A Silver-Haired Blogger Answers
How Do I Write Blog Posts?
I want first to introduce myself, my name is Shell, and I write all of my son’s blog posts for his pawnshops and Pawn Leads. I started writing blogs to help out after I retired from being a therapist for 30+ years. As I began to write the blogs, I had no idea what I was doing nor how to improve. I was a bit intimidated by all the experts writing blogs and how much traffic they received.
I read about what makes a successful blog, social media, the different main social media networks, social media platforms, paid advertising, blog traffic, guest blogging, blog promotion strategies, and how to encourage readers. Frankly, my head hurt.
When I was in college, I learned how to research and gather data. These tools were helpful but didn’t tell me anything about how to write relevant blogs for a pawn shop and a pawn marketing company.
Sam, co-owner of Pawn Leads, said, “it’s easy, mom, just write and use these tools.” It seems Sam can pick up and run a business idea and turn it into a well-oiled machine in no time at all. That is not the case for me. I have to study, practice, and convince myself to take risks. I had so many questions. What were these things called an avatar or target audience, content marketing, keyword research, and links?
While I was getting my degree, working as a therapist, raising children, and moving to our farm, the language of business changed dramatically, and I was undoubtedly behind the times. So many buzzwords to describe what was going on with the most relevant social networks and social media platforms that I had no idea where to start.
Being that Sam is my son, I certainly didn’t want to let him down, and I had a vested interest to ensure whatever I wrote was a success so he could continue to succeed with his business ventures, if not for himself, for my grandson, Cruz.
Let’s talk about Cruz for a minute. Cruz is the light of my life. At eighteen months old and the spitting image of his parents, he reminds me every day how precious life is. He is intelligent, engaging, and social. He is quick to build relationships with everyone he meets, and his little toddler sounds and how he plays provides this Grams excellent content for happy living.
He’s like a little chubby blog post inspiration.
I look back over the last year of writing blog posts, and I would say I am no expert, but I am learning, and each blog I write seems to be a bit better. As I write, I learn; as I learn, I grow, and as I grow, I am willing to take more risks.
Now, on to teaching you how to write blog posts.
Blog Post Writers
It is essential to understand the roots of a tree if the tree will flourish, and the roots provide the anchor for future growth. So let’s explore where blogging began and the roots of blog posts today.
In 1994 Justin Hall wrote the first ‘blog,’ a personal homepage, when he was on a break from college. Wired Magazine was the first commercial web magazine during this time, and he joined HotWired, a subsidiary of the magazine. Justin began his eleven years of personal blogs with Howard Rheingold, critic, writer, and teacher.
Another early blogger was Jerry Pournelle, who died at 84 years old. J Pournelle was a scientist in operations research and human factors research, a science fiction writer, essayist, journalist, and one of the first bloggers. In one of his best-known blog posts, 1999’s, How to Get My Job, he wrote, “The secret of becoming a writer is that you have to write. You have to write a lot.”
After reading Mr. Pournelle’s blog post How to Get My Job, it is evident that Sam was on to something, “it’s easy, mom, just write.”
By 2003, Google launched AdSense as a blogging advertising service, and other major sites followed with their version of blogging advertising platforms like TypePad and WordPress.
WordPress Blog Platform
WordPress is a free, open-source content management system (CMS), and it is one of the easiest blogging and website builders today. Written in PHP, a popular scripting language that creates dynamic pages, it uses a MySQL database, a powerful open-source database server capable of handling a large concurrent database connection.
In short, WordPress started as a user-friendly blogging platform that can now be used for many purposes like building websites, web stores, blogging, content marketing, and just about anything else. There are hundreds of themes and plugins available to use with WordPress.
2022 Blog Post Statistics
Leep, forward the blog post statistics for 2022 by firstsiteguide.com; you’ll be excited to discover that the blog posts with an average length of 3000 words are more successful.
Why are you excited? Because this means you get to write more! Remember, “it’s easy, mom, just write.” And, the more you write, the better you will be.
There are 7 million blogs published each day, and 77% percent of internet users actively read blog posts.
The most important statistic for the business owner; 61% of online users in the US bought something after reading a blog post.
The 2022 statistics provide valuable insight into why you want to start writing blog posts and including them as part of your marketing strategy.
Benefits of Blog Posts
A blog post is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to promote your pawnshop or small business. Blog posts with relevant content that include keywords based on keyword research will drive traffic to your website, increase sales, increase potential customers turning into loyal customers, and establish you as an authority in the industry.
Sharing your blogs to social media accounts like a Facebook group or online communities or sending them to email subscribers will expand your reach.
The more reach you have, the more traffic you get, the more traffic you get, the more potential customers you nurture, the more potential customers you nurture, and the more paying customers you see in your store.
Writing blog posts for your pawnshop or small business promote your business because you share more about your company. The relevant content of the blog posts makes your company a real place to do business.
Blog posts are your direct line of communication in a friendly tone with your target audience. Writing and publishing a new blog post weekly will create an active community of consumers who read your blog posts and convert them into paying customers.
Why don't more pawn shops and small businesses write and publish blog posts?
Business owners are busy people.
Pawnshop and small business owners are busy taking care of the day-to-day tasks of running a business. They may not have the time to learn to write blog posts, which may be true for you. After you know to write an effective blog post, you may not have time to find images and label the pictures, include backlinks to other sites, internal links to your web pages, and then publish your blog.
Blog posts take a least two or three hours a week to write, as long as you know the content. Suppose you post a blog post a week, 12 hours of extra work a month. Busy business owners just don’t have the time. Add in a few more hours of research if it is a new topic you’d like to trend on.
Blog writing requires a consistent approach.
Most pawn shops and small businesses don’t have a blog post strategy, nor do they have a plan to write blog posts consistently.
Blog posts posted regularly will boost your sales and generate exposure to your brand, product, and services. Blog visitors see your regular blogs and read them because the blog posts have perked their curiosity or provided them with answers to a question they hadn’t yet asked but had been thinking about.
Because you have been writing weekly blog posts, your ranking moves towards the top of the search engine results pages. The ranking caused potential customers to see your web page and identify you as an expert in the industry.
Once on your webpage, you can use internal links in your blog post to get readers to move through your pages as you showcase other products and services you offer. Because you answer questions in your blog, they move from a visitor to a buyer.
No time to edit.
You may be one of the pawnshops or small business owners that run on limited time to get things done perfectly. Unfortunately, sloppy, typo-filled blog posts won’t encourage search engines to rank your blog and increase the traffic to your website. Unfortunately, a poorly written blog will impact your company’s credibility.
Effective writing, editing, and fine-tuning take time.
Business owners may have to compete for high-priority tasks, and reviewing a blog isn’t that important when a crisis occurs.
You’ve got style and no time to develop it.
Social media, email marketing, and blog posts require an online writing style that encourages meaningful conversation with the target audience. Developing excellent content that stands out from other bloggers will promote your blog. Owners can learn to write blog articles from their perspective and style, but like all things, development and practice require time.
Social media marketing skills.
Social media marketing skills, understanding social media platforms, how search engines rank your business page, how to promote blog posts, fix broken links, and google analytics may be barriers to publishing and promoting blog posts online. Owners or their teams may be able to write blog posts, but jumping through all the social media skills needed to increase search results and engagement may be a problem.
Trusting your blog writer with a set of keys to your business can be scary.
Blogging can be done by a member or members of your team, but you have to trust your blog writer to represent your brand, product, and service online. Sometimes you may not have this kind of trust in your team. You have to decide.
A team member can write new blog posts with high-quality content, but the content may not support your business’s mission, vision, and values. Blog posts are about engagement and personal and meaningful conversation.
It could be that the style that your team member used to write the blog isn’t how you would have a conversation with a customer about a topic you would like them to know more about. If you find that you have to read every blog and edit it, do you have the time?
Blog Basics - The Anchor to Blog Content and A Way to Promote Your Blog
First, the blog posts are not for you!
Blog posts are for your customers. They are for your readers. Like a webpage, blog posts need to consider your target audience and all of the characteristics that make them potential customers of your business. Bloggers who write relevant blogs with meaningful content understand that what they write about is beneficial to the target audience.
Ideally, clever and engaging blog posts written to solve a problem or provide insight into your industry will meet the needs of your audience.
Second, the best-made blogging plans will promote your blog.
You are busy as an owner, and there is limited time to write blog posts and get them published. Having a lack of time is one reason that hinders pawn shops and small businesses from using blogs.
Planning and making a calendar with a list of ideas for weekly blogs will keep you ahead in the traffic race. Think about the different questions your customers have asked when they are at the counter checking out. These questions convert into ideas for blog posts. Remember, blog posts should solve your customers’ problems or provide insight into your industry.
Third, learn to do keyword research
Several online tools provide keyword searches. These searches can be helpful to get a list of keyword phrases that people who are searching use to search for your services. Using the keyword phrases you identified in your keyword research will help drive more traffic to your website. Google Adwords Keyword Tool may be a helpful resource for you.
Fourth, write a blog post with meaningful and valuable content
To establish your website, the face of your company, as an authority in your industry, write blogs that share valuable insight and content. Well-written, high-quality content will ensure you will build relationships and have readers return for more. The 2022 statistics reported that 61% of online users in the US bought something after reading a blog post.
Valuable content in one blog will differ from the content in another blog post. Each blog you write will have different topics and expectations assumed for the reader.
Don’t be afraid to take risks and write about something you remember a customer asking at the checkout counter that hasn’t yet been answered. When you answer questions, readers come back for more.
Fifth, do what you can to maintain consistency
The frequency of how many blog posts you post is directly related to what you can maintain consistently. Some companies post weekly, others bi-monthly. The key is to consistently give your target audience something to look forward to.
Google and other search engines want fresh content, and so the more frequently you update your blog posts on your website, the more likely your website, the face of your company, will soar to the top of the search engines rankings.
Higher search engine rankings mean that when someone searches for your company, product, or services, you will be more likely to be visible in the search results.
If they can’t find you, they can’t see you; if they can’t see you, they can’t read your blog.
Sixth, It’s all about the style
Remember, blogs are not technical reports or dissertations. They are meant to be informal and a personal and meaningful conversation.
Nothing is more boring than waiting on a slow internet connection or watching glue dry. Don’t write blogs that bore your audience.
Try to keep the sales pitch down and your style up. People want to connect. Writing in the first person (I and we) and addressing the reader (you and your) is informal yet has connectivity. Consumers want to be a part of your business, and a successful blog will build relationships.
Connection with your customers nurtures them and increases loyalty. Loyalty decreases the risk that you will have your customers stray off to competitors. Sixty-four percent of consumers say that their loyalty to a brand increases when they feel connected.
Seventh, less is more, and more is less, and what is the best word count, or is there one, or am I just confused? Oh my!
According to Wix Blog, an ideal blog post should be between 1,500- 2,500 words, and the magic number is 2,450. This range will help your blog posts rank higher on search engines and get social media shares and backlinks.
I read this and thought, “golly molly, 2,450 words, no way!” Then I remembered Sam’s wisdom, “it’s easy, mom, just write.”
300-word blog post
Shorter blog posts of less than 300 words are not ideal for search engine optimization or social media shares.
300-600 word blog post
Blogs with a word count from 300 to 600 words have historically been the standard. With the growth of searches, blogs with this number of words are too short of ranking on search engine results pages. There aren’t enough words to get deep into a topic and show authority.
600-800 word blog post
If the range of your blog post is between 600 and 800 words, it may include social media shares and backlinks because they are most common in professional journalism and newspaper articles.
1,300-1,700 word blog post
Blog posts are 1,300 to 1,700 words long, and these get more social media shares and have more educational content that gets backlinks. Blog post influencers use this word length to write promotional posts.
2,300-2,500 word blog post
“The golden ticket” are blog posts that are 2,300 to 2,500 words long. Search engines like this length of blog posts. A workable format is to use listicles, and Listicles are list posts. These blog posts are written in a list-based format with shortlists of 10-20 items based on specific themes. These blogs are more education and thorough and rank with the potential of bringing in more traffic.
4,000-word blog post
4,000-word blog posts are all-encompassing articles covering a topic in extreme detail to build authority.
How do you determine the ideal “best fit” blog post length for your company?
As part of your blog promotion strategy, the best solution is to determine the appropriate length of your blog posts, one article at a time.
Take time to plan. Is your post going to be comprehensive or a summary? Can you answer who you are writing for and the target audience’s characteristics? These are all great questions to ask yourself when you are planning.
Did you know that the longer blogs cause the reader to stay on the page longer, sending ‘good vibes’ to the search engines? Search engines see your blog as relevant and have meaningful content.
Longer blogs also get more social media shares and backlinks, which helps to boost your authority.
Steps to Being a Successful Blog Writer
Step One: Research:
Oh, the days of research. A side note story.
I sat in front of the microfiche machine, painfully looking up newspaper article after article, trying to find the most relevant information I needed to complete my paper with my hands aching from taking copious notes on what I read and then forgetting to write down my sources. I would have to go back, get the librarian to get back out the microfiche, and remember where I got the information from. Tired, I would get out the note cards and organize my notes into an outline. Oh, and then the click…click of the typewriter to pull it all together, hoping I had relevant content.
Okay, I did just date myself talking about microfiche and typewriters. But there is no denying the first step in writing a successful blog is the same, start with research.
The assumption is you have a blog promotion plan in place with a calendar listing all your ideas.
Take one of the ideas and do all the research you can about the topic before starting. The research will make outlining your blog easier it will also spur other ideas you may want to include in your blog post or future posts.
Step Two: Keyword Research
Keyword research is essential if your blog will rank and generate more traffic to your business. There are tools available to help you, like Google Keyword Planner, and these tools create words used by searchers to find your company, product, service, or industry. Another trick is to try and use one of the keywords in your title, so your article is picked up and ranked.
Step Three: Create a detailed outline
An outline will help you organize your blog. If you use bullet points to identify the sections of your article and what will be covered, this will help you if you decide to write other blogs on a similar topic and link to the main points. Bullet points and a detailed outline will help you remember where to use the keyword phrases you identified from your keyword research.
Step Four: Clearly Label Headings and Sections
Because you did a detailed outline in the previous step, you have the tools to label headings and sections clearly. By breaking up your blog into heading and sections, you will encourage readers to stay connected.
Readers will often skip around when reading an article, taking from the article what they need. Headings will help guide readers’ eyes to the places they want to read and gain information. Headings and sections make the blog ‘user-friendly.’
The title for your blog should be 60 characters.
Blog titles that get your reader to think causes engagement. Think about asking a question.
As a guide, headings need to be between 3-10 words.
Step Five: Use Pictures/Images to break up paragraphs
Images tell a story, and one picture can send multiple messages conveying a meaning more effectively than words.
Images break up long text. Images are creative and bring attention to relevant information. Black and white on a page or screen is black and white.
The text delivers a message or meaning, but add a picture, and the words come to life.
A bonus is that images effectively labeled with alt text will help with search engine optimization (SEO). Remember to use keywords when naming your image file. You want your new blog post to end up at the top of the search engine results page so whatever you can do to improve SEO is a plus.
Step Six: Variety Is Key For Sentence Structure
A well-written blog should be ‘music’ to the reader. There should be a rhythm, flow, harmony, melody, timbre, dynamics, texture, and form. Your words should be like beats are to music. Sentence structure is like music, with shorter and longer sentences coming together to create a ‘song.’ Sentence structure is key to making your blog posts reader-friendly.
Step Seven: One, Two, Three…Include Bullet Points and Numbered Lists
Longer blog posts need to be well organized and simple to follow. Bullet points and numbered lists will help with the flow of your article and get to your point. Bullet points help with clarity and make a blog post more concise.
Readers who want to skip to the section following a number list and read more about the topic can do so with ease. Ordered lists help a reader follow along and understand steps in a process.
Another helpful hint is to include a table of contents at the top of your blog post, so the headings and sections help the reader easily navigate through the blog.
Step Eight: Readable Text in Active Voice vs. Passive Voice
Short of sounding like an English teacher, here are the basics. Active voice is when a sentence has a subject that acts as a verb, and a verb takes action. Passive voice means that a subject is the receiver of the verb’s action. Verbs have five properties, voice, mood, tense, person, and number.
When writing a blog post, use an active voice. This doesn’t mean that a passive voice sentence isn’t okay from time to time; this means that the active voice is clear, direct, and strong.
According to the Center for Plain Language, the readability score in the United States is at a 7th to 8th-grade level or 12 to 14 years of age. People read differently online than they do when they read printed materials.
Using shorter words and sentences will present content in a much more user-friendly way and suit how the reader approaches text on a website better.
Step Nine: Short Paragraphs Reach Higher Levels of Reader Engagement – Paragraphs Need Transition Words to Bridge Them Together
Paragraphs need to be 100 words or less, and each paragraph needs to cover one idea at a time. A long paragraph might make a reader turn away because all the words seem overwhelming. Each paragraph needs to have transition words or a ‘bridge’ that help the reader move from one point to another throughout the blog post.
Transitions are like road signs guiding the reader through the blog.
Most people use their phones to search and read. Think about it. How many hours a day do you carry your phone with you and use it during downtime to check emails, read updates, text people, and search for things you are thinking about?
A blog post will look really long; I mean really long when read on a mobile device, so make paragraphs short with bridges. Break long blog posts into multiple parts!
Step Ten: Be You and Add Your Perspective!
I can’t say enough be yourself. Write your company’s blog post from your perspective. Cover the main points of the topic you are writing about but make sure it is ‘from you.’ The person searching the internet and found your blog came to read your blog, not someone else’s.
There may be other existing posts about a similar topic with critical points, but they are not from you, your company’s blog writer. New blog posts you decide to write need to be from your point of view. The facts may be the same, but the angle may be different.
So let’s think about it. At the beginning of this blog, I wanted to understand who I am. I started by saying I was a silver-haired blog writer, someone who had no experience writing blogs, and someone who loves helping people find solutions. I couldn’t have been a therapist for 30+ years if I wasn’t vested in people and their long-term success.
I am Sam’s mom and admire and think he is one of the best businessmen I know, not just because he’s my son but because he is good at what he strives to do.
Most important, I am Cruz’s Grams, and all of his little ventures make him my little chubby blog inspiration.
I wanted to get you to connect with me and understand my perspective. I am, what’s the new word, “a nube” to writing blogs, and have so much more to learn. I by no means know it all, and there are many ways to get started; whether you write them yourself, have a team member write them, use a WordPress blog, or hire someone like Pawn Leads to write them for you, blogs work!
Promote your blog by being original, authentic, and you. Readers will come back to read more!
A Blog Promotion Strategy
Now you know the steps to get you started writing your first blog. Are you excited? I am for you while you practice. Practice makes perfect, and by the time you write four blogs a month, you will have the process down pat and feel good about the personal and meaningful conversations you are having with your potential customers.
In your blog promotion strategy, one thing to consider is that a blog needs a purpose and provides something to your audience.
Through not just words but valuable content marketing with blogs, you can increase revenue, boost conversions and build brand awareness.
Social media platforms
For each blog you write, you will need to decide which social media platform you will use to promote your blog. Not all platforms are the same, and researching which social media sites your future customs use the most will help get your blogs in front of them.
Shine the blog up and use images that meet the look and feel of the social media you’re using to draw attention to your blog.
Branch out and post a summary of your blog on your Facebook account or in a Facebook group you are a part of, and link it back to the main blog on your webpage. You can use Facebook boosted posts to reach more people as well. Add a blog link to your bio, which is the first thing people see when clicking on your account.
Do you have a Twitter account? Your Twitter account can be a great way to promote your blog. Twitter is a fast-moving social media platform that is ideal for you to get your high-quality content information to the right audience. You don’t have ad dollars to spend, so that’s even better.
A few sites like Reddit have thousands of communities of like-minded people engaging in conversation to connect. Whatever topic interests the searcher, Reddit’s online communities are waiting. Being one of the biggest online communities with 17 million users, Reddit is a great blogger outreach opportunity.
Niche social bookmarking sites serve industry-specific communities. When you share your blogs in these communities, you will engage and connect with more like-minded people. Make sure your blog’s title is a magnet for potential readers so they engage. A few niche social bookmarking sites are Marketing GrowthHackers, Startups, and Business & Growth Hacking Hacker News.
The more consistent you are with posting and interacting with other users, the more reliable you seem to be. There are reciprocal sharing sites like Viral Content Bee that work with credits that are given if you share other people’s blogs. You will earn credits, and the credits can be used to post your blog, and then your blog will get shared with other users.
Take some time to understand your competition. Competitors provide you with ideas of what’s working and what isn’t. Notice what they are writing about, and think about how you can adjust your style and content so your blogs are unique and gain consumers’ attention.
Tools like QuickSpout and SEMRush Competitor Research could be used to explore what your competitions are posting and how they are ranking to look at the gaps in their content and use this information to build your blogs.
What is an influencer? An influencer is a blogger with a compelling writing style who uses videos and images creatively to get connections to their readers. There are influencers in almost every industry, and they maintain online communities of readers wanting to know which are the best brands relevant to their hobbies and lifestyle.
Getting to know an influencer and managing the connection will go a long way to promote your blog and blog content. Keeping in contact with them will ensure they accurately represent your company, product, and brand.
To solidify the relationship with your influencers, interact with their content regularly to show your support.
Influencers are experts in your industry, and they are seen as having credibility. They know what is happening in the industry and promote positive improvements for their followers.
Vito Wise and Yigal Adato – It’s terrific to know influencers in your industry!
Two of the influencers I am impressed with and follow on social media and the PHP Facebook group are Vito Wise and Yigal Adato. Both are experts in leadership, business, the pawn industry, and balancing family and work; I have to say I am honored to have them consider sharing and promoting any of the blogs I write.
Maintenance Keep traffic moving toward your website
Creating and marketing your blog will take time and effort. Consistency is vital in having a blog reach your audience and your readers returning for more. Planning posts, updating them, repurposing, and republishing them will help efficiency.
By frequently posting fresh new content to your website, the more relevant Google and other search engines see you, which helps with ranking.
You can decide what to repurpose and update by auditing your existing posts. If you put stats in your original blog or infographics, you could edit these and repost them.
Repurposing existing posts by taking out irrelevant ideas or adding new details; thus, improving your blog content will save time because, as I said before, creating a brand new blog post is time-consuming.
Summary Ideas From The Silver-Haired Blogger:
Steps For Writing Blog Posts
Create a calendar and fill it with ideas for blog posts.
Choose a topic for your blog and decide what you want to accomplish by writing it.
Do your research.
Research keywords to use so the search engines will pick you up in search results.
Put together an outline with bullet points to design and organize your blog.
Write compelling and relevant content.
Decide how often you will post blogs and be consistent.
Publish your blog.
Evaluate and analyze the success of your blog and decide which ones to repurpose.