What are the key features of a great blog post?
Grab the reader’s attention in the intro
The first sentences of your blog post are your chance to capture your reader’s attention and leave them wanting more. A great blog either answers the question it poses right in the first paragraph or let’s them know they are going to get it when they continue to read.
Write compelling scannable headlines
Writing impeccable headlines really is an art in itself. With all this feed scrolling our attention spans are zero to none. Before actually full-on reading your blog post, the person will go ahead and scan it.
Which basically means quickly scroll down through it and read anything that
catches their eye.
So you better create compelling headlines that not only give the reader an idea
of the main points you’re making but grab their attention and keep them entertained.
A great headline:
- summarises the paragraph their about to read
- catches their attention
- gives the reader your general arguments
Research, research, research
What most of my clients underestimate is the amount of time that needs to be spent on research. But the thing is that the relationship between the amount of time spent on research and the quality of content produced looks a lot like this:
Which is why you need to invest at least the same amount of time in research as writing the actual blog post.
You should research:
- Relevant keywords
- Similar blog posts
- Topics your readers are interested in
- Quality sources you can link to
A great starting point is to Google the subject of your blog post and check out the first page of results. Essentially this is your competition. Ask yourself - what are they missing, what could be improved? Basically, what can you do to be
just as good better?
Give credit where credit is due
No one likes a copycat - so come up with your own ideas and give credit when it’s due. Research is a great source of inspiration but nothing more.
Do however feel free to sprinkle your blog post with quotes from credible sources (and don’t forget to mark or link them). It gives your arguments strength and Google is a fan of linking too. The same goes for any use of photographs or images.
Variate your structure
See those bullets below? I put them there for a reason. Using different structures makes reading it more fun and easier to digest.
So be sure to make use of:
- Bullet points
Avoid a long block of text - break it up as much as you can while keeping an overall consistent look.
End with a call-to-action
(You’re still reading - yay!) Now it’s time to ask yourself what do you want the reader to do once they’re done reading? What are you trying to achieve by writing this post? What is the main lesson your readers should take away from it? What do you want to recommend them to do? Summarise your main idea in the last paragraph and point your reader in the right direction.
What tools can I use to make my blog post better?
While the content you are producing should be all yours and original, you are not all on your out there when you’re writing. There’s a range of online tools you can use to ensure that your blog posts stand out from the crowd.
Answer The Public to brainstorm topics
I always start my writing by getting to know my audience and brainstorming topics. A great tool to find out what type of questions people are asking is AnswerThePublic.com. It helps you visualise what people are searching for, what keywords you should aim to use, and generally gives you with great ideas for future content.
Headline Analyser to nail your headlines
If you want to improve your headline writing skills you can turn to Sharethrough’s headline analyser. This will help you to identify the emotional value of your headline.
Unsplash to add colour and emotion
Unsplash.com provides you with an entire library of incredible images you can use in your blog posts. Just make sure to familiarise yourself with their copyright policy and you should be good to go.
As stated on their website: “All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.”
Establishing your own blog-writing-routine
Now that you know what makes a great blog post. You should be ready to hit the ground running and aim to create your own blog-writing routine.
But first - coffee.
Once that’s out of the way, you can get to work. Here’ a quick step-by-step guide on establishing your own blog-writing-routine.
- Think about who your writing for.
- Choose a general topic and/or what your goal you have wit
- Go to AnswerThePublic.com, get inspired, and write down a few keywords.
- Jot down some initial ideas and outline your main headlines.
- Google your competition and do your research.
- Make note of the main arguments you’d like to include in your post. I like to call this the skeleton.
- Now start writing by filling in the gaps and pulling it all together.
- Find a picture or two to illustrate your words.
- Review: proofread, edit, leave it overnight, repeat.
- Publish and/or schedule the post to your blog
Never stop improving
The world of blogging and content marketing is constantly changing and developing.
If you want to be a great writer and ensure your posts reach the widest possible audience, you need to always keep learning and improving your skills.
By signing up to the “Say it right” newsletter now, you can get insider tips on how to be a great writer right to your inbox.