You learned why it’s important to have a blog for your business. Now, let’s move on to the next question, “How do you write a blog for your startup?”
Writing a blog is a science and an art at the same time. It requires the same amount of scrutiny as any artwork, and a thorough formula for verbiage and syntax.
If your goal is to write a blog just for the sake of having one, it’s going to be a train wreck for your rankings. You need to think of your business goals and align these with your SEO and content strategy. Do you want to:
- Educate your customers and solve their problems?
- Build brand awareness?
- Drive more leads?
You can achieve all three if your content marketing strategy is foolproof.
So, how do you write an impressive blog and integrate it seamlessly into your startup’s digital marketing strategy? I’ll share with you a few of my tricks:
Find Out What the Competition is Up To
No two businesses are alike. Even if both belong in the same niche or offer the same type of service or product, there will always be one business doing better than the other. Sizing up the competition will help you determine what to write in your blog and how to gain more readers and outrank your competitors.
1. Identify what they have and what they lack.
The first step is to compare and analyze. What type of content do they publish? How often do they publish their blogs? What kind of topics do they write about? Who is their target audience? The main takeaway here is to identify what they have and what they lack. If you have an idea of what your competition is up to, it’ll be easier to devise a solid content marketing strategy for your startup.
Here’s a quick hack: search for a particular topic and look at the results that will come up. Go to the top five results—analyze the overall look of the blog post, the angle of the topic, the target keywords, the tone of the content, and the accuracy of the information.
2. Look for online chatter.
It seems simple, right? You find out what customers are talking about, write about it, and expect your content to go viral. But, let me break it to you — your competitors are likely doing the same thing. You need to find a new angle on trending topics, so you can differentiate your blog from what the rest of the world is writing about. Why do you think Buzzfeed is getting 200+ million visitors every month? Because their content is timely, entertaining, and unique.
Pro-tip: Use Buzzsumo to look for the most shared content, trending topics, and top performing content, so you’ll have an idea of what customers are reading these days.
You Need to Get a Bit Technical
Let me tell you a secret.
I had no idea what search engine optimization was when I started my career as an online content marketing writer, let alone work in an SEO company based here in the heart of Manila’s CBD. I thought SEO is simply about writing content with a bunch of keywords inserted here and there to make website ranks. I found out later that content is just the surface of your digital marketing strategy. To make your content marketing efforts more effective and be a better writer, you need to get your feet wet in the technical aspect of this industry.
1. Learn a bit of SEO.
SEO in the Philippines has been picking up speed. While you can outsource this service, it doesn’t hurt to learn the basics, so you’ll have a better understanding of how it can benefit your startup if done right. Here are a few things you need to learn:
- Proper keyword usage
- Writing header and meta tags
- Using links
- Writing a compelling call to action
2. Work with a silo in mind
When you write a blog post, you don’t just go for any topic—there’s a structure to great content writing. This is where most startups and their writers fail (and I admit, this was also a mistake I did before). Working with a silo allows you to determine how you’re going to build links for your blogs and direct your readers to the appropriate landing pages. More than that, it will help you write content that’s not only relevant to your audience, but content that’s designed to rank.
3. Familiarize yourself with HTML and CSS.
I know that you’re busy running your business, but if you’re going to write your content or have your own team of writers do it for you, basic knowledge of HTML and CSS can go a long way. With background in HTML and CSS coding, it’ll be easy to resolve layout issues on your content management system.
Great Blog Writing Starts from Great Planning
Here’s one thing people assume about writers – they can write awesome content the moment they sit in front of their desks. Of course, the words will come, but it’s a process that doesn’t happen on a whim. It takes time—even Shakespeare took months before he finished writing. You need concrete steps to be successful at writing content that speaks to your audience.
Here’s what I recommend for your startup’s content marketing planning:
1. Choose what to write about.
The hardest part of writing a blog is coming up with the right topic.
It’s common for business owners to write blogs about their company, products, and services. But, it’s not always the “me, me, me” mindset that will win you more visitors. You need to choose topics that provide value to customers. Remember this: it’s not about you; it’s about your audience.
Choose topics that address your customers’ pain points and answer their questions. Learn what their problems are by checking discussions on forums or social media. I frequently visit Quora to look at questions asked by our target audience. Not only does this help me come up with ideas for my blogs, but it’s also an opportunity to interact with the online community and do a bit of promotion.
Another way of choosing topics for your startup blog is to write about what you’re good at. This is your chance to build authority in your industry and become your customers’ go-to source for information. The important thing is to choose topics that will educate and build desire among your target audience.
2. Prepare an editorial calendar (and stick to it).
Before you get all fired up in writing a blog, you need to set up an editorial calendar. Organizations that view content as an asset have a strategy in place—in fact, 53% of them have a formal process for their content creation.
An editorial calendar makes it easy for you to determine what and when to publish. This can help your team of writers (or even your outsource content writers) to be more productive. But, don’t treat your editorial calendar as a tool to keep up with the numbers. Create an editorial calendar for consistency.
Important things to include in your editorial calendar are:
- List of content to be published
- Assigned writers and editors
- Creation and publishing dates
- Content distribution (social sharing)
Here’s an example of an editorial calendar:
3. Don’t limit yourself to one type of content.
When people say blog, they only think about a wall of text. But, there are different types of content that will engage your audience and help you send your message across.
Here are some types of content that you can try in your startup blog:
- Case studies
- White paper
4. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
As a writer, I treat it as a mortal sin to publish a blog that has even the slightest error. How else are you going to make your readers take your word if your work has spelling and grammatical mistakes?
Careless writing resulting in poor quality content can diminish your credibility and make your startup appear as an unreliable source.[/perfectpullquote]
These mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but it can greatly affect how readers perceive your business. Careless writing resulting in poor quality content can diminish your credibility and make your startup appear as an unreliable source. Always double check—or do as many checks as possible—to make sure your blog is error-free.
5. Don’t do it alone.
At TrueLogic, we encourage everyone to contribute to our blog, especially if someone has a unique and interesting topic to share. Why? Because it works. Getting everyone on board our content marketing strategy provides us with an efficient way to publish as much high quality content as possible. This also humanizes the brand and shows the people behind the business.
You can do the same for your startup’s content strategy—it’s a good way to get ideas running in a tight-knit team. Ask your team to pitch in topics and let them write a blog that showcases their expertise. What’s in it for them? A great blog post with their byline that they can share and add to their portfolio.
Of course, if you can’t handle the bulk of the work and don’t have the time to write, you can outsource the work to fill in the gaps. This way, you can focus on running your business and not worry about falling behind your editorial calendar.
Ready to Start Your Blog?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about digital marketing, it’s that you can never do away with content. Think of it this way: every business has a story—when will you tell yours?
If you’re ready, we’ll help you get started.