3 Ways to Avoid Churning Out Mediocre Blog Posts
I recently read a blog post from an agency that discussed the power of Bing Ads, reminding the audience that pay-per-click content isn’t purely limited to Google AdWords. The writer used a host of stats to back up the thesis, but I was shocked to see an embedded infographic referencing comScore data from 2012.
A quick Google (or Bing!) search would have brought up more timely information to strengthen the argument, as detailed in these updated comScore stats from last year:
So while the agency in question championed the use of Bing Ads for its 153 million unique searchers in the US, circa 2012, that number has actually grown to 160 million. Bing share of the search market has gone up from 30 percent to 31.3 percent. That may only be a small change, but surely it’s better to publish the most recent data, right?
It’s certainly considered best practice to support your statements with evidence, but not when that evidence is so outdated, especially in the fast-paced world of digital marketing. In this case, it appears the author was tasked to write something about Bing ads and simply jumped on the first piece of research that appeared, without thinking to look for anything more current. This happens all too frequently, and referencing out-of-date research is not only lazy, it’s also misleading.
Fact-checking isn’t the only simple mistake that bloggers are making. If you’re going to devote the time and energy to write a good blog post, then it only makes sense to take care of the little things that will maximize engagement. Here are three ways to avoid churning out average blog posts.
Refine and shine
Thankfully, there’s a simple way to filter out irrelevant or dated information when you’re searching. You can select a custom date range for your searches, depending on how strict you have to be with stats. Stories about finance, for example, need data that’s as timely as possible since it could impact investing and purchasing decisions. In some cases, you may actually want to cite older data to show a progression over time.
Setting a date range for any source material you cite guarantees that you only see the most relevant web pages.
Refining your output this way helps ensure your integrity remains intact, giving you a firm platform to showcase industry knowledge, share expertise, and present yourself as a key thought leader in the market. However, your optimization efforts shouldn’t end there.
Do your SEO homework
If you want people to actually read your blog post, you have to make it easy for them to find, which means paying attention to search engine optimization. In my experience, many marketers shy away from SEO because they believe it to be either too complicated to do properly or too suspect, owing to a bad rep from the dark days of keyword-stuffing.
Today, SEO is neither. But it is necessary if you want to increase your traffic. Answer The Public is a user-friendly SEO tool that lets you visualize exactly what users are searching for online. It can help you create content for your blog that directly answers the pressing questions your prospects are asking.
Sticking with the Bing theme, this is what UK users are asking about ads on the platform:
You can refine searches further by clicking on the green dots, taking you to the results page where you can see the competitiveness of each search term. The question “are bing ads worth it?” reveals 904,000 searches, but if you use quotation marks to only search for the exact phrase, there are only 39 results.
So people are actively searching for this information, yet very few websites have published a direct answer. Thus, if you address this in a blog post and make the question your title, you can produce a piece of breakthrough content that will probably have a high search ranking and lead to traffic.
Being mindful of high-value keywords is essential when it comes to creating engaging titles, and doing a little research to pursue the best ideas for your brand can go a long way.
Distribute and amplify
Like fact-checking and SEO, content distribution is often an afterthought to some marketers. Perhaps they tweet a link to new posts and leave it at that. However, dedicating 20 percent of your content budget to paid distribution can pay dividends.
Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature allows for extremely targeted ads, letting marketers focus on age, gender, location, job title, level of education, interests, etc. to hone in on the readers who will find your blog post most useful.
Another great way of extending your reach is to encourage employee advocacy; asking staff to share blog content with their networks, or even adding links to recent posts in email signatures. You really want to do all you can to make sure your output stays fresh for your leads.
Any business that’s serious about raising its online profile will appreciate the virtues of blogging, but the process shouldn’t stop when you hit “Publish.” A lot of brands are interested in creating content, so taking the time to perfect the technical aspects of blogging can ultimately be the difference between posting average work and standing out from your competition.Image by Maskot/Getty