So you finally decided to get serious about blogging? Smart choice.
Blogging is a great way to connect your brand with your target audience, and that won't change for the foreseeable future.
Look at these flashy statistics:
- Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages on search engines
- Increasing your blog output by 100% results in a 300% increase in web traffic
- Brands with 400 posts have three times more leads than brands with 100 blog posts
But even if you know blogging works (it does), the question of how to blog remains.
So let's talk about what actually makes a successful blog post.
There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all guide to creating the perfect blog post (we wish there was). But, there are definitely tried and true practices that can up your blogging game.
Decide on a Blog Topic
To write a successful blog post, you have to first decide on a topic. Maybe that’s not so top-secret, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important part—maybe the most important part—of the blog writing process. We're talking a make-or-break factor here.
There are several questions I ask when determining a blog topic:
- What do I like?
- What do I know well?
- What is something my friends or coworkers ask me to explain?
- What questions are my target personas asking?
If you can find a topic that aligns with these questions, then you are off to a solid start.
You want your topic to be something you enjoy and have confidence articulating. Most of all, you want it to add value for your audience.
At the end of the day, if your blog post isn’t being read then it doesn’t matter how great it is. And just because it's great doesn't mean it will be read.
This leads us to the next aspect of writing better blogs.
Understand Your Audience
If you don’t understand your audience then the content you write is never going to be relevant or valuable to them.
One of the more common ways to understand your audience is by building buyer personas. A buyer persona is a profile of a single, semi-fictitious consumer who represents your target audience at large. Buyer personas usually account for behaviors, needs, interests, and demographics common to a particular segment of your market.
An effective blog post is tailored to the individuals reading it. But since you can't customize your blog posts for every reader, buyer personas allow you to "write to many by writing to one."
Use your buyer personas to determine what topics your audience is searching for online. If you don’t understand what content they want, then your content is never going to be seen.
I like to use this template when creating a new buyer persona.
Now that you know what your audience is searching for, it's time to craft a blog post that tells an engaging story.
Tell a Story With Your Blog Post
To really have your readers locked in, you have to tell a story.
I'm not saying your blog needs to start with “Once upon a time…” and end with a knight and princess skipping off into the sunset. However, it does need to have the basic anatomy of a story.
You need to have an introduction, problem, and resolution.
The beginning of your blog is where your reader decides to either continue reading or find a new source of information. This is why it is so important to hook a reader with your introduction.
Asking a rhetorical question at the beginning of your blog can push readers to think and interact with your blog right from the start. A majority of blog readers prefer a conversational tone as opposed to something more methodical and, well, business-like. Questions are an easy way to ease a reader comfortably into the information you are about to share with them.
Interesting facts also have a way of grabbing someone’s attention. Numbers often "pop" more than words, giving you an advantage if your stat is jaw-dropping. Did the numbers at the start of this blog help you make it this far? Not all facts and statistics are worthy of your introduction, however, so make sure you choose one that is relevant and also impressive.
These are a couple of the introduction tactics that I personally like to use, but there are definitely other options to go with. Here's a more in-depth look at blog introductions.
Once your introduction is done, it’s time to establish the overall problem. This is where you draw attention to the consumer's need or pain. After all, your audience is reading your blog post for a reason—they have a problem that needs solving. So speak to it.
Of course, the reader already has a general idea of their problem. But now you have the chance to help the reader realize how complex the problem might be. By examining different aspects of the problem, you will gain credibility and trust by demonstrating your grasp of the issue.
This is all setting you up to bring it home: to resolve the problem.
Now that your reader is fully aware of the problem at hand, your blog post can provide a resolution and save the day.
Give enough detail so the reader walks away knowing how to fully resolve their problem. This is where the blog post delivers most of its value. In turn, and don't miss this, you will become a trusted source or thought leader in their eyes.
Now, I love storytelling as much as the next content marketer, but let's not neglect some of the more technical details of writing a successful blog post.
Write for SEO and Scannability
If you want your article to rank well on search engine results pages (and you do), then you need to be writing for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Keywords are the first thing that come to mind when most people think about SEO. And, yes, they most definitely should be included in your article.
Remember earlier when we were talking about understanding what your audience is searching for? Well, keywords are the connection between your personas' web searches and your blog posts. I won’t go into the details of keyword optimization, but including a keyword in the title, headers, and copy of your blog post—without going overboard—can make a huge difference in how you rank on SERPs.
While keywords are important to Google rankings, they aren’t the only thing you should focus on.
Backlinks (links you receive from other websites) and outbound links (links you give other websites in your blog post) bring additional SEO authority and credibility to your blog. Using outbound links to cite sources is a great way of giving credit to originators, and it also helps your SEO.
For more SEO tips, Neil Patel has a whole article about things you should know.
See what I did there?
No one likes reading a giant wall of text. No one. It could be the best blog in the history of blogging, but if it’s a mass of text, few will read it.
While there is no universal blog style guide, here are a few tips that work well for me:
- Break up your paragraphs into 2-3 sentence chunks
- Use bolding to highlight
- Try bullet points (for an example, er, look right here)
- Add pictures, videos, and graphics
Break up paragraphs to help your readers navigate the copy and not lose their place. This will also bust up text into more manageable, bite-size pieces.
Headings can also make a blog post more scannable. They also help your SEO by drawing Google's attention to what the article is all about.
Use Custom Graphics in Your Blog Post
Do you want your blog post to stand out from the rest? Then create your own graphics.
The human eye processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Clearly, compelling graphics are important.
Specific benefits to creating irresistible visual content include:
- Better scannability
- Higher SEO
- More visual appeal
- Easily digestible information
Trust me. Creating your own custom graphics takes your blog from average to amazing. Having custom graphics also helps all of your content fit together in a more cohesive way.
Want Even More Help?
We get it, blogging takes time. Even if you know how to do it, there is the question of whether you should let someone else do it. At Modthink, we specialize in helping companies tell their stories across digital media. And this includes blogging. Just click below to make contact with us.