I wish this would have been the first blog I ever wrote. I have learned so many useful tips on researching for this blog that I have realized the wrongs of my ways. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Follow these 10 easy steps and make sure your blog is a success:
1. Write Strong Headlines – eight out of 10 people will read your heading. Two out of 10 will read your blog. Let’s face it…without a strong headline nobody is reading your blog so a strong headline is perhaps the most important thing you can do. It’s important to spend time crafting an eye-catching headline. Some go as far as to say pick the six words that count most for your heading. If you can’t limit it to six words, research shows that readers will digest the first three and the last three words in a heading.
Here are eight headline strategies that are backed by science (see blog.bufferapp.com):
- Surprise “This is Not a Perfect Blog Post (But it Could Have Been)”
- Question “Do You Know How to Create the Perfect Blog Post?”
- Negatives “Never Write a Boring Blog Post Again”
- How to “How to Create the Perfect Blog Post”
- Numbers “Top 10 Ways to Create a Perfect Blog”
- Audience Referencing “For People on the Verge of Writing the Perfect Blog”
Additionally, it is important to come up with strong opening line (or hook) to equally capture the reader’s attention. It is often this storytelling hook that engages people to read on. For more ideas on how to write strong headings: How to Write Magnetic Headlines – CopyBlogger.
2. Great, Factual Content – you can have a catchy-headline but if it’s not backed up with good content then the reader will feel ripped off when reading your blog. There is so much information out there that it’s important to do your research, make sure it’s accurate, concise and complete. In today’s world people are busy and looking for good information and fast. If you provide good content people will keep coming back. Make it easy for people to find information and eliminate the fluff. As one blogger put it “publish epic content”, this way “you will become known as a subject matter expert and people will remember your blog”. See ‘How I Built a Top 100 Blog in 12 Months and How You Can Do it Too’ by Mathew Woodward.
3. Add Eye-Catching Images (or Videos) – Blogging and social media have become increasingly visual in the last few years. The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ holds true for blogs. You can use images to bring the reader to an emotional space or share intimate details about an experience. Through images the reader can relate to the story before reading a word. Online photo editors such as PicMonkey and Pixir can help you achieve great photos. You can also create a ‘look’ by using similar-looking images which can be effective in creating your brand. Equally important is to make sure your blog is professional looking. Spend the extra time to ensure your blog is well put together and polished. For more information you can visit: ‘Getting Visual with Your Content: 10 Effective Ways to Use Images’ – infographic and article by Lane Jones.
4. Make it Easy to Read – Essentially people will be scanning your blog for information that is pertinent. Very rarely do people read a full post. To make sure it’s easy to read add in headings and easy to follow formatting. Often bloggers will use numbers to clarify a subject (i.e. ’10 Ways to Loose Weight’). Bullet points and subheadings are also useful tools in creating a scannable document. Keeping paragraphs and sentences short will also increase reader ability. If you run out of space post hyperlinks with more detailed information. This will add credibility and also save space. Finally, think about using bolded or italicized text to highlight important points. This will make your blog seem less busy to the reader and increase your chance of being read.
5. Get to the Point – All too often there is too much of a lead up to get to the actual point of the blog. As a public relations student I was always taught to lead with the most important information first – the same is true of blogs. This way you have a better chance at capturing the readers attention. Equally as important is to stick to the point – try not to ramble and stay on topic.
6. Be Friendly – People look to blog posts for information and/or to be entertained. It is important to try and stay positive and conversational when writing your blog. When you are conversational you take the first step in connecting with the reader.
7. Find Your Voice – It is equally as important to add personality and find your voice. After all people are reading your blog because of your opinions and experiences. Find your niche – this way the writing will come easy to you. Decide what you are passionate about. Running? Cooking? Parenting? It important to blog about something you have a unique perspective on but be careful to avoid heavily saturated topics (unless given a unique twist). Try to take advantage of your strengths and experiences. Be original. Be interesting. Be honest. Be yourself.
8. Stay Current – It’s important to stay current on what everyone is talking about. This way you are able to blog about things that are top of mind for people. Stay on top of trends and offer your option/experiences/thoughts on what is going on. Tie the current trends back to your niche.
9. Understand Your Reader – it is important to understand your target market. Once you find your niche you will know who is reading your blog. It is important to write information that they will find useful. Your content must add value to your readers life (entertainment/information). It is also important to use “we/our” statements instead of “you/your” (especially in negative contexts) as it’s interpreted less accusingly. This is something I find a bit challenging…as I am writing for “you”.
10. Keep It Short – I often fail in this department but it’s important to keep things short. It’s the opposite of university essays. Short sentences. Short Paragraphs. Short(ish) Blog. The sweet spot for blogs should be around 1,500 words – a seven minute read.
In all – if you follow this formula you should be on your way to writing a great blog. For me it’s a work in progress as I try to tone down the essay writer in me and allow myself to be myself.