I’m a big fan of being truly intentional with the marketing content that you create for your business. As a small business owner, the last thing you want to do is spend your time creating content that doesn’t achieve your marketing goals and therefore doesn’t help you achieve your business priority.

No Siree. We want content that creates impact. Content that solves problems. And content that drives action.

When it comes to blogging, there are so many marketing objectives that it can achieve.

Blogging can help position you as an expert. It can differentiate you from your competitors. It can drive traffic to your website.

But it will only achieve these objectives if you are doing it right. And part of getting it right, is sitting down to pre-plan your content because we all know; proper planning prevents poor performance!

So here are eight questions to ask yourself before you start writing your blog post. By answering these questions first, you are ensuring that your content stays focused and stands a greater chance of achieving your marketing goals.

Who is your reader and what are their problems?

Consider, who is this blog post for? When writing your blog post, keep this perfect reader in mind as though you’re speaking directly to them. What’s the problem that they have that your blog post aims to solve? What are the words or phrases that they might use to articulate this problem; i.e. laymen’s terms,

What is the right tone for your business AND your reader?

The beautiful thing about blog writing are there are no hard and fast rules about how to show up in this space when it comes to tone and writing style. And while there a few different tones that you can use when writing a blog post, in most cases when you are blogging on behalf of a business your blog style will either be professional or conversational.

Professional blogs are generally more formal and structured and corporate in feel. They take a more serious tone. Even though this is the case, we recommend that you avoid using technical jargon and use simple terminology where possible.
Conversational blogs can be written as though you are sitting down having a coffee with your ideal reader. These are slightly easier to write, as you tend to write as you would talk. However, the blog still needs to flow and make sense!

Note: Always keep in mind your perfect reader but don’t feel the need to change the way you would naturally speak/write or the way your brand would typically convey certain messages. If you wouldn’t use certain terminology or expressions in person to this reader, do not use them in your blog post.

What is the one takeaway for your reader?

If you were to ask your reader to summarise in a sentence what they have learned from your blog post and how they can apply this learning – what would that be?

Great blog posts will help to inspire action from your reader. I’m hoping with this blog post that you will take away an actionable checklist of what to think about before writing a blog post. The benefit of knowing this info will help you to save time and achieve better results with your blogs.

How can you make this blog post more interesting?

People will pay attention to interesting content. If you are showing up with the same content as everyone else, you risk getting lost in the prolific white noise. So once you have decided your takeaway or your topic, think about how you might be able to provide a different perspective. Maybe think how you could incorporate some storytelling. Add your personality to the writing style. Make the information super valuable – instead of just skimming the surface of a topic. Go big with your title.

What style of blog are you going to write?

One of the great things about a blog is that there are several ways you can convey your message. Here are a handful of the ways you can communicate:

> Share stories and anecdotes
> Write a ‘How to’ blog
> Provide numbered lists
> Share an expert opinion or insight

What will your blog title be?

A great blog title will grab people’s attention. Try to make it short, sharp, clear in order to pique your audience’s interest. When writing your title, keep in mind your perfect reader. Choose a title that will promise value to the reader if they are to read more. Examples of the types of titles that work well are:

Ask a question: “Are Instagram stories necessary for business growth?”
Make life easier: “The best way to use Instagram stories for business” or “The fastest way to create Instagram stories for your business.”
Make a statement: “Instagram stories: the new way to grow your business”
Evoke action: “Why you need to use Instagram stories for your business.”
Provide a list: “5 reasons you should use Instagram stories for your business.”
Pique their interest: “One thing you probably don’t know about Instagram stories.”
What you don’t do: “Why we no longer use Snapchat.”
Your learnings: “What we learnt from using Instagram stories every day.”
Use science: “Research shows Instagram helps increase sales by 50%” Highlight mistakes: “10 Instagram mistakes that businesses make.”

Note: To increase search engine optimisation (SEO), try to use at least 4 words from the title throughout the blog post.

What’s your key phrase?

A key phrase is between 1 – 4 words and describes the main topic of your article. This is the phrase that people would use if they were searching for the topic of your article in Google. You also need to use these words in your title.

For example: ‘Instagram’ is a broad key phrase or ‘Instagram stories for business’ is more a specific phrase. We recommend being as specific as possible.

Do you have a word count?

There are many schools of thought about the ideal length for a blog post. Some believe that blogs should be between 300 words and a maximum of 750 words. If you think about how people consume content online (i.e. with a short attention span), then this word count would make sense.

However, if your article is engaging and informative and your reader is searching for some comprehensive answers on your topic, then a longer article is fine too.

Regardless of the length, it’s important to be succinct with your content.

By asking yourself the above questions, you will provide yourself with a solid outline for the direction of your blog. This will not only save you time by ensuring that you remain focused in your compilation, it will significantly enhance your chances of your blog post being noticed, read and even shared with others!


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