Breaking Down a Perfect Blog Post
When your blog just isn't taking off or seeing the readership you hoped for, It can be easy to blame low numbers on outside factors when the actual problem might be your blog writing methods.
An effective blog contains the fresh and useful content that audiences want to devour and delivers it in a way that appeals to both readers and search engines. The formula for a writing a perfect blog post is a fluid one that changes according to your industry, among other factors, but alluring posts contain a healthy dose of these elements:
- The title and headers are enticing and honest.
- The topic is useful and new, or a fresh take on an old subject.
- Content is broken up with subheaders.
- Powerful action words are interspersed with facts and stats.
- Internal links and high-quality external links back up the info and point readers to more.
- Paragraphs are short.
- Images are properly credited and used wisely.
- All sources are cited.
- Your post adds value to the reader’s life.
- The post is SEO-friendly and follows best practices.
- Content is never lifted, paraphrased without credit or otherwise plagiarized.
- A strong call to action is included at the end.
- Posts are published on a reliable timetable to build trust, authority and loyalty.
Falling short on these elements will result in a sad lack of engagement. Following are five steps to writing a perfect blog post.
1. Choose the Right Topic
What are you writing about? While you might think mercantilism in 1700s France is the bee's knees, readers might say otherwise. Open your eyes and look at the topics that actually trend. Social Media Examiner talks about how to use social media to find blog topics. Example: Write about mercantilism in 1700’s France as it relates to e-commerce.
2. Determine Your Audience
Who you write for determines exactly how you write. Do not write a blog for a financial journal that uses industry lingo incorrectly. The professionals will be able see through that ruse immediately and completely discredit you.
Similarly, if you want the attention of teenagers, you need to write in a way they connect with, otherwise you'll come off as rigid and, well, boring. After topic, this is the most important factor determining your post's success.
3. Present Strong Ideas Then Back Them Up
So you think supporting brushing your teeth 30 minutes after eating is the proper brushing method? Should the audience care? Why? Your readers are presented with so many ideas every day that your simple 'yes' or 'no' article will not grab their interest or hold their attention. Instead, find a way to present information in a unique light. You have to answer the question 'why?' up front, then continue answering it throughout the post.
- Why should they click in the first place?
- Why should they keep reading?
- Why should they take action afterward, like sharing the post or making a purchase?
Back to those journals and research. Use them. Linking to reputable sources lends credibility to your post.
4. Be a Titular Success
So you have written a creative, attention-grabbing blog post. Now you need a title with double the catch. Some writers create the title first and some save it for last. Either way works, just make it a good one. As Copyblogger mentions, the best headlines promise the reader a benefit.
The popular belief is that the best headlines are seven words or less, and given how quickly we blow through article titles before we find one interesting enough to click on, it’s sound advice. To continue the theme of brevity, the shorter a headline is, the better. It doesn't have to be mind-melting, but it does have to be emotionally charged enough to draw the reader’s focus.
An effective headline does one of three things:
- Tells exactly what the post is about.
- Hints at a valuable benefit within.
- Teases with the promise of value without giving anything away.
When in doubt, choose clarity.
5. Image is Everything
Images help determine your post's clickableness. In the same way the title needs to have urgency, so does the image. When choosing an image for your post, try something that relates to your topic in an emotionally intelligent manner. Your image should match the overall tone and serve to drive home a crucial point.
Most blog posts about writing blog posts wrap up with a word about calls to action. This blog post is no different. I almost added it as the final step, but the truth is that your call to action is the essence of your post. Every step you take should lead to your CTA, and every point you make should work to convince your reader to act.
Are you struggling with an element of blog post writing? Has this post been helpful? Let me know in the comments.