04 Aug The Basics: Blogging 101
Blogging has long been one of the best and easiest ways to connect with others online. Going back to the 80s and 90s, with global communities like LiveJournal and Blogger, blogs were a means to reach people anywhere in the world. So it only makes sense that the intimate online diary of yesteryear should evolve into a direct method of communication for online businesses. What better, more personal way to reach your online customers than with a blog?
And yet, we still find businesses that struggle with writing a blog. Perhaps it’s a fear of the longform written word, or a feeling that you can’t deliver worthy content. But the fact remains: there is no better method for reaching your customers online, establishing the voice of your brand and business, and offering valuable insight and information. Blogs are the basis for great cornerstone content, and effective bloggers discover that their best blogs maintain high hit rates long after they were first published.
So how do you write a great blog? We’re going to cover the basics to get you started with creating valuable blog content. By answering the following questions, you should begin to see your personal path of least resistance towards creating a great and worthwhile blog.
Who are you writing for?
The first thing to ask yourself is: who are you writing for? At Stitchcraft Marketing, we talk a lot about your customer avatar. When you know who you are writing for, it makes it much easier to understand the kind of content you should provide. Most readers seek out and return to blogs that can provide them with resources and information pertinent to their interests. Once you understand your customer and their interests, the most relevant content should follow, whether that takes the form of educational tutorials, insightful personal essays, or contextual historical pieces.
What is your customer looking for?
Once you’ve identified your customer avatar, the next step is to define what they need. What questions do they ask you? What information do you see them seeking, time and time again? What kind of help do they look for? Once you’ve answered these questions, it becomes easier to craft thoughtful, helpful blog content. Take the queries you receive the most, and turn them into blogs.
For example, if you own a yarn shop and find customers repeatedly asking you for the best bind offs for hems and cuffs, you can write a blog post all about The Best Stretchy Bind Offs for Hems. If your customers love to make fair isle knits, look into crafting a post about The History of Fair Isle.
Evergreen content, or content that remains fresh well beyond the post date, should form the majority of your blogs. Identifying quality evergreen content isn’t difficult. Those questions your customers ask again and again? The tutorials they always seem to look for? Your evergreen content is the answer to these queries.
When should blogs go live?
Take a look at your social media platforms to see when your customers are most active. Which days are your followers most engaged? At what times? Try to schedule your blog posts to go live around these days and times for the most engagement. You will be sharing these blogs across your social media platforms to drive traffic to your website, so it’s important they don’t get buried at a time when no one will see them.
It’s also important to be consistent. Settle on how many blogs you would like to post per month, then post regularly around the same time.
Where should your blog live?
Ideally, your blog should live on your website and drive traffic back to your website. It should be easily accessible from your website’s homepage. The most recent posts would be well placed on a sidebar or as part of a carousel on your front page.
But, your blog shouldn’t just live on your website. Repurpose the images used in your blog posts to create images for your social media platforms. Create teaser text for social media, with a call-to-action leading back to your blog.
Why do customers come to you?
Identifying your customer and knowing what they need aren’t the only important factors when crafting a great blog. Ask yourself: why do customers come to you and your business? What information can you offer them that no one else can? Where does your expertise lie? Where do you add the most value? In what arena are you a thought leader?
Taking the examples from above: there are likely many great blogs about the history of fair isle. But do you have personal experience with the island? Did you visit and take amazing insider photos? Are you friends with a traditional fair isle designer with whom you could conduct an interview?
By the same token, there may be many stretchy bind off blogs on the internet, but maybe you designed the same hat with different bind offs and then wore those hats for a determined amount of time. Your stretchy bind off blog now stands out among the others because it provides real-life results and feedback. Your blog could be focused on pictorial evidence documenting which stretchy bind off bounced back the best.
Look into the experiential value that only you can provide, and craft blogs around it.
How to craft an intelligible blog
Now that you’ve identified your customer and understand the kind of content most valuable to them, there are a few technical things to keep in mind when crafting your blog.
- Avoid big blocks of text. This is a big one. Readers experience eye strain and fatigue when reading on screens, and a big block of uninterrupted text is a deterrent for many readers. Try to break up your paragraphs to make it easier on the reader’s eyes and to keep their attention. This goes for sentence length as well. Avoid run-on sentences, and shorten wherever you can.
- Use Subheadings and/or Bullet Points. Subheadings—like the ones we’ve used above—further break up the flow of text and give your blog post structure. Think of them like road signs, guiding your reader forward. Screen reading has led to scan reading, where many readers are simply scanning through text for the valuable information. Subheadings act as informative guides, and also naturally stop the eyes from scanning so much. They are also important for accessibility, as screen readers will use subheadings as navigation points.
- Remember your keywords. It’s important to sprinkle keywords in the title and first and second paragraphs of your blog to maximize SEO. If you’re writing a blog about the history of fair isle, words like fair isle, knitting, fair isle knits, and colorwork should be sprinkled throughout the first paragraph. Use as many of these words in the title of your blog, the URL, and your image alt tags as well!
- Use eye-catching imagery and video. Always incorporate eye-catching imagery in your blog posts. Having step-by-step images or videos to supplement tutorials, and beauty images to support products, will not only help break up blocks of text, they will also keep your readers stimulated and engaged. High-quality images will also be helpful when you’re devising social media posts. Videos can be repurposed for IGTV or broken down into Instagram Reels and Facebook video and Story Highlights.
We hope we’ve taken a bit of the mystery out of how to create blog posts that will keep readers coming back to your website again and again. Need help strategizing your next great blog post? Contact us today!