Lesson #7 - Blogging 101 [Video with transcipt]

Blogging is an important way to attract visitors, earn trust, and add leads to your funnel. In this video you will learn:

  • How to plan your blog schedule.
  • How to write your blogs.
  • How to promote your blogs.


As you become a little bit more familiar with inbound marketing, you're likely going to start to see a lot of sources saying that blogging is absolutely pivotal to the success of your inbound marketing efforts, and you'll hear people tell all these benefits that blogging has.

If you Google "benefits of blogging," I'm sure tons and tons of people have made huge lists of this.

But in my opinion, the main benefits of blogging, and even the main opportunities of blogging can really all be summed up and condensed down into one simple statement.

I think that blogging allows you to get found, and blogging allows you to get trusted.

So when I say get found, I mean it's pretty natural that your blog is going to be about things related to your business, to your industry, and to your personas and the subjects that are of interest to them.

And so by creating that type of content, you're going to slowly boost up your authority, not only, I guess you could say, your intangible authority, but also your authority within the search engines, so that more and more, when people are searching for that type of content, for those keywords, they're going to be driven back to your site because your blog is going to be speaking to those topics.

So it's allowing you to get found within the realm that's important to you.

Once people get to your site, the more authoritative, relevant, informative, helpful blog content that you have, the more trusted you are going to be.

And obviously, the more trusted you are as an informational resource, the more trusted you're going to be also as that business who someone wants to partner with, or purchase from, or donate to, or volunteer for, or whatever your overall purpose may be.

And so, even though there are tons and tons of different opportunities and benefits we can get into with relation to blogging, that's really my slogan for the world of blogging: It allows you to get found, and it allows you to get trusted once you are found.

So what we're going to do in this video is talk about the sort of three phases that go into creating a blog post.

You're going to need to plan a blog post, obviously - hopefully, this is no surprise. You're going to need to write a blog post, and you're going to need to promote your blog post.

So we're going to walk through each one of these steps, and by the end of this video you're going to have a really good understanding of how you can get starting blogging, and how you can really effectively drive people to actually find those blog articles that you're putting all that work into creating.

Starting off with planning a blog post, the first thing you want to think about in blogging and in inbound in general - you've heard probably countless people say it before - is your buyer personas.

You want to think about writing topics that are going to be of interest and helpful to them. So let's say for jInbound, I could write a blog today about the ten best shoe sales of Fall 2013 because that's interesting to me, but that's probably not of interest to anyone who is reading the jInbound blog.

That does not have anything to do with the jInbound audience, therefore, I'm not going to write blogs about that.

I'm going to write blogs about things like landing pages and calls to action, and overall the inbound campaigns and strategies.

Because those are the things that people coming to the jInbound page are going to be interested in.

So kind of a tough truth to swallow is that you are almost never your target audience.

But once you can accept that, and once you actually create your actual buyer persona profiles, you can start writing the content that is interesting to them.

And even though you may not be them, you are obviously in the business of providing a service or a product or a solution to them, so you do know about the subject matter that's interesting to them.

So remember, once we say it out loud it's pretty straightforward, your content should be reader focused.

Also, your content should be keyword conscious.

What I mean by this is, when we're thinking about our subject matter, let's say our subject matter is landing pages, and then we're thinking about that subject matter in relation to our personas, we want to think about what types of keywords personas are going to be using to find that type of content.

So if I want to write a blog post on the essential components of an optimized landing page, let's say my keyword is going to be "creating a landing page." That could be an example of a long-tail keyword.

Another example of a keyword could be "how to create a landing page." Another example of a keyword could be "optimized landing pages."

You want to think about using these keywords that are going to be the choices that your personas are actually using, so what are they actually searching for?

What is their frame of reference in relation to this subject matter? So you have to sort of diversify the ways that you are talking about a subject.

Some people-- let's say a call to action.

Some people might say that their keyword in a call to action blog is "call to action," but some people might say that their keyword is a "CTA."

It really depends on how the personas experience that concept, and how they're going to be searching for that concept.

And you want to be really conscious of that keyword throughout your blog post. 

So whatever keyword it is that you're selecting, there are a couple different places within your blog that you want to be using that keyword.

It should absolutely be in the title of your blog post. It should be organically mentioned throughout the content of your blog post.

And when I say organic, I mean it shouldn't be in every single sentence. It should be where it naturally happens throughout your sentence.

So if you're writing a blog post on calls to action, of course, the word "call to action" is going to fit into your sentences.

Don't feel the need to stuff it in there as many times as you can.

Use it as it naturally occurs, and I promise that is the best SEO that there possibly is - far better than trying to shove it in there.

Also, you're going to want to have your keyword in your actual image related to your blog post.

So let's say, if this is my blog post, this is my bio right here, yadda yadda yadda, calls to action.

Every blog post should have an image associated with it. That's because it allows people to further digest the idea.

It could be maybe a diagram, maybe it's a chart that relates back to the content that you're talking about, but whatever it may be, you're going to want to have an image associated with it.

We're going to have our blog articles listed, and then we can also have that preview image next to each one.

Including an image there, that little teaser image, is going to greatly increase the chance that people are actually going to click through and read that blog article because it's just basic human instinct.

Something looks more appealing when it has a picture next to it, as opposed to just a whole big block of text.

So you always want to have an image attached to your blog post.

Within the alt text of that actual image, you're going to want to have your keyword, naturally.

One exception to this is, let's say I write a blog post on landing pages, and the image that I decide to associate with my blog post is a picture of an airplane landing because that's sort of funny - it's a landing page and the airplane is just landing.

Hopefully, you think it's funny. I think it's hilarious [chuckles].

Would I want to include the word "landing page" within the alt text of that image? It's tempting, but no.

You should only include the keyword within the alt text if it actually is related specifically to that image.

So what I want you to think about is, if somebody went to Google and searched for "landing page" within the images, would it be helpful for them to find an airplane? No, because that's not an image of a landing page, whereas if somebody searched for "airplane" and they found a picture of the airplane, yes, that would be what they were looking for.

So just like we don't want to sort of unnaturally stuff our keyword throughout our content, we also don't want to unnaturally stuff it on on our image if it's not actually genuinely related to that image.

I don't think I have to go too far into that. Use good judgment. Don't try to deceive Google. That's only going to get you knocked down.

Be honest within your descriptions, and be genuine and organic with the uses of your keyword as you're planning out your content.

So moving on here to actually writing our blog post.

This sort of bleeds into the plan-- or into the concept of planning it, because if you're like me, you would probably start to outline a blog post and then you're like, "I'm just gonna start writing it right now.

I don't need to outline it." I wouldn't necessarily say that that's the best way to go about it, but honestly, that's how it works for me.

It may be how it works for you. Sometimes planning and writing tend to roll into one.

Within your writing process, however, there are a couple of really specific things that you need to be including and thinking about.

A really, really important one is the formatting of your blog post.

So think about when you go to a webpage - whatever the page may be, it doesn't matter - and all you see throughout the whole page is a body.

I'm sorry, not body, text.

Text, text, text, text, text, words, words, overwhelming.

"Oh my gosh, I don't know where to look, and I'm done reading. I'm tired. I'm exiting out of the page."

How many times has that happened to you? I'll be honest, it happens to me all the time because we have short attention spans.

Therefore, on your blog, you're going to be much better off if you can format it to be a little bit more visually appealing.

Of course, this ties into that concept of having the image in your blog post, wherever that image may be.

That definitely helps to sort of break up the page.

But then also the actual body of your page you want to be breaking up as well.

So you think bullets, splitting up the sections, giving your sections headers, and absolutely including multimedia wherever you can.

We said that you want to have an image associated with your blog post.

You can have lots of images in your blog post.

One thing that I see people do a lot is every section gets an image.

That helps to sort of break apart the content and make it a little bit easier for us to digest.

Because we're busy people, and if we see a page that looks like a thousand words, we're going to be like, "I don't have time for this. I got to move on."

Whereas if we see a page that looks like a bunch of little pieces of text here and there, it all fits together, and we have that multimedia breaking it apart making it seem a lot more visually appealing, absolutely, there's a greater chance that we're going to stay on the page and read it.

And we want people to read our blog post. So break it apart.

Give it sections. Give it images. Give it videos. You can embed songs on it if that's relevant to what you're doing.

Obviously, it all depends on the subject matter of the actual post, but don't be afraid to break it apart.

You're much better off having a really long blog post that's broken into lots of easy to understand and digest sections, as opposed to a very condensed just big block of text.

That's actually a lot more intimidating for people to look at.

And then, at the bottom of our blog post, we always, always, always want to have a call to action.

The call the action, as you know, is going to direct someone out to a landing page, where they have the opportunity to convert on a form, to become a lead, or maybe to move down through your actual lead nurturing process.

Maybe they are already a lead, and they're going to convert down to a middle-of-the-funnel lead, we could say.

But the call to action within your blog needs to be related to your blog content.

But we want to have the CTA directing someone out to a landing page with a content offer related to our blog post.

If it's not so related, people are going to be a little bit confused.

We want to keep the process very streamlined for the user.

So within every blog post, we're going to want to have a CTA that we're actually placing there, specific to that actual article.

And then also, bigger picture, as you know, on your actual blog layout, you can have the same CTAs display on the right sidebar, on the left sidebar, wherever you want, that are the same CTA displaying over and over again.

So maybe not quite so relevant to each specific article, but those are those continuous CTAs you're displaying all the time.

Things like registering for your newsletter, things like your social buttons, maybe you have a one really premium content offer that you always want to display there.

So we can have those modules always displaying on every blog page, and then that one very specific module CTA displaying, dependant on what the blog article may be.

All right, so that's a lot of work, between planning and writing our blog post.

Now we want to make sure that we actually get those eyeballs to our blog post so that people can click on those CTAs, and people can convert and become leads, and we can make money, and be rich and live happily ever after.

So to get there, we need to promote our blog post.

What I have here are a just a couple quick things to think about for promoting your blog.

By no means, this is an exhaustive list.

If you do a Google search for, just do "tips for promoting your blog" or "blog-promoting ideas," you're going to find tons of really great resources.

But this is sort of an overview of all those resources condensed down.

A very obvious place and a very good place to promote your blog is on your social networks, so Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Whatever network it is that you are active on, those are going to be a great place to be sharing your blog posts with your community.

That being said, I really encourage you to diversify the way that you're sharing those posts throughout the social networks.

If you think about it, people on Twitter are in a different mindset than people on LinkedIn.

Even though they might be, you say, the same person on both networks - it's Bob Boberson on Twitter and Bob Boberson on LinkedIn - he's looking for different things on those networks and he's in a different mindset between LinkedIn and Twitter.

So just the way that you're presenting the information is going to play a really, really big role in whether or not those links that you're sharing are actually getting clicked on.

Also, don't use social media as a means to just like blitz your blog posts out there five times in one day.

"I'm just going to link it, link it, link it." That's going to earn you a really bad reputation, and it's also really going to cost you in the form of followers, and absolutely, at a bare minimum, in the form of engagement on your social networks.

So remember to be tasteful, and to present these blog posts as helpful to the community, because that's what they should be.

If you are doing your planning correctly, and if these are based on topics that you know are of interest to these people, then they are helpful and they are useful, and so you should present them as though, as opposed to just sort of spamming them out there.

Beyond social media, you can also actually use your lead nurturing to promote your blog posts.

We know that within any lead nurturing campaign, there's going to be a handful of emails that have no purpose other than to just educate and help the recipient of that email.

We're not trying to get them to move down the funnel.

We're not trying to get them to buy anything.

We're just trying to provide them with information that we know is helpful to them, based on how they've interacted with our website and with our brand.

Therefore, blog posts are a huge asset here.

If you are writing a lead nurturing campaign to a persona who's interested in SEO, and you've got a handful of blog posts on some different SEO considerations, the latest Google updates, a timeline of SEO, those things are all going to be really interesting to that person, and you can absolutely include them throughout your lead nurturing campaigns.

Also, within your communities.

Communities sort of tie into social media, but it's not necessarily the same thing.

Communities could be online and off-line.

A great example of this is something like MeetUp.

If you are, say, an organizer for that group, or even if you're just involved in that group, sharing your blog posts throughout those groups, even if your buyer personas per se and your ideal customers are not there, those people are going to have some connections that if your article is really helpful, they're probably going to be likely to share it with other people who it could be helpful for.

So don't be afraid to share, again, making sure that you're sharing tastefully.

We're never forcing things on anyone.

This would be more of a situation where if the topic comes up in conversation you say, "Hey, I wrote a really great blog post on that.

Let me email you the link, you can check it out." Or if someone says they have a client who's struggling with such and such, "Let me send you the link, you can pass them on my blog post." Hopefully, you're not going to try to poach that client, but it's really just a means of really amplifying the reach.

Everybody knows somebody.

Probably everybody you know, within at least two degrees, knows someone who could be your customer, or your donor, or your volunteer, or whoever it is.

So don't be afraid to share those blog posts out with those communities of people that you have, or that you are involved in, rather.

Then finally, our last way to promote here, that we're talking about - definitely not the last in the whole world - is including your blog post in your signature.

One idea that I really like to include your blog post in your email signature is, let's say you write three blog posts a week.

By the way, good for you because that's a lot of blog-posts.

That's good.

We want to be blogging at least twice a week.

If you're blogging three times a week, let's say two of those blogs are 700 to 1,000 words.

One of those blog posts is really your big hero post for the week, and this is like 1,500 words, you put a lot more time and research into this, and you're really proud of this one.

Why not every week switch it up, and in your email signature, you could say, "Feature blog of the week," and you could have that one hero blog post right there.

It's going to be a lot of work if you want to do something like switching it up every day.

I definitely don't encourage you to include every single blog post of the week in your signature, because that's going to get a little bit overwhelming for people and they're going to be a lot less likely to click on those. 

But if you're just highlighting one article, I really like the idea of making it sort of something that people can look forward to - they get to see a new blog post every week in your signature - that can be a great way to promote your blog.

So don't be afraid to include it in your signature, so long as you feel that it is relevant to the people who are receiving your email, and also that it's a really high-quality blog.

If you are creating a blog with 200 words, it's just a block of text, it's not that great, I don't really encourage you to be promoting that out via your signature, or even really anywhere else.

If it's not a great blog, you're much better off saving that [time] - I don't know - 45 minutes, 1 hour, whatever you spent writing it, and just tacking that on your next blog post, and making your next blog post just that little bit better.

Always, always aim for quality over quantity.

When you hear us say you should be blogging two times a week, yes, that is a benchmark.

But if you can only get one great blog post a week - I am going to go ahead and say it - you're going to be better off writing that one great blog post than those mediocre not-so-great blog posts frequently.

So just like so many other areas of life, blogging is quality over quantity.

So let us know how your blogging efforts go.

If you have any questions about the CTAs you should be included in your blogs, where you should be promoting your blogs, where you should be finding ideas for the content matter on your blogs, do let us know.

But just remember, if you are sort of gearing all of your efforts from the beginning back to your buyer personas, you are going to be absolutely on the right track towards creating a really great, really high traffic, and really popular blog.