Top 5 tips to writing a successful blog

August 7, 2018

At Performance, we pride ourselves on creating insight-driven content. Typically our focus is on delivering this content for our clients rather than ourselves.

Sometimes, however, we do create videos to highlight our work or write a blog on subjects about which we’re passionate – normally sport and cars.

By publishing interesting and engaging content, we drive traffic to our website that wouldn’t necessarily be there.

To encourage everyone at Performance to blog, we like to foster a culture of friendly competitiveness with an annual challenge – whoever writes the blog with the most views and engagement gets a free bottle of champagne and a lunch out on the company.

With two bottles of Moët gathering dust in the cupboard at home from 2016 and 2017, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.

I want to complete that holy triumvirate of victories, which would raise me to the pedestal of Performance blogging immortality.

Plus it annoys my colleague Neil

So what makes for a good blog?

1. SEO

Those three golden letters are the key to the heart of any Head of Digital at any agency on the planet.

Search engine optimisation (otherwise known as SEO), is the process of impacting how high your blog will appear in a web engine’s search results. In layman’s terms, if you follow a few quick and simple tips, your blog will appear higher up on Google when people search for related searches.

How can you do this? I’ve listed a couple of quick tips below to get you started:

• Reference with links throughout – if it’s a link that goes back to the host site, even better
• Use SEO friendly titles like ‘Top 5’ as this is how Google search queries are widely formatted
• Use focus keywords – is there one word that links and epitomises your blog? Work it out, find it and include it. Regularly.
• Use headings and subheadings – this not only makes pieces easier to read and clearer, but will increase your SEO substantially if they include your focus keyword
• Share on social, the more places links to your blog appears, the higher up the ranking it will go!

2. Keep it current

Sure, proactive pieces that are thought-provoking can be great and interesting. There’s no denying that.

However, if you’re keeping abreast with current affairs and the latest hot topics, get on their coat tails!

My most successful blog post, which received over 2,500 views in 2016 was ‘Top 5 reasons tackling should not be banned from school rugby’. Back in March 2016 this was a topic that rose to the top of the news agenda after over 70 medical academics called for a ban on rugby tackling in schools.

Despite this being a UK-wide story that had blanket coverage across online and social media, if you search “reasons to ban tackling in rugby”, my little old blog is third on the list, just above articles from The Telegraph and The Guardian (soz about that).

So go with the latest news trends and work out your SEO strategy, and you’ll be half way there.

3. Write about something you’re passionate about

It might seem obvious, but even the best writers can’t always make a piece on something they’re not interested in come across as exciting.

If you’re passionate about the subject, your blog will not only have a better tone and be more readable, but (obviously) you’ll be able to provide more insight and expertise.

For example, as a member of the Sports Team at Performance, my forte lies in all things sport and entertainment.

Last summer I was particularly interested in the ever-changing world of social media transfer announcements in the world of football. A bit of quick research, a collation of my favourite examples, and the 2017 bottle of champagne was in the bag.

4. Use colloquial language (but don’t take the pi$$!)

When you have a stab at writing your first ever blog, it’s easy to forget you aren’t writing an essay for your university tutor. There’s no lecturer to impress, and they’re a completely different style of writing – you’re appealing to the everyday person.

Therefore using colloquialisms, humour (or at least trying) and short-and-sharp sentences are no longer frowned upon.

Make your piece as readable as possible for both web and mobile users, have a clearly defined structure, and do as much as you can to make sure they read all the way through to the end of the piece.

5. Share on social

As mentioned previously, a simple but effective tactic. Give your blog the best chance possible by plastering it far and wide over the internet.

LinkedIn in particular is a good platform for this, not just because it is a professional rather than personal social networking site, but because it has an algorithm (like Instagram and Facebook) that pushes content most relevant to each user to the top of their feed.

Not only will this once again improve your SEO by having more links directly to your piece, but increases the likelihood of gaining more clicks to your site from a different medium.

So there we have it, my top five starter tips on how to write a successful blog post. Here’s hoping this one makes it three in a row.

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