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A Systematic Approach to Writing Successful Blog Posts

This guest post is by Jane Sheeba of Problogging Success.

“Success” is a very relative term. Unless you define it precisely, it’s very easy to become lost in a sea of assumptions. You can work hard on building a blog without having defined your “success,” but if you do, how will you know if you’re progressing successfully?

A blog post is an essential part of the blog—in fact every single blog post is a very important entity of the blog. Subtract all the blog posts and you have no blog left.

So your blogging success depends heavily on the success of your blog posts. And as Shaun Connell explained earlier today in The Systematic Blogger’s Mainfesto, if you can systematize your blogging, you can create a more reliable path to whatever you’ve defined as success.

So in this post I’m going to show you a system for creating successful blog posts, every time.

1. Define your “success”

As I said already, “success” is a very relative term. It differs from person to person and blog to blog.

  • For some “success” may mean building an email list which is highly responsive.
  • For some it could be making X number of affiliate sales.
  • For some it could be directing people to a particular service.

So unless you know precisely what you want, you cannot know what to do in order to achieve success—or if you’ve succeeded at all.

Defining your success is nothing but setting a goal. This applies to blog posts just as well as it does to your blog overall. Every blog post you write should have a clear purpose. How can you identify it? Ask yourself, “What do I want from this blog post?”

Let me give you some examples:

  • If you’re writing a product review, your goal could be to make X number of product sales.
  • If you’re writing a series about how to make money blogging, your goal may be to attract a certain percentage of readers to subscribe to your email list.
  • If you’re writing a guest post, your goal might be to generate a number of clickthroughs to your own site.

Once you’ve defined your goal, and defined “success” clearly, you can start working on the post.

2. Choose a topic that your readers and the search engines want

Readers are the lifeblood of your blog, so you must write what your readers want.

Do not assume that your blog readers will be like you. Do not assume that a particular topic will interest them. Do not make any assumptions. Rather, research and find out what interests your blog readers. If your blog post doesn’t strike a chord with your blog readers, you will be wasting a lot of blogging energy with no return.

There are various ways to find what your readers want.

  1. Yahoo Answers and Quora are great places to start with. Type in your primary keywords and you’ll see what people are hungry for.
  2. Go to the free, famous, and useful Google Keyword Tool and type in the same keyword you used in Yahoo Answers and Quora. Then click on Phrase Match, and pick up a handful of potential keywords that have low or medium competition, but high global monthly searches.
  3. Visit Wordtracker Keyword Questions (you’ll have to register for a free account) and, again, type in your keyword. This tool will give you a clear idea of the questions people are asking for on that particular topic.
  4. Google is another great place to find out what people are interested in. Go to Google and start to type in your keyword slowly—don’t complete it too quickly! As you type, you’ll see Google’s suggestions appear below the search box. While these options are personalized if you’re logged in to Google’s services, you can use anonymous browsing mode to remove personal settings from your search results.

Once you know what people are looking for, you’ll be able to come up with a great topic to write about. Do your research and deliver useful, practical advice on the topic. In fact, go further and over-deliver.

3. Include elements to help you achieve your goal

Earlier, you set a precise goal for this blog post. Let’s say you decided you want the post to prompt a number of people to opt in to your list. The element you’ll want to include to help people sign up is a link to your sign up form.

If you like, you can adopt a hard-sell approach to achieving this goal. But when you deliver awesome quality information in a post, a simple form at the end will do the work. You don’t even have to hit people multiple times with your subscription invitation.

The key is, don’t forget to include that element. If you want to generate a certain outcome from a post, make sure you’ve included the elements required to achieve that goal in your post.

As another example, if you want people to buy a particular product after reading that post, don’t forget to include a link to the product or talk something about that product in the post. If you omit those elements, you can’t expect achieve your goal, no matter how great your post is.

4. Promote your blog post

The word “promote” is often read as “spam others with…” But you don’t need to resort to spam.

If your blog post is of great quality, and you believe it will help many people, share it in social media. Take five or ten seconds to manually add a description to the post link before you share it.

If you want to share your post with your newsletter subscribers, create a compelling, non-spammy headline, and write a compelling teaser so that people will want to check out the post.

Promotion doesn’t have to be spammy—do it in such a way that people want to click through.

5. Analyze your results

This is the crucial part where you’ll measure your success in terms of numbers. Don’t skip this step! You won’t learn anything from all you’ve done so far if you decide to ignore the results. And if you don’t learn anything, you won’t be able to improve your systematic approach to writing successful blog posts.

Again, let’s consider the example of people joining your subscription list after reading your post. You could create a special opt in form for this particular post (instead of your usual generic one). In Aweber, you might create a new web form and, in the Settings screen (where you fill out the crucial details), name the form appropriately so that you can easily identify it.

It’s a good idea to use a short form of the title of the post itself to name your web form. You’ll see that Aweber uses the same name for the tracking ID. And, when you look at the stats of all your web forms, you’ll be able to see how well that form converts in comparison to the others—that is, you’ll know how many people actually looked at that form, how many opted in, and what the conversion rate is (as a percentage).

This is a great way to see how successful your post was at achieving this goal.

If you want to track sales or see how well your signup funnel performed on the whole, you can always use Google Analytics. Go to the Analytics information for your target page to see the referral information.

You’ll usually see domains (that is, the home page of other blogs or websites) in the referral details. If you click on a particular domain, you can see the break down of actual pages of that domain that sent traffic to your target page, and the actual number of visits that came from each.

So you can pinpoint exactly how many visits are sent to your subscription or product landing page from a particular blog post you’ve written.

A systematic approach to blog post success

Don’t neglect to provide quality on every blog post you write. Every time you prepare to write a post, ask yourself: What do I want out of this blog post? What’s the purpose of me writing this blog post? How will I know that it’s achieved what I want?

Considering all this may sound like a big task to do on top of writing the blog post itself. But asking these questions, and being clear about the answers, helps you to actually write posts that achieve your desired results with ease.

Jane is a blog consultant and the founder of Problogging Success. She has authored two e-books Problogging Action Plan (winner of the Small Business Book Awards, 2012) and Guest Blogging Champion to help bloggers become successful in their blogging business.

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Comments

  1. Great Blog! Very informative and I learned how valuable it is to produce quality content when it comes to successful blog posts!

  2. Tracy says:

    Very insightful post, Jane–thanks. I’ve been blogging for one month. I’ve set goals for my blog as a whole, but I never considered doing this for each post–and it makes perfect sense!

  3. Success is relative as you said. And to me, I see my posts and blogging as successful when clients are calling me up, contacting and tweeting my post. I don’t see any other criterion for analyzing success. To me, 100 comments on a new post doesn’t motivate me. Comments and blog engagement is good, but if it doesn’t put food on my table, what’s the essence.

    If I’m able to lift burdens, help a dying blog come back to life or add a ‘little’ color to someone’s business, I’m succeeding.

    When I came online, my goal is to help business entrepreneurs grow their businesses with content marketing. If I do not meet this goal, I’m not successful.

    It also boils down to blog post promotion. Content is king, but a King without a Queen is handicapped in his Kingdom. We need to aggressively promote very post made.

    Thank you Jane for making this post helpful – I appreciate!

  4. Pradosh says:

    Its very difficult to concentrate and write good post. And its more difficult to find out what readers want. If we are to become a good blogger, this art should be mastered with time and affords

  5. Well, I do not think that you will ever find a topic that will meet the requirements of search engines and users. You need to sacrifice on one point. My suggestion – focus on users because you can convert them into readers but search engines can leave you miserable at any point of time.

  6. Webly says:

    Success for me blogging is when a reader decides they are taking actions to live a healthy lifestyle or take actions to improve another area of their livess. Success for me blogging is reading a comment, saying thank you for being real.
    I got some great tips reading your post doing keyword searches first, I admit that it’s something I’m still trying to improve.
    Some traffic tips IOU gave about awebber I will look into.
    I’ve been wanting to have guest bloggers and will take a stab at your book before diving in.

    Great post.

  7. It can be very easy to forget your goal or having an undefined success, it’s kind of like working without a deadline, it takes so much longer to reach the goal.

    Very important.

  8. Hi there

    Great post with some valuable guidelines. Gives me some insight in how to approach my blogging in the future.

    I have started blogging since Feb 2012 and have managed to increase the number of visitors to my website / blog. Still have a problem with attracting comments.

    Keith

  9. Justin Mazza says:

    My most popular posts are the ones that are “out there” so to speak. Writing about what everyone else is just gets lost in the search engines so that is why I try to find something obscure to write about.

  10. Great article I have ever read. As a blogger I know the worth of research and experience and you showed that you’re great in your category. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I am focusing on writing good blog posts. This can ensure that I provide good information to my blog readers and I can maintain my blog quality. The most important thing in blogging is that we must create long term relationship with blog readers by creating high quality blog posts.

    That is what I aim for. Give quality information and earn respect. People will love it. :)

  12. Great guidelines Jane. I think another aspect to consider is how often can you produce a quality blog post? Some of my favorite bloggers post a couple times a week which gives them time to distribute and readers more time to comment and share.

  13. Joe Boyle says:

    I think it’s rather ironic that you should refer to any form of success amounting from a “systematic” style of blog posts. There’s just no way to do it. It’s an oxymoron. Blogging can be auto-piloted, but it cannot be systematic.

  14. Ferb says:

    That was a big help. Thank you.

  15. Naveen says:

    Great stuff, I’ve collected 1000s of traffic per month for my 6 month old blog from Yahoo! Answers last year from my level4 top contributor graduation. This seems my 30% of the traffic came from Yahoo! Answers and its fair enough for a new blog.

    The more level increase from, the higher traffic we can. So I recommend anyone to use Yahoo! Answers.

  16. Venkat says:

    Towards, focusing on writing good blog posts. Great Article…

  17. Andy Demi says:

    I think writing great articles is all about forgetting what SEO and Google is and write from the heart. A blog post should be a conversation between 2 intelligent friends (the article shouldn’t contain profanity or sound ridiculous).

    Once you’ve finished writing a great article, then you can add some keywords and do some On-page SEO.

  18. Very good article, as someone who is just starting out it’s becoming more and more clear that structure and constancy are the most important which this re-enforces. For long term success it’s the only way to go.. I have a lot of work to do!

  19. Thank you for this post. I’ve been aware of the idea of making each blog post count, but I can always do with a reminder.

  20. Scott says:

    This is fantastic, thanks for the valuable information you shared!

    And I agree with Naveen, Yahoo Answers really is an incredible source of traffic, if you do it right.

  21. Gjivan says:

    Very exact and to the point information. Thank you Jane for this article. “Success” means different thing to different individual and to be exact to achieve goal is the primary mind-set, which is useful not only in online business but to offline business world too. And yes, the tools you had mentioned for Keywords Research process are also awesome, some more tool which can be helpful for creating a high value, seo friendly and profitable articles are SPYFU, SEMRUSH and yes Market Samurai, i am using these along with Google Adwords Keywords tool.
    But, one question i wanna ask is, i am targeting keywords having medium to high competition (advertisers bid in Google keywords tool ) and US monthly local search ( exact match= 1000 ). I am analyzing the competition of top 10s in Market Samurai and getting hard time ranking majority of keywords but the ranks are improving, am i targeting highly competitive keywords? Need suggestions!!

  22. Gideon Odoma says:

    Great piece! It could be a bit difficult to know what readers want but with the tips you’ve offered, more success can be achieved.
    I will also advice that depending on the goal of your blog, you should not be out looking for what readers want so much you lose originality.
    There is someone who wants to hear what you HAVE to say. Just learn HOW to say it well.

  23. Jeremy says:

    Jane,

    Great post! I have used Yahoo! Answers and Google to try to promote my blog, aimed at helping high school/college kids with college issues, from the perspective of a current college student :) I hope that that, along with some of your other tips, can help to draw traffic to my blog and get me a good following to help the world!

    Jeremy

  24. Great Post, Structure and constancy are two of the most important items when writing a blog article that counts.

  25. Great Blog! Very informative and I learned how valuable it is to produce quality content when it comes to successful blog posts!

  26. What you said about analyzing results is gold. Way too many people, from affiliate marketers to “professional” SEOer’s, do not do nearly enough analysis and data collection. It’s sometimes because they’re lazy, and sometimes because they don’t want to spend any of their money on crucial tarcking software. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone expects to move forward in the online business if they’re not willing to verify what works and get rid of what doesnt. Your efforts are utterly wasted if you’re doing analysis.

  27. Arjun says:

    Thanks! It’s always required to think about the use of the article before writing a blog post but I often get discouraged if I look at my traffic in Google Analytics.