Your association’s blog can be a powerful tool in helping people who need your work find your website. As the internet becomes less of a news map and more of a maze of disinformation, your blog can be a beacon of truth.
The first blog was published in 1994, but the term “blog” was not coined until around 1997. It is an abbreviation of “blog” which means to connect to the Internet. The early days of the Internet were driven by the many topics and opinions enthusiastic bloggers offered to their new readers.
Blogging is different from journalism in several ways, but essentially: Journalism is based on presenting facts and sources, such as reports and experts, that are mentioned or cited in the article. Blogs are guided by the interests and opinions of the writer and include links to sources and other relevant information online.
In digital marketing, blogs are an important tool for search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines scour the web for keywords and phrases to provide users with the content that is most relevant to their search terms or question.
Blogging about topics that are relevant to the people you support will help you introduce them to yourself through Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, or wherever they look for information. Blogging also massively increases the likelihood of other sites connecting to your site. Organizations that blog receive a huge 97% more links to their sites.
Here are five ways you can use your blog to help your audience find you online and keep them coming back.
Answer the questions your audience is asking
When we hover over our favorite search engine, it’s usually because we have a question in mind. Search engines look for the possibility of listing the most relevant answers to the questions their users ask themselves. If you determine your audience’s questions, you can blog the answers and the search engines will bring your audience to you.
There are some useful tools to help you find out what your audience wants to know. Respond to the public can provide you with a detailed report on your keywords, including the questions and phrases the audience searched for using those keywords. You can also use Google to check how the keywords are used. When you search for your keywords on Google, look at the list of related searches for the search.
Educate: call on your experts
The people you support in your work turn to you for expert advice and information. Putting your experts and knowledge forward on your blog will give it authority. Using multiple experts as authors can also be very helpful for credibility. 63% of people think blogs with multiple authors are more credible.
“Experts” can include people with professional experience of the problem you are working on or people with personal experience. They can be employees, counselors, service users or supports.
Pictures will help you tell your story
You can educate with facts and you can educate with stories. Often the best blogs include a combination of the two. Create or capture images to illustrate your blog’s key stats and stories to support storytelling. Images and graphics are also useful for promoting your blog on your social media channels.
Search engines scan your content for relevant images as well as text. Alternative text boxes for images are used to describe image content for people who use screen readers. Try to include keywords in your alt text descriptions without compromising readability. This will help search engines retrieve your blog images for the “image” results tab and increase the likelihood of your blog being found.
Structure your blog
There are a few basic structural rules you can follow to make your blogs readable and compelling.
Start your blog with a “hook”; It could be a statistic, a summary of a story line, or a compelling picture. Go on to tell the blog story: set the scene, provide your expert’s opinions and stories, draw a conclusion, and include a call to action where appropriate.
Structure your blog to make it “skim”. Online audiences like to read quickly, which is why using captions, quotes, and lists will help them digest information easily. Your titles, headers, and subheadings are used more by search engines which crawl your website for information.
Try to use the keywords, questions, and phrases that appeared in your search as headlines and captions for better SEO results.
Track your blog with Google Analytics
It’s worth taking a monthly snapshot of pageviews, average time spent on page, and returning visitors to help you understand your audience’s response to blogs you’ve created.