Blogging is part of any good content marketing plan. But writing a blog isn't as easy as firing off a tweet or uploading a photo to Instagram. A blog needs to appeal to a time-poor audience, hit certain beats, and present key insights and takeaways - all while staying on brand. Sound scary? Don't despair! Here's how to write a blog post in twenty minutes that will get clicks, inspire shares and encourage comments.
Writing for the New Media Age
Your job as a blogger is to gain and hold a reader's attention. And in the current media landscape that's no easy task.
The days of languidly poring over the Sunday newspaper are gone, lost in a flurry of emails and social media pings. Today's online readers have very particular goals and requirements in mind when they fire up Google or click on a link.
They want an article to deliver on its promises - and quickly. They don't want to dig for information. Instead, they want the key information presented to them in easy-to-digest chunks. For the online writer, this means switching out old writing habits for new.
Here are a few new best practices you should adopt:
- Narrative organization. Plan your post so that it stays on topic and on point.
- Short paragraphs. These make it easy to scan text and easily glean meaning.
- Scannable structures. Subheads, lists, quotes, and visuals are easy to read and help maintain interest.
- Meaningful headings and subheads. These deliver the gist of the content even if someone is skim-reading.
- Great visuals and titles. An appealing layout and novel ideas help entice new readers.
- Interactive elements. Links and multimedia can enhance the power of your storytelling.
- Summaries and takeaways. Show your reader what they'll get, then send them away with something to do - they'll appreciate it.
- Get the length right. Too short means too little value; too long means you'll lose readers. 500-1600 words is generally a good bet.
If all of that sounds like a lot, don't worry. By sticking to a tried and tested formula you can make sure that you hit all the right beats.
How to Organize Your Blog Post
Blogs are written for two audiences: people and search engines. A well-structured post will appeal to and be discoverable by both. Here's how to organize your blog post - and what to include.
- Headline. Make it relevant, catchy and intriguing. Why should they click?
Summaryblurb. This is a short snippet you can add to your metadata or share to your SEO posts.
- Images. Include one at the top of your article, and ideally sprinkle in a few others throughout.
- Introduction and conclusion. Set up your article with a brief introduction, then restate your points in a concluding paragraph. Your intro and outro will sandwich the 3+ subsections that form the body of your post.
- Subsections. Avoid walls of text. Break up your article into at least 3 subsections - more if it's longer.
- Links. Pepper internal and external links throughout your blog. It's good for SEO and gives your audience extra reading if they want it.
- Sidebar extras. Extras like fast facts, Q&As, pull quotes, charts, lists, and quizzes can be set off to one side of the main content.
- CTA. Want your audience to do something? Include a call to action (CTA) in the last line of your post.
- Author Bio. Add a human element to your article. Include a brief author bio and photo at the very end of your article.
Choosing What to Write About
Knowing how to write a great blog post is a great start. But knowing what to write is the crucial piece of the puzzle. Ideally, you have a content calendar set up so that you're never at a loss for timely topics, but there are plenty of other places to glean inspiration from.
- Lists and how-tos. These are great for traffic and offer plenty of value for readers.
- A take on a news item. Did something just happen in your industry? Offer your own spin on it.
- Looking at competitor blogs. Take inspiration from what market leaders are doing.
- Pop culture references. Try tying a post to a recent pop culture phenomenon - the more surprising the connection, the better.
- Updates and new releases. If you're doing something new, tell the world about it!
- Interviews with luminaries. Chat to a heavy hitter in your industry and ask them the tough questions.
- Guest posts. Stuck for something to write? Put out a call for guest posts and see what lands in your inbox!
Ready to Get Started?
The most important thing you can do as a blogger is to get started - and then stick to a schedule. If you have a great idea for a blog post, start planning, and then get writing. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!
Love the idea of blogging, but don't have the time? Ask us about how we can help with your blogging needs.