In my last blog post, I covered a few strategic questions you should consider before starting a public library blog. With your plan in place, you’re likely to have some more practical questions about writing and publishing posts.
The following Q&A focuses on the production process. The answers will help you plan your editorial calendar and allocate resources to get it all done.
1. Do I have to write it all myself?
No! You can divide the work among your staff, asking each to write a post once every several weeks. It’s a great way to give everyone a chance to share his or her unique expertise. You can also invite local politicians, trustees, local authors, public educators, and others to contribute as guest bloggers.
2. Is there an optimum length for a blog post?
Most experts believe 500-700 words is a good length, but there is no real consensus. There are several SEO experts who recommend long-form content – more than 2,000 words – as the best length for search rankings and engagement. But the truth is really somewhere in-between. Your blog may need a mix of short and long-form content. Choose the length that works best for the topic, the audience, and you. However, keep in mind you do need to give Google something to work with, so at a minimum, aim for 300 words or more.
3. How long should it take to write and publish a post?
Depending upon how fast you write, a well-crafted post will take about three to five hours to draft, edit, format, publish, and promote.
4. What are the advantages of referencing other blogs in my posts?
It’s always a good idea to credit others when you use their work. In blogging, linking back to the original reference not only builds good will, but it makes other bloggers aware of your work. If they like your blog, they may reference it in the future. This introduces their readers to your blog, potentially increasing your readership.
To reference, quote the source of the information, and embed the link in your text.
5. Should I always include an image in my post?
Yes, it’s very important to include images because visuals draw the reader’s attention. Research from BuzzSumo shows blog posts with an image once every 75-100 words received twice as many social media shares as articles with fewer images. On Facebook, posts with images get 2.3 times more interaction than those without. When you publish your post, use an image to promote it.
Another benefit of images: Since we are a visual society, images increase our understanding of complex topics. Pictures, charts and infographics are very effective at conveying messages quickly, which is especially valuable as consumer attention spans shrink.
6. How do I encourage readers to visit my other posts and pages?
With each blog post, you can drive readers to other parts of your website by linking internally. This strategy keeps visitors on your website longer and also introduces them to other valuable content they might find useful. Embed links in your text to event registration pages, information about library collections, or older blog posts, for example.
7. How do I get people to sign up for my email newsletter from my blog?
There are dozens of newsletter plug-ins that will help you capture new subscribers. Some add a persistent subscription form on the sidebar of your blog or force a pop-up subscription form at regular intervals. According to SiteProNews, fewer than 30% of your website visitors will come back to your site unless a chance to subscribe is given to them. Thus, if you’ve set a goal to increase newsletter subscribers, installing one of these plug-ins is essential.
As with many projects, getting started is the hard part. But once you have established your production process and worked out the kinks, you’ll find it will become part of your regular routine very quickly.