Beginner bloggers often feel discouraged in their ability to write an effective blog post. No wonder, no matter how easy it may seem there is more to writing a blog post than meets the eye. But successful bloggers follow a clear system for writing blog posts that readers love.
Here are some simple tips for nailing down your blog post once and for all.
HOOKS & INTRODUCTIONS
Hook your reader right from the start. Your hook should be like a detective story, interesting enough to intrigue your readers with clues to keep them reading, and clear enough to show them where they are going. It sounds easier said than done, but it’s really a no brainer. Think about the reason you are writing the post to help you craft a compelling hook. What is the topic? Why are you writing it? What help are you providing to your readers?
You can also use more tried and true methods.
- An interesting question
- A relevant quote
- A shocking statement
- A Statistic
- An anecdote
- Or anything that helps you convey and encapsulate the point of your entire piece.
Use copywriting techniques — One sentence should make them want to read the next sentence, then the next sentence should want to make them read the next, and so on.
State the topic early on, as soon as the first or third paragraph. Your topic should be clearly stated. Notice how my introduction states the topic, “there is a lot that goes into writing an effective and engaging blog post. And no matter how easy it may seem, there is more than meets the eye.” Identify the audience. In my example: “beginner bloggers.”
All elements in a blog post are important but none is as important as the headline. It’s a noisy world out there and your headline has a mighty responsibility: It must attract and keep the attention of your readers. And like love at first sight, it must have a strong premise.
According to Web Copy that Sells, by Maria Veloso, a successful headline will have most, if not all of the following:
- Show a benefit to the reader
- Appeal to the emotions
- Be specific
- Call out to the target audience.
There are many ways to write a headline, including in terms of SEO, but the most important thing to remember is that it should specify the what, the who, and the why.
- What -is the topic.
- Who- is the audience.
- Why- is the benefit.
Veloso recommends writing 20+ headlines before choosing the one that is just right. But you don’t have to go through so much work yourself, just keep in mind that an effective headline identifies the topic, the audience (stated or implied), and the benefit.
What will your audience get out of reading your blog post? If you do not know the answer to that, chances are that your post lacks a benefit. In my headline for this post, the benefit to my readers is that they will learn to write a blog post to engage their readers.
To help you find out the benefit, think about the reason you are writing your post, and answer these questions
- Why am I writing this post?
- What is your audience getting out of it?
- What will my audience be able to do after they read my post?
- What insight am I sharing that will help them find their “uh, huh!” moment?
The benefit must be evident in your headline to get people interested in what you have to say or what you have to offer. If they see no reason to read on- they will not.
A good understanding of the topic you are writing about will help you write with authority. So a good adage would be, “write about what you know” or about what you are “passionate about.” However, your topic must also be interesting to your readers not just to you. For example, if you are a dog lover and have experience training dogs you can write about what works and about what doesn’t when it comes to dog training. Or you could write about the best forms of dog obedience that worked for you and your dog. If on the other hand, you decide to write on the topic of dog behavior, you’d have to do some research to back up your claims.
But for the most part, a blog post should be personal and conversational and that’s because people want to read about what you know.
However, remember is that a blog is not a research paper. So keep your tone light and conversational.
One of the most difficult parts about writing a blog post is figuring out what to write about. There you are wanting to write a blog post, but you have no idea what to write about.
To help you come up with topics to write about, make a list of the words with which you associate your business (or your own persona). List everything that comes to mind:
“But, but…we are supposed to write about what the audience wants, not about what we want,” You say. Well, yes and no.
For example, this blog post is for beginner bloggers and entrepreneurs who want to blog about their business but who are tired of wasting time with blog posts that don’t engage readers- and therefore don’t provide any leads.
That’s my audience.
Now to help you find topics for you to write about you need to identify your own values and mission.
My values and mission are:
I’m a writer and digital marketer who wants to help busy entrepreneurs write killer, well-written and audience-focused blog posts that move people to take action.
Once you identify your mission, finding topics that you and your audience care about, it’s the easy part. And as you can see, the audience and the topics don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
On the contrary!
How to know what your audience cares about.
If you are a business owner and have a business Facebook page or other social media pages, pay attention to the questions people have about your product or services. Also, find other pages and groups where your audience usually hangs out and read through the comments and posts to learn about their interests, problems, and the solutions they seek. I follow a few Facebook pages myself and I’m always coming up with new writing material based on the questions people have about blogging.
In addition, join Quora and other online forums, and browse the questions people have in your niche. Pay attention to questions that have a large “following.” What that means is that other people are interested in the answers to that question and are following the question to see the answers when they are posted. The most followings a question has, the more interest there is in the answer. And this, my friend, is blogging material.
Thirdly, go through your Instagram and Pinterest analytics to learn more about your audiences such as their age, occupation, where they live, and more.
What exactly is Voice? According to Grammar Girl online, “voice is a distinct personality style or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work.” Voice is what makes a piece of writing yours because it allows your personality to show.
There are some blog posts that are, Meh, just OK. I am not going to lie. The content is good but for some reason, they don’t keep my attention long enough to keep reading.
Don’t let this happen to your post.
Speak directly to your readers. If you are having trouble doing this, pretend that you are having a conversation with a friend. You wouldn’t sound all stuffy and formal with your friend, would you? A conversational tone is just that; it’s a way for you to engage with your audience on a personal level.
In the same way that your personality shines through with the style of clothing you wear, the hairstyle you choose, and the perfume you use, voice is what distinguishes your writing style from other writers.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different aspects of your voice to see what works and what doesn’t; but sooner or later, you need to know your distinct style and stick with it.
Because a voice that is consistent throughout all your content helps to build trust in your readers. If you are not sure about how to approach voice, check out Grammar Girl’s article.
To Wrap It UP
There is no doubt that content that spreads like wildfire, it’s usually content that people find incredibly valuable because it adds to their understanding of a subject, helps them with a problem, answers a question, or shows them how to do something new.
In short, after people read your blog they will be a different person- in some small, meaningful way.