1. Provide Value: Education or Entertainment
There are essentially two types of blog posts–education of entertainment. The same basic purpose drives both.
That purpose is to provide VALUE.
So many people put out blog posts that don’t focus on the value for the reader. If you want attract a following on your blog, focus on educating or entertaining your readers. Let them know what they will get out of the post.
Be clear about the results, benefits and value they will get. For example, in an educational post, focus on solving problems or answering questions. First, of course, you need too understand what your audience wants and needs. You need to know what questions they have.
No matter what you focus on with your blog, the PURPOSE should always be to provide value.
2. Get Specific
The more specific you can be, the better.
It can be easy to try to cover too much and get too broad with your blog posts. I know, because this is one of the hardest things for me.
If you have an expertise, business or passion about your topic (and if you have a blog, I’m guessing you have at least one of those), you can often start writing and before you know it, you’ve written a book.
The more general you get, the less likely you’re going to attract a specific audience. So, drill down and get specific with your content. Focus on specific issues, because people have specific problems and specific questions.
For example, if you have a fitness blog, don’t just right about how to strengthen your arms. Write some specific tips and exorcises on how to get rid of back arm flab or how to get the horseshoe shape in your triceps.
See the difference? The specific topics address specific issues and needs, which are what people are looking for online.
3. Focus the Headline on Results
Blog headline writing is an entire study of its own. I’ve written magazine headlines and cover blurbs for national newsstand magazines for more than 15 years, and pretty much the same concept carries over to blog headlines.
With a magazine cover, the whole point is to get people to pick up the magazine. If you accomplished that, you win. With a blog post headline, the whole point is to get someone to CLICK.
So, how do you write a highly clickable headline? Best advice: make it irresistible.
Don’t try to be fancy or poetic. Write headlines that make people feel like they would be missing something HUGE if they don’t click. It’s fear of loss. They would lose sleep if they didn’t click.
To do that, focus on results. Create curiosity. Hint at what they will get from the post. Reveal secrets. Use action verbs such as Discover, Learn, Revealed, etc. Use numbers and write lists (like this post!). Some examples:
“How to Know Exactly What Your Customers are Thinking”
“5 Ways to Defeat Nighttime Sugar Cravings”
“The Only 4 Core Exercises You’ll Ever Need”
“6-Minute Home Exercise to Get Better-Looking Arms”
Pay attention to blog headlines that catch your eye and make you click. Study them. Keep a list of them.
4. Break Up Your Posts
No one likes to read a huge block of text in a blog post. It can be intimidating.
It looks like way too much to digest, and it can quickly make people click that X in the top corner (hint: that’s not what you want).
Keep in mind that about half of all website visitors (that number is growing rapidly, BTW) are using a phone or some kind of mobile device.
Why does that matter?
Because display screens are totally different between desktops, laptops and mobile devices. A smaller, narrower screen will “squeeze” the text to fit the screen, and can make the paragraphs look like a whole lot bigger. This can make them harder to read. See the screenshots below.
Write smaller paragraphs, even though you’re English teacher told you different. Coach David Lee says keep ’em short! Small paragraphs are less intimidating and easier for people to read online.
Also, use subheads (like in this post). Subheads serve two main purposes:
1. They provide a quick outline for people who are scanning through your blog post to see if they want to read it. They draw the reader in deeper.
2. They make the entire blog post easier to read. You don’t always have to use subheads, and sometimes it makes sense NOT to use them. But most of the time, especially when you’re making a few main points in your post, use ’em. They’re your friend.
In addition to subheads, use some bold or italics or CAPITOL LETTERS every now and then for emphasis. This goes against traditional writing rules that basically say, “If you want to emphasis something, do it in the way you write.”
I don’t disagree or discount that traditional advice at all, but that comes from the print wold. People consume content differently today. As more people consume more content online, using different ways to catch their eye can help a ton.
As you can see, I like to do that. Also check out Nikki Elledge Brown’s blog – she does a great job of using these to emphasize parts of her writing.
5. Guide Your Readers
Link to related blog posts on your blog and on others that will be of value to your audience. Stick with the intended topic. Don’t take them to something unrelated. Make sure you let them know what you’re linking to.
For example, this post here has more great tips on things you can do with your blog to attract your dream customers. And my eBook at his link has six pro writer secrets you can start using right now to start writing like a pro.
The whole idea is to provide more value to your readers. Continue the story. Don’t just stop with one blog post!