You have done your content plan and keyword research. You or your writer has written the first piece of mind blowing content and you are about to publish it. Wait, before you hit that publish button, here are 5 things you need to make sure you have done before you share your piece with the world.
SPELL CHECK AND EDIT
Especially with long content pieces, it is important to have more than one set of eyes to look at it before it gets pushed out. If you are the writer, you will often skip errors in your head when you look through it. More eyes are always better.
Other people can also have suggestions and points of view that differ from yours and can help you better tailor your message and tone to your target persona. Also, if you are an expert in a field you are writing about, you probably tend to make a lot of assumptions about terminology, knowledge, and lingo. This is great if you are targeting other professionals in your field. However, if you are targeting people who only have a general knowledge of your field or are complete beginners, you need to explain your content in a simpler, more accessible way.
A tip here is to use clear metaphors to simplify complex ideas for the beginner. Metaphors that are well thought out, logical, and relatable go a long way into making people understand what you are talking about.
Also, think about what the purpose of the piece is. Sometimes, you may start writing and suddenly you have a ten page deep dive on ball bearings for industrial purposes. When this happens, take a look at your post and see if you can split it into multiple content pieces. It is completely okay for you to have two similar articles on a similar topic but having different levels of detail. Think of it as one content piece written twice, each one for a different persona.
DO YOUR SEO
There is not enough space in this article to go through all of the steps for good SEO, but there are some steps that often get forgotten:
Image alt tags : Make sure any images in your post have alt tags so search engines and people with slow connections can get a glimpse of what the image is about.
Keyword first : Try to put the target keyword at the beginning of your page title, but only if it seems natural!
URLs : Keep them simple and as short as possible, and make sure they contain your keyword.
TRACK TRACK TRACK
Make sure you are tracking how people interact with your content, whether through Google Analytics or your preferred tracking tool. Without collecting data, there is nothing to go off of when figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Hubspot can track how many people visit, how many of them click your CTA, how many people engaged with your post when shared on social media, and a few other important statistics. Google Analytics can also tell you the average time a visitor spends on your page, the bounce rate, and other more granular details. If you want to be hardcore, you can even get a web page heatmap tool like Inspectlet or Mouseflow and you can see exactly where their cursors go when browsing your site. This information can help you optimize landing page layouts and see how your web page elements affect people’s browsing behaviour.
In short, what you want to track is up to you, but the worst thing you can do is to track nothing. Without data, you cannot optimize.
Rewrite Your Title
They say that 50% of your time writing a blog post or article should be spent on the title. If you have been following our strategy in developing topics for content, you will have a lot of great topics. However, the topics do not always make good titles.
If you intend the content to get a lot of shares on social media, titles beginning with “How to..” or “The top X ways/things/etc.” are great for catching people's’ eyes. Think about the kind of titles we see on tabloids and magazines as we queue up for the cash register at the shop. We know the content is most likely trash, but we can’t help but scanning the headlines. That is the kind of headline you want to have, with great content attached of course.
If you intend the blog page to rank for a keyword in Google, try to rework the title to be shorter, and include multiple keywords you are targeting. The difficult part here is that it still has to be eye catching, but it also has to sound natural. The reason you want it on the shorter side is that search engines will truncate longer titles. Keeping it around 70 characters is a good idea. Also, really long blog titles makes it really hard to tweet them!
Using strong language is also a good way of catching people’s attention. Words like “nice” and “cool” are, well, cool, but what about “brilliant”? What sounds better, 10 Cool Ideas or 10 Killer Ideas? powerful language adds much more emotional impact when people read the headlines.
The final thing when contemplating your headline, is to make sure it is accurate and valuable. You do not want to mislead people when they click on your link. That is a surefire ticket to bounceville. You also want to demonstrate value by giving people a clear but important reason to visit your post.
It sounds like a lot, and it is not easy. It can take a long time to come up with a great title, but practice practice practice.
Check All Tag Types
Finally, do not forget to check your tags. I mean all the tags. Meta tags, alt tags, meta descriptions. Make sure your post has a meta description that helps sell the content and includes at least one natural sounding long tail keyword. Remember that in SERPs, your meta description is one last chance to sell your content to people. Search engines also bold the search terms in a page’s meta description when displaying the links on the SERP.
Another possible tag that you will need is the canonical tag. This tells search engines that this particular page or post is the original and to index it. The reasons for this is that if you need to duplicate content on your site, the search engines know which one is the original copy and to ignore the other. It allows search engines to link to the authoritative source of this content.
And as mentioned previously, make sure you have alt-tags on all your images!
And there you go! Follow these steps and you are sure that your first piece of content, that you have worked so many hours on, is ready to go. You don't want to be one of those people who spend hours working on something that no one will see, do you? Keep these five things in mind to ensure that your content is the best it can be.
Ready to launch a campaign around your blog post?