Like most things in life, popularity is more complicated than it may seem at first.
Mitch Pristein, professor and director of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina and researcher on what popularity is and what its effects are, distinguishes two types of popularity: (a) some people are popular because they are nice and their peers trust them and want to be with them, and (b) that popularity which seeks in some way to gain a certain status and use that power to influence others.
The results of Pristein’s studies, which I will comment on a little later, can be applied perfectly to our blog. But first, let me ask you what the point of your blog is. Get better search engine rankings or please your reader? And before you answer, read on to understand what I mean by each of the two options.
Goal 1: Improving SEO
If your goal is to improve SEO, the process of writing a blog post should include the following steps:
#1 Specify Keywords
If you want search engines to place your posts in the top positions, you must specify which keywords related to your blog or business should position well. The best keywords are those that clearly define the content and purpose of your website and that best respond to users’ searches. If you still don’t know how to search for keywords for your blog, I recommend this article by David on the subject.
#2 Optimize The Design
Your website design has to be optimized for SEO. Above all, don’t forget to have your web design optimized for mobile phones. Make sure your website is fully responsive, that the load speed is optimal, and that it can be viewed perfectly on any type of small device. Nowadays all users use smartphones to access the Internet—if your website isn’t adapted to browse through mobile phones, you’ll lose a large number of visits.
#3 Optimize The Content
Once you have defined the keywords and have a fantastic design, it’s time to determine the categories of your blog and the tags you’ll use. As you can imagine, these should coincide to a great extent with the keywords you identified. If they don’t, you may have a consistency problem.
But not only that, the page titles and posts should also include some of your keywords. And of course, the URLs of all your posts should include some of the keywords you have defined.
When writing the post post, if the title already includes keywords, it’s likely that keywords will naturally appear in its body as well. Tools like Yoast SEO that can help you make sure the text contains words that will improve SEO.
Don’t forget to put keywords to all the
alt attributes of any image. It’s important to first make sure you optimize your images for SEO, including the use of images that are related to your keywords.
As far as internal links go, it’s assumed that all pages on the website should be accessible from any other page in a maximum of 4 clicks. And if we talk about external links, some companies have found that linking to external sites that also use our keywords (even if they’re from their competitors), has benefited them in terms of SEO.
Ready! You already have your content optimized for SEO.
#4 Promote Your Content
Finally, promote on social media all the content you create. Newsletters are also a great tool to keep your followers up-to-date. This way you can make sure your content reaches a large audience and they will be happy to read it.
Goal 2: Focusing on Your Reader
What if your goal is to focus on the reader instead of the SEO? Assume from the outset that your posts are not going to appeal to everyone.
The sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll feel free to be yourself and decide what kind of relationship you’d like to have with your readers. A blog, unlike other media, allows you to decide what you want to tell us and how you want to tell it. You can decide to be yourself or reinvent yourself and become that character you always wanted to be. You can talk about your hobbies or your experiences. Share your unique knowledge and help others solve problems…. The list is endless.
But what does it mean to focus on the reader?
#1 Define Who Your Reader Is
For example, let’s assume you’ve one of the finalists in The World Stone Skimming Championship on the Scottish island of Easdale. It’s your passion, so you want to create a blog to explain your tricks and experiences to improve the technique and art of skimming stones. In this case, it will be very easy for you to define your reader; you already know them from all the championships you’ve attended. You know their hobbies, what they do in their spare time, and they probably have a lot in common with you. But sometimes it can be a little more complicated…
In case you don’t know where to start or need a little help, I recommend that you read the post in which we explain how to define your Buyer Person. Defining your reader allows you to write in a much more personalized way. You know who you’re talking to. And this allows you to add a certain warmth and sense of humor to all your writing.
#2 What Message You Want To Convey
This is the most important point of every post on your blog. If you write a post on your blog it’s because you want to transmit some kind of message. Therefore, within your entire editorial process, the next point would be to think about those titles you want to write about (in fact, the title of your post should already serve as a summary of the message you want to convey, don’t you think?).
If you want to focus on your reader, think about their life, problems, difficulties, and concerns, and what doubts they may have when reading one of your articles. In the context of inbound marketing you should focus on the entire sales funnel your potential buyer is going through. And if you don’t know what messages you want to convey with your posts, here are some techniques that can help you and the tool that will make it easier for you.
You’ll find that once you’ve defined your titles, organizing them into an editorial calendar is a breeze.
#3 Write With Passion
When you start writing your post, do it with passion. You have your style and we want to hear your voice, not your neighbor’s, your mother-in-law’s, or a salesman’s. Precisely what makes a post unique is that it’s explained from your point of view, which is always unique. Make sure you include those images or gifs that you think will add some value or sense of humor to your posts and make your posts much more enjoyable to read.
Even if someone doesn’t like the way you write, don’t change your style if you feel comfortable with it (but keep in mind it’s always good to be open to constructive criticism). Didn’t you already assume that not everyone could like you? 😉
Think of all those bloggers you read regularly. Surely you keep reading them because not only you like the content they share but also enjoy the way they write it, their personal touch. If in a blog you suddenly notice a change from style to more commercial style, you will probably stop following it because it will have become the one you weren’t interested in.
#4 Promote Your Content
This point is exactly the same as point 4 above. Remember that your quality content is useless if you don’t promote it!
#5 Listen To Your Audience
A blog doesn’t just consist of you posting a stream of posts—one of the charms of a blog, as opposed to a book, for example, is that it allows you to have a certain level of interaction with your reader. If you encourage your readers to write comments and you take the time to answer them, you’ll create a community, a group of friends who enjoy your content and will be always waiting for your next piece of advice.
Why Is It Better To Focus On The Reader?
And now comes the question: if we’re all aware that if we don’t make it to the front page of Google, it’s like we’re invisible, why am I insisting that you should focus on the reader instead of the SEO? Well, truth is, you shouldn’t forget about SEO, but my recommendation is that you simplify and automate any of the tasks related to SEO and focus your effort and work on adding value to your readers.
In this blog we won’t stop sharing tricks and strategies to help you be more efficient in the whole editorial process. For example, Nelio Content’s calendar makes it much easier to generate ideas to write about and plan for. You can also control the quality of each post and make sure that the category, tags, images, links etc. are not missing. And of course, the entire promotion can be automated. Another example: David recently told you how you can improve SEO with artificial intelligence.
Your mind should only focus on conveying a message to your readers, the one you want, and the way you want it. But above all (and don’t forget this) it’s important that you have a good time while preparing this wonderful content. This ends up being the key to the success of any blog.
And then there’s another reason. And this is when I return to what I said at the beginning about Michael Pristein’s study of the two types of popularity, the one that is achieved by being pleasant and empathetic people and the one that seeks a status to be able to influence others. Pristein’s results show that people who seek to be pleasant tend to end up being healthier, in better relationships, with a more satisfying job, and even live longer. By contrast, status seekers often end up anxious, depressed, and addicted. According to these studies, you shouldn’t be surprised when you read any news from a YouTuber, influencer, or celebrity who closes their account or website because they can no longer withstand the pressure that was supposed to generate content on it. Sad, don’t you think?
With your blog, something similar happens, if you don’t get obsessed with vanity metrics, you can still enjoy it every time you write a post on your blog. Sure, you might want to get more visitors faster (we all do), but a blog is a long-term project, so be patient , work on it, and visitors will eventually arrive.
Focus on your reader—they’ll appreciate who you are and what you do! 😊