Unleashing Your Inner Blogger
So, your website is all set up. The time has come to get your ideas and information out to the world. This is where you gather some tips and strategies to create content that get attention and traffic.
Let Go of Perfection
I have a simple blueprint below to help you create a structure for each blog post. At first it may be hard to get in the groove, but this is like riding a bike. Once you develop habits and learn some new skills the process will become natural and intuitive.
This step addresses how to create a complete post.
Know this. You are going to make mistakes. It’s part of the process. Imperfect action is better than perfect in-action. That latter will keep you stagnant.
As Nike says, “Just Do It!”
Here’s a Basic Anatomy of a Post
- Clear Objective
- Call to Action
This looks like a lot of stuff, but don’t worry, once you get an overview, it’s simple to remember. The more content you create, the better you’ll get. Don’t forget… once you read this, dive in and create a first post.
Success is waiting for you at the intersection of Courageous and Consistent!
How to Write a Great Post
1. Have a Clear Purpose for Your Post
Before you even start writing, you need to have a very focused purpose for the information you’ll be sharing. Consider these following questions before you answer Before anything else, decide what topic you will write about. Before you jump in, consider these three questions. Make sure you answer “yes” to all three:
What do you want your reader to learn in your post?
Every post needs to have a specific outcome in mind. One objective is imperative. If you flounder around without a clarity of purpose you’ll lose the reader before they get to the end of your post.
Do you have personal experience with the information you’re covering?
Personal experience allows you to tell stories. When you share stories you connect with people. This develops trust with your reader. Trust leads to followers. Followers give you more traffic and traffic leads to more sales and exposure to your content or cause.
To write a great post you need to define your audience
You have to be highly targeted when generating content for your audience. Think of s very specific avatar. Be specific about who you want to read your content. Think of their age, sex, career, hobbies, interests, where they hangout – online and off line, their level of education, financial aspirations, frustrations, joys, desires, passion… think of every detail you can. This leads to a voice that speaks to who you’re looking to attract online.
2. Creating an Impactful Headline
The headline is your hook. It’s the gateway to your blog.
In order to gain readership, you have to have a magnetic headline.
Mosquito repellant keeps the buys away. If you have a weak headline it has the power to do the same thing to your readers.
Think of your headlines, all of them, as greetings to a stranger. The first impression of your blog is revealed through headline in lots of place online:
- Your blog archives
- Social media
- Search Engine Results
- RSS feeds
- Emails passed around
An enticing headline takes time to craft. The more you write them, the better you’ll become. Be willing to put in the time and brain power to craft a headline that sucks readers so you can fulfill the promise of the information you’re offering in your post.
There are many ways to attack the responsibility of crafting the perfect headline. One of my mentors tells his followers to generate 50 headlines before they even begin writing their post.
Another leader in copywriting suggests to plan and write the post first, and then craft no less than 10 headlines, and select the one that fits best.
Of course, yet another approach is begin with a keyword and build your headline from that specific keyword, then craft your post in alignment with the headline you build around that keyword.
The Basics for Every Headline Your Write
Include a Benefit in Your Headline
A results oriented headline will always get more views than other ones. If you include a specific benefit your potential reader will get after reading the post, they are more likely to click on your link. As a skilled blogger you have to fulfill the promise you’re giving the person who clicks on your link.
One place you can test the quality of your headlines is StumbleUpon. If you get no clicks, you may need to tweak the title of your post.
Readers looking for weight loss information click on headlines like, “8 Simple Tips to Shed 5 Pounds in 2 Weeks” if they want to lose weight fast. Building your audience quickly. Another good headline reads something like this: “3 Mistakes New Mom Make That Cause Them to Lose Hours of Sleep”.
Begin With a Question
In English class your teacher probably discouraged you from starting your essays with a question. News flash – this ain’t English class.
“Should Bloggers Use Aweber to Build Their List?” This sparks some interest. People see a question, and they naturally want answers, especially if the questions addresses a need they have.
Let me say it again. If you write for everyone, you write for no one. This is true when crafting your headline. A question, when written to one specific avatar, will draw in more readers than if you try to appeal to the masses. This is why the words “you” and “your” are powerful words.
For example, “How a Teacher Can Help You Build Your Blog Today” is more powerful than, “Build a Blog Today”. Add the power of a question, “Do You Want to Build Your Blog in 20 Minutes?”
Blogging Tip: Select Captivating Words
Every word counts if you’re counting ono your headlines for traffic. Think about the way people think. There are hook words that draw our attention like:
When a word is debatable, it means it will get a reaction, exactly what you want to happen. Experiment with the words you chose to create your headlines. See for yourself which get more traffic. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot with some controversy or bold word choices.
As long as you deliver on the information you promise in the controversial headline, you’re all good. You always want to back up your claims. Provide evidence and details that support your position on an issue or topic.
Here’s the next part of your blog article…
Remember, you can choose to wait on crafting your headline until after you generate your post. Personally I am drawn to this approach. I create a first title for my post knowing it’s going to change by the time I publish it on my blog.
Let’s move on now to the next part of your blog article…
3. Crafting the Opener
Once you hooked a reader with the headline, now you want them to keep reading. This is where a compelling question can be helpful. Present a question, readers want answers.
Ask a Question
If you used a question in your headline, don’t repeat the exact same one in the opening of your blog article. Here’s the secret on using this approach effectively. Offer a question, relevant to the objective of your post that has to be answered with a “yes”.
Here are two examples:
- “Are you ready to make enough money to quit your job?
- “Do you want to increase your energy and lose 10 pounds this month?
Copywriters have been using this tactic for decades because it works. It encourages readers to read more and stay longer.
Repeat this several time throughout your post, and you’re priming your reader to be more likely act on the Call to Action at the end of your post. (More about that in a minute.)
Alternative to a Question: Open with Data
Statistic create authority. You hear stats in commercials on TV. “4 out of 5 Dentists Recommend Glistening Toothpaste for Less Cavities”. They use this approach because it builds trust and intrigue.
If professionals recommend it, it’s gotta work! I should try it!
This is a natural response. Try it for yourself. 9 out of 10 Internet Marketers Use This Tool to Get More Subscribers” or “4 Out of 5 Pro Fishermen use this to catch more bass”.
Authority causes people to want to find out more.
4. Get Visual: Include a Graphic
You can’t go wrong with graphics. A meaningful, relevant graphic at the start of your article is powerful. A picture convey emotion. It has the power to share a hook – when text is included.
Start noticing the type of graphics you click on while you’re online. Start noticing the use of transparent shapes, title and subtitles, layouts, and pictures. Believe it or not, you can create professional looking images that attract more readers, too.
I suggest 2 free tools you can use to enhance every post on your blog. Canva.com is an online tool that gives you the potential to create amazing looking graphics for your blog and social media channels. The other free resources I suggest is Pixabay.com where you can get attribution free photos.
Pictures and infographics increase impact by leaps and bounds. After you get comfortable creating article on your website, consider diving in and making your own post graphics.
5. Narratives Nurture Relationships
After the opener and before the body is a good place help your reader identify with you. A personal story has the power to move readers to subscribers. Stories build relationships and trust, exactly what your reader is looking for when they visit your website.
Consider starting your article with something like this:
“I lost thousands of dollars trying to make money online, until I figured out how to make $5000 a month!”
“One day my wife woke up and said she didn’t love me anymore.”
“Yesterday I came home to see my cat hanging out on my roof and is created chaos in my neighborhood.”
Here are the rules: The opener has to be related to your topic and purpose of the article. And, it has to be truthful. Don’t day you make $5000 a month if that’s not true. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will find you.
The more you blog, the better you’ll get to know your audience. By giving them what they want and what they need, you’ll grow your audience faster.
6. The Body
Nothing is sexier in a blog post when the headline is followed up by the actual information promised to the reader. You might have a lot to say on a given topic, but you can say it all in one post. Take time to consider only the most important information needed to fulfill your duty.
Avoid going off on a tangent unless you can create a twist that leads back the headline’s topic and purpose. Sometimes you have to be more efficient than charming.
Again, this isn’t a science. It’s an art. But what you need to do is make the meat of your article easy to read. Include some of each in the following to create variety of presentation in a post:
- A graphic
- A video
- Bulleted lists
- Call Out Boxes
- White space
Paragraph are generally 1-3 sentences long – can you hear your English teacher screaming in the background? It’s true. Readers of your content want to digest information fast. No one want to read a novel in a blog post.
The look of tightly spaced lines with little breaks between them and sentences words that span the page scare readers away before they even get through the first paragraph.
7. The Wrap Up: Tighten It…
Starting out strong is important, but the wrap up is, too.
It’s a shame when readers lose interest half the way through because they’re not hooked. If a reader leaves half way through a post, it’s as good as them not being there at all.
Consider the following when creating the closing
Connect to the Objective of Your Article
At the start you identified one thing – on “take away” your reader was going have by the end of the post. This is the compass that drives the contents of your article. You wrap up needs to review the significant point of your post.
Consider include a review of important details like the main points, the action you want your reader to take, a question they can respond to, or an emotion you want them to connect with before they leave.
Cut the Unnecessary Information
It’s easy to get caught up in the love of writing or even the length of your writing. But, chances are, after you complete a post there is information or words unnecessary to the purpose of your article.
You may really love a paragraph, but if it doesn’t serve your reader get rid of it. If you’re really in love with something you wrote, you can always copy and paste it in a notes document for later use when it’s more appropriate.
I If you can convey the same message to your reader with less words, you’re actually doing them a favor. So don’t be afraid to cut out some of your writing when it streamlines the way you deliver information.
8. Include a Call to Action (CTA)
The closing of every post needs to have a call to action. This mean your readers are asked to do something:
- read another article
- become a subscriber
- share the post
- connect on social media
- leave a comment
- taking a survey
- ask a question
But, no one wants to be pushed into doing anything, even clicking a little button on a website. Creating a call to action that invites readers rather than pushes them is a skill every blogger needs to develop.
This isn’t a science. It’s more like the art of relationship. Every post you create is an introduction to someone new. When you meet someone new, you’re congenial and respectful. You want to be the same way when you have visitors to your blog.
Increase the likelihood of having your call to action clicked on by changing the formatting: bold, larger font, a button, and opt in box. And, make suggestions, not blatant demands.
Publish Time – Almost!
After you think you’re done with your post, do not hit publish. Let the ideas marinate on the page a bit. Give yourself a little time away from the keyboard to separate your thoughts from the content.
After a short break – and hour, a day, or anywhere in between (you decide) – you can re-read your post with a new set of eyes. Trust me, this make a difference. You’ll catch lots of typo’s, grammar errors, and clarity issues you wouldn’t have seen when your brain was close to the contents as you created it.
A free tool I suggest to catch spelling and grammar mistakes are
Headline + Captivating Intro + Promised Solution + Wrap Up + Call to Action…
Means it’s publish time!!!
The time has come to…
I am so proud of you!!! You now have more information about structuring a blog post than most new bloggers. I want you share your accomplishments with the world.
You can borrow my excitement if you need to, but I know you’re on the edge of some cool experiences.
When you blog and blog some more, you start to inspire yourself. Nothing feels better than seeing your insights and information collect on your website.
It becomes a continuum of effort and results that are evidence of your success! Just remember these key ideas:
- Blogging is not about perfection.
- Blogging is about progress.
- As you grow your skill set, your blog grows with you.
Consistent habits will lead you to the success you’re looking for, I guarantee it!
Take a second and share your accomplishments with the world. You deserve some applause.
Help is Just a Keyboard Away…
If you have any questions, remember I’m here for you. Reach out and contact me. I’ll get back to you with a response in no time!