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This tutorial reveals exactly how I have used this blog to help build a successful Digital Marketing business from scratch.
I am going to hold your hand all the way through this step by step process; from deciding what you should write about, to measuring the success of the blog.
Despite 'making money'
being at the forefront of this blog, there are many more significant benefits to be gained from blogging. Most importantly - effective blogging establishes your brands value and increases trust and credibility in the marketplace.
This is going to be an exciting rollercoaster of a ride with lots of valuable information for you. So sit back and get ready to discover how you can write a blog which is going to add a shed load of value to your business!
This tutorial will teach you 10 valuable things;
1. How a blog will make your business money.
2. How to decide what to write your blog about.
3. How to structure your blog.
4. How to make your blog visually appealing.
5. How to continuously improve your blog.
6. How to get the blog on your website.
7. How to use plugins to make your blog awesome.
8. How to promote your blog.
9. How to optimise your blog for social sharing.
10. How to use Social Media & Google Analytics to measure the success of your blog.
How will a blog make your business money?
I bet you’re thinking, “How the hell will a blog make me money?” Which is exactly what I thought before I started a blog. To be honest, when I first started I thought the only way to generate revenue online was to build a website and put adverts on it, oh how wrong I was…
There are a variety of ways you can make money from a blog, but I am going to focus on just one. The reason I'm going to focus on this particular method is for 2 reasons;
1. It is proven to be highly effective.
2. It is focused on utilising the skills you already have.
The way you will make money from your blog is simple. You will use the blog to both provide value to your potential customers and also nurture them through your sales funnel. In simple terms, you will use your blog as a highly effective lead generation tool for your business.
But how will a blog help you gain customers and leads for your business I hear you ask?
This is how;
1. By creating blogs which provide your audience with real value (e.g. tips/tutorials/industry knowledge etc.)
2. By promoting your blogs to get as many targeted people to read them as possible.
3. Google loves high quality, relevant content...when people search keywords related to your blog, you will pop up.
4. You have clear 'Call to Actions' (CTA) in your blog to get readers to take a 'desired action' (e.g. sign up to an email list/ contact you for an enquiry/share the blog on Social Media etc.).
6. You begin to build credibility, trust and an online presence within your industry.
7. When people have a problem that your business can help solve you are the person they will contact!
Look, you may be thinking, 'this won’t work', and I completely get why you may be thinking that.
This stuff seriously does work. I get 99% of my customers through online marketing and you can too!
A blog must be a core foundation of your online marketing strategy. If you are currently generating 'zero' customers from blogging, what have you got to lose!?
As a quick example; I recently gained a large multinational corporation as a client because the MD watched this tutorial which I posted on LinkedIn. I was contacted by th MD (I have hidden the name for client confidentiality) on Social Media;
After this, the MD filled out an online Digital Marketing Health check, we had a great meeting, I created an Action Plan and I’ve now been working with the client for the last month!
No matter what industry your business is in, you must, must , MUST research. Research will help you learn exactly how the most successful industry leaders are blogging online.
Once you've found out how the most successful bloggers/businesses in your industry are blogging (then tailored and developed a blog with your own unique style), you will be able to create a highly strategic plan, focused around utilising proven strategies.
This research must be carried out in a way that works for you. You may find it useful to paste all your research findings in a word document, write notes, or just take mental notes. Do what works for you.
Follow these steps to effectively complete your research;
1. Do some Google searches for blogs related to the industry your business is in. e.g. I could search ‘Digital Marketing blogs’.
2. Start reading various blogs which come up in the search terms. Only spend time reading the kind of blogs which you think your audience would also like.
Make a note of the web addresses of the top 5 – 15 as well as blog topics, writing styles, layout, imagery used etc. Just note down as much information about the blogs you believe your audience would love reading.
Go to Buzzsumo.com and copy steps 1 and 2 (Buzzsumo Is like Google but it only brings up the most shared content on a specific topic. This is great for finding inspiration from popular content!
Once you feel you have enough information and inspiration, you can start to think about your own blog. If you still feel a bit confused or have no idea what to write about, you haven’t done enough research!
Step 2: Decide a Topic to Write About
Now that you’ve done some in-depth research you can really think about what you are going to write about. What I’m about to say is hugely important and can be a make or break for the blog.
You must give your readers a reason to read your content!
No one reads content unless they have a reason to do so. The following will hopefully give you an idea of some reasons why readers would want to read your content;
1. You are teaching them something new (like this blog for example)
2. You are helping them solve a problem.
3. You are providing expert knowledge which they consider to be valuable.
4. You are writing about something they find interesting.
Now, using your research, industry knowledge and my tips, jot down some blog ideas.
Here are some examples of the kinds of blog titles I would note down in various business types;
Building or Construction Company
5 Top Tips to avoid Cowboy Builders
A builders guide to maintaining your property
How to build a basic wall in 5 simple steps
15 Foods to avoid if you are serious about getting fit
Top 10 fitness exercises to lose weight
How to make a belly busting superfood shake
The ultimate stinky feet prevention guide
How to choose the perfect shoe
10 tips to preventing blisters
These are some very random examples I’ve just thought of but I hope you get the idea. Make sure you’ve noted down 5 – 15 ideas. Don’t worry about the exact titles, these can be edited later.
Need more ideas? Check out Matt Banner's post, 151 Blog Post Ideas Guaranteed to Keep Readers Hungry for More
Use the following Blog Title Generators to help create awesome titles;
IMPACT's blog title generator
Hubspot's blog title generator
SEOPressor's blog title generator
Step 3: Choose a Tone of Voice
Now you need to decide your style of writing. Again, we really need to consider what style of writing will be most appealing to your audience. As an example, I stick to a very informal style because I feel readers can relate to it more easily. This may not be for everyone but I remember reading blogs written in a more casual style, and I felt I could really relate to what the author was blogging about.
If you are in an industry which is considered a little more ‘serious’ so to speak, then maybe a more formal style will work better. Whatever you decide on, make sure you stick to it consistently within each blog.
One way to find a writing style that appeals to your readers/audience is to ask them.
So why not ask your next 10 customers what kind of writing style they would like most if they were to read your blog. This knowledge, along with your previous research will help you understand successful writing styles for your industry.
Step 4: Draft Your First Blog
Awesome – you’re ready to draft your first blog! Firstly, how long should your blog be? There is no right or wrong answer to that question. My answer would be this: As long as you’ve included as much information as you need and said everything using as few words as possible, that is the perfect size blog.
For those of you who would like an exact answer, Buffer surveyed and tested numerous blogs online to find ‘the perfect blog size’. According to them, the perfect blog size is 1,600 words (see infographic below).
For some additional tips, check out the content and writing format tips I use below;
* No more than 2 – 4 sentences per paragraph.
* No fluff – if something can be said in a shorter amount of words – do it!
* Include appropriate images to guide readers (check out Canva or Pablo )
* Break the content up into sections (see my example below).
I like to use the following format for blogs and it works well;
What you will learn
Conclusion/ CTA (Call to Action)
You don't have to copy this though, come up with your own unique, awesome blog structure.
Step 5: Get Feedback and Improve
Once you’ve written your first draft you need to find some initial (friendly) people to read and check it over for you. You want as much honest feedback as possible. The ideal kinds of people you want to read your blog are;
1. People who are in your target market.
2. Someone with great grammar/writing skills.
3. Family members (as they generally give 100% honest feedback).
4. Business minded people.
In general, people like it when they get asked to give their own opinion on something, so make sure you reiterate the importance of providing you with as much honest feedback as possible.
If you can get 5+ people to read the blog and provide honest feedback that is awesome! Once you have all the feedback, make any relevant improvements and changes to the blog to make a good blog truly excellent!
I still practice what I preach, getting my Dad to check every single one of my blogs before I publish it, he always finds little improvements or spots mistakes that I’ve missed.
Step 6: Get a Blog on Your Website
If you already have a blog on your website skip this step. If you don’t have a website to put a blog on yet then we can help. To find out more about how we can help develop a website for you drop me an email by clicking here.
If you already have a website, the easiest way to introduce a blog is to ask your web developer to add a blog function to your site. It will take them minutes to do and save you faffing around trying to do it.
If your website is built on WordPress then you should be super happy. It has a great user interface built with non-techy people in mind.
Now that you have blog functionality on your website, you need to upload your blog. The following steps will show you how to upload your blog onto WordPress. If you use a program other than WordPress, then please ask your web developer for help.
1. Login to your WordPress website account. This is usually yourwebsite/wp-admin e.g. mine would be kpsdigitalmarketing.co.uk/wp-admin however yours may be different. If unsure, ask your web developer.
2. Once logged in click on ‘Posts’ in the left hand column.
3. Click ‘Add New’ near the top of the screen.
4. From here you can add your title where it says ‘Enter title here’ and then you can paste your content in the big white box in the centre of the page. There are various tools you can use in the text editor for formatting or adding media etc.
5. There are 3 important buttons which you will need before launching your blog; Save Draft, Preview and Publish. Make sure you click save draft regularly. The preview button allows you to view the blog as if you were a reader. Make sure the blog looks exactly how you want it to look before clicking ‘publish’.
Step 8: Use These Awesome Plugins
Plugins incorporate additional functionality to your website/blog which can help you in a variety of ways. There are a huge selection of plugins you can choose from with unlimited functionality.
If you download any plugins today, make it these three. They are all free and they will all make your blog much better in a variety of ways;
This is a great free plugin which provides a variety of benefits to your blog. I’m going to focus on the ‘share’ feature as I have found this to be hugely valuable.
The ‘share’ feature adds a responsive set of floating share buttons to your blog. A blog is useless if no one reads it. These handy share buttons make it easy for readers to share your blog with their network. You may be sceptical, but trust me...these buttons will help you reach a much larger audience.
What I really love about the plugin is that it is highly responsive, working perfectly on desktop and mobile. In addition it has some great analytics built in to measure how many people are sharing your content!
With over 1 million downloads, you’ll wonder how you survived without this plugin. Again, this plugin has lots of clever features. Predominantly, it will help you improve the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your blog, even if you’re a complete novice!
The plugin has an incredible user-friendly interface with simple instructions on how to improve and check your blogs SEO.
One of the main reasons I love this plugin, is that it has a special ‘Social’ section which allows you to input certain information to ensure your blog looks perfect when it is shared on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (I'll be taking you through the step by step process of how to use this shortly).
You can use this plugin to edit the blog titles shown up in Google, the meta description, the image (so it is perfectly sized for Social Media) and so much more!
This is a more recent plugin I have implemented on the website but it has been so useful! The plugin locks certain pieces of content on your blog. Readers have to like you on Facebook, share the blog on Twitter or +1 you on Google Plus to unlock the content.
See the plugin in action below (just perform one of the Social Actions below to unlcok the PDF download of this blog).
This is a great way to not only increase the reach of your blog but to increase your Social Media following. Check out another example of this being used to lock a video tutorial in this blog
Step 9: Promote, Promote, Promote!
Promoting your blog is just as important, if not more important than writing it. Although I only launched the new website 3 months ago, I’ve begun to get some interesting data about where the traffic is coming from. As you can see below, a huge 66.2% of traffic comes from Social Media.
Personally, I have found Social Media has worked well for me in generating blog traffic, however, something different may work well for you. For example, you may have a large email list of contacts to send the blog to, or you may generate more organic traffic from Google searches.
Whatever you do, test different things and measure the results. I will be talking more about measuring success in the next section. Below I will take you through the various ways I promote my blog to provide you with some actionable examples.
Social Media Posts
Social Media posts are a quick and easy way to promote your blog. What happens though is that so much content lands on social media every second that a person can't possibly catch it all.
This is why you need to share your blog multiple times across the various platforms you use. You need to create some sort of sharing schedule (check out ours below).
Make sure you vary the times to share your posts and then measure which has been most effective (I’ll show you how to measure success in the next section).
How do you ensure your blog is fully optimised to be shared on various Social Media Channels?
Have you ever seen someone share a post on Social Media and the image is half cut off or it just generally looks a right mess? I am about to share a tip with you which you will find really useful when looking to optimise blogs for social sharing.
Use Canva and the Yoast SEO Plugin. Follow these steps;
1. Go to Canva.com (sign up for free) and click the ‘more’ button at the top.
2. Click on ‘Twitter Posts’.
3. Now you need to design an image which will be shown when you share your blog on Twitter. You can use the tools on the left to design this. If you have never used canva before, watch this tutorial. Try to keep the style of your images consistent to increase brand consistency.
4. Here is an example of a design for one of my blogs. Do some research on Twitter to get some designspiration. Type some relevant keywords into the Twitter search bar. For example, I could type ‘Social Media Blog’, Digital Marketing Tutorial’ etc.
5. When you are happy with your design, click the download button and then Image: For Web (JPG). Save the file somewhere where you will remember.
6. Open up a new tab and go to the Canva website again. Click ‘use custom dimensions’ this time (we are now making a perfectly sized image for Facebook).
7. Enter 1200 x 630 and then click ‘Design’ (this will produce a perfectly sized image for Facebook. Now you need to copy the previous design so repeat steps 3 and 5. I find it useful to have another window open with the Twitter design on. This makes it easy to quickly reference back to and copy the design.
8. Now login to your wordpress and click ‘plugin’ and then ‘add new’ on the left sidebar.
9. In the search box on the right, type in ‘Yoast SEO’ and the press enter. Install the first plugin (see image below) and follow the simple steps to activate the plugin.
10. Now click on ‘posts’ in the left sidebar and then click on the relevant post you would like to optimise for sharing.
11. Scroll down and you should see a ‘Yoast SEO’ section. Now you need to enter some additional information so that when the post is shared on Social Media, it has fully optimised text and titles etc. This section also ensures the post has the correct text when it is shown up in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). You need to enter the following information (you can see a preview of what the text will look like in Google in the ‘Snippet Preview’;
Focus Keyword: This is mainly for SEO, it tells Yoast SEO the main keyword(s) you are pushing within the post. Once you enter the keyword, Yoast SEO can measure how good the posts SEO is in relation to this keyword.
SEO Title: This is the title you want to be shown when the blog is shared on Social Media and when the blog comes up in Google SERPs.
Meta Description: This is the short description you want to use underneath the post title
12. Now click on the ‘Social’ section of Yoast SEO.
13. Now scroll down to where it says Facebook image and Twitter image. You now need to upload the Twitter image that you created and downloaded in Canva in step 5 where it says ‘Upload Image’ next to Twitter Image. You also need to upload the Facebook image that you created and downloaded in step 7 where it says ‘Upload Image’ next to Facebook Image.
16. Now copy the posts URL (web address).
17. Now we need to test what the post will look like when shared on Twitter. Go to https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator, paste the posts URL in the box and press ‘Preview Card’. You should see what the ‘Twitter Card’ for your blog post looks like. This is what the post will look like when you or anyone else shares it on Twitter. If your Twitter Card is not working visit https://dev.twitter.com/cards/troubleshooting for help.
19. Scroll down to where it says ‘When shared, this is what will be included’. If this does not look like what you would like it to look like or there are any errors then check out Yoast SEO’s support here: https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/wordpress-seo
Social Media Groups
I also find sharing my blogs on Social Media groups very useful. The types of groups that work really well for me are targeted Linkedin Groups. I’ve joined lots of groups related to the industry I work in and also groups related to my target market.
For example I have joined lots of Digital Marketing, Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing groups as well as groups focused around Kent Businesses (my main target market).
The following steps will show you how to find and join relevant LinkedIn groups, as well as how to post your blog in them. There is an additional bonus tip at the end which shows you how to post on multiple groups at one time.
1. Login to your LinkedIn and at the top click the icon next to the search bar and then click ‘Groups’.
2. Now type in relevant keywords to do with your industry and target market to find relevant groups. For example, if you owned a local golf course in Kent and targeted local residents, you could firstly search keywords such as ‘golf’ or ‘sports’. You could then type in ‘Kent’ to find groups with people who are in your target market. When you find relevant groups click ‘Join’ (mine say ‘Post’ below because I am already a member).
3. Once you have been accepted into the group you can start to post content. Go to your LinkedIn profile, click ‘Interests’ and then ‘Groups’.
4. Now choose the first group you would like to post your blog on and click on it.
5. At the top of the page it says ‘Start a discussion with your group’. Underneath there you can enter a discussion title and then paste the link to your blog. A word of warning: never post spammy content only post content which provides value. You can now repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 to post your blog on other relevant groups.
Would you like to know a quick tip that will allow you to post on multiple groups at once?
To post on multiple groups at once you will need some sort of Social Share feature/plugin installed on your website. I would highly recommend SumoMe as it is free and has a ton of great features. Once you have installed it on the blog, just click on the LinkedIn icon, tick the ‘post to groups’ box and then enter all the relevant groups you want to post to.
There are lots more ways of promoting your blog, trying and testing different methods is definitely your best bet in terms of achieving great results. Below are some additional ways you can promote your blog;
* Email Campaigns (Mailchimp is some great free software you can check out).
* Paid Social Media Adverts (A great way to seed your first few readers quickly).
* Reach out to influencers
Check out this awesome infographic for some more great ideas;
36 Tried-and-True Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts
Step 10: Measure Success!
Measuring your success is so, so important. If you don’t measure your success, you have no way of knowing what works or what does not work. Nor will you have any way of improving!
There are so many free analytics tools out there now that measuring success is easier than ever. I am now going to talk you through how you can use some of the free analytics tools available to measure the success of your blog.
If you haven’t got Google Analytics installed on your website then watch the below tutorial;
How to Install Google Analytics on Wordpress
Measuring Blog Hits
Measuring the number of ‘hits’ (views) your blog has is a great way of getting an overall idea of how many people are actually reading your content. Use the following steps to find out how many people are reading your blog.
1. Login to your Google Analytics Account. From the home page, choose the date range you would like to measure data from (in the top right of the page).
2. Click on ‘Behaviour’ and then ‘Overview’. This will give you a breakdown of the varying ‘page views’ (hits) of each blog post and page on your website. This will give you a broad understanding of how many people are reading your blog.
Measuring Where Traffic is coming from
Measuring where traffic is coming from will provide you with solid data that you can use to help drive the blogs performance. For example, if you see you are getting a lot of traffic from Social Media, you know that this is a channel which you should be focusing on as it is working well. If you see that you are not getting much traffic from organic searches, then you know you need to improve the SEO of your blog.
Use the following steps to measure where your blogs traffic is coming from in Google Analytics;
1. When logged in to Google Analytics, click on ‘Acquisition’ and then ‘Overview’ in the left hand column. This section will show you where your traffic is coming from.
Organic Search—Visitors who come to your website after searching Google.com and other search engines.
Paid Search—Visitors who come to your website from an AdWords or other paid search ad.
Direct—Visitors who come to your website without a traceable referral source, such as typing your URL into their address bar or using a bookmark on their browser.
Referral—Visitors who come to your website from another website by clicking on a link.
Social—Visitors who come to your website from a social network.
Email – Visitors who come from a link in an email.
Other—If you use UTM parameters for custom campaign tracking, the traffic linked to those campaigns is listed here.
You can see that most of my traffic is coming from Social Media and little is coming from Organic Search. When looking at this I would be thinking that I need to improve the SEO of my blog (as my website is very new, Google does not class it with high authority yet hence why it is not ranking well. I expect this to improve dramatically over the next few months as our SEO specialist has been working hard to optimise this!)
2. You can go one step further by clicking on each of the traffic sources to get more in depth data. For example, by clicking on the 'Social' text, I can see which Social Media Channels are sending the most traffic. From the stats, I can see that Facebook generates the most traffic for me and Google+ generates little traffic. From here I could look to develop my Google+ strategy to gain more traffic, or spend more time with my Facebook traffic as I know it is working well.
Social Media Analytics
Twitter has some great free in-built Analytics you can use. By analysing the performance of your blog posts, you can again see what works well and areas you could focus on improving performance. Use the following steps to use Twitter Analytics to measure and improve your blogs performance.
1. Login to Twitter, click on your profile image at the top of the page and then click ‘Analytics’ (alternatively go to https://analytics.twitter.com/ and sign in).
2. From here you will see an overview of your Twitter performance. Click ‘Tweets’ at the top of the page.
3. From here choose the date range you would like to measure by clicking the ‘Last 28 Days’ button. Once you’ve done that you will see lots of juicy data to analyse, but what does it all mean?
You can download an awesome free guide to twitter Analytics by entering your email below. It explains every aspect of Twitter Analytics including all the Twitter Jargon and so much more. It has helped me so much and I know you will find it amazingly useful.
4. Scroll down to a Tweet which is a link to your blog and click ‘View Tweet Activity’
5. From here a window will pop up with various statistics around the Tweet promoting your blog.
Vary the times you post and the text and hashtags you use when tweeting about your blog. Once you have a number of varied Tweets, you can use these analytics to measure what is working well.
Download the free guide to Twitter Analytics below;
Similar to Twitter, Facebook has some great in-built analytics they call ‘insights’. Use the following steps to measure the promotion of your blog on Facebook;
1. Login to your Facebook Page and click ‘insights’.
2. Click ‘Posts’ and then scroll down to one of your posts which is promoting a link to your blog. Click on the title of this post.
3. Similar to Twitter, you will have a variety of statistics pop up which you can measure and analyse to see which blog promotion posts are working well and which ones are not. This will help drive the performance of your blogs promotion.
Download the awesome Facebook Insights Guide by entering your email below;
When in the ‘Posts’ section of ‘Insights’ click ‘Reach’ in the top row. This will order your posts in terms of ‘reach’ in descending order from highest to lowest. Notice anything about my 8 top posts for ‘Reach’?
Take a look in the ‘Type’ Column. They are all videos!
Facebook's Algorithm loves videos at the moment!
A great tip is to video yourself (selfie style with your phone, no need for a Hollywood setup) talking about your new blog and why people should read it and include a link.
Take a look at an example of how I have used this below;
Really excited to launch something brand new for you Monday!Posted by KPS Digital Marketing on Thursday, October 22, 2015
Social Sharing Analytics
Seeing how many people share your blog is another great way to measure its performance. Using the free SumoMe plugin is a quick and easy way to measure these stats (see example below).
If you don’t want to use SumoMe, then a great free online tool to use is Buzzsumo. The free online tool needs no installation of any kind, all you do is type in your blogs URL and it wil tell you how many times it has been shared on different platforms.
Take a look at my example below!
Finally, here is a super cool way to track how users engage with your blog and website. The free SumoMe plugin I keep mentioning has another awesome feature: Heatmaps.
Once you have setup Sumo Me you can activate ‘heatmaps’ which tell you exactly where visitors are clicking on your blog/website (how cool is that!).
From here you can look to improve your blog by analysing and imitating popular places people click and move away from using links in ‘dead zones’ that people never click.
Want to know how to install and use SumoMe for free? Enter your email below and download the awesome guide.
You've made it through this absolute mammoth of a blog! I hope you can appreciate that for me to provide as much value and detail as possible the blog needs to be this length!
In summary, using an effective blogging strategy can be hugely powerful in terms of not only making money, but providing sustainable value to your business. Remember, creating a hugely successful blog isn't easy as pie. It takes time to develop, you should see some of my first blogs (yikes!). Get out there and start blogging!
Have you found this useful? If so please share this blog via the share icons at the bottom or to the left of the screen!
What is your experience with blogging? Do you have any tips to add? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!