post. 

This step requires you to create a rough outline for your blog post. 

An outline will help you framework your article so that you have clarity around the points you want to touch on. 

This step ensures that you’re answering the question that your title requires you to. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a blog only to realise that I’m not answering the question I set out to answer. Keep this top of mind as you’re writing. 

 

Step 6. Research. 

Whether you’re an expert on the topic you’ve chosen or not, you need to conduct enough research to begin writing your article. 

You want to make sure that your article is insightful and full of information that your readers are looking for. And this starts with great research. 

Look far and wide. Read articles that are controversial, innovative, academic and then once you feel you know enough to tackle your article, then it’s time to start writing. 

 

Step 7. Write your First Draft. 

This is where the fun begins. This step is about getting all the ideas you have down. 

Writing can be a difficult task, so put yourself in a blogging booth or pump up the jams until you have all the words you believe should be written. 

Once you’re done, and only when you’re done, go back and restructure your sentences to read better. You may even need to change up sections to make it flow better. 

At this step, you will want to make sure you include external links to any sources or studies you reference. You will also include a few internal links, where you will include links to other content on your blog or website. This is important link building work.

If you’re not a grammar guru, and I would go as far to say that even the best of us miss some obvious ones, you can use Grammarly - it’s a free tool that corrects any grammar and sentence structure errors. 

Once you’re done and happy with your first draft, it’s time to send it off for review. 

 

Step 8. Final blog reviews. 

So your first draft has been reviewed and it’s come back with feedback and suggestions, don’t let this step make you feel uncomfortable, because it can. Feedback plays an important role in creating a great blog post. 

No one produces a perfect first draft. So, once those reviews are in, consider them all and make whatever changes you feel are good for the development of the article. 

Then you’ll send it off for its final review. (This step can be repeated, however many times your business feels is necessary.) 

This last review ensures tone consistency and that your sentence structure and any grammatical errors are picked up before publishing your blog. The last thing you want is a reader flagging a spelling error. 

On a scale of 1-10, how great does that feel? 

Trust me, it gets even better once you’ve uploaded it and shared it for the world to see. 

 

Step 9. Upload your blog. 

It’s time to upload your blog into your Content Management System (CMS). At Uku, we use HubSpot to do this. 

You will need to make sure that you set all internal and external links to open in a new tab - you do this to boost time spent on your page. 

You will add a blog banner and any other images you want to include. All the images you choose to use need to have alt text. 

Alt text is the addition of the keyword to each image. You do this because Google can’t crawl images, so by adding a keyword or phrase containing your keyword, you’re telling Google what this article is about. 

You will also need to ensure that you add a 160 character meta description. It should summarise the article, in a concise and interesting way and, of course, include your keyword. 

We also recommend including a relevant call-to-action (CTA) in your article. This should be relevant to your topic and to the user. We use CTA’s as a conversion tactic, as we want to turn any website traffic into leads that we have the opportunity to nurture.  

Lastly, you will need to ensure that your blog is optimised for the keyword/topic you chose in step two of this blog. 

Then, depending on what CMS you’re using you will want to preview your article before publishing it. This step is to ensure that your images and text are formatting correctly. 

Once you’re happy with the way that it looks, it’s time to hit publish 🎉. 

 

Step 10. Schedule your blog for the world to see, share, comment and like. 

It is now time to distribute your content. There is no use in writing content if you do not share your content with your audiences. 

We suggest sharing your blog content on all your social media platforms, make sure your captions are different and native to each platform. A blanket approach is not recommended here. 

We also suggest sharing it two to three times in its month of release and then only once a month for the next six to 12 months. That’s entirely up to you, but the purpose of this is to ensure you give your blog enough airtime for people to read and discover. 

I’ve written an entire blog dedicated to the process of content distribution, you can find that here

Pulling it all together

If you’re reading this post, you’re already aware of the value blogging can add to your business. 

What I will say is that writing without a cohesive strategy or focus won’t grow your organic traffic. 

The good news?

We’ve created a content marketing strategy template to help tie your blogging rhythm into greater focus.

We use this template ourselves, so we know it’s good. It also comes with a nifty guide book to show you exactly how to get the most out of your template. Simply click the download button below to get your copy 👇

content marketing strategy template