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As buying behavior is changing, with buyers researching online before buying, businesses have started posting content to influence decisions. Today, almost all businesses are using content to reach out and convert potential buyers.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing.

This has lead to an explosion of content over the past few years.

While businesses have been able to leverage this change in behavior, they have found it challenging to write compelling content that connects with their audience and inspires them to take action.

This has led to dismal results from their content marketing efforts.

More than 60% of B2B marketers rate their content marketing as moderately effective or minimally effective.

In this post, I am going to share 8 steps you need to follow to write a compelling blog article that produces results. You don’t require special writing skills to write content. It is a structured process involving planning and research.

Step 1: Understand your Target Audience

It is critical to start with an identification of your audience and understanding of their goals and challenges. You should know where your content falls in the buying journey and how it solves your buyer’s problems.

This is where you need to create buyer personas to answer key questions and get a deeper understanding of your audience.

  • What is the role of my target audience?
  • What are the current processes followed by them?
  • What are the challenges faced by them in these processes?
  • How can I help them solve their challenges?
  • How does my offering differentiate from other vendors?

Answers to these questions provide you with an abundance of invaluable information, which can help you to produce content that is relevant to the target audience.

Step 2: Start With a Topic and a Working Title

When you start writing content, you have too many thoughts in your mind which you wish to convey. However, all these thoughts might not be directly relevant to the challenge which you wish to address through that particular content.

This lack of structure in the thoughts does not only make it difficult to read but also difficult to write.

A working title helps you become laser focussed and guides your content towards one content goal.

This technique is known as the inverted pyramid approach of writing content, where the title guides every sentence and finally every sentence and paragraph are directly connected to the title

Step 3: Write a Compelling Introduction

Introductions are the second most important piece of the content after headlines. While a powerful headline helps you to draw your reader, a strong introduction initiates engagement with the reader and ensures he reads the rest of the content.

 There are 3 elements of a strong introduction: 
  • First, it grabs the reader’s attention with an interesting start. There are multiple ways in which you can accomplish that: Ask a question, state a fact, start a debate, mention the challenge or quote a thought leader.
  • Second, it delves deeper into the problem or opportunity outlined in the opening line.
  • Third, it gives a short summary of the rest of the content in the blog article.

Here is a great guide by Neil Patel on how to write a powerful introduction.

Step 4: Organize Content

Sometimes, your blog post can contain an overwhelming amount of information, which can be challenging for you to structure and present coherently.

Also, on the reader’s side, they have a tendency to scan the entire passage to understand the structure and see how long it is before giving it a detailed read. If they find it difficult to follow the structure while scanning, they tend to close the tab.

A great way to address these challenges is to organize your content into sections, lists, and tips.

Image Credits: Coschedule

It is more like outlining your entire post and working on individual sections one at a time.

Here are some great blog post templates by Hubspot which you can use to organize your content.

Step 5: Insert a Call to Action

The objective of any content marketing effort should be to drive your readers to take some action and bring them closer to the buying stage.

You can achieve this objective by placing a CTA at the end of every blog article.

It could be any of these: Get in touch with your company, download an e-book or share your thought below.

 For Example:  The post from HubSpot asks its readers to either read about the next topic or evaluate one of their products.

 

Step 6: Optimize for On-page SEO

Blogging boosts the authority of your website by showcasing it as a trusted source to Search Engines. SEO optimization of the blog gives you opportunities to rank for relevant keywords and attract audiences at different buying stages.

While it can be tough to keep up with all the updates from search engines, you can start with the basics: You should include keywords and related words in your post in the following places:

  • Headline
  • Meta description
  • URL
  • Image alt tags
  • Headers
  • Anchor text

If you are keen on learning more about SEO best practices for blogging, you can watch this Whiteboard Session by Moz.

Step 7: Pick a Catchy Headline

Once you have written the entire blog post, you should work on its headline.

Headlines play a major role in enticing your audience to click on the content and read it, be it on Social Media, Search or E-mail. It also sets the tone of the article and defines expectations from it.

Hence, your headline should be specific and compelling enough for readers to continue on with reading your blog post.

You can use this tool by Coschedule Headline Analyzer to check the effectiveness of your headline.

Step 8: Proofread your Article and Fix Formatting Issues

It is imperative to proof-read your article and make final editing changes before you publish it. Your content marketing efforts would be rendered useless if there are grammatical or factual mistakes in your articles.

While it can be overwhelming and tedious to follow the journalism-level editing process, you can start with the basic checklist:

  • Are there any grammatical errors?
  • Have you used the right images?
  • Is the introduction enticing enough?
  • Are there enough white spaces to make the content visually appealing?
  • Are there enough examples?
  • Does the tone align with the persona being targeted?
  • Is the call to action present?

These final edits can change the presentation of your blog post making the information look more credible in the eyes of the reader.

Conclusion

When asked from Ann Hadley, whether your work is good enough, she replied:

When we create something, we think, ‘Will our customers thank us for this?’ I think it’s important for all of us to be thinking about whatever marketing we’re creating; is it really useful to our customers? Will they thank us for it? I think if you think of things through that lens, it just clarifies what you’re doing in such a simple, elegant way.

In the current scenario, when everyone is rushing towards content marketing, a customer-focused approach followed by a structured process of content creation can help you differentiate from your competitors and drive business results.

List of Blogging Tools

What practices are you following to create a compelling blog article? Please comment below