Teagarden-tech-blog writingThe Web is replete with articles and lists on how to write an effective blog post. I know, because I’ve consumed many of them scouring for emerging best practices to share with my clients and colleagues. So much has been written about blogs, however, you can quickly smother yourself in an avalanche of content. What articles should you heed and which articles should you dismiss?

And for B2B companies—especially small and midsize businesses—blogging is too important to not get it right. After all, close to 80 percent of Internet users read blogs, and many of those users are going to be your prospects.

That’s why I encourage nearly all of my smaller and midsize B2B clients to launch a blog to help expand their digital footprints and thus improve the chances of prospects finding the company website. I specifically say smaller and midsize businesses because these firms often don’t have large budgets for outbound tactics. In hundreds of case studies, blogs help drive traffic to websites, which can equate to leads and other conversions.

An example: For client Vistage Minnesota we launched an aggressive content marketing program consisting of frequent blog posts and customer case studies, branded as “member stories.” Since the program’s launch in early 2013 unique visitors to the website have more than tripled.

So, you’ve decided to start writing blog posts for your site. What make’s an effective blog post? I created the 10-tips list below for small and midsize companies because these organizations often don’t have a full-time marketing or communications staffer; blogging is left to an editorially gifted CEO or leader who can clearly express themselves. This list will help you get the basics right immediately, while avoiding getting bogged down in details.

To create my list I researched a number of other lists authored by thought leaders, including this comprehensive list from Ragan Communications, and considered my own experiences in working with smaller enterprises. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be off to a great start!

How to write an effective blog post: 10 tips for the small business blog writer

  1. Write a post that’s between 600–1,200 words. (These days, search engines like longer content. Read: long content=quality.)
  2.  Write using conversational English; use contractions.
  3. Write a headline (title tag) that’s compelling and clear; explain the value of your content (60 characters or fewer). Use a keyword phrase and stay away from cute and unclear.
  4.  Include the keyword phrase taken from your title in the lead paragraph.
  5.  Include an image that attracts your reader to the content and relates strongly to the post.
  6. Include alt text and a relevant title with each image. Include a caption when appropriate.
  7.  Include at least two links to related content in your blog post. Include another link to an external site.
  8.  Include link text phrases of two or more words within the body of the post. (Think “read more about project X,” not “click here.”)
  9.  Use bold subheads with keywords to improve readability.
  10.  Finish your post with a strong call to action.

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