Any blogger will tell you that a blog post can take somewhere between 2 to 6 hours to prepare, depending on your topic and industry. You put all that hard work in, so you want to make your posts are engaging your visitors, and share-worthy on social media. After all, the aim is to get eyeballs on your blog posts, and people sticking around on your website.
Social media drives people to your website. And the way you word your social posts, are key to attracting your ideal client. But once people are there, you want to come up with the goods and have them stay a while.
So let's look at the anatomy of a post, and…
How to write blog posts people want to read and share
Your Blog Title is Important
Yes, it's judging a book by it's cover, and it all happens so quick. Your title has just seconds to grab someone's attention. People need to be attracted to your blog post before they commit to reading anything.
They're thinking “what's this post going to do for me?”. They want to know your blog post is going to deliver before they even click on it. We're all at information overload, and people are becoming more discerning on where they spend their time. In order to stop people scrolling on by, your blog title needs to makes it obvious it contains something they need to read, or will benefit them in some way.
Great blog titles aren't just to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization aka “being found on Google”!). It's also important for encouraging people to actually click on your post when it comes up on Google. The same goes for when people see your post is shared on Social Media.
You want your blog title to be catchy and intriguing. You want people to think “Yes! that's what I'm looking for” or “ooh, that sounds interesting”.
There's a great free Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule that you can use to test out your own blog titles to help you write more engaging headlines. Give it a try, it's kinda fun if you geek out on blogging stuff.
Keep people reading
If your blog title is what brings people in, your first paragraph is what grabs their attention to keep reading. You want to create an introductory paragraph that is catchy, intriguing and entices your visitor to stay a while and read on. This is a good place to give people a little teaser as to what you're going to be discussing on the post and why they should keep reading.
So you've written a great introduction, and your readers are excited to see what they're going to learn. Time to live up to their expectations and give people value. Good quality content will always shine through. There's nothing worse when you're looking to find information, and all you find is a sales page pretending to be a blog post. There's a place for sales pages, but it's not dressed up as a blog post.
Delivering on the promise
The value you give, is what will keep people coming back for more. After all, you don't want people to arrive at your blog and think “well that was a waste of time”. You want to make good on the promise your headline made. It's when you give great value, and people feel they've benefited in some way, that they keep coming back for more. And, they tell their friends about you.
How do you provide value? You do it by making the blog post about your reader. This is key. It's not about what we want to sell them, but what they want to achieve. Even if you're blogging about your own experience, you can still give your readers something for them. Most people will be reading and subconsciously thinking “yes, but what does this do for me?“.
Does your blog post give them instructions? Does it make them laugh? Does it make them think deeper about a subject they're interested in? Value comes in a lot of different forms, it doesn't always have to be instructional. Understanding your ideal audience is key to knowing what they value and how to best serve them.You give value to your readers by making it all about them, not what you want to sellClick To Tweet
Go with the flow
Now you're sharing great content, it's time to check that it's written in a way that's easy to read and flowing. You want to keep your writing nice and simple for your readers to understand. It's not that you think they can't handle higher level reading. It's because most of us are already at information overload, and the last thing we need is to be using too much brain power to figure out what's being said. Leave out words you think will make you sound intelligent, and replace them with easy to understand words that get your message across clearly.
Every industry has it's jargon. Those words we didn't know what they meant, until we really got into the industry. Not to mention acronyms which can be confusing. Industry terms that are used by your peers can easily confuse readers, and have them clicking away to look up what you mean. It's best to avoid using jargon or acronyms that the average person might not know, unless you explain them so your blog post makes sense to everyone who reads it.
Editing Your Blog Posts for Your Readers
Yep, editing isn't only for catching spelling and grammar mistakes, it's also to make your blog posts more readable and shareable. The number of people who are reading blog posts on their mobiles is increasing. And while we know that our websites need to look great on mobile devices, it's important to make sure the information we present, is also mobile friendly.
Re-read your blog post to make sure you're not rambling on (something I had to work on myself!) You want to make your paragraphs short and digestible. In this fast paced world, most people like their information bite-sized. Long paragraphs are overwhelming and can be tiring to read, especially on a mobile. If you can't break-up a paragraph, think about adding bullet points or subheadings to make your post easier to read.
Short sentences rule! Did you notice that in my last paragraph? My longest sentence was just a touch over a line in length. People get easily confused with super long sentences, and with all the distractions they may need to re-read it. A confused reader becomes tired, clicks away and doesn't share your post.
Inject Your Personality
Does your blog post sounds like ‘you'? It's so easy to get into ‘instructional' mode and forget to add ‘you' to your post. Other than value, what keeps people reading and coming back for more is you. The best way to check if your blog post sounds like you, is to read it out aloud while you edit. I can't recommend this tip enough. When you read your blog post out aloud, you'll be able to see if the sentences and paragraphs flow logically. And you'll quickly pick up if your post is sounding awkward or robotic. Try it and see!
Photos and Graphics
To add interest, break up your blog post a little with photos and graphics. Photos and graphics aren't just to give a visual of what you're talking about, or to give people something to share on Social Media. A picture tells a thousand words, and supports the information you're sharing. Visually speaking, photos and graphics also help with the flow of the post and gives people a little break from all the words. If your blog post is text-heavy, consider using an extra photo, or an infographic to keep people interested, and the eyes flowing down the page. If you're stuck for royalty-free graphics, I have a blog post here to help you out.
Well not quite! You want to finish up your blog post with a little paragraph to help people remember they key message, and what to do next. Wrap everything up nearly for your readers to tie it all together back to your blog post title. And of course there's the call to action. People always want to know “what next”. Your call to action will depend on the blog post and what you think is best at that time. It doesn't have to be the same call to action every time, vary it up a bit. For example, you can provide your readers with another resource, ask them to leave a comment with their opinion, or join your mailing list.
So there's your quick guide to writing blog posts people want to read and share. It's all about breaking down your blog post into sections: your title, introduction, content and conclusion. And keeping the great information flowing. To make things even easier for you, I've put together a Blog Post Checklist and Blogging Cheatsheet to refer to while you're blogging. Using these handy references, you can streamline your blog post writing and ensure you haven't missed anything. You can click here, or fill in the form below to get access to my Social Media & Blogging Resource Library.