The Key Things You Need to do to Write a Successful Blogpost
How long should a blog post be? And how does one write one that will attract readers and become popular and widely commented upon on social media? Successful writers who produce regular posts for blogs—as well as journalists assigned to cover stories in newspapers and magazines or asked by websites to provide content—face the challenges of striking a balance between providing informative content and maintaining interest in what they have to say. The following 15 ingredients, adapted from Daniel J. O’Keefe’s Writing for Kingpins, will help you create content that will engage both new and existing readers. Engaging content is key to writing a successful blogpost.
1. Learning Curve – Begin with background information that will provide the reader with a context from which to understand and assess the material presented in greater detail later in the post. The learning curve also provides an opportunity for writers to introduce themselves, if they haven’t yet—or reintroduce themselves, if they have been away from their blogs for a time.
2. Action – If the learning curve is introductory, what follows should be highly engaging and present content that readers can relate to (and respond to) in some way, as well as incite an emotional response from them—anger or passion are good examples of such responses; the post should also provoke thoughts regarding implications of the information presented.
3. Question – Conclude with a question to which the answer is likely to be, “Read the whole thing.”
4. Overt Call-to-Action – Draw up a list of five ways in which your readers can follow, support, or interact with you and/or your blog post via social media (and, in the case of email-based campaigns, via email), soliciting them to take an action—and then call to action.
5. Stealth Call-to-Action – Make a statement that seems innocuous or even surprising but that also encourages readers to click on a link contained within the post. (Example: “It’s amazing how many mistakes a few people can make if they think no one’s watching them.”)
6. Show, Don’t Tell – Rather than providing facts or opinions to readers, incorporate examples of compelling content into the post that will compel them to share their reactions in the comment section—and also suggest related posts (which is an ideal opportunity for stealth and overt calls-to-action).
7. Something New – Provide readers with an insight that they will not have heard elsewhere, a list of resources that no one else has published, or some other form of new material. (Note: This component is most effective if it appears in every post.)
8. Fresh Angle – Present material in a new way that will encourage readers to see it from an entirely different perspective. Also, don’t be afraid to include controversial content if the controversy is not manufactured but rather involves real and legitimate disputes among two or more parties—or between you and other writers—that exists independently of your post.
9. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – No one cares if you make a typo (or several), but do be sure that you have identified the correct subject of your successful blogpost, and check it for clarity.
10. A Little Goes a Long Way – Maintain momentum by working within the framework of a regular posting schedule; the best blogs publish new content daily, and many readers will nearly always choose to return to a blog that has been active in recent days or weeks over one that hasn’t.
11. But Don’t Push It – If you update your blog infrequently, readers will typically be less likely to return frequently—to the point where they may stop following you altogether if you let too much time pass without posting something.
12. Be Creative – Rather than reproducing a previous post’s content, provide at least some new material to readers; even if they have read the earlier post (and remember it well), they are still likely to be delighted by a different spin on the same subject matter.
13. Start from Scratch – After publishing a number of posts, refresh readers’ memories about the material you have already mentioned in earlier posts by creating an annotated list or infographic that will orient them to what has been published previously.
14. Rub It In – Take pride in your knowledge and experience: If you’re an expert, make it evident (and when appropriate, make use of your expert status) by publishing detailed and comprehensive posts that will demonstrate the extent of your knowledge on a particular topic.
15. Impress Me – Take advantage of opportunities to impress readers with valuable information and/or content; if you receive an invitation to speak at an industry conference or seminar, for example, weigh the matter carefully and then act responsibly by providing readers with immediate coverage of the event.
Writing a successful blogpost is tough. You have to do it over and over again. As long as you’re willing to learn from your mistakes, you’ll be able to grow your blog to the point where running it becomes less work than fun. And if you find yourself in a situation where you’re not enjoying what you do, then it’s time to get out. You’ll find it easier and easier to write a successful blogpost the more often you do it. You should get into the habit of writing a blogpost every day.
The last piece of advice I have for you is this: Your audience wants quality content with valuable information that will help them solve problems. So stop wasting your time thinking about how to rank higher in search results and start producing quality content. The search engine optimization will take care of itself.