These days, everyone seems to be blogging. It’s the ‘cool’ thing to do. Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress make starting your own blog simple. But you only have to spend a short time perusing other blogs to discover that there’s much more to it than making it look pretty.
Virtually anyone can write a blog post. Writing awesome blog posts that others are eager to read takes much more effort and skill. When you’re just starting out, that can seem like looking up a huge mountain. You wonder if you can achieve those blogging dreams.
I know. I’ve been blogging for almost ten years and I’m still learning new tricks to make my posts more engaging and readable.
One question I get asked most as a writing coach is if there’s an easy way to consistently write awesome blog posts. I’d never describe writing captivating content as easy - but it’s easierwhen you have the right tools.
In this ultimate guide, I’ll show you how.
Fine-dining chefs know that the quality of their culinary masterpieces depends on the quality of their ingredients. Likewise, the best blog writers understand that the quality of their writing depends on a set of ingredients that can’t be compromised on.
As a writer, you’ll know that different types of writing need different skills. Writing a blog post isn’t like writing a novel - and if you’re used to writing long pieces of content, writing blog posts can be a sharp learning curve.
To make it more complex, there are different types of blog posts, too. Listicles, articles, how-to-guides… the list is endless. But, blog posts of all kinds share common key ingredients you can use as a kind of formula to create blog posts that your readers will find irresistible.
Headlines are like hooks that snare your readers in and entice them to keep reading. For centuries, newspaper editors have been using headline psychology to increase readership. Yet when it comes to blogging, writers often fall into the trap of thinking the body of your posts matters more than the headline.
It doesn’t. Well, technically the content matters more to give value to your readers - but without a hard-working headline, no one will read the blog post, anyway. You can see how that’s a problem.
I know writers who spend more time writing their headlines than they do their content - and they’re the writers who see their blog posts go viral. Go figure.
So, what makes a headline hard-working? These kinds of headlines are powerful, persuasive - and tell the reader what to expect. Smart bloggers use psychology to get into the heads of their audience and write headlines that can’t be ignored.
The best way to learn how to write these kinds of headlines is to Google your topic - and see what the top ranking blog headlines are. Study them. Learn from other bloggers who’ve been where you are now and have reached that pinnacle of success you’re aiming for.
Want to perfect your headline-writing technique to make creating epic blog posts easier? Spend an hour every day writing headlines - and re-writing them to make them better. Practice makes perfect - plus, you’ll be generating hundreds of blog post titles for future use.
Types of headlines include:
Headlines that tease your reader without giving too much away virtually guarantee they’ll read your post. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers - and write the kinds of headlines that would make you click and read.
The headline hooks your reader. The intro convinces them to keep reading. To write irresistible intros you need to understand your readers, be able to relate to their problems, know what they’re looking for - and speak to them in a language they ‘get’.
My background is in Linguistics, so when I first wrote blog posts, they were dire. Not because I didn’t know how to write - but because I was used to writing academic papers. My blogs would have delighted my professors - but they didn’t speak to my readers.
A powerful and irresistible intro uses empathy to convince your readers you get them. You care about them. You want to help them with some problem or give them something they’re looking for.
Exploiting emotions is another trick you can use to craft enticing intros. Which emotions you exploit depends on the post you’re writing - but before you start writing, know what feelings you want to cultivate in your reader.
Learn from bloggers who’ve been in your shoes. Look at how they do it. The top ranking bloggers are at the top of the search results because they’re at the top of their game. Study their techniques - and start practicing.
Want your readers to love your blog so much they can’t wait to share it on Facebook or Twitter?
Of course you do - that’s how you grow your readership and build your reputation as a kick-ass writer. But we’re a consumer-culture. You don’t get anything for nothing. You want your readers to do something at the end of the post? Give them something valuable in return.
I don’t mean you have to buytheir recommendation. You want to compel them to take action, not force them. The value is in what your blog post offers them. Do you have a solution to their problem that no one else has suggested? Can you help them learn a skill they need?
Figure out what your readers will value most, and give it to them. Prove that you know what you’re talking about - and get them eager to read your next blog posts, too. But don’t just stop there.
Give them more than they’re expecting from a blog post. The more you give them, the more they’ll love you. It’s really that simple. If other bloggers are giving 10 tips for something, give 15, 20 or even 25 - and maybe throw in a PDF they can download (in exchange for their email address).
Make your advice easy for them to read, digest, and act on. This part of your blog post is the meat - and if you don’t make it easy to digest, you risk losing your reader - no matter how valuable your advice is.
Subheadings and short paragraphs are the blogger’s best friend. If a paragraph is over four lines long, it’s too long and needs breaking up. Watch the length of your sentences, too.
Tons of people read blogs and more on smartphones - and long paragraphs on a desktop are even longer on a smartphone. You’re aiming to improve your reader’s life - so don’t make it hard for them to read!
Finishing your blog post strong is sometimes harder than starting it. How do you close your post off with a bang when you’ve already delivered so much?
It takes practice to get this part right. You want to motivate your readers and get them coming back for more. But you also need to keep it short and punchy.
What you must avoid in your conclusion is adding new information. Readers hate that. All the hard work you’ve done so far can be undone with a poorly thought out conclusion.
The key to writing a powerful, motivating conclusion is to write it to yourself. Yes, that sounds weird, but it works.
You’re an expert on the topic, so you’ve been in your reader’s shoes. So, what would you write to your former self now you’ve overcome the challenges?
What did you wish someone had said to you back then? What encouragement did you long to hear? Maybe you didhear it. So give your readers a pep talk, empower them - and give them the confidence to put all your valuable advice into action.
That’s the ingredients taken care of. But you can’t throw a load of ingredients into a pot and expect a culinary masterpiece to emerge. There’s more to producing consistently awesome blog posts than the ingredients. Your style matters, too.
The style of your posts will vary according to your audience. It’s easy to forget you’re writing for them, not for you. Don’t make that mistake. To write to your readers and forthem:
Readability is a big thing in the blogging world. The Flesch Reading Ease scale is a great tool for bloggers to use to check how easy your writing is to read. There are tons of different tools you can use to measure it.
Keeping an eye on your readability score can really improve your blog writing. It helps you focus on your reader’s comprehension, not on using big words and technical jargon. You should aim for a readability score of 60 or more.
Since I’ve been using a readability tool, my score’s gone from an average of 58-60 to an average of 78-82. It works.
Allowing your personality to shine through your writing adds a personal touch to your blog posts that readers love. They’re more likely to subscribe to your blog posts - or at least bookmark your blog - when you add that human element.
It creates a kind of relationship - and makes your blog posts sound different from all the other blog posts competing for your readers’ attention.
Writing consistently awesome blog posts means you have to break rules. Grammar rules, that is. All those things you were taught in school about split infinitives and contractions - your readers (mostly) don’t care about. Unless you’re writing a blog about grammar, of course.
Blogs are much more informal. You’re speaking to your readers, not writing them an essay. Writing in a style they can relate to matters so much more than maintaining the rules of grammar.
Never hit the publish button until you’ve polished your posts. Ever. Your first draft might be perfect. It might be utterly awesome and epic. But don’t publish it yet. Please.
Every writer’s different. Some leave their writing for a few days before they edit. Others leave it a few hours. It’s up to you - as long as you edit.
When you come back to your blog post, you’re looking to polish till it’s perfect:
You want to write irresistible blog posts your readers will love, and you want to do it easily. The good news is that you’ve now got a formula for awesome blog posts. The bad news is that the formula makes it easier rather than easy.
Writing awesome blog posts takes effort. It takes time. It takes practice. But you can do it. You’ve got all the tools you need to write blogs your readers will love. Yes, you’ll have moments of doubt. We all do. That’s just part of being a writer.
You’ll look at the blog posts that the top ranking bloggers have written and wonder if you can ever compete. You can. You can’t let fear or intimidation stop you.
You wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t believe, somewhere deep down inside, that you have it in you to write consistently awesome blogs.
Learn from the writers who have gone before you - but don’t be intimidated by them. They were in your shoes not so long ago, and look where they are now. You’ll never get there if you don’t start, though.
Start today. Start with hard-working headlines, and work your way up until it’s your blog that’s sitting at the top of the rankings and you that the world is turning to for advice.
About the author:
Ariella is an experienced copywriter, editor, and digital marketing consultant. Driven by a passion for writing and content creation she takes pride in producing articles that deliver the latest information in an engaging manner and marketing campaigns that deliver exceptional results. Ariella has a BA (Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing (First), an MA in Theology and Ministry, and is a published author of three novels and a bestselling non-fiction book. A creative at heart, Ariella has 14 years’ industry experience and always aims to keep abreast of current trends and developments. She lives in the UK with her three beagles Zeke, Hope, and Sandy, who always make life interesting.