As business blogging becomes more popular how do you make your posts stand out from the crowd? And how do you create the sort of loyal following that will make your blogging efforts worthwhile? As with most things in content marketing there are no hard and fast rules – but there are a few points on the anatomy of a blog post that you can follow to help you enjoy greater success.
Good titles are hard to write
Do you find it easy to write titles for your blog posts?. If you do, you’re not trying hard enough. Think about what you are trying to achieve: a succinct few words of copy that tell people ‘this is relevant to you, here’s why you need to read it, you’re going to be entertained, informed and stimulated.’ The more you know about your audience and the things that will grab their attention, the easier this becomes – but it never becomes easy.
Think how many links you see posted in LinkedIn, Twitter etc that you decide to ignore; too dull, too salesy? With so much content to choose from you need a good feeling that clicking through is going to be worthwhile. ‘Why would somebody click on this?’ is the question to ask. If you can’t find a good answer, you haven’t found your title.
A couple of years ago the advice might have been to start with ‘How to…’ or use the ’6 Reasons your Blog Sucks’ approach. But now everyone does it. ‘Eight ways to…’ etc has become an easy way our for lazy copywriters, so this approach, on it’s own, won’t make your content stand out. It’s still better than ‘Here’s My Latest Blog Post’, however.
Make it Easy on the Eye
Short paragraphs and plenty of sub-headings. That’s it really. Make sub-headings a bit intriguing if you can, and think about the words that will catch the eye of your target reader and make them stick with your content.
Always Use Pictures
People like a bit of visual stimulation. Pictures make your content more approachable and less intimidating than just having words. Try to go for something a bit off-beat. People are curious – a slightly unresolved connection between the main image and the title can encourage people to read on. Pictures can also provide a visual reinforcement of the point you want to make. Your articles should stimulate people’s minds – images are are great way to add to the experience.
Blog articles are tending to get longer as readers are looking for more depth. Your posts may need 2 or even 3 images if they are running to 800+ words, which is becoming increasingly normal.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog I recommend the Compfight plug-in which has a huge searchable repository of free photos. It also pulls in the credit to the image owner automatically. Never lift images from the net without being sure it’s OK to use them.
Why Are You Blogging?
What do you want to achieve and what do you want people to do as a result of reading your content? Objectives for a piece could include getting more subscribers, linking to a particular service or special offer, or might be just maintaining awareness of your brand. Always know what this is.
Have Something to Say
We talked about the importance of the head when we looked at titles. The heart matters too! Where are your passions and beliefs? We are not short of information so you need to provide an interesting and unique viewpoint. Be prepared to be controversial and to be disagreed with – it’s better than being ignored! I produced an article recently on giving your blog a personality if you want to read a bit more about this.
Think About the Search Engines
You want as many relevant people as possible to find your content. You need to understand who these people are and the sorts of things they are going to search for. Your blogging strategy must be part of your SEO strategy and your search objectives and keywords should be helping you direct your blogging. Again, if you’re using WordPress, use an SEO plug-in so that you optimise every post. This one from Yoast is really powerful and simple to use: SEO plug- in.
And the Circulation?
As blood flows through the body there needs to be a coherent thought process flowing through your articles. People like a story. A good blog article will often have an issue or a question that gets progressively resolved in an enlightening way. Do you use analogies, anecdotes and topical issues to illustrate the points you want to make and provide a narrative structure?
If you do it well, blogging is an incredibly powerful way to drive targeted traffic to your website, build trust and reduce the effort you have to put into traditional selling. Hopefully you’ll have a few ideas from this article about how to improve your blog articles and achieve better results. Sign up for my regular newsletters or follow me using the social sharing buttons below to make sure you get future updates.
Richard Hussey, Copywriter and Content Marketing Specialist, South West
Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01823 674167