The Sarky Type – content with more bite

If you were hoping for a guide on how to get laid, I apologise but I have no idea how you do that. This is about the love of long-form writing.

What is long-form writing?

No one seems to agree so you’ll struggle to find a definitive answer. In my world, it’s a blog post or article beyond 800 words. Other kinds of long-form writing are whitepapers, case studies, industry guides… blah blah blah.

Things are now potentially going to get rather sordid as I attempt to make comparisons with romantic relationships and blog posts

Hold on to your ha’penny!

What’s the long game to attraction?

Content marketing means building an online library of targeted information.

But it also means building relationships.

And like any worthwhile tryst, it takes time. Long-form writing is the ‘wine and dine’ approach to pulling clients. There is no wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am with this method. In the context of this post that would be the paid ads route. Look at PPC (Pay Per Click) as the casual hook up to gaining website traffic.

Nothing wrong with paying for traffic, by the way (or casual hook-ups for that matter) however, content creation is about being wanted long after the paid traffic has dried up. Long-form helps to build organic reach over time, so a blog strategy is something to have alongside your paid campaigns.

It’s called the long game for a reason.

You can’t ‘jump into bed’ with a lengthy piece of text.

Is it getting hot in here?

This is why I’m calling it the long game to attraction, do you see? There will be a mating ritual – a dance that can take time before anyone wants the goods. You have to put in some considerable effort and continue to add top-shelf, tip-top content.

Just like romantic relationships, you’ll have your preferences.

The same will apply to your client type. You attract by being the perfect partner to those that seek you out.

Law of attraction.

I’m not referring to some woo-woo philosophy. I’m talking about attracting like for like.

For example, when we fancy someone it’s for a number of reasons.

First, we like the look of that person.

We then seek a certain personality. Finding that special someone who shares similar values is really important to any relationships’ success. You have to share things in common. We need a fine balance of different and similar traits to keep things interesting (and working).

It’s sort of the same with your long-form writing.

You attract your audience by appealing to certain factors.

But you won’t be attractive to everyone, and that’s exactly the point. Not even Angelina Jolie, that symmetrical-faced, modern-day Venus is everyone’s cup of tea.

To further illustrate the point, I quite like Claes Bang.

A Danish actor of much merit, seen by British audiences in the BBC series, Dracula. Now, he’s getting on, is our Claes (not that that was ever a stumbling block to any man on, or off-screen – amirite ladies?) and he may not be considered by some as ‘Mr Hollywood’.

I’m not talking Paul Hollywood, even I draw the line there.

And yet he’s totally hot, in my opinion.

Well, hello there:

The long game of long-form attraction
The bangable Claes Bang. Photo by Andreas Houmann

I’m losing my thread here, what is this post about?

Ah, yes.

What else?

The beautiful blog is pivotal in driving traffic to our little corner of the online universe.

It’s key to how well we rank in terms of SEO. It also shows anyone who cares to read it, how bloody good we are at what we do. So if you want to up your organic traffic I suggest you get cracking with blogging. I have loads of help for you on my blog that will guide you through the long-form journey.

And each post you write can be repurposed.

You can publish it as an article on LinkedIn or as a guest post on another site. You can also chop it up and use it across your social media. It really is a versatile little medium that will do wonders for your website. And if you get someone to blog for you, you’ll never be out of content ideas again. You’ll also have more time to do something else, like perv at Claes.

(Or David Ginola, or Brian Blessed or whoever floats your boat.)

If you think I might be your type, in terms of content writing, then I suggest you hit the button.

Your job as a business owner is to solve client problems. Not only are you doing that with your products and services but you should be doing it with your blog.

Creating blog content for your business is crucial in lead generation. Every piece of copy and content that relates to your business has to be all about the client and how you help them.

Says every goddam content marketer.

Despite hating marketing terms and their cliched wisdom, so much of it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t mean that every strategy the ‘gurus’ spout is right for you (or even true) but still, this stuff works for a reason, right?

I bang on about using your business blog to attract clients and generate leads.

If you’re reading this you might want to know how to do it yourself. But if you want to write a business blog all about you, you’re going to need to leave. There is no hope for long-form that does nothing to attract people who need your products.

If you struggle with why you should blog, click here to see what I have to say on the subject.

We march on…

How to find solutions to client problems.

Solve client problems with your blog

Sounds like an impossible task but if you know your ideal client well, and have tailored your business world around them, this shit should be easy.

Become your client.

I’m going to need you to adopt the acting techniques taught by Lee Strasberg (not really). The reason Brando and Pacino were (and are) such consummate actors is down to them getting inside their characters.

I’m not asking you to try a different accent but what I am saying is that you search on Google as your prospect.

Include keywords that you want to be found for when you ‘pretend’ to be your client.

Make a list of the search results. Which ones are landing on the first page of Google?

Take a look at those results and check out the structure of the titles and descriptions. What clues do they give on how well they’re constructed? How relevant is the content to those titles? Go ahead and click those links, read that content, see how it fulfils the promises made on the results pages.

Understand your clients’ user intent.

Say what?

When we search online we do so with a purpose.

That purpose could be to buy something or to learn something. We have a clear intent before we jump on Google. Your clients have problems that are centred around your industry but they’re not always after a product or service, they may just want information (in view of buying from you later).

That means they’re searching with informational intent and all decent bloggers will know which of their targeted keywords and phrases yields informational results.

If you’d like to find out more about intent and how it impacts keywords, click here.

How do you solve your own problems?

Look at your online habits (god help us).

When you want to buy a product or find info, you’ll type in a phrase with keywords that are specific to the subject.

That’s what your potential clients are doing. You see, this is why you need to know everything about the people buying your stuff.

Create solutions to client problems with your blog.

Can we all just pretend for a moment?

Can we imagine that you’re a wedding photographer that specialises in destination weddings? Thank you, much obliged.

Picture in your mind, silly (foolish) newly engaged couples excited (that won’t last) and itching to find their perfect wedding suppliers. They want inspiration, yay!

Yawn.

They might google:

‘Destination wedding ideas’ or ‘the best luxury wedding destinations’, maybe ‘how to create a destination wedding on a budget’.

If you’re a destination wedding photographer (or chimney sweep/pest controller/FBI agent), you can use your past client work to create blog posts that might be something your potential clients are searching for.

Use your past clients to attract new ones.

What?

You can create content from scenarios you’ve already experienced.

Mould a client process into a post that will help attract potential new leads. So, if you’ve already got a few destination weddings under your belt (or even one), write a post that will help users find out how it works.

Have I mentioned how important I think it is to have an ideal client?

Every business markets to a demographic. If you say you don’t, you just don’t realise that you do because not every man and his dog are buying what you’re selling. I hate to break it to you, honey, you’re not appealing to everyone.

Once you establish who your target customers are, you’ll start to create better webcopy and blog posts. You will have the focus to know who those people are and what they need from you, it’s as simple as that.

Write for your audience.

The skill of making all your blog posts about your potential clients will come, the more you do it. Like everything, you get less shit with practice.

If you want to write a post about receiving an award or going to an amazing place, it will exclude your potential client.

It will just be all about you.

If you can’t create posts in a way that will attract people to buy from you – don’t blog for business or outsource it. If you want to tell everyone that you’re an award-winning whatever pop it in your bio. No one want’s to read a thousand words or more about it, not even your mum.

Ultimately it’s about your objective and why you create any content in the first place.

If you want to know more about what I do, hit the button.

Knowing how to write an SEO friendly blog sounds like pure witchcraft. But is it really that hard?

Nope.

Sear into your brain the idea that brilliant writing is already SEO friendly. I read something written by a copywriter who made the mistake of saying, “keyword cramming might mean you rank well on search engines but it will read like utter tripe.” I’m paraphrasing but that just isn’t true. It’s a viewpoint that’s very 90s SEO, and probably from someone that doesn’t know much about the subject.

BUT brilliant writing needs a few other things to help it along the way. Trying to cheat the system by stuffing the motherload of keywords on a page will work againts you. Crawler bots are sophisticated, they know what you’re trying to do. Finding that happy place between engaging content and SEO perfection takes skill and time.

But before you write your SEO friendly blog…

Think about why you’re writing your blog. If your blog is part of a website that sells a product or service then all content should be created with your client in mind. If you don’t have an ideal client, fixing their challenges will make your job much harder. Take a look at my post on how to start a business blog.

Research your keywords.

It’s the second time I’ve mentioned ‘keywords’ and now you’re looking at me blank.

Ok, this is what I’m talking about:

  • Keywords – words you want your post to be found for

And my personal favourite:

  • Long-tail keywords – specific words and phrases that describe exactly your chosen topic

Free tools such as Answer The Public are great to see what people are searching for. You can export the data too.

You need to think about the search intent your audience has when they’re googling for things that sit around your industry. When any of us are putting a search query into Google, we have a clear reason for doing so. We might want to buy something, we might be looking for a specific website or we might want an answer to a question.

The latter is what we’re looking to focus on when to blog. We want to capture those people looking with informational intent about a subject.

If you wanna know more about your targeted keywords and how they relate to user intent, take a look at this article: Smash your keywords with customer intent

Think about the questions your audience will want answers to. See what other bloggers are doing around the subjects you’re interested in and research the keywords on those subjects.

But wait, there’s more…

When you pop a request into Google (there are other search engines available) you will also see a list of popular searches related to your topic.

Take a look: 

Keywords for blogging

And when you get the search results you’ll also get this: 

Keywords for writing great blogs

The ‘People also ask’ field, how cool is that for more help with your keywords? It’s really bloody cool!

Write a decent blog title.

I always start with a title or at least a working one. All my content springs from there, other bloggers do it differently and you probably will too.

Just like before, google the type of content you want to write about BUT this time concentrate on the blogs that make the first page in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Pay close attention to the title structure and the description below it (these are your meta title tags and descriptions). This will give you clues on how to write eye-catching blog posts: 

Search Engine Results

Create a title to hook the reader. When users are searching with the intent to find information, a blog post will give them the answer. You want your blog to do the same. That’s the main purpose of a business blog. To strategically target your chosen market and provide the knowledge they need.

Write the body of the post.

Where you can, tell a story. If you’re old enough to remember, invoke the spirit of Max Bygraves. If you were born after 1989, ignore that reference. Narrative gets the reader invested because humans function that way, it’s in our DNA to like a good yarn.

Pepper your content with your keywords. Add them when and where it makes logical sense to do so. I can’t stress enough how bad keyword stuffing is!

It will hurt your search engine ranking if you use too many keywords. Just like us, the algorithm also hates shit content.

Talk to your audience directly, imagine they are sat beside you. We each have an individual voice and you will develop yours through practice. Use words that are easy to understand, and avoid jargon if you’re writing for a broad audience.  

Blog structure.

Plan your layout. Maybe think in terms of intro, middle, and end. Lead your audience through the content. Make sure the text is relevant to the actual title. Break up large chunks of text into smaller paragraphs and use bullet points and pull quotes to make it look visually more appealing.

Other points to remember:

  • Table of contents: Place one at the top of the post. It helps users see what they can expect from the content.
  • Headings: Your page title will be the only H1 heading on your page. The rest will go down in hierarchy from H2, H3, H4 etc.. Use proper headings when you need them, don’t just bold the text.
  • Fonts: Be consistent with your choices.
  • Writing guide: It’s really helpful to develop a writing standard for how you communicate to your audience, check out my blog post on that very subject.
  • Internal links: Link to other related content on your website.

Images.

When you upload your photos don’t leave their original file name in place. Change them to a title that makes sense to your post. Always add something in the “Alt. Title ” field.

Add a CTA (Call To Action).

How to get your prospects to take action on your website

Good job if your reader has read all of the post but don’t leave them hanging. Give them something to do next in the form of a CTA button (like the image above) or a ‘subscribe’ link to your blog. Make it really easy for them to get more information and to get in contact with you.

Publish and promote.

Spread the word across all your social media. Preach the gospel that is your wonderful, helpful blog! If your post is useful to others, some nice sorts might want to feature it on their website. Getting a backlink (your website URL) on a credible and trusted site will help no end with SEO. The more quality backlinks the better!

If you’re posting on social media and you have blog posts that are related to that content – say so! Add a link so people can go direct to that great information.

And wait…

SEO friendly blog

SEO ranking doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to need to create consistent, top-notch content to win the SEO race. But remember SEO is a shifting sand. Algorithms change, you never have time to rest when optimising your blog or website.

If you want to know more about how I can help, hit the button.