Skip to content

Writing blogs

Why read this? : We explore the business value of writing blogs. Learn how to find out what interests your audience and how to start blogging about it. We also share how to plan a blog post, and how to make your writing more readable and searchable. Read this to learn how writing blogs boosts your brand’s impact online. 

Writing blogs

How this guide raises your game :-

1. Learn how blogging fits into your marketing activities.

2. Where to access online research tools to generate ideas and keywords.

3. Practical tips to improve a blog’s readability and search performance. 

A blog is a regularly updated part of a website to share thoughts, ideas, news and activities.

It informally keeps your audience up-to-date with what’s going on with your brand. This can be on a third-party blogging website or your own website.

You need good writing skills and habits to blog. For example, being able to able to write regular, relevant and interesting content, using tools and processes like keyword research and readability testing. Plus, be able to use SEO so customers can find your content. 

However, let’s start with why you’d consider writing blogs in the first place. 

Laptop, coffee cup, notebook and phone on a desk ready to write blog

Ready to test your knowledge?

What’s your starting level of knowledge about writing blogs?

Take the 2 minute, 5 question Three-Brains writing blogs quiz and see how much you know about writing blogs already.

Writing blogs and marketing impact

Many bloggers see blogging as a passion project. They write about topics they love. Their audience is people who share the same love for that topic. 

There’s an element of that in writing a business blog. However, there are also marketing benefits to blogging. After all, you invest time and money to create content and keep it up to date. You want some sort of return for that investment.

The marketing benefits are usually about :-

  • customer engagement.
  • brand identity.
  • connections with other brand activation.

Customer engagement

Blogs help you meet customer needs at specific parts of the customer journey.

It helps customers engage with your brand through longer-form content and the ability to comment and ask questions. Usually, the longer an interaction with a customer, the more engaged they become. 

In the brand choice funnel, this engagement is usually seen as a way to drive brand consideration.

Customers are more likely to consider buying brands they actively engage with. And blogs are a way to drive that level of engagement. 

The brand choice funnel - trust - aware - consider - trial - loyalty - repeat purchase

Brand identity

Writing blogs also gives you an extra place to bring your brand identity to life.

The content itself becomes a tangible asset and part of your overall marketing mix. It’s a way for you to communicate with customers. 

But the topics you cover, and the way you write your blog, also help bring your more intangible brand assets to life.

You can use your blog to show how you live your brand purpose and values, for example. The tone of voice in your writing can bring your brand’s personality to life. 

It becomes a brand asset, a place where customers feel they can connect with your brand.

Brand identity asset classification examples

Connections with other brand activation

You can also use writing blogs as a way to deliver specific marketing communication objectives. For example, to land a specific message, or build a perception of being an expert in your field. 

It’s also a good place to improve the quality of your website experience, and it’s good for SEO if you can add relevant links. Good blog writing should also include a call to action which shows the reader where to go next. (e.g. learn more, contact us, make an appointment and so on). 

Check out our benefits of blogging article for more on these. 

Start with what interests your audience

Blogs need an audience. Someone has to read them for them to be of value. When writing business blogs, that means customers or potential customers. Your qualitative or quantitative research may already have given you some idea of themes and topics which will interest your target audience.

But if not, there are some simple ways to work out what will interest customers. You can use secondary research tools like keyword research to find topical and relevant topics. This gives your blog writing a focus because you’re writing about what your audience is searching for. It’s usually trying to answer a specific question or solve a specific problem. Writing about those in your blog means your content will be more relevant and more likely to be read. 

Research tools

Our secondary research guide has a full run down on research tools you can use, but we’ll touch on some of the most commonly used ones in writing blogs here :-

  • Google Autocomplete.
  • Google Trends.
  • Google Ads.
  • Answer the public.

Google Autocomplete 

First, Google Autocomplete. If you know a broad topic which interests your audience, it shows you the 9 most commonly related search terms for that topic.

So imagine, you want to blog about “writing blogs”, like in this example. 

We can see from the related terms which appear, more specific ideas for topics around writing blogs.

For example, writing blogs for SEO shows there’s interest in how blogs and search work together. Writing blogs websites shows there’s interest in how blogs and websites work together. 

Writing blogs - screengrab of Google Autocomplete for writing blogs

Google Trends

Google Trends is another tool you can use to explore a topic and find related topics based on how people search.

It also lets you identify the relative popularity of topics based on the amount of searches on that topic. 

It’s a surprisingly flexible tool. You can adjust the countries and timeframes you look at, and analyse the relative trends of 5 topics at a time. 

It also helps you identify topics which are increasing in interest over time. Writing about those sorts of topics usually leads to reaching a wider audience in the long run. Clearly, that’s a good thing for your blog and your brand.

Writing blogs - Google Trend research on baking example

In this example, we looked at search trends on “baking”. We already know interest in baking went up when COVID-19 lockdowns were in place. And if our business involved baking, we’d use a blog to write content based on what people searched for around baking topics. For example, there are specific recipes like Anzac biscuits and blueberry muffins we’d want to make sure we covered in our baking blog. (See also our finding consumer needs through trending searches article for more on this).

Google Ads

The final Google tool that helps with writing blogs is the Google Ads Keyword research tool. This works on the same premise as Autocomplete and Trends. It shows data related to the search volumes on specific topics but focuses on paid search. 

To access it, you need to create a Google Ads account. But once you set it up, it’s free to use. And it gives much more specific volumes on the number of searches. More importantly, it also suggests other keyword search terms related to your initial search. (See our secondary research guide and keyword research article for more on researching with Google Ads).

Answer the public

A final free online research tool you can use is answerthepublic.com. Here, you put in topics and the site finds the most asked questions online about that particular topic. 

These questions normally start with “what’, “where”, “when”, “why” or “how”. Again, this gives you ideas about topics to write about which people are searching online for. It’s similar to Google Autocomplete but gives you a wider range of options. 

Where you’ll blog and how to set it up

Our website planning guide talks about how blogging is often the first way new brands create an online presence.

This is because of sites like WordPress, Wix and Blogger. These are dedicated blogging platforms where anyone can create a blog in a matter of minutes for free. For anyone who wants to start writing blogs, they’re a fast and low-risk way to get started.

However, there’s a limit to how much you can do with them. They’re all template-based. So, you’re limited to the styles and layouts they offer. You can make some adjustments to design areas like colours and typography. But you have less flexibility than you would with your own website.

Though you can name your blog, because it’ll be on their platform, you won’t be able to have your own URL. Your blog will be yourblogname@bloggingplatform.com. For new bloggers, this may be OK. But if you want to build a brand online, ideally, you want your own URL. 

Also, you’ll have very limited access to data and analytics for your blog. You’ll be able to see high-level statistics on how your blog performs. But you won’t have the full flexibility something like Google Analytics offers.

You’ll also have no real ability to add any extra functionality to the site. For example, you won’t be able to adjust the HTML code or add interactive plug-ins to make the site more interesting. 

So, while most people start writing blogs on a third-party platform, most people eventually move their blogging activities to their own website. 

Blogging on your own website

This approach gives you more flexibility on how to set up and integrate the blog with your marketing activities.

With the blog on your own website, you can change the design, layout, colours and typography as you want. You can see much more detailed data and analysis of how your blog performs. 

And there are a load of extra tools you can add to your blog when it sits on your own website.

You can have tools which improve the customer experience, such as the quizzes we have on our site, like the one at the top of this page

Screengrab of Three-brains home page - headline says "Ready to raise your game? Outthink, outplay and outgrow competitors with three-brains"

You can also use tools which help behind the scenes of your website. For example, tools to improve your SEO set-up, moderate comments, and help protect the blog from spam attacks.

When you set up your website with a platform like WordPress, you have the maximum flexibility to tailor and style your blog as you want it to look and operate. And you get all the extra benefits and functionality of a fully owned website.

Plan your blog post structure 

Once you’ve worked out the topic you want to blog about, based on what’s interesting to the target audience, and worked out where you’ll blog, it’s time to write your first blog post. 

It helps to have some idea of the structure, particularly how you’ll cover the :-

  • Headline.
  • Opening paragraph.
  • Middle section.
  • Close of the blog. 

Headline

The headline is the first thing customers read on your post. It’s usually what Search engines pick up on and display. A headline which stands out on a search page can be the difference between people reading your blog or not.

Think carefully about the words in your headline. You need enough familiar words so the reader understands what the blog post is about. But you also need words which make it stand out from other headlines about the same topic.

Words which sound emotional or are unusual work well in headlines. You also want headlines long enough to capture people’s attention in searches. But not so long that they don’t read them. For example, Yoast suggests around 55 characters and 6 words is the ideal for a headline.

The opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph should encourage the reader to want to read more of the post. It should give a flavour of what the content will be. In our blog posts, we always include a “Why read this” intro. A short paragraph which sums up the intent of the post. This snapshot includes keywords to help the SEO for the post. It’s also what appears on our blog summary page.

The middle - 3 key points

In the middle section, you cover the main points which relate to the topic. As a rule of thumb, 3 messages per topic is usually about right. However, this can vary depending on the topic and your objective. 

As per our market research storytelling article, 3 is often used to help structure messages and stories. It’s easier for audiences to process and remember. And from a word count point of view, 3 main messages usually get you to about the right number of words for a blog post. 

Close the blog post well

Good blog writing also has a strong finish. You should always have a call to action like in your advertising copy. You want the reader to think, feel or do something differently.

In advertising copy, the call to action tends to focus on “do” something. Click a link. Visit a store. Buy a product. 

Blog posts can and should do this sometimes too. But remember the point of blog posts is usually to drive consideration and engagement. If every post is just to drive a sale, that may put the target audience off. Don’t overdo the selling message in your blog.

You can also have your call to action be more “think” or “feel” to build a more positive impression of your brand. That you have something to offer in your blog writing which your audience will value. Information they didn’t know. A point of view about a subject they hadn’t considered before. Or just stories, anecdotes or ideas which entertain and educate. 

The close will be the last thing the reader reads. It’s the part most likely to be remembered. Think about what you want them to remember from the blog post. Do you summarise the key points you made? Or do you focus on the one biggest point you want them to remember? You should think about the blog’s goal and work on making the close as actionable and memorable as you can.

Make your writing more readable

As well as having a strong headline, and a solid beginning, middle and end structure, there are other writing practices you can use to make your content more readable

Sub-headlines

When writing blogs, you should also consider how you use sub-headlines.

Sub-headlines help your blog in 2 ways. They make it easier for the reader to understand the writing. Readers can scan the sub-headlines to get an idea of the overall structure of the blog post. 

Woman wearing a grey sweatshirt and looking at her phone in a dark room

They also help with SEO. Sub-headlines are highlighted as headings to search bots, rather than paragraph body copy. See our SEO writing guide for more details on these heading classifications. (H2 and H3 primarily).

From a reading point of view, sub-headlines in a blog post also help to break up long paragraphs of text. Long paragraphs can be off-putting to read. Sub-headlines create white space and break up paragraphs and sections. They can make it more likely the reader will read the whole post.

Paragraph lengths

Though less directly impactful on SEO ranking, you should also consider paragraph length as a way to make your blog post more readable.

Paragraphs are blocks of text covering a single point or topic. But when you write long paragraphs, they can be visually challenging to plough through for the reader.

Each time you start a new paragraph, you signal you’ve moved on to the next point, and that the previous point is ‘closed’. This is easier to read as you don’t have to hold on to the information from before.

But with a long paragraph, the reader has to try and hold all the information to get to the point. That’s harder to read. 

Blogs in general are quite informal. Remember, reading text on a screen is more tiring than reading printed text. You want to do everything you can to make it easier for the reader to focus on the topic content. And less on the how the content has been laid out.

Active and passive voice

When writing blogs, make sure your writing is clear and concise. One of the key ways to do this is to use the active voice where possible, rather than the passive voice. 

Active voice follows the order subject-verb-object. The subject does something to an object. I read this blog for example is an active voice sentence. I (subject) read (verb) this blog (object).

Compare this to the passive voice. The passive voice follows the order object-verb-subject where the object has something done to it. This blog is read by me for example is a passive voice sentence. This blog (object) is read (verb) by me (subject).

The active voice is much more readable. It uses fewer words and is more ‘obvious’ to process than the passive voice. It also sounds more confident and authoritative. 

The brain has to work harder to join up the concepts with the passive voice. It’s not that you should never use it. But only use it by exception and where it makes sense. And be aware, that overusing it makes your writing more tiring to read. 

Clear, concise and compelling writing

Writing in the active voice improves readability. But it’s only one of the tools you can use to make your writing clear, concise and compelling.

If you’ve done your keyword research properly, and have a clear picture of the target audience and what they need, write in a style which will feel relevant to them.

Imagine you’re having a conversation with them. Aim to get that down on paper or on screen. Make the tone conversational, like you’re talking directly with the reader.

It helps to talk your sentences out loud when you write. This helps you feel if they sound natural. 

Two people sitting at a table with coffee cups in front of them having a conversation

For example, why not stop and ask an open-ended question to make the reader pause and think? What about including a relevant example or story to back up your point?

It’s easy when writing to lapse into more complicated language and technical jargon. Unless it’s a very specialist piece of writing though, that style of writing doesn’t work for most readers. If you can get your point across with simpler words, with shorter sentences and in a more conversational way, that creates a better impact for your blog writing.

Make it interesting

When writing blogs, remember there’s plenty of competition out there. Other blog writers writing about your topic. What extra can you add to make it interesting or different? How will you stand out from the crowd?

Maybe it’s a fact or an observation you think the reader won’t know. Maybe you have a good story or anecdote from your own experience you can share.

In writing blogs, you’re bringing to life your brand identity – your essence, values and personality. So, think about what you can write that demonstrates those.

Young woman on train station platform looking at her mobile phone

Consider lists

When you look at other blogs, you soon see lists are a very popular way of creating blog content.

The Top 10 ways to bake a cake at home. 50 ways to improve your website. 1,000 best ways to set up your own business.

We can’t argue with the popularity, but our build would be to think about the context of how someone might use the list. When you do lists, can you include the list as a separate PDF or download the reader can access, for example? You can see we include some lists in our resources guide and we try to link blog posts and resources together when we can.

Boost the searchability of your blog post

Beyond the writing of the blog post itself, consider how you can use your writing to boost the chances of your post appearing in searches. For blogs, there are 3 key search areas to consider with every post. 

SEO metadata

If you run your blog post on your own website, such as with WordPress, you’ll be able to input and edit the metadata.

This is information which sits behind the writing that tells Google what the page is about. For example, this includes the page title, URL and a short page description that will appear in the search, called a snippet. 

With WordPress, you’ll also have access to tools like Yoast which runs an automatic SEO check of your post. The tool makes suggestions based on best practice for SEO. 

For example, the tool can tell you if you’ve used a keyword too much or not enough.

Writing blogs - Yoast SEO check

It can tell you if the keyword appears in the right places – such as in the sub-headlines and the opening paragraph – to make it easier for the post to be found. You can also see if you’ve enough links and if you’ve set up the URL and title well enough to be search-friendly.

Include links

As you write, you should also consider what links you could include in the writing. Links can either be internal to the website or external to another website. 

These internal links might be to other blog posts you’ve written, to resources the reader can access or to other relevant pages within your site. For example, if you look at our blog posts, almost all link back to a hero content page with more formal coverage of the topic under discussion. 

External links are also helpful from a search point of view, as they help link the post to other relevant content about that topic. They help the reader by taking them to relevant and additional content. These links should feel natural and make sense in the context of where they appear. Try to build the links into the natural flow of how you write. 

Links are also helpful in that they make sure the post connects to other parts of the site. A blog post with no links potentially becomes a ‘dead end’ with nowhere else to go. Avoid this. It’s always better to offer the reader options of where they can go next through well-chosen links. 

There’s no hard and fast rule about how many links to include. You want to include enough that it’s genuinely helpful to the reader. But you don’t want to include so many that Google thinks your page is only there for link-building purposes. It causes a lot of discussion on SEO writing forums and threads. But as a rule of thumb, between 2 and 7 links per 1,000 words is usually about right. 

Consider use of images

Another way you can also boost the quality of your blog post is with images. While not strictly “writing blogs”, images help to break up the text.

Content is chunked (see our design psychology article for more on chunking), making it easier for readers to process and remember.

Images can also help with SEO. The image might also get picked up in searches as well as the blog post itself. 

There are many ways to source images for your blog. We cover some of these like unsplash and pexels in our photography for marketing guide. 

Woman holding camera showing photography for marketing skills

Add comments and feedback links

As the marketing objective is to drive consideration and engagement, most blogging pages allow the reader to comment and give feedback on the post. This lets other people who read the post see what other readers thought.

It usually requires some form of moderation and anti-spam software like akismet or anti-spam bee, so you can control what appears. Blog posts do seem to be prone to spammers and people posting inappropriate comments, so these are good precautions to take.

Blog posts that generate a lot of comments will tend to rank higher in search too.

Now go write the blog

Clearly there’s a lot to consider when you start writing blogs. For example, the target audience, the audience need and what you want it to do for your brand identity. Then there’s all the set-up of where the blog sits, and how you’ll organise and structure the content.

But, we’re not quite done yet. Because we need to cover how you actually write the blog itself and publish it. And then also, how you get into the habit of writing blogs regularly. 

The first draft

For the actual process of writing blogs, once you’ve done your research and planned your structure, then you just have to start writing.

Sometimes, the research will have inspired you and the words will flow naturally. But sometimes, you just have to grind out the words in your head at the time. 

The key is to get as much down as you can before you run out of creative energy. Some blog writers prefer to write in one continuous stream. Others prefer writing in short bursts. 

Aim to find what works for you. 

You should have a rough target number of words for how long the post needs to be. There’s no golden rule that says a blog post has to be a certain length.

But posts under 300 words won’t do well in search. You need a minimum of 300 words. Usually, you aim for more like 1,500-2,000 words when writing blogs. 

When we were doing our own research on this topic, for example, we came across this study on medium.

It proposes 7 minutes as the ‘best’ time it should take a reader to read your article. Most people read 200 to 300 words per minute, so 1,500 to 2,000 words mostly falls within this 7 minute window. 

Woman writing at old desk

Editing

Once you have your first draft done, you should set aside time to edit it. Editing is when you check your writing for accuracy and readability.

Accuracy covers key areas like spelling, grammar and checking links work. In editing, you also check you can back up facts and claims with evidence and credible sources.

Readability is where you go back and check the “flow” of the blog post. Do the points you make follow a natural order that’ll makes sense to the reader? How is your sentence and paragraph structure to read? Have you used simple, clear words to make your point?

You can self-edit or have someone else do it for you. Having someone else do it for you gives you a fresh perspective on the content. They’ll often spot things which you as the writer may have overlooked. See our business writing and be a better writer guides for more on editing.

Nonetheless, before you publish the post, you should proofread and check the post one last time to make sure there are no obvious errors. Think about the timing of when you need to publish the post. Does it need to be published right away? Or can you leave it and come back and read it fresh in a day or two?

Unless it’s highly topical content, most blog posts benefit from sitting for a day or two to be tightened up before publishing.

Blog calendar

You should also start the habit of building a schedule for your content.

Set aside a specific time when you write your blog and a regular time to publish, for example.  

You should consider how often you’ll blog. Daily blogging would be a lot of work, so weekly or slightly less regularly is more common.

Aim to set up a content calendar where you know the topics, headlines and key points you’ll write about in the next few weeks.

Calendar

With our blog, we usually have the next 6-8 weeks of topics planned out.

As you research topics, keep a note of related topics from tools like Google Autocomplete and Google Trends, so you always have a list of ideas to choose from.

Blog promotion

Finally, think about how you make your audience aware of your blog. This promotion of your blog is usually through digital media channels and on your website. For example, you can publish short summaries of the post on your social media channel. You want to tempt people to come and read the full article. We do this on LinkedIn, for example.

You should also make sure the blog content is easy to find and visible on your website.

Make sure there’s a clear link from the home page and in the main navigation bar. Think about how to lay out the blog posts and how to make them easier to search internally on your website.

Our blog posts are organised by categories and tags, for example. These make it easier for readers to find posts related to specific topics.

If you have a CRM system, you can include summaries from your blog posts on outbound e-mails if they’re relevant to the needs of specific audiences.

Blog tag word cloud from the three-brains blog main page

Blog analysis

As part of your digital insight gathering, check regularly how your posts perform via Google Analytics.

Do certain topics get more visitors? And do certain topics perform better when it comes to bounce rates, clicks and time spent on page?

These insights about how people read your blog posts can give you ideas on how to improve future blog posts. 

Look at your best-performing posts.

Try to work out why they work better than others. Apply these insights to future posts to continue to raise your blogging game. 

Conclusion - Writing blogs

Our blog is part of our overall digital marketing strategy. It’s designed to share interesting thoughts, ideas and experiences around marketing, creative and e-Commerce topics. We’ve taken the key ideas of what works and what doesn’t and shared them with you in this guide. 

For us, writing blogs for your brand is a great way to drive engagement. It’s also a great way to practice and show off your writing skills, as it takes time and commitment to post regular content. 

Our final lesson is to remember that it’s a much more informal way to engage with your target audience than other digital media channels. So, you should stress less about making your blog content perfect. Focus more on getting something interesting out to your audience. 

Keep practising and posting and you’ll find the quality of what you write improves over time. 

Three-Brains and Business Writing

We have a lot of experience and expertise in blogs and business writing. From creating and commissioning writing to editing and refining it to deliver on marketing and e-Commerce objectives. Get in touch to learn how our coaching and consulting services can help you raise your business writing game. 

Latest writing posts