Whether you’re a prolific blogger or just getting started, there’s a formula for creating outstanding blog posts that stand out and get results. And, considering that two million posts get published every single day, that’s important. If you want your blog content to cut through all that noise, it not only has to be better than your competition’s, but also interesting and compelling. In fact, you don’t just want people to read it, you also want them to like it so much they feel compelled to share it with others.
Admittedly, pulling that off is no small feat. But, if you follow the steps below, you’ll be well on your way to creating a blog post that’s a cut above everyone else’s.
1. Pick the Right Topic
A great blog post begins long before your pen ever meets paper or your fingers press keys. The process starts with picking the right topic for your post, while also trying to envision what the finished product will look like. As you consider potential topics, ask yourself questions like:
- How interested will my target audience actually be in this topic?
- Do I know enough to write about it credibly?
- What sources can I use to boost that credibility and add depth and insight to my writing?
- Can I add a unique perspective to the conversation?
- How does writing this particular blog post fit into my overall content market strategy?
Regardless of the topic that you wind up picking, you’ll probably come up with a number of good ideas that you ultimately discard for one reason or another. Don’t fret — your efforts won’t go to waste. Keep a running list of these topics and, if circumstances change or if you come up with ways to cover them from a fresh angle, you can always return to them.
2. Hook Your Audience with a Compelling Headline
Writing headlines that really work for your blog post is equal parts art and science. There are a number of tried-and-true tactics, which (ok, they’re not that scientific) do seem to get people’s attention. These include:
- Using numbers in your title (3 Ways to Grab People’s Attention in a Headline, 7 Reasons Why People Are Suckers for Headlines with Numbers in Them, etc.)
- Dangling some click-bait in front of your readers by, for example, promising them valuable information (The One Thing You Need to Know to Become a Content Rockstar)
- Asking a question that creates a sense of urgency and compels the reader to click on your post (Have You Made This Expensive Mistake Translating Your Content?)
Of course, writing good headlines goes beyond following some basic formulas. You have to be creative, too. A creative headline can entice readers who expect to find an equally engaging and well-written post. Knowing how much to share within the headline, and how much to withhold, is an art in itself. After all, you want to bring readers in, not give away the whole story.
3. Structure Your Post for Success
In journalism schools across the globe, budding reporters are taught about the upside-down pyramid approach to writing. It begins all the way at the top with the biggest sliver: your lead. From there, every tier becomes less important. The idea is that the reader will be most interested in the lead and become increasingly less interested — and harder to engage — as they proceed through your post and the imaginary upside-down pyramid. That’s exactly why it’s essential to present your most compelling points in the beginning or at least allude to them.
This is particularly true when it comes to writing B2B blog posts. Most people won’t be reading your blog post about your company’s widget just for fun. They’re looking for specific information and, as such, aren’t going to spend much time reading what you’ve written. Give them what they want early on in the post. Once they’re hooked, you can then take your time explaining things in more detail.
4. Make Your Content Scannable
Time-poor readers don’t actually read, they scan. Try to make their lives easier by making your blog posts as scannable as possible. That means avoiding dense, lengthy paragraphs and instead trying to break up your posts visually. Use subheadings, bulleted lists, and images to help make your content more digestible. When you do this, you’re effectively creating an informal table of contents that allows readers to quickly find the information they want.
5. Choose Images that Fit Your Story
One of the most important steps in creating an optimally structured blog post is often the most overlooked: images. That’s a problem because posts with images get 94 percent more views than those without them.
Not only do images provide a reprieve from the unbroken walls of text in your post, they can also support the points you’re trying to make. If your post has a lot of data in it or is otherwise a tough read, you may be able to illustrate some of the information graphically. Not only will that break things up, it will also help your readers better understand the concepts you’re sharing.
When choosing images for your post, try to find ones that are unique and evocative. Cheesy images that look canned and are obviously stock tend to come across as being cheap and can undermine your post’s effectiveness. Instead look for images that resonate with you and your brand and that you find visually engaging. Chances are that your audience will be much more likely to click on posts with those kinds of images.
6. Optimize for Organic Success
One of the most important things you can do when writing a blog post is to optimize it for search so people can find it. To do so, follow these steps:
- If you don’t have a keyword list to start from, then you’ll need to create one. Using a free online tool like Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner is a great way to get going here.
- Embed your focus keyword throughout your post without saturating it. The earlier a keyword appears within your post, the better. Ideally, you should have it appear at least once within the first 50 words. However, watch out for keyword stuffing (using your keyword anywhere and everywhere), because it’s actually a negative signal to search engines.
- Images can be a positive factor for SEO in a few ways. Not only do they help with optimization when they include your keyword alternative image text, but they also typically have a positive correlation with on-page time. This can help boost your overall organic search rankings.
- Writing the perfect meta description and title tag should be your last step. For your meta description, try not to go over 130 characters (with spaces) to avoid truncation. This will also allow your full meta description to display on mobile devices. For your title tag, keep it to 55 characters (with spaces) or less for the same reasons.
Want more advice around SEO? Check out this post for more detailed guidance.
7. Create Clear Takeaways and Finish Strong
Even when using the upside-down pyramid, it’s still essential to wrap up your post. At this point, your post should be full of supporting information that underpins your main point. Once you reach the end, you should simply restate your case and draw your conclusion based on all of that information. Be careful, though. Your conclusion shouldn’t be a formality. It’s an opportunity to close your post exactly the way you want to and deliver on the promise you set from the beginning.
You typically will also want to include some kind of call to action. That might be signing up for a free trial, downloading a related eBook, or simply reading another post.
Getting out of the Blog Fog
Writing the perfect blog post can be made a lot easier with the right tool, though. Acrolinx takes all of the guesswork out of the process, allowing you to focus on your writing. With Acrolinx as the workhorse, your brand guidelines, copy accuracy, and writing quality will never be in question. Take a tour of the platform today to learn more.