Ahsan Zafeer
Ahsan Zafeer 17 April 2023

A Handy PR Guide: How To Write An Effective Blog

Creating "valuable content" that naturally attracts links is not a good link strategy for about 90% of SEO practitioners. It's like putting a message in a coke bottle and tossing it out to sea, hoping someone will see it one day. One has to do outreach and take advantage of it, hence the popularity of Digital PR.

But more than just outreach is needed to land links. As a Digital PR, I have seen a 0.02% success rate for most campaigns that outreached content that needed to add more value. That means just two links for every 2,000 emails sent. 

Ask any PR Guru; they'll admit that link-building has become more challenging with time. One reason is the plethora of dedicated PR agencies that have led to flooded inboxes.

Another is anyone anywhere can create reasonable-sounding content pieces with GPT-3 powered AI programs. It speeds up content creation to an extent never seen before.

Zero cost to produce content has led to a digital flood of cookie-cutter content perhaps worse than what Moses went through.

There are far more content farms than before. From the audience's standpoint, reading this stuff sucks since it's a grammatically correct, sensible rehashing of the stuff already out there.

Manipulation of search rankings with AI-based content farms is no longer an option for most blogs and news sites if it ever was before.

But, in what may sound like a disappointing prospect, there lies an opportunity: PR practitioners have a better chance today than ever at winning placements by pitching well-crafted content to digital platforms yearning for quality content. There is only so much they can ideate and write.

Here's a handy guide on blog writing to help you get the most out of your blogging efforts as a PR.

1. A Catchy Headline

Your headline is the first thing your readers will see, so MAKE IT COUNT! Write clear and concise headlines that pique your reader's interest. One of the ways to do that is to use "power words". 

12 main power words to use:

Trace, Analyse, Infer, Evaluate, Formulate, Describe, Support, Explain, Summarize, Compare, Contrast, Predict.

2. Use Helpful Formatting Techniques

Formatting your blog posts in an easy-to-read way will help keep your readers engaged. This will make your content more scannable and help the journalists find the information they want.

This is especially important when you're outreaching old content. A blog post that has just text can be dull.

Journalists tend to extract the most relevant information and publish it in a short article or approach seeking further information - none of which is possible with a poorly formatted article.

For instance, do this like its the gospel of truth: 

  • Break up your text with H1s and H2s to guide your reader. 
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists to make the key points easier to digest
  • Use images, infographics, and embedded videos to break up the text and add layers of information to make the content more engaging. 

Seriously, wait to hit PUBLISH until you've done the above. 

Ask yourself, can this be turned into a list-based or why-based article?

3. Adopt a Conversational Tone

Write as you would speak. This will make your blog posts more relatable and easy to read. Avoid using industry jargon or complex sentence structures. Instead, opt for a more conversational tone that helps connect with the target audience.

4. Write with a Purpose

Every blog post should aim to educate, entertain, or engage with your audience. Keep this purpose in mind as you write, and make sure that each post is helping you deliver the key message. 

For instance, consider a creative campaign I was a part of.

We outreached a research-led listicle-type article focusing on the healthiest places to live in the UK; It helped us attract 40 links from Tier 1 publications, including two from Yahoo alone, with an average DA of 81.

Here is how the article was structured:

1. A strong hook in the headline: "Moving house?" highlights the story's most exciting aspect and subsequently mentions areas people moving may want to consider. 

2. Next, the article establishes the story's relevance by explaining that it's based on research by experts from the off-grid division of the client. Mentioning that the piece examines factors like quality, access to green space, and levels of physical activity in different areas of the UK conveys the value. 

3. After setting the scene, the article dives into details by highlighting exciting findings and insights into how the healthiest areas compare to other parts of the country. Research-driven facts are sprinkled across the piece to emphasize the "why."

Overall, clarity, conciseness and a winning headline drove this piece to success and helped hit the "jackpot."

Don't Fill the Internet with More Pointless Gibberish!

In each article we write and every link we share, we must ask ourselves: Is this piece of content adding value or just filling space?

Here's why:

If your content is low quality and doesn't help readers, it'll get dinged by the journalists 9 out of 10 times. No netizen wins when junk content is littering the internet, anyways.

So, how do you get it right?

If you feel your content looks the same as the thousands of pieces already out there, re-consider outreaching it.

The only way to stand out is to create content that entertains, educates, or helps journalists gain a unique insight. This requires thought, original research and storytelling.

AI will assist you and cut down time by smoothly fitting into your content workflow. It will fill in some blanks, boost your creativity, and help incorporate best practices (think Jasper, Frase and tools like SurferSEO).

But churning AI-written content with no original thought behind it is unlikely to pay off with your outreach efforts.

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