Breaking down the updates in Twitter Terms of Service and other rules.
Three years ago I knew less than nothing about blogging. In fact, I never thought I would be a blogger and write about online stores and e-commerce for an audience of half a million readers. But when I started to work as a PR and content manager at Ecwid, the need to direct a company blog became an obvious one. It was a sensible way for us to help others, spread the word about Ecwid, and share updates and knowledge with our users.
Ecwid blog is run by two people who publish four posts every week. We receive more than 100,000 unique visitors every month. The posts are typically between 1,000 and 1,500 words, and two or three out of the four a week are our own original content. It takes about five to six hours to write, edit, and publish each piece.
Today I’m going to share with you some tips and tricks I’ve learned in my experience managing Ecwid blog and creating articles for it. Let’s move on.
Get a big idea
First of all, you have to decide what you or your company want to talk about. What will be the focus or theme of your blog? This theme is called your niche.
At Ecwid, our niche can be defined as all things e-commerce. We write about how to launch and grow small businesses (marketing, promotion, etc.), improve personal effectiveness, overview e-commerce news, and Ecwid updates.
You are going to write about one or two key topics on a weekly basis. If you are blogging about something you are passionate about or you know a lot about, don’t assume this makes you an expert. To run a successful corporate blog, you need to do research for your articles thoroughly, and also be able to support your viewpoint with facts and figures. Which leads us to tip #2.
Do the research
Writing a valuable, credible article takes some work. Here are a few tricks I use when doing my own research:
- Google the topic. I usually scan other articles to see what they’re covering and add a unique perspective.
- Read the comments. People always ask specific questions on certain topic, so you can actually add points you may have missed to your article.
- Visit forums or Reddit. This helps me see the questions that folks in my niche and industry are asking. I try to think of post topics that could help answer those questions.
After nailing down a general idea and writing down the key topics, I move on to the next step.
Create an outline
Outlines are a must. They keep you on topic and make sure you don’t leave out any crucial points. HubSpot has a great post about how to write a solid outline.
Before that, ask yourself three key questions:
- Who are you writing for? Imagine the target audience.
- What do you want them to do? One clear action – change a setting, take a picture, signup, etc.
- What do you want the reader to feel afterwards?
The answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of what you should be focused on in the topic.
After you’re done, write an outline. I usually write my outlines in the same Google Doc as the post I’m writing – that way, the important takeaways are right there in front of me.
Write content that deserves to rank
Besides writing interesting and helpful articles, remember a couple of things:
- Keywords. Help Google find your articles. A large percentage of your traffic probably comes from search engines, so optimizing your blog for search engines should be a priority. That means you must choose keywords or phrases from each piece and include those keywords in the post title and image alt tags. We usually use Google Keyword Planner for this. SEMrush can also help you find perfect keywords to use for your blog.
- Headlines are important. Research shows that most blog readers only read the first 100 words of a post, and just 16 percent of them read the entire piece. So it’s very likely that your headline and introduction may end up being their entire impression of the post!
Edit the piece
It’s better to edit the final piece the next day, to make sure your points are clear and the unnecessary bulk is cut from the post. Or send it over to someone who can edit or give feedback before publishing.
Settle on a design
This is the fun part. Final adjustments to design will include finding relevant images and creating covers for each post. Alex, the designer at Ecwid, creates cute, unique covers for each post.
If your blog doesn’t have a designer, use services such as Canva to help you make professional designs and graphics that are easily customizable.
Promote your post like crazy
Just because your content is right for a particular audience doesn’t mean they’ll see it throughout the course of their day. You ought to be using email, social media, paid ads and SEO to make sure your work is seen.
Like I’ve already said, we publish four posts per week, and of course, like to round up to boost the traffic. To do so we create at least 25 headlines as soon as the post is ready. From that 25 we pick 10-15 and schedule posts under different headlines in 7-8 months ahead.
Measure the Success of Blog Posts
As a blogger, your job is to publish content that converts people into paying customers. This is the ultimate goal of any marketing effort, and content marketing is no different.
As a startup, we try not to waste time doing things that don’t deliver worthwhile results. So, using Google Analytics and Kissmetrics, we measure the following:
- Traffic sources;
- Product signups;
- Blog pageviews: total pageviews and unique visitors;
- Social media shares;
- Email subscribers;
- Average time spent on the page.
We meet once in two weeks as a marketing team to talk through the big wins. We typically run through all these metrics in order to figure out what was successful, and then use that knowledge to improve the next time around.
I hope this helped you get a sense of how we run our blog at Ecwid. It’s truly a universal system, so you could go ahead and start a blog for your company or even yourself.