The phone rang and it was a New Jersey accent on the other end, telling me he had just done a random Google search and a blog post I had written over a year ago had shown up as the #1 Google result. This one blog post has made me over $20,000 alone, bringing me new clients from California to… now, New Jersey.
Think it’s magic or dumb luck? Think again. I felt compelled to share this with anyone ambivalent or resistant to building your blog as part of your business. I beg you to pay attention and take action.
Here are the 4 key steps to writing a successful blog post that will grow your business…. for FREE, by the way.
1. Shut up and write
Stop the voice in your head that just started talking, giving you excuses that you know are bullcrap, and start writing. I don’t care if you can’t spell your own name, I want you to practice the action of doing it anyway.Â You are a professional. You know more in your little pinky about your industry than anyone else. You are the expert. You have no idea how fascinating you are, and how much information you have to offer. Whether it’s a service, product or information, if you ask your clients to pay you for your expertise, I’m asking you now to share one very specific nugget with us. Don’t worry about grammar, formatting, spelling. Select at least one of the suggestions below and just… start… writing….
A. Tell us a story:
Did something funny happen that you can share with us? I started this blog post as a story, for example. Are you very successful in your industry? Share a funny story about when you did something embarrassing as a child (and then tell us if it shaped who you are now in anyway).
B. Teach us something:
Is there a simple “How to” or interesting “Tip” to help us? Try writing out “How to…” and provide a simple 3 step answer.Â For example, if you are an interior designer, can you suggest how I might go about buying a new couch? If you are a pet groomer, can you offer a quick checklist to help plan pet care for when I’m going out of town?
C. Share something you learned:
Is there an inspiring video that you just wanted to share with us? Tell us why this struck you as so cool you had to share.
2. Make it look visually appealing
Once you’ve vomited it all down on paper (Sorry for the graphic, but I am emphasizing ACTION here!), so that you have some confidence that the content is valuable, the next step is to make the post look visually appealing. We know that people are drawn in by video, images, nice juicy TITLES and a page that looks clean, clear, easy to read. Simple truth is, words aren’t enough.
Readers can not ever no way ever resist clicking on a play button. Find a cool video when possible to support your post, and include the word (Video) in parentheses in your title. Google loves that.
Take the time to search for BIG, interesting pictures that convey the spirit of what you are talking about. Don’t play that nasty trick of using a picture that doesn’t relate to the topic- no one likes being tricked, and you risk your audience turning on you. Instead, really have fun with searching on Google, Deviantart.com, Behance.com, Dribbble.com and remember to credit art whenever possible. This is good karma and good business.
C. Titles, Sub-titles:
The title is going to be the very first thing a reader sees. It also is probably going to relate the most closely to what she just typed into Google Search. For example, if you want to know about how to write a successful blog post, you may have just gone to Google and typed into the search field: “How to write a blog post”…. It would be pretty cool if my title popped up to link you to my website, right? Don’t try to be too poetic, too abstract, too cute. Make it clear and direct. It should be short, obvious what they will read/learn, and visually set apart from the rest of the text.
D. Bullet Points:
Here’s where you can go in and clean up your post. Correct spelling, trim any fat. The goal is to organize your post like a simple outline, with bold bullet points or lists.
Take a look at how I’ve broken my blog post into clear sections. This makes it easy for someone to skim, which makes a person happy that I’m respecting his time. It also forces you to write more succinctly. Don’t ramble. Answer the title’s question and publish this sucker! Most people would agree they’d rather read 10 short blog posts than 1 really really long one.
3. Incorporate key words and key phrases:
In addition to the title and sub-title, think about the words Joe Blow might type into Google Search, and simply incorporate them throughout your site. Not is some weird, inhuman way, but Google will evaluate your blog post when providing Joe Blow with his results, and if you have 10 references to “Successful Blog Posts”, you might just show up a bit higher in ranking. It all counts!
4. Share to your existing fans via your social pages, email and word of mouth:
This is the most important step you can make. Your blog post needs you to give it a gentle push out of the nest when it’s written. There is a tipping point, as I have personally experienced time and time again, but you can’t sit on your butt and wait for the magic. Share this post on your Facebook Fan Page. Share it on Twitter. Email a friend or two and ask if they might read it and give you a comment. If you have a monthly newsletter, share an excerpt and link to the full story on your website.
BONUS STEP: Just cuz it’s published don’t mean you can’t tweak!
Just because you’ve published a post does not mean it is done, necessarily. In fact, you can continue to make small edits and tweaks to make a post even more powerful and effective based on the feedback and stats you have access to. Find out that a key word isn’t quite right? Change it! Find a better picture? Swap it in! Your business is fluid, and this will help you not to get stuck by the Perfection Trap. Whittle away, my friends.