The Art and Science of Professional Blog Writing
Many businesses write blogs. Some are good at it, some not so good.
It’s widely accepted that blogging and content creation in general can boost your presence online, bring organic search traffic to your website and thereby increase sales leads.
What’s not so widely understood is that blogging is a highly creative (read, time-consuming) skill that also requires rigorous strategic thinking and a smidgen of science.
In professional blog writing, extreme accuracy of factual reporting is a complete necessity. Your article cannot contain factual errors or be slightly tangentially “wrong”. Failing to observe this obvious rule can blow the credibility of your article and even your whole business out of the water.
Strategic alignment with business objectives
All content on any website should be perfectly in tune with your strategic objectives. There is no point in writing willy-nilly on any subject that comes to mind.
The strategic objectives for content are derived in this order:
- Overall business long-term strategy. Which leads to …
- Short-term quarterly business tactics. Which leads to …
- Quarterly SEO and social media strategy. Which leads to …
- Monthly blogging and social media output calendar.
The role of the content calendar
The content calendar is a key piece of the strategic puzzle. This simple document (basically just a spreadsheet) will contain the upcoming events that the business will be focussed on. This will include business events such as exhibitions, seminars, training sessions. It will also include seasonal activities such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s etc.
This blend of business and non-business calendaring will lead to a calendar which is perfectly aligned to your quarterly strategic goals.
Sometimes things come up in the quarter which can tempt businesses to deviate from the strategy. This should only happen in an emergency, such as a public relations crisis or a national emergency.
The reason that sticking closely to the strategy is so important is so that you can measure progress against the strategy.
If you are flip-flopping all over the place, it’s impossible to get decent metrics on how much your content is affecting search rankings, search traffic, social media engagement etc.
Getting to know you
As the marketing agency gets to know their client better, it becomes easier to provide top quality blog articles for them.
Like any agency, Dotwise aims to keep its clients for as long as possible. Part of this is by writing the most accurate, relevant content that fits strategically with the client’s aims.
To do this we adopt a range of techniques: telephone interviews with the client’s technical experts, desktop research, reading other blog articles on similar topics and reaching out to contacts via social networks such as LinkedIn. We also sometimes include data from surveys and polls.
The aim is to produce content that is fresh, original, 100% accurate, bang on topic and appears at exactly the right time.
How long does a blog article take to write?
As you can see, there is a lot more to producing a professionally written article than first meets the eye. Here’s a breakdown of roughly how much time all this takes:
|Task||Time (approximate - averaged over a large number of articles)|
|Consultation with client||20 minutes|
|Development of business focus, SEO strategy, keyword planning, gap analysis||20 minutes|
|Content calendarisation||20 minutes|
|Synopsis, meta titles and keywords for article||20 minutes|
|Writing including interviewing client, desktop research||2 hours|
|Proof-reading and editorial||30 minutes|
|Image identification and purchase||30 minutes|
|Formatting and launching||30 minutes|
|Internal linking||20 minutes|
|Social media promotion||40 minutes|
That figure at the end, over five hours per blog article, can surprise a lot of people. Of course the times above are just estimates and can be longer or shorter. But on the whole this is accurate. So adding content creation to the digital marketing mix shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Publish and be damned
What happens after the blog article is written and launched is just as important as the article itself. Without maximum promotion and amplification online it will plop onto the Internet and be promptly forgotten.
Some of our best SEO articles have driven tens of thousands of visitors to clients’ websites and driven thousands of pounds of new business.
We assume that the article is not written for SEO but is written with maximum SEO built in. This means no blog article should be written solely for the purpose of ranking in search, but should fit with the business’s overall SEO strategy and be maximally optimised for SEO.
But the SEO effect of an article is only part of the story.
Almost every article needs maximum amplification via social media too. This requires the article to fit strategically into the story that the business is trying to tell. And the article must fit with the current social media climate and appear at the right time and on the right channels. This way it stands the best chance of being picked up by influencers who will share the article with their audiences.
The final piece of the puzzle is measurement. We can’t hope to improve blog writing and content creation without measuring the reaction to the article.
This should be both quantitative and qualitative. It it should include typical metrics such as page dwell time, numbers of 100% read-throughs, bounce rate etc. But should also where possible elicit qualitative feedback such as comments, shares with comments, backlinks etc.
Should you buy blog writing services?
Blog writing is something you can buy, of course. But should you? And if so, who from?
There are people on the Internet who will write and sell a blog article for as little as £10. It’s tempting, but it’s a perilous risk if you are serious about your online reputation.
Dotwise has written and published over 250 professional blog posts, articles and white papers. They have been on subjects as diverse as Cubism in modern art, to recycling soil, and where to place mirrors in gyms.
In this time we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a good blog article that any business will be proud of. Accuracy, strategy and purpose are key.
And a little bit of personality to round it all off.