Your company’s blog is much more than a collection of articles. Bolstered by valuable, optimized content, it can pull traffic to your site and drive visitors to action. The stats back this up: companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads per month than those without, according to Demand Metric.
However, it takes some discipline to get a blog to this point. You’re more likely to see results if you follow industry best practices for blogging than if you publish an occasional article with a few keywords thrown in. Read on to learn how to establish a strategic, organized content creation process to improve online visibility, increase customer engagement, and transform your website into a streamlined marketing tool.
Follow These 10 Blogging Best Practices
Before you can develop effective content, you need to fully understand your customer — ideally with in-depth buyer personas — and your company’s vision. Once you’ve got this big picture in place, follow these blog writing best practices to target your content to meet overall business goals.
1. Craft Content Guidelines
Content guidelines outline the protocol to be followed when writing blog posts and are one of the most critical best practices for blogging. Share the document with every member of your content team to ensure each new blog post meets the same high standards.
This is important for:
- SEO. Content guidelines act as a checklist for meeting on-page search engine optimization requirements.
- Efficiency. Every team member will know what’s required when publishing content, ensuring a seamless process whether they’re freelancers or in-house staff.
- Consistency. The document should offer guidance into tone, voice, and language to ensure all posts capture your brand image and voice, no matter who has written the piece.
Address these points as you craft your content guidelines:
- Objective: What should readers walk away with? Clearly state the goal of the article. This will help writers and editors clarify points and create a useful piece of content.
- Keyword use. How often should primary and secondary keywords be used, and where should they be placed?
- External links. Links to authoritative sites can help establish your blog’s credibility. Specify standards for the sites that can be linked to and how recent articles and studies should be.
- On-page optimizations. Create a checklist for page titles, meta descriptions, alt text, URL structure, and other SEO elements.
- Word count. Set a guideline for blog length based on the type of content being created and the keyword you’re targeting.
- Outline. Indicate how writers should structure articles. Some companies like to include a bullet point summary at the beginning or key takeaways at the end, for example. Share a blog template if needed.
- Writing style. Reiterate best writing practices for online content, such as short paragraphs and a scannable layout.
- Brand considerations. Your content guidelines should ensure a consistent brand voice. Should the writing be formal, witty, or conversational in tone? Indicate spelling and formatting preferences, as well.
2. Develop a Content Process
Now you need a formal structure to guide you through the steps of brainstorming ideas, performing content research, writing, and publishing. Your process might look something like this:
Decide on the type of content you need. For example, you may want to develop content for certain stages of the buyer journey or promote specific products or services.
Start the Ideation Process
Perform content research to identify possible topics. You can expand on content your users are already interested in and engaging with. You may also want to look at the content your competitors are ranking for or identify trending topics in your industry that may be valuable for your readers.
Perform Keyword Research
Conduct keyword research related to your ideas to weigh their value from an SEO perspective. Consider search volume and the type of content that you must compete with. Research the ideal blog post length by analyzing how long top-ranking pieces are.
Begin Scheduling Content
Once you have proof of concept and know the target audience for your piece, schedule the piece into a content calendar.
Develop a Content Brief
Create a content brief as a guide for your writer and editor. The brief should summarize the intended audience, the goal of the piece, important takeaways, keywords, search intent, and word count. It can also include an outline, section headers, and background research on competing articles.
Break down the writing, editing, and quality assurance (QA) process and assign responsibilities to team members. In addition to producing written copy, you may also need images, videos, and infographics to complement the article. Loop in your graphic designer so they can begin collecting the information they need.
Publish and Distribute Content
Once your final draft is uploaded to your content management system and optimized for SEO, publish and distribute the blog post through appropriate marketing channels. Add internal links to your new content, and ask Google to index it through the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console.
Should every single blog post follow this exact process? Not always. In some cases, you may want to create a blog article about a company update that doesn’t require keyword research. For example, we sometimes share our award wins and other company news on our blog.
Think you don’t have time to create a process or blog post? Check out these 8 productivity tips for bloggers.
3. Create a Content Calendar
An editorial calendar is one of the best blog practices you can implement. You don’t need to publish copious amounts of articles to benefit from one, either. A content calendar helps you take a strategic approach to your blog so you can:
- Publish regularly to keep your blog active.
- See the topics you’re covering at a glance to avoid too much similar content or to fill in any gaps.
- Plan for seasonal promotion opportunities, avoiding last-minute scrambles.
Build your content calendar a few months in advance. Pick regular publication dates for your content — for example, every Tuesday and Friday — and schedule when your team needs to begin working on the copy to allow enough revision and review time to meet deadlines. Two months is a good rule of thumb, although some organizations may be able to turn content around faster. Once you’ve developed a calendar, everyone can work toward deliverables on the same schedule.
4. Build Your Bench
Make sure you have the right team in place to carry out your content plan.
- A content strategist oversees the editorial calendar and develops content briefs.
- Writers are responsible for researching and writing the blog post according to the content brief. You might use in-house writers for articles that require internal knowledge and freelancers for more generic pieces.
- Subject matter experts ensure content is accurate from a topical viewpoint.
- Editors improve readability and flow, fix grammatical errors, double-check sources, and proofread.
- An editor-in-chief or content director reviews the final product before publication to ensure it meets the overall brand voice and goals.
Depending on your resources, one person may fill multiple roles. For example, the content strategist may also be the writer or the editor.
5. Tap Subject Matter Experts
With Google emphasizing the importance of high-quality content, you’ll want to make sure your content is accurate, informative, and helpful. Since writers can’t be experts on all topics, build a pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) to verify content and add further insight into the topic. SMEs typically have advanced education or a demonstrated track record in the field.
6. Optimize Your Content
Optimization helps your page rank higher by making it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your content. When you’re developing content, optimization should be at the forefront of your efforts. Some of the best blogging practices for on-page optimization include:
- Using the primary keyword in the h1 (post title), page title, meta description, image name, and alt text.
- Adding alt text to blog images.
- Optimizing the URL structure.
- Making sure pages load quickly and are mobile friendly.
- Adding bylines and author bios to demonstrate expertise.
- Formatting content so it’s easy to read.
- Implementing internal and external linking to keep readers engaged.
7. Publish Regularly
When you update your blog regularly, you show your site is current and up to date. Frequent posts provide more opportunities to rank for keywords, build backlinks, and engage readers.
Of course, your publication schedule should depend on your company’s resources. It’s better to publish well-researched, valuable content less frequently than to push out a lot of low-quality content to maintain an arbitrary schedule. Determine how often you can publish high-quality posts based on your content process. Whether it’s twice a week or twice a month, plan your calendar accordingly and adhere to the schedule.
Once an article is published, it can take a few weeks for search engines to find, crawl, and index the new page. You can ask Google to crawl an individual page by submitting a request to the URL Inspection Tool through Google Search Console. Here’s how.
8. Promote Your Content
When you’ve released new content, get it into the hands of readers through a newsletter mailing list and social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Encourage click-throughs when your content’s shared with Open Graph tags, which control how the title, description, and image appear. Depending on the content and where your customers are online, you can also consider pay-per-click advertising on social media and search engines.
Over the long term, work on building backlinks to your content through outreach to authoritative sites. You can also get more mileage from your blog posts by repurposing them into infographics and videos for those who prefer to consume content differently.
9. Track Performance
Once content is published, monitor its performance to make sure each piece is working to generate results for your blog. The best metrics depend on your SEO goals, but common performance indicators include:
- Keyword ranking: How well are you ranking for your target keywords?
- Traffic: How much organic traffic is your post creating, and where is it coming from?
- Engagement: Are readers taking additional actions like clicking a link or sharing your post?
- Lead generation: Are readers signing up for your newsletter or filling out a form to access gated content?
Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide valuable insight into the types of content that generate the best response. You can also use them to identify underperforming content and find ways to refresh it and boost its ranking.
10. Update Older Content
Review and update content regularly. Users who encounter statistics from five years ago, for example, may decide the article is out of date and leave your site to find more current data. Refresh blog posts as needed to ensure you’re putting out and maintaining valuable, high-quality content.
Blogging Best Practices: Recommended Resources
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s critical to grasp the importance of blogging best practices. Add these resources to your digital toolkit to improve writing quality and make the blogging process more manageable.
Victorious Content Template
A systematic process makes producing a continual flow of content easier. Use our free blog template to give each post a clear, logical structure and ensure you hit your key points. This checklist helps you pinpoint who you’re writing for and the messages you want to get across before you even begin writing.
Surfer SEO’s Content Editor helps identify semantically related keywords and gives insight into how well-optimized your content is compared to other blog posts and pages ranking for your desired keyword. While I don’t recommend using AI writing tools in general, Surfer SEO’s Headings and Outline features can help identify points to cover in your article.
Grammarly is more than a grammar and spellchecker. While it catches typos and tells you when you’ve missed a comma, it’s also powerful enough to help polish your writing. Grammarly flags style issues such as passive voice, run-on sentences, repetition, and awkward construction, suggesting ways to make your content more readable. The platform also includes a plagiarism checker to ensure there’s no duplication of content and that articles are unique and original.
With a Grammarly Business account, you can add a special style guide to help your writers identify brand-specific concerns. We just added this at Victorious, and it’s already making a difference. It’s an easy way to share your standards with your team and make implementation a breeze.
Mangools SERP Simulator
Title tags should be between 50-60 characters, while meta descriptions should be less than 160 characters. Any longer and you risk having them cut off in search engine results pages (SERPs). For a quick check, use Mangools SERP checker to visualize what your meta title and description will look like when appearing in SERPs.
Victorious’ SEO Content Guide
Elevate your content strategy further with our SEO content ebook. This guide translates our team’s proven success in lifting websites to the top of search engine results into easy-to-understand tips. Put these strategies into action to better plan and create optimized content.
Maximize Your Blog’s Reach with SEO Content Writing Services
While implementing the above blog post best practices can help you achieve a high-performing blog, it will still take time and resources before you see a return. Victorious can support you through the process and supplement your in-house team with our SEO content writing services. Whether you need guidance with keyword research, strategy, ideation, or writing, we have SEO services to cater to your needs. Schedule a free SEO consultation to learn more about how our SEO content writing services can supercharge your blog, attract customers, and boost your company’s online visibility.