A good blog post can work wonders for your name, brand, and platform while assisting you in reaching your larger goal. Conversely, a post that doesn’t deliver–even one that’s well-written–will have the opposite effect, repelling your readers.
Unless curating blog posts is something that you’ve been doing for a while–allowing you the time that it takes to tweak things and find your footing–it may be difficult to understand what works and what doesn’t.
This is especially true since the way that we consume media has changed drastically over the last few years. This has forced writers to throw the rules and mannerisms that we grew up with, out the window.
Nowadays writing blog posts is a formula. And if you don’t know what that formula is, don’t feel bad, because it’s always in motion as it keeps up with an ever-changing reader base.
In this article, I’ve outlined methods to help you execute a successful blog post and to reach your audience effectively.
Know your audience
This may be the number one reason why blog posts flop. We’re not writing for writing’s sake. The people who choose to read our blog posts are expecting to receive some type of value from them; whether that value is information or entertainment.
It’s important to know who is reading your blog and to deliver to them what it is that they need, lest they find it elsewhere.
A good way to gauge this is through analytics on your webpage. Which posts are popular, how much time did the average reader stay on the post, and what was the value that was being offered?
Outline and Draft
Not only will this help you formulate your ideas and your post in a coherent manner, but it will also save you tons of time. It was painful for me to do at first since writing was always an open outlet for me to be fluid in and expressive with. This just doesn’t work well with reaching larger audiences.
Blogging seems simple enough from the outside looking in. Meanwhile, on the inside, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have other responsibilities. Outlining your posts beforehand will help relieve some of the stress and save you time to do more as your blog post will already have its direction before you’ve even started.
Once you’ve completed an outline the next step is to plow through with a draft. Pay absolutely no mind to grammar. Just research and write. It’s always easier to come back and fix grammar and style-up the piece to your liking.
Much like the nature of blog posts, the way that Google search operates is ever-changing. People are constantly scrambling to keep up with the way that Google works.
As a rule of thumb, we make sure that our chosen “keyword” (or keywords) are present in both the first and last paragraphs of our posts. We also spread the keyword throughout in a fashion that isn’t forced. This how Google recognizes the article as being legit, and not just a wall of words stuffed with keywords in attempts to manipulate Google’s search engine to achieve higher rankings in search results.
Even if you must be a bit dramatic, an attention-grabbing headline is well worth it. It’s important to think about the headline (and the intro) in a marketing sense. Your headline is advertising your blog posts.
Why should anyone click?
This is especially true if your posts are being shared on social media, where all people will see is the headline and a picture.
A good blog post will grab you out the gate. We want to invite the reader in, establish a bond, ask questions, and leave the reader wanting more so that they proceed to read on.
Useful, informative, engaging and fun
While there are outliers, for most of us we’re going to want to have a good balance of value, information, and entertainment in our blog posts. We must tread a fine line that isn’t too dry and boring while not too silly either.
Good posts are playful and engaging with readers while maintaining the authority of knowledge on the topics being discussed.
Make sure to give some personality to your readers.
Posts That Work
There is no rule here, only observation. The posts that seem to do the best are How-to posts, and list-based posts (top ten, etc.). These always intrigue readers to click.
Subtitles, Spacing, and Bullets
Let’s face it, due to modern technology our attention span sucks. You might be saying, “no, not mine”. And that may be true. But we’re talking about the average person consuming content here.
Most people don’t have the attention span to read through walls of text. Walls of texts just aren’t visually appealing either. Therefore, it’s our job as bloggers to break the text up a bit.
Breaking up the monotony of a long-drawn out post with several subtitles (see; the post you’re reading) is a great way to achieve this.
Short paragraphs are a must. As a loose rule, we shouldn’t be going over three sentences per paragraph. Ideally, less when we can.
Another trick is to add in bullet points and lists where applicable. This isn’t cheap, it’s a proven way to get your information out there to people who scan articles.
Unless you’re writing to reach X amount of words and you’re having a tough time, chances are you’ve written too much. Blog posts aren’t like school papers and could do without filler.
Once your post is completed it’s important to go back and ask yourself what really needs to be in the post and what doesn’t. It’s important here to put yourself in your reader’s shoes and view the post as they would.
It should go without saying that we need to go back and edit our posts to make sure that the grammar is on point and our message comes across clearly.
But another aspect to editing that is often overlooked is making sure that the post is visually appealing. Is everything in the right place? Could the post use more quotes or pictures? Could the pictures be placed in a better location?
Now Get Out There, Make Yourself a Good Blog Post
I hope this has helped. I understand that this only a brief overview of the components that make up a blog post that works. Much could be written in detail about each ingredient. But this should be more than enough for you to get out there and kill it.