There are a few simple things you can do while you're writing a blog post that will make it more searchable and effective. Then, after you hit publish, there are some easy things you can do that'll help get the word out and bring more people to your site.
Building a successful blog can be an endurance test, but being consistent with efforts like these is how you do it, step-by-step, day-by-day.
Here's our listing of content creation and distribution essentials.
Things to do before you publish:
1. Write and SEO-Friendly, and Engaging, Headline
Your headline may be the most important part of your post.
According to research, eight out of ten people will only read a headline, and won't even bother to click through to the full post, which underlines the importance of getting it right.
Melyssa Griffin, a social media educator, advises that you should make sure to include keywords or phrases right in the headline:
“By adding keywords, you’re optimizing your post for search engines. The title of your post is incredibly important for its SEO”
Griffin also says that you should use 'persuasive language' to encourage people to click.
One great strategy for headlines is to think about the needs of your reader - what problem are you solving for them with your blog post? The most common Google searches are people looking for fast, easy solutions to problems - look to address that focus head-on with your headline.
Coschedule suggests that there are “power words” that make headlines better. Words like “better” or “best” or “easiest.” Numbers can also help improve headline performance
2. Include Images
These days, you have to use images.
To ensure that you maximize your image performance, you should also use visual content that fits the look of your website, and reiterates your visual brand identity.
Griffin suggests using templates for your images so that the same fonts, colors and overall designs reoccur.
You should also consider adding alt-text to your images. Aside from assisting visually-impaired users, alt-text will also be automatically added as the description of an image when someone pins it on Pinterest, so you should “add keywords, persuasive text, and a call to action,” says Griffin.
3. Optimize Your Content for Search
You should also consider using a couple of long-tail keywords in your post. Don’t use them too often, because that can be considered keyword stuffing. Hubspot also advises that:
“[Adding too many keywords] doesn't make for a good reader experience, a ranking factor that search engines now prioritize to ensure you're answering the intent of your visitors."
Why long-tail keywords? As per Hubspot:
“These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience. Website visitors searching long-tail terms are more likely to read the whole post and then seek more information from you. In other words, you'll generate right type of traffic.”
4. Use Section Breaks and Subheadings
People scan blog posts to see if there's anything that either catches their interest or answers the question that need answered. Short sections of text and subheadings help make scanning easier.
Griffin advises that you should:
"Try to include no more than 5-6 lines of text in your paragraphs and divide up sections with larger headlines.”
5. Link to Past Blog Posts
When you mention a topic in your post that you’ve covered before, make sure you link it to your older post. This provides your readers with more information about the topic, while also, ideally, keeping them on your site for longer.
Internal linking can also help Google understand what your website is about, which can also help improve search ranking.
6. Ask a Question to Start a Discussion
Do you want your blog to be a place where people have a conversation, and you get to interact with your readers? A question, especially at the end of your post, helps jump start discussion. It’s a little nudge, a call to action.
Read over your text to spot any errors - then do it again. Then, if you can, ask someone else to do the same.
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors undermine your credibility - there are also tools available to help with this process.
Things to do after you publish
1. Share on Facebook and Twitter
Tell your audience where to find your blog post and why it will be helpful to them.
Most folks these days use a scheduling program for Facebook and Twitter, but you can also post manually.
2. Schedule More Tweets
“The Twitter feed moves so quickly that it can be easy to miss a specific tweet, especially if you’re in a different time zone,” says Griffin. “For that reason, I’d recommend sharing your new blog post on Twitter several times over the next few days.”
You might also want to schedule tweets 3 to 6 months from the date when you publish your post - just make sure you vary your tweet copy to avoid any potential duplication penalties.
3. Share Your Post on LinkedIn
Re-publishing your content on LinkedIn has “considerable potential for broadening your audience, expanding the reach of the brand you represent, and giving your name the clickable appeal it needs to drive your overall Internet visibility,” writes Hannah Evon.
It’s also a good way to stay top-of-mind among your LinkedIn connections, as some will receive notification of your publication. It shows that you're working to stay relevant.
Articles you post on LinkedIn are also connected with your profile, so when people look you up, your articles will enable them to learn more in-depth information about you and your areas of expertise than your mere profile could possibly communicate.
4. Broadcast About Your Content on Facebook Live or Periscope
Live-streaming on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter's Periscope can also help raise awareness and engagement, boosting your content performance.
Some members of your audience may prefer to learn via video rather than text, so changing up your medium opens up your ideas to a larger group of people.
5. Pin Your Image on Pinterest
Griffin is also a big fan of Pinterest.
“I recommend creating a Pinterest board specifically for your blog, which only shares pins from your own posts. Pin your blog post images onto that board first, then, over the next couple days, pin them onto other relevant boards with a medley of pins from your blog and from other sources. This will keep your pin in rotation and distribute it to different audiences, who may be following different boards.”
6. Respond to Comments
Responding to comments can help you build your relationship with readers - and isn’t that what your blog is all about?
You’ll get more engagement if you're responsive, while you might also find helpful ideas among the comments that could improve the posts you write.
7. Check Your Analytics
You should also check your Google Analytics regularly to see how your posts are doing.
What kinds of posts receive the most page views? This will tell you what your readership wants and needs. Which posts receive the most comments? What questions or keywords were people using to find your posts?
All of this can be helpful information in planning your next few months of blog posts.