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8 essential components for successful blogging

For financial advisers, blogging is essential – but it isn’t easy. You need to come up with topics, write something engaging, optimise it for SEO and take a myriad of other steps to make sure you are writing the best possible post that stands out from other similar topics online. There are millions of people blogging, yet you have to stay original.

There are certain steps you can follow to make sure it has the essential components necessary to perform well. Here are eight steps that can get you on the right path to successful blogging:

Step 1: Understand your audience
Before you start to write, have a clear understanding of your audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for the blog post.

Step 2: Start with a topic and working title
Before you do anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general, but it is essential to come up with a few topic ideas to get you started. After you choose one to run with, you need to create a working title. What’s the difference? A topic is general, while a working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.

Step 3: Write an intro (and make it captivating)
It is important to grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs of the introduction, they will stop reading even though they haven’t given your post a fair chance. Then, show the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having.

Step 4: Organise your content
Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information. The trick is to organise the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organisation can take multiple forms: sections, lists, tips, etc. All you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover and the best order in which to do it.

Step 5: Write the content
The next step – but not the last – is actually writing the content. Now that you have your outline, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as the guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you feel comfortable talking about and do additional research, if necessary, to gather more information.

Step 6: Fix your formatting
Visual appearance – pictures don’t make a post visually appealing; the formatting and organisation of the post does.

Keep titles and subtitles consistent. Make sure pictures have a similar border. Keep the style consistent from post to post. Having this consistency allows people to recognise your brand at first glance while also keeping the post easier on the eyes.

Meta description – meta descriptions give searchers the ability to read a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150–160 characters and start with an action verb such as ‘Learn’, ‘Read’ or ‘Discover’. It gives the searcher a snapshot of what they will get by reading the longer post.

Tags – tags are specific keywords that describe the post. They allow the readers to search for more content in the same category on your blog.

Step 7: Include a call-to-action at the end
At the end of every blog post, you should have a call-to-action (CTA). Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA and, eventually, you get a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your blog post: they’re going to click on the CTA if they enjoyed your blog post and want more information on that particular topic.

Step 8: Optimise for on-page SEO
After you finish writing, go back and optimise your post for SEO.

As you’re doing this, you may be thinking, ‘Is my post too long? Or perhaps too short?’ Don’t worry about it – Google doesn’t care about the length of your post.

You might also be wondering if you’ve put in enough keywords. Again, don’t worry about it. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density, as Google’s smarter than that.

Oliver Taylor, Head of Sales & Marketing, Goldmine Media

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