Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.
Remember the feeling of being assigned an essay in school, when you knew what you needed to write about, but didn’t know where to start or couldn’t find the right words to string together? Blog writing can elicit those same feelings, with the added pressure of having to work within the confines of SEO, brand and purpose. Ya, blog writing can be intimidating.
But, great blogs can lend huge credibility to your business and areas of expertise. Further, blogging is a low-cost way to connect with existing, new and potential customers; offers a quick, valuable source of social media content; and builds your brand. Ultimately, your blogs can share how much you know about your manufacturing field and put you ahead of a competitor who’s not blogging.
Recently, someone who is not a marketer asked me how to write a blog and if I could document the process. I immediately realized that anyone in business could benefit from understanding the full process. Subject matter experts in manufacturing need to position themselves as industry leaders and provide educational, thought-leadership content to their current and potential customers.
Here is the process I use when I write blogs for myself, my organization or clients.
- Brainstorm a list of potential topics.
- Organize those topics by top of funnel (awareness/educational), middle of funnel (consideration) or bottom of funnel (conversion/sales) content. This will help you create a balance of content to nurture leads along the buyer process, which will then keep them loyal and become your advocates.
- Identify keywords that you or your company want to rank for in a Google search and include those in the blog (optimizing it for SEO). These keywords are best identified by using a tool that can tell you what the most popular searches are for your industry or what keywords your competitors are ranking for.
- Make sure the topic you select is relevant for your audience.
- I do some online research to see what’s already out there; sometimes, that helps me focus my topic further.
- Some people do an outline, though I don’t. I just do a rough draft and then move things around. Back to the idea of a college essay, it has an intro, body and conclusion or a beginning, middle and end.
- Make the language conversational and engaging. Show “personality.”
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
- Often, I interview someone for the blog by either emailing them questions. Sometimes we’ll have a phone or zoom chat, and I’ll taking notes if they are the subject matter expert or can provide a quote for my blog that will lend it credibility.
- Create a headline that makes people want to read it. Often that is things like 10 tips, 5 ways, 3 things you can do.
- If the blog is longer than a paragraph or two, I usually write subheads to break it up into digestible bites and so people can scan and see an outline of what’s covered. You also can make phrases that are important bold, so it is easily scannable.
- People love lists; so, I usually use a bulleted or numbered list (see: this blog). That also makes it scannable and user friendly.
- As for length, search engines like long form copy, which is about 1,500-2,000 words. But minimum wordcount should be 400 to 500; otherwise, Google actually penalizes you for thin content.
- Check grammar!
- Use an engaging image that catches attention and use video when you can.
- Cite sources if you use outside info.
- Put a call to action at the end. What do you want them to do? How do you capture them?
- Promote it on social media.