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Blogging Success with 5 Secret Ingredients

LAST UPDATED: September, 2021
FILED UNDER: Copy and Content Writing, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design

Photo of Emilie Steinmann, a woman wearing a jean jacket throwing confetti and standing in front of blue balloons
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Do you remember the last time you tasted that one dish your grandma always made? There was always something so magical about the flavor and it always felt like home. For me, that was my grandma’s cheesy potatoes. My grandma always made the best food. She insisted her best recipes had no fat or sugar. So now just imagine trying to create your grandma’s signature recipe from memory. It’s pretty tough, right? You’d probably get most of the ingredients right and it would taste okay, but you might miss those secret ingredients that make it super special. Successful blogs work the same way. 

You can call a few paragraphs and a handful of images a blog post, but what makes it successful are the “secret” ingredients.

5 Secret Ingredients for Blogging Success

I’ve been there…

I’ve been blogging on and off for twenty years and I can tell you all of the mistakes I’ve made. My biggest mistake was throwing away the 5” binder my mom had stored all of my printed posts in from my first blog. I’ve checked the Xanga archives and there is no digital version anymore. Rest in peace, musings of a 15-year-old Emilie.

One of the next biggest mistakes was thinking that my blog would ever amount to anything on just text and pretty pictures alone. Blogging for business takes way more than that!

Maybe you’re nodding your head right now because you’ve been there. And maybe you know what it’s like to write and write and see zero return on your time investment. It’s so disheartening. I know exactly what it feels like to spin your wheels on something, hoping it’ll click someday. It feels just like trying to figure out Grandma’s secret ingredients.

Others have been there, too…

The thing is, so many other small business owners struggle with blogging too. If I had a dollar every time I heard someone say “but I’m not a writer,” I would be rich!

Most business owners want to have a blog to gain that know, like, and trust factor with their audience, but they don’t know what else will make it robust and binge-worthy. 

You’ve been told to focus on the “meat and potatoes” content for your blog, making sure you’re giving great advice, but that’s not enough, is it? It’s not your fault it’s falling flat — I promise.

But, there is hope!

The good news is that you have your areas of expertise! You also know how to write when you don’t feel like writing. Now you just need to learn what simple additions will kick each of your blog posts up a notch. 

I know that adding these “secret ingredients” is going to help you uplevel your blogging game. I’m going to break down exactly how to implement these changes, but it’s up to you to take action on it on your own site.


Let’s Get Cookin’!

One of the best ways to keep readers engaged with your content is to keep them moving from page to page on your website. Just like I referenced a previous blog post above, you can do the same for your posts. Alternatively, if you have a resource you want to share with your audience (like an affiliate link for a product or service you love), you can create an outbound link too. Just make sure you have a clear affiliate disclosure statement on your site somewhere. 

What you can do right now:

  • Create a spreadsheet of the blog posts you’ve already published and include the title, category, date, and permanent link. Keep it handy for when you’re writing future posts so you can easily copy and paste the links and correctly reference the title.
  • Create a spreadsheet of all of the affiliate links and other resources you might have and want to promote. This can also include links to resources you’ve created as well!

This seems a little redundant but bear with me. Even if you don’t remember to manually add internal links to other content on your website, you can fall back on this Related Posts feature on the Jetpack plug-in for WordPress. If someone found this post of yours helpful, they will be likely to go to this widget at the bottom and click on other posts in the same category. 

What you can do right now:

  • Install Jetpack
  • After inserting the content of each post into WordPress, click the + button to add a new block.
  • Either look for or type in “Related Posts” and go ahead and click on its icon to insert the widget.
  • Publish your blog post when you’re done!

Blogging Success Ingredient #3: Include a Newsletter Opt-in Form

Similar to the tip above, if someone found your content helpful, they will want to continue learning from you. Keep them engaged by offering your email newsletter. Just remember that while their email inbox is a precious thing that should never be spammed, you are serving them well if you dish up helpful content periodically. 

What you can do right now:

  • Create one downloadable PDF guide or resource for each of your blog categories.
  • Grab my affiliate link for Flodesk and set up your account for 50% off.
  • Create unique segments and inline forms for each of your blog categories. 
  • Draft up a “here’s your cool new resource” email for each of your PDF resources and attach it to a workflow for each segment and form.
  • Embed the form code at the bottom of each blog post. 

Reach out if this sounds waaaaaay too complicated and you need some help.

Blogging Success Ingredient #4: Insert 2-3 Pinterest-optimized Graphics

Let’s be honest… Pinterest is a treasure trove of amazing information. It is also an under-tapped resource for most business owners! When you write a blog post and share it with the world, you should include a few graphics that are optimized for Pinterest so your content can be shared indefinitely. 

What you can do right now:

  • Sign up for Canva (I have Canva Pro and highly recommend it!).
  • Click on “create a design” and choose Pinterest Pin 1080 x 1920px.
  • Pick a few fun graphics that best match your brand. 
  • Replace the colors, fonts, images, and text to fit your blog content.
  • Download the graphics and add them to your blog post wherever you’d like.

Blogging Success Ingredient #5: Don’t Forget the Calls to Action!

I would argue that this is the most valuable ingredient in the entire “recipe” of a blog post! After your reader gets through your educational, inspiring, or entertaining content, they will subconsciously wonder what to do next. This is the perfect time to guide them to whatever makes the most sense in that context. You can sell a product or service, invite them to join your community, ask them to refer their friends to your business, etc.

What you can do right now:

  • Go back through your previous blog posts and make sure each post has a solid call to action. 
  • When you’re planning future blog posts, make sure to add a column to your hypothetical spreadsheet and label it CTA. Always have a CTA in mind for each post. 
  • If you’re directing your reader to a free or low-cost resource, you can send them directly to a form or checkout page. If you are inviting them to check out a high-ticket offering, include a link to your long-form sales page.

Let’s wrap it all up

What I love about blogging is that when we get into a good rhythm, it feels like having a good meal with friends. It feels easy and casual. It makes us feel like we’re connecting with the people on the other side of the table. In order for our blog to really facilitate that good experience, it’s gotta have all of the right ingredients. Make sure to sprinkle in helpful links and plugins, shareable graphics, and relevant calls to action. 

If you only take away one thing from this blog post, I want you to remember that you can absolutely call a few paragraphs and a handful of images a blog post, but what makes it successful are the “secret” ingredients.

Let’s enjoy that sweet sweet blogging success together!

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