Successful bloggers have to keep their heads around many different aspects of the medium – but at its core is being able to write compelling and engaging content on a consistent basis over time.
Blogging is nothing unless you are systematic and this means that you can start by having a mind map. A mind map is essential especially when it is able to provide a complete layout on:
• The output of the article (structures)
• Title and excerpts to be used
• Types of content and information to provide (research)
• Proper images and media sources
• Credit and link sources to be provided in the article
Besides that, having a good blog structure is important to ensure that your readers are glued to the screen. Every blog post should contain several important features.
However, there are some basic principles of writing great blog content that might be worth keeping in mind.
Below are a few of the lessons I’ve learned on the topic over the years
1. Nail that title and opening paragraph
Compelling titles and introductions make your readers want to read your post right away. Wishpond contributor James Scherer says, “recent studies show that while 80% of people will read headline copy, only 20% will read the rest. This is the hidden importance of great titles, and why getting them right is so vital to a successful blog.”
2. Make Every Word, Phrase & Sentence Count
Because Internet user’s attention spans are shrinking by the day, you have to work harder to hold your readers’ attention from the beginning until the end of your post. To do that, every word, phrase, sentence, and even punctuation mark must add something to your piece. You can check this service to count the words within your article or post.
A handy trick is to read your draft out loud. If it feels like you’re explaining things too slowly, or you’re falling asleep to your own voice (gasp!), you may need to edit the extraneous bits. Your draft could possibly feel “incomplete”, in which case, you can insert additional information to clarify your thoughts or strengthen your arguments.
Sometimes it is very convenient to use different tools to get the word count or some additional text statistics.
3. Grab Attention
The first thing that readers notice about a blog post is the title. Readers are far more likely to read a post if they’re intrigued by its title.
While there are no absolute rules for creating titles that grab attention, there are some general rules that established bloggers recommend: Short, simple titles are usually the most effective, but you need to provide enough information to let the reader know something about the subject of the post.
Grabbing attention with a shocking or controversial title can also be effective as long as the post delivers useful information and does not attempt to fool the audience into reading.
4. Shorten Your Sentences as much as Possible
Do yours eyes glaze over while reading a sentence? Do you read a sentence out loud, and lose your breath by the end of it? Do you see too many adjectives, adverbs, and other words that don’t add anything to a sentence?
If any of these happen, shorten it! Otherwise, that kilometric sentence is probably fine as is.
5. Use Simple, Yet Precise, Words
You know how MS Word’s “Shift + F7” pulls words from the more obscure parts of the thesaurus? Well, you might not want to rely on that function too much. Readers hate it when you bombard them with highfalutin jargon. Not only do these words sour the reading experience, but they also make your blog post look stilted and pretentious.
Instead of trying to sound “smart”, try to sound sensible. Use words that best convey your idea and can be understood by the layman. For example, “to utilize resources” can be shortened as “to use resources”.
6. Address a specific audience
Good corporate blog posts are targeted to a particular audience. So, before you start developing content, decide who you are selling to and what you are selling.
If you are selling to decision makers in the publishing industry, write a blog post that targets their specific needs. If you are a web developer, try to make the content professional but not too technical because you want buyers to know the benefits of using your services.
The Real Estate blog does a great job of developing content that helps potential homeowners learn more about the community where the available homes are located since this is usually an important issue for homeowners.
7. Establish Your Voice
Once you have an angle, don’t forget to add some personality. Avoid generic posts; personalize them with stories from your own professional experience. Letting your readers get to know you is the best way to create reader loyalty.
Pitch your voice to match your professional goals. For example, if you are trying to establish yourself as a financial expert then you should limit the amount of humor in your posts.
If you’re a motivational coach, then make sure your posts are inspirational. If you find it hard to match your personal voice to your blog niche, you might want to reconsider your niche.
8. Stay consistent on your blog format and topic
Related to finding your voice, it turns out that blog format really matters. To completely oversimplify, there seem to be two very different kinds of blogs that are successful. Either you are a “curator” of news, or you are a primary content source.
The curator is someone who blogs often and throughout the day with links and snippets, and I would consider someone like Robert Scoble (or iJustine!) to be the Michael Jordan of this approach. The style is often more conversational and casual, and includes lots of little updates on what they are doing or reading or trying out. These guys can really “cover news” and are widely read because they can provide the first opinion on new stuff coming out.