How to Write Impressive Content for Your Startup

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. 

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 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.

Search for Your Competition

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 in an SEO company in the Philippines. 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 is picking up speed in the Philippines. 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.

Work with a Silo

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

When I tell people that I’m a marketing writer for an SEO company, they easily assume that I can produce awesome content the moment I sit in front of my desk. Of course, I can write great content, 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 answers 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.

Check Quora and Other Forums

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:

Create Your Editorial Calendar

Pro-tip: Use a task management program for easier tracking and organizing of your blog assignments. I recommend using Trello or Asana.

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:

  • How-to
  • Listicles
  • Infographics
  • 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.

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 we have 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.

Content Marketing Services: The Power of Storytelling

People love reading and listening to stories, and it’s all because of one reason: it’s easier to relate to a story. Many brands use the storytelling approach to win the attention of online users and drive more traffic. Instead of just having a single web copy to explain the dimensions and specifications of a product, marketers use stories to address the needs of customers.

Here are a few ways to use storytelling to promote your products and services:

User-generated Content

User-Generated Content

Notice how user-generated content gets more attention than branded content. Why is this so? Because customers trust real people. They trust the experiences shared with them by other customers through blogs and videos. These are unique and come with a relatable story. In turn, customers who share these experiences become mini-influencers that benefit your brand.

User-generated content works in your favor by being the bridge between your business and your consumers, helping you gain customer trust. Customers want to be involved, and they want you to listen to what they have to say. As part of your online marketing efforts, encourage your customers to post reviews about your product or service, but don’t forget to show your gratitude for their participation.

Content Personalization

According to survey, 48% of B2B companies agree that personalized content is more effective than “unpersonalized” content.

Personalizing content according to your locale and target audience provides you the leverage to get your message across clearly. This means identifying your target market and working with that profile to offer them content that they will find useful and relevant to their queries. For example, refer to customers by their name when sending emails. It can be something as simple as that, but you reap good rewards in the form of better conversion.

YouTube

YouTube

Your YouTube channel can generate persona-specific, segment-specific, or lead-specific content. Videos don’t need to be long. With a few minutes, you can drive your brand’s message across and encourage viewers to act on something.

Another way is by sharing user-generated content in the form of reviews and unboxing videos to encourage user engagement while boosting the interest from other people. Most of your customers look for reviews before they choose a brand. Neil Patel himself says customer reviews improve trust for your brand.

Infographics

Storytelling can also come in the visual form, and one way to do this is through infographics. This kind of content is easy to digest and includes only the most relevant information. Visual data is not hard to interpret, especially if you are showing trends and statistics. By using appealing design elements, you can can make the content more interesting; this is why many marketers use infographics to drive traffic.

Instead of using stop words and product descriptions that might only confuse customers, go straight to the point. Inform and explain — show why the customer should be buying your products or getting your service.

Podcasts

Podcasts

Part of good storytelling is exciting your audience with what comes next, and you can achieve this through podcasts. Podcasts work like videos because they are both non-text content. Podcasts also generate a good number of listeners, especially if you break down big points into a series of episodes. If you want to make your audience tune in for the next podcast, use cliffhangers as a call to action. Lifestyle Business magazine, for instance, features a monthly podcast with a CTA, and it results in more site traffic and email subscribers for speaker Tyler Basu.

Podcasts are a good way to share information with your target market, but they usually supplement other forms of content. If you choose to add podcasts in your content marketing plans, have supporting content, as well.

Your business could garner a bigger client base if you give it a good story to build its content around.

The power of storytelling is not limited to the written form. Your business could garner a bigger client base if you give it a good story to build its content around. And the good thing about a great story? There can be spin-offs, too. That guest post you wrote could be your next infographic. So, start tweaking that website and brainstorming for pieces of a story that you can tell in different forms — you will not run out of good content to market any time soon.

Getting More Value with Re-Optimized Content

Content Optimization

Content optimization goes beyond keyword usage and SEO methodologies. While new content can drive traffic and reach a wider audience, this is not always the answer. A better approach would be to re-optimize your old content.

Why do you need to re-optimize those old blog posts instead of just creating new content? It’s simple. Some of your old posts might have already gained traffic from the time they were published. It will be easier to rank these old blogs instead of creating new ones and starting with a clean slate.

A study by Hubspot shows that 76% of blog traffic comes from posts published a couple of months before. This shows that you will still be getting traffic from the previous posts you published even if you don’t create new blogs for a certain time.

 

What’s Wrong with Your Content Strategy?

Before you adopt a new strategy and re-optimize your old posts, you should look at what you were doing wrong. This will provide you a clear idea of why your content is underperforming and why you’re not gaining as much traffic as you projected.

Here are a few aspects you need to work on:

  • Putting too much attention on high-volume keywords

If you’re a small business, it doesn’t make sense to run your campaigns with high-volume keywords that will slam those of bigger businesses. You’re more likely to lose most of your traffic to the competition.

  • Having no clear content distribution plan

Content marketing should be a two-part strategy: creation and distribution. You have a ton of distribution options; your content marketing success depends on channels that will reach your target audience.

  • Over-optimizing

Using too many keywords on your web content will not only make it look unnatural, but also cause penalties. Stay away from the fluff and avoid over-optimizing your site.

 

A New Take on Your Content

Re-optimizing your content should focus on intent and quality. You need more than just a refined keyword list and a revised publishing calendar to jumpstart your strategy if you are planning to re-optimize old content.

1. Build Authority and Trust

Quality content revolves on authority and trust. These two factors work side by side when it comes to gaining more conversions. The question is, “How do you gain the trust of visitors and make them see you as an authoritative source with your old content?”

Here are a few ways you can achieve this:

  • Be objective: If you have blogs that are too sales-y, tweak the tone to get a more objective, balanced feel. Show infographics and cite authoritative sources to make your blogs more credible.
  • Expound your content: Your blogs should be detailed and in-depth. Some of your underperforming content might just be lacking facts that can back up your points. Expound on these facts to provide more focus and relevancy to your content.

2. Focus on Long-tail Keywords

As long-tail keywords are more specific and descriptive, they deliver more targeted traffic. For example, a person looking for Disney family vacations already tells you what they want to see on search results. These are less competitive than broad terms, which make them easier to rank for.

This does not mean you have to stuff your old content with long-tailed variations of your keywords. You need to replace the main target keyword you’ve used with the long-tail version and insert them appropriately in your content. Make sure the long-tail search terms are relevant to the topic of your content, as well.

3. Use Better Visuals

Perhaps one of the reasons your old posts are underperforming is due to lack of appeal to visitors. Visuals make way for interest and engagement. Blogs get more views when they have a photo or video. They also get more shares on social media than posts with just plain text.

If you run an online store, use visuals to drive more engagement to your pages. Don’t simply put visuals; choose wisely. These should be in context with your content and should provide value to readers.

4. Highlight the CTAs

Your content should drive traffic further the conversion funnel. What better way to do this than highlighting the call to actions on your content.

Good content should be clear on what action it wants visitors to take. Do you want them to subscribe to a service? Do you want them to browse through your product selection?

You can highlight your CTAs by including making a pop-up banner, positioning conversion buttons on the sidebar, or including the CTAs on the copy itself.

After re-optimizing your content, you just need to remove the publishing date and re-share them to your target audience. Don’t forget to monitor the performance of re-optimized content, so you can better align your online strategies and gain traction for your traffic.

Top Publishing Hacks Revealed: Digital Marketing in a Blink [Seminar]

Being at the forefront of the SEO industry, we have been invited to speak at another digital marketing event earlier this month: the Digital Marketing in a Blink Seminar for Digital Marketers.

If you have never been to one of these seminars, we highly recommend you go; it’s a great opportunity to learn the top trends happening in the marketing world and connect with professionals to build your network.

Content marketing has been a very popular term in the industry, but few really know what success looks like and what the recipe is for that success. It’s because of our successful content marketing that Clayton was invited to speak at the event, and talk about content marketing with his deck, “Top Publishing Hacks Revealed”.

He discussed the history of content marketing, the early citing from the 1800s, the anatomy of good content marketing and how to truly engage users through valuable content and headlines.

Clayton provided examples of differences in old content marketing tactics and how they differ in quality and value from the material that we should be producing today.

Creating high value content is as easy as making it simple, digestible, and straight to the point. Providing a clear message that sparks emotions before selling an idea is the key to successful copy. A great resource that Clayton provided was one by Simon Sinek.

You can find Clayton’s deck here:

Changing of the Guard: Content Marketing Invades SEO Territory

Content marketing is catching fire as of late and beginning to dethrone search engine optimization (SEO) as the premier tool to own Google SERPs. Thanks to certain algorithm updates by the Internet giant, content has successfully taken the driver’s seat to steer you toward search rankings. Not that other web elements have lost their value, such as links and web design, but the substance of the pieces found on your site or other cyber places linked to your main online real estate practically dictates most, if not all, metrics affecting your search standings.

 

In a Nutshell

In essence, content marketing is a strategy of producing high-quality pieces with long-tail keywords to establish brand awareness, credibility, social media exposure, and authority on the Internet. “High-quality” means the content must be well-researched, expertly-written, informative, and, most importantly, unique.

Based on the current Google algorithm, putting your efforts on creating high-quality content would actually build a significant number of organic links and generate thousands of social shares on its own. This lessens the need to make links manually and pay for social signals, thus saving you energy and money.

 

Traffic-Driving Content Has Many Forms

Blogging is the initial step of a content marketing strategy, but you’re not limited to a blog post to attract visitors and boost your traffic. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout says there are 15 types of content you could produce to effectively achieve your online goals, ranging from visual content to informative pieces. While you don’t have to try them all, the key is to use the type of content that best suits your idea.

 

SEO is Not Dead and Never Will Be

No matter how many experts say content marketing killed SEO, there’s no way this could happen. SEO is an ever-changing landscape and always will be. Content marketing may be your ace in today’s fierce search ranking battle, but as long as Google uses algorithms to determine which site goes first in the SERPs, then optimizing the program will always make sense. In fact, relevant on-page SEO elements should serve as the foundation of our content marketing strategy, helping us continue to employ the best SEO practices.

Content marketing presents unique challenges, but it opens a world of opportunities for you and your brand to make an imprint online. Harness its power, and it will pay dividends later on.

Bill for “Google Law” in Israel Drafted and Scheduled for First Reading

Israel is planning to levy taxes on search engine companies in favor of local content publishers. The Financial Times reports that Israel lawmakers have finished drafting a bill that requires search engine companies to pay taxes for what they earn when they run other publishers’ content.

Israeli lawmakers want to impose a levy on Google and its rival search engines for their earnings in locally generated content

Israeli lawmakers want to impose a levy on Google and its rival search engines for their earnings in locally generated content

Israeli Content Makers are “Suffocating”

The bill proposes to levy 7% of earnings from online advertising, which search engines must pay to the local content providers. The proponents of the bill did not name specific companies, but the bill is said to be nicknamed the “Google Law,” indicating that Google will be one of the companies taxed by the Israeli government should the bill be passed.

Sponsors of the bill have noted that Israeli content marketers have been generating much online traffic – relative to the size of Israel’s population. This, says Labour party member Erel Margalit, is “suffocating” the content marketers, which in turn makes it difficult for them to earn a living.
The first hearing for the bill is set sometime in February or early March. According to reports, more than 30 of the 120-seat Knesset parliament support the bill.

“Favorable, Not Hostile Business Climate”

The outlook of this bill being passed as a law is not clear, but the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has given a statement that somehow shows he does not support the bill. According to him, Israel needs to “ensure a favorable – and not hostile – business climate for these companies.”

Meanwhile, Google has managed to avoid or water down similar legislations in other countries. “We believe that innovation and commercial cooperation is a better way forward than new legislation,” says Google spokesperson Paul Solomon. He further explains that Google works with publishers to create new technology that increases their traffic, revenue, and engagement rate. Given their success in other countries and the seeming lack of support for this bill, it looks as though Google and its competitors might be able to avoid this levy. We’ll keep you updated on the status of the bill as more news arrives.

Meanwhile, we’d be glad to help you devise a content marketing plan that maximizes your current resources. Talk to us today to get started.

Matt Cutts Tells Guest Bloggers for SEO to “Stick a Fork in It”

Google has sent out multiple warnings about reasonable guest blogging and the proper practices that should go with it. It was just last Friday that Moz released a blog warning people about the dangers that come with guest blogging, and now Matt Cutts has spoken: he is discouraging guest blogging for SEO.

Matt Cutts in one of the Google Webmaster Help videos discussing guest blogging

Matt Cutts in one of the Google Webmaster Help videos discussing guest blogging

“Stick a Fork in It: Guest Blogging is Done”

In his personal blog, he talked about the decay of guest blogging for SEO. He cited the fact that guest blogging was becoming more and more spammy over time because of people offering money to get links from guest posts.

“Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way anymore,” Cutts began explaining. He then proceeded to quote a spam email message offering to pay him money for posting guest blogs on his page.

“Someone sent me a spam email offering money to get links that pass PageRank. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines,” he noted.

“Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking ‘guest post outsourcing’ and writing articles about ‘how to automate guest blogging’.”

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

Proper Guest Blogging

To clarify, Cutts isn’t discouraging guest blogging entirely – just guest blogging for SEO. “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t rely on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy,” he explained earlier in his blog.

He clarified later on that he was only referring to guest blogging for SEO in his post. “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.),” he explained. “Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.”

In the blog and in his comments afterwards, he mentions instances when guest blogging is an acceptable practice:

  • If you have high-quality blogs with new and relevant information to share
  • If you know a guest blogger personally and are willing to vouch for the person when they post on your blog
  • If you are willing to nofollow the links on your guest posts
  • If you are doing guest blogging for the reasons mentioned awhile ago and not for link building purposes

He also provided his previous videos for reference on guest blogging warnings:

What This Means for You

You need to check if any of the guest blogs you have right now are in danger of being flagged as spam. Any blogs that have dofollowed links and keyword-optimized anchor texts are candidates for this.

You’ll also need to focus on creating and publishing your own high-quality content while you build relationships with industry influencers that will vouch for you when you contribute a guest post to their blog. This way, you’ll be building your reputation as a reliable information source.

Finally, if you really need to include a link in your guest blog, make sure to nofollow the link as Cutts recommends. This will send them a signal that your intent is not to build links, but to provide useful information to that blog’s readers.

We’d be glad to help audit your guest blogs and other links and identify which ones may be flagged as spam. Talk to us today and we’ll help you develop a content marketing strategy that builds your brand effectively without having to resort to spam.