When I started my first blog around 2004, the web was radically different. The “blogging for business” era had yet to come, and blogs were mainly a way to express yourself and meet kindred spirit. Looking back, it’s another world. And yet, the challenge is the same: how to get people to notice, read and enjoy your blog posts (and ideas)?
The scenario might differ, but the basics stay the same. And writing blog posts that catch and keep attention isn’t rocket science – provided that your piece has both meaning and structure. As much as I’d love to, I have no “secret recipe” to share – but a few down-to-earth tips for blog posts designed with your audience in mind.
Outline key points
Why are you writing a post? What information are you going to share with your readers? Effective writing starts with clarity and structure. Here’s a quick trick: define the key points and takeaways of your post first. The writing process becomes so much easier – and quicker.
I usually create my outlines on paper, for I prefer thinking in writing. Visual people usually benefit from using mind maps, topic-oriented boards and more. There is no “best way” to do that – find a method that works for you, and it will be fine.
Forget the word count
Have you ever asked Google what’s the ideal length of a blog post? I tried (in Italian) … and reading through all results would take ages.
My take? It’s all about context.
Looking for some SEO ranking? Research insights suggest an average of 2,000 to 2,500 words. Nevertheless, SEO isn’t the only “effectiveness factor” of a blog post.
If your audience is into snappier pieces, a short post is probably going to “make it” regardless of the word count. You’re also more likely to get shares, for people won’t need to stick around for too long to get to the juice of your content. If you want your “ultimate guide to real estate marketing” to rank well, 500 words will probably get you crickets.
Want to write a post that works? Focus on your blog post idea, and answer these 3 questions:
- Does it keep the promise made in the title?
- Is it clear, logically structured, and thorough?
- If I were my ideal reader, would I read it all?
Use spacing and formatting to “guide” your reader
Again: effective blog posts start with a solid structure. White space and wise formatting help with the pace and rhythm of your content. Want people to read all the great things you have to say? Avoid the wall of text effect like the plague.
Want to improve the readability of your posts?
- Divide longer paragraphs into smaller chunks (with caution to avoid the “robot effect”)
- Use sub-headings to highlight the different sections of your post
- Condense information with bulleted and numbered lists
- Highlight key phrases in bold
- Use italics sparingly
SEO is a tool, not a goal
SEO is great for making your content more visible online. Your first goal, however, should be writing content people will love and share. Over-optimised blog posts aren’t hot anymore – so focus on crafting useful and engaging content for your human readers. You can sprinkle some SEO later as an added bonus.
Looking for hints on SEO-optimising your posts? This step-by-step guide by HubSpot will help.
Say goodbye with an invitation
If you’re blogging for business, your posts are the opening line of a conversation with your ideal client. Hence, they should always end with a call to action. It doesn’t have to be pushy or salesy. You could simply ask your readers to comment on your piece or join your newsletter. Just make sure your CTA is consistent with the post.
You’re asking your readers to shake hands with you here. If your post has been useful, they will gladly do.
Your turn now: say hello and share your tips for blog posts that make readers happy!