1. Write to Your Audience
Think about who you are targeting for the article. Are you trying to help them with a how-to article? Maybe you’re curating a collection or sharing a presentation. Or maybe you’re trying to give them a checklist like this article.
The primary audience for this article is people who want to make sure they put out a quality blog post. I’m also going to repurpose this for a LinkedIn article to help colleagues with writing their first post on LinkedIn.
2. Backlink to Something You’ve Written Before
Always look to link not only to reputable resources in your article, but also make sure you link to one of your previous articles, Or maybe a colleague’s article.
3. Don’t Go TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Spell out the value of reading the post early and deliver that value. Remember earlier today when you searched for the answer to that pesky question? You were impatient. Your readers are impatient. They will give you seconds and not minutes to create value.
Read your article – anything that takes longer than 5 minutes needs to be broken up into multiple posts (IMHO).
4. Don’t Forget the Call to Action
What do you want the reader to do next? Sign up for a webinar? Download a white paper? Present this as a button at the bottom (and sometimes mid-way) of the article to make it easy to take that next step.
5. Add an Engaging Graphic for the Featured Image
Along with the title, this is where you need to grab the attention of the prospective reader. To go on the cheap, use an image from Creative Commons. The way I roll is using images from a service called ShutterStock – I signed up for the 25 images a day option and this gives me all I need to dress up an article.
6. Edit for Grammar
You don’t want to lose readers because of poor grammar – have someone review your content for grammar or use a tool like Grammarly.
7. Check Your Technical Content
Your reputation is on the line here – put your best foot forward. For technical content, have someone smarter than you review your content before you click “Publish.” The second best option is to share with a small group of nit-picky people who will actually point out where you missed a semicolon.
8. Tag Your Content
Don’t miss this step either. This will be important to help make the article more “findable” when people see recommended articles, click on a tag cloud, or view the blog index.
9. Optimize for SEO
Now that your article is ready for the world – make sure the title and the content are SEO friendly. I use a great plugin called WordPress SEO. This helps me tweak the title to common Google search phrases, and it grades the article for how well it is prepped for SEO. It gives you a checklist of things to fix to get a higher grade. Brilliant.
10. Promote Your Article
The hard work is done, but now you need to make sure the world is aware of what you have to share. I use HootSuite for Social (see a list of other tools I use on a daily basis – see how I just did #2 😉 ). I also get in the habit of thinking of particular people that I know would benefit from the article, and I send them an email with a link. Far as I can tell, people appreciate this and it’s so much better than the typical mass emails many people send.
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