There are good blog posts and then there are terrific blog posts. You, of course, want to strive for writing the best articles and uploading the highest level of content to your website. The best content brings in the traffic and will have your readers leaving comments, linking to your articles and sharing what you wrote socially. In other words, your rocking content will skyrocket your blog!
Sometimes, what catches a person’s attention is a really funny or an unusual photograph. A picture alone, however, will rarely help your blog unless your blog is one like LOL Cats that features nothing but cute cat pictures. In this case we can make an exception.
For everyone else, nailing down a terrific blog post means incorporating several elements that can make or break your article. From start to finish, let’s take a look at six elements, dissecting the same here.
1. Headline — Yes, your final headline will be the LAST thing you work on. In the meantime, you can come up with a “working title” to set the stage for your article. Just before you publish your next article, head over to Copyblogger and study Brian Clark’s “10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work,” to gain insight on how to write a magnetic headline. Brian’s tips are indispensable to anyone that wants to write headlines that grab people’s attention.
2. Opener — Remember when you were in grade school and you learned how to write your very first topic sentence? Well, that is still important today, but you need to go a step further. You have to capture your reader’s attention by writing an opening paragraph that is witty, engaging or simply interesting. Come up with 3 to 4 sentences and limit your text to about 75 words, but certainly no more than 100 words. Give your readers every reason why they should “read on,” or otherwise risk losing them forever.
3. Sub Heads — There is nothing wrong with list articles, but for more meaty prose you will want to dispense with this arrangement and split up your content into sections. Those sections can range from 1 to 3 paragraphs and should always be marked off by a sub head. A sub head serves to do to things: it grabs the attention of the reader and presents order, or just what search engines are looking for when your article is reviewed and cached. Two or three words are sufficient for your sub heads and, yes, you can use the “magnetic headline” method for writing catchy subheads.
4. Content — Unless you’re writing sales copy, you want to avoid the hard sell. Nevertheless, your content has to remain appealing from start to end. Each section should include an important insight or may include a resolution to a problem such as what you can find in a “how to” article or present some news that can connect emotionally to your readers. Never assume that your wonderfully written news will be universally loved by everyone — you have to work on your content and write an article that is exceptional. Likely, that means you’ll spend time polishing your work too.
5. Photos — Every article you write should include at least one photograph. And make that photo count by serving up one that is relevant to your content and visually interesting. Consider your photo as eye candy. For instance, if you’re writing about how to fix a toilet, include a photo with a broken toilet or one that is overflowing. Don’t gross out your readers, but catch their attention. Add a caption, no more than 10 to 12 words that goes with the photo. If you use WordPress this is easy to do. Simply fill out your title, alternate text and caption fields. Add a description, if necessary. Photos, like headlines, can serve as a magnet to your articles — use them wisely.
6. Call to Action — Your last paragraph is your conclusion and can be used to sum up your article. You may want to use this section as your “call to action” or your pitch to get your readers to do something else such as to buy your product or click on a link to visit another page. Don’t assume that your readers will make the desired transition — you have to tell them what to do next. “Buy my product,” or “click on this spec page for more information,” or “subscribe to my blog” are among the calls to action bloggers will use.
There are a few other elements you can include, but each one is optional. Some bloggers like to stick in a 5- to 10-word blurb at the beginning of the article that essentially recasts the headline and will set this sentence apart within italics. For instance, your headline might say, “New Ram Truck Gets HEMI Engine,” and then add “Gas-powered 5.7-liter motor is now available” underneath that.
Some bloggers rip a page out of the magazine stylebook and make use of pull quotes. Pull quotes are brief quotes pulled from your content and are set apart in block form much like a photo is used within your content. When used properly, pull quotes look great and add a refined touch to a blog. Think, “visual scanabiilty” when looking at a pull quote.
If you find yourself wrestling to produce the ideal blog post, that isn’t a bad thing. Some bloggers work with style guides too, to ensure that all blog posts follow a prescribed method to ensure the best possible articles get published each time. You don’t have to be so precise, but if you pull in our six recommended elements, your content will improve and your readers will certainly appreciate your efforts.
Image courtesy lolcats.com