In the competitive Internet marketplace, you need a blog to bring traffic to your website and get eyeballs looking at your products and services. Regular blog posts are the most important part of a content marketing campaign. More than your social media presence, more than your website itself, blog posts that are informative and engaging gain search engine traffic and compel readers to share your information with others.

Here are the steps you need to take to not just have an effective blog, but also maximize the impact of each update you post:

1. Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience

You can get too wrapped up in thinking about keywords and shaping posts to attract search engines, and forget about the people who will actually read your content. Take the time to know exactly who your intended audience is, perhaps even creating the image of your ideal imaginary reader. Construct your post as if you are speaking directly to that person.

2. Know Your Purpose

Know Your Purpose

Don’t just write a post because you haven’t updated your site in a while. Before you write, make sure you know what you want each post to do.

Do you want people to click an affiliate link, buy a particular item, or join your mailing list? Make that purpose the main focus of your blog post. Better yet, make it the only focus. Don’t water it down by having multiple purposes. Better to split that content into two separate, if shorter, posts.

3. Add Value

Add Value

You want your reader to finish your blog post feeling like they accomplished something beyond killing some time. They should be more knowledgeable and informed than before they read your words. That makes them feel good about spending the time with you, and in turn, feel good about you.

4. Include Visual Elements

Include Visual Elements

Adding images or videos to your blog makes it more interesting to the reader, and catches the attention of people in your audience who prefer to learn visually. These elements can include a video (especially helpful in tutorial or “how to” posts), an infographic, and photographs.

A photo that includes the title or topic of your post is especially eye-catching and makes it easy for a reader to share your post on Pinterest and Instagram.

5. Have a Call to Action (CTAs)

Have a Call to Action

Every single post needs to include a call to action (CTA)! If you have taken the time to define your purpose for the post, the CTA is an easy addition. Remember, if you don’t ask your audience to do something, they won’t do anything which ultimately means that you might be losing out on sales and conversions.

6. Make Your Post Easy to Share

Easy to Share

You have attracted a reader, gained his or her attention with your message, and now they want to share it with someone else. If they can’t find a share button easily, they will shrug their shoulders and move on. Make sure you have clear, obvious share buttons at the top or bottom of your post.

In addition, every time you add a new blog post, share it with all of your relevant social media accounts and groups. Don’t just post a link – describe your post, ask people to take a look, and ask them to comment.

Don’t forget that social sharing can be automated with a help of either third party scripts or WordPress plugins if that’s the CMS you are using.

7. Send it to Your E-mail List

Send it to your E-mail List

You also want to send every blog post to your relevant email lists. Rather than sending the whole post, send the first couple of paragraphs and a link to your blog on your site.

Ask your subscribers to share your post if they like it, and to send you feedback in comments or by email. Their questions and observations can even allow you to continue the conversation with a further post.

Blogging has matured. You can’t just toss out any old keyword-laden content. Your readers expect real value from your posts. Include keywords, but remember that it’s going to take more than that to get readers to stay on your blog and really read what you have to say. If you do your job right, readers will want to converse about the post. Making it open for comments and discussions creates even more opportunities for people to see your post – and follow your call to action!

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