The Definitive Guide for Writing Great Blogs
The world is full of people who have something to say, but few are equipped to elegantly put their feelings into words. Almost daily, I meet someone who’s baffled at the fact that there are people who genuinely love writing and make money doing so.
Writers are tortured by poorly written Facebook posts, but delighted at the opportunity to write for the companies who can’t (or don’t want to) handle their copywriting internally.
So you’ve nailed the pitch, landed that new client to write for, and it’s time to get to work. I know you’re probably ready to crack open your MacBook and get to writing, but let’s pump the brakes and first establish a plan. Following this guide will help you knock each and every project out of the park.
For freelance writers, nailing down a process helps minimize the time spent on each project, which effectively helps freelancers make more money in the long run if charging per project. Using tools like Trello to stay organized, Google Docs to collaborate and get stuff done and Grammarly to keep your work mistake-free will streamline your whole process from initial pitch to delivery.
Depending on who you’re writing for,, you’ll typically spend as much time researching as you will writing. When you land a new client in a new industry, spend an hour or so just looking at what your client’s competitors are doing on their blogs, social media and website copy. This will help you start to log article ideas, pick up on lingo and verbiage, and establish a voice that lands with the desired audience. This will also help you find where you can diversify! Writers don’t always get to write blogs about things they’re genuinely passionate about, so getting a feel for the space in which you’re contributing to the conversation is a must-do first step.
Once you’ve got a feel for how your readers talk, you’ll be able to better write in a way that will speak directly to them, and logging ideas for future articles will help save time when it comes to brainstorming topics or setting a content calendar.
When it comes to the length of each article, don’t stress over it until later in the writing process. Writing content that is genuinely helpful is the first and foremost goal. You can always go back and add more info, include key search terms and expound on certain points. Oftentimes creating content for your website can feel a lot like yelling in a loud room. So, cut through the noise by creating helpful content, then add to the searchability later to add credibility to your operation and keep your content genuinely helpful to its readers.
To keep your content generally searchable, Yoast SEO suggests keeping each article over 300 words. Supplementary research has been done, showing that articles that rank towards the top of the first page of Google are typically closer to the range of 750 words, which naturally garner more shares and backlinks.
A post under 300 words is generally not even worth writing or publishing unless you’re Seth Godin. It’s simply not long enough to state a point and contribute to a conversation and doesn’t have enough content for Google to rank it credible enough for the first page. Sure, someone who lands on a 1000 word article might not read every single word, but Google will rank that post higher, meaning more people are likely to land on your website.
Backlinking is a huge component of blogging and SEO strategy. For backlinks, include at least two internal and two external links per article, because that’s what the Google Gods of SEO recommend (not really, but a lot to more to explain about internal and external linking than this post can handle).
Internal and external linking is dually helpful because external links increase the chance of getting your content shared by the publications you backlink, and internal links keep website visitors around a little longer. Not to mention, it will give you an opportunity to boost traffic to other internal pages on your site.
Inevitably, clients will begin to consider the ROI on money they spend paying you to write. The return on investment will determine marketing success, benchmarked by increased site traffic, increased number of conversions or hitting a required KPI.
Top performing blogs focus on educating rather than selling. Instead of spending hundreds of words describing why you are amazing or better than a competitor, write about topics that generally point towards your client’s products and services or inform the audience about something that is on-brand. The best content marketing aims to educate its reader without the expectation of converting to a sale right on the spot.
For example, Instagram could write an article and title it “Download Instagram and Start Taking Beautiful Photos.” That type of article is more advertorial than a blog post to boost credibility, shareability and searchability. Instead, Instagram could write an article titled, “How to Take Beautiful Photos (Even If You Suck at Photography)” and walk people through the simplest steps to take photos on their phones. They can then embedsome links to their product pages within the content or add a call to action to the post to drive conversion. The key is educating and providing useful information first and foremost.
Another example:, Hutch Modern could write an article about a new line of leather couches they just got in stock, but they’d be better off writing a blog about current furniture trends or how to bring together a living room. Then they could include backlinks to their leather couches, and just like that, they’ve nailed two birds with one stone.
Content marketing is a key component an integrated marketing strategy, and it is the single best way to bolster your organic website traffic. Writing blogs for your company or for clients is a long-game, brand awareness (or “top-of-funnel”) approach to gain more traction and ultimately help everyone involved make more money. Implementing a solid strategy for freelance writing will help you cement your process, which will allow you to take on more jobs, charge more and perfect your craft of creating stellar content.
What are some content marketing best practices for freelance writers that you’ve found? We’d love to keep the conversation rolling in the comments below!