Who this post is for
Are you thinking about blogging for your business? Have you started, but are struggling? Or if you have been blogging for a while, think maybe there’s room for improvement? If so, then this post is for you.
What you’ll find inside
Blogging ain’t easy folks. And those that say it is are LYING. It’s a struggle some days (even for me). What to write, how to write it, and even understanding many of the technical aspects of writing a blog post. You see, blogging is part art and part science. And you need both to reach your target audience.
So I’m writing this to give you a jumpstart. To give you a peek into my 6 years of blogging, so you’ll be ahead of the game and hopefully prevent you from making the mistakes I made.
My blogging background and what that means to you
I’ve been in your shoes. I started blogging in 2009 and had no clue what I was doing. But over the past several years, I’ve become a student of the craft. I’ve subscribed to many blogs to study others’ writing styles, I’ve read lots of articles about blogging, connected with other bloggers to swap ideas and experimented with my own blog.
And oh boy, have I learned A LOT. So I’m going to share it with you. Why? Because writing is one of the most satisfying, exhilarating, therapeutic things I do. I LOVE IT. And perhaps I can help you develop that love as well.
So here’s my process- How to Write a Perfect Blog Post
So I’m going to share my process with you- how to craft each section of your post, along with important tips & tricks. Please feel free to use my process as a template for your own posts. And here’s a tip- using a blog template helps you write each post a little quicker and can make the struggle a little less difficult. So let’s get started shall we?
Choose a topic to write about
I subscribe to the Marcus Sheridan school of blogging: use your blog to answer your customer’s questions (note- Marcus’s post also discusses long-tail keywords, which is a strategy I use and is shown in the headline examples below). In essence, your blog becomes the FAQ. If you’re in insurance, think of the hundreds of questions you get in a month. Use those as your post topics and answer them.
Implementation Tip- have your service staff generate a list of their most commonly asked questions and use that as your jumping off point. The next section offers up several headline ideas, so keep reading.
Craft the perfect headline
So, here’s the deal: your headline will make or break your post. Have a crappy one and no one will want to read it. Plain & simple. So it has to make someone WANT to read it. No pressure there right? 😉
So here’s my tip no matter what industry you’re in: write your headline the way your audience would type it into Google. If your goal is to answer people’s questions in your posts, it makes sense to use the language they would use to find the answer right?
Here’s a sample list of questions you could answer:
- Why does my car insurance cost so much?
- Why do I have to insure my home for more than what I paid for it?
- What are the most common types of life insurance?
- Do I need to notify my agent when my car or house has been paid off?
- How does my homeowners insurance deductible work?
You get the idea. Insurance people have so many questions at their disposal, you should NEVER lack content ideas. Seriously.
Often more helpful than knowing what to do is knowing what NOT to do. Here’s an excellent post from Copyblogger titled “Don’t Do These 12 Things When Writing Headlines.”
“Localize” your headline next
Let’s face it, the big players of the industry are already spending gazillions of dollars to make sure their name comes up first when someone types in “car insurance” or “home insurance” or whatever insurance is being searched for. To make sure your posts come to the top of the pile, you have to go one step further and “localize” your headlines.
So, I’m in Bellefontaine Ohio and want to target Bellefontaine as my market. So here’s some new headlines created from the above:
- Why does my Bellefontaine Ohio car insurance cost so much?
- What are the most common types of Bellefontaine Ohio life insurance?
- How does my Bellefontaine Ohio homeowners insurance deductible work?
See the difference? I’m taking the “local” approach because most independent insurance agents (like me) have a specific geographic area they target. As a good friend once told me, “You can’t out-Google Google, but you can out-local Google.”
Implementation Tip- you can begin to understand what potential customers are searching for online by asking them “How did you find us?” When they reply “Google search or other search”, ask what they typed into the search box. I bet you’ll see it’s based on geography. That’s what I’ve found in my own agency.
Let’s move onto the meat of the post next- the content.
Create supporting content that expands your headline and answers the question you’ve asked
Here’s a tip- most of us scan blog posts. We just don’t have the time to do a deep dive and want easily digestible bites. So to improve your chances of your post getting read, you need to give your audience those bites. Here’s how you do it.
- Write short paragraphs
- Separate those paragraphs with a short mini-headline telling people what they will find in each paragraph OR a reason why they should read that paragraph
The idea here is to write each short headline in a way that if people don’t read the entire blog post, they will still get a pretty good idea of what the post is about just by reading the paragraph headlines.
Stay with me- I’ve got a sample post at the end that I PROMISE will tie this all together and give you a great visual (I know you’re going to cheat, so go ahead and look and then come back here OK?)
Always tell your reader what you want them to do after reading your post
The beauty of the blog is the opportunity to show yourself as an authority on your subject matter. And if that subject matter is also how you earn an income, you want them to contact you to purchase whatever you’re writing about yes?
If you’re blogging about Bellefontaine Ohio homeowners insurance water back-up coverage, then you want the reader to think of you first and contact you concerning this coverage. Then you have the opportunity to ask to quote the homeowners insurance.
So you need a call to action, whether that’s asking them to call, visit your website, fill out a quote request, download a document, whatever. But you want them to take action. Otherwise, you’re just wasting a blog post in my opinion.
Include a visual
It’s a fact that including a visual in your blog post will just flat out entice more people to read and increase shareability. And visuals could include stock photos, personal pictures, infographics, and quote graphics to name a few. You can see lots more examples in this post by Jeff Bullas- 10 Types of Visual Social Media Posts that Get Shared Like Crazy.
What if you’re not a graphic designer? No worries. There are tons of resources available to you- my tool of choice is Canva. I create all my blog post graphics with Canva (yes, even the graphic for this post too). Once you start playing with it, it’s pretty easy to follow. And even better to note, you’ll never run into a copyright issue- all designs you create are uniquely yours. I make no money by leading you to Canva- I simply believe in its product.
Putting it all together- a sample post using everything I’ve discussed (minus a visual)
Why does my Bellefontaine Ohio car insurance cost so much?
Opening paragraph sample-
If you’ve ever wondered why your Bellefontaine Ohio car insurance costs so much, this post is for you. There are many reasons why your car insurance costs what it does. Read on for the 3 most common.
Reason #1 as your headline
Reason #2 as your headline
Reason #3 as your headline
Final paragraph- Call to Action
Want to discuss your Bellefontaine Ohio auto insurance? Give Alan Galvez Insurance a call at (937) 592-4871 or visit our website to check out our Ohio car insurance resources and request your quote.
A few additional notes to help you write a perfect blog post:
- Although you may be tempted to include your keyword in the post 100 times, don’t. Google doesn’t like that, plus it makes the post sound artificial. Sprinkle it in there a handful of times where it makes sense.
- Include links to your site in your call to action. A website is still the hub of online activity, and when possible, direct people back to your site.
- Do NOT, under any circumstance, write a post that sounds like a technical manual or an insurance textbook. Don’t use jargon- use everyday language. Remember, you’re in insurance full-time, your reader is not.
- Write like how you talk- conversational, friendly and use “I” and “You.” Talk directly to the person- it personalizes the post. Develop your voice– it is CRITICAL to your success. The best compliment I ever received about my writing when I met a reader in person? “I feel like I already know you.” #BOOM.
So there you have it. How to Write a Perfect Blog Post. All my secrets about blogging (well, maybe not all- I do have to keep a couple to myself right?). If you’ve been on the fence about blogging or simply need some guidance to make your posts better, try my process out. I promise you it will help lead you in the right direction.
You can also check out my resources for Insurance Marketing Strategies & Tips, that includes some of my most popular posts about blogging, along with social media and general marketing.