We spoke recently about ways you can optimise a blog post after it has been published. Often, this is where people say the magic happens, and they’re right. 20% content creation, 80% content promotion. If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, you know the drill.
But there are a few things people overlook before they promote their content. They can seem unglamorous and trivial, but at Quuu Promote, we know they make all the difference. Even the best content in the world can be undone by a few simple, but distracting, mistakes – and fixed with a few simple checks.
So, if you’d like your blog posts to be shared with the best in the business, to attract loyal admirers, and create as many sales as possible, keep reading.
Essential steps to prep your content for promotion
Check for readability
Have you ever read a post like this?
Where the lines are all, you know, spaced out?
These are single-sentence paragraphs, and often, they decrease readability.
Readability, sometimes also known as ‘reader experience’, is essentially how easy it is for someone to read your content. Paragraphs, fonts, line spacing and colour can all affect how readable your blog post is. Single-sentence paragraphs fall into this category because they force your eyes to skip down the page with each new sentence, disrupting the ‘flow’ of the post.
While the odd single-sentence paragraph can bring readers to attention, it is best used sparingly. Otherwise, the aim here is to make your content as easy and comfortable to read as possible. This means using:
- Paragraphs and subheading to break the post up
- Legible fonts, with consistent colour and sizing
- Bullet points and lists for…well, this sort of thing
- A simple, non-distracting background
- Concise sentencing
These things might seem small, but if neglected they can add up to a real problem. Badly formatted and designed blogs give the impression of being low-quality, even if what they contain is super useful. That’s why publishers and printers have been following the rules of good readability for decades.
Looks for errors
You know what’s worse than spotting a typo in your blog post? Spotting it after you’ve promoted it. All over the internet.
If this has ever happened to you, you’ll know it’s a little embarrassing. But, more importantly, it can affect how people view your content. If you share that post with the top influencers in your industry and it contains some iffy English, it’s unlikely they’ll share it with their followers. Yes, it really does make that much difference (not to mention it’ll prevent you from using Quuu Promote).
Fortunately, with tools like Grammarly, it’s easier than ever to proofread blog posts. Just download their browser extension and Grammarly will automatically scan what you’re typing and flag up any errors.
For purists, there’s also Hemingway, an app that helps you make your writing as clear and uncluttered as it can be. It highlights writing no-nos like the passive voice, long sentences and unnecessary adverbs.
Fix your hyperlinks
Spelling and grammar are not the only elements of your post that could let you down when it comes to quality. In the digital age, there are other kinds of errors that can make people frustrated with your blog post, and even not want to share it with their audience.
Links are one of these elements. Adding links to your post is a great way to build on your content, adding richer information and resources to your own. You can also use them to direct people to other parts of your site, or to build links with experts. Before you do, though, make sure they’re not getting a post riddled with bad links. Check for:
- Broken links
- Low quality or irrelevant links
- Links to information that is out of date
- Links that are not embedded in the text
- Any links that don’t open in a new tab or window (you don’t want to lead visitors away from your blog).
- Link formatting. Embedded links need to be a different colour from the main text, so that readers know they’re clickable.
If you notice any parts of your post where a link might enhance your work, go find one! There are many great guides and how-tos out there that can build on what you’ve discussed. This is particularly useful if you have mentioned a topic, but don’t have the scope to explain it in detail. Use Buzzsumo to find the most popular content on that subject, then embed the link where appropriate.
You can also use this as a method for promoting your blog, by mentioning the content creators you have included in your post on social media, or via direct message.
Add & optimise images
Once upon a time, images were not that important in the world of blogging. Now, though, they can make or break a promotion. A distinctive image is a big advantage for standing out in the crowded world of social media, and if you’ve gone to the trouble of making one, you’ll want to make sure it displays properly.
Depending on how you’re promoting, you may need images of different dimensions. For example, if you’re promoting on Pinterest, you’ll want an image that is long and rectangular. For Instagram, though, the image needs to be square. We like using Canva for this sort of thing, because they have a handy list of all the relevant dimensions you’ll need for creating promotional images.
Some platforms, like Facebook, can often auto-generate images once you’ve pasted your link there. However, it does this by detecting the feature or main image in your post. So, if you want to let Facebook grab the image automatically, make sure the featured or main image in your post is a good ‘un.
One thing it’s worth doing to all your images is compressing them. This reduces the file size and so, the loading time for your web page. There are loads of services that will do this for free – my personal go-to is TinyPNG.com. It’s quick, straightforward, and there’s a panda. What’s not to like?
And, of course, make sure your images are good quality and don’t come out all pixelated.
If you have already included videos, GIFs and other moving elements in your blog post – that’s great!
If not, then it might be an idea to include a few. Every little helps when it comes to gaining the attention of a busy audience, and moving pictures are that much more eye-catching (especially on social media).
You don’t want to end up with animation-overload, but if you spot a place where a funny GIF would be better than a stock photo, or a tutorial might explain things better than a write-up, go for it. Animated media is not the time-consuming headache it once was. In fact, there are some insanely easy ways you can incorporate it into your content strategy. Try:
- Embedding relevant videos from YouTube
- Using Recordit to create on-screen mini-tutorials
- Adding GIFs as well as still images
- Creating your own GIFs on Giphy
- Turning an infographic into a ‘gifographic’
As with images, file size is important – you don’t want those GIFs slowing down your loading speeds. We use this online GIF optimiser to shrink down and crop any larger GIFs.
There are many ways you can optimise a blog post for search engines, but perhaps the easiest way is via keyword research. Simply put, this means using the same language or search terms other people are using.
To take a really silly example: in the UK, we call oatmeal ‘porridge’. So, if I was writing a list of great recipes for porridge, but it was aimed at an American audience, I might want to reconsider my choice of words. Keyword research would allow me to find out the best phrases to use so that my post is not only relevant to my audience, but is easier for them to find online.
This is one of the techniques involved in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a discipline that, as we discovered in our QChat, is still shrouded in mystery. Though many bloggers find it intimidating, it really is worth learning some basics so that people can find your content.
This is by no means the end of your content’ s journey – nor can it guarantee you viral success when promoting it. But, if you aspire to be known for producing great content, this is certainly a good place to start.
How do you prep your content for promotion? Let us know any tips you think belong in this post in the comments!