I know firsthand the pain of coming up with blog post ideas, and spending days and weeks on the outline, images, and graphics but then when you publish it, you hear nothing. I went from having no visitors to over 70,000 visitors every single month on my blog.
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In this article, I’m sharing a step-by-step process on how to write a blog post that gets viral traffic.
STEP 1: UNDERSTAND YOUR READER
A lot of people skip this really important step. The problem with that is when you write blog posts without knowing who you’re writing it for, you don’t get your message across compared to if you knew exactly who your target audiences. Now in the marketing world, this is also known as identifying your customer avatar or your target audience.
The reason why you want to identify exactly who your reader is that you can adjust the style, the tone, and the delivery of the blog post to the person that you’re targeting. Are you targeting kids? Are you targeting millennials? Are you targeting 50-year-olds? This will determine the style and the approach that you can take with your blog posts to ensure that when you spend the time and create blog posts, you get the traffic that you deserve.
The question you need to be asking yourself is who do I want to reach with my blog? What you can do is a very simple exercise that I do. You can start by identifying the age of the person, the gender, if it is relevant, what background do they come from. Are they a family person, or are they someone who is a single college-going student? All of these things will help you identify exactly who it is that you’re writing for. So that when it comes down to sit down and write your blog post, you know exactly who you’re speaking to.
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STEP 2: DO A MARKET RESEARCH
In this step, you’re going to take some time, look through awareness tools and the information that you can find online to understand exactly what are the trends in your particular industry or niche and what it is that you could leverage to come up with blog ideas that will get traffic.
One of my favorite tools to do this activity is called BuzzSumo. It isn’t a free tool, but you do have a couple of free daily searches. If you sign up for an account, this tool tells you exactly how many times a piece of content has been shared on the internet, which then can tell you that this is a content piece that is high in demand. So when you simply type in the word that you’re looking for in BuzzSumo, you’ll be given a list of articles with the number of shares that they have received. The higher the number of shares that article has received, the more likely it is an article that is high in demand and is likely to do well in terms of traffic.
The other tool that you can use to do this same analysis is Google Trends which is also a free tool that shows you what are the kinds of trending keywords and what does the historic data of that keyword look like. So it helps you to see if there is a particular trend that is trending this particular quarter. Maybe you want to focus on that instead of coming up with random ideas.
Another tool that you can use especially if you’re in the US, UK, or Canada is Pinterest Trends. You can simply head to trends.pinterest.com and start typing in keywords just to see what kind of content is performing well. Obviously, this will heavily depend on the way that your audience is finding you. So if you have an audience that is heavily on Pinterest, then you might want to go to Pinterest and search for content ideas.
If you have an audience that comes primarily through a search engine like Google, then maybe you want to spend time checking out Google Trends and understand what articles are trending and doing well.
Another way to find out what topics are most popular in your niche is just simply doing some research on Quora which is a community forum where you can ask questions and get answers. Simply hit the keyword or the question that you’re looking to answer in your blog posts, and then see how many followers that answer has. The more followers the question has, the more popular that topic is. If you write a blog post on that very popular topic, you will probably be able to get more traffic.
You can also do market research by going through your favorite keyword tool. You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest, or you could pay for a tool like Keysearch. You can sort and categorize the keywords based on how competitive they are and how likely you are to rank on them.
Pro Tip: Have a blog post content ideas excel sheet, or maybe even a Google sheet where you write down all of the different posts, ideas that you have, the categories where you found them in, and maybe even examples of similar blog posts so that you can always come back in future and look at one of these topic ideas to get inspiration from.
You don’t have to do this step of market research every single time when you sit down to write a blog post. Just do it once a month or quarter, and make sure that you have 20 to 30 good topic ideas to pick from.
STEP 3: FIND THE GAPS
Chances are whatever blog post topic you come up with, has probably already been written before. But that doesn’t mean, that content is the best piece of content out there. In this step, you go through the first few arranging pieces of content whether it is on Google, Pinterest, or anywhere else, and spend your time understanding what makes that content unique and what makes it stand out.
Look at things like, what is the headline or the title of that content? How many paragraphs are in there? How many words that a person has written? Have they used images and videos a lot? Who is the audience that you’re actually writing to and anything else that stands out in that particular blog post?
This will help you figure out what are the potential gaps in this information so that when you plan the outline for your article and plan how you’re going to tackle it, you know what are the things that are missing currently on Google or Pinterest. As a new blogger, who probably doesn’t have a very strong website in terms of domain authority and the age of your website, the only way for you to outrank existing content on Google is by writing a better piece of content.
Even though this is very obvious information, you’d be surprised how many people don’t spend time looking at ways to improve their content.
3 ways to improve on an existing article:
- The first thing to do is by targeting a different audience. Maybe the person is targeting teenagers in a specific country but you could target a different category or a different audience so that your article will stand out in the search feed.
- The next thing that you can target is the title of your blog posts. A lot of people come up with great content within the body, but the title just falls flat. When your title falls flat, people don’t click on it on the search engine, which tells the search engine that this is a piece of content that is not getting a lot of engagement so let’s push it down further and that can negatively harm your search rankings. So make sure to find out the title that you are going to use in a way that stands out from the existing content.
- The third way to improve your existing content is to see what you can add in terms of examples, case studies, or even FAQs to that particular blog post to make sure that it has a chance to outperform the existing content. Remember that Google sheet we use in the last step to create all of these blog post ideas? You can also add a column just for comments and add all of the different things that you observed from your market research phase.
STEP 4: WRITE A KILLER BLOG POST
Every blog post has three main parts.
The intro aims to do two specific things.
- Give a summary of what your article is all about and what the reader can expect from this blog post.
- The next thing that you also want to do which is very important is to give a teaser to what that person can expect at the end of the blog post. Now, a lot of people are skimmers on the web and they’re unlikely to read through entire blog posts. So when you give them a reason to stick around until the end, they most likely will. Make sure to add a teaser of something awesome, or maybe a pro tip that you want to share towards the end of the blog post to keep them reading.
When it comes to the body of your blog post, you want to make it as easy and as simple as possible for a person to get what they came looking for. This means writing in short paragraphs in simple sentences which can be understood by a fifth or sixth-grader. Nothing too complicated or fancy unless your target audience is academicians.
You can use images and media to keep your texts interesting. Humans are visual creatures, and we can connect to what we read much more when we’re able to see some images within that particular blog post. Another thing that you can do is to add bullet points and sectional headings to make sure that your article is really easy to read. It is not just a large wall of texts that you expect people to read, because if that happens they’re going to leave your website as soon as they found it.
In the final part of your blog post, the conclusion should have two main things.
- You should add a call to action or something which tells the reader what they should do next. Should they share this blog post on Pinterest? Should they sign up for your email list? Should they buy your ebook? Whatever it is that you want the reader as the next step action, make sure to add it in the conclusion. It could be something as simple as check out this other blog post that I wrote on XYZ which is somehow related to the main blog post that they’re reading on.
- The final thing in your conclusion is the teaser or the tip that you promised to give them right at the intro. This one makes sure that your reader leaves your website satisfied and is happy with your blog posts because you gave them exactly what you promised at the beginning.
STEP 5: DO AN ON-PAGE SEO CHECK
On-page SEO simply means what are the things that you need to optimize your blog post for so that it has a chance to rank on Google. If you use WordPress, there’s a really helpful plugin called Yoast SEO which you can download for free. This tool will tell you what is missing with your blog posts. Once you have the prompts, you can then figure out exactly what are the things that you can add to your blog posts to make sure that your on-page SEO is on point.
The first and most important thing that you should be optimizing for is your focus keyword. That’s the main keyword that you’re targeting through your blog post. It could be just two words or an entire question that you want to target with your blog post. You want to make sure that you’re using this keyword three to five times within the body of your blog posts so that Google can understand what your article is about and rank it for that particular keyword.
Internal & External Links:
Another thing to do while you’re creating a blog post is to add relevant internal and external links. Internal links refer to articles within your website that might be relevant for that particular blog post and external links refer to articles that are outside of your website. They could be affiliate platforms or simply resources that you want to direct your readers to.
Now keep in mind, these are not the only things that on-page SEO is about. There is so much more to optimize as well. So I recommend checking out the MOZ blog which has a lot of free resources for beginners to understand exactly how SEO works and what are the different factors that go into ranking a blog post.
STEP 6: PUBLISH AND PROMOTE
Once you’ve written a killer blog post that has all of the factors which are mentioned in the above steps, and you’re ready to put it out in the world, hit publish. But once you hit publish, your job is not done. I would argue that what follows is even more important than what you’ve been doing. That is to promote your blog posts.
Maybe you have different social media channels, or you’re using Pinterest to promote your blog posts, this would be the ideal time for you to put this particular article on different social media channels or Facebook groups or anywhere else that you use to promote your blog post.
Because when you have an article that is freshly published, it generates a lot of engagement whether it’s on Google or Pinterest, it tends to do well in the long run.
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The higher the engagement at the beginning, the higher chance that your article will end up ranking on any of these search engines. So make sure that once you publish the post, you’re spending a little bit of time just promoting that content. Maybe you can add it to your content calendar so that you can promote it once or twice a week. Especially the first 2 to 3 days when you publish that content, it’s critical that you spend time to promote that with all of your different channels and platforms so that it brings you viral traffic.