In the world of internet marketing, blog writing is perhaps the most important tool available to promote websites, products, and especially businesses. You can bring in potential customers and clients by offering them entertaining and valuable content — WITHOUT spending tons of money on costly advertising. Call it what you want: Inbound marketing, content marketing, blogging… it doesn’t matter.
An amazing blog can turbocharge your business and produce profits that would be unattainable otherwise. While this may seem like a daunting task, understanding the key components and writing process for crafting killer blog content will vastly reduce the effort and time required while improving your content marketing return on investment.
Components of a Captivating Blog Post
The headline of a blog is the first thing your readers will see, and as science has proven, first impressions are crucial. Strategies used to create a great title include:
- Alliteration and Assonance: Alliteration, or the repetition of consonant sounds in adjacent or close together words, and assonance, the vowel version, are both terrific tools to use in titles. Although sometimes subtle, these two rhetoric devices make headings more engaging and draw readers to your blogs.
- Bold Language: Using strong language in your title, such as “the best”, “the worst”, or other phrases that portray the subject as superior or inferior is a brilliant method of grabbing readers’ attention.
- Clear and Concise: Your title should clearly state the subject of the blog post without being too wordy. Generally, your title should not exceed 55 characters. This not only describes the post to readers without requiring much reading but also ensures that the title will not be cut off in search engine results. The title of this post, for example, directly states its purpose in just seven words. This informs readers without losing the interest of those who prefer to scan titles.
Once readers have been drawn in by your blog title, it is critical that you rev up their interest with an introduction that is both informative and engaging. Many readers judge a post after just a few sentences; therefore, crafting an introduction that captures the readers’ attention, while also outlining what they should expect from the rest of the post is essential to writing a killer blog.
While blog posts should contain a substantial amount of content, large sections of text can be unappealing to readers and cause them to lose attention. A quality blog post is one that is able to keep the reader interested and focused throughout the entire article. In order to break up large blocks of text, subheadings should be utilized. These subheadings, like titles, inform the viewer about what they should expect to read, while also being short and concise. Not only do subheadings help to maintain viewer attention, but they increase search engine optimization because search engines show preference to posts containing them.
Another method of separating large sections of text is to use bullet points. Bulleted lists function similarly to content under subheadings but offer a more unique stylistic approach. Beneficial uses of bullet points include:
- Breaking up boring walls of text
- Presenting items in a neat, clear list
- Making lists much easier to read and grab information
- Adding more style to your blog post
Although it is true that blog posts should contain quality content in the form of text, most readers enjoy reading articles and posts that contain both text and images. Just like subheadings and bullet points, pictures can be utilized to break up large segments of text. Furthermore, using images that are relevant to the post subject not only add extra information to your blog but present yet another stylistic element to your viewers. Videos can also be used to increase user interaction and time spent on your blog.
After presenting engaging content to your viewers, it should be summarized to reinforce the important themes and points being made. Just as the greatest novels and movies throughout history utilize wonderful conclusions, your blog should too. You should consider any take home messages you wish to convey, and reiterate them in the conclusion. Viewers should leave having gained valuable knowledge with an eagerness to read more of your posts.
Tips for a More Exciting Blog
While all blog posts should contain the previously mentioned critical components, there are various other helpful strategies that can further improve reader interest and ultimately lead to more success.
Have a Purpose
It may be tempting to “put the pedal to the metal” and rapidly publish articles with no regard to an overall theme or purpose for the sake of reaching more viewers. This strategy, however, should generally be avoided. Having a clear purpose and theme in mind for your blog leads to better organization and reader retention. Consistency is a key aspect of blogging that viewers greatly appreciate. If you maintain a news blog, for example, your posts should not be randomized articles about such things as food recipes, dog breeds, or video games. These would offer very little to the reader and would be of no interest to them.
Be Genuine and Passionate
In order to write successful blogs, connecting to your audience is particularly critical. Often this connection is made through passion for the subject being discussed. If the reader feels that the writer is engaged in the content, he or she is much more likely to become engaged as well. In the sales game, a genuine interest by the writer in the product likely translates into a more informative and appealing article. This leads to a higher rate of sales and better reader reviews.
Showcase Your Personality
Often times, writers become too focused on informative content and their personalities do not show in their blogs. This is a critical error that can very easily lead to loss of viewer interest in articles, which will damage the reputation and success of the blog. By letting readers get to know you within the writing, they feel more involved in each post, and it is almost as if you are conversing directly with them. This is a brilliant tool for blogs aimed at any form of sales, as personal relationships with clients have been proven to increase purchases, customer satisfaction, and return visitors.
Know Your Audience
Many blogs make the mistake of attempting to write to satisfy everyone. While you should write to please your audience, it would be unwise to include everyone in that group. Understanding your target audience is one of the best ways to increase reader satisfaction and retention. For example, if you are writing predominantly for college students, the posts should contain content that they can connect with, such as studying. Writing articles that discuss your target audience’s desires and interests is a fantastic method of increasing engagement and generating a more lucrative relationship with viewers.
Write on a Schedule
While there is no set frequency with which writers must publish, it is generally a good strategy to post articles on a fairly regular basis. Not only does this planning help the writer, but readers will appreciate the consistency as well. You may ask “how often should I publish?” Although there is not an exact answer to this question, it is usually best to offer your readers new content at least once weekly. This will keep your audience captivated and coming back for more week after week.
Always Introduce Value
When writing your content, it is vital that you create posts that carry some meaning or value to the reader. Producing shallow articles full of personal opinions not based on factual information can be enticing, but this does not add any true substance to a blog. Audiences want to be informed about the topics you are presenting, and while personal opinions do play a role in shaping posts, they should not be the only content presented. You should remain relevant to the topic throughout the entire post in order to ensure maximum value. The subjects should also be relevant to the overall theme of your blog, or your posts will not carry any value for your targeted audience.
Strategies for More Efficient Writing
Maintaining a blog undeniably requires effort and time commitment. While the amount of time and effort needed differs from site to site, there are various strategies you can utilize in order to make the most effective and efficient use of your time.
Publish According to a Schedule
In order to write efficiently, it is usually best to stick to a schedule. Instead of sporadically creating content throughout the week, you should set aside a block or blocks of time that you know you are available to write. Similarly, you should plan to publish according to a set schedule as well. By maintaining a writing and publishing plan, you will make the most efficient use of your time.
Plan Your Posts
Although it may be tempting to sit in front of your computer and begin producing posts with little forethought, it is often extremely beneficial to outline them first. Not only will this give you a good idea of the topics you wish to write about, but it will help you avoid unnecessary tangents that could lose the reader’s attention or even confuse them. Making the effort to plan ahead also drastically reduces the amount of time spent editing once the post has been written.
Maintain an Idea Catalogue
One of the most difficult aspects of blogging is determining what topics to write about. Several considerations must be made when deciding what to post, such as relevance of the topic to your blog, current world events, and expressed reader interests. In order to make this decision process simpler and more time efficient, you can put together a catalogue of ideas and choose from this list whenever a new article needs to be written. When readers express interest in topics you have not yet written about, they should be added to your list for future consideration.
Keep a Common Structure
A great method that can be used to write more efficiently is to utilize a set structure for your posts. For the most part, most blog content follows the same general format and order. By crafting a structure that suits your blog’s theme and purpose and applying it to the majority of your posts with minor variations, the content creation process becomes much quicker.
Reward Yourself with Breaks
While time is a major factor to consider when writing blog posts, some writers believe they should complete an article from start to finish with no breaks. Although this may seem like a more efficient method, most writers eventually reach dead ends or succumb to mental blocks when attempting to craft large amounts of content in one sitting. Instead, you should consider writing for allotted amounts of time before rewarding yourself with rests. These breaks can be anything from a simple two minute stretch to a cup of coffee to even a twenty minute jog in the fresh air. The activities you enjoy should be used as rewards for committing yourself fully to writing for the allotted time.
Why are Killer Blog Posts so Critical?
After learning what components comprise an outstanding blog post and how to efficiently write them, you may be wondering why blogging is such an essential aspect of marketing. The simple answer is that more and more consumers are using the internet each and every day for a variety of reasons. Internet marketing is becoming an increasingly important tool for businesses to reach the largest customer base possible. Through blogging, not only can a targeted audience be reached with a clearly defined purpose, but they can be interacted with in a manner impossible otherwise.
With the exponential increase in social media users in recent years, sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become important avenues for reaching consumers. Brilliantly crafted blog posts are likely to be shared on these sites, and in turn, receive countless more views. Any business that wishes to advertise a product or service would benefit dramatically from a blog full of high quality content, and this type of marketing should never be overlooked.
So what are YOU waiting for?