You can write a blog post that people actually want to read
But first, let me tell you a story about your reader.
Thanks to a catchy title and compelling Pinterest image, your reader lands on your blog post. GREAT! Now they will decide in approximately 8 seconds whether your post is worth reading.
8 seconds! Maybe even less!
Now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “but I have a great story! I have something that they want! My post is useful!” Here’s what your reader is saying:
Before you get all Spudnik Ross on me, let’s talk about what really turns readers away.
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3 Things that will Kill your blog post (in a very bad way)
In a minute we’ll talk about writing a killer blog post, but first, let’s talk about 3 things that will make your readers click back to Pinterest or return to Instagram scrolling.
1. A headline that isn’t clear.
Frankly, if you have a headline that isn’t clear, your reader probably won’t even make it to your blog post in the first place. If I had titled this post something clever like “And then there were none” (like… no readers for this post), no one would have a clue what it was about and it would not attract any readers.
A good headline makes a promise and a good post delivers on the promise.
Wanna know how to write a grabby headline? Head over to Buzzfeed and see what’s trending. Take a headline from there and re-work it for your topic. Write out at least 10 headlines for your post before deciding which one you want to use. You can also use a tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to find out how your headline “scores” for SEO and catchiness.
2. Too much text.
I’m not talking about word count here. In fact, current trends show that longer posts (1000-1500 words) rank better and do better overall than shorter ones. Your post should have a minimum of 600 words, but don’t be afraid of length!
No, what I’m talking about is loooooong, drawn-out paragraphs.
Long chunks of text need to be broken up by subtitles, images, boldface text, links, and white space. (Sidenote: don’t go pulling images off of Google lest you infringe on someone’s copyright. Use a royalty-free photo service like Unsplash to find stock images.) Breaks in the text make your post easier to read and skim (which is what most readers do anyway).
When writing a blog post, make sure you have plenty of breaks in the text.
Writing a journal of your day/week/month/year may be exactly what your mom and grandma want to read, but it will kill your blog post faster than a cobra strikes his prey. Don’t get me wrong, personal information is good when it adds to the emotion of the post or helps your reader to feel connected to you as a person.
Use personal stories as a way to connect with your reader. Your blog is NOT a diary.
Writing a Killer Blog Post
Writing a killer blog post doesn’t have to be rocket science, even for Spudnik Ross. It is quite simple when you keep the following things in mind.
Your post must be useful or entertaining.
Bonus if you can be useful AND entertaining. When you are writing your post, this is the most important thing to think about. If your blog is not useful or entertaining, no one will want to read it. This is true no matter your niche. Once you’ve identified a topic that is either useful or entertaining for your reader, follow this basic structure to get them reading and keep them reading until the end.
You must solve a problem for your reader.
Think about it. Every time you search Pinterest, you are essentially looking for a blogger to solve a problem for you. Identify the problem that your post will solve, and you’ll grab the attention of your reader.
Your post will do even better if you can identify the emotions connected to the problem. For example, if your post teaches a person to paint the walls in their RV, the problem is ugly wallpaper and a dark environment. Discuss how it will feel to be in the RV without the ugly stock wallpaper. Go into detail about the pride they will feel when they post before and after pictures on Instagram. You get the idea.
Basic Blog Post structure:
Identify the problem
Escalate the problem
Resolve the problem
1. Identify the problem
This is your hook. Remember, when you are writing your blog, your reader will decide in 8 seconds whether to stay on your blog or leave. Which do you think will prove to your reader that you post is worth reading?
In this post I will instruct you how to paint the walls of your RV.
I sat on the couch drinking my coffee, trying to relax. But I couldn’t relax because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Something had to be done. I knew I couldn’t spend one more morning staring at those ugly, dark, 1980’s tacky wallpapered walls.
Grab your reader’s attention and identify the emotion. Reel them in with your details.
2. Escalate the problem
Now, don’t jump too quickly to the solution. If you solve the problem in the first paragraph your reading will move on. Instead, you need to escalate the problem and therefore the need to keep reading. Create tension that the reader wants to resolve. Then and only then can you start to provide the information your reader is looking for.
In our painting example, go into more detail about living with ugly wallpaper. Discuss the potential benefits of painted walls or describe what would happen if the reader continues to live with the ugly wallpapered walls. Describe the Instagram newsfeed full of beautiful RV renovations and how painting made a big impact.
Increase the tension of the problem, making your reader hungry for the solution.
3. Resolve the problem
This is the meat of your post. This is where you wow your reader with all of your useful information. Don’t be a slacker! Remember when writing your blog post that you need to deliver on the promise of your headline. Do this and you’ll win your reader over and they’ll be begging for more.
Deliver on the promise of your headline and wow them with how thorough you are.
Don’t forget these key elements
Here are some things to include in your post that will make it go from good to KILLER!
- Outbound links: linking to other relevant websites will help your SEO and increase your credibility. Show that you’ve done your research and put thought into your post.
- Inbound links: link to another post on your blog that may be relevant to your reader. Make sure to do it in an artful way or it will seem like too much self-promotion. You want to provide value for your reader so that they keep coming back for more.
- Freebies: speaking of value, giving your reader something for free adds value AND creates an opt-in incentive to build your email list. Which, if you read my post about setting up your blog, you know is important (see what I did there?). You don’t need to have a freebie in every post and it’s okay to use the same freebie more than once.
Finally, before your post is over, tie it back to the original problem. You can do this in a number of ways: by repeating a line used in the introduction, concluding a story that you interrupted (intentionally) to increase anticipation, or re-stating your main point. Providing a satisfactory conclusion to your post will make your reader feel good. That’s when you’ve successfully won them over.
Stop killing your blog and start writing KILLER posts
Writing a killer blog post might take a little more time, but you will be rewarded with reader loyalty and page views. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools to help you look like an expert blogger, even when you are a novice:
- Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin helps you identify the things that will improve your SEO. It will remind you to use links and images as well as let you know how you can improve your SEO.
- Training. If your goal is to build a blog that brings in income for you so that you can travel full-time, pay off debt, or take a dream vacation; don’t be afraid to invest in some training. Most of what I learned about blogging I learned from other people. Take courses both on writing and on logistics (like SEO and monetization). I can’t say enough to recommend the Sticky Blogging courses: Sticky Blogging and Sticky SEO. If you are truly ready to get started blogging, Sticky Blogging really helps you focus on your writing skills so that you can convert readers into loyal fans. Because of the individual attention the course provides, it is only offered a couple times each year. Sticky SEO is a logistical course that you can take any time that will help you rank to the top of the search engines (BONUS: you can start with the FREE webinar to see if the course is right for you)!
- A blog post template. Use the FREE Killer Blog Post Template & Checklist that I’ve created to help you write blog posts that people want to read!
Now that you know exactly what is killing your blog, you can use these skills and the Killer Blog Post Template & Checklist to start killing it (in all the right ways!) in the blogosphere.
Don’t forget to GET the Killer Blog Post Template & Checklist! I’ll even include a BONUS: Headline Brainstorming Worksheet!
What are you going to implement in your next post? Tell me in the comments what you are going to do to start writing killer blog posts.