How to write an article for your health blog – Part 2 (Quality)
This is the second part in the series “How to write an article for your health blog.” Last week we talked about how to get more articles for your health blog. We addressed the issue of lack of quantity of blog posts.
Today in part 2, I’m sharing some advice to tackle the issue of quality. How to take a draft and ramp it up to a longer, deeper more share-worthy article. How to approach epic status.
- Want to improve the quality/length/level of research of your blog post;
- Want more epic content;
- Want more engagement and traffic after you publish your newest piece;
- Thoroughly enjoy the research, creation, and editing to make top notch content for your blog/podcast/vlog;
- Are willing to make the commitment to learn how to create even more epic content.
Then this post is for you.
Quantity vs Quality
On quantity (part 1)
Sometimes it’s hard enough publishing something every week. I know! I struggled with this, especially on those weeks when I had a bunch of freelance writing projects due to my private clients.
I knew my blog was important for my long term objective to help people get to know, like, and trust me. And to demonstrate consistency and reliability. Not to mention to continue to have my blog be a source of new readers, clients, and customers.
This was until I made it a priority. Yup! That’s the super-simple to say, and super-difficult to implement key to consistency.Make your blog a priority - Easier said than done! Click To Tweet
On quality (part 2)
I didn’t *just* want to be consistent… I wanted to stand out as an amazing health writer and ghost blogger. I wanted to demonstrate my expertise and love for doing thorough research and creating epic posts. I wanted to increase the number of people who found me on search engines like Google.
These are all reasons to make high-quality long-form posts. Posts that reference reliable research. Posts that dig deep into the heart of a topic. Posts that answer and educate readers beyond what they came for. Share-worthy posts that keep people coming back for more.
There is just too much noise in the health and wellness sphere these days that another “5 reasons to drink more water” doesn’t quite show off your authority and expertise. Amirite?
According to Gary Vaynerchuk:
“You’re one piece of content away from what you want to happen happening.” ~ Gary Vaynerchuk
Quality vs. Quantity
Don’t get me wrong, not all posts have to be long and knock the socks off your readers. Shorter posts have great function when you:
- Intersperse them on weeks when you just can’t create something epic;
- Share with your newsletter subscribers and on social media;
- Address something that’s short-term, like a launch promotion or recent media article;
- Want something short and sweet for your audience.
If you really, really have to choose between quantity and quality, I would recommend quality first.
Truth: “So if you have to choose between supplying massive amounts of mediocre content or smaller levels of amazing content, choose the latter.” #Blog #EmailMarketing #ContentMarketing Via @podiahttps://t.co/PpjYG5QKDG
— Leesa Klich Health (@LeesaKlich) January 20, 2019
Think of it this way: your blog is your public facing marketing machine that represents your business. You have no idea which blog post someone is going to land on and it will be their very first impression of you, on your “real estate” (i.e. NOT social media, but on your url property).
What do you want them to see and think?
Now, in 2019, with all of the additional blogs on the internet and a huge and growing wellness industry, I highly recommend quality over quantity.
It’s getting harder to stand out amongst the noise! (Here are my thoughts on wellness blog trends for 2019.)
If you need to, publish them twice as good, half as often.
Keep the short punchy non-researched non-optimized posts for your newsletter and social media.
Here are some tips on how to create a quality post without starting from scratch:
- Update an old blog post and make it twice as good (with references and SEO-optimized) – update with the new date too!
- Take 2 or 3 newsletters/social media posts and combine them into one great blog post.
- Take a webinar, talk, book, program or anything substantial you’ve done and break it down into multiple quality posts.
But, you don’t have to keep improving a post forever and ever. There HAS to be a line in the sand where you declare it to be “quality” enough!
What is a “quality” post?
Some aspects of quality are subjective. Your content needs to have value and depth. It needs to be compelling and really connect with your audience. I don’t really know how to measure these, a priori (before you do it). But social shares, traffic, and search engine ranking (i.e. on Google) are “lagging” numbers that can be measured after the fact.
There are some measurable factors that can be goals a priori. In general “high quality” posts that get more social shares and search engine ranking have more:
- Multimedia (i.e. images, graphs, embedded videos, etc.).
How many words?
According to Neil Patel of Quicksprout, Kissmetrics, and Crazy Egg:
Longer posts usually perform better on every level. ~ Neil Patel
Those levels include social shares, backlinks from other websites, and Google first page results. Stuff we all would love more of.
In fact, he says that:
You have to create long form content, meaning 2000+ words high-quality blog posts. This needs to be your new content strategy. ~ Neil Patel
Don’t forget, rambling on or adding words to artificially make a post longer is not going to achieve your end goal. You want readers to get massive value from you. If you’re boring or they feel like their time has been wasted with “fluffy” content, it can hurt the expert status you’re trying to demonstrate.
MY POSITION ON LONG POSTS: Since I research and write health articles for a living. I focus on long-form posts and spend a lot of time on each one. For example, my expert roundup on the top trends in content for the wellness industry took me a whopping 41 hours. It was also picked up by Goodlife Zen. 🙂 And my 2,000+ word scientifically-researched “done for you” health articles for sale here, take me 12+ hours each. In fact, they’ve been getting longer as I create more of them. The one on blood sugar control is 2,673 words with 54 scientific references. It took me 16 hours from concept to final edit. This is by NO means an expectation or industry standard, it’s just to show you that I choose to dedicate time to creating great content because I want to be known for epic, research-based, wellness content.
How much research?
Enough to prove your points and impress your readers.
It’s one thing to quickly write up a post based on your knowledge and opinion. And your audience may love that. But, that’s not going to really build your credibility to new audiences (and I’m all for building credibility with research!).
Referencing also shows people that you keep up-to-date with new information, and what type of references you use (i.e. PubMed/Google Scholar, Associations/Universities/Governments, other bloggers, etc.).
Here are a few examples. I looked up three popular health & wellness terms in Google and found the first non-paid advertisement post. They are:
- “How much water should I drink” – 8 references, plus 38 linked in their post;
- “How to lose weight” – 48 references;
- “Best diet for heart health” – 10 references, but it’s the Mayo Clinic, so they’re going to be #1 on Google for lots of topics.
There are other reasons to do your research.
- First off, you can be confident that you’re sharing credible and up-to-date information with your audience. This is really demonstrated when you find and share a piece of new, or not widely known information with your audience. Say, you’re one of the first to share the latest study that links vitamin D deficiency to MS. Or, remember this summer when the coconut oil and heart health controversy blew up? What about last year when the whole 10-to-1 gut microbiota-to-people cell ratio was disproven? You are seen as a thought leader when you’re first out of the gate.
- Second, you build your credibility and influence with people who don’t quite know, like, and trust you just yet. Saying something you learned in school, or more recently from a credible source or even your clinical practice is one thing. But you can see how strong the evidence is that back that up. And showing your references to readers helps them to know that you’re not just proselytizing… you’re actually right.
- Third, by linking to your references, you’re building a relationship with the person you’re quoting. This is harder if you’re referencing PubMed or Harvard Health, but if you link to some of your most respected health bloggers online, you can start building a rapport with them.
Research takes time. But it doesn’t have to take all day. Click here to learn how to do health research efficiently.
How much multimedia?
This depends on your audience, but a lot of advice these days is to have your content available in multiple formats. Read it into a podcast audio file. Record a short video outlining the key points. Have a downloadable pdf checklist. The more ways you have for people to consume your content, the more they will.
Here’s an example of one of my most popular posts when I was practicing as a nutritionist (before diving into health writing/blogging, content strategy, editing, and keyword research). This post has a combination of information, a short video, and links to over 100 recipes. I even got a backlink from ProBlogger specifically on their podcast episode on the Ultimate Guide to Creating Evergreen Content for Your Blog. See the “Food vs. Supplements: The Turmeric vs. Curcumin Edition” link under “Examples of Evergreen Content Submitted by Facebook Followers.”
PRO TIP 1: You can use your multimedia as content upgrade opt-in incentives. This means that you can have a downloadable audio, video, or pdf file in exchange for your reader to sign up for your email list.
PRO TIP 2: You can use your audio or video as a new piece of content for your blog. Consider it repurposed content. Use the same information (or take one piece and go into more detail), present it differently, and you have a whole new post to publish.
When is the quality enough to declare it “done”?
This is subjective and wholly based on what brand reputation you want to build and what your ideal clients expect.
- Try out different posts and ask for comments from your audience.
- Get a trusted friend/colleague (who is or knows your ideal client) and get their opinion.
- See which posts become more popular and shared over time and then update others to match that quality.
Don’t forget, whatever you publish is NOT carved in stone! You can always go back and update it with new information.
Use more research and multimedia to take a health article from 'me too' to 'epic'. #blog Click To Tweet
How to take a post and ramp up the quality?
Keyword research & SEO
Search engine optimization is how well you rank on Google (and other search engines). Ranking on these is much more than just optimizing a few posts. There are over 200 metrics Google uses to rank your website. But, if being found by (targeted) searchers and surfers is important to you, start with your long-form posts.
I use a few tools to help me with my SEO.
First off, I use the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin for every piece of long-form evergreen post. It allows me to state my keyword, scores the “readability” of my post.
I’ve also invested in the WebTextTool which helps me choose a keyword before I start writing (“keyword research”). Then it helps me improve my ability to rank for that keyword by looking at the number of times I use the keyword in the title, description, headings and content of my post.
Overall, I’m still learning the SEO ropes, but I’m proud to show you that according to SEO Site Check, my website has an 81/100 score. I definitely have more work to do on this. Try looking up your website and see where you are now, and how you can improve too.
I’m also happy to say that search engines are the #1 way people get to my site (“referrer”).
Headlines are almost undisputedly the most important part of your post. If you can’t compel someone to click on your post in the first place, you’ve lost the opportunity to impress them with your content.
PRO TIP: People scan webpages in an “F” pattern. So, your headline, intro and sub-headings are crucial!
I compiled a bunch of great headline resources right here. And don’t forget to include your SEO keyword in it too!
Once your headline has garnered a click, you want to captivate your reader with a great introduction. It’s been shown that people read webpages in an “F” pattern, so your intro and first couple of subheadings are crucial.
There are lots of ways of creating a great intro, here are some resources for you:
- How to Write Spellbinding Introductions by Shamelessly Copying the Pros
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction
Subheadings, short paragraphs, and conversational style is what’s expected for blog posts these days. And these are even more critical when it comes to long-form posts.
Here’s Problogger’s “How to Give Your Blog Posts Structure By Using Subheadings.”
There are a few tools that you can use for your writing.
- Grammarly – better than the spelling and grammar checks you already have (I use the Chrome plugin);
- Hemingway App – to write short and direct sentences (great for blogging); and, I’ve invested in the premium edition of
- ProWriting Aid – It checks style, grammar, overused words, etc. It even gives recommended changes.
Don’t forget – no matter which of these apps you use for your writing, don’t just blindly accept their recommendations. You are still much smarter than an app.
In addition to subtitles, adding images helps to break up walls of text to make it easier for your readers.
Here’s a post I wrote all about how to use images well for your health & wellness blog. I also include a bunch of places to find high-quality free or inexpensive images.
Publish and Promote
Don’t forget to share (and show off) your new amazingly high-quality article after you publish it. Promote it everywhere you can:
- Your email newsletter;
- Your social media followers;
- Other social media groups (when you’re allowed to promote).
And share it lots of times! Don’t just use one tweet or FB share and call it a day! Here is a sample schedule how often to share your new piece of content on various social networks.
Want a “draft” article to try these techniques on?
If you have no time
Download my free supplement resource and start editing it to make it even better.
"Before you buy another supplement read this!”
Free supplement resource from you to your clients (8 expert tips). Edit and brand it as you like.
- Add some info and references for the most common supplements your readers take;
- Create a short video or audio to embed into it, or as content upgrade opt-in incentives;
- Add some beautiful branded images to it.
If you have a few minutes
If you have a few minutes to choose a topic, but not enough to create an article from scratch, then have a look at the “done for you” health articles I sell here.
These “done for you” articles are grouped into 5 categories:
- Featured health article flash sale;
- Health Goals;
- Food & Diet;
- Nutrients & Supplements;
- Personal Fitness;
- Sleep & Stress.
After you buy one, read it over and make it epic for your readers. You can customize it. Then go ahead and publish on your blog as though you wrote it yourself. And don’t forget to promote it like crazy!
This is the second part in a blog series based on my How to ramp up my health blog quiz. It’s about getting over the hurdle of QUALITY.
Having high-quality blog content means it’s:
- With multimedia;
- Has a great headline, introduction, and structure (sub-headings);
- And well-written.
Having high-quality content on your blog will help you to stand apart from the rest of the noise in the health & wellness sphere. Help you to be seen as an authority and thought leader. And have more share-worthy and epic content that people will keep coming back to.
Want higher quality articles on your health blog? Here's how to ramp up OK ones to epic status! #health Click To Tweet
Signing off and toasting: To having high-quality credibility-building articles for your health blog.
Over to you
What do you think? Do you want to use quality content to help you stand out from the crowd? Do you want to spend a bit more time demonstrating your real expertise? Did I miss any other great tips and strategies that help you? Is there one you’d like me to dive into in more detail?
I’d love to know (in the comments below)!
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I'm Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.
I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.