Have you been told you need to blog, but you struggle to know how to write a good blog post? Do you feel like you’re starting from scratch while your competitors are leaps and bounds ahead of you in the blogosphere?
You’re not alone.
The first step to any successful content marketing strategy is a good blog post. Each blog post you write must get found on search engines, engage the reader, and offer something interesting. With all three of these ingredients, your blog gets found, read, and shared.
But blogging isn’t as easy as it might seem.
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With 6.7 million people writing blogs and 12 million people using social media networks to blog the competition in the blogosphere is fierce. Crafting original content on a regular basis might seem close to impossible, but it’s not.
There’s a reason 77% of people online still read blogs. It’s because they are searching for information that hasn’t yet been created.
As you stare at a blank screen in front of you, consider these steps for how to write a good blog post.
1. Understand Your Readers.
The first thing you need to know is who is reading your blog. Understanding why they searched for your blog and how they found you is important. This understanding will guide your blog post writing so that you deliver on the information your reader hopes to glean from spending their time reading it.
Create a persona for your reader. Outline what the person reading your blog looks like, struggles with, and desires out of his or her relationship with you. Then, outline where he or she is at in working with you. Is your reader ready to buy? Is your reader just starting out in the process? Perhaps your reader is already a customer?
Understanding what brought your reader to your blog enables you to write something worth reading. It gives you the makings for a good blog post.
2. Start With the Headline.
There’s an art and science to writing strong headlines. Business coach, Michael Masterson, developed one of the best formulas for creating strong headlines that we’ve seen. All you have to remember when creating your headline is the 4 Us:
- Urgent – Incorporate a sense of urgency into your headline to make the reader eager to know what you have to say right away.
- Useful – But be useful. Offer something of value, so the reader knows that you’re going to answer his or her question in the post.
- Unique – You must also stand out, so be unique. Make your headline intriguing and personal to your business.
- Ultra-specific – Finally, be ultra-specific. Get down to the nitty gritty to explain what it is your blog post will cover.
When you create your headline before writing your blog post using these 4 Us as your reference point, you give your reader an outline of what to expect. These 4 Us also help guide your writing. It makes pulling the blog post topic together much easier in the following steps.
3. Open Your Blog With an Attention-Grabbing Story.
Before you jump into the meat of your blog post, you need to hook the reader. This happens in your introduction.
Storytelling is one of the best and easiest ways to capture the attention of your reader and earn his or her trust. Write a story about the topic at hand.
You can also ask a few questions to encourage your reader’s personal story to form in his or her mind. For example, the story at the start of this blog post asked you some questions. You probably answered yes to a few of those questions, which showed you that we understand your problem and that we have the solution to help.
4. Make Your Blog Easy to Skim.
Web readers rarely spend a large amount of time on one website. Sometimes a web reader is looking at your blog on his or her smartphone. Other times, your reader is busy and just wants a quick answer to a problem. No matter what’s the cause for the rush, web readers often skim a blog post to get the key points and then move forward.
Most web users don’t ‘read’ content word for word. They scan content, looking for elements of web pages that draw their eye and for keywords that connect with what they are interested in. As a result the way you design your posts can be the difference between someone actually ‘reading’ your post or just glossing over it. – Darren Rouse, ProBlogger
There are a few ways to make your blog post easy to skim.
- Start with an outline. Write out the key points you will cover in bullet points or a list. Use these to organize your content so that it’s easy for the reader to move from start to finish with a good understanding of your thought process.
- Use visual appeal. Don’t be afraid to bold, italicize, or underline certain parts of your post. This makes important points jump off the screen. It also guides your reader on the key points of the article making it faster and easier to read if he or she is in a rush.
- Include images. Ever heard the expression, “A picture says 1,000 words?” There’s quite a bit of truth to that statement. Images can tell a bigger story. When used in your blog post, you share emotion, information, and facts in a format that’s easy to digest.
Reading a good blog post shouldn’t be a chore. Keep it straightforward so that your reader can get what he or she came for quickly and easily.
5. Tell the Reader What to do Next.
At the end of your post, tell the reader what they should do next. For example, do you want your reader to contact you? Do you want him or her to download a copy of your free report? Say it.
People like to have some direction. Don’t leave your reader guessing. Tell him or her how to get more information from you.
Now it’s our turn.
Blogging is only one component of a good inbound marketing campaign. Now that you know how to write a good blog post, it’s time to discover where that fits in with your big-picture content marketing strategy.
Download your free copy of our report, How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign. In it, you’ll get a roadmap of all of the ingredients you need to attract a flood of new business for you and your customers.