Tag Archive: blogging

  1. Check, Please!: One Writer’s Blog Post Checklist

    You see that overly serious woman at the typewriter down there? Yes, her, in what appears to be a hazy nook, probably situated between a quaint haberdashery and a sleepy pub, tucked somewhere abouts London or Cork. This, my friends, is what many people fantasize as a writer’s life. It is also patently false (unless you’re an Irish or English hipster who can afford some prime-time real estate). Us modern/non-Irish or English hipster writers instead often fold open a laptop and get to work on a standing desk, sitting on a beanbag chair, lying on the floor or slouching at the kitchen table. Writing has become something that no longer requires setup and preparation — at least for the physical act of it. The creative planning process and strategy of writing is another story altogether.

    Blog Post Checklist

    At Findsome & Winmore, I write a lot of blog posts. That’s an understatement — I’m a blog-post-writing machine (official title change pending). That being said, I still have to put in time to prep for every single blog post I commit to writing. It’s an unglamorous-but-necessary step toward not only writing with quality, but also writing proficiently. This is a factor that many writers forget — speed is as important as consistency is as important as creativity.

    In an effort to build your blog posts on a consistent foundation and make the entire writing process altogether quicker, I present to you my blog post checklist.

    Adam’s Unimaginatively Titled Blog Post Checklist 2016


    Your title needs to run the line between SEO friendly and creatively intriguing, unlike my blog post checklist title. This is no easy feat, but crafting a title that includes search terms, or even an entire search phrase, can dramatically boost your chances of being read.

    Article Titles

    Though it’s a point of contention for many content writers and SEO strategists, I have to err on the side of creativity. If an SEO term is in a cage match with a catchy title that may hook my audience, SEO’s getting tapped out. Sorry SEO, you’re still valuable and I still love you. But as often as you can, do try to combine both SEO and title catchiness.


    People love pictures. I can write for days, eloquently describing a concept to the best of my ability, but if there is not some kind of visual break to give my readers a breather, chances are, they’ll be out quicker that you can say, “short attention span.”


    However, never include imagery that you do not have the right to use. Though there are a multitude of free image sites, always ensure that the image does not require a specific level of attribution before plastering it on your post. My personal favorite resource: Pixabay.com.


    As mentioned above, SEO plays an important role in getting your content discovered. I focus less on inappropriately stuffing my content with keywords and, instead, use my selected keywords strategically. For instance, section titles and passages in which keywords naturally fit are prime ways to enrich your content for search engines without sacrificing readability.


    Also, I make an effort to minimize linking to outside websites, unless necessary for the reader’s education or reference on a given subject. On the other hand, linking to one’s own website is a best practice if you have additional information that can enrich the reading experience. Lastly, and most importantly, writing quality, original content is always a major SEO boost.

    Metadata and More

    Utilizing the WordPress platform with the Yoast SEO plugin, I am able to add an SEO title, meta description, categories and tags. We recommend using your keyword and brand name within the SEO title, writing a meta description that also utilizes the keyword and quickly states the purpose of your blog.

    Beyond that, categories should be established on your blog so readers can easily navigate to the content they care most about. If I’m on a boating blog, for instance, but I only care about sailboats, I don’t want to slog through dozens of articles on powerboats or jet skis. Set categories like you may set up file folders on your computer and try to limit each blog post to only one or two categories, max. These are meant to be specific, so adding a “Boats” category to your boating blog may not make much sense.


    Tags, on the other hand, are a bit more free to use, but still not irresponsibly. Continuing the boating example, if I write a blog on fishing, I can tag key terms that I discuss within the article (such as “tuna” or “fishing rods”) but I would not tag “Miley Cyrus” just because she’s a popular search term and may have, at one time or another, been on a boat.

    When you combine an attention-grabbing title with eye-catching visuals, appropriately implemented keywords and accurate metadata, you may just find yourself ready to write a blog post that delivers the goods. Create a template from which you start every one of your posts. I use Google Docs, mostly for its ubiquity on desktop and mobile, but also because it allows for quick sharing and copy proofing from my compatriots.

    Whatever your subject or limitations, building content from a solid foundation always leads to better results. Taking the above points to heart, do yourself a favor and work from a template that frees up more valuable time to do what you set out to do in that imaginary, vaguely European nook in the first place: be creative.

  2. How to Write an Effective Blog Post in 5 Easy Steps

    So you’ve heard that content is king and you should be blogging? You’ve got an idea of what you should blog about, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it. When content is being created, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of it, just like anything you invest your time and money in. Below are 5 easy steps to follow when creating content for your blog.

    Step 1: Cut a Hole in the Box.

    Just kidding! First things first, write your post with a keyword (1-2) in mind. The primary keyword is what you are optimizing your content for and the secondary keyword is important, but note that it is not generating as much traffic as the primary one.

    Your keyword also doesn’t necessarily need to be confined to a one-word keyword. You can use long-tailed keywords that typically come in question form. Users search for not just one or two keywords, but will often type in whole questions.

    Once you’ve found what keywords you want to work with, do a little research with Google AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools, or even Raven Tools to see if the keywords you have in mind are being searched for and to see what kind of traffic they are generating. The more traffic, the better!

    Lastly, include your keyword in everything from your title, to the body content, the URL and the meta description. Just. Don’t. Keyword. Stuff. You want your keyword presence to be at least 1.5% and no more than 3%. See the optimization formula below for help.

    Keyword Optimization Formula

    Step 2: Write!

    Okay, you’ve got your keywords. Now you’re ready to let the writing juices flow into the content river of fun. Just make sure that the total word count is at least 500. If the word count is a little less, that’s fine, but generally you don’t want the content to be less than that.

    For extra SEO fun, you can also add in anchor text (a word or phrase that a hyperlink is applied to) to your content. Google considers anchor text to carry more weight to it then just plain text. Be mindful of where you’re linking to though, and how often you’re directing the audience away from your website/blog post. You want a solid mix of inter-linking and linking out. For example, not all links should be directing users away from your website/blog. A good rule of thumb is 4 links for 500 words, with two of those links inter-linking within your site.

    Also, make sure to include alt text and an original meta description. Alt text is the word you can apply to a hyperlinked keyword. As for the meta description, don’t leave it blank and definitely don’t copy and paste content from your post. The meta description is prime retail spot and you can use that area to answer long-tailed keywords/questions, as well as give a teaser on what the post is about.

    Step 3: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will only hurt you if there are no images.

    What do you find more appealing? An image of a gooey chocolate cake or me just writing about a gooey chocolate cake? Ding! Ding! Ding! The image of the chocolate cake will surely wet your whistle more so than me telling you about it. Be sure to include images in your post to appeal to the masses.

    Chocolate Cake

    By FotoosVanRobin from Netherlands – Chocolate FondantUploaded by Ekabhishek, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10772719

    You also want to make sure that the image(s) you select are under creative commons or purchased via a stock photography site. You’ll also want to name the images before you upload them to your post and give those images alt text as doing so counts towards your SEO!

    Step 4: Tag! You’re It!

    After you’ve created your content with your nifty keywords and your awesome images, make sure to associate your post with categories and tags accordingly. No more than three categories should be applied to each post.

    Categories are more general to the subject material so general topics can be applied. Tags are more specific, and you can add a variety of tags about some of the more specific subject matter.

    Step 5: Cross the Finish Line!

    Just do one final review with the handy checklist below and you’re good to publish that post to the masses!

    Blogging Checklist


  3. The Top 5 2014 List Posts to Ring in the New Year

    It’s my favorite time of year: List time.

    Best of, worst of, top-selling, funniest, weirdest, most viral – I love those compact, summarizing, quick-hit catalogues of cool.

    When I was little, I read The Guinness Book of World Records cover to cover. It was my favorite Christmas gift. As an adult, I’m a grocery store, housework honey-do, holiday shopping, bucket list kind of person, so when you put anything on a list, I will probably read it. I especially can’t wait for those annual who-said-what, who-watched-who and what-sucked-most list posts because they’re a mind-blowing reminder of how fast 365 days actually pass by (the Olympics were a few months ago? Really?).

    List Posts = Efficiency

    How to Enjoy List Posts

    On social media and blogs, list posts are the most read social posts. There is so much content out there that searching for quick answers to your questions can be overwhelming. Because of this, simple, digestible bullet points are rewarded. When sifting through millions of Google results or clicking through to find out the 4 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy, people are more likely to take a look at this concise dose of facts than a vague title that…well…sounds loooong. Sad, but true. And when it comes to list posts, laziness is good. It is a promise of efficiency.

    So, my lazy and nostalgic friends, I give you my 5 Favorite “Best of 2014 Lists” List (listception!).

    1. The most popular “word” in 2014 was not a word at all; it was an emoji. A heart-shaped one, to be exact. This “word” barely edged out Ebola, which makes it a little less upsetting that our most popular word wasn’t even a word.
    2. The best advertisements of the year featured people acting “like a girl,” Bill Gates dumping ice water on his head, and Matthew McConaughey acting weird normal.
    3. Of course we were appalled every day on social media about something “important” so why not make an Outrage List? Take for instance, on July 2 we found out that Facebook was doing mood experiments on us without our knowledge and on October 21 we were abuzz by Renee Zellweger’s new eyes! Yes. We. Were.
    4. The Top Ten Viral Videos of the year include a couple of my favorites, such as Emma Stone’s lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon and President Obama on “Between Two Ferns,” but how did I miss the video with the Lion King cast on the New York subway? Wow!
    5. 2014 was the year many people tried to “break the internet” and the Masters of Photoshop were very bored…I mean…busy.

    What lists are you reading to ring in the new year?

    P.S.: I still can’t believe Pharrell’s hat was 2014. It seems like that was so 2013!

  4. Do Keywords Really Matter?

    SEO Blogging 101 Series: Part One

    Writing a blog post may be pretty straight-forward, but making it SEO friendly is another story entirely. If you have a great topic that you think your audience will be interested in, then it’s a good idea to go ahead and write it!

    However, it’s also important to make sure that as many users as possible see the content you took the effort to craft. That’s why using an SEO strategy and different content marketing tactics is so important, and why we’ll be exploring the different tactics and strategies that should be applied throughout this series.

    What Role Do Keywords Play?

    To begin with, SEO is not just about the keyword in a topic.  Since Google periodically makes updates to its algorithms that changes how it crawls, indexes, and determines what should appear on search engine result pages (SERPs), knowing how to make each blog post count is important. However, focusing only on a keyword or keyword count won’t get you the ROI you’re looking for.

    Why? Because Google – and even more importantly your audience – doesn’t consider just one specific word when they’re trying to find an answer to something. SEO is an all-encompassing strategy now and takes many factors into consideration. Yes, engaging content is still a driving force and factor, but long-gone are the days of keyword stuffing to get a website to rank as the number one search result. The emphasis now is quality – not quantity.

    HubSpot shares the following,

    “It’s not about choosing the right words anymore — it’s about providing context. Google doesn’t want to return results anymore; it wants to return answers. So, if you’re not doing a good job of answering your prospective customers’ questions, it doesn’t matter what keywords you choose — your SEO will suffer.”

    So what does this mean when it comes to your blog content? Keywords still matter, but they shouldn’t be the focus. In Part One of our SEO Blogging 101 Series, we’ll cover the role keywords play and why they’re still important to consider, but shouldn’t be the sole focus behind online and digital content.

    What’s Your Topic?

    Do you know what you’re writing about? SEO experts have different schools of thought on how valuable a keyword is and what the optimization percentage should be – or if there should be an optimization percentage at all. There is one new update that most SEO connoisseurs agree on: content should be developed with the intent of the searcher in mind.

    I recommend that writers try to optimize the content with a percentage of 1.5% for the keyword in mind, using the following formula:

    SEO Keyword Optimization Formula

    The reason for this is because at the end of the day, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often a keyword should be included in content. Writing with a keyword in mind, though, helps keep the main topic and intent of the searcher as the focus.

    This way the blog post will be included in search results for not just the individual keyword, but also long-tail queries such as: “How can digital marketing for restaurants help me get more customers?” or “What is social media marketing?”

    Remember to keep your writing, keyword phrases, and terminology natural as well. SEO has evolved from focusing on ranking and singular keywords to the overall intent of the searcher and user experience. So yes – write with the keyword “digital marketing” or “seafood for sale” in mind. But also write for what your audience wants to learn and know about. Is your audience really looking for seafood for sale, or are they trying to find a recipe that has seafood in it?

    Keywords have a role and a place, but be careful not to focus so much on one word or phrase that you completely miss the point of posting content in the first place: to engage with your audience. 

  5. LinkedIn Blogs: Why The Cool Kids Are Doing It

    If you’ve logged into LinkedIn within the past year, you’ve been greeted by Pulse news recommendations customized “just for you!” as the featured content in your LinkedIn feed.

    How to blog on Linked In

    What began as a digital publishing platform for news sources and exclusive LinkedIn “Influencers” (see what they did there?), is now one of the most effective yet under-utilized social media tools for positioning yourself as a subject matter expert.

    Our Experiment: Publishing on LinkedIn

    As a digital marketing agency, we like to testdrive new techniques on ourselves before making recommendations to our clients.

    In September, we published Principal Kelly Lafferman’s blog on both our website and as a LinkedIn post as an experiment. We wanted to know how much farther our reach would extend by adding this platform to our posting regimine.

    Boy, were we happy!

    Repurposing and publishing the post for LinkedIn took less than 15 minutes (Geico, LinkedIn is coming for you) and garnered fantastic results. Not only did the post earn syndication in the “Marketing & Advertising” Pulse channel and an additional 1.6K views for our content, nearly 300 LinkedIn users engaged with the post through comments and Likes which created additional awareness-generating news feed stories. Kelly’s LinkedIn connections and Twitter follows, mentions and shares also reaped positive results.

    That success left us asking, why wouldn’t we recommend this to everyone we know?

    How to Blog on LinkedIn

    There are already fantastic tutorials available that can help you publish your first post on LinkedIn, so I won’t re-invent that wheel.

    What I do want to stress is how easy and effective it is to repurpose your existing blog content as a LinkedIn post to position yourself as a thought leader. (If you need a refresher on why content marketing and blogging are essential to your digital marketing mix, feel free to peruse the rest of our blog.)

    Your blog post may need a minor facelift before you copy and paste into the LinkedIn publishing tool (especially if you’re following SEO best practices), but I promise it’s worth your while.

    Here are the top 4 changes to consider:

    1. Post Title – Most SEO-friendly blog titles are keyword rich, but may lack a strong literary hook. Jazz up your post title to something eye catching or slightly controversial to snag as many readers as possible.
    2. Links – SEO standards suggest balancing external links (those outside your website) with internal links in your blog content. However, if your goal is to drive people back to your website from LinkedIn, it’s ok to tip the scales in your favor. Consider integrating more relevant links to your website and blog when possible. It’s also good form to set all links to open in a new browser tab or window from your LinkedIn post.
    3. Add a Closing Question – Update the last line of your post to a question that invites feedback. Similarly to Facebook, the more comments (and other engagements) the post receives, the higher its ranking.
    4. Add an Author’s Bio – Most WordPress blogs integrate your author bio outside of the post itself. Dont’ forget to add this back into the content of your post when sharing on LinkedIn. Give your readers the opportunity to learn relevant or interesting details about you in 30 seconds or less. (Don’t include a full CV here.)

    Now get out there, and start sharing!

  6. Company Blogs: Why Yours Should Have One

    “Why?” “What’s the point?” and “How?”

    These are the first three questions we hear when recommending that a company start a blog. The truth is, blogs are misunderstood. Blogging is not only meant for the foodie, fashionista or world-traveler. B2B firms, companies in specialized industries, and small businesses are all seeing more success than ever from blogging.


    Company blogs are important and they are going to become more important. Google continues to favor sites that have fresh and relevant content. That being said, blogging on a regular basis significantly increases your website’s search engine ranking.

    Blogs are not just for large consumer brands. According to Hubspot, 57% of B2B companies have found leads through blogging. B2B companies that blog one to two times per month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog.

    What’s the point?

    The best way to think about blogging is to imagine what your ideal customers are typing into Google. For a digital marketing company like WebSolvers, that might be one of the following:

    How do I increase my ranking on Google?
    What’s the best time of day to post on Facebook?
    What are the benefits of a mobile-friendly website?

    When your potential customer types questions into Google that are relevant to your company’s services, you want your blog to show up on the first page of results. Your blog should position your company as the “Subject Matter Expert” in your field, and serve as the answers to their questions.


    Of course, there is a method to the madness. In order to write an effective blog, you must optimize your blog to ensure it is search-engine-friendly. Marketingthink.com provides a clearly defined guide to creating the perfect blog. Some of the highlights include:

    • Keep each blog within 500 – 800 words
    • Use keywords with a high search volume in your title and within the body of the blog
    • Craft an attention-grabbing first sentence
    • Insert a graphic with image descriptions that contain keywords
    • Link to other pages within your site or blog
    • Use keywords within link text (avoid using “click here” as your link text)
    • Use bullets to list information
    • At the end of the post, lead users to a relevant page on your site, a brochure, or wherever you would like them to go with a call to action
    • Make your blog easily sharable with social media icons

      How to Write a Blog

      Source: http://marketingthink.com/how-to-build-the-perfect-blog-post-blueprint/


  7. What Should I Write About on My Company Blog?

    When it comes to your company blog, a little thought goes a long way.  Most marketers agree that effective content marketing is an increasingly important part of reaching new customers.  Consumers are continuing to shun ads in favor of objective, educational content.  Companies that are trying to grow are seeking to tap into this trend and a great vehicle to do so is a corporate blog.  And while more and more marketers seem open to creating a blog, knowing what to write and finding the time to do so are difficult hurdles for most.  That said, the spending some time thinking about your approach can go a long way toward acquiring new customers.

    Begin with the End in Mind.  If you are interested in launching a new company blog or are resolving to start blogging again on a dormant blog, start with the end in mind.  One way to do so is by stopping to think about the buyer of your product or service when she’s ready to buy and thinking about what she’s typing into Google.  She doesn’t know she’s looking for your company yet, but you can help her find you.  We wrote previously about a really practical content marketing example but the idea is simple:  what might they type in when they need you?  As a simple example, if you are looking for tourists to pour into your restaurant in Orlando, anticipate searches like “walking tour of Lake Eola” and write a thoughtful post that meets their selfish need at that time.  While you aren’t force-feeding her an an ad or a coupon, the tourist who finds and saves your post will learn about you by “accident.”

    Think Selfishly.  Users are selfish.  As such, start by brainstorming questions or phrases that your audience might be typing into Google when they’re ready to buy.  In doing so, put yourself in their shoes and think about you (selfishly) would want.  Odds are that you won’t want advertisements, you’ll want content that helps you.  Consumers looking for an attorney to draft a will or trust, for example, will gravitate toward posts that appeal to their needs at that time–not your need for more business.  Hence, ‘call me for an appointment’ is less intriguing than ‘ten ways to minimize taxation when crafting a will.’













    Think News.  When it comes to your blog, new developments in your company is a great source of material.  If you have new hires, new services, new designations, or important accolades, be sure to consider these items as fodder for your blog.  The same also goes for developments and updates in your industry.  At the same time, not *all* news is relevant or important to your customers.  So be sure to focus on those news items that make a difference to your reader.  The more your clients will truly care about your posts, the more they will read and share with others.

    Passing the ‘Share’ Test.  The overall metric that Google looks like when it comes to your content is how meaningful it is to users.  Google measures the number of times a piece of content is linked to by others, shared on social networks, and referenced by other high quality sites.  So, with each piece of content you ponder, think about whether it is useful enough to others.  If you feel like it is helpful enough to be shared (i.e. passing the ‘share’ test), than there is a good chance it will help users and boost rankings.

    Putting a little thought to your blog can go a long way toward helping you to keep it updated and to keep the traffic flowing.  Be sure to think about the end needs of your users, casting a selfish light on them, and shooting to make the content useful enough that they might share it with others.  These aspirations are certainly not easy ones to achieve, but a little thought and hard work can go a long way toward reaching them.  The ultimate benefits are valuable content, high search rankings, and valuable traffic.

  8. The Best Free Marketing Tool You Have

    This brief (approximately 90 seconds) video is a quick but important exchange between Seth Godin and Tom Peters on blogging and its marketing power. In it, Peters calls blogging “the best marketing damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude” he’s ever had and ironically notes that it happens to be free.  If you are contemplating a blog or content marketing strategy, maybe this is the last nudge you need to move forward.


  9. A blog about refrigerators?

    Businesses still scratch their heads when thinking about how to build a blog for their business. It’s often challenging to think about how to connect your product to the interests of consumers.
    Let’s say you make or sell refrigerators. You might say, “who would ever want to read a blog about refrigerators?” You might stop there and then dismiss this whole blogging thing altogether. Not if you’re refrigerator-maker Sub-Zero.
    This company, maker of ultra-cool refrigerators/freezers of all types (who can forget Owen Wilson bragging about his “twin Sub-Zs” in the movie Meet the Parents) decided not to make a blog about refrigerators (how many refrigerator enthusiasts do you know?). Instead, they recently created a blog about taking care of wine. I bet we all know several wine enthusiasts.
    The blog is pretty cool–and sound from a marketing standpoint. It focuses on that which is of interest (wine) and then subtly touts that which protects that interest (their product). I think it’s a great example of corporate creativity and corporate blogging that truly connects.

  10. Ford Motor Bares its Soul

    I was told today about a new blog/community site launched by Ford Motor Company. The site is called Bold Moves. As many know, Ford has been struggling uphill in terms of sales, profitability (or lack thereof), and stock price. This kind of circumstance is very tough on an organization of this size and scale; trying to turn around a company this big is a monumental challenge.
    This new site appears to be a site for employees, customers, analysts, and otherwise to truly communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is compiling news feeds from different sites that are both positive and negative toward Ford. Most noteworthy, though, is the series of video documentaries which literally take you into company meetings, conference calls, and insider conversations.
    What’s so intriguing about this whole concept, as you’ll notice, is that Ford is letting it all hang out. It’s putting out very negative information about itself…negative analyst comments, negative press, and negative customer feedback. They’re attempting to be very transparent–acknowledging the difficulties they face in an effort to truly turn around the company. You see small companies taking this path fairly often, but not so many in the corporate/publicly traded setting.
    It should be interesting to see what kind of impact it has. If nothing else, I think it is a great device for the Ford employees to stay abreast of the changes/tactics so each one has an understanding of how that should apply to them as individuals.