At this point, you’re probably aware of how important blogging for business is. Compelling blog posts engage your visitors, build consumer trust and offer valuable insight into your company. Despite knowing how essential it is to have good content, we’re still surprised by how few people actually know how to write a great blog post.
From tone to formatting, there are basic elements that will make a blog post succeed. We’ll outline some tricks of the trade you can use to ensure your blog rocks.
1. Know Your Subject
Start with a topic that you yourself find interesting. The simple truth is this—if the subject matter is of interest to you, other people will find it interesting as well. Even better, write about something you’re passionate about. Don’t hide your excitement. Your enthusiasm about a subject will inspire others.
If you’re not an expert on the subject you’re looking to blog about, research your topic. People will visit your blog because they are looking to learn something. Make sure you are offering them a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. Knowing how to write a great blog post means knowing how to entertain while educating.
2. Speak to Your Audience
Who’s visiting your blog? What are they looking for? Decide who your audience is and write specifically to and for them. A common mistake is to try to speak to every demographic or target people at every part of the buyer’s journey. This can water down your message or worse, make you look desperate.
Define your target audience and give them information that’s useful to them. It’s okay if your message doesn’t resonate with every single visitor to your site. What’s more important is to make sure those who do understand your content see you as a resource that helps build them or their business.
3. Craft a Killer Headline
You want a headline that will grab people’s attention and entice them to click and then read. It’s an old adage, but it definitely rings true; A good headline is the first thing your readers see, a bad headline is the only thing your readers see.
A good exercise is to write five or six different versions of the same headline. Does it answer a question? Could you see yourself entering it into a Google search if you were looking for information? Would the title make you click? Is it too long? If your title has more than 60 characters, you risk it getting cut off when displayed in Google results. Is it too short? According to HubSpot, headlines with between 8 and 12 words are shared most often on Twitter while headlines with 12 to 14 words get more “likes” on Facebook. It may take some trial and error before you discover the perfect word length that “clicks” for your audience.
4. Don’t Give Too Much Away
Your lead paragraph should introduce the content and engage the reader enough that they feel compelled to read more. Be careful not to give away the gist of the post in the first paragraph or even the headers. If people feel that they understand everything you have to say by reading the headers, they aren’t going to read the full post. The more people read, the more they absorb.
In addition, avoid long anecdotes or stories that explain why you’re writing. The viewer is there because they’re looking for a solution to their problem, don’t make them slog through a description of yours. The best first sentences are short, decisive and invite the user to continue reading. A long, unwieldy opening sentence can seem daunting and turn a reader off immediately.
5. Use Images Wisely
Images help break up long blocks of text and make the page look more visually appealing. People tend to scan a post before they read to evaluate if the post is worth their time. Good images will invite the user to investigate further and reflect the tone and temperament of the text. If your subject is technical or complex, then charts, graphs and other infographics can help your readers understand the points you’re trying to convey. Using images also adds SEO value.
Click here for more information on how to optimize a blog post for SEO.
In addition to paid stock photography sites, there are plenty of free resources online for high-quality, royalty-free images. Take the time to find relevant images that speak to your topic. If your images look hastily thrown together with no relationship to the subject matter, it won’t reflect well on your post, or your company.
6. Edit, Edit and Then Edit Again
Read your post from beginning to end. It often helps to read it out loud. See if anything jumps out at you. Are you using the same word or phrase over and over again? Your post should have a natural flow. Avoid contrived, lengthy sentences that don’t roll off the tongue.
Take a break from your post and then come back to it with fresh eyes. It’s amazing how much a good night’s sleep can refuel ideas. It also helps to have other people read your post. It’s not an admission of weakness, in fact it shows that you care enough to make your post as impactful and accurate as possible. An outside perspective can be invaluable—and often can provide perspectives that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
That’s it! Now that you know how to write a great blog post, it’s time to get started. We hope these tips help you find your voice so you can grow your audience and improve your business. While it may seem daunting to regularly conceive, write, edit and optimize blog posts—with a little patience and experience, you’ll be an expert in no time!
How’s your blog going? We’d love to hear! Drop us a line and let us know how it’s going. As always, if you have questions or concerns Trueline is here to help.