How to Write a Better Blog Post Than Your Competitor
Creating content that attracts visitors to your website is an important part of your online marketing strategy. We hear that a lot, you may even be nodding along as you read this, but let’s take a closer look at why that is.
The way consumers make purchase decisions have changed over the last decade thanks to emerging communication technology. Both brands and their audiences now have ultimate control over their own social media channels where their voice is heard, and they can share their ideas and opinions. The time when media was the gatekeeper is over.
Search engine results are your friends (and your audience’s friends too)
According to Google, 90% of Millennials go online daily, and 55% of them search for information about the product before purchasing it. So the more people you drive to your website, the more leads you have.
This infographic by Digital Synopsis shows that the first organic result on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) gets 32.5% of the clicks whereas the second one gets 17.6% and the third result sees only 3.5%of the clicks. What is even more impressive is that the CTR (Click Through Rate) of the top 10 results collectively is 208%! Ergo visitors click the same link more than twice!
To guarantee your best chances for success, you must shoot for the moon and get the highest spot on the SERP. This is your chance to grab people's attention and convert visitors to leads and customers, and a great way to do this is to create attention-grabbing and engaging content.
The fine print of content marketing
It sounds like all you need to do is to write an article and you are done. Wrong.
Writing an article that ranks well on Google is difficult. Back in the days, before Google's Hummingbird update in 2013, people used all kinds of Black Hat tactics that allowed websites to rank well. But Google is clever enough now to identify these dodgy tricks and penalize those who try to manipulate the system.
Marketers soon realized that if they wanted to be visible, they needed to write quality content for users, thus catering to Google's primary goal of delivering the most valuable answers.
A new era started, and great articles started flooding in. The backlog of great information out there may make our life a bit more difficult, but it doesn't mean you can't beat your competition. If you are consistent and pay attention to the details, you will get out there and reach your target audience. I promise!
Follow this 8-step process to set yourself - and your article - up for success on the SERP!
Step 1: Find a topic that supports your marketing goals
Before you start writing any content, make sure the topic you choose aligns with your overall marketing strategy. Write articles that help your target audience to identify or solve their problems. Educate them.
Stalk your competitors' blogs for inspiration and learn what tactics they use. Analyze what topics they write about and how they structure their articles. This will give you an idea of a framework.
Use Q&A sites such as Quora and see what questions people are asking. This way you see how you could tailor your article to a specific problem.
Step 2: Do your research
Picked a great topic but you aren't an expert in the particular field? Don't underestimate the power of research. If you do it right, you can create a fantastic article, appealing to both your readers and Google.
Google the topic. You will get a bunch of articles that are good enough to make it to the SERP's first page. Google perceives them as the best possible result which means that you can learn from them.
You will come across Google's Snippet first which is often a How to article. The advantage of this type of content is that they are easy to screen. It's formatted to serve as quick help that is easy to digest.
Google also shows you what questions are asked. These questions refer to existing problems people want to solve. Use customer intent to create a truly useful piece of content.
Make a list of articles that performed well to analyze later.
Step 3: Study your competitors
Doing keyword research doesn't apply to just general keyword research. Copy paste the link of your competitors' articles into the SEMrush research tool to see what queries triggered a high ranking. Once you have a list of quality keywords you can build up a solid guideline for your blog post.
It will help you a lot in terms of optimization and efficiency if you create the main structure for your article first and fill out the gaps as you go. You can always add more thoughts to your original idea and this will simultaneously help beat the blank page effect.
Pay attention to the topics and the subheaders. They refer to important information and allow Google bots to understand the content of your article.
Write down every subheader your competitors use and run a deep research on each of them. This paves the way for you to “out-optimize” your competition.
Step 4: Write a longer article than your competitor
If your competitor wrote a 1000 words article write 1500 words. But make sure the additional 500 words is indeed relevant and useful. Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense to make the extra effort.
Google loves long content, as it sees it as an indication of a high level of topical authority.
If they write a list of 10 Ways to do something, write a list of 20. It will open new horizons for you and allow you to dig deeper into subtopics. Your blog post will contain more information and be more appealing to Google as well.
Step 5: Write more detailed content
The more detailed the article is the better. It will show a deeper level of expertise. And Google loves this kind of knowledge. Being an expert will increase trust and attract more people to link back to your website.
Sometimes your competitor mentions a niche word in passing, that could be totally unknown for a newbie. You can expand this topic a bit, and your readers will love that you didn't just assume they were familiar with the term.
Step 6: Create more up to date content
Using fresh statistics is key to accuracy. It's embarrassing when you point out trends that are actually recent history. This is especially true in the world of digital marketing, where the landscape changes so fast, that data from last year might be totally irrelevant now.
Once you provide accurate data, your returning customers will know they can trust you and keep coming back when looking for information.
Step 7: Be relevant
The headline and the subheader of your posts are promises. You promise to write about a certain topic which is an answer to someone else's prayers. You might come across articles where the writer's promise turns out to be a bunch of sweet nothings. Take advantage of their failure to deliver and create something better.
Google your subheaders and see what articles come up. Try to see how accurate the content is and what else you could add.
Step 8: Write to readers
I know, optimizing your article for Google seems to be the most important factor of your work. But, it doesn't matter if Google adores your content if your readers don't get what they want.
Use simple language and don't stuff your article with unnecessary words just for the sake of keyword optimization.
The Hemingway App is a great tool to measure whether your article is easy to read. It's especially useful for non-native English speakers.
9. Stalk your competitors' backlinks
Your website without backlinks is like an uninhabited island in the middle of the ocean. The Google spiders can't find it without backlinks, which act as their highways. The more backlinks you have from quality websites, the higher your domain authority becomes. It helps you rank better.
Use Ahrefs to find links pointing to your competitors' blog posts. Contact the website owners to see if you can get a backlink as well.
The final takeaway on content strategies
Overranking your competitors on the SERP can make a huge impact on your marketing efforts. It provides you visibility and makes your voice heard above the digital noise.
By analyzing your competitors`articles you can learn how to write an even better blog post. The most important aspect of your content creation is to provide valuable information that helps your target audience find the answers to their questions and builds your reputation as an expert in the field.
Don't forget to visit your articles to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts! There is always room for improvement.
Visitors might not convert right away because they are not ready to purchase but when they need you, don't worry, they will remember.