Great content marketing can generate leads for your site and enhance your online visibility quicker than you can say .com – but it’s important you get it right. The perfect blog post is about more than just great content. In fact, the way you format your post is almost paramount to the content itself! Readers may not even realise they like certain formatting nuances, but a well organised post will keep your audience highly engaged, and wanting to share.
Here are 10 things you can do to turn your content into the perfect blog post:
1. Know your audience
Just like a movie, writing is content. And if you want your content to stick with your readers, it’s important that it resonates.
When writing content, start by asking yourself this question.
How can I best communicate my message in a way that my target audience will:
Keep a clear picture in your mind of who you are trying to reach, and speak directly to that audience.
2. Capture their attention, quickly
Did you know that the average human beings attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? According to a study from Microsoft Corp., people are now generally losing interest after just 8 seconds – 8 seconds! In an age of immediacy, coming up with a direct but enticing headline is the most important part of your blog post.
Here’s what David Oglivy has to say on the subject:
On average, five times as many people read the headline that read the copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
Who are we to argue with the Father of Advertising, really?
Your headline needs to make a statement, it needs to be bold, enticing and capture your reader’s attention at first glance – it’s what sparks them to continue reading the rest of your post.
Picking a headline that will match what your readers are searching for is as equally as important; you want readers to find your articles with a simple search. The tricky part? Striking the balance between a relevant title and an exciting one. The perfect blog post title will be funny, ironic or controversial while keeping the core point of the article clear and present.
3. Tell them a story, but make your introduction count
Quite simply, every story has three major parts to it: the beginning, middle and the end. Whether or not your readers are aware, by default this is how they will process your content.
So, start your blog post off by packing a punch – your introduction. Do you remember those short attention spans? Well this is where it matters. It’s imperative that your introduction is painstakingly obvious why someone should be reading your blog. When you nail the why, you’re compelling your readers to trust that the rest of your post is going to be of value to them.
From there you can safely serve your core information and end by wrapping up your conclusion in a neat little bow. It will give proper format to your post, and allow your readers to easily digest the information.
4. Stick to the point
Have you ever started to read a blog and felt overwhelmed? Us too.
Readers don’t want to have to piece together the information you’re sharing – they want your content to be concise, and to stay on topic.
It’s important to use short, punchy sentences instead of bulk paragraphs.
When searching for a specific topic, your audience wants your post to deal with that subject and not meander between several topics. It’s also important to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) and tone down the jargon and huge, pompous words. If no-one understands what you’re saying, you defeat the purpose of writing your blog post.
5. Make it easy to digest
Punctuation is key. Use full stops, commas, colons and dashes to divide the mass of words into smaller chunks of information that make sense.
If you’re not 100% sure on your punctuation, then keep your sentences short and easy to swallow.
Another trick is to organise your post as a list. Try making your different arguments into numbered or bulleted points or include bold sub-headings to draw your reader’s attention. Ranking your information gives them a clear reason to continue reading to the end; it also clearly defines what your key points will be.
The perfect blog post will have content that other bloggers want to link to. Posts with “how to…” or “Top 10” in the title tend to get a lot of attention in the blogosphere. To make your blog really great, you’re going to want to include a large number of outbound links in your body copy. This will prompt other bloggers to notice your work and give you a return link – it also gives your readers a sense that you have done your research before writing your post!
7. A picture speaks a thousand words
In a world ruled by social media, it makes sense that your readers are groomed to engage with visual content. Even if your writing mirrors that of Shakespeare, adding images or videos is crucial to keeping your blog post interesting.
As well as being visually pleasing, did you know your images can in fact help to drive traffic to your blog?
Optimising your alt text and image description with relative keywords will help to boost your SEO value, in-turn driving new traffic to your blog.
8.Use your keywords
The perfect blog post will be constructed with keywords in mind. A simple search using Google Adwords on a subject will let you know which related keywords are most commonly searched for. Maintaining those keywords throughout your content will make it easy for your audience to find your post and will make it clear to them that they have come to the right place.
9. Be original
Make your post unique! Don’t simply say what everyone else is saying – shake it up. The perfect blog post will make your audience stop and think. Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers, conjure some sort of emotion and make your readers talk amongst themselves. A good indication that you have done your job is a post with a lot of engagement. If your post has readers commenting or arguing, you can be sure that you have struck a chord and given your audience something valuable to talk about.
10. Close your blog in style
Writing a good introduction is important, but how you choose to end your blog post can be almost just as important. A flat or, non-existent ending can see you fail in taking the opportunity to entice further action from your audience. A perfect conclusion can have your audience wanting to:
- Share your post, in turn amplifying its reach
- Engage with your post, sparking social conversation
- Subscribe to your blog, converting traffic into regular readers
The ending of your blog post will determine the reaction and emotions of your audience after reading your content. You can leave them contemplative, excited or in suspense, with the right closing words.