According to Hubspot, 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog and 46% of people read blogs more than once a day.
Blogging clearly has a large impact in business and everyday life. But, blogging effectively isn’t easy, takes a considerable amount of steps to produce high quality content, and with the ever-increasing amount of bloggers, the competition only gets harder.
Though there is not an exact science for what makes a successful blog post, there are certain steps you can follow to get you blogging like a pro and your articles in front of a large audience.
Step 1: Understand the audience you’re targeting
Typically, one of the first starting points for new content is to understand the audience you are writing the content for. What does the audience want to be informed on? What information will resonate with your audience?
For example, our readers might already be informed on their latest local road biking laws, but can we give them information on how those new laws may require them to adjust their commuting? More often than not, blogging is about tweaking your content to add the best value for the audience you’re trying to reach.
Step 2: Find a topic and create a title
An often daunting task, finding a topic to blog about, can be facilitated with modern tools that follow trends, execute social analysis, and make your work easier (finding topics, authorities on topics, sources, and more). Once you’ve found a topic you’re interested in writing about, we then need to think of a title for our next post.
Here is an example to help you get started:
Let’s take this blog post, “How to write a blog post: The formula to follow.”
Our topic we’re writing on is blogging, specifically writing blog posts. Our draft title could have been something like “Tips for writing an effective blog post.” And the final title ended up being “How to write a blog post: The formula to follow.”
It’s a best-practice to narrow down your topic’s content from something very generic, like blogging, to something more specific and value-added, like the formula for writing an effective blog post.
Step 3: Captivate your audience with an intro
Our blog post cannot be successful if our readers are jumping from the page before reading our content.
First, we want to grab the reader’s attention with something interesting. For example, at the top of this blog post are a few interesting stats that immediately grab the attention of the reader. Next, we back up those interesting statistics with a statement solid statement about blogging’s impact and customer acquisition. Then, we explain to the reader what value they will be receiving from this post, a formula for an effective blog post.
This setup gives the reader a good reason to finish the blog post and easily connects the value of the information to the reader’s needs.
Step 4: Information needs to be organized
Many bloggers’ content cause a reader to fall into a state of ‘information overload’ and must be avoided at all costs. Organizing your information into easily digestible segments allows the reader to fully consume your content and adopt the practices and connection you’re seeking to communicate to them.
There is no one way to organize content, but these practices go a long way:
- Divide up portions of content into major sections
- Use lists to break up walls of text
- Use photos to display information differently
- Add blockquotes and source information
Outlining your post prior to writing will help you organize your content and avoid information overload.
Step 5: Writing the content
Halfway through the step-by-step formula for writing a blog post and now we’re finally at the writing portion!
Using your outline, begin to fill in the areas with your captivating content. Here is where you can pour everything out, expand on your topics, and research resources to backup any claims and facts.
Step 6: Format, format, format
Almost as important as the information is the visual presentation of your blog post. An outline helps us create a structure for our post and formatting the content creates the visual representation of that information.
- Are the post styles consistent
- Are Titles, headings, and sub-headings being used
- Is there always an image at the top (for SEO and social media)
- Are you using bold, underline, and italics to emphasize points in your post
Creating a consistent format for your content will go a long way for allowing readers to easily recognize your company, brand, and consume content more easily.
Step 7: Always include a CTA (call-to-action) at the end
If your content added value to the reader, than they are more likely to complete a call-to-action for you. Those that reach the end of your article, presumably, found value in that article; so let’s ask them or direct them to do something specific for us.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about “The Perils of Mountain Biking in Los Angeles County” you may want to include a link to popular safety product on PricePoint.com at the end.
However, the CTA does not always need to be a benefit of the marketer (company). It can also benefit the reader, as long as it is value-added. For example, a recent blog post may be about a policy update at PricePoint.com and the call-to-action a link to read the full revised policy.
Step 8: Optimize your post’s SEO
You may think you’re finished once you’ve completed the post’s writing content, however, there’s a little more writing involved with our SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. Here are some quick tips to get your SEO in full gear;
- Write a short (less than 160 characters) informative description
- Anchor text – Anchor text is text that links to another page. Search engines consider the text of a link to be an important SEO factor. When creating links, be sure to use optimized keywords for that link and think about how it affects your SEO.
- Provide an easy way to share content through social media
- A blog post should be greater than 400 words
Step 9: Choose a catchy title
Here are a few steps to help you pick a catchy title:
- Begin with a working title – something to get the creative ideas flowing
- Edit the title alongside your content. Titles should be accurate, clear, and captivating
- Add in something eye catching – could be through language, alliteration, or another literary tactic
- Can the title use Keywords? (SEO!)
- Titles need to be kept under 60 characters
Step 10: Adding a little extra
Once you’ve mastered the practice of writing an effective blog post, use these extra tips to really separate out your content from the masses:
- Include captivating photos (always include a source where necessary)
- Infographics are a fun and different way of digesting content
- Use data, statistics, and sources to backup your claims
- Use social proof when possible
Do you have some effective blogging strategies that I’ve missed? Be sure to leave them in the comments below for all to share.