Ever fall into the “last minute” blog routine? By this I mean, it’s 8:30 am Tuesday morning and you have a blog post due by 9 am? You can’t miss that deadline because you’ve set up this (great) routine and your followers expect it.
The routine is awesome! But, whipping off a post in 30 minutes is NOT! Don’t do it!
Now, let’s clarify. I don’t mean you have to spend 3 hours on each post for it to be good. Definitely not.
I do mean that writing a post for the sake of getting a post done is NOT a reason to blog. Trust me…your readers will feel it!
Each post must have a purpose beyond “filler content”.
Use these 5 key blogging techniques so that you never have to write a blog post for the sake of checking it off your “to do” list ever again
1. Have a Defined Topic
Before you even start writing, it’s important that you clearly decide what the mission of your post will be. In order to do this, you may need to focus on why you started your blog in the first place.
What’s in it for your readers if they read this post? (Notice I didn’t ask what was in it for YOU. Posts should be all about your readers).
Additionally, what do you hope your readers will know or understand afterward?
Keep your topic simple and distinctive.
Is this your very FIRST blog post? If so, you’ll want to take a slightly different strategy. Fortunately, I’ve already laid out everything you need to know here: How To Write Your First Blog Post.
2. Spend Time on Your Title – It’s HUGE!
The title of your blog post is going to show up EVERYWHERE! It’s the first touch point that a potential ready has with your content. If it doesn’t grab their attention in a few seconds, you have failed. So don’t whip it off, or wait until the very end and then write something long or random.
Make sure your titles are straightforward, but also draw the attention of your readers
Remember, it needs to grab the attention of real people. Imagine yourself in the checkout line of a grocery store. While you’re waiting for the people ahead of you to finish, which magazine do you pull off the rack? For me, it’s always the magazine with the most enticing article titles.
If your blog title isn’t enticing, it isn’t getting “pulled off the shelf”.If your blog title isn't enticing, it isn't getting 'pulled off the shelf'.Click To Tweet
Second, your blog title is going to be what Google’s search algorithms pick up and analyze. So, whenever possible and applicable, include one of your top keyword phrases.
Need more help with your headlines? Check out my post A Quick And Easy Formula For Writing Clickable Blog Titles.
3. A First Sentence Is Like A First Meeting
How amazing are your first sentences?
Now that you’ve succeeded in catching your readers’ attention so well they’ve clicked through (kudos!), KEEP THEM!
Your first sentence will make or break your post. People will stay or leave depending on what it says.
Why? With the internet so saturated and schedules so full, you have 3-7 seconds to hook your reader so well that they choose to stay instead of doing something else. They will make their mind up that quickly.You have 3-7 seconds to hook your reader's attention so that they choose to stay instead of skedaddlingClick To Tweet
This is why you need a dang good opening line!
Some ideas could be a provocative question, a bold statement or the first line of a story (there’s a reason “Once upon a time” is such a popular opening line for storybooks!). Each of these makes for a great opening sentence.
Like the header, your first sentence may also carry more weight in search algorithms, so where you can, include your keyword phrase.
4. Make it Easy to Read and Share
It’s critical that you make your posts as easy to read and share as possible.
An example of using “scannable” writing in my post How To Choose A Web Host
You can make your post easy to read and share in three ways:
- Make it easy for your readers to scan your blog and find the key points. This way they can zero in on the steps or tips they find most interesting. To do this, use subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists and bolded phrases. (Notice this blog…what did we use?)
- Make it easy for your reader to take action at the end. Don’t just say, “Please comment and share”. Instead, give them a specific, EASY question to answer. If your reader doesn’t have an immediate answer pop into their mind upon reading your question, your question’s too vague.
- Make it easy for your readers to share your post on social media. Did you know social media now accounts for about a THIRD of all referral traffic? If you want to increase your traffic, make it as quick and painless as possible for your readers to share your posts by including share buttons, icons or links in unambiguous places on your page.
5. Read It Out Loud
When you finish your post, first pat yourself on the back. Next, read it out loud!
If there are sentences that don’t flow off your lips well, fix them.
Or, if you tune out at different points while reading, you may need to add images, quotes, stories or other elements to add some interest to your post (if you don’t find your own blog interesting, how can you expect your readers to enjoy it??).
Likewise, a post that can easily be read aloud is a post readers will gain more from. If it’s easy to read, it’s likely written in a straightforward, conversational tone, which is what most blog readers prefer.
Lastly, reading out loud is a great way to catch any pesky typos or grammatical errors before you hit the “publish” button.
Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or are just starting your blog, the tips above should help. More than anything else, it’s important to focus on your readers and what THEY want. Write about things they care about in a way that will grab their attention, and you’re SET!
Which of these 5 steps will you start to focus on when you blog?
If you’re already doing all 5 steps, which one do you think is most crucial? Why?
Please comment and share below…
Did you see how I ended my blog with two very clear questions so that you know what to include in your comment below? Good stuff, huh?