Blogging is a cornerstone of content marketing.
The content on your blog can cement or mar your reputation, so the stakes are high. Though the desire to hit the submit button immediately after drafting a post is often strong—particularly when you are trying to meet a tight deadline—you’ll do better by taking time to breathe and reflect before sharing your ideas with the world.
Consider these 10 questions before publishing a post:
1. Does the post have a clear message?
What is the central idea of your article? Do you say everything you need to say in a concise, clear, and easy to follow way? While writing, you might veer off topic. As a result, somewhere down the line, the content becomes irrelevant. Budget time for editing after your draft is done.
2. Are you speaking to a specific target audience?
Each blog post you write does not have to apply to your entire audience. Content should speak to specific segments. The tone of the content should also match your brand’s media or social voice, depending on where your content will be distributed.
3. Is the post built around relevant keywords?
Each piece of content that you write for the online media should focus on a couple of keywords to support search engine rankings. The keywords should be skillfully woven into the text such that they reinforce the subject matter of your article. Use SEO best practices and ensure the keywords are used at strategic points such as the title, paragraph headings, and the body of the article.
4. Are there links?
Interested in love from Google, Bing, etc? Link to other content you have created. Search engines will love it, and these links can help drive traffic to your website.
5. How’s the headline?
This is the Internet. Potential readers decide whether to consume your content based on the headline you have provided. If it catches their attention, they will, in all probability, read through your piece. Titles should grab attention and summarize the piece.
6. Is there an image?
It may sound clichéd, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Visual content helps you grab readers. I’ll go out on a limb and say you should avoid using bland stock photography. Make sure keywords show up in your image alt-text.
7. Is the content formatted for the Web?
Format content in a way that facilitates reading. Make content easy to scan so that your audience can read it via any device including tablets and smartphones. This means section headers, numbers, bullet points, and bolding.
8. Have you had a good look at the copy?
This one is self-explanatory, but it is sometimes damn hard to find the time.
[RELATED: Learn to write smarter at our PR Writers Summit.]
9. Is there a call to action?
Each piece of content that you create should include a call to action—for example, visit your site for more information or purchase the product you have described, sign up for a newsletter, etc. Ensure that your article clearly directs reader to take the next step.
10. Is the content crafted in a way that will engage readers?
You want readers to share your stuff, right? To take the conversation forward, include questions for readers to address. Also, make sure your blog has buttons that enable readers to share posts.
A version of this story originally appeared on Proper Propaganda's agency blog.