Over 4 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day. With such an information overload, how can you make your blog post stand out? What will make yours different from the other 3,999,999 published that day?
Whether you’re a veteran blogger who needs to refresh your blog post format or a newbie blogger hoping to make your mark, keep on reading to learn how to write a killer blog post that will make readers want more.
Branding Through a Blog Post Format
Branding is everything. Your brand as a blogger begins with your domain.
If you’re a brand new blogger, you have some basic, not-so-fun foundation building to do. Begin by setting up a domain. Give yourself a domain that represents you, be it playful or serious.
After you’ve set up your domain, customize the theme on your blog to represent your branding as well. Make sure you include a logo and the about page with critical information.
If you’re building a blog from scratch, investigate platforms at places like Word Press and Hubspot to see what services they can offer. Then, before someone else snatches up your domain name, register it.
You can find a variety of hosting services, but the five most popular are GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost, Bluehost, and iPage. Any single one of these offers basically the same services.
Basic Blog Structure: Head Back to High School
Most high school graduates understand the basic five-paragraph structure of an introduction, body paragraph or paragraphs, and a conclusion.
A blog will have basically the same structure with a few specific idiosyncrasies that set it apart. In particular, you need to consider SEO as you begin the process.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the method by which an article or website brings in readers through search engines. It’s the way a website pops up at the top or near the top of a search engine when you search for a particular term.
Your title should begin with your SEO term, the term you’ve decided you’d like to be the star of your piece.
So start with something clever and, a title that will grab the reader’s interest, but make sure your SEO begins that title.
After your smart title, you need a hook, a captivating introduction that will make the reader want to keep on reading. Consider using a statistic, a funny story, a moving narrative, or a memorable quote that ties in well with your topic.
Keep your entire purpose for this piece in mind. First and foremost, you want to draw people into your website. But then, you most likely want to do something else like inform, educate, convince, or entertain a reader.
Your introduction should make your purpose clear without you saying outright “this piece will educate you.”
After grabbing the reader’s attention, describe the post. Prove its relevance to the reader by proving how the topic works in the reader’s personal or professional life. How does your piece address a problem the reader may be having?
Basically, give the reader a reason to keep reading.
Then outline your work. Sketching out the basic outline of your work will save you oodles of time when you write. If you just start writing, you run the risk of going down a bunny trail and losing your focus.
After you’ve drafted a beefy outline with your main points, and after you’ve reviewed the outline to make sure you have those points in a particular order, turn the outline into sentences and paragraphs.
For blog posts, you can have long content, but you should not have long sentences or long paragraphs. Keep your paragraphs to two to three sentences each.
Do not just push “publish” once you’ve finished your draft. Go back and edit and proofread your work.
Begin by reading it aloud. Reading your work aloud will help you catch the vast majority of your errors. Use particular tools to edit and proofread your work like the Hemingway app.
Review your work and add in headlines. You should have no more than 300 words under each headline Your readers need that visual break, and you need a mental break when you write.
Use formatting to make elements stick out. For example, bold the terms or phrases you want the reader to remember.
Readers today interpret more information through images than through words, so do not forget to include appropriate photographs and graphics.
Try to use your own, original work. Avoid stock photographs that may appear on someone else’s blog if you really want your blog to stand out.
Every blog’s conclusion should include a CTA or a call to action. This calls the reader to act on the information you just shared. Perhaps you want the reader to check out your services. Then say that.
remember the four major decisions every writer has to make: subject, purpose, audience, and voice.
Four Major Decisions that Make Your Blog Stand Out
As you draft your work, whether you’re in the prewriting, the writing, or the editing stages, consider the four major decisions that every writer must make when he or she puts fingers to keyboard.
Content is king, as the experts say. So you can have beautiful words, but if you’re not saying anything new, no one will come back to your blog.
When you don’t know what to write about, think about specific areas rather than specific topics. Think about people, for example. Is there a personal story that’s relevant to your blog or your topic?
Consider history. Is there any historical event or topic relevant to your blog subject?
Consider importance. Think about subjects that matter to the reader you’re trying to reach.
Ultimately, your purpose may be to generate traffic to your website, whether you’re selling essential oils or ranting about politics. But write your overall purpose down in mind, the one that your specific post will address.
Then reflect that purpose in both your title and your introduction. Your title matters so much that right title can boost your SEO. It can literally draw people to your website.
Adhere to specific guidelines with your title. Your title should be under 60 characters and 600 pixels. Ideally, you should have a title between 60 and 70 characters, with nothing over 75.
And, as mentioned before, you should begin with the keywords of your piece.
As you proofread your work, keep your purpose in mind. If you intend to educate for example, then all of the examples and word choice should reflect this.
If you’re trying to entertain, you can use devices like hyperbole to make your reader laugh.
The one major element that will make your blog stand out lies in your audience. The audience itself does not matter as much as your ability to write to that audience.
Know your audience.
Take some time before you write to sketch out the details of your target audience. Think about what you know about your buyer and their interests as you brainstorm topics for the blog post.
For example, if you’re aiming to write to Millenials or young adults in general, you most likely do not need to outline the details of how to set up a Facebook account to market their business effectively. You may need to talk about the benefits of face-to-face interaction.
Think about the specific material that would resonate with that audience. Consider the specific jargon and dialect that the audience would relate to.
Consider using social media to generate interest in your blog. When you do this, you can track the questions and comments on your page. What does this audience want to know?
You can base your blog posts off those answers.
Whenever you write, write with that audience in mind. Picture them reading your work or sitting in front of you.
Voice refers to the way you sound to the reader as he reads your work. A combination of the words you use and the examples you select along with the way you arrange those words in the sentence (also known as syntax) creates a particular voice.
How do you want to come across to the reader? Do you want to sound academic? Then use academic words.
If you want to sound laid back and like a friend, then use casual language and even fragments periodically.
Regardless of the specific words you choose, you can do well to follow the age-old advice of Willing Strunk and E.B. White in Elements of Style when they write omit needless words.
Strunk and White encourage writers not to omit needless ideas, but to omit needless words and to focus on clarity and simplicity.
You can also best do this by using strong, action verbs, words that show rather than tell. So you say things like, “His stomach growled loudly” rather than “he was hungry.”
You can best write actively by avoiding the “to be” verb.
Killer Blog Posts: Write on Purpose
Writing a killer blog means writing on purpose with your eyes wide open. It means following a particular blog post format but then crafting the content for a particular audience with a particular purpose and voice in mind.
As you continue to flex your blogging muscles, contact us for all of your marketing needs.