This story was co-written by Rafael Sangiovanni

We’ve previously talked about the benefits of having a company blog and shared our insights on how to actually manage a blog. Now let’s get down the real crux of this whole operation: The actual blog posts.

Admittedly, this can be the most challenging part. Unless you’re a full-time content creator, everyone’s already busy enough with other work, so how do you find the time to take on an extra load and write blog posts?

The answer: By having a plan. (C’mon, we’re in marketing. We love plans!) When it comes to writing blog posts, there are several key factors that you should prepare for to make the whole process smoother. Here, we’ve narrowed it down to seven.

1. Blog Post Length

By far, the most common question we’re asked is, “How long should a blog post be?”

Our answer is always the same: As long as it needs to be.

Yes, there are 175 million Google search results on the topic of blog post length, but ultimately you should use the length you need to properly explore your subject. (If you’d like a rule of thumb, though, your blog posts should be at least 300 words so they rank well on search engines.)

If your article seems to be going too long, when in doubt, see if it can be naturally divided into a series. Then, voila! You now have two – or three – blog posts where you thought it was just one.

Or simply cut, cut, cut. Like Louise Brooks once said:

“Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.”

2. Linking In & Out

Link to your other blog posts or sections of your website where it’s appropriate and helpful for readers. (For example, see our previous story about how to manage a blog in eight steps.) You worked hard to create all that other content – give it some love!

You can also link to external content, but whenever possible although it’s better to link to another place on your own site for relevant further reading. As KissMetrics describes it, there are lots of benefits to internal linking because it strengthens the overall SEO value of a site.

3. Using Listicles

Did you notice what we did with this blog post’s headline?

A listicle is an article on the internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list. You’ve seen them all over BuzzFeed.

Why? They’re effective and people like to read this type of content. They signal to the audience that the story is easy to digest and made for sharing. In fact, listicles are the most shared form of brand content on social media.

And, for fun, here is a listicle about how get your listicle published.

4. Making A Statement

You’re not using your blog to regurgitate the news of the day, or to write what everyone else is talking about or even to pull together entertaining GIFs. (OK, maybe that last one, just a little bit).

Working hard for that blog

Working hard for that blog.

You are writing that blog post because you have something to say, or possess the subject matter expertise that makes you uniquely qualified to lay down that prose.

Use this opportunity to offer your take or expertise on a topic. Often that may mean making a bold statement, stating an opinion or even (gasp) taking a position.

A blog is not a newspaper. It’s OK to have a point of view. Making a statement is bold. And people do notice.

5. Using Your Perspective

This one overlaps somewhat with the last point, but it’s really important so we’ll reinforce it.

You need to find your unique voice and perspective that makes the reader want to read your article instead of the millions of other things out there.

For instance, on rbb’s Breakout Blog we usually approach topics through a marketing lens, especially in how we can help companies be Breakout Brands.

Your perspective is what matters.

6. Incorporating Visuals

Content comes in many forms, but it’s important to bear in mind that the web is becoming more visual every day. Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. More people are using their smart devices to access the content, and Cisco predicts that 75 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2020.

Think of other ways you can incorporate visuals, like videos, GIFs or slideshows, into your blog post (or consider making your entire post a video).

The visual web is not just about visuals, though. At minimum, you should make sure your story is visually easy to read, especially for mobile users. Consider using different header sizes, pull-out quotes and more frequent paragraph breaks.

7. Being Social Ready

There’s truth to the phrase:

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Help give your blog post the attention it deserves by making it ready for sharing. For instance:

  • Write a social friendly headline (approximately 50 characters)
  • Draft up a series of posts and tweets so your post is ready to get shared immediately
  • Research relevant hashtags to boost the visibility of your content
  • If there are sources referenced in your blog post, find their social presence and tag them publicly – they might give you a little love in return

In Summary

These are just some suggestions to make your blog content better, but at the end of the day the best thing to do is just start writing.

Still strapped for time? Here’s another useful idea: Hire a pro. At rbb, we often help clients not only design, develop and plan their company blogs, but also we help with content creation, editing, producing visuals and more. Let us help you find your voice!