Marketing Tips

Why Every Business Needs a Blog – An Interview with Kara Duncan (The Kara Report)

March 6, 2024



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I'm Kara - the voice behind some of the brands you know and love (I know because I love them too!). I'm results-driven and ambitious, just like YOU.

Meet Kara

Today, I’m sharing something fun! I was interviews by Brittany Miller Social or her Go Get Great podcast all about why every business needs a blog! This interview gets SO detailed into the process of blogging for your business, and Brittany asked such good questions that this is well worth a listen (or skim for the highlights of my answers below!).

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Table of Contents

Can you introduce yourself to anyone who doesn’t know you yet?

Yeah, absolutely. So I’m Kara, owner of The Kara Report. We’re a small marketing agency that specializes in blogging and Pinterest management for other creative entrepreneurs, mostly service providers, course creators, coaches, and that kind of thing. I’m incredibly passionate about sustainable marketing strategies, so that means that I’m also always thinking about how we can add search-driven ways for people to find you. 

podcast artwork on why every business needs a blog

Can you start by explaining the purpose of blogging and how that fits into marketing strategies for business owners?

Yeah, that’s exactly right. The great thing about blogging is as much as I’ll preach that you should be consistent with blogging, and ideally one post a week is what I really encourage people to aim for. The nice thing about blogging is Google is a more merciful ruler than Instagram

For example, if you ditch your blog for six months, you’re going to be fine. It’s not going to be like square one when you start again. So that’s kind of the nice thing about blogging, especially if you have a seasonal business.

So a lot of my customers will be in the wedding industry where they have a lot more white space when they are not in the middle of wedding season. That’s the nice thing about blogging is you can work it more into your schedule and when you put effort into one blog post a week, there are so many ways that you can repurpose it for that short-term content because a lot of us don’t necessarily have the resources, whether that’s money or time, to wait for blog to work.

Because I always tell people, and I wouldn’t tell you this if it wasn’t true, but it takes six to 12 months to work. If you blog once a week, that’s 52 blog posts that are ranking on Google at the end of the year, versus social media content that you’ve worked so hard on all year that may grow your following, and maybe that will pay off or maybe you might have already reached all the benefits you’re ever going to get out of that content.

Could you explain SEO and how it helps businesses?

So SEO just means search engine optimization, and basically when we talk about SEO, we’re talking about how you’re going to rank on Google. So on Google, I always think of it’s Google’s job, just like the Instagram algorithm, to match with the content that you want to see.

So let’s use a social media manager for an example. If we were going to try and get you on page one for that, Google has two options. They have a social media manager who has a beautiful website optimized for SEO, that’s option one. And then option two is a social media manager who has 52 articles on social media tips. Who do you think Google is going to consider the safer choice to send their traffic to?

So depending on how niche you are you, you may be able to rank on page one (as option one where you just have an optimized website), but option two with a ton of content on your site is going to be way stronger, especially in more competitive industries.

How do you optimize your blog posts so that It gets you the results that you want?

There are a lot of little steps to optimizing a blog post, but none of them are hard and none of them take very long.

So first step, you have to pick a keyword. You can use a free tool like Uber suggests to help you find your keyword. It’ll tell you roughly what the search volume is and what the competitiveness is. That’s the first step, and use that keyword in the first 10% of content. Then, you want to include the keyword throughout the blog post, but without stuffing it.

Next, optimizing images is a big one. Don’t upload images too big. Google will do the heavy lifting, resizing it, which makes the website slower, which means it ranks lower. Then, I’m usually going to rename all the images. But then once you upload it, you also want to add alt text, which is again, you describing it in an ideally keyword rich way. I always say include your main keyword in 20% of the images in all text, not every single one. Use different words to shake it up instead of repeating yourself so much. 

Next, consider how you can be a resource, which means link to other high domain websites and link to other websites on your own website or other blog posts. Give people more. Actually we were talking about how we’re both moms, right? You see this a lot with mommy bloggers where it’s like, okay, I just Googled milestones for two year olds and it’s telling me, “Hey, are you wondering about 15 quick and easy meals your 2-year-old will actually eat?” I’m clicking that.

Google likes those kinds of things where somebody is going to your website, reading your blog, going to other pages on your website. It’s a better user experience too. 

Then submit your post to Google search console and request indexing. Google will find your website and do blog posts naturally if you’re a consistent blogger. If you’re not, Google isn’t scanning your website as often because Google thinks that you don’t change your website that often. I talk more about this on my own podcast here!

I say there’s two main ones, Yoast SEO and Rank Math, those are both plugins with free versions that will give you a green light or a score out of a hundred on how optimized your post is. What I would say is that a green light on Yoast SEO is not enough, but if you look at the suggestions, follow those suggestions, it basically kind of walks you through the same steps.

And then my second follow up to that is make your keywords more specific, but still something people search for. So for example, if my keyword is business, I could get a green light pretty easily, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to rank. It’s WAY too big of a keyword.

How many keywords is too many?

I would say the more that you can rank for the better, but one blog post = one keyword. Google also doesn’t like when you have multiple blog posts that are competing. So let’s say you had “five reasons to hire a podcast manager” and podcast manager was your keyword, and then your next blog post was “questions to ask a podcast manager”, and podcast manager was your keyword again. If somebody is just typing podcast manager, Google will get confused. 

Using that example, you could expand and your keyword wouldn’t be podcast manager, it’s “tips for a podcast manager” or “hiring a podcast manager”, make it a longer keyword. That’s just something to keep in mind. It’s easier for SMALL businesses to rank for longer keywords in the beginning.

How do you know if your blog post is doing well after it’s been published?

I have a spreadsheet for everything I like to post when I publish the date. I’m not a fan of over tracking data, but I like to track bare bones. So as I post it, I’ll put the URL on my spreadsheet and I’ll go back and check a week later if it’s indexed.

What you’re going to see in Google Search Console is sometimes it’ll say discovered not indexed. And what that means is Google has found the blog post, but for lack of better words and not to be too harsh, it doesn’t think it’s valuable enough to rank. So it’s not even on page 10. It doesn’t mean the blog post is a bad blog, it can sometimes just need to be tweaked and then resubmitted.

Just to add to that, not every blog post is going to end up on page one, and that’s okay. The other blog posts will support the cornerstone blog posts. So I also like to look once a month at what blog posts are ranking the best. Often it’s the same 10 pages ranking, but that’s enough. It’s bringing me enough business, and that’s really what I care about.

Do you recommend editing URLs or do you leave the URL that was originally created for the page?

I usually just have my keyword there and I usually like to take out the date because sometimes I like to republish something, update it, and then change the date to make it more current. I don’t want to have something like “2017” in the slug.

What are some general tips and do’s and don’ts for blogging, including how long should our blog posts be?

I say 700-900 words for niche topics. But if you’re going for something like marketing, you’re probably going to need to be over 2000 words. That being said, how do we get people to actually read a 2000 word blog post? Literally nobody is going to. So we also have to make it rank on Google with longer word counts, but we also have to make it convert for us.

So there’s a few things that I recommend. One, a lot of us are writing our blog posts as though it’s for somebody who already knows us. Often the people landing on your blog posts are cold if they’re coming from Google.

So I always start my blog posts by introducing the topic and introducing myself. Then throughout, I’ll make it very skimmable with headings. I like to include a table of contents at the top so people can jump to the topic that they’re actually interested in. At the end, I will include a summary, lists, roundups, extra resources, etc. And then throughout the blog post, just make it as digestible as possible, whether that’s adding an infographic if you have time or even just images to break it up a little bit.

How long does it take you to write a blog post from start to finish?

About two hours, and I do use AI as a support. But yeah, I would say carving out 2-3 hours is enough. I think it’s important to say the more blog posts you have, the easier it gets too because you can easily link to other blog posts. And if you are starting with something like a podcast, start with the transcript. There are ways to make it easier instead of just staring at a blank page.

Can you share a little bit more about how blogging also works for podcasting?

I would prioritize podcast episodes that have a searchable term. If you don’t have time to optimize every single one, which is obviously ideal, skip the ones that are maybe less keyword-rich. Then, I honestly structure it in much the same way as a blog post.

I take the transcript, introduce myself, and then even if it’s a solo episode or a guest episode, I’ll do a Q&A in terms of the headings and then again, the table content so people can skim. I’ll summarize most of it. I would say I cut out usually about half, because there’s a lot of chit-chat that is great on podcasts and not great to read. But really, I make it very readable for people who prefer that over listening!

If every business needs a blog, why don’t more people do it??

It’s because it takes time and it’s boring, to be honest. I always say when I do Pinterest and blogging, it’s not that I think it’s rocket science, especially in the age of ChatGPT. You don’t even necessarily need to be a great writer, but it’s boring when you compare it to reels, trends, or let’s be honest, just spending an hour scrolling, not even posting anything that’s more enjoyable than sitting down, combing through a transcript and doing keyword research. We prioritize things that are going to give us that dopamine hit.

How do you use your blog posts to support your social media content creation and your podcast?

So with my blog post, I’ll try and create a reel that shares the tips in bullet point form. Then I can sometimes even take those individual tips and create its own reel. Then I create 5 to 10 pins per blog post and put them on Pinterest. 

I’ll sometimes even just use the introduction paragraph as my Pinterest description, or I’ll put the whole thing in chatGPT. I do the same thing on Instagram and TikTok. Another thing is an Email list. If you have one regularly, it’s a great idea. 

When we talk about blogging, bringing in cold traffic, If you’re selling a high ticket service, we likely need more from you. So getting them on the email list, or if you’re super active on Instagram, getting them to follow you on Instagram from your blog post is a really good idea.

The more you can layer in these different channels, but use your blog posts as a starting point, the better off your conversions will be.

Can you share some of the ways that you monetize your blogs?

Yes, sure. So I’m always thinking, how can I sell my own product? So like I said, at the top of the blog post, there’s almost always a pitch to work with me. That’s when I look at my business. I mostly make money from one-on-one services, and I like it that way.

I’m also linking to affiliates when they’re relevant. And I do have banners to, I’ll say I have a blogging mini course where I go through all of this in more detail, and it acts as a visual interrupt when we talk about how people are skimming, I would say those are the three ways I pitch my services. 

mini course on blogging for SEO banner

Can you give some do’s and don’ts for refreshing your blog posts?

So when I look at refreshing, the first thing I do is usually refresh the visuals. And I don’t do this all the time. Sometimes if I have a blog post that’s top business and marketing books read in 2023, I might move that to 2024 and simply just change the date. Then sometimes if it’s something more evergreen, like how to create a blogging strategy, not a ton has changed, but I’ll update the content and move it to the front of the line. But I’ll only do that every few years.

For things that are more competitive, if you’re writing a blog post for affiliates, for example, you’re going to want to monitor that blog post more closely. And if you want to be competitive with it, you have to update it more frequently. But the cornerstone ones specific to your niche, it doesn’t have to be that often. And then, all I do really is I go change the dates. I’ll scan it and see if there’s anything that feels super outdated. I’ll try and add a relevant story, which I will try to add at the top so that when I do this again, it’ll be at the top and I’ll easily catch it.

If every business needs a blog, do you have any other blogging or SEO tips that you want to share with us today?

I would say if you’re starting blogging, think about your customer journey. I think too often we go for these huge keywords that we’re never going to rank for. No offense to anyone, but we need to go for more niche topics. Instead, we need to look at how we can find a more niche keyword that people are actually searching for, and then also think about your customer journey after they land on that blog post.

Basically, don’t forget to introduce yourself. Don’t forget to tell them where to go next. Don’t forget to generally optimize your website so that it’s visually appealing, fast to load, and then has easy navigation. Too many of us are writing our blog posts to feel like an informational post. When we’re businesses, someone skimming it might not even realize they can just hire you. We have to make it so obvious that people can hire us, or buy our course, or whatever else we want them to do.

How do you find topics to blog about?

So I always like to look at Google trends. Obviously Pinterest trends is a great tool, even if you’re not marketing on Pinterest, to see what kind of keywords are being found there. I like “answer the public”. I love to look there because they word it like questions that’s a really good one for finding one keyword and then everything people are searching for. And then Ubersuggest, again, is a free tool that will give you content ideas. I would say that is where I like to start. 

It depends on the question I’d say Google. I don’t ever search for something on Instagram. I know that they’re working on that, but I’ll use TikTok before I’ll use Instagram as a search feature. And then it kind of depends on the kind of content. I might go to TikTok if I’m looking for a visual tutorial, for example. But usually, it’s Google, especially when making purchasing decisions.

Do you find that there are things that are easier to talk about on a podcast versus write about in a blog?

That’s a good question, but for the most part, no. I think some things need a visual aid. So in that case, it’s sometimes hard if I’m walking through how to use Google Search console, sometimes it’s not the perfect medium to be talking about it versus a blog post where I can share screenshots, but for the most part, I find the content the same, but more storytelling in the audio part. Not that you want your blog post to feel dry. Obviously you want some personality. But it’s definitely easier to add longer-winded stories to a podcast episode.

Does SEO for Pinterest work the same as Google?

Yeah. I mean basically. Pinterest wants to match users with the best result. Pinterest is a supporting player in your strategy. Because when Google sees a website that has been pinned many times, it’s ranked as more valuable.

At the end of the day, the principles are the same. You need the right keywords and you need to have good content. Pinterest can absolutely tell when someone goes to a site and it’s garbage and they immediately bounce off. It’s not going to rank those pins most of the time. And then it’s really just like the long game same as Google, when you have an account that has been pinning regularly for a year, 52 different blog posts that’s going to rank higher than somebody who just started. You have to expect that, and you have to keep doing it anyway. 

I was going to add, people spend so much time overthinking the topic that they’re actually going to choose, and the reality is you just have to write, and if you force yourself to write one a week, you’ll have enough time to go through all the ideas you have. So it’s like instead of being like, which of these three should I start with? Just say, I’m going to write these three for a week, and it really doesn’t matter which one goes first. 

Every business needs a blog – where can we find you if we want to hire you?

So my business is called The Kara Report. If you’re looking to build more of an omni presence this year, which I hope that you are, I have a fast and slow marketing roadmap guide which is a great place to get started! You can also hire me to write blog posts for you here! I’d be honored!

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I'm Kara - the voice behind some of the brands you know and love (I know because I love them too!). I'm results-driven and ambitious, just like YOU.

Meet Kara