How to Leverage Video Content on Your Blog for SEO

Picture of webcam used for video content

Unless you’ve spent the past few years under a rock, you’ve come across advice to integrate video content into your blogging efforts.

Heck, Hugh and the Blogworks crew even gave you a very thorough guide on how to get video into your blog — more on that later.

But if you’ve been avoiding that advice, I don’t blame you.

Blog husbandry is hard enough. Creating an entirely new content stream in a new medium might seem like more work than you want to take on.

At the start of 2018, I decided to test using video content to drive traffic to my blog and grow my audience.

The test project was straightforward enough — I would interview experts about different communication issues, load the video up on YouTube, and embed it in my blog.

As simple as the project was, it would still take time – time normally given over to blogging. And search engines can’t crawl video, so I couldn’t not be creating written content.

What’s an overworked content creator to do?

A content lightbulb moment

The lightbulb moment came courtesy of a fellow speaker. I was chatting with her about my project, both bubbling with excitement and moaning about the difficulty of generating the videos while trying to keep up with my blog writing.

The genius of her recommendation was belied by her off-handed manner:

Make sure you get a transcript of the interview, then post both the video and the transcript to your blog. Google can search that text and it’ll give you a big SEO boost.

I could leverage video to create written blog content at the same time AND it was good for SEO?! Let there be light!

Dipping my toes into video content via interviews

It’s easy to go off the deep end when getting into video, and I wanted my foray to involve minimal headaches. That was why I started with an interview strategy.

Interviews are probably the easiest content to create and have several advantages:

  • Having a conversation with someone is a lot easier than staring into a camera and babbling to yourself
  • You just need to plan the questions and the overall flow instead of taking time to write out a full script
  • Interview videos are forgiving – you don’t need to use lots of fancy cuts and audiences don’t expect you to edit out every stammer or awkward statement
  • A 20-minute interview can net you thousands of words of text for some serious Google and SEO juice.

One of my earliest interviews was with Hugh himself. Check it out here, and you’ll see what I mean about the ease and enjoyability of conversation (and how you don’t need to worry about editing out the occasional stammer or non-sequitur).

Getting going with video doesn’t need to cost a lot

You don’t need to break the bank to try the video + transcript combo on your blog.

Here’s what I use:

  • Video conferencing software: I use Zoom for video conferencing and recording.
  • An HD webcam: Don’t get sucked into the pro vlogger DSLR camera vortex. Get thee a good HD webcam and call it a day. I use a Logitech C920. It cost about $100
  • An external microphone: Don’t rely on the webcam microphone or your computer’s integrated microphone, but don’t go crazy here, either – a cheap lav mic ($10 – $25) or even the headset that came with your latest smartphone will probably do. If you’re feeling more gung ho, or already know you want to do a lot of these, you can spend more. I use an ATR 2100 USB mic ($120)
  • Lighting: If you have access to a room with bright, natural lighting, great – you might be able to skip this part. But my office is a dungeon. I solved the lighting headache with a $125 Neewar ring light I bought from Amazon. You could also cobble together your own lighting from what you have on hand, as long as you can get it good and bright.
  • Video editing software: I do very little editing in my interview videos. I splice in a pre-recorded guest intro and some branded intro/outro clips, and chop out the first few minutes of chit-chat that always happens. You can likely do most of this with freebie video editing software, but I prefer Camtasia. You can also go totally hands-off and outsource the editing.
  • A transcription service: Transcribing the interviews is the one thing I always outsource. Rev.com gives high-quality transcription with quick turnaround at $1 USD/minute of audio.

A simple process for distributing video content across multiple platforms

Uploading videos on YouTube is easy – there are a million video tutorials out there, and BlogsWorks has a great guide on how to put your video into your blog.

I’ve discovered doing everything in a certain order makes it all much easier.

Here’s my posting process (after I’ve recorded and edited the video):

  1. Do the video stuff: Upload the video to YouTube. Enter the title, description, and put in a whole bunch of relevant keyword tags. Publish the video.
  2. Then do the blog stuff: Start a new blog post. Re-use EVERYTHING from YouTube in your blog – the title, the description, the tags. Except for minor tweaks, don’t re-invent the wheel, just copy/paste it all into your blog. Embed the video, then copy and paste the transcript right under the embedded video. Hit ‘publish.’
  3. Last, the newsletter stuff: Copy and paste the title, description, and a link to the blog post containing the video and transcript into Mailchimp (or whatever newsletter system you use). Hit send.

Boom. Done. I’ve got the whole process down to less than 45 minutes.

While we’re on the subject, here are some other tips for writing blog posts better and faster.

Audiences and search engines love the video-text combo

Once I started posting the interviews (and later expanded to Q&A videos) along with the transcripts to my blog, 4 things happened:

  1. My website’s organic traffic started to go up
  2. My click-through rate on my newsletters went up
  3. My social media engagement went up, especially on Twitter and YouTube. Granted, YouTube is where I host the videos, but the video posts generate more likes, shares, and comments across all my platforms than my text-only blog posts do.
  4. My newsletter subscribers told me that they liked the videos and really appreciated being able to skim the video transcript on the blog. They were getting the best of both worlds.

Yes, creating the interview videos take a little more time and resources than writing text-only blogs, but I find the process feels easier and more satisfying. Especially when I record the interviews in batches and create several months of content in a few days.

Videos + text + blog can create some real magic. Don’t worry about being perfect, just give it a try and see where it takes you.

Lauren Sergy (@lsergy) is a self-described public speaking and communication wonk. She’s professionally obsessed with helping people level up their speaking and communication skills. Click here for more communication-related insights.

 

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about video content for your blog:

The ultimate guide to adding YouTube videos to your blog
How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days — a case study
How to drive traffic to older blog posts

 

How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days – a case study

Busy street symbolizing an increase in blog traffic

At BlogWorks we love to see results.

Especially when the results are fast.

And we really, really love seeing client results when we’re using one of our favourite techniques.

What we call re-loving old posts.

The idea is simple…

If you have been blogging for a while, your inventory of posts will have been indexed by the search engines. In other words, Google will have decided how to “rank” your blog posts against all the other posts about similar topics.

This is why some of your posts show up on the first page of search results and some on the 13th page.

Updating old content can fix that.

Let’s start with why updating old posts works.

Why you need to update your old content to increase blog traffic

The strategy of updating old content to increase blog traffic works best if you’ve already published at least two dozen blog posts. This post explains in detail how to use this strategy.

Here are the most important reasons why we love this strategy. Book a call today to learn if this can work for your business.

1. Better click-through. When you update that old content you improve your click-through rate – the volume of people who choose to click on your article – simply because the date is more current.

2. Google likes fresh content. One of the many factors Google looks for in posts is how fresh is your content. When you update your old posts you also will update the publish date. More recent equals more results.

current dates in search engine results page
In this example, 6 of 7 search results were posted in the last 12 months

3. Improve your title. Your post title tells readers what the article is about but also should attract and intrigue the reader enough to want to jump in. Now is the time to turn that boring headline into a killer question, or use any of the 5 techniques described in this article.

According to Convince and Convert, a great title is clear (what will I get if I read this?) but intrigues the reader to dive in. Remember, you are competing with everything else on their phone or laptop – you need to get and keep their attention!

blog post title matters
The best headlines are about 8 words and 70 characters

4. Fix grammar and spelling. Updating your old posts gives you a chance to catch those spelling mistakes or tighten up the grammar. A quick improvement is to remove the word “that” – it will make your sentence read better and improve the flow of your post.

5. Link to “revenue” pages. Here’s a quick test: in the first third of your article does you post link to at least one “revenue” page, like a product or service page? When you update the old post, also update internal links to your site.

image of internal links in a blog post

6. One less article to post. Updating an old post takes a fraction of the time it takes to write a new one. Many of our clients combine one new article (we do that as well!) with one updated article each month.

Now that we’ve looked at the reasons, let’s look at an example of how one BlogWorks client used this strategy.

The Speaker Exchange

Like many small business owners, Brittanny and Julie at The Speaker Exchange were aware of the value of content marketing, but needed an outsourced solution. They had been using newsletters to stay in touch with their audience.

They reached out to BlogWorks for a solution.

Home page of The Speaker Exchange

The goal was to create consistent inbound traffic using original blog posts targeted to the event planner audience. At BlogWorks we have a team of local writers, each with specialties.

We write blog posts for a wide variety of wonderful clients ranging from leadership authors and public speakers to cyber security experts. And in this case, we have writers who know the speaking industry.

The BlogWorks solution

The BlogWorks solution was to write one original post and to update one older post every month, plus promote the blog through social media. In the first 90 days, site traffic was up almost 30%! Even better, Sessions and Pageviews were both up over 20%.

Image of analytics showing increased blog traffic

A part of the solution was more consistent blog publishing, but the biggest results was from updating old content with better keywords, headlines, and content.

The client example we shared in this post could be yours(!) Contact us today to learn how to increase your blog traffic by updating old posts.

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about writing blogs:

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

 

21 incorrectly used words that can make you look dumb

A typewriter with a page that reads "Words Have Power";

Many of the words you use in your blog could be, well…

wrong.

Should you use advice or advise?

How about affect or effect?

Then there’s everyday and every day.

Aaaaaagh!?!?

Dear reader, instead of running off to Google every time you’re unsure we have scoured the lexicon library to help clarify, demystify, enlighten and sort through 21 words that often get misused and abused.

Here we go with our list of incorrectly used words…

1. Advise and advice

First, advise is a verb – the act of giving, while advice is a noun – what you give. A quickest test is to say your sentence out loud, like: “I went to the coach to get advise.”

2. Affect and effect

Not only do these two sound similar they are very often confused (fortunately most people don’t know the difference.) A simple distinction is to use effect if you are making the change happen and affect if you are helping make the change happen. For example: “The CEO’s decision effected a major change in direction.” And “What she said affected my decision to go ahead.”

3. Everyday and every day

This is an easy one to mix up. Doing something every day means you do it every single day, like drinking coffee in the morning.

Meanwhile, everyday means commonplace or normal, like hearing sirens is an everyday event.

4. Along and long

This is an easy one to clarify. Along means moving in a constant direction, like “I was moving along the highway.” While long means a great distance or duration, like “The highway was long and boring.”

5. A while and awhile

This is a tricky one. First, the difference between while and awhile is easy to spot. While refers to a period of time “We talked for a while.”

The word awhile means for a period of time “He waited awhile for his appointment.” Whereas a while can only be used to replace while – a longer period of time.

6. Any way and anyway

Anyway means “nonetheless” or “regardless” as in: “I knew I had to get work done, but checked Facebook anyway.” You can also use anyway to connect a story that’s continuing: “Anyway, I was describing how to write a better blog post…”

Any way means a variety of ways of doing something, or in any manner. “I had so much to get done I tackled my list any way possible.”  

Anyway, let’s get onto #7.

7. Fewer and less

Here’s a trick for this one: use fewer when referring to items you can count, like “fewer homes” or “fewer car sales.”

Use less when referring to items you can’t count, like “time”, or “income.” There are some conventions with fewer and less: we tend to use less with time, money and weight.

8. Insure and ensure

This is an easy one to remember: insure refers only to insurance. Ensure means to make sure. So you might want to ensure you are insured.

9. Irregardless and regardless

This is an easy fix: don’t use irregardless. You might find irregardless in text (and certainly hear some well-meaning folks use the word), but it’s not commonly accepted and just sounds wrong.

10. Principle and principal

My trick to remembering the difference between these is that my Principal at school should be my “pal” or friend, as in principal. Whereas principle is a guideline or rule: “…basic scientific principles.”

Principal can also refer to the amount borrowed on a load, the most important item in a particular set “The principal account makes up 65 percent of our revenues.”

11. Stationary and stationery

This is an easy one: you write on stationery. When something doesn’t move it is stationary.

12. It’s and its

It’s is a contraction of it is or it has. Use it’s to move a sentence along and to give a more casual feeling to your writing.

Its is about possession “The store increased its prices.” An easy test is to try removing the apostrophe and see how it sounds: “It’s raining” becomes “It is raining.” (which sounds better).

By the way, there is no use for its’.

13. They’re and their

This is similar to #12 and many other incorrectly used words, they’re is a contraction of they are, whereas their is all about ownership.

14. Who’s and whose

Who’s is a contraction that means either who is or who has. “Do you know someone who’s living in California?” 

Whose is possessive. “You and whose army?”

15. You’re and your

Here’s another contraction and one you probably get right: you’re and your.

You’re means you are and your is about ownership “Your car.” “Your home.” So, “If you’re going to your home to get your car you’re doing the right thing!”

16. Accept and except

Here’s an easy one…

These two words sound the same but are quite different: accept is to receive, except signifies and exclusion. So “I accept the offer, except I won’t want it for another month.”

17. In regard to

The only distinction to note here is that the expression In regard to is singular. To write “In regards to” is incorrect.

18. Ironic vs. Coincidental

Here’s an interesting distinction: if something happens at the same time “I was about to go see her when she showed up at my house.” that’s a coincidence. But, when there’s a reversal involved, like “When we returned from our trip to Mexico we learned the weather was actually better at home.” That’s ironic.

Comedian Ed Byrne writing about Alanis Morisette’s song, Ironic: “The only ironic thing about that song is it’s called ‘Ironic’ and it’s written by a woman who doesn’t know what irony is. That’s quite ironic.”

19. Imply vs. Infer

“The implier is the pitcher; the inferrer is the catcher.” Theodore Bernstein, The Careful Writer

To imply is to say something indirectly, like: “The host implied it was time to leave by saying she was tired.” To infer is to gather, deduce, or figure out. “We inferred it was time to leave by the host’s actions.”

The way to remember this one is: a speaker/writer implies, while the listener/reader infers.

20. Adverse and Averse

To be adverse is rarely used to describe people, but more commonly to describe events, effects, trends in the economy, changes in weather, etc: “The new medication has no adverse impacts on health.”

Averse describes people and means to feel opposed or disinclined. “We are not averse to holding another meeting.”

21. Irrespective and respective

Irrespective is not just the opposite of respective. Their meanings are completely different.

Irrespective of means regardless of as in “he continued to blog irrespective of how many readers he had.”

Whereas, respective means relating to two more more things individually”, as in “We all met for lunch and then returned to our respective offices.”

Enjoyed this article about incorrectly used words? Here’s three more of our most popular posts:

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!

How to start a blog post - 5 examples

“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” ~Stephen King

There’s not much point having a blog if nobody reads it.

Right?

The trick is how you start a blog—it comes down to the opening.

Yes, you must have a dynamite headline that pulls readers in. And, sure, you might have 5, 7 or 51(!)  brilliant suggestions with dazzling arguments, but if nobody reads past the first sentence, well…

Before we jump into how to write the perfect opening, let’s revisit why more readers is so important.

Why you blog is so damn important

Every web site we look at has the same off-balance characteristic: people spend 5-10 times more time on your blog than on any other page on your site.

People spend 5-10 times more time on your blog than on any other page on your site. Click To Tweet

In other words, your blog is where you get people’s attention and get them interested in buying. Your blog is where the conversation starts.

It’s no different than striking up a conversation with a vendor at a farmer’s market or salesperson at a conference. The more time you spend with them the more likely you are to buy.

But, first we have to get them reading. And that’s gotten harder.

If your prospect searches for your solutions but don’t see a match right away…they’re gone. If they get your email, open the blog, but aren’t curious to read more, they’re gone.

And once people click away…they aren’t coming back.

So, we have to start our blog by snagging the reader by their synapses. And that starts with the first sentence.

At BlogWorks we do the heavy lifting for you. We write your blog with SEO-rich keywords, perfectly matched to your target audience so you can attract more prospects AND save hours and hours of time every week.

Before we get to that, let’s look at what kills the start of your blog…

How to kill the start of your blog

It’s easy to kill the opening and send readers away screaming. Here’s how.

  • Run-on sentences that go nowhere: “If you want to be a great leader you need to understand the needs of your team while simultaneously keeping an eye on the future and coaching for performance”…WHAT?!?!?!
  • Starting with a negative: “Bad leaders bring their team down.”…bummer.
  • Stating the obvious: “Every team needs a leader”, or “Technology has changed how we work.”….Duh!
  • Boring your readers: “This article will help you understand excellence in customer service”…Zzzzzzzz.

A good opening sentence is sticky – like Spiderman. And a great opening sentence is both sticky and does one more thing:

It makes you want to read the second sentence.

As William Zinsser wrote in the classic, On Writing Well “The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead.”

Now that you’re (hopefully) convinced your blog is essential for attracting and starting meaningful sales conversations, let’s jump into how to start a blog.

5 ways to start a blog post and hook your reader

  1. Ask a question

In his now famous blog post How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World, uber blogger, Jon Morrow doesn’t waste any time. With a 71 character headline that he assumes you will read, he goes straight to this opening question:

“After all, that’s the dream, right?”

Mike Stelzner’s massively successful Social Media Examiner blog has adopted a two-question opener that seems to be working. Like in this post:

“Are you trying to get more local customers? Have you tried Facebook video ads targeted to your local market?”

The technique is simple: work backwards from your topic to the question your prospects would be asking and start with that.

  1. Make a bold claim

What’s the most common (and useful) advice for creating viral videos on YouTube? Make a big claim in the first 7 seconds.

One way to do that with your blog is to start with a blog claim.

I like this style for two reasons: I think it grabs the reader by their curiosity and it challenges me to write a post that has some punch!

Here are some examples from our site at BlogWorks:

  • About making money: “You want your blog to make money. Right?”
  • About adding videos to your blog: Video is a great way to attract more readers to your blog and having them stay longer. If you know how to do it.
  • About measuring the performance of your blog: Let me ask you a question: Would you drive a car without a dashboard or put your money in a bank if you couldn’t see your balance?
  1. Be a contrarian

Another way to get your readers’ attention is to start a blog with an uncommon thought. Chances are you have some beliefs and theories that would work perfectly for this style of opening.

Best-selling author, Ryan Holiday used this approach in his post: “Dear Entrepreneurs: Please Don’t Write a Book—We’re Begging You” to attack first time authors who take writing short-cuts (like hiring book-in-a-box companies).

“There has been no worse piece of advice out there recently than: If you’re an entrepreneur, write a book.”

I like the surprising opening to the post: “A Public-Private Partnership Could Be Key to Your Startup’s Survival” from Entrepreneur.com:

“Despite what many of us might think, there are a lot fewer startups than there used to be.”

  1. Use a statistic (or two)

There is something about including a statistic that adds instant credibility to your post. If fact, 98% of bloggers (ha ha) agree with me on this.

Futurist, entrepreneur and author Peter Diamandis is a big fan of this style of writing. Here’s how he opens his post about the future of cities:

“By 2050, two-thirds of the population, more than 6 billion people, are expected to live in urbanized areas. Exponential technologies will radically change the way we build and organize our cities in the future.”

Or this article about cell phones and homicide rates from the NY Times.

“The increased use of cellphones reduced US homicide rates in the 1990s, according to new research distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

  1. Create a hook

We all love a mystery. It’s like a friend leaning in and saying “You know there’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you…”—you have to know what comes next.

When you start with intrigue you open a scene, but just enough for a movie to start playing in your reader’s mind. Now they want to know what comes next.

Here’s how uber-blogger Tim Urban of the massively successful Wait but Why blog opened his post about what would otherwise be a highly technical subject called Neuralink.

“Last month, I got a phone call.

Okay maybe that’s not exactly how it happened, and maybe those weren’t his exact words. But after learning about the new company Elon Musk was starting, I’ve come to realize that that’s exactly what he’s trying to do.”

And this is how artist, blogger Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing breaks the ice in her post about mindfulness:

“At 3 AM, I was tossing and turning.”

And from one of my favourite authors, Ann Handley:

“Here’s the best writing I read all week. It’s 170 words tucked into a belly of a 7,000-word article.

And yes… it’s about stink bugs.”

Ready to start your next blog?

At the end of the day, your blog has to deliver value if you want it to be read, shared and bring you more followers. Kicking it off with a well thought-out opening sentence is a great place to start.

 

Enjoyed this post? Still not ready to go back to work? Here’s more great stuff:

5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog post ideas your audience will love
90 seconds to becoming a better writer

5 brilliant tips on how to start a blog post with a bang 

start your blog post with a bang

Most blogs suck. 

You might have the most brilliant advice, but nobody reads it. 

The solution starts withthe start. 

A recent survey found that only 30% of readers make it to the end of a post. Just like a YouTube video – if you dont grab your readers attention in 3 seconds its sayonara.  

Theyre gone. 

In this post you will learn a 5 step approach to quickly retro fit old posts gathering digital dust, or tweak new posts to start working miracles.  

Lets jump in with some mind work on how to start a blog post.

1. Enter the conversation

To capture your readers’ attention you have to first enter the conversation going on in their mind (Robert Collier). In other words, grab their attention with something theyre already thinking about. 

– If youre a financial planner, tell me how to avoid costly mistakes.
– If youre a realtor, tell me how to make more money when I sell my home.
– If youre an IT consultant, tell me how to choose the best IT consultant. 

Not sure where to start? Start with a list of the most common questions your prospects ask you.

2. Get my attention

water splashing in woman's face

This is keymake me stop and want to read more. Your reader found your latest post via your email or social media. But, theyre not committed yetwith the click of their mouse theyre gone – never to return to that post. 

So, hook them with bait that makes them hungry for more. 

Start with your first sentence. Its job is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on.  

In your #blog, the job of your first sentence is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on. Click To Tweet 

Dont force me to wade through a muddy dissertation. Instead, start with a bold statement, a bit of controversy or a question. 

For example, I could have started this post with something like: 

The problem with all too many blogs is that they fail to get the attention of readers and, as a result, dont drive traffic to your products or services. 

Ugh. 

Instead, I started with: 

Most blogs suck.

3. Tell me the Problem

person holding question mark to face

Heres a blogging secret. If the reader doesnt care about your topic, they wont care to read about it 

So, make it obvious. 

In the first 2 sentences you need to TELL ME THE PROBLEM you will solve. 

Here’s a blogging secret. If the reader doesn’t care about your topic, they won’t care to read about it. Click To Tweet 

Even better: choose only one problem to solve. 

Here are 3 examples from our blog:

1. In this post we tackled time management:
Lets get one thing straight. I waste time, you waste timeeveryone wastes time.

2. This post is all about getting more traffic:
And its time to get serious about your business and your blog. You want more trafficthe right traffic.

3. This post is about restarting your blog writing:
You havent published for at least a month – not so great.

4. Make a promise

Every salesperson worth his/her salt knows this. To keep your prospects attention you need to make a promise of what you have to offer. 

It could be as simple as Let me show you how we can fix that, or I think I have the perfect solution for you. 

Its no different in your blogonce you get my attention, tell me what comes next.  

For example, this post is about blog performance:
In this post were looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier. Sound good?

5. Please get to the point!

time on site screenshow showing how to start your blog post with a bang
The average time we see on our client’s blog posts is 2-3 times more than other pages.

Finally, a great blog gets to the point. 

You got my attention, you entered the conversation going on in my mind, you even described a problem you know I have – great! Now, get to the point and deliver the goods.  

The average visitor time on our clients websites is about one minute. The average time we see on their blog posts is more like 3 to 7 minutes. Wow! 

Your blog has the ability to stop readers from clicking away. Your blog can also drive traffic to your revenue pages.  

If you do it right. 

A few small changes to the start of your post can improve time on site, list growth – even conversion to sales.  

It all starts withthe start. 

Enjoyed this post on how to start a blog post? Here are 3 more all about blog writing: 

5 easy steps to publishing your next blog post (even if you dont have time)
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

57 remarkable blogging facts, statistics and insights for 2019

blogging facts

Every day there seems to be the newest, latest, greatest, must-have online social media strategy that digital marketers claim will blow your blog away. Instagram stories have replaced Facebook Live, which replaced Vine, which replaced Snapchat.

Well, good luck with all that.

Sure, you can bury your head for a month, take courses and maybe — just maybe — get an iota of the results promised by the guru you got the idea from. But sometimes it’s best to stick with what works.

Like blogging.

In our books, a blog is still the best way to showcase your brilliant skills, talents, and solutions. Blogging the right way can keep prospects coming back to your home base — your web site.

But how do you blog the right way to keep prospects coming back? Well, we use social media to bring prospects to our blog — and it works.

To prove how important your blog can be to your online presence, engagement, and traffic, we have collected some blogging facts that will give you some insight into what you should be doing to grow your blog in 2019. Feel free to share these facts so other people can start getting better marketing results with their blog — just like you.

Blogs work (still)

1. 85% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers actively blog or use other content marketing. (2018, Content Marketing Institute)

2. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more growth in leads than those without a blog. (2018, Orbit Media)

3. 55% of companies surveyed report that their blog is one of their top marketing priorities for 2018 onward. (2018, State of Inbound marketing industry report)

4. 80% of bloggers surveyed report that their blog delivers positive or strong business results. (2018, Orbit Media)

5. 55% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important inbound marketing channel. (2018, Hubspot)

55% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important inbound marketing channel. @Hubspot Click To Tweet

6. Consumers use blogs to make buying decisions: 47% of buyers view 3-5 blog posts or other pieces of content before starting the buying process. (2016, Demand Gen Report)

7. 38% of businesses report they rely strongly on vendor-generated content like blog posts and eBooks to help make purchase decisions. (2018, State of Inbound marketing industry report)

8. 95% of marketers consider blogging to be a smart marketing tactic. (2018, State of Inbound marketing industry report)

9. 43% of business-to-business (B2B) companies say blog posts are the most important content they produce. (2017, Social Media Examiner)

10. Blogs work! Written articles (when compared to all other forms of content creation) still get the most engagement on social media (followed by videos and images). (2017, Clutch)

11. Of over 2,000 top marketers surveyed, 57% plan to increase their use of blogging in the near future. (2018, Social Media Examiner)

12. Content marketing (like your blog) gets 3X more leads than paid search advertising. (Content Marketing Institute)

Bored already? If you’re also bored trying to get your blog written, edited, scheduled, published and promoted (whew!) we can do all that for you — and for a whole lot less money and hassle than you think! Packages start at $97/month.

How’s your headline?

13. Headlines with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. (Hubspot)

14. List articles (listicles) still work! 36% of people prefer list-based headlines. (ConversionXL)

15. The “How-To” headline is a close cousin to the listicle. “How-To” headlines also get lots of traffic! (ConversionXL)

16.Common words/phrases used in the most highly-shared headlines are “you/your”, “free/giveaway”, “how to”, “DIY”, “I/me/my”, “easy”, “win”, “new” and “aardvark” (kidding). (OkDork)

Common words/phrases used in the most highly-shared headlines are “you/your”, “free/giveaway”, “how to”, “DIY”, “I/me/my”, “easy”, “win”, and “new”. @OkDork Click To Tweet

17. 3, 5, 7, 9’s work! Odd-numbered listicle headlines outperform even ones by 20% (like this one!) (Content Marketing Institute)

18. Here’s an odd one: Including a colon or hyphen in your title can result in a 9% traffic improvement. (CMI)

19. Make me cry! Emotional headlines get shared more. (hint: speak to their problem, not your solution). (OkDork)

Headline, schmeadline. Do you really want to be messing around with long-tail keywords and headlines when you could be taking care of your customers? We do all that for you. Packages start at $97/month.

Is your blog long enough?

20. The average length of a first page blog post is 1,890 words. (2017, Backlinko)

21. Over 50% of bloggers who published articles over 2,000 words in length reported strong results, compared to only 10% of bloggers who wrote articles under 500 words. (2018, Orbit Media)

22. Longer, in-depth blogs can generate 10 times more leads than shorter content (they provide a better connection for long-tail keywords). (Curata)

23. Blogs are getting longer! The average blog post length has gone from 808 words in 2014 to 1,151 words in 2018 — an increase of over 42%. (2018, Orbit Media)

24. Longer posts get shared more! Articles over 1,000 words consistently receive more social shares and links than shorter posts (over 85% of online content is less than 1,000 words long), but the benefit starts to wear off past 2,000 words. (2015, Moz)

That old SEO stuff.

seo & blogging facts

25. Long tail keywords: 50% of search queries are four words or longer. (Wordstream, 2016)

26. 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence (what prospects search for) is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2018)

27. Video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results compared to plain text. (Omnicore, 2018)

Video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results compared to plain text. @Omnicore Click To Tweet

28. Organic SEO results are about 6 times better than paid search ads. (New Media Campaigns, 2018)

29. Are you mobile-friendly? Google drives 96% of mobile search traffic. (Jody Nimetz Co., 2018)

Successful bloggers get help!

30. Editors are worth it! Bloggers who use editors are 50% more likely to get strong results from their blogs. And the number of bloggers using professional editors has doubled since 2014 from 12% to 24% in 2018. (2018, Orbit Media)

31. Ready to outsource? 56% of B2B and 62% of B2C companies outsource at least one part of their content marketing or blogging (like editing, or publishing). (2018, Content Marketing Institute)

32. Ready to recycle? 55% of bloggers update older posts and those who do are 74% more likely to report strong results. (2017, Orbit Media)

33. 99.99% of bloggers who rely on BlogWorks to write and promote their blog sleep soundly at night, knowing our amazing team is saving them hours of work and getting them better results. (Learn how we do it!)

A little content strategy goes a long way.

content strategy & blogging facts

34. Stop the skimming! 73% of visitors skim rather than read the blog post thoroughly. (Hubspot)

35. Better content gets better results and can drive traffic to a blog by up to 2,000%. (Omnicore)

36. Does your blog help solve problems? 94% of people share posts because they think it might be helpful to others. (Impact)

37. 79% of B2C marketers and 74% of B2B marketers say their companies focus on creativity in their blog writing and content creation. (2018, Content Marketing Institute)

38. Recycling is good for the planet: 29% of leading marketing professionals reuse and repurpose old blog content (Curata). Learn how we do it at BlogWorks.

Pictures and video work!

39. Images work! 45% of B2C marketers consider visual content to be their most important type of content. (2017, Content Marketing Institute)

40. Our minds process visuals 60,000 times faster compared to text. Blog posts with images get 94% more shares as compared to those without. (Adpushu)

41. More images are better: Articles with an image once every 75-100 words get shared twice as much. (Hubspot)

Blogs with an image once every 75-100 words gets shared twice as one without. @Hubspot Click To Tweet

42. Blog posts with images get 94% more views than those without. (Jeff Bullas)

43. More images? List? Video? 54% of bloggers include more than one image in their article, 49% include a list, and 19% include video. (2018, Orbit Media)

44. Including a video in a post increases organic traffic (from search results) by 157%. (Search Engine People, 2017)

45. Using photos of real people — instead of stock photos — can result in a 35% conversion increase. (Marketing Experiments)

Hey, did you really think we would put together all these amazing statistics without a little plug for our business? Do you want your blog to start kicking %#$ and getting you more business? We do all that for you. Packages start at $97/month.

Sharing is caring.

sharing your blog is one of the most important blogging facts

 

46. Is your blog helpful? 94% of people who share blog content do it to help other people. (New York Times Study)

47. Blog posts are the most successful kind of linked content shared on Twitter. (Expresswriters)

48. This is kind of obvious, but you have to make it easy for readers to share your blog — like have a floating social share bar (read this post about our 3 favorite WordPress plugins).

49. Support a worthy cause? 84% of people will happily share a post to support causes or issues they care about. (New York Times Study)

50. LinkedIn is the preferred network for buyers looking for advice on business-related content. (Curata)

51. Women share more blog posts than men (so there!). (AOL)

Promote your blog to get performance.

52. Social media for traffic: 87% say that social media helps them boost their exposure. (Social Media Examiner)

53. Emailing content marketing pieces (like your blog) generates a 38x return for every 1$ spent. (Campaign Monitor)

54. Bloggers who use BlogWorks to promote their blog save an average of 8 hours per month (and a whole lot of frustration!). (Learn how we do it!)

55. 61% of B2B content marketers increased their use of social media for content marketing (including blogging) compared to one year ago. (Search Engine Watch)

56. LinkedIn works! LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for delivering content and getting audience engagement. (Hubspot)

57. Are you emailing? 21% of all business bloggers send posts through an email newsletter to their subscriber base at least weekly; 39% of best practitioners do this weekly. (Curata)

There you have it — enough statistics to fill a boatload of statisticians and keep them arguing for a month. Meanwhile, you have a business to run — and we can turn your blog into a prospect converting machine. We do all that for you. Packages start at $97/month.

Enjoyed this blogging facts article? Here are 3 more of our favorites:

7 Types of Call To Action to Move your Blog Readers to Action
Why you should be re-loving your old blog posts
How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

Sources:
https://searchenginewatch.com/2018/11/21/7-content-marketing-stats-2019/
https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2018-b2b-research-final.pdf
http://text-ex-machina.co.uk/blog/new-york-times-study.html
https://expresswriters.com/blogging-statistics/
http://bit.ly/2DtAcaL
https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-new-rules/
http://bit.ly/2Dsjn03
https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/08/26/seo-strategies
http://www.curata.com/blog/content-marketing-statistics-the-ultimate-list/
https://marketingexperiments.com/digital-advertising/stock-images-tested
https://www.impactbnd.com/
http://www.curata.com/resources/ebooks/content-marketing-tactics-technology-planner
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/06/headline-click-through-rate/
https://conversionxl.com/blog/5-characteristics-high-converting-headlines/
https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/10/stats-invest-content-marketing/
https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2017_B2C_Research_Final-rev-10-26-16.pdf
https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics
https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/8-blogging-stats-2017-strategy.html
https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogging-statistics/
https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics
https://www.demandgenreport.com/resources/research/2016-content-preferences-survey-b2b-buyers-value-content-that-offers-data-and-analysis
http://www.stateofinbound.com/
https://clutch.co/agencies/social-media-marketing/resources/social-media-survey-2017
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/report/
https://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking
https://moz.com/blog/content-shares-and-links-insights-from-analyzing-1-million-articles
https://www.omnicoreagency.com/digital-marketing-statistics-2018/
https://blog.hubspot.com/news-trends/content-trends-preferences
https://okdork.com/we-analyzed-nearly-1-million-headlines-heres-what-we-learned/

90 seconds to becoming a better writer

writing a blog

“Finding success is all about taking action. You can read all you want, but nothing will happen until you execute.” – Pat Flynn

Your blog is a reflection of you.

Sloppy writing that might have got a passing grade in high school won’t help.

Fear not loyal reader!

In just 90 seconds you can transform your writing from a C- to an A+.

Better yet, your readers will stay on your site longer and that means more business. Lucky you.

Here goes: 7 ways to sharpen your writing and cut to the point in 90 seconds (or less):

1. Make me want to read this

“A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” – Lee Odden

Compelling writing starts with targeting your avatar, or ideal customer. If you can help them reach their goals faster, cheap or better they will become loyal readers.

Rambling thoughts about unrelated topics that caught your fancy is great if you flew in space, wrote a best-seller or your last name is Branson. If not, stick to solving problems for your target market.

This article walks you through the 5 step process – including how to pick killer topics – we use for every blog post. Start with that.

Compelling writing is first about targeting your avatar, or ideal customer. If you can help them reach their goals faster, cheap or better they will become loyal readers. Period. Click To Tweet

2. Start with a template

“The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” – Ron Dawson

I’ve written about using a writing template before, like this article and this article. A writing template is not cheating! You will save time and your writing will improve.

I start with a rough outline of what I want to write about and then move content to slot into my template. It might sound rote or mechanical, but my writing always improves this way. The template hauls me back from side trips and reminds me to include important parts like a summary and call-to-action.


3. Put your reader in the story

“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” – Chris Brogan

Great salespeople use ‘you’ more than ‘I’. So should you.

This is a quick edit. Simply scan you post before publishing and look for all the “I”, “my”, “our”, “me” and starts swapping them for “you”, “your”, “your’s” and “you’re.”

When you put your read in the message they begin to envision how they could be applying your solutions.

Before: “When I block time I make an appointment with myself.”

After: “When you block time you make an appointment with yourself.”

4. Clean up sloppy writing

“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.” – Seth Godin

More words do not make your blog better. Instead you force your reader to slow down and stumble through run-on sentences, bloated paragraphs and awkward grammar.

Not good.

More words do not make your blog better. Click To Tweet

The simple test is if you remove the word and the sentence still works, leave it out.

Before: “If you have staff members who are well-organized, their productivity levels can go through the roof with remote working.”

After: “Staff who are well-organized can benefit from remote working.”

5. Remove dead words

“Qualifying words, such as very, little, and rather, add nothing to your meaning and suck the life out of your sentences.” – Copyblogger

Improving your writing can start with removing unnecessary words and helping your reader get to the bottom of your post. Readers that finish reading a post are more likely to share your article and more likely to spend time on your site looking at your products and services.

Get ready to start deleting!

That

In many cases, removing that improves the sentence: “This is the most amazing blog post that I’ve ever read.”

Book marketing expert and author Diana Urban suggests, “If a sentence still makes sense after removing ‘that’, delete it.”

Then

For example: “I stepped on stage and then the audience went quiet.” can be “I stepped on stage and the audience was quiet.”

All, every, totally, always, completely, absolutely, literally

For example: “If your employee doesn’t respond to your feedback you can always try coaching.

Better: “If your employee doesn’t respond to your feedback, try coaching.

6. Use words correctly

99.9% of great bloggers are not awesome on day 1. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.” – Darren Rowse

Bad grammar is a bad reflection on you. Here’s a quick check list of what to avoid:

  • Everyday means common or normal. Every day means today, tomorrow, the next day and so on.
  • If you adapt something you change it. To adopt is to take it as your own.
  • Already is talking about the past; all ready is about the future.
  • Regardless is a word, irregardless is not.
  • Especially means particularly, whereas specially usually means “in a special or careful manner” or “specifically.”
  • Then is about time. Use than to compare something.
  • You write on stationery that is (hopefully) stationary. Get it?

7. Break up looooong paragraphs

“The shorter your paragraphs are, the less dense and threatening the post looks.” – Jon Morrow

Your blog is not a technical thesis written for tenured professors paid to read your writing. Your goal is to keep readers on your site.

A simple fix for most blogs is to break up paragraphs and add what I call ‘cliff hangers’ (just like I’ve been doing in this post.)

Cliff hangers are like teasers that compels the reader to keep scrolling. For example: (that’s one)

But, before I get to that solution, let me ask you a question…

Here are three quick ways to start a conversation.

Has that happened to you?

Ready to turn your blog magnet on?

The theme of this post is less is usually not only best, but stronger—stronger results for your traffic and your business.

Invest 90 seconds to chop, cut, cull and shape your blog and you will keep readers on your site longer. More time on site means more readers into prospects and more prospects into business.

Nice.

Ready to write your killer post? Here are 3 more articles to get you started:

Excuse me, but your blog is BORING!
Write killer blog posts with this template
How to Build a Better Blog: 5 Industry Experts Share Their Top Tips

How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

Never run out of blog ideas ever again

This post was originally published in July, 2016 and has been updated and re-loved for you. Enjoy.

The biggest mistake bloggers make is, well, they don’t blog.

Those gaping holes between posts make everything on your site look a little suspect – like going into a grocery store and seeing food past its due date. How long before you question everything in the store?

The bottom line is you can’t attract new prospects and build loyalty if you don’t consistently work to attract them. That’s why content marketing (sharing valuable, problem-solving resources) is still the best way to grow your business. And this is true whether you’re a food blogger or a baker, a keynote speaker or you teach online – it’s all about finding unique blog ideas, sharing your best content AND proving you are the best choice.

To avoid running out of ideas for your blog you have to have lots of ideas for your blog.

In this post, I’ll walk you through 5 ways to keep unique blog ideas rolling in. Let’s jump in with reading…

1. Read blogs

Nothing beats reading other people’s blogs to stimulate ideas for your own future posts. I use feedly to pull my favourite blogs into one location where I can read them while I’m eating lunch. I also make it a habit to write comments on blogs I’ve read (hint, hint) to show my appreciation.

But, reading blogs is only the start—you need to think about your market. What problems need solving? What questions are they asking you? What has worked in the past?

Feedly is a super easy tool to quickly organize all your favourite blogs into one place.

For example, I got the idea to write posts about Google Analytics because I was searching for answers for my clients. I found a lot of articles answering my questions, but they were either too long or too technical. So I wrote this one and this one.

Now that you’re reading great content, you need to organize the best unique blog ideas…

2. Build an Inventory of Blog Ideas

In the old days (like 10 years ago) you might have saved magazines or used sticky notes to mark ideas in a book you’re reading. Those systems can’t keep up with our online world where a great idea might be in a blog post you read, an online magazine, a Tweet – even an Instagram post.

You need one place to collect, organize and retrieve your best blog ideas.

Evernote is a brilliant (free) online tool that allows you to easily grab articles off the web, store images, record audio or even accept pictures of hand-scribbled notes from your phone. It syncs in seconds on all your devices and, with the paid account, you can even search off-line as you head to the grocery store to collect ingredients for your favourite Thai salad with peanut sauce recipe.

To fully unleash the power of Evernote, install the Webclipper (I remember it as the Elephant head) extension on your favourite browser. That will allow you to quickly grab the article you found, strip it of advertising, tag it and store it for future reference.

find blog ideas

And here’s my favourite trick with Evernote (h/t to Michael Hyatt):

Instead of creating lots of Notebooks in Evernote, which can get messy and confusing, I have all my notes in one Notebook and use tags to search for what I want. And I tag all future blog ideas (including articles I saved using the Evernote extension) with the tag “unused blog post”. The tag allows me to easily pull up all my unused ideas and choose the one I want to work on. As soon as I use that note I delete it.

evernote
I use the tag “unused blog topics” to easily organize all my future blog ideas into one search.

Okay, you’ve collected lots of great blog ideas, now it’s time to organize them on a calendar…

3. Build your Blog Editorial Calendar

A simple way to organize your unique blog ideas is using a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets. Or you could use planning tools like Asana or Trello. That’s great, but I’m a visual person and prefer seeing future projects in a calendar format.

If you have a WordPress site, you can organize all your blog ideas with a clever (and free) plugin called Editorial Calendar (watch our quick video to learn how this works).

Editorial calendar
The Editorial calendar plugin makes it easy to schedule posts and to see your draft posts in one place.

When you start putting dates to topics, think about seasons and buyer behaviour. What seasons do your customers respond to (like winter, summer, Christmas, etc.)? When are your customers more likely to buy? When does your customer have certain problems (like Spring cleaning, budgeting, staff hiring, etc.)?

Your Editorial Calendar doesn’t have to be perfect. The idea is to promote the writing and publishing by planning ahead and avoiding writer’s block.

Now you have lots of blog ideas collected in Evernote and you’ve started to plan future posts in your Editorial Calendar. Great! This next strategy is a way to boost traffic without writing a new post…

4. Repurpose old blog content

This strategy will save you time and could get you a big traffic boost. Here’s how it works…

Start by making a list of posts that are pulling in strong traffic but are over a year old. These are gems that could be working harder if they were “re-loved” and republished.

To get to your analytics, first, log in, then navigate to Behaviour > Overview.

best blog ideas
To get to your analytics, first, log in, then navigate to Behaviour > Overview

This part is a little technical, but hang in there – you only need to do this research a few times a year to get the full benefit.

There are at least 3 metrics you can use to choose the blog article to republish:

  1. old posts – if your post is older than one year there’s a good chance you need to update the images, and facts in the article and maybe add more detail to the content.
  2. low Bounce rate – “Bounce rate” is the per cent of people who left your site after one page (they didn’t explore the rest of your site). A lower bounce rate (like 60-70%) can be a good sign. Think of it this way: out of all your published blog posts, there are some that keep readers on your site longer. Those posts could be worth updating and republishing.
  3. high time on page – “Time on site” is the minutes a reader spent on that page. The higher the time, the more likely the reader is to share the article and spend more time on your site.

You can combine the metrics. In other words, look for blog posts older than a year, with low bounce rate and high time on site. Find 3-5 of those posts and start with them.

Here’s another example:

We republished our post “Facebook Page vs Profile: Everything You Need To Know” and within 10 days our traffic increased by 229%!

blog ideas
In just 10 days traffic to this post increased by over 200%!

The blog post you’re reading is another good example. It was originally published in July 2016 and I added more content and images and republished it in February 2019. It only took about an hour’s worth of chopping, adding, and changes to turn it into the post you’re reading – much easier than starting from scratch!

Whew! You’ve collected amazing, unique blog ideas into Evernote, organized them with Editorial Calendar, planned a post you will refresh and republish. Now it’s time for a bit of psychology…

5. Give ‘em more of what they love

It might be tempting to pour a cup of coffee and just start writing your next blog post. But what about what your market wants?

Every day your readers are leaving bread crumbs – clues – about what they want. It could be a comment on a post, social shares or an email that asks a question about a recent post. You need to watch for these clues.

A simple first step is to check what posts are most popular (see #4 above). You can also think about the psychology of your reader. What keeps a person on your blog for more than a quick glance?

It’s about solving a problem.

Readers, don’t announce this – but they are looking for a solution to something. It could be a great travel destination or how to save for their retirement.

If you provide that solution that gets them from where they are now to where they want to be, faster or cheaper, they will come back for more. But, there’s more…

If you provide that solution that gets them from where they are now to where they want to be, faster or cheaper, they will come back for more. Click To Tweet

The trick is to always give’em more of what they love. Blogs that wander off down rabbit holes about unrelated topics might work if you are already a celebrity off-line, but don’t work if you are trying to build a business online.

Stick to what your readers want and you will build valuable traffic that will come back for more.

 

Excuse me, but your blog is BORING!

boring blog

Let’s face it, you won’t watch a movie to the end, finish a book or read a magazine article if it’s boring. Your blog is no different.

You might have the best tips, strategies, insights or even keys to the kingdom, but if you have a boring blog, people won’t read it.

In this post, I’m sharing 7 ways to turn any blog from boring to brilliant, get more readers and have readers become loyal fans.

Ready?

1) Start with a problem (I just did it)

I started this post by describing a problem (your blog might not be working, possibly because it’s boring) to get your attention. That’s very different from starting with a bland statement about why blogs are important or why you need more readers.

If you want to get your reader’s attention, design your blog post to “answer the question going on in your customer’s mind.” In other words, get clear about the problem you are going to solve, make that clear in your headline and then deliver the goods!

If you want to get your reader’s attention, design your blog post to “answer the question going on in your customer’s mind.” Click To Tweet

2) Tell a story

Stories are often the most indelible parts in a blog post—remembered long after statistics, facts and advice are forgotten.

We love stories. In a keynote (think of your favourite TED talks), stories are often the most indelible parts in a blog post—remembered long after statistics, facts and advice are forgotten.

The story could be from your life (in this post I wrote about making money by drinking tea), your work (here I talked about creating the world’s first airline in Antarctica), or retelling a story (like this post about experimental economist John List.)

Sometimes the story could be a simple observation. Like this morning you noticed that everyone standing in line at Starbucks were checking their phones.

When you invite your reader into a story you capture their imagination – a picture develops in their mind – and you have their attention.

When you invite your reader into a story you capture their imagination - a picture develops in their mind - and you have their attention. Click To Tweet

3) Keep the reader moving

Nothing is more boring than run-on sentences with too much detail about points nobody cares about that never reach a meaningful conclusion. Like this one:

“It used to be that work-life balance was the holy grail of work-life. Work hard, but also have equal, or more, time for family, friends and personal time. In our new world of 24/7 communications and flat organizations it’s harder to turn work off and even harder to stop thinking about work after hours.”

You can add punch and get to your point faster with short sentences and short paragraphs, like this:

“Work-life balance is dead.

In our new world of 24/7 connections and flat organizations, it’s hard to end work at 5PM – even harder to turn work off.”

(see #7 about retrofitting your old blog posts.)

4) Remove unnecessary words

“Kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

In his classic On Writing-A memoir of the craft, Stephen King pulls no punches when it comes to culling unnecessary words: “Kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Then. You don’t need to have ‘then’ to tell us something is coming next. Book marketing expert and author, Diana Urban, goes one further: “Using “then” frequently sounds repetitive and even juvenile.”
  • All, every, totally, completely, absolutely, literally. If I’m writing “I packed my clothes and left the room.” It doesn’t help to say I packed all my clothes (it’s assumed I have them all). A quick test is to remove the suspect word and see if your meaning is intact.
  • That. I’m still surprised by the number of times I find a useless ‘that’ lurking in my writing – shoot on sight! Diana Urban suggests, “If a sentence still makes sense after removing ‘that’, delete it.”

Chopping out unnecessary words helps to move the reader along, cuts word count and make your work appear more professional.

5) Break it up with a dash

A dash often replaces the word ‘to’, as in “Breaking sentences with a dash moves readers forward – get the results you want with fewer words.”

An em dash marks an abrupt change of thought in a sentence—often replacing a colon or semicolon. It’s popular use has made it, as Kimberly Joki writes in Grammarly, “the Swiss army knife of punctuation.”

Here’s an example from the post Why you are so damn distracted and how to finally get stuff done on my site: .

I took this original writing:

You can think of your brain as a sentry on speed. It’s job (all 3 pounds of it) is to keep you safe from harm. So anything that appears to need attention, your brain’s attention gets it.

With dashes, I cropped 8 unnecessary words and gave the writing some punch:

Think of your brain as a sentry on speed. It’s job – all 3 pounds of it – is to keep you safe—anything that needs attention gets it.

6) Ask a question

Let me ask you a question…

Are you using questions in your blog?

When we read a question a light goes on in our brain (this is probably not scientifically accurate) that says “Huh, I wonder what the answer is?”

That’s a good thing because now your reader is engaged and wants to read on.

You can use a question to segue into your next topic or just to get reader’s attention. You can even use them as orphan sentences, like this:

What’s a question that would get your readers’ attention?

7) Have something to say

The world has too many blog posts about leadership, relationships and dog grooming.  To be more accurate; the world has too many boring blog posts about leadership, relationships and dog grooming.

The world has too many boring blog posts about leadership, relationship and dog grooming. Click To Tweet
The world has too many boring blogs about leadership, relationship and dog grooming.

What reader’s crave are unique reflections and insights – that hard-won wisdom only you possess. When you write original, relevant and valuable content, people will flock to your site. And you will build loyalty – not with everyone, but with those who matter.

Ultimately, a reader will hire you or buy your product or come to your restaurant (or get their dog groomed by you) because they like and trust you. Bland, generic, boring writing won’t get you there.

Before you start writing, ask if this is interesting – will it stand out in a crowded blogging world. Your blog doesn’t have to unlock secrets to the universe or explain how to split an atom (although that would be cool), but it does need to keep your reader’s attention.

 

Here’s the good news:

Any blog post (I look at dozens every day) can be greatly improved with a 5-minute retrofit. Break up sentences, delete dead words, pose questions and make your reader think.

Do that and you will quickly build a loyal audience and – best of all – they will keep coming back for more.

 

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Tips and Encouragement for Bloggers who Doubt

tips and encouragement for bloggers who doubt

If you’ve been blogging for a few months and haven’t seen the new gigs, clients, sales, connections, or whatever else you’re looking for—it’s not time to quit. Real leaders know that instant success is impossible. It takes motivation, direction, smart work, and persistence to find blogging inspiration.

Blogging, social media promotion and tangible results are similar. Likewise, getting a date and turning them into a mate is far from automatic or instant. Blogging, social media promotion, and sales are a lot like boy notices girl, boy dates girl, boy marries girl. Intrigued? Then read on!

Step 1: Looking good (your blog)

The first step in a relationship is making that connection and spark. Without a good presentation that usually doesn’t happen. Whatever our natural beauty is, grooming, dress, appearance, and how we carry ourselves influences the impression we make.

Think of yourself as that raw beauty. You are a leader. You have knowledge, insight, and skills. That’s beautiful! Your blog presents that beauty.

If you aren’t sure your blog is working, easily available tools can tell you your popular pages, which opt-ins are working, and what is driving visitors to your site. Even if your blog is doing well, any blog can get better. Re-examine your approach and take some tips from successful bloggers.

Be sure to ask yourself…

TIP: If you’re running out of things to say, use one of the 36 blog post ideas from BlogWorks. Fill in the blank and “voila!” The title of your next blog.

 

Step 2: Making the connection (social media)

If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear? If you look dazzling, does anybody see?

Your blog may be full of well-presented insight. But that won’t mean anything unless someone reads what you wrote. When someone reads your blog that’s like your “date.” If you write a great blog and no one sees it, that’s like being all dolled up, but “Home Alone.” Move over Macaulay Culkin.

Social media is an invaluable way to ensure that you, the author, get those “dates” with readers.

It is important to not be shy in this regard. Not every tweet is seen by every follower, nor is every Facebook post seen by everyone on who likes your page. Even if all those people did see every post, not everyone swings at the first pitch, nor will the same pitch work on everybody. This means that frequent and varied posts with varied hashtags are essential.

Tip: If this is not something you want to take the time for, you may consider hiring a social media service to do it for you.

Step 3: Let it Grow (repeat and repeat again)

Not everyone who “dates” wants something that outlasts the morning dew. Someone may see your blog, like what they read, enjoy it, and not necessarily come back. If you want them to be a keeper, it will require more posts, more social media promotion, and many happy returns from your potential suitor. All of this takes time—at least six months according to some experts. Give up early and you’ll be like a farmer who planted a crop in spring, got sick of all the weeds and no crop in summer, and walked away before the harvest.

You see, there may come a time when that casual dater wants something lasting. When they are looking to make a transaction—a “marriage” you might say, who will they choose?

It will be someone they have built a relationship with, had many dates with and thought that person had the right stuff. Suddenly, all that looking good, the diligence of your matchmaking friend, and your mutual perseverance pays off.

Ta daa—a wedding that doesn’t cost you anything. And your suitor pays!

Quit early and you’ll never know that. Keep going and you’ll be saying, “I’m a Believer” like the Monkees in their famous ‘60’s tune.

 

I thought love was only true in fairy tales

Meant for someone else but not for me

Love was out to get me

That’s the way it seemed

Disappointment haunted all of my dreams…

I thought love was more or less a giving thing

The more I gave the less I got

What’s the use in tryin’

All you get is pain

When I wanted sunshine I got rain

Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer

Not a trace, of doubt in my mind

I’m in love, I’m a believer

I couldn’t leave her if I tried

 

Blogging works. Re-tune, repeat, and reap the rewards.