Think Bespoke’s blog began in April 2013 for two reasons. The first was because it felt like there was a gap in our online presence and something we ‘should’ do for the business. If we really wanted Think Bespoke’s website to get found in Google searches, then we needed to keep the Google crawlers happy.
In 2013 our knowledge of SEO was very basic. We understood that Google liked recency and relevance to the services we provided and believed the blog was the best way to achieve this. The second reason was based on the types of questions we were being asked on a regular basis. We were sharing concepts, stories and ideas with clients and wanted to capture these thoughts and share them with a wider audience.
Here’s the first blog, 5 Ways to Say NO at work. While the original visual has been updated since it was first published, you’ll note there are formatting issues (there’s inconsistency in the format of the Scenarios) and we probably haven’t attended to the meta description. I love that this blog post breaks many of the formats we now follow. It’s a trip down memory lane and the topic continues to be a concept we discuss with our regular clients.
This blog post is a reminder of three important lessons we’ve learnt about SEO and blogging:
1. Meta Descriptions are important!
If you’re asking yourself ‘what is a meta description’? . . please read more here from Moz.
2. Search Engine Optimisation Matters
Our earliest blogs were imported from the our first blogging platform (Blogger) which we used to run concurrently with a Weebly website. When the website was moved over to WordPress, the advice at the time was to install the All in One SEO pack. There was an instant lift in website traffic, and lots of new spam comments, which were annoying, but manageable via moderation.
3. Know the Keywords You Can Win
This is a concept we’ve applied a lot more in the past few years. When conducting key word search it’s about understanding what’s winnable. We train LinkedIn and so if we just go after LinkedIn as a keyword, it is not winnable as LinkedIn leads the pack! We took the time to understand how our clients describe our services and what they ask Google when they are looking for training. We then used these insights to word-smith how our services are described across the website. It also informs the blogging strategy for our regular insights on the blog. Monitoring the domain authority of Think Bespoke’s website and actively looking for opportunities to provide guest blog posts (like this one!) for industry related websites has also become an important part of our blogging strategy. Those websites that have equal or higher domain authority are important because those Google crawlers (which I always visualise as spiders) will help us reach a wider audience who can access our insights.
Why Writing for Ideal Clients is Important
But here’s the thing, while it’s true that the most important lessons learnt about SEO and blogging have helped Think Bespoke get found online, it’s also been essential to write high value content that genuinely helps our ideal clients on their LinkedIn journey.
And this relates back to the second reason for started the blog and why it continues to be the cornerstone of our content marketing plan. We wanted to capture the concepts, stories and ideas we talk to clients about with a wider audience.
While data driven insights from Google analytics, our LinkedIn Company Page analytics, Facebook and Instagram insights are also regularly reviewed, we’re also influenced by what’s happening in our client’s world and how we can help them.
By sharing value adding content the aim is to help current and potential clients deal with their business and career issues as they relate to our expertise and Think Bespoke’s services.
Blog topics are chosen as part of an overall content planning framework based on commercial goals. Once the core content of the blog is written, a checklist is then followed to ensure the content delivers against the needs of our clients and then, and only then, Google’s requirements for being discovered in search.
What’s included in this checklist has been developed over 5 years of blogging and is based on feedback from clients and colleagues as to what they find useful. It’s also informed by the regular content we read across a variety of valuable blogging and content marketing resources, including the Missinglettr blog.
Blog Writing Checklist
Some examples of the blog writing checklist items used after the first draft has been written on WordPress includes:
Choose a relevant headline that addresses a topic clients can relate to. A headline checker can sometimes be handy here too.
Focused Opening Statement
In the opening statement speak directly to the reader and explain very quickly what the article is about and what they can expect to learn or know more about when they’ve read it.
A Sense of How We Do Things
By writing like we talk, we’re giving readers a sense of how we think and how we approach our client work. This helps potential clients better understand how we do things and what drives our approach and our service offerings.
Image and headline selection can take as long to decide as the time it takes to write the article. We pay for our blog images and describe the images with the same wording as the headline (Alt Text).
Title, Description & Key Words
These are chosen based on the overall content marketing framework (as mentioned earlier) and need to be completed in full and consistently with the Headline and Headings (H1, H2 and H3) used throughout the blog. This is related to the SEO principles we use.
Publish, Edit, Edit
By creating the regular discipline of writing the blog we are mostly able to stick to our publishing deadlines. Sometimes we’ll publish and then go back and edit over the next few days. Occasionally we may back date the article by a day or two to keep the consistency of timing. Sometimes I am in my writing flow and will produce three blogs at once.
Categorising the blog posts helps provide a curated list of articles for different client types and different client needs. By having a library of content (blogs, vlogs and podcasts) we can point prospective clients to these resources on the website to help explain concepts and ideas or answer questions that are commonly asked. It also helps keep us on track with our blogging strategy.