I often hear outlandish (and overdramatic) statements such as:
Blogging is dead!
Writing is so passé.
Articles are BORING and TIME-CONSUMING.
But the problem with those broad, sweeping regurgitations is that, well, they’re broad and sweeping.
Blogging is not dead. More blog posts are published on the daily than ever before. The blogging norms have simply become more dynamic – it’s no longer good enough to publish your diary online and expect the people to come.
Writing is not and will never be passé. The way we write and the way we consume other people’s writing is evolving, but that’s not news. It’s been evolving since day dot – since splatters on a cave wall started being interpreted as story.
Articles are most definitely boring and time-consuming… if you’re doing it wrong. If you’re churning out blog post after blog post for the sake of it, purely with a conversion in mind… yes. You will be publishing crap. Crap that nobody wants to read. The challenge lies in creating content that’s worth consuming.
And you don’t have to be an exceptional writer or pro-marketer to write fantastic blog content – the kind that has people actively typing in your URL, just to see if you’ve published anything new recently.
There’s a list you see, of things that will amp up the quality of your written content. And no, I’m not going to force you to fork over your email address before I tell you what that is, keeping reading and it’s all yours.
The Never-Before-Seen Formula For Brilliant Blog Posts*
*I joke, I joke, it’s all glaringly obvious.
- An interesting, relevant topic
- A catchy title
- A compelling introduction
- Digestible content
- Decent writing
- Some sort of captivating visual
- A pointed call-to-action
- Off the charts optimisation
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail…
An interesting, relevant topic
Yes, you would think that THIS one would be a no-brainer. You would think that it would be totally obvious that your topic should be on point.
Alas, it is not.
I see many an entrepreneur publish generic blog posts that their audience is (at best) ambivalent about. If that’s you, you’re missing a trick. Your digital content is your opportunity to prove your worth, so DO that. Keep your topics targeted.
Tip >> We all have an email list, right? Why not use those willing readers to investigate the most high-five-worthy content ideas? Try tweaking each of your auto-responders to ask a specific question (and elicit specific replies). For example:
- Hit reply and tell me your biggest struggle with [insert your topic]
- What are you totally obsessed with right now?
- If I could offer you one quick fix in the realm of [your topic], what would it be?
- What’s your least favourite [your topic] task right now?
- What’s that one thing you can’t seem to move off your to-do list?
- If you could master one thing this week, what would it be?
- My series of “Content Conquered” idea generation tricks
- 3 ways to never run out of unique content ideas
- Answer the public
A catchy title
I have a confession to make… I’m a die-hard scroller. Whether I’m dallying in my newsfeed or perusing my favourite blogs on Feedly, it’s only a striking headline that will grab my attention enough to prompt a click through.
So yeah… important. But at the same time, not so important that it’s worth procrastinating over.
Tip >> Build your own stash of headline templates and just save yourself the headache. Take a look at your Google Analytics and pay attention to which posts get a ton of traffic from social media. Also, make a note of the posts that YOU click through to – what makes them so appealing? Once you’ve put together your handy swipe file, you can simply dip in and tweak one of your examples each time you sit down to write a blog post.
- 9 headline scripts for your swipe file
- How to create catchy headlines
- Improve clickability with the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
A compelling introduction
Your blog post introduction is made up of those first few lines that help your readers figure out whether this post is one for them, It has the capacity to hook or to repel, in fact, it has the capacity to do both if you write it right.
Tip >> The topic of your blog posts should be clear from the titles, so don’t bother using your intro to say “this article will be about xyz”. Instead, use that space to whip up a bit of intrigue, or controversy, or “me too”. Conjure an emotion that forces them to keep going.
- 7 ways to craft a compelling intro
- How to start an article with a killer opening line
- Use Atomic Writer to assess the suitability of your introduction
Hands up all the lazy readers out there.
*Entire internet sheepishly raises hands*
We are a world of skimmers, there is simply no point denying it. When we are faced with screen after screen, our eyes and our minds are drawn to the stuff we can consume with ease… so make every bit of your content less difficult for your readers to absorb.
Tip >> Don’t worry about the formatting until you’re ready to hit publish – trust me when I say it can seriously interrupt your flow. Start by doing your first ugly draft in a notepad or blank doc, then look at how you can break it into smaller pieces with things like subheaders, block quotes and imagery.
- Break up your blog content (without a power ballad in sight)
- Anatomy of the perfect blog post
- Install a free “tweetable” plug-in such as Better Click to Tweet to make your blog posts more digestible and more shareable
I promise I’m not trying to be a dick. I’m not being snobby or patronising or anything like that… All I’m saying is that if you hope to have your readers come back for more, your writing needs to be of good quality. It’s not like they haven’t got a ton of other shit they could be reading.
Tip >> Read. The only way to improve your writing skills for real is to read. Read anything and everything. Learn from all the wonderful writers you have access to then bring those lessons back into your own work.
- How to perfect your paragraphs
- 9 crucial tips for self-editing your blog posts
- Use Hemingway to amp up the quality of your writing
Some sort of captivating visual
I came across this stat the other day – apparently, if somebody reads a certain piece of information, in 3 days time they’ll only remember 10% of that information. However, if somebody reads the same piece of information, accompanied by a relevant image, they’ll retain 65%. We all want our content to be memorable, right?
Tip >> Simplify your life. Use templates.
- Visual content for the creatively challenged
- 3 simply graphic design hacks for non-designers
- Use Canva (and Canva’s amazing stash of templates) to design blog post graphics FAST
A pointed call-to-action
Ok, so this element is less about the enjoyment of your readers and more about saving the sanity of your fine self.
If you create any kind of content, you’re doing it for a reason, right? You want to get something out of the equation… so don’t be afraid to ask for whatever that thing is.
Tip >> Mix up your calls-to-action. If you consistently ask for the same sign-up or the same share, your people will become blind to it. Instead, think about the different micro-conversions you’d like to see. For example:
- Sign up for a particular freebie
- Share the post on a specific platform
- Pin for later
- Opt into a free challenge
- Sign up for a webinar or free masterclass
- Answer a question
- Follow on social media
- Watch a video
- Post an image or video on social media using your hashtag
- Listen to your latest podcast
- Bonus tip: make sure your CTA stands out by putting it into a big bold header font.
- 100 great call-to-action examples
- 54 proven words and phrases to use in your calls-to-action
Off the charts optimisation
If you’ve spent more than a day in the content creation game, you’ll know all about the importance of search engine optimisation.
Again, it’s not so much for the enjoyment for your people as it is the thing that will help them find you in the first place.
Tip >> Save yourself all the faffing and just install the Yoast SEO plug-in. It will give you a nice stash of prompts to amp up your SEO beneath every single blog post. Plus, it’s free.
Take action: Save this post for later and whip it out next time you want to get your blog on.
P.S. New to world of crafting killer blog posts? Read this.