Three Content Marketing Myths to Avoid

content marketing

Tips to Build a Strong Strategy

Content marketing is appealing as a way to leverage self-published information online to increase awareness and recognition of your brand. Social media is full of brands that have found success by employing content marketing. Your business can do the same. In order to make this work, there are some common myths and pitfalls you need to avoid.

Brief History of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a strategy that utilizes a variety of media to catch the interest of customers and potential customers. This media can consist of written words, photos, graphics, videos and more. The objective of this content is to help users get to know your brand and learn more about your services or product offerings. Individuals armed with this information are more likely to become customers, repeat customers and possibly even self-motivated brand ambassadors.

The main goal of quality content is to establish your brand as an expert in your industry. As customers get to know and trust your brand, they will form a relationship with your business. Establishing these relationships between your brand and customers can increase loyalty and ensure customers turn to you when they have questions or intend to make a purchase.

content marketing

Disseminating Information

For many years, content marketing was free – aside from the time investment. As brands published websites and blog posts search engines would do their thing. If the content was deemed appropriate it would be picked up in search results. Social media made things even easier and brands could share updates and blog posts directly with followers.

Quality content in the form of social media posts would promote engagement which would get more clicks and site visits. Increased traffic was a clear sign to search engines and social media platforms that the content was useful. As long as you stayed on top of things and continued to crank out quality content you were set. This is still true – to a degree.

The Age of Pay to Play

Many social media platforms have begun to harness their services and monetize their offerings. Rather, they have become what is commonly referred to as pay to play. The rules and parameters have changed. That’s not to say you can’t do things the old-fashioned way and set out with a strategy to organically build your online presence. Paying for post placements may increase the odds of the right users seeing your posts. Although, you still need quality content to pull them in, get the clicks and justify the expense.

Here are some common myths around content marketing that you should avoid when creating your strategy.

Myth #1: Creating Quality Content is Easy

A lot of planning and organizing goes into creating a quality content strategy. The key takeaway here is that you need an entire strategy. This isn’t a matter of throwing together a couple of blog posts and posting about them to social media. You need to outline goals or objectives and then create a detailed and cohesive plan to reach these goals.

Your content needs to navigate the social media algorithms to reach your customers. The content then needs to resonate with those customers and be compelling enough to get users to act in a way that ultimately helps you reach your established goals.

content marketing

Bring in Reinforcements

It can be really tempting, particularly for small businesses, to create content in-house. This may work, but it may also overburden your existing team. For many small businesses, employees wear multiple hats, so carving out time to create content can be a challenge.

Outsourcing your content creation needs can prove to be a cost-effective way to create quality content that fits your budget. Piecemeal what you need. Perhaps you hire a professional photographer or videographer to get shots for your website or videos. Working with a writer (ahem) can ensure focused blog posts and/or social media posts are created. Working with experts can be a great way to get the content you need without investing your own limited time, or incurring the expense of bringing on a full-time team member. As your company grows and circumstances change, you may find hiring a strong internal team is the best option, but maybe not.

Myth #2: Results Will be Quick

Content marketing is a long game. Expect to invest months just to get your site to show up on Google’s results page. Working your way up through the search results will take even more time.

It is so incredibly easy to become discouraged while implementing a content marketing strategy. However, it’s important to stick with it and see your plan through. Bailing too soon will prove to be a complete waste of time and resources. On the other hand, it’s important to constantly evaluate your strategy and adjust as necessary. Sticking to a plan that isn’t working is another way you can waste time and resources.

Myth #3: Quantity is King

A major misconception about content marketing is that you need to continually put content out there. Search engines do need a lot of content to sort through in order to get a handle on your site. It seems logical that pumping out content in quick order will help you cause. You need to make the distinction between quantity and quality. All content should be high quality. Search engines prioritize quality content.

Years ago, constantly posting to a blog was a good way to build content and establish a presence. This is no longer true. However, when you’re starting out, taking a more aggressive approach in regards to how often you publish content can help. The quicker you give search engines content to search, the quicker you’ll land on the results list.

Avoid Too Much of a Good Thing

Sticking to a fruitful content creation plan can cause fatigue and may have a negative impact on your site ranking. A good plan needs to find a balance between quantity and quality, but ultimately quality wins out. Fewer more targeted posts can help establish your brand and is a better plan than often going live with multiple posts that fail to hit the mark.

content marketing

Repurpose Your Existing Content

Make the most of the content you have by sharing it across social media. Share the same blog post or video several times to keep your feed full without constantly creating new material. When you are posting the same content a second or third time or even more, mix things up. Post at different times, switch up the language used on the social media post and even swap out images. Freshening up your social media posts will help keep things relevant and prevent content fatigue for any users who already saw it. At the same time, this can continue to increase traffic to your site and help individual pages perform.

Learn How to Use Content Marketing

As much as content marketing has changed in recent years, the basic principles have stayed the same. Good, engaging content will appeal to readers and help present your brand as a knowledgeable authority. Reaching your customers can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Especially if you have a well-strategized plan. Let’s talk about your content marketing plan and how I can take your business to the next level.

Benefits of Writing in a Conversational Tone

Conversational Tone

And Understanding What a Conversational Tone Even Means

If you dig through enough tips and tricks to improve your blog, website and social media content you’ll likely stumble across suggestions to write in a conversational tone. This is a great tip if you understand what that means and how to do it. If you’re wondering what a conversational tone is and how to make it work for your content marketing, here’s what you need to know.

Know Your Tone

Many people have a hard time making the switch to writing in a less formal, more conversational tone. Basically, all of your English teachers are to blame. Students typically learn to write in a formal style. Writing conversationally breaks some of the grammar rules you learned in school.

Formal writing is much less utilized now; although, everything has a time and place. Use formal writing for cover letters and pieces written for industry journals and publication, particularly in the fields of medicine and law. A conversational tone can impact credibility if readers expect a formal tone.

Conversational Tone

Benefits of a Conversational Tone

Improved Flow

Writing in a conversational tone means you write similar to how you normally speak, so the content normally flows more like a conversation. This can make for quicker writing and fewer odds of experiencing writer’s block. The conversational tone can also simplify and speed up proofreading.

Don’t mistake improved flow as meaning a lack of structure. Writing conversationally still requires some of the skills you picked up in school. You still need an introductory paragraph, a thesis statement, and topic sentences. Information should flow in a logical way that helps your readers understand what you are explaining, so by the time your readers arrive at the concluding paragraph, they get it.

Make a Connection

Utilizing a conversational tone in your content fosters a sense of familiarity. Often, conversational writing has a more genuine and human feel to it. This can draw readers in and hold their attention because they feel as if you are speaking directly to them.

A conversational tone engages readers, which can translate into more likes and shares via social media. The lighthearted causal tone also makes you appear more approachable, which can further encourage readers to reach out with questions.

Conversational Tone

How to Write in a Conversational Tone

Talk to Your Audience

To write in a conversational tone, simply write as if you were having a direct conversation with your audience. Drop the formality and speak just to your reader. For example, if you are reading this post, you are my audience, so I’m talking directly to you. I refer to myself in the first person (I, me) and I use personal pronouns, like ‘you’ to address you, my reader. This makes it more personal.

Keep It Simple

Use easy words your audience will be likely to know and understand. This is not the time to flaunt your impressive vocabulary or use that new word you learned from your word of the day calendar or a Merriam Webster Twitter post. Readers will understand what you are trying to communicate when you use words they know.

Big words can have a negative impact if your readers are not familiar with the meaning and you run the risk of making your readers feel dumb. After you make your readers feel like an idiot, they may look up the word, figure out what you mean and keep reading, or they may close their browser and move on.

Language is extensive and varied. Either due to the subject matter or the situation, sometimes a big, complicated word may be the best fit. It’s ok to go big when appropriate, but this should be the exception, not a habit.

Mind the Length

In addition to short words, you also want to stick to short sentences. You want to get to the point. Dragging things out unnecessarily may cause readers to skip out before reaching the end. Most people will likely read your content on their phones when they have a spare moment. Short sentences make it easy for readers to quickly get through your post, and maybe even skim the content. You want readers to make it to the end of the post, so they spend more time on your site and read your call to action statement.

Writing long sentences in a long post decreases the odds of a reader seeing a piece through to the end. Figuring out the ideal blog post length is another piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Use the Right Words

Utilize contractions to give your writing a conversational edge. Contractions are two words merged into one, using an apostrophe. Words like, it’s, they’re and here’s are all examples of contractions.

Contradictions are not generally accepted in formal writing. However, it’s completely fine to use contractions when writing in a conversational tone. You probably use contractions all the time when you speak, and if you’re writing in a conversational tone, you should use them in your text, too.

Be Active

Active and passive are ways to structure sentences. Passive writing can be very formal. Active writing places the verb, or action word, at the front of the sentence and typically uses fewer words. Short, active sentences are quicker to read and often more engaging. For example, ‘Alison wrote the blog post,’ is an example of an active sentence structure. ‘The blog post was written by Alison,’ conveys the same meaning using a passive structure and a couple more words.

Forget the Rules

Conversational writing is more forgiving about ending sentences with a preposition (i.e. words like after, in, to, on, and with) and starting sentences with conjunctions (words like and or but). Feel free to break these grammar rules, but don’t let things get out of hand. Continually starting sentences with conjunctions or ending with a preposition can sound sloppy and may confuse your reader.

Conversational Tone

Open It Up to Questions

A great technique to keep things conversational is to ask questions. This makes sense, given that you’re trying to make your post sound like a conversation. Real conversations feature questions. Including questions makes posts engaging and encourages readers to comment and reach out.

Let’s Have a Conversation

Using a conversational tone can be part of an effective content marketing strategy. Breaking established habits can be hard, but once you get the hang of it, writing in a conversational tone can actually be easy. Do you struggle to write in a conversational tone? Do you need help creating quality content that connects with your readers? Let’s talk and see what I can do to help you out!

Why You Should Put Social Media Apps to Work for Your Business

Social Media Apps

Maximize Time and Effort

Social media is probably a major component of your marketing strategy. If it isn’t, you may want to revisit your strategy. Social media brings a lot to the table and can seriously help you grow your business, but it takes time and a whole ton of trial and error. Even after you master the tips and tricks to keep your business relevant, social media still requires a consistent time commitment. Learn how to make the most of your time while still gaining all of the benefits social media has to offer by taking advantage of social media apps.

Get the App Version

The most basic type of social media app you should be using is simply the app version of the platform. All social media platforms feature downloadable apps. Use the app to access the platform via your phone. App versions may not always have the full functionality of the website version. Although, apps will display nicely and be much easier to use on your smartphone.

Being able to access your business social media accounts on your phone enables you to make great use of every spare minute. Whether you are sitting in a waiting room, or if you arrive early for your parental carpool obligations, you can get on social media to engage with your followers, answer questions and just be available.

Clean Up Your Act

Typos and grammar mistakes are going to happen, but fix them before they go live by using the Grammarly Keyboard app. Much how regular Grammarly catches errors when your working on your desktop or laptop, the app version does the same while communicating on your Apple or Android device.

Social Media AppsMake Things Interesting

Visual communication is necessary to increase engagement. Photos, graphics, and videos cause social media users to stop scrolling and see what you have to offer. Luckily, there are a lot of easy-to-use social media apps available to create amazing visuals.

CutStory makes easy work of editing videos into Instagram stories, while Apple Clips lets you add text and special effects to video clips. Make your videos look like you hired a professional by using Adobe Premiere Clip. If you want to create graphics and edit photos try Canva. Stunning visuals grab users’ attention. All of these social media apps make it easy to create high-end and quality visual content.

Start Trending

Using the right hashtag at the right time can drastically increase engagement and introduce your brand to a massive audience. But who has time to perpetually monitor trending hashtags? Download Keyhole to take care of the busy work for you.

Keyhole enables you to track hashtags, keywords and even URLs. This information gives you a real-time glimpse into how people are engaging with your brand. Simply input the variables you want to track and the app will let you know when your terms are trending. You can use this information to maximize engagement and stay up-to-date with campaigns.

Social Media AppsSchedule Content

Through analytics, you can determine when your followers are logged in and active. You want your posts to go live at these opportune times to maximize the odds of your followers engaging with your posts. However, your schedule may not allow you to be ready to post when your followers are available, especially if you are in a different time zone than the majority of your demographic. The solution lies in scheduling posts.

Some social media platforms enable users with admin privileges to schedule posts. If your social media platform of choice does not have this functionality, try out apps like Buffer and Hootsuite. Both social media apps allow you to schedule posts to publish on your social accounts at the dates and times of your choosing, or you can let the apps auto-schedule your posts.

Maximize Your Time

Scheduling content lets you make the best use of your time and ensures you don’t forget to post. Sometimes the day can get away from you and other issues may come up, so you won’t have time to log in. Setting everything up ahead of time ensures you maintain an active social media presence, even when you are pulled away to take care of other things.

See Everything All Together

Another major perk of scheduling social media posts is it gives you a big picture view. Seeing all of your posts in a queue makes it easy to spot any gaps, missed opportunities or patterns. For instance, maybe you are promoting yourself too much and not posting other content or maybe you never post during key times when your users are most active. Identifying these issues makes it possible to be more proactively strategic in your posts.

Social Media AppsLook at the Data

Reviewing analytics is potentially boring. However, gaining a better understanding of your demographic and figuring out how they use social media enables you to best position your posts. Decipher the data using apps like Hootsuite Analytics and Twitonomy to understand why your posts perform the way they do. You can then use this information to improve the reach and performance of future posts.

Using Social Media Apps to Grow Your Business

Any app that helps you maximize your social media marketing efforts is worth the investment. What apps do you use to improve your social media reach? Are you interested in learning more and making the most of your social media marketing? Reach out and I can help!

What is High-Quality Content?

high-quality content

Understanding What Your Audience Wants

High-quality content sounds like an elusive marketing buzzword, but it’s a real thing. As a business owner, you’ve probably been told high-quality content is a content marketing must, but how do you know if your content is high quality? If it isn’t, how do you go about creating high-quality content? And why does any of this even matter? Let me break things down for you.

Understanding Value

Loosely defined, quality content provides value. How content provides value and what that exact value is will vary from one blog post to the next, but ultimately, quality equates to value. For example, quality content helps readers better understand your industry and your business, as well as the products and services you provide. This sort of high caliber content can help advance customers through the sales funnel and help retain existing clients.

High-quality content can also help your site rank with search engines. The main objective of Google, Bing and other search engines is to help their users find what they need. If you play by the search engines’ rules and take the time to craft useful content with which readers engage and respond, your site will come up in the results when users type relevant terms into the search field.

high-quality content

Selecting Your Audience

Before setting out to create high-quality content you need to figure out who you want to reach: existing readers or new readers. Depending on the needs of your business and your strategy, you may wish to focus your efforts just on one of these groups. You may also very well decide the best course of action is to divide your efforts and create multiple pieces of content geared towards different audiences.

Balancing Act

Determining the ideal blog post length is tricky business. The post needs to be long enough, but not too long. Google has made it clear, they prefer long-form posts in the vicinity of 2,000 words or more. Lots of text provides plenty of space to explain useful info in depth, as well as lots of opportunities to feature keywords. However, readers tend to prefer short posts and will generally avoid reading behemoth blog posts.

What’s a blogger to do? Pick and choose your battle. If ranking on the results pages for search engines is the most important objective, then you need to commit to long-form blog posts. The higher you rank, the greater the odds of receiving organic traffic back to your site. If you see your blog posts as useful tools to help customers, then you need to tailor your content for that audience and keep it manageable for your readers’ busy schedules and short attention spans.

high-quality content

Formatting

It turns out no one, not people and not search engine algorithms, like dense blocks of text. Most people tend to bail if they are presented with long and intense text and search engines have become adept at identifying dense blocks of text. Through the use of some clever formatting tricks, you can relay tons of info in a limited space to make the most of your posts.

Short paragraphs create the illusion of short and easy to manage text, which is enough to keep some readers on board. The use of headings and subheadings and even bullet points make it easy for readers to get through a post or skim the content to come away with the gist.

Grammer

Quality content should also be completely free of errors and typos. Everyone makes mistakes, and it can be hard to know when to use a comma sometimes, but it’s important to take the time to write original content that makes sense and is grammatically correct. Grammarly is just one of many great and free online tools to help you clean up your act.

Mistake riddled text may be confusing and can turn readers away. Errors do not instill confidence, and even if your industry has nothing to do with content creation and writing, grammar mistakes can still leave a bad impression. Search engines also take into consideration the quality of the text. A few mistakes aren’t likely to be a big deal, but continually making grammatical errors could spell disaster and negatively impact your site’s ranking.

Visual Aids

High-quality content is more than just well written and informative text. Images, graphics, video and any other type of visual aids all play a part in the creation of high-quality content. Reading through long text can be boring, even for people who like to read and even when utilizing bullet points and other hacks to rein in the length and improve the flow, so breaking things up with images and graphics can help make things interesting and engaging.

Breaking up the monotony is an important task, but elevate your content to the next level by providing useful imagery. Videos, photos, and charts need to support the information provided in the text. Here are a few pointers when creating visual content.

Files should also be high-resolution, so they display nice and make sure to use original content.
Snagging images and files created by someone else and using them on your site without their permission and without giving them credit is plagiarism.
You may also want to add a watermark or branding to any files you create to prevent any unethical bloggers from helping themselves to your files.

Understanding Links

Visually stunning or just plain interesting imagery is also prime material for backlinks. A backlink, sometimes known as an inbound link, is when another site includes a link back to your site. For instance, if another blogger includes a link to one of your posts in one of their posts, that’s a backlink. Including links out to other sources helps your site earn a good reputation with readers and search engines alike, but backlinks really help improve your standing. A key part of creating quality-content is giving other bloggers and writers something worth linking back to, in order to share with their readers and improve your ranking.

high-quality content

Solving a Problem

The way content is presented in terms of formatting, grammar and the inclusion of imagery all contribute to the quality of the content. Perhaps the most important hallmark of high-quality content is the value provided. Does your post answer a question, solve a problem or explain a complicated or confusing process? In some instances, the entertainment value of the piece can be enough to earn the distinction of high quality. Ultimately, high-quality content must serve a purpose. The purpose will vary, depending on your brand and which segment of your audience you wish to reach.

Creating High-Quality Content

Quality content may provide value to your readers, or it may provide value to search engines, which will, in turn, direct more visitors to your site. Sometimes, these two things are the same, or at least very similar, other times these objectives may be very different. Understanding how to create and identify high-quality content can help you reach your goals and grow your business. Want to learn more or find out how I can help you create high-quality content? Get in touch!

How to Write Catchy and Compelling Social Media Posts

social media posts

Four Tips for Social Media Success

Social media is a great tool to promote your business. The ability to directly communicate with your customers can prove invaluable; however, in order to start a dialog, you need to craft posts that catch your follower’s attention. The ultimate goal of your social media posts is to direct followers to your site, where they can learn more or make a purchase. Find out some tips and tricks to write strong social media posts that will engage your followers and help convert sales.

1. Explain What’s In It for the Customer

Let your followers know what they stand to gain from working with you. Providing a clear benefit will get consumers to click a link, share a post or reach out. If your products or services save your customers time or money, or if it’s easy or whatever the case may be, tell your followers this in no uncertain terms.

social media posts

2. Be Active and Confident

Active and passive voices are writing terms used to describe style. In grammar-speak, the subject of the sentence performs an action when using an active voice. By comparison, when using a passive voice the subject receives the action. For example, I wrote a great social media post (active); versus, the social media post is written (passive).

Active and passive voices both have their purposes and benefits. However, an active voice is the way to go when writing social media posts. The takeaway here is to structure sentences, like ‘Our product will save you time/money,’ ‘Our customer service team is available to answer questions,’ and so on.

Choose Your Words Carefully

While I’m at it and discussing the nuances of language, avoid using words like ‘try’ in favor of words like ‘guarantee.’ This may seem subtle, but if you present your brand as confident, readers will see you as a knowledgeable authority. Passive words, such as ‘ hopefully’ and ‘maybe’ do not instill confidence and are quite frankly wishy-washy.

3. Be Mysterious, But Still Promise Answers

Now that I’ve established you should be upfront and confident: here’s a curveball. Be mysterious and ask questions. A great post will intrigue readers and pique their interest. Pose a question and make it clear that the answer lies in following the included link. An example would be, ‘Want to learn how to write compelling social media posts?’

It’s okay to ask questions in your social media posts, but keep it to a minimum. You don’t want your posts to constantly read like the script to an infomercial. A better tactic is to make statements that encourage the reader to learn more. Something like, ‘Find out how our product saves you time,’ or ‘Learn more about…’

pique

4. Get to the Point

Avoid using unnecessary words whenever possible. When composing a social media post get to the point. Many users will simply scroll past a wordy post. Avoid falling victim to tl;dr (too long; didn’t read). The fact that there is an abbreviation for this term should indicate you need to keep things brief.

All social media platforms have character count limits, so depending on your platform of choice this may already be taken care of for you. Keep in mind that different platforms appeal to different demographics and are ultimately used differently. What is considered a long post on one platform may not be considered long on another platform. For instance, people get very wordy on Facebook. While on Twitter, people tend to keep things brief, even after the character limit was increased to 280.

Save your lengthy explanations for newsletters, blog posts, and printed collateral. When it comes to social media just get to the point.

Start Drafting Strong Social Media Posts

There are lots of ins and outs to writing great social media posts. Possibly one of the best things you can do is practice. The more you write and re-write and fine-tune the better you will become at writing. Mastering any skill certainly takes practice, but if you find yourself pressed for time, I can lend a hand. Reach out and we can talk about how I can help craft strong social media posts to promote your brand.

How to Land on the Ideal Blog Post Frequency

blog post frequency

Posting to your blog is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy, but figuring out how often to post can be tricky. Determining the ideal blog post frequency is a question that is closely tied to understanding the ideal blog post length. The answer to both of these questions is actually the same: it depends. This answer is underwhelming and vague, but when you understand what you wish to accomplish with your blog, you can create an effective posting schedule. Find out what your blog post frequency depends on, and more about creating a quality content marketing strategy.

No Magic Number for Ideal Blog Post Frequency

Deciphering an effective blog posting schedule is frustrating because there isn’t a set answer. No one can tell you a number that will just work right out of the gate. The ideal number of blog posts per month or per week is unique to the needs of your business, and this number will be different for everyone.

Figure Out Your Needs

Ultimately, the process for determining how often to post to your blog requires a whole lot of trial and error. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of that though, you need to figure out what you hope to achieve. Define your version of success in order to understand what it looks like, and to ensure you can identify it when you find it.

blog post frequency

Define Your Goals and Create a Schedule

Figure out what you want to achieve with your blog. What are your goals and who are you targeting? You may need to ask yourself this question several times over. If you write blog posts targeted to different groups (i.e. onboarding new customers, advancing others through the sales process, encouraging repeat business from existing clients and so on), you’ll need to track all of these objectives and create a schedule that accounts for everything. An overview schedule that shows your weekly, monthly and quarterly goals can help you get a handle on what needs to happen.

Find What Works

The trial and error strategy essentially means posting a lot of stuff and going back to check your analytics data. If you are not seeing results or experiencing engagement, change things up. When you receive likes and comments and users share your posts, you know you have hit upon a winning technique. At this point, keep up the good work, but be mindful that if and when you start to lose transaction, you will need to revamp your plan.

Consistency

Once you have an established following, it’s important to continue posting. Repetition is a big part of an effective content marketing strategy. Your followers expect to see content from you at regular intervals, and if you stop posting they may forget about you.

blog post frequency

Quality Content

Posting on a regular schedule helps, but you also need to post quality content. Let’s say you set a goal of posting to your blog three times a week. If you fall behind it can be tempting to pull together a quick post and publish it, just for the sake of hitting your goal of three posts per week. This may backfire. A poorly structured post that does not deliver value may cost you readers. Falling short of your goal may be worth avoiding a lackluster and potentially damaging post. Be careful when making any decisions that will impact quality.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you are starting out, it can be helpful to publish a lot of content quickly. The sooner you establish a presence, the sooner search engines can start crawling your content and ranking your site. Once you have built up some recognition, you can scale back how often you post and find a frequency that benefits your audience while fitting your schedule.

Calling in Help

Time management is a big component of determining blog post frequency. As you grow your business, finding the time to write and edit blog posts and source images can be a challenge. Outsourcing your blog content writing is a viable way to rank your site and grow your business organically while affording you the time and capacity to work on other areas of your company. If you want to learn more about how I can help you grow your business by writing your blog, or taking on any of your other website writing needs, get in touch.

How to Zero in on the Ideal Blog Post Length

Ideal Blog Post Length

When people think of using blog content to help rank websites, they usually tend to focus on keywords and long-tail phrases, alt tags and the like. This is great and these are significant techniques that will help your page rank. However, there are a lot of factors to consider, and one that is misunderstood and often overlooked is the length of the blog post. You’ve probably wondered what makes for the ideal blog post length, so here’s the answer.

Both Sides of the Argument

Website and blog content matters, because it helps your site rank with search engines and it enables customers and potential customers to learn more about your business. In order for your site to rank, you need to implement SEO techniques and strategies; however, SEO rules are changing all the time as search engines evolve, and it’s hard to keep up.

Not that long ago, the common practice was to keep blog posts in the range of 250 – 500 words. The prevailing thought was to keep the word count short and to the point, so readers could quickly get through the posts. More recently, blog posts tend to be longer and run over 2,000 words or even up to 4,000 words or more. The notion is the longer the post, the more opportunity to use keywords and long-tail phrases and the greater the odds of ranking a page.

Understanding Your Needs

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining the ideal blog post length. Each business or brand has different needs and different competition. You need a customized approach that takes all of these factors, plus a bunch of other things, into consideration. Furthermore, your needs will change over time, so your strategy needs to evolve, too.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Evaluate Your Competition

Do some searches using your keywords to get the lay of the land. You want to figure out what content is ranking for your keywords, and how you can compete with this existing content. The trend lately is moving towards longer blog posts. You want to make sure you are providing value in the form of sizable posts, but you don’t want to rely exclusively on long blog posts.

You Do You

It’s important to understand what your competition is doing, but that doesn’t mean you should mimic their strategy. It is possible to overdo it when creating content, and more does not automatically mean better. If you notice your competitors have lots of long-winded posts, but you think you can cover the same topic and keywords in a much shorter and brief fashion, then go for it. Short content is prime material for Google’s featured snippet, so in some instances, it is possible to rank while keeping it brief.

Ideal Blog Post Length

The Value of Quality Content

Search engines pay attention to how many people visit your site, but they also track how long each person stays. People will stick around for good content. Quality content that is interesting and provides value encourages people to keep reading and spend more time on your site. Quality content of any length provides value, but long-form quality content provides several perks, including:

  • Most of the blog posts out there are short, so featuring long posts will help you stand out from your competition.
  • Long-form blog posts establish your brand as an authority in your field. If you are able to crank out 2,000 words or more on a single topic, than that is a clear indication you know what you are talking about.
  • Long blog posts are prime to receive backlinks, which will help expand your incoming traffic and can help boost your ranking.

Get to the Point

Really long articles that contain 2,000 or more words can provide lots of great information, but they may turn off some readers and cause them to leave before they reach the end of the post. Losing readers means they spend less time on your site and miss out on your call to action, which means you are losing valuable engagement. Continually posting long blog articles may earn you a reputation and can cause some readers to think twice before reading future posts.

When to Go Long

If your readers respond well to lengthy posts, then it is in your best interest to continue writing long-form posts. Positive responses include comments, likes, shares and readers taking you up on your call to action. If your long-form posts rank with search engines, that is another very compelling reason to keep at it.

Strategies to Create Quality Content at Any Length

It’s important to find a balance between engagement and length. You don’t want to sacrifice compelling content for length, but you can rein in the length using some simple techniques:

  • Streamline long articles using clear and succinct language.
  • Use bullet points to quickly and easily list information.
  • Use graphs, charts, infographics, video and other forms of media to relay information.
  • Break large topics into a series of several smaller articles. The benefit here is twofold: readers will be more likely to get through content in manageable serving sizes, and you can add a bunch of links to connect each post in the series.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Effective Strategy to Determine Ideal Blog Post Length

The total word count of a blog post matters to a degree, but ultimately, posts need to answer questions and provide useful information to both readers and search engine algorithms. The most recent trend is to write longer posts anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words. If you are just starting out and you need to establish content on your site, long-form posts will stay on trend and help you establish a presence. Although, long posts are not always necessary, so mixing things up with shorter posts will also be beneficial.

Long blog posts take more time to write and edit. When committing to featuring long-form blog posts, give yourself plenty of time to do it right. Do you have questions about how to figure out the ideal blog post length? Do you need help creating your content? Reach out and I’ll help you navigate your way! Later this week, I’m going to explain how often you should post to your blog. Stay tuned to learn more!

Increase Your Social Reach by Putting Your Readers to Work

Social Reach

When followers share the posts made to your social media business account, your brand stands much to gain. However, getting shares on social media may seem easier said than done. Getting users to share your posts takes some planning and strategizing, but it all pays off when your social reach gets this very useful boost. Let’s review a few strategies to encourage users to share your posts and expand your brand’s influence.

Understanding Shares

Sharing a post can mean similar, but still different things. When you post to your business social media accounts, users can like or share your post. When you publish a post to your blog, users can take the link to that page and share it on their social media accounts. Both of these types of shares benefit your brand.

Value of Shares

When users share your social media or blog posts, they position your content in front of their network. Your followers are part of your demographic, so it’s likely they have relatives or friends or other connections who are also part of your demographic. A share also serves as an endorsement of your brand, so a single share from one follower has the potential to convert sales. Not every share will convert sales, but the more shares you receive the greater the odds of scoring a few sales or at least gaining new followers and subscribers. Down the line, these new followers may become paying customers or further help to grow your social reach.

contest

Working the Algorithms

Recently, Facebook has taken many steps to encourage interaction between users, which comes at the cost of de-emphasizing posts from businesses. Facebook business posts are typically only seen by a percentage of users who follow that business. The more likes and shares a business post receives, the more value Facebook’s algorithms assign the post, and the greater the distribution that post will receive. Social media posts that link back to your website can help drive traffic to your site, which will also help your site’s ranking with search engines. Social media shares are a bit of a popularity contest, but they provide value by expanding your social reach.

How to Increase Engagement

When users interact with your posts they further develop their relationship with your brand. At the same time, they also spread the social reach of your message and help your brand form bonds with new followers. It takes time and consistent work, but increasing your social reach can increase your followers, and lead to increased sales.

Seek Out Your Customers

Each social media platform appeals to specific demographics. You need to figure out which platforms your customers use, and start establishing a presence there. Most users have accounts across multiple platforms, so you may find it useful to maintain a few accounts. It’s not likely worth your time to have an account on a platform not frequented by your demographic.

Quality Content

Good content is the key to social media engagement. In order for followers to like and share your social media posts, you need to give them something worth sharing. Quality content provides value by delivering a solution or explanation. For instance, if you specialize in kitchen remodels, explain the types of countertop materials available and the pros and cons of each. If your company created an app, explain what the app does and how it helps users.

Useful information will help convince users of the value your company provides, and it may also cause your readers to think that if they found it useful, their friends, family or followers may agree.

worth sharing

Trend Spotting

Latching on to a trend can give your social media posts a helpful boost. However, trends can be fleeting, so you need to get in early enough while the issue is still relevant. Being late to the party may not provide any value. Identifying trends early gives you the opportunity to provide relevant and useful content, and present your brand as an authority and industry leader.

Spot trends by keeping tabs on the newsletters and social media posts put out by your competitors, media and industry leaders and influencers. You can also use the app, Keyhole, to monitor specific keywords across various social media platforms. If your keywords begin to generate traction you’ll be the first to know, and you can quickly capitalize on this trend by writing about it on your blog or on social media.

Make Sharing Easy

The easier it is for your readers and followers to share your posts, the more likely they will do just that. Include social media share buttons on your site, so readers can easily share your blog posts to their social media accounts. When you publish a new blog entry, post about it on your business accounts. Your followers will see this social media post and be able to like and share your post, or follow the link to your blog, where they will also be presented with the option to share your blog post to their social accounts.

Easier

Just Ask

Quality content, social media share buttons and the other techniques listed here are subtle attempts to expand your social reach. It’s a bit more bold, and still effective, but you can just ask your followers to share your content. Sometimes readers may not think to share you post, but if you ask them, that will get them thinking about it. At the end of each blog post, ask your readers to share the post to their social media accounts. Frame it by explaining that if they found the post useful their friends, colleagues, followers or whomever, may find it useful, too.

Increase Your Social Reach

Social media shares can increase organic traffic to your site and improve your standings with both search engines and social media platforms. Making an effort to establish a presence on the social media platforms your demographic uses, improving the quality and relevance of your content and taking steps to simplify sharing content can all improve your social reach. Have you tried any of these techniques? Do you have a method that didn’t make this roundup? Let me know, reach out if you have questions and feel free to share this post if you think anyone in your network may find it useful (see what I just did there?).