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Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

How to Make a Graphic-Text Mash-up to Promote Blog Content on Facebook

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How to Make a Graphic-Text Mash-up to Promote Blog Content on Facebook was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

I’m in a few Google+ groups focused on SEO, social media and content marketing. The question of what stock photo service to use and where to get free images has come up a couple times. It got me thinking about the process I use to find, modify and use images in my day-to-day.

As a community manager and a blogger, I have 2 main needs for images:

  1. Including them in BCI blog posts to break up text and add visual interest
  2. Posting images to social media to share blog and other BCI content

What you’ll know by the end of reading this is:

  • Where I get images, both free and paid services
  • How to make a graphic-text mash-up using Google Drive that will get noticed in the midst of noisy Facebook, Twitter and Google+ streams


Free Images and Paid Stock Photo Services

The stock photo site I use is because the price is right and the selection passes muster. If you use advanced search to set the price slider bar to the lowest setting, you’ll find images available for 1 credit in the extra small size. Extra small is usually around 480 px by 320 px, which is fine for both my purposes (blog posts and social media posts).

panda on Dreamstime stock photo service

Credits will run you $ 1.36 if you buy the smallest credit package to about $ 1 if you buy 120 credits at a time; 250+ credit packages save you even more cents.

Other Stock Photo Services

I checked out some stock photo site comparisons to get an idea of what else is out there and how they stack up. In 6 Stock Photography Services Compared I learned that Stock.xchng is the most popular free stock photo library, yet it has a limited selection. Among the most popular paid services, iStockphoto has the most massive library and Getty Images has a complicated pricing and licensing scheme.

Getting Images for Free Online

As long as you’re not looking for high-res or print quality images, you’ve got good free options online.

Creative Commons

When using images with Creative Commons licenses, the attribution requirement adds a hurdle to the graphic mash-up use for images I describe later since it adds another element to what must be included in the graphic. But, CC images are great for blog posts.

panda on flickr

This panda image has a Creative Commons license that requires attribution. Flickr makes it easy to post the image to your blog by copying code that includes the required attribution.

For a long time, I used Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr that allow commercial use and derivatives. For use in blog posts, Flickr makes it easy to use Creative Commons licensed images, and the “share” function gives you HTML code including the required attribution. The Creative Commons site search includes Flickr, Google Images, Open Clip Art Library and Pixabay for images, and a number of media and music sources as well.

Author Elizabeth Jolley and (younger) sister Madelaine Winifred in the garden, 1927

This image was found in The Commons using Flickr search. It was taken in 1927 and is part of the State Library of New South Wales collection.

You can also search Wikimedia‘s library of free images, a collection with Creative Commons copyrights, free documentation licenses or no copyright.

For free images you can also search, a search engine for free photos across a number of sources and including a variety of license types.

Public Domain

You can also search Flickr’s collection The Commons, images that have passed into the public domain and belong to everyone, mostly due to their being old. You’ll find awesome vintage photos, advertising, illustrations and art that have passed into public use and can give modern blog and social posts refreshing classic flare. Since they don’t have copyright or licensing requirements, you can use public domain images for the graphic mash-up use which we get into next!


The Graphic Text Mash-up Promo

This is my little trick for sharing blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to get a little more attention than straight text updates.

As you may have noticed, recent layout updates to Facebook and Google+ have put an emphasis on visual media. Skyrocketing mobile use of Facebook, along with other social media apps, was a big reason behind Facebook’s update last March. Images show up larger in the News Feed and may also get priority in the ranking algo. An update to Google+ around the same time also made images feature more heavily. And in the endlessly updating churn of a Twitter stream, a picture attachment makes tweets stand out and, as pictures are worth a thousand words, lets you extend your message past 140 characters.

The graphic should include these three vital components:

  1. Image to grab fan/follower attention within a feed or stream
  2. A link to drive a viewer to your site
  3. Text that promises a payoff from clicking through

You can opt to include a logo for branding purposes as well. Note that if there’s text in the logo, it would add to your text to image ratio which Facebook limits to 20% for ads and promoted content. More on that below.

Creating A Graphic with Google Drive

I use the drawing function in Google Drive to add text on top of images. It’s super easy and Google gives you a ton of font options as well as shapes, arrows and call-outs you can add to the drawing. Here you can see a graphic mash-up I created last week to promote our Thank You page series.

elvis says thank you

I shared this image on the BCI Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote a 2-part series on Thank You pages optimization on the blog.

  1. Sign in to Google Drive at and create a Drawing.

  2. Insert an image that you own or one sanctioned for public use.

  3. Create a custom short link to the content. If you’ve got a registered Bitly account you can customize links, and in the Elvis example here you can see I created a custom link “typagecro,” which I chose to suggest “Thank You page CRO” (conversion rate optimization). Another bonus of a registered Bitly account is that you can track clicks on your short links.

  4. Insert text on top of the image. These are elements #2 and #3 in my list of three critical components.

    (#2) Include the custom short link, which a viewer can type into their address bar since it’s short and easy to understand. Of course, also include a hyperlink in the image caption or tweet.

    (#3) Include a promise of what’s to come in the full article, or hint at what the full content contains. If it’s a “Top 3 Reasons Why…” post, you may want include the three reasons right there in the image with an invitation to get all the info in the full post. In the Elvis example I included a brief description of what was covered in each of the two-parts of the Thank You page CRO series. Try to make this message seductive, whatever that means for you and your content.

  5. When the graphic is done, go to File > Download as > JPEG and save it.

A Quick Note About Design

I’ve taken one graphic design class, one web design class and a handful of painting and photography classes, so while I’m not a professional designer, I’ve been exposed to the rules of good composition. I think these are the basics to keep in mind when you’re creating mash-ups.

  • Make sure text is clearly legible. Black on white is best. White on black is hard for the eye to process. If text is anything besides dark text on light, not-busy background, make sure text is legible in other ways, such as increasing font thickness or putting a background color behind the text.
  • Use no more than two font types. At least one should be extremely easy to read; sans serif fonts are generally easier to read online than serif fonts. The other font can be stylized, used as an accent and in small amounts.
  • For the most part, text should align left. It’s hard for the eye to follow a ragged left edge
  • White space is a component of good design, especially in the modern aesthetic. While the graphic will likely be dense as you’re trying to communicate a lot in a little space, available white space should be a consideration in choosing the image.

If you want to get a background in some basics of design, I recommend Bootstrapping Design, a $ 39 ebook. It’s written for programmers, but I like it because it’s accessible design fundamentals for a non-artist set. Considering we’re in an age where everyone can publish online content, learning the basics of good design is an investment that will payoff.

Facebook Guidelines for Text in Images

12 percent of image is text


60 percent of image is text


Shortly after Facebook’s update in March, it made a new rule limiting text in images used in ads, sponsored stories and Page cover photos to 20%. If you plan to “promote” the Facebook post including an image, pay to boost its visibility or turn it into an ad, the surface area of the image that includes text has to stay under 20%.

wall post on facebook

Text placement fail. The sides of landscape images are cropped in the viewable portion on a Facebook wall. Clicking on the image displays it in full for the viewer.

I’ll also note here that image posts as they’re displayed on a Facebook Wall favor portrait orientation and will cut off the left and right sides of landscape oriented images. If you’re using a landscape image, try to keep the text within the area that is “center square” to the height of the image. I’ve illustrated the center square in this drawing.

diagram of landscape image cut-off
Yep, made that in Google Drive, too.

Bruce Clay Blog

5 Ways to Improve Blog Visibility ASAP

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5 Ways to Improve Blog Visibility ASAP was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Clients often ask us about blogging best practices, and how to increase the visibility and quality of content on their blog. This is a big question to answer, and an even bigger answer to give. True, a blog is an extension of your site (in some cases, a blog is the entire site). So you need to apply SEO best practices to your blog as a foundation. But blogging is also a social activity rooted in publishing.

Yes, blogging is part of your company’s social activities. It’s the content that’s fed through the social sphere. Without content, social media would not exist. It’s that stuff people share and connect through. And your blog needs to become a part of that.

So today, I’m going to share with you some small tweaks you can make to your blogging activity that will help strengthen the relationship between your community and the social networks.

While there is a much larger holistic strategy at the heart of a thriving blog, we’re going to discuss a few action items that’ll help make your content more targeted:

  1. Know who your community is.
  2. Know where your community is.
  3. Build and strengthen your community.
  4. Make it easy for people to share in the community.
  5. Get in on Google Authorship for increased visibility.

1. Know Who Your Community Is


Not knowing who the heck you’re talking to in your blog is a problem. As a business owner, you may have a good idea of your primary customer, and often, this is a perfect place to start when thinking about personas for your blog (the people you are talking to).

In the post: “3 Ways to Align Your Blog Content with Your Target Audience,” I talked about that all-important starting point. If you have products and services, who buys them? If your product is blog content — what types of people read it and for what purpose? There’s a story behind why your audience engages with you. Dig in and let that be your guide for the content you create.

2. Know Where Your Community Is


You may already have social communities established, but do you know which social communities are more geared towards your target audience? Do you also know how those channels interact with your blog and its content?

Guesses and intuition can only get you so far. You need to have some data to help you make informed decision. In Google Analytics, there are several reports connected to social media that can offer very telling data about what social channels people are coming from to your blog and what content they’re sharing.

The great thing about Google Analytics is that it’s free data, just waiting for you. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best data right out of the box. Remember that Google Analytics comes with default settings and reports, so areas will need to be customized to extract the data you need.

Here’s some articles that can help you better understand the Google Analytics social reports:

Remember, a blog is a social networking activity, and the channels the content is shared through (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus) is essential to keeping it alive. Without your community sharing content that’s relevant to them, blog efforts can sometimes fall short.

3. Build and Strengthen Your Community


As the hub of your community, your blog should make it very simple for readers to discover the social networks you’re in. And your social networks should be cross-promoted so that your community can discover new content from your brand in other areas.

That means having your social icons set up in a way that’s easy to find on the blog, preferably above the fold. And you can use the data you discover in Google Analytics to better understand what social communities are worth investing more resources in (where the traffic is coming from; where content is being shared). And here’s some information on choosing social plugins for your site.

Think about the social plugins that are going to make it easy for your community to engage, while at the same time considering things that may impact the performance of your site (like page load times). And different buttons offer different functionality. Some offer easy access to join a brand’s social network with one click, some show the user how many people in their network are also a part of that community. Decide what’s best for what you are trying to accomplish.

A Note on Optimizing Your Social Presence

Making sure your social presence is cohesive is an exercise in branding and marketing. Ensure your messaging is consistent across all your “about” sections in all your social networks (that doesn’t mean “exactly the same,” but it means cohesiveness). Make sure your about sections offer useful information about the brand while at the same time alerting the community of the other ways people can connect — be it your YouTube account, your LinkedIn and yes, the blog!

Consider also using the keywords that are important to your business in your descriptions, for example, keywords from your SEO campaign. This post by AJ Kohn goes into detail about the things you can do to optimize your Google Plus profile specifically.

And don’t forget to take advantage of all the features that are available to you to make a robust social media profile. This three-part series on optimizing your brand’s LinkedIn profile offers tidbits on how to do so.

4. Make It Easy for People to Share in the Community


Have you ever been to a site and been accosted with a million buttons to share the content you’re reading? Sometimes blog owners worry that if they don’t offer every possible way to share, they’ll miss out. But here’s the thing: your target audience isn’t everywhere.

Usually, brands have a few core social media networks that actually matter to them, because that’s where their community is engaging. So you can ditch that massive share button widget and just hone in on giving your regular readers a simple way to share content.

This point goes along with what we discussed in an earlier section: know where your community is, and cater to them. There’s social plugin tracking in the Google Analytics reports we talked about that helps you find out which buttons are being used most to share content. This is one way to aid in your decision-making.

But don’t forget to take into account all factors and metrics available to you. Another way to decide if the social share button is right for your blog is more of a common-sense approach. If you don’t have any images on your blog ever that are worthy of people sharing on Pinterest, for example, don’t have a button for that. For more help on choosing social media share buttons, check out this post.

5. Get in on Google Authorship for Increased Visibility


Of all the recommendations here, as a blogger, Google Authorship is a must. It first starts with Google Plus, Google’s social community. Anyone who has any Google account already has a Google Plus profile by default (Gmail is one example of a Google account, but there are other commonly used Google product lines).

Many of these default profiles go untouched by users, but it offers a great opportunity for added visibility of content in the search results and among users of Google Plus, and is essential for bloggers.

See, Google Plus ties in with Google Authorship. Google Authorship is a process by which you link a blog’s (or site’s) content to the author who created it using a Google Plus profile. Authorship allows a brand and an author to claim ownership of content on the Web. And it’s essentially a trust signal by Google, saying this person on this site creates acceptable content.

And Google rewards this by giving the content another opportunity to be found in the search results. The “snippet” the Authorship program renders in the search results has been known to increase click-through rates to the content (you know what I’m referring to, right? That thumbnail of the author’s face next to the content).

And we are now seeing multiple pieces of content in the search results tied to an author. Plus, being a part of the Authorship program offers an additional data point about the performance of the content from that author.

So How Do You Get Authorship?

The way to implement Authorship can sometimes be a laborious process, made even more complicated if you have multiple authors on a blog. But it seems as though Google is making it easier to do so as time goes on. Here’s a great list of authorship resources by Raven.

I’ll offer a general overview of how to get Authorship going (at the time of this writing, results may vary based on your site):

  1. If you don’t already have it, add a plugin for author bios on the blog that renders at the end of each post.
  2. Have contributors set up their Google Plus profile, making sure there is a recognizable head shot for the main profile pic (260 x 260 size), and any relevant information about them in the About section.
  3. If the regular contributors have an email at your company domain, this is the easiest way to link up the site’s blog with the Google Plus page (by adding that email to the “work” section of the Google Plus profile). Otherwise, add the blog domain in the “contributor to” section of the Google Plus profile.
  4. On the blog side, make sure that all the articles have the byline: “By [NAME],” and each contributing author will need a short bio for the bio plugin we talked about in Step 1. To manually add the rel=author markup in the bio section for each author, you can write a sentence that connects the Google Plus profile with a bit of code. (Note that this is what works for our particular situation in WordPress, but it could vary, and in some cases, the Yoast plugin makes it even easier). So the sentence could read something like:

Connect with [NAME HERE] on <a href=”[INSERT GOOGLE PLUS PROFILE LINK HERE]?rel=author”>Google+</a>

You can retrieve the Google Plus profile link for each individual author by going to their Google Plus profile and copying the unique URL for that profile. Please note that you can take the “/posts” off the end of the URL before copying into the code below.

Once the link between the blog and the Google Plus profiles has been made for all regular contributing authors, we can then request to add them to the Google Authorship program for consideration (note: this can take several weeks to be approved). Logged into Google Plus, you can follow the instructions here to add the blogger to the program.

Hopefully the steps laid out in this post get you on a path where you have better understanding of who your audience is, what blog content is working for you and how to gain more visibility of that content. Remember, a blog is a social hub and a social marketing activity. So take advantage of all the social tools that help your blog thrive!

Let us know if you have any questions or comments in the field below!

Bruce Clay Blog

How To Blog Successfully About Anything

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Posted by TannerC

In order to create a successful blog, you have to be passionately curious about the topic you're covering.

This notion was the central point of my Mozinar on "Blogging Like You Mean It" a few weeks ago, when I shared my personal story of blogging success. Here's a concise recap of the story, for those who missed it: I was once tasked with creating a blog on a topic I was completely uninterested in: television. At that time, there wasn't a TV in my home and I had absolutely no interest in television.



In order to run the blog, I knew I had to find a way to approach the topic that would be interesting enough to make blogging feel less like work and more like fun. (That's the real trick to successful blogging, by the way: writing about things you are completely and naturally passionate about.) For this project, I was able to come up with a question that fully peaked my interest in the topic: "How has television impacted the history of our culture, and how will it continue to do so in the future?"


With that one question, I was able to get interested in the topic, and eventually the blog started ranking in the top search results for some extremely competitive terms related to TV. Within a matter of weeks, we were writing articles that captivated people from around the globe and were even featured prominently on sites like The Guardian, AdWeek, New York Magazine, BuzzFeed,, and Design Work Life. Today, the blog has been taken over by a remarkable, dedicated team at


After I shared this short story in my Mozinar, the number one question people had was: "Can you give an example of exactly how to take an uninteresting topic and make it interesting?"


For this post, I'm going to do one better. We're going to quickly go over three examples of how to turn a not-so-exciting topic (whether it's for your day job or whatever else) utilizing websites submitted by readers on the official SEOmoz Facebook page. Rather than turn this into a basic list of top-fives or elaborate examples for each of these three websites, you're going to get a bit more of the actual insights every blogger should be following, regardless of context.


It all starts with questions

First off, any uninteresting topic can be made interesting by asking questions.


Questions work remarkably well for two reasons: primarily, they give us clear purpose and direction in our efforts. When we're asking questions and actively pursuing the answers, our work suddenly becomes an opportunity to learn and grow, not just to get links or fill up pages on the web.


Seconldy, we, as bloggers, should focus on asking (and pursuing the answers of) questions is because there is bound to be an audience for the content created around those questions; people who are looking for the same answers.



These two facts alone make blogging become not only easier and more rewarding for us as writers, but also create an opportunity for us to create real, meaningful content that will easily create an audience that can rely on us.


In an article for The Boston Globe titled "Are we asking the right questions?", Leon NeyFakh evaluates the work of Dan Rothstein, co-founder of Right Question Institute in Cambridge. Leon asserts that, "Wielded with purpose and care, a question can become a sophisticated and potent tool to expand minds, inspire new ideas, and give us surprising power at moments when we might not believe we have any."


With the power of questions in mind, we can start evaluating nearly any topic and turning out ideas for successful blog posts. Reader Simon Abramson suggested that we first look at the official blog of Wild Earth, which, as far as I can gather, is a company that takes people into nature to help them build self-reliance, confidence, and ecological resilience. This is certainly a topic I know very little about and am currently not very interested in, personally.


The first step for any blogger (when covering any topic) should be to simply ask a lot of questions. If you're not sure where to start with the questions, focus on the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when, and why (and occasionally, how)?



Who started the whole "nature can help you as a person" industry? What are the psychological affects of being in nature for any period of time? Where are the best places to go if you want to experience nature at its best? When are the best times in your life to go? Why should a busy office worker consider such an option? How does nature build confidence, from a biological perspective?


Once you've asked as many questions as you can, try to find one or two that really sparks your interest. Personally, I'd love to look at the psychological affects of nature. With that one question alone a waterfall of other questions comes to mind, and every one of those questions is an opportunity for a blog post.


As a blogger, you'll want to focus on a primary question, then let that question fuel other questions that will become your blog content. The more questions you ask around a central question, the more ideas you'll have and the easier your job will become.


Use available resources for natural research

So, questions become the central focus of our efforts and allow us to pursue things that not only interest us, but also that of our ideal audience. Now what? Next, do what comes naturally when you have a question: pursue the answers. If you don't have any questions off the top of your head, pursue other questions the same way you would pursue answers.


This stage of blogging is what 60% of the work consists of: research. Plan on spending the majority of your blogging work schedule doing research, particularly reading. Keep in mind that your gift to readers is doing the research so they don't have to. Everything you write after this point on should be a concise, easy-to-consume version of whatever it is you spend all of your time researching.


Where to start researching answers and additional questions we may not be asking yet? I like to utilize sites like Quora, Topsy, Google Alerts, and Google Blog Search (setup as an RSS feed).


If our blog was about, say, a local housecleaning service – something like Marvelous Maids, a housecleaning company that serves St. Charles County in Missouri, as submitted by Moz community member Kathy Stamm Gage – and our primary question to turn that topic into something interesting was along the lines of, "What's the science behind common cleaning chemicals?", then our first task would be to explore the "housecleaning" category on Quora, which – believe it or not – is an actual thing.



Immediately after visiting the Quora page, we should have a few ideas for additional questions we can then turn into blog posts. Now, sometimes you'll have topic that simply doesn't have much information or activity on Quora, in that event it's best to get clever (by asking "instead of exploring the "housecleaning" page of Quora, what about "germs?") or move onto a resource that will certainly have more information (like a library).


In this case, digging around the "housecleaning" section of Quora yields some really interesting results that already spark some blog post ideas. Questions such as, "What are some housecleaning hacks?" teach us that instant orange drink mix will clean the inside of a dishwasher just as easily as expensive cleaners, due to the citric acid. That can definitely be turned into a blog post.


Moving on from Quora, we should begin exploring other resources. Our best power for blogging is all about quantity right now, especially if your blog is fairly small or just starting out. Focus on having a vast quantity of questions ready to go and be researched. Attempt to gather a very large quantity of resources you can utilize when exploring those questions as well.


As another example, if we stick to the topic of housecleaning, we can take to Topsy and search for "housecleaning chemicals" to get a pretty good list of additional questions/topics worth researching. Including: "How to clean your home using herbs rather than scary chemicals" and "A list of scary chemical cleaners to avoid." Curious about what either of those might entail? If you are, your readers will be too.



The best questions, of course, come from you. You can easily open up doors to topics and things that do interest you about your original question/theme by being naturally curious. For me, the questions come easy. "What chemicals do we really need to be worried about in common cleaning supplies?" or, "How sustainable are home cleaning supplies, really?" or, "Are things we hear about household cleaning chemicals fact or fiction?" or even, "If you were to add-up all of the various chemicals used in all of the supplies you use to clean your home, what would that list entail exactly?" All questions I personally wouldn't mind researching in order to create compelling (and, most importantly: helpful!) content.


These questions all provide instant blog posts that are pretty interesting, easy to research, related to a not-so-interesting industry, all discovered because we asked some simple questions and checked-out a few websites. Voila, blogging success is within our grasp!


A vision of what we've covered

We've touched on a few concepts that seem really basic, and yet we continue to see blogs that don't follow any of this pattern. The results speak for themselves, though: by pursuing things that are naturally interesting to us and finding answers for them, we're uncovering what a lot of people out there want to know as well.


The problem that our readers have is that they don't have all of the time or ability to research like we can.



That's also one of your greatest gifts to readers: putting in the time to learn about something so they don't have to. When you then reconstruct what you discover into an easy-to-digest blog post, or graphic, or video, or Tweet, you're establishing yourself as not only someone on their way to expert status, but you're also providing a true, can't-be-faked value.


Even if your topic isn't naturally interesting to you (like nature programs or housecleaning), there are ways to make it interesting through natural discovery.


Our last example of how this all works comes from Douglas Hodgson, who asked me to evaluate the business of eye care for Frontier Eye Care. Eye care is a naturally an interesting topic for me though, so I think this one will be a little easier than the last two. It's important and interesting to me because I was born with poor eyesight and because eyesight plays such a critical role in what I (and I'm sure millions and millions of others) do every single day.


So, how do you take a topic like eye care and make it worth researching? What value could we possibly provide to people who are interested in the eye care industry?


It's not so hard to come up with solutions when we make the topic really interesting by asking questions.


How has technology affected eyesight and what does the future of technology hold for it? Is there a certain science to picking out the perfect eyewear?


Post ideas flourish with just these few questions. What about a graphic illustrating the perfect angles and measurements to make (at home?) before picking a pair of sunglasses? We could even evaluate the history of eyeglasses used by famous figures. Maybe a post on how glasses or rigid gas permeable lenses are created and why 3D home printing may change that (will it though?), or what about an article explaining the countless factors that impact how our eyes develop as we grow (genetics, facial structure, encounters with bright lights, and so on)?


The ideas can flow, some will certainly be winning topics, others will just be interesting for a handful of people. What we need to do as bloggers is remember that our goal is to focus on one primary approach or question, then find related questions either we have or other people have, and put in the work to do the research and come up with solutions.



This is really basic stuff, I hope, but it's quite easy to forget or overlook. There are no worthwhile tricks to successful blogging outside of hard work, in my opinion. This approach not only allows you to learn a lot about your topic on your own, but it also sets you out as a clear, reliable resource in your industry. For any business or industry, that reputation can mean serious success.


If you have additional questions or insights into this type of blogging strategy, I'd love to hear your thoughts either in the comments or on Twitter.

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3 Ways to Align Your Blog Content with Your Target Audience

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3 Ways to Align Your Blog Content with Your Target Audience was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

It’s the question that’s on many people’s minds when they have a blog – who is our audience? What matters to them? If you have a niche blog – one that’s already focused on a particular subject matter – you already know your audience is interested in that, but how do you:

  • Continuously hold their attention?
  • Give them what they want?
  • Draw in new readers?
  • Align content with business offerings?

Understanding your audience is at times a guessing game. Your theories about who you’re talking to are made stronger by incremental data gathered over time. But you have to start from somewhere, right?

So before you start tracking your popular content in analytics, you have to think about what’s even relevant to your audience. What to write.

So let’s have a starting point. And that starting point is your business. What are the things your business offers its community? What are the things your brand is known for? How can you align your content to the people who need what you have, in a way that offers value to them?

Today, that’s what we’re going to talk about – a path for creating content for your blog.

1. Segment your audience by your products/services.


You have services and/or products. Who buys them? Start thinking about the differences in your audience by the service/product type (or groups of services/products). When you think about the differences, the persona sometimes becomes very clear.

Ask when they use your products and services and why? What are they trying to achieve? If you have the resources to do a branding exercise, this can be super helpful. But if you don’t, that’s OK, too. Brainstorming on your own or with your team can give you a great starting point.

Let’s use BCI as an example. Our audience type typically varies based on our products and services. We have a category of those who engage in services with us, and then another category of those who take SEO training, use the SEOToolSet and buy our books.

And then we have another audience, our industry. And this category is important to us, too. We also have an audience that will likely never buy from us, but they consume our content, like the blog and newsletter.

These audiences have different interests in the content they want and a whole different set of problems from one another. Some of them may need 101-level content, some may need more advanced content. Some may want tactical how-to info and some may need strategic plans. And some may just want to connect with us on a human level.

Go through this exercise with your business. Write up a persona profiles based on what you know about your audience, and add to it as time goes on. The more data you collect in analytics or by talking to your audience in comments or in social media (where the audience often overlaps), the more defined your persona profiles will be.

2. Know when your audience will crossover to another segment.


There will usually be overlap with your audience. And it’s important to recognize this overlap. Expanding on the BCI example we spoke about in the previous section, we know that sometimes people who buy the book will eventually sign up for training.

When you’re thinking about the behavior of your audience and what they need, think about the stages they go through during the span of their engagement with you. What first might be a book purchase could lead to a training class could lead to services.

It might be helpful to quickly sketch a diagram of the type of customer (segmented by product/service) and what path they are likely to go on during their relationship with you.

For example:

  • Reads blog or newsletter > Buys book, attends training, signs up for tools
  • Bought book > Attends training, reads blog, signs up for newsletter
  • Attends conference training > Signs up for extended training
  • Takes training course > Buys services
  • Signs up for tools > Buys book, attends training

This type of information can be particularly relevant if you are doing email marketing, but you can also align your blog content with the journey of the customer as well. The types of information they want at different stages of their engagement with your brand varies.

Which brings me to the next point …

3. Know what they are searching for.


Keyword research and audience go hand-in-hand. The information you uncover about who your audience is and what they want fuels your keyword research.

It’s important to know what your audience is searching for because you want to attract new people to your blog with the content you create surrounding the products or services you offer.

Once you have a good list of keywords, segmented by product/service/audience, you want to begin thinking about what sort of content is appropriate for that audience.

This is not only important for attracting new readers to your blog at the moment they are looking for that information, but also because you want to connect with your existing audience and give them the type of information they need.

This is where the personas you’ve already written up can come in handy. And you can also bulk them up in this stage, too. What do these people need at this point in their journey? What are they expecting from your brand? How can you help?

For example, you can make the inference that someone who buys your book (let’s use our book as an example), is a do-it-yourselfer, a small business owner, a budding SEO.

When you understand what challenges your audience faces at what stage, you can begin assigning topics to keywords and building that content into your editorial calendar to offer content to this type of persona.

And don’t forget about the different ways people learn. You can further tailor your content by taking into consideration the many ways people like to consume content.

Did you find this post useful? Do you have comments or ideas? Do tell below!

Bruce Clay Blog