How many times have you struggled to write a blog post that people will actually read? If you’re not a writer (and even if you are), it can be difficult to come up with a great idea, organize your information, and still manage to make your post engaging and readable. Plus, the competition is fierce – more than 2 million blog posts are published every day, and writing one that stands out often feels impossible.
Still, plenty of people manage to do it, and by following a simple formula, you can be one of them. After all, most sitcoms follow a formula and we still love them, even though we know the main character’s problem will be solved by minute 18. By building on something that works and putting your own spin on a tried and true method, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Ready to write an awesome blog post? Let’s get started.
Step 1: The Title
How many times have you clicked on an article because the title made some wild promise? “16 Kitchen Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Five-Star Chef!” “After You Watch This Video, You’ll Never Look At Skateboards The Same Way Again!” “The Get-Rich-Now Scheme The Government Doesn’t Want You To Know!” While we’ve begun to recognize these tricks as clickbait, the idea behind them is sound. An exciting title that uses emotional words will get more reads.
Of course, this trick only works if your reader gets excited about a promise you’re able to keep. For example, my working title for this article was “How to Write a Blog Post.” While it’s accurate, it’s not exactly eye-catching. “How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Easy Steps” is a bit longer, but it includes emotional words (awesome!), it makes a promise (it will be easy!), and it does deliver (keep reading).
Step 2: The Hook
Most people who start reading a blog post don’t make it to the end, so if you want them to stick around you need to hook them immediately. Begin with the conflict or the problem and create a sense of suspense. A great way to do this is to ask a question. Your audience is more likely to keep reading, waiting for the answer. (Want an example of this tactic? See the first line of this article.)
Another way to keep your reader engaged is to delight them. Often we become so concerned with presenting ourselves as an expert in our field that we forget readers want to be entertained, too. A business blog is a professional endeavor, but it’s also a chance for you to be less formal and create a conversation around your brand. Drop the corporate jargon and write like you talk. Your readers will appreciate seeing another side of you, and who knows – you might actually have fun!
Step 3: The Meat
Most Internet users have the attention span of a microwave, and I say that fully aware that I’m one of them. This is why most blog posts average between 350 and 500 words. (I’m breaking my own rule here. I hope you’ll forgive me.) This is generally enough space to assert your expertise, offer value to the reader, entertain and delight, and increase the likelihood that they’ll make it to the end of your post.
Speaking of attention spans, it’s a fact: most of your readers are skimming. That’s why successful articles often use headings, short paragraphs, bullet points, eye-catching images, and plenty of white space. Not only is this easier on the eyes, but it also helps your reader digest the most salient points. (There’s a reason why “listicle” was added to the Oxford Dictionary last summer, along with “clickbait” and “live-tweet.”)
Step 4: The Finale
When we finish reading something great, we’re often left wishing there was more. Hopefully, that’s how your readers feel after reading your blog post, and you’ve capitalized on those warm and fuzzy feelings by including a call-to-action at the end of your post. Whether you invite your readers to subscribe to a newsletter, follow your business on social media, read more posts on the subject, or visit your online store, make sure the next step is a natural one.
Step 5: One More Thing …
There’s nothing worse than crafting an entertaining and informative blog post that captures both your personality and your expertise … and then realizing, hours after you’ve published and promoted it, that it’s riddled with grammatical errors. If possible, write you posts a day in advance and read them again, right before you’re ready to publish. It’s one of those mysteries of the universe – many mistakes can only be seen with a fresh set of eyes.
Hopefully this blog post has helped you crack the code of content marketing. If you’ve still got questions, the team at Sage Island is here to help. Our team of writers knows all the rules of when it comes to writing awesome blog post, including how to break them.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997, and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at www.sageisland.com. To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/SageIsland, and on Twitter at twitter.com/SageIsland.
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