We’re getting a little meta today by writing a blog post on writing a good blog post, but it’s an essential skill for marketers to have. A thoughtful, well-structured blog post presents your content in a way that’s useful to your audience. And isn’t that the entire point of keeping a company blog?
Get your next blog post close to flawless with the tips below.
Have a Plan
It’s English Comp all over again—know what you’re going to write before you start writing your blog post. You can be as detailed as you want; your plan can be a thorough outline or just a few ideas jotted down. Plans both show you what information you’re missing—keywords, statistics, a vital step in the process—and ensure you don’t forget anything.
Know Your Audience
This is key for writing blog posts, and for marketing in general. Think about the following when considering your audience:
- What do they already know? Don’t just write a “Twitter Basics” post if your audience is particularly social-media-savvy, for example. Instead, maybe write about how they can optimize their profiles for search engine placement.
- What do they want to know? Like we said earlier, providing essential information is practically the entire point of maintaining a blog, but if you’re not answering the right questions, your audience will have no use for your blog posts.
- What do they like to read? Voice is determined by who you’re writing for—or for whom you’re writing, if, for instance, you want be more formal. Does your audience read listicles on BuzzFeed or do they like a lengthy feature? Do they prefer Gawker’s snark or the Wall Street Journal‘s businesslike tone? If you want to engage your audience, you have to speak their language.
Get more information on targeting your ideal audience with our whitepaper, “How to Identify Your Customers on the Web.”
Write an Amazing Headline
It might be bad practice to judge a book by its cover, but almost everyone judges a blog post by its headline. In fact, 80% of people will read the headline, while only 20% read the rest.
A snappy headline, however, will sway those snap judgments in your favor. Consider the following strategies, but use moderation. Don’t go overboard; use our headline as an example of what not to do. When in doubt, just keep it simple. People can sense when you’re trying too hard.
- Use numbers. People love lists—they’re concise, informative, and easy to read—and numbers imply lists. That’s the logic behind using “1 Weird Trick to Lose Weight” instead of “How to Begin an Effective Diet.”
- Adjectives and nouns are your friends. Descriptions pique readers’ interest.
- Include a call to action. Calls to action give people a reason to keep reading, and you need to be as persuasive as possible. “[XYZ]: You’re Doing It Wrong” is a good, if almost comically overused, example.
Use Outside Experts
Take it away, Forbes:
Many readers will approach your posts with a degree of skepticism, particularly if you run a small business blog (“What are they trying to sell me?”).
This is why using outside information is so important to increase your credibility. Some ways to do this include incorporating or referencing:
– Customer testimonials
– Expert quotes
– Industry research or data
– The opinions of influencers in your niche
Any of these elements will improve your credibility, and help you establish trust with your readers.
Make Your Blog Post Pretty
Plain, dense text is equal parts boring, intimidating, and unreadable. Proper formatting can make your blog post easy to access, so it will resonate with readers:
- Utilize white space. Bullets, lists, and charts help break up text and make it more manageable. Same with short paragraphs. Each paragraph should be four to five sentences and discuss one discrete idea.
- Make text stand out. Headers, bold text, and italics can separate main ideas from details, and make text scannable.
- Use images. They are not only eye-catching; they also let readers share your posts on visual sites like Pinterest and Instagram.