There are 500 million blogs in the world. Their owners add roughly two million posts every day.
Add news articles, social media posts and opinion pieces from media outlets that technically don’t qualify as blogs and you’ll understand why your content faces brutal competition.
Terms like ‘clickbait’ were coined to name false advertising that entices people to click on links leading to spammy, deceptive or misleading content.
While some people can now make distinctions between a catchy title and clickbait (almost every time), we can’t say the same about poor quality content in general. Those publishers don’t necessarily intend to mislead you or install viruses on your devices. They just can’t (or won’t) write content that is worth reading.
As a marketer and copywriter, I spend a lot of time reading blog posts. I read competitors’ blogs, informational blogs, educational posts and, yes, fun posts, too.
Since I read an average of 7-10 long-form blog posts every day, I have to be extremely cautious and selective. I don’t want to waste my time.
And neither do your readers.
When you waste their time with poor quality content, they stop reading. More importantly, they stop thinking they could ever be your clients.
The checklist below is the one I use to separate wheat from chaff – to choose the blog posts that are worth my time. The same checklist is always used by my team at Idunn to create amazing content for the clients who hire our professional blog writers.
1. Establish trust and authority
There are a few blogs that I read constantly, even when a headline doesn’t inspire me to click. These are the blogs that have proven their worth to me in the past.
So I subscribed to them and I kept on reading almost every post they publish. I know that nine times out of 10 their content is worth my time. And when it’s not, it’s because I already know that subject in-depth or because it’s not something I’m directly interested in.
Authority content is what brings people back to your blog. Relevance and user intent match are the two fundamental pillars of authority content.
However, this trust is gained in time. Your first blog post may be a gold mine, but this doesn’t mean subscribers will flock to your list.
Still, you shouldn’t pay less attention to your first posts just because no one is watching. Deliver excellence from day one and watch your blog grow into a ROI machine.
To learn how to build trust through authority content, keep reading.
2. Be generous with your outbound links
We all try to cram as many inbound links in our content as possible, in an effort to boost the ranking of other blog posts or pages. But we forget that outbound linking has great value, too.
When you link to high domain authority websites, Google understands that you’ve done your research. You’re not just spewing facts that support your claims. You actually have solid, third-party facts that support those claims.
For instance, I’m going to support this claim by linking to this website that says the exact same thing.
Yes, outbound linking is great for SEO. But what about your readers, you ask? Won’t they be deterred by the fact that you need someone else to back up your claims?
Quite the opposite, in fact. Even if you conduct and publish your own research (which I strongly suggest you do), your readers still want to verify the validity of your information. So make it easy for them. Show them where to go for additional explanations or verifications.
Orbit Media, HubSpot Research, Google Guidelines, and Content Marketing Institute are just a few of the go-to sources in the digital marketing niche.
3. Leverage the influence of other influencers
Quote other experts in your field. Again, you do this to back up your claims for your reader.
Don’t worry – these influencers won’t steal your clients. In fact, you can collaborate with them extensively and support each other’s business.
And you do this because quotes are highly sharable – by your usual readers and by the influencers themselves. A social share from someone in the latter category can double the size of your readership overnight.
But in order for this to work, remember to link to the influencer’s own website (a do-follow link) and even add other contact info, like social media profiles.
4. Add eye-catching images
Stock photos are great for covers. But within your text, make sure to add relevant images, videos and/or infographics. Like this one:
Visuals break down the text and they make it easier to read. Plus, for most human readers, it’s easier to retain information that comes in a visual form rather than plain-text.
BuzzSumo analyzed over 100 million articles and found that those with images got 65% more Facebook shares and 20% more Twitter shares.
Yes, people love visuals. But so does Google. Adding images or videos to your blog posts gives you a great opportunity to create keyword-rich meta descriptions and help your posts rank higher.
5. Go in-depth
Long-form articles are both readers’ and Google’s favorites. That’s because a long-form article gives you the chance to explore a topic at length.
And yes, some people might already be familiar with some of the ideas and information you are writing about. But if the post is written properly (i.e.: easy to skim, with images, sub-headings and bullet point lists that break down the text), you can help them get to the section that they are truly interested in.
When it comes to ranking, long-form posts have a better chance to rank higher. Again, it’s because search engines favor articles that exhaust a topic.
More interesting facts about long-form content:
- 2000+ words article rank better, according to SerpIQ
- 2000+ words articles get more social shares and more backlinks, according to a study by HubSpot on 6000 articles.
- Long-form content converts 30% better than short-form content, according to CrazyEgg and Conversion Rate Experts.
I have also noticed a significant spike in demand for long-form content from our clients. If, three years ago, I had to convince new clients that long-form is worth the investment, today I don’t even have to mention it. Our clients contact us and ask for long-form blog posts from the very beginning.
However, I don’t advise you to keep on writing just for the sake of creating long-form content. If a subject can be extensively covered in 1000 words, don’t add fluff to it just to meet a quota. Write naturally – just like your readers expect you to.
Wrapping things up
Even if everyone seems to be blogging today, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for newcomers who can deliver quality. Don’t be intimidated by the number of well-performing blogs in your industry.
When I launched Idunn, there already were hundreds of good digital marketing blogs and a few thousand “meh” ones. To this day, 99% of our clients are converted through our blog.
It can be done – just as long as you focus on both your readers’ needs and your business goals.
If you need help with writing blog posts that are both easy to read and ROI goldmines, let’s talk. We have helped dozens of companies boost their ROI through blogging. Check out our copywriting and content writing services here.