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Transcript of Preparing to Write a Blog Post – Finding Sources Video Tutorial

Hello everyone, my name is Pam Neely and we’re going to continue our path for content from idea through to a published email. At this point, we’re about to write the guest blog post. So lets dive right in.

I want to let you know that this is how I write blog posts. It does not have to be how you write blog posts. I just thought it would be really helpful if I showed you absolutely granular, step-by-step, every little bit of the way that I go through to write a blog post, get paid up to $300 per blog post. I try to earn that, so I put a lot of work into the blog posts I write.

For some of you, the level of detail and research that I go into to write a blog post will absolutely terrify you. You don’t have to be as thorough as I am if you don’t want to. Again, it’s your own process, you decide what level of quality in your content you can pull off. The other thing about blog posts is you need to balance quality with how many you can create. If you need to create one blog post a week to keep the traffic afloat and keep your content engine going, you’re not going to be able to write a blog post that takes you two days to finish. We have to compromise and we live in the real world. I wanted to show you exactly what I do. Just keep in mind, you do not have to go to these lengths to write a blog post.

I write different kinds of blog posts. Like it says, I write blog posts for my site, for client blogs, and for guest posts. I write a bit different for each one of those audiences or formats or for each one of those kinds of posts. My posts tend to be a bit more SEO optimized. Especially compared to posts for client sites or guest blog posts. In all honesty, there are some good SEO practices that, when I do them for guest blog posts or for client sites, that people don’t like and they take them out of my articles so I don’t do them. For example, I will tend to use quite a few outbound links in my own blog posts on my site. Again, clients and guest blog post sites often don’t like that. Sometimes the guest blog post sites will be cool with that but clients don’t like it.

I will overtly give people credit and often a link if I’m using a piece from their info-graphic or a stat they did or whatever. My clients almost universal will strip out those links, will even strip out reference to the client’s name every once in a while or they won’t post the image. So those are some other things that are really different. Also, my style, when I write on my website. There’s the voice, the kind of copy I write, is a little bit edgy. I write really short paragraphs sometimes, like a one sentence paragraph. I use slang words. My clients often don’t like that and some guest blog posts absolutely would not tolerate it and I wouldn’t do it.

Really the overall thing too is I have to fit the editorial policies and also the audience. Really, it’s all about the audience. My audience is a bit different than the guest blog post that I write for sometimes. It’s definitely different than the client site that I write from. There’s also editorial policies for a couple of my clients. One of them doesn’t want me to use any images that have numbers in them because it inhibits access to the content for people who are blind, which is completely legitimate, but given how I’m a statistics freak, it really cripples my articles to not be able to show graphs and charts and things like that because I love them. But that’s the terms of the client. Anything else is off the table.

That just gives you an idea of — different blog posts for different sites are very different. I think we’ve used that word enough, so lets move on. By the time I’m ready to start writing, as you know, we’ve gone through researching all the available topics, kind of honing in on one that A, I think it’s interesting. I think this audience would find it interesting that it hasn’t been written about. I’ll have done some keyword research to get a core couple key words that I want.

Then, frankly, after I’ve done the keyword research, including the competitive research, I will often set that aside while I’m writing. I really urge you to not over optimize. Google does not like it, you can get penalized. Even though the search engines are certainly important, really what you’re writing for is the audience. There are some very philosophical little conversations that occur among SEO gurus about which is more important, your audience or the search bots. Some people make a very legitimate case that it’s the search bots, not the audience because if you don’t make the search bots happy, you’re audience will never find you.

That used to be true. Now that we’ve got so much social media traffic, I think it doesn’t have as much weight as it used to. I write for audience. I certainly will use keywords because I come from the search engine mindset and I think they’re helpful too. But again, don’t over optimize. Use your keyword research, it’s important. Later in this process, we’re going to go back in and incorporate a little bit of the keyword research more, but not at this phase.

Again, you’ve heard me say audience, audience, audience. In real estate it’s location, location, location. In creating content it’s audience, audience, audience. I will be very focused on the audience I’m writing for. I will have developed a working headline. Again, it can change but we’ll see.

Take a look at where I’m at. This is my title. It is a working title. As you can see, it’s got small businesses — the audience I’m writing for is a, guess, is small businesses. Typically, for this audience, they are an even mix of ecommerce sites but also brick and mortar stores. So things shift a lot with them. I picked a number because, as you remember, numbers help a lot. It’s an odd number. Using numbers also is extremely viral and so I know that this will get more shares for this site if I use a number.

It will also help structure the article. Structure is good. For this audience, they really want “how to” stuff and medium level marketing ideas and strategies and things like that. they don’t really want opinion pieces They don’t want “thought leadership” is what some people have called it. I have actually submitted “thought leadership” blog posts to this site and I got them rejected because it’s just not something they’re interested in. So that gives you another example of what would get published on a client site versus on my site. I can do thought leadership on my site. Most of my clients, they don’t want it. Either I’m really rotten writing thought leadership or, frankly, they just want to keep it really simple because a lot of their readers are not super advanced marketers. Actually I think it’s the ladder.

Anyway, storytelling techniques. Lets take a look at some of the keyword research I did. As you can see it’s the small business storytelling, almost no searches. Nobody’s searching for that. What they are searching for is the storytelling techniques and that’s a fairly low competition keyword. That keyword has fairly low competition so that’s a good choice. Another reason I went with storytelling techniques is when I searched for “small business storytelling,” I got a ton of articles and we’ll talk about this in a moment. I really found the useful content was not about small business storytelling, it was under storytelling techniques.

So I’m kind of taking the core learning of storytelling techniques and applying it to the small business audience. That’s another thing that I do for this client and this audience is I take these really abstract, cutting edge marketing ideas and I bring them down to them and say, “this is how you can use this fancy new marketing idea in your business” in very specific ways. That’s where I deliver the most value to them, is how useful is it and can they really apply this in their business today? My articles do really well for them and I think that’s really what happens.

Before I start writing, I’ve also found three to nine articles about my topic and I’ve read them all carefully. Lets go back here so you can see, this is for small business storytelling. I’ve got a bunch of different tabs open. These are all the different articles I’ve found. I wrote on the Power Point slide, I will do anywhere from three to nine different articles that I use as background for the article I’m writing. Frankly, I can remember when I’ve used three and often, I use 12 or more. Especially if I’m not entirely familiar with the topic, I will read 20 different articles about it before I start writing.

I’m ready to actually write. I usually write in MS Word like it says on my site. I’ll write into word pressing and save drafts. Here we are, we’re at the very beginning. We’re basically at the dreaded blank page. In the next video I will address to you how I overcome the dreaded white wall of the blank page.

I hope all that was helpful and I will talk to you in the next video. Take care.