From a gal who’s actually done it.
Welcome to the world of company blogs! Many of them are terrible, and that’s excellent news for me (and probably you).
Because we can get paid to improve them.
And the first step to doing that is to conduct a review of the existing blog content. Now, I often also assess their overall content marketing strategy in other ways too, but to keep this short — let’s start with the blog content review.
Here are 5 things I look at when reviewing company blogs.
#1 – Quality of Writing
First, is the writing itself any good? Some of this is intuitive if you’re a good writer. Having been a content manager and freelance writer for the last 3 years, the other elements I know to look for from experience.
Here are some questions to help you out:
- Are headlines long enough, educational, or curiosity-evoking?
- Is the tone engaging and easy to read for the target audience?
- How are the sentence length, paragraph length, and formatting (i.e. readability)?
- What is the blog length, and are they at least 500+ words?
- Do blogs have a company boilerplate & a single clear CTA?
- Are there any typos, punctuation, grammar, or verb tense issues?
Pro Tip: Run the blog content in Grammarly or Hemingway to save yourself some time!
#2 – Design
Next up, let’s focus on the visuals. Because the truth is, blog writing involves a lot more than design, especially if you want to have a high blog engagement rate.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Are images relevant to the topic at hand?
- Do feature images work well on desktop and mobile?
- Are there additional design elements like graphs, tables, charts or GIFs?
- How is the accessibility? (Hint: Grey or light-coloured fonts are harder to read.)
#3 – SEO:
Of course, we can’t talk about blogs without SEO. Now, TOO much focus on SEO is also bad, but more often — I find companies are lacking in this department unless they have an SEO specialist.
Here are a few questions to ask:
- Are they using good-quality external links for their sources and research?
- How many internal links are in each blog?
- Are they hyperlinking link text correctly on relevant keywords, and do links open in a new tab?
- Does there appear to be an on-page SEO being implemented?
- Is keyword density too high or too low?
- Do blogs have meta descriptions?
- Do images have any alt text?
For the last two, you will need a bit more knowledge about how websites work or access to the company’s website itself. Generally, if this is for a prospective client, I will inspect the page to see the boring HTML shit.
Just right-click on the page like so:
And voila you get the goods:
#4 – Structure & Navigation
Next, you need to consider the website’s blog structure. Oftentimes, there is also a look of work to be done here because nothing makes any intuitive sense for the actual readers.
Some questions to ask are:
- Does the blog have different category tags?
- Do they have blog authors — or is everything just an “admin”?
- Are there multiple website pages for different types of blogs (ex: news updates, knowledge hubs, and case studies)?
#5 – Blog Strategy
Finally, I like to check out their overall strategy. Because a blog is just one piece of the bigger picture when it comes to content marketing.
Questions to ask about this are:
- Are they using any lead magnets?
- Is there an email opt-in so they can hear about new blogs?
- Are they repurposing blogs on social media, emails, and so on?
And that’s a wrap!
Also, note that this is just a quick content review. A full blog audit is a lot more work (and something to charge for!) Still, I hope this list of questions helps you to land more clients and sound more profesh by giving them a quick blog content review.
It works well for me, so I’m sure it’ll help you too 🙂
About the Author
Victoria Fraser is a freelance copywriter from Vancouver, Canada who works in the gaming & tech space. She works with clients doing all things copywriting & content marketing (including making memes).
You can learn more at her website to work with her or say hello on Twitter!