Awesome! Complete Cheat Sheet to Write Like a Professional Blogger Today

Posted by Manage Inbound's , last updated on

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There's a complete blogging regimen that most pro bloggers use regularly. And it works.

Want proof?

We use these techniques and have increased organic traffic by 255.64% with only a handful of blog posts in a few short months.

And in today’s post I’m going to show you exactly how  we did it…step-by-step.

But First a Quick Recap...

We did a "soft launch" of manageinbound.com in November 2016.

Using this "cheat sheet", our organic search engine traffic shot through the roof.

Bonus: Download our 17 Tips to Being a Pro Blogger Cheat Sheet in PDF format, which includes 5 Bonus Tips! Easily save it to your computer or print it for reference for your next blog post.

We  saw  a 191.2% increase in organic traffic…

…in just a few short weeks (even through the holidays)

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The image represents December 2016 vs. November 2016

It's awesome to also note our leads increased by 753.34%!

But that was just the start...

Now that our techniques had a chance to kick in, the organic traffic is now up 255.64%.

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The image above is a screen capture of our traffic currently from January 20, 2017 versus the previous month.

Now that you’ve seen how well this blogging cheat sheet works, it’s time for me to walk you through the entire process with every blog post you write.

These 17 actionable blogging tips will help you  drive gobs of buyer traffic to your website, get you ranked on the first page of google and have your readers craving more.

17 Blogging Tips to Creating Valuable Content that Will Ultimately Increase Traffic

1. Create Your Foundation with Keyword Research

Simply stated keywords are the words typed into search engines. Think in terms of your ideal customer. What do you think they'll be typing in google?

Let's take a look at the search term: professional blogger.

29 million results. Could your business benefit from being the most relevant site based on a search term? Below are the top 5 sites for the organic search, professional blogger. 

professional blogger keyword.png

Identify popular topics in your niche and write what your readers want to read. But write with a purpose. And create content that is educational. People type in the craziest ideas and their inner most thoughts on their browser. Be there with a solution to what they are searching.

There are a ton of paid and free tools to help with your keyword research. But we know you've heard of or at least dabbled with Google's Keyword Planner.

Here's a quick way to snoop on your competitors. Brian Dean coined it the "GKP Hack".

Put your keyword in Google like I did above...professional blogger. This is what you get (at least at the time of this writing)

I'll explain with a visual:

professional blogger keyword top comp.png

 Grab any of the top organic sites google deems relevant. In this case, I'll grab the first position and drop it into the keyword planner.

your landing page.png

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Click "Get Ideas" and your off to a great start. You can search by keyword ideas and ad groups.

Here's the deal:

The Keyword Planner has a plethora of benefits and ways to use it accurately.

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source: Google Adwords

You can head over to Google for additional Keyword Planner step by step tutorial as well.

(of course wait until you're done reading the post ;)

This is just one small hack to get you off to the races. Keyword research is the foundation to begin your content writing. Keyword targeting simply means picking a keyword and then writing content to address the intention behind that keyword. 

2. Make an Emotional Impact With Your Headline - Connect with Your Readers

Write irrestible headlines. Short and sexy will out-beat long and boring every time.

Your headline is the first thing your visitors will see. And if you do nothing else, let your readers know what the heck your post is about. You want to stop readers and draw them into your blog post.

You can stop readers cold, however, if you write headlines that are unique, ultra-specific, useful or urgent. Here are a few examples:
  • 6 Lessons You Can Learn from the Rise of DropBox (Unique)
  • 100 Ways to Become a  Twitter Power User (Ultra-Specific)
  • How to Become the Person Everyone Wants to Interview (Useful)
  • 10 SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore If You Want High Rankings (Urgent)
As you can see, headlines can share multiple U qualities. The best ones often do. source: Moz


A free headline analyzer offered from Advanced Marketing Institute will let you know if you have a winning title that evokes emotion. You will find out which emotion inside your customer's your headline most impacts: 

a. Intellectual

b. Empathetic

c. Spiritual

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Communication is the key of effective marketing. And the "key to communication is being able to reach the client at an emotional level. Involving them in your copy, and invoking their deeper thoughts".

Make an emotional impact with your headline and increase your traffic for free.

3. Make Your Blog Content: SEO Friendly

"Organic listings take up to 70 to 80% of the clicks"~ Neil Patel

Hey if you want a piece of the action, you have to play like the big boys or girls.

Want to know how:

1. Format your blog post properly.

2. Use section headers, bullets or numbered lists.

3. Use whitespace. There is nothing worse than going to a blog and all their crap is on top of each other. It is confusing to your visitor. It hurts their eyes. It hurts your bounce rate. And it makes you look bad. Don't do it. Eliminate the clutter.

4. Hit the "B" key. Bold and highlight information you want your readers to takeaway.

5. Optimize your post for the search engines. Have your keyword in the page title, URL, body, headers, image alt-text (the "spiders" can't read images)  and the meta description. Also if your image does not load properly, the alt-text provides a written description.

6. Add a caption below your image. A caption, also known as a cutline, is text that appears below an image. Most captions draw attention to something in the image that is not obvious, such as its relevance to the text.

But that's not even the best part...

Captions are prime real estate. "Numerous eye-tracking studies have shown that web users are far more likely to read captions than regular body copy. If you have something important to say about your image, this is the place to say it."

Alt-text helps the "spiders" understand the text. Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself.

Read that one again. Legendary, David Ogilvy (often described as the “Original Mad Man,” and “The Father of Advertising,”) commissioned research into the use of images. His results turned up:

“Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers.” source:  kissmetrics

Pretty amazing stats not to be ignored! 

4. Use Call-Out Boxes to Attract the Attention of Your Users

Give them what they want. And give them MORE of what they need. Using a Call-Out Box alerts your reader...

Hey,  I have some important content for you HERE!!

In my last post on mastering the most under-utilized page on your site. (No joke so many marketers don't use it.)  My call out box looked like this:

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Let's face it:

We all don't have the time to sit down and read for 15 or 20 minutes.

I know sad, but true.

So don't lose those visitors that really want the information. Give them a quick solution to their problem.

Sweet. Subtle. And down right Brilliant!

See how it ties to the topic.

Try it on your next blog post.

5. Add Call-to-Action's to Tell Your Visitors What Action is Needed Next

Always include a Call-to-Action on your blog posts. It should be placed at the end of your article and it should simply tell your reader what you want them to do next.

So same article I discussed about the call out box has Bonus Content with a Call to Action... "Yes, I Want It"

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Top 3 Reasons You Need CTAs:

  1. More than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy. (Unbounce)
  2. The Human Mind Expects the Call to Action (Kissmetrics)

    This doesn’t mean they are going to convert. It simply means their minds are prepared for the experience of being called to act. They know it’s coming. Their minds have already decided that there will be a CTA.

3. You can use a SMART Call to Action. 

You know what that is?  It's  one that changes based on the person viewing it.

How cool is that?

It makes it much more personalized to the viewer. As a matter of fact, according to Hubspot's research "calls-to-action targeted to the user had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that were the same for all visitors." If you're not taking the time to personalize your CTAs, you're leaving quite a few conversions on the table. 

Remind your visitor about the issue or problem that brought them to your site in the first place. In the above example, they wanted to see examples and master the art of the "Thank You Page."

You want to encourage your readers to engage with you further. Make their benefit clear to them. Here they are getting a PDF to use when they create their next TY page from scratch.

These small micro commitments will get them further along in their buyer's journey. They want to know "What's In It For Me". WIIFM, What's In It For Me, are without a doubt, the most important five letters in your content writing

6. Add More Images to Captivate Your Audience

In the old days you heard Location, Location, Location. How about Visual, Visual, Visual?

Content with at least one image significantly outperforms content without any images.

Bottom line:

Visuals are memorable and effective, because they help people process, understand, and retain more information more quickly.

Mike Parkinson from Billion Dollar Graphics suggests that we humans process images and numbers close to 60,000 times faster than we process words.

Have you ever landed on a page that was all text?

How fast did you bounce or fall asleep?

Visual assets will only continue to grow in importance over the next few years. So include them.

  • An estimated 84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018. ~ Inc.com

And images play a big part of this.

51% of B2B marketers prioritized creating visual content assets in 2016. (source)

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2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

 Here's another eye-opening visual marketing stat for you...

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7. Condense Your Long-Form Content for Social Media

It takes time to create long-form content.

Producing longer articles is a great  way to engage with your readers and offer them value with a user friendly experience.

You did all this awesome work...

why not use a portion of it for social media posts.

Linked in Publishing or Facebook Notes is just a few "hit" spots to share your educational article on a smaller scale. Condense your long-form content into bite size pieces.

Here's how you can get published on Linked In (using your same content):

Head over to your profile and click on "Write an article":

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It will bring you to a page like this:

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For example, if you wrote a list post, and BTW  in your blogging profession you should write a list post because “list” content works. When you list a number of reasons, tips, examples etc. it tells your readers what’s in store for them and you commit to the intent and purpose of the article.

Back to the main point...

Grab a sample of your best tips, maybe 5 out of 15 you may have written and publish on LinkedIn with a link back to your main article on your website.

Same goes for Facebook Notes.

Here's 10 Ways to Use Facebook Notes in Your Business. 

8. Blogging Tools to Use in 2017 That Will Make You Insanely Productive 

There is a plethora of tools you can use to enhance your blogging experience and quite frankly some will down right help you outsmart your competitor and increase your sales :)

If you're a marketer and a pro blogger, you need tools.

These are a few to get you started. It is a list that is always evolving. As a matter of fact we could dedicate an entire post just to tools!

I've used a ton of tools and these are some of my favorites that get the job done. Every one is useful in its own way.

I broke it down by category for quick reference. (some have dual purpose so you might see in 2 categories).

Content Creation/Research (see what topics are trending and offer value and top it):

BuzzSumo - tool that analyzes what content performs best for any topic or competitor. "The key is filtering out the content that resonates with audiences, the content that is currently trending and the content about to trend." Go there and make it better. No, make it the BEST. You don't have to reinvent the wheel!

Google Trends - see what your niche is talking about.

Quora - You'll see top stories and "trending now". Click on the word DISCOVER and you'll have a wealth of content ideas by topic or people from the questions asked.

Keyword Research:

Google Keyword Planner -  you'll need a  Google Adwords account to access the free tool. The new tool has an entire suite of features that will help you identify a keyword’s popularity, filter out low-volume searches, and create hundreds of keyword combinations in seconds.

Brian at Backlinko does a thorough step by step on How to Use the Google Keyword Planner.  

Keywordtool.io - keyword tool helps you "find the keywords that people are typing into google search box"

SEMrush type in a keyword and get the live organic searches in volume and number of results. Also generates related keywords. 

Analytics (Understand your numbers: from visitor stats to your best content)

Google Analytics - "get the data you need to make intelligent marketing and business decisions". Stats on your website that include data on visitors, traffic source, conversions, behavior.

Google Webmaster Tools - gives you data on your website’s performance and visibility on Google. Quick way to find out if your page (recent blog post) got indexed.

Link Building/SEO tools

Ahrefs - Enables you to track keyword performance, check backlinks and analyze your content with their content explorer. An all in one SEO tool.

SEMrush - more spying on your competitors. Gain insights on your competitors keywords, traffic and links.

Wordpress SEO/Yoast SEO  - keep your site optimized with one plugin. "the plugin automatically tests the important area’s of your content for usage of the focus keyword, so you can truly optimize your page for the term you need."

Productivity Tools

Trello - you have to set goals. It is an online marketing strategy the pros excel at.

People that succeed in developing an effective online marketing strategy do two things very well:

First, they set clear marketing and sales goals that are perfectly aligned with their business objectives.

Second, they put 100% of their resources toward achieving those goals.

Read how to set your goals for 2017: Goal Setting: Online Marketing Strategy

Headspace - we all need some down time. It will help with your creativity. Need I say more.

Focus at willcombines neuroscience + music to boost productivity and tune out distractions!

Graphic Design/Image Creation Tool

Canva - image creation tool. Simple to use and pre designed templates for all social media platforms. 

PicMonkey - photo editor. Everything you need to make your ideas come to life.

Piktochart - easy to use Infographic Maker. Let's face it we all don't have a professional designer on hand. And Infographics are "liked" and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content.

infographics-1.pngsource: massplanner

Social Media Tools

Buffer/ Hootsuite/ Edgar - Social media management tool. Share your blog posts at the best possible time. These all have great benefits. Test the one that suits your needs. You can schedule your updates for the soscial media platform of your choice.

Social Sharing Buttons/SumoME - Make it easy to have your readers share your content. SumoMe has a free version you can install on your blog.

Click to Tweet - Make it easy for your readers to tweet content on your blog. 

Email Marketing

You want to build trust and customer loyalty. Whether that is in your brand or products you need to follow up with your visitors. Let your email subscribers know about deals, promotions or how to do something by emailing them. 

Choose an email provider that you are ready for...ie. you can afford. They are powerful tools with automation features to make your life easier. Here's a few. Progress as your business needs...

Extra sources for content:

Feedly - Keep up to date with your favorite blogs. All the news you could ask for.

Pocket - When you find something you want to view later, put it in Pocket. 

** Bonus: Curate other people's content  but include your call to action to every link you share. It can be found in the bonus content! 

p.s. It would be wrong if I didn't mention we use an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps us attract our visitors, convert our leads and ultimately close our customers. 

What are you using to manage and analyze your customer interactions?

We would love to hear it in the comments below... 

9. Use Social Media to Amplify Your Post

After you hit the publish button, your work is not done. Share it on all the social media platforms.

Social media drives traffic to your blog. It is the "sign" showing your followers or fans where to go. But use social media to network and engage.

"New blog posts should be shared with the intent of actually sharing and starting discussions, rather than the expectation that just because you posted a link that means I have to click on it. Google + is a great place to see this action" ~ Mike Allton, founder Social Media Hat.

Use some of the tools listed above to get your social on.

The key factor here is having content that is worthy of the share. 

Check your analytics and view what posts or tweets are performing well. Then give your fans more of what they love...

Take a look at a recent tweet activity. 

tweet activity.png

Based on total engagements, I should consider tweeting more on the topic, writing content on the subject and look into similar, relevant hashtags to reach a bigger audience. Promoting a tweet is also an option. 

Having my own content around the topic and using a promoted tweet can help reach a wider group of users or spark some interest in my existing followers.

10. Repurpose Your Blog Content to Reach a Bigger Audience

Want more bang for your buck?

You created an awesome piece of content, now use it in a bunch of different ways.

Repurpose your blog content and drive more traffic to your website.

Change it up a bit...

  • Convert your blog post into a video for you tube.
  • Make slides for slideshare.
  • Create an infographic.
  • Create "expanded content".  Also known as "the content upgrade". Not sure what that is?  Check out the last image you see on this post. And read #16. Add a Content Upgrade: A List Building Machine
  • Turn your facts that you found when reseaching your topic and use them as social media posts.
  • Refresh your old content with relevant, fresh data and republish. Take a look at your analytics you'll see older posts that are performing well but might need a little sprucing.

(hint: create a free step-by-step cheat sheet that shows your readers the exact step-by-step process outlined in your post as a downloadable pdf and for kicks add a few extra, BONUS techniques, strategies or tips.)

Do you have a favorite way to repurpose your content?

11. It's a Blog so Write More, Engaging Content

Based on SERP data from SEMRush, longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. (source)

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Statistics are great. But remember quality matters more.

If you can make your point in less than 1,800 words than do it. The strategy is to combine longer form posts (over 2,500 words) especially for keywords that have a lot of competition. 

Word count does attract Gooogle's attention. 

The best blog length is up to you and your readers. Consistency and quality is important.

From a tactical viewpoint,  one monthly 2,500 + blog post that goes after competitive, high value keyword opportunities is a great strategy to follow. 

Which also brings me to the next section.

Write with intent and have passion...

12. Have Passion and Purpose

Every thing you write should have intent. Focus on your readers.

Just like every sentence and paragraph should support the main message of your post, every post should support your overall purpose for your blog.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to get clear on:
 
• WHO you’re writing for
• WHY you’re writing for them
• WHAT your big purpose is 

BlogBeautifully wrote a great article on  9 Tips to Write with Purpose.

Embrace your voice. Establish a tone for your blog to keep it real.

13. Use an Editorial Calendar to Keep You Focused

We recently wrote a section on sticking to your editorial calendar.

3 basic components of the calendar that actually work ...

  1. A good calendar will help map your content to your personas and the buyer’s journey. Your personas help you create the right content at the right time.

2. Organize your calendar and know who is responsible for what. “It takes a village …”

3. All participants in the creation, design and implementation need to know your editorial style guide. Simple examples would be the voice or tone of the content and the length of the posts you publish. (as referenced above) 

14. Create Outreach Emails That Actually Get a Response

Email marketing is a great way to nurture your leads and one of the most personal "touches" you can have with your users.

It gives you the ability to bring your visitors back to your site over and over again.

There's good emails and bad emails.

Let's take a look at what our friends at Quicksprout are saying about email outreach...

emailoutreach.pngYou need to explain why your content is better than the thousands of other pieces of content they receive. Your email should provide a clear benefit for your prospects.

Also take the time to personalize the email you are sending. 

And one more thing...

According to Time, the average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds.

So keep your email short, sweet and to the point.

15. Use a Welcome Mat to Feature a Blog Post as an Offer

When first time vistors come to your site it prompts them to subscribe. It's a great way to build your list. It allows you to grab their attention, build your email and share a quick message.

SumoMe, has a "welcome mat" landing page you can set up quickly. I  want you to see welcome mat in action.

Using the SumoMe Welcome Mat for Calls to Action

 

Jeff Bullas, listed on Forbes as one of the top 20 influencers of CMO's, 2017 and #1 global "digital marketing influencer's , 2016 says...

This “soft gating” doesn’t block access with a payment gateway but is just a simple request offering something for free before clicking to access the site.

The stats show that the welcome mat is one of the highest converting list building tactics you can use. Sumome data shows that it can triple your conversion rate with its full-screen call to action.

It encourages your visitors to join your email list and check out your latest and popular blog post!

jeffbullas.png

The CTA sits at the top of your content. If readers want to get to your content, they can easily scroll down for quick access. Your welcome mat will disappear. 

Here's another from Michael Hyatt, an author, blogger, speaker, and former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

michaelhyattwelcome mat.png

Test it on your blog and let us know how it's performing.

16. Add a Content Upgrade: A List Building Machine

Content upgrades are unique to the specific content that people are already reading on your site.

Think about that! Who really wants that generic free report or ebook?

But give away a resource that is unique to the blog post your visitors are reading and well...

See for yourself.

A few months ago, Keith published a post Goal Setting: Online Marketing Strategy

setting goals.png

But he didn't stop there...

When you scroll down to the bottom of the post you’ll notice he has a link where you can get immediate access to Bonus Content: 9 Step Crash course for Setting Goals

bonus content setting goals.png

 Look what it did for conversions: 51% conversion rate

conversion rate for setting goals.png

188 new contacts. Not bad for one blog post ;)

We didn't reinvent the wheel. Content upgrades have been around for awhile.  Create strategic content upgrades to give your visitors irresistible VALUE.

Ready to try the content upgrade?

Find a page on your site that is performing well. (high traffic)

Think how you can make the content better.

Create a resource to add at the end of your post and in the call-out box.

Watch your conversion rate go up and get more email subscribers. 

17. Become Data Driven - Analyze Your Blog

One of my favorite things to do on a daily basis is to check how our blog posts are performing. 

If you're a writer (you get it) you want to know what is resonating with your readers. 

There is nothing better to see than an ever- increasing number of visitors to your blog post.

Here is something you can do that is easy, free and will let you know which content your readers love.

ENTER...Google Analytics

With all the data in one accessible place, you can get a picture of what your user likes.

For example, What content is most popular?

(I'm going to assume you already have your google analytics connected to your website)

If not You Tube has a ton of videos showing you how. 

Step 1 Head over to your account.google analytics account.png

Step 2 On the left hand side, scroll down to BEHAVIOR and click on SITE Content

sitecontent.pngStep 3 Next Click on All Pages

all pages.png

Step 4 Look at data on right hand side. You'll see a chart that has pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page etc.

To the left of the page views, you will see the top performing post for a specific time period. With this data, you know what your audience loves the most and you can create more content like it or take that exact post and 10x it. (Basically outperforming your self)

This is one metric to get you headed in the right direction.

facts about post.png

If you have a post with 37,378 pageviews you want to give your readers more on this topic. For one, it resonates with them. Secondly more than likely you're solving a "pain point" for them.

Wrapping it up

You may not have started out to be a professional blogger but soon will realize it's a goal worth pursuing for your business. Use these techniques to become a pro blogger with results.

Get to work right now on these actionable BLOGGING tactics. Most are simple to implement today and your results will thank you.

Click the image below and get access to the Complete Cheat Sheet to Write Like a Professional Blogger Today in PDF format plus 5 BONUS blogging strategies not found on this post.

See you on the inside...

Click the image below to download the PDF now

Bonus Content: Free PDF Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist

And let's not forget every blog post you write is a new, unique page you have online that will get you ranked on google. And get those social shares you so desire. 

p.s. Have you tried some of these blogging techniques?

Would love to hear what's working for you in the comments below! 

blog author

Ginny Dwyer

Ginny is a Hubspot certified inbound marketer helping companies build their brand through blogging, social media and other inbound activities.