Writing a great blog post sounds easy enough, right? You just brainstorm the perfect topic, sit down to write, hit publish, and watch the crowds roll in! As a blogger myself, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that this isn’t usually the case. So how do you write amazing content? Something that grabs your reader’s attention, is super sharable across social media and ranks highly in a Google search. Well, read on to find out!
Write For Your Audience
When you first get your blog up and running it can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to write for anyone and everyone. But as we all know, it’s impossible to please everyone. Instead, you’ll need to personalize your content and focus on trying to connect with a certain subgroup of people—your target audience.
Before you start typing away, make sure that you have a clear understanding of who you’re writing you. Ask yourself questions like: What do they want to know? How can I create content that will resonate with them?
Before you start aimlessly guessing what your audience wants, do your own research and competitor analysis and make some data-driven assumptions. Bear with me, I know this may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. These days, there are so many amazing (and free) online tools that can help you find specific information about your audience.
You can use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to do your own research on what sort of topics people in your target audience are searching for and spending the most time reading. You can also use Google Analytics to check on your own website’s analytics to learn who your audience really is. Check for things like where they live, what pages on your site they spend the most time on (what’s working), and which pages they don’t seem to resonate with (what isn’t working).
With this deeper understanding of your audience, you’ll be able to pivot your content to match their interests. Writing for a specific audience will also help you to understand what kind of language to use, what information to include and how to choose relevant topics that they’ll be most interested in.
We’ve all heard it before: content is king. But not just any old lousy content. People won’t keep coming back for that. No, people rely on their favorite bloggers to provide them with the solutions they came to their blog looking for. So, if you’re wondering what the secret recipe is for keeping website visitors and your readers coming back to your blog time and time again—it’s value.
So how do you provide amazing value with the content on your blog? When it comes to writing new blog posts keep in mind that it’s not enough to just give a brief overview of your chosen topic. Readers will be coming to you for advice. Think to yourself: will what I’m writing help my readers find solutions to their problems? The answer should always be yes.
However, when it comes to providing valuable content for your readers your blog posts are not the be-all and end-all. While your blog should be the central hub of information that you share, there are lots of other potential avenues you can use to provide even more value for your readers. This comes in the form of social media, YouTube videos, podcasts, eBooks, downloadable guides, Lightroom presets, and so many more.
You’ve got incredible value to offer your audience, so make sure you’re delivering it to them exactly how they want it. Depending on your audience, they may be more likely to watch a YouTube video on the best camera equipment, others might want a step-by-step blog post or eBook, so find what works best for you and follow that.
The final step to providing value for your readers is to actually engage with them. If you scroll down to the comment section of someone’s blog post or social media posts and there’s a bunch of unanswered comments just sitting there it’s not going to look great. If people are reaching out to you make sure you take the time to respond and to build an engaged community around you who feels like they are supported.
Perfect Your Headline
A good headline is one of the most important aspects of a successful blog post. Only 20% of people who read a headline actually click through to the article. People decide whether or not they’ll read something based on the headline alone. So, if you’re in the market to maximize your readership and capture potential traffic, it’s important to get your headline right.
After spending hours mastering the body of your blog post, it’s important to spend time crafting an enticing headline. Because all your hard work will be for nothing if you can’t draw readers in with the title.
The good news is that there are a few simple rules you can follow to ensure you’re creating an attention-grabbing headline that your readers won’t be able to resist scrolling past.
- Your headline is the first point of contact with your potential readers, use it to entice them into reading more and outline the value-added from your blog post. Use psychological selling points, or look at what is working well for your competitors.
- Use keywords in your title to help with SEO and search rankings. This will also help potential readers immediately understand whether the content is relevant to what they’re looking for or not.
- Keep your headline simple and digestible for readers, ensuring that the focus is clear and to the point. According to Hubspot, the ideal blog post title length is 60 characters. Headlines between 8 and 12 words are shared most often on Twitter. Headlines between 12 and 14 words are liked most often on Facebook.
However, in the world of clickbait headlines that we seem to be living in nowadays, it’s important to perfect that balance of writing a compelling headline that will attract your readers without becoming too “clickbaity.”
Your headline is what people will see first on the Google search results page and in their newsfeed, in fact, 60% of people will actually share a blog post or article on social media without actually reading it. And as social promotion is one of the best ways to grow your audience, creating sharable content is key.
If you’re stuck for a title, check out what some of your competitors are doing and see how you can improve their titles. BuzzSumo also recently ran a headline analysis and found that the top 3 phrases that got the most social shares were:
- X Reasons Why…
- X Things You…
- This Is The…
Summarize Your Content
We see summaries everywhere, from book covers to product reviews and even movie trailers. People use them to decide whether or not they are going to read or watch something.
And it’s no different for bloggers. People landing on your blog will use the all-important summary to help them decide if they’ll keep scrolling and read more or simply click away to the next best thing. So how do you write a killer summary that’ll have your readers eager to read on?
- Typically, the summary is one of the last things you’ll write. It covers the key highlights but skips over the nitty-gritty details.
- Once you’ve written the body of the article you can then look back over it and create a shortlist of the key points you think deserve a shoutout in the summary. You can always go back and remove and edit your shortlist later if needed.
- Keep in mind that you should be writing the summary in the context of someone who knows little to nothing about the topic. So, keep it simple but engaging.
- Try and avoid including any filler language or unnecessary information. As summaries are typically quite short (ranging from one or two sentences to a paragraph), every word is precious—so use them wisely. Cutting out on the unnecessary noise will allow you to use the space for the important stuff that will hook your readers.
Include Internal Navigation
Okay, so this step may not be for everyone, but for those doing long-form guides or blogs covering multiple different topics this handy little step could be an absolute game-changer.
The design and user-friendliness of your blog are important. Personally, I’d say that they have the ability to impact the success of your blog more than any other factor. Easy navigation across your blog will help your readers find what they’re looking for without them having to aimlessly scroll through irrelevant content.
If someone landed on a blog page that was 10,000 words long and there were no headings or subheadings and no internal navigation menu at the top that they could use to skip to certain sections of the copy, they’d probably become overwhelmed and deem it all just too hard.
On the other hand, when readers arrive at an article that has a clear internal navigation menu at the top, they can use it to quickly jump around and easily find the information that they were looking for.
If you think you need one, you can add a navigation menu while you’re setting up your blog post in the back-end of your website.
With the rise in social media and blogging, the internet has become a much more visual place. And it really should come as no surprise, considering that 65% of people consider themselves to be visual learners. When it comes to writing your blog posts, it’s important to make sure they’re easily digestible for your readers. If that means using images, you use images.
Reader’s attention spans are short and so if you put a large block of text in front of them you’re probably not going to have much luck getting them to stick around to the end. This means that you have to give your readers something other than text to look at and design your blog posts with visual learners in mind.
There are so many different visual elements you can add to your blog to make it more exciting for the reader. In the simplest form, you can access stock photos from one of the many free high-quality stock image sites, I personally love Unsplash. You can take screenshots of camera settings, social media analytics, or the back-end of your website to help your users better understand whatever topic you’re talking about.
These days, you can even make up your own blog or social media graphics super easily without the need to be a professional graphic designer with the help of tools like Canva. You can embed social media posts, infographics, quotes, or your own original photography from that recent trip you took.
The key point I’m trying to make here is that there are many different ways to keep your readers entertained with the help of visual assets. And because our brains process visual content faster than text, it’ll also help to explain to your audience what you’re talking about and increase engagement.
As a general rule of thumb, most bloggers will include three to four images per blog post depending on the length. However, if you’re writing a guide on the “Top 10 Places To Go In Paris,” then I’d be expecting at least 10 photos in that article.
TIP: Make Your Content More Accessible
For people with a visual disability, reading a blog post becomes a little bit more difficult if the blogger hasn’t taken to time to make it accessible. There are many different ways to ensure that your content is accessible for everyone including the use of Alternative Text.
Alt text can be added to each image you use throughout your blog so that when someone who uses a screen reader to access content on the web visits your site, it reads out the brief description of the image you provide.
Without one, the reader will miss out on the key information that the image provides. You can add alt text to your images through the back end of your website, if you’re unsure how to do it simply type into Google “how to add alt text to images Squarespace” (or whichever platform you use).
As an added bonus adding in alt text also helps immensely with your blog’s search engine optimization (SEO). Google uses alt text to understand the subject matter of images, and as such allows for a better understanding of the context of the webpage as a whole. When Google understands the context of your website, it will be more likely to show your page in its search results for relevant searches.