Your typical blogger’s mind is a lot like a wild festival going horribly wrong.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of a successful blog… almost too much for the blogger to consider in order to continue growing their success.
It has been proven time and time again though, that at the heart of your blogging journey and as the cornerstone of your success, your content waits, beckoning at people to explore and read what you have to offer.
How well you write your content will decide the future, and fortune, of your blog’s growth.
Here is an all-in-one conclusive guide for writing great content, around which the rest of your blog will flourish!
…if rules were really applicable, these would be the ones!
1: Take the time to write a masterful post.
This is one of the most important “rules” for writing great content. Most of us are not blessed geniuses. If you’re like me I’m guessing your thoughts operate at a steady pace that really isn’t suitable to win any races.
That’s a good thing though! Blogging is not a race, it’s a form of expression. You’ve got great ideas, right? As a blogger you use your blog to relay those great ideas…
It’s best to take your time and make your presentation just as good as your information! Both go hand in hand for creating great blog content. Here are some pointers:
1. Spend a couple hours on each blog post.
Spend at least a few hours on each post to ensure your post is valuable. It is also a great idea to space your posts over the course of a full day or two. Writing your post over a few days has been called by some a superior writing method.
2. Get yourself in the right frame of mind for writing.
Clutter will distract your amazing ability to construct great content. Finding a way to clear your mind is a great way for writing at your highest level.
Some suggestions are to clean your desk and office (or where ever you spend the bulk of your working hours). You can also take your laptop out and about to get away from your routine work space – this can open up your mind more clearly to inspiration.
Personally I like to take my laptop out to my parent’s backyard where my mother has created a nice and relaxing environment with her garden. Do whatever you can to “find your zen” and you’ll be more creative with your writing abilities.
3. Disconnect yourself from the world and just write.
Twitter, Facebook, and all other social sites are good for promoting your work and building relationships… but, if you can’t pull your face from the deathly vortex of the social information craze long enough to write share worthy content then they will do you no good.
You will be able to accomplish one thing, and that’s the destruction of your focus.
Black holes have such strong gravitational pull that not even the reflection of light can escape. Social sharing sites have such strong gravitational pull and suck in your focus just the same way.
What you need to do is break away from the social sites and just get to writing. Heck, turn off your entire internet access for just a couple hours and your quality will drastically improve. If you need research, gather it before hand or do the research during another round of writing.
2: Writing for your readers.
Writing content that delivers value efficiently is a difficult task. It’s difficult because you can’t expect to deliver value any possible way and it still be seen as helpful.
You can write the best information in the world and if you don’t include a few necessary elements your efforts will flop. What you need is great value, a certain form of presentation, and you need to know your audience.
As a blogger of great content you will be searching for a perfect balance. You should balance your writing between what you want to get out of it and what you want your readers to get out of it… leaning more heavily to your readers of course.
The first priority of your writing should be to help your target audience for whatever they may need. In order for this to work you have got to know who your perfect reader is.
Your perfect reader will enjoy your content’s value. This reader will love how you present your information. They will get a huge benefit from being on your blog. This reader will follow your every move.
The perfect reader stalks you (in a good way). So, you want to give your perfect reader a show 🙂
This is how to write meaningful content for your perfect reader. I hope that was the kind of show you were thinking about (no window stripping please!):
1. Present a solution to a problem.
This is one of the reasons you need to know your perfect reader. If you know who Jim is in real life, when he comes to your blog you will have his every problem already solved.
The beginning of your post should clearly define this problem. You want to make it seem as if you not only know of the problem, but you truly understand its impact on someone. Explain to your readers how you’ve similarly dealt with the problem.
Make the problem into a painful realization that it’s actually true. Sometimes your perfect audience doesn’t even know they have this problem, but when you start explaining side effects they begin connecting dots.
Promise them early on in your post that you will solve this problem, and then proceed with the power packed info you assured to them!
2. Make it about them not you.
Don’t explain the solution from your point of view. You can tell them that it helped you for credibility on the topic – that’s a-OK. Write the solution from their point of view for maximum impact though.
For example, let’s say the problem was correcting a bad habit such as twitching your leg. You can say something along the lines of:
“…I too once had a horrible twitchy leg. Sometimes it would rattle so uncontrollably that my wife would make me sleep on the couch at night! I didn’t think that was cool so I found a solution to the problem. Do you currently experience a similar problem? If so, here is what YOU should do. First, you do.. yadda yadda… Then you will blah blah.. finally you will see so and so start to happen…”
See how that works? Start off with credibility and lead into personal delivery of the solution tailor made to your reader. Try not to make your posts all about you!
3. Make it engaging and compelling.
Writing content that delivers great value is a hard task to master. It’s not all about the solution you are providing to your reader, which is what makes this so difficult.
If you don’t engage your reader (HEY, ARE YOU LISTENING??) then they will lazily read your content and will nonchalantly go back to ride the world wide web wave somewhere else.
To engage your readers, you don’t have to do it like I did above. Writing casually will keep your reader reading. Also, being creative with what and how you write keeps them interested. Simply asking questions every now and then will bring back their attention if it wanders.
If all else fails, you can yell at them like I did above 😉
4. Write like you’re talking to each reader individually.
Make your perfect reader feel like a king and your content will quickly turn into the emperor, and your blog will build into an empire… maybe that’s going a bit overboard with this overused and abused analogy.
The true key is to write to your reader, just as I’m doing for you. In my mind I see you… not details of course, but I see you reading your screen just as I sit reading other blogs I enjoy.
Writing isn’t hard when you do it conversationally. Keep that in mind and your content will be powerfully engaging AND compelling.
3: Write a post then edit it at a different time.
This is important for keeping your writing under a strict standard policy. Sometimes bloggers can get carried away with their writing as if today is our last day to explain ourselves. I’m guilty of that myself!
I really only have two points to make on this particular rule… for a more conclusive write up on this topic, read the superior writing method post on ProBlogger that I’ve linked to.
1. Don’t just slap content together and push the publish button.
A lot of bloggers have this problem… I did when I first got this blog up and running. I was like a two year old darting around a playhouse, double fisting scissors like an undergrad does beer!
I would write a post, think “Oh my god this post is awesome” and send it in right away. Total time: 10-15 minutes slapping some words together.
Since then I’ve been taking some of my own advice and reading other blogs learning from them as well. I’ve started slowing things down and my quality is improving. I’ve also started going back through my archives and sweeping up the mess. Still a work in progress, but I’ve got all the time in the world.
How about you? Do you ever go back and re evaluate your old writings? Do you feel like you’ve got all the time to grow your blog? I hope the answers you have are similar to mine!
2. Don’t edit out your personality, just look for odd wordings, grammar, and conciseness
This post was originally written the day before it was published. It was only 45% as compelling, interesting, and engaging as it is now. I spent the time writing the information the first day, and the next I spiced it up.
When you spread your writing over a day or two, make sure you are improving your writing. Don’t cut out a joke just because the second day it didn’t seem as funny… when you edit you’re only looking for awkwardness in your writing. Your personality is just who you are, the general public can take it or leave it.
You’re giving a show to your perfect reader anyways… they will enjoy it however you like to flaunt it!
4: Have a specific goal in mind.
Your writing should serve some purpose for you. Understanding that purpose before you start writing helps you stay inline with that purpose.
1. Consider the actions you want your readers to take beforehand.
Do you want people to share your post?
Do you want people to comment your post?
Do you want subscribers to your blog?
Consider these questions before you start writing and plan your writing around the action you want readers to take. This will keep your blog going in the direction you want it to go.
For example, the plan I have for this post is mainly social sharing. I know the value of it, and even though it is kind of long, it is without unnecessary information.
I’m pretty confident people can find value in this post (I’ve spend the better part of 9 hours constructing it, so hopefully I’m not wrong haha).
2. Build your post in anticipation of those actions.
Really think about what action you want and as you write your post, anticipate that action. You will write relevant to your goal if you do.
You can even go as far as to expect the actions! But of course it all boils down to you being able to build the post accordingly.
Here are some examples of how you could construct a post for a given action to take:
If you want people to share your post, do your best to deliver in demand content and make it a masterpiece. You can read this great blog post which outlines 7 secrets of viral content.
Let’s say you want comments to a post. A good method to consider is writing a shorter post, or even being controversial on a popular subject. Don’t be rude though with the controversy and make sure your short post is valuable or it will backfire.
A great idea for building subscribers is to develop a very enticing series on a subject that’s really in demand from your audience. Make the first post a homerun on the topic (but don’t give away everything or you won’t have a series!) and make sure your readers clearly understand it’s a series of posts on the topic. They will be excited for what’s coming next and will subscribe in a hurry!
3. Call the readers to take those actions.
Try not to underestimate the power of a simple demand. It’s not wrong of you to confidentially urge your readers to do what you want, unless you are being insincere with helping them, which in that case you might want to reconsider your values as a blogger!
Calling your readers to action is a very acceptable practice that all of the top bloggers use, and is a notable characteristic of successfully persuading someone in one way or another.
4. Make the action(s) as easy as possible for your readers.
If you ask them to share your post make sure you have share buttons on your page in very noticeable places. I’m not trying to call you out, I myself fit this same mold, but web surfers are becoming lazier and lazier.
It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true. We like our share buttons being handed to us!
The same goes for subscribing. Putting a link to your RSS and an email opt in form below your post is a good tactic to use.
…but, aside from this miraculous warm beverage, there ARE other things you need to have…
1: You must have an amazing headline.
The headline of a blog post is arguably the most important part of your content. Yeah, your post has to meet a certain standard of quality, but if your headline sucks who’s gonna read it?
Also, if you want your post to even remotely go viral, your headline has to be REALLY compelling.
Spend just as much time on your headline as you do writing your post and you’ll come away with the perfect match.
Sometimes though, the perfect headline will slap you in the face without much thinking at all. Take the headline for this blog post as an example. I actually thought of that headline before I wrote the post. Here’s a great blog post detailing why this is helpful.
All thanks to that headline I’m on a mission to churn out a gem of a post (which I might add is the reason I have spent over 9 hours total on this single post… if it weren’t for that word “Ultimate” this might have become a series!).
Let me give you a few pointers for writing killer headlines and then I’ll leave you with an amazing reference to use in the future.
1. Present a sense of urgency or excitement with your headline.
People tend to act out of emotion. If your headline stirs up an emotion then you’ve got a winner on your hands. It doesn’t take much emotion to cause someone to click on a link.
The best way of creating excitement and urgency is by using certain words – words such as:
Just to name a few.
2. Be creative with your headline – uniqueness goes a long way.
Nearly everything on the internet has been covered in multiple different ways. If you want your content to stand out, you’ve first got to make your headline stand out.
Try to find ways of making your post unique but being a little creative with your approach. Referencing famous characters or past events is a great way of tying a unique analogy to an idea while also giving you a great headline to use.
That’s just one strategy though. The idea is to think outside of the box for both the blog post AND the headline in order to pair the two into an ultimate combination!
3. Make sure your headline offers a useful solution.
If your headline delivers a strong promise then your post will get traffic. People will judge your content according to how powerful the promise of your headline is.
The headline for this post is “Ultimate Guide For Writing Great Blog Content”… do you think I’ve delivered on that promise? I can only hope so! All in all this post is at 7,896 words total and took several hours (9.5 to be exact) to create.
The point is, find the problem you want to solve and make your headline a commitment to solve that problem. But, make sure you do your best to deliver on your promise because you don’t want to bum your readers out!
4. Try to be as clear and specific as possible with your headline.
Have you ever came across a headline that sort of went like… “Discover How To [BLANK] By Learning [BLANK], And Using [BLANK] To Get [BLANK] Done” or something to that effect?
Ok, maybe not one THAT bad, but there are some headlines out there that could use some reworking (I’ve got quite a few of my own post headlines that need to be re examined!).
You should try to be as clear with your headline as possible. Take the most frustrating problem and give it the most absolute solution. Then tie together an emotionally induced headline that offers that solution as a promise. Do this in a unique way and your posts will get clicks.
2: You must have a slam dunk opening to your blog post.
The second most important part of great blog content is how it opens. Your opening statement should lure readers into the post.
The primary purpose your opening should have is to snatch your reader’s attention. IMMEDIATELY that is.
You have about 10 seconds (if that) to get their attention and tip them in the direction of reading your entire post.
The introduction should compel them into interest. It needs to grab their attention and suck them downwards into what’s remaining.
If your headline is good they will land on your post. They are closer towards skepticism than believing the hype your headline might relay.
Compelling them further is the only way to prove to them otherwise.
Here are a few ways to open a blog post in a compelling and engaging way:
1. Start your post with a question.
Why should you ask a question first? Think about that for a second. What purpose would asking a question serve?
Questions evoke a response. Maybe not literally, but in the mind of your readers they will respond.
The key is asking a relevant AND interesting (in respect to your post) question.
If you ask them something stupid, they might get annoyed.
If you ask them something random, they might get confused.
If you ask them something interesting, they’ll probably be curious.
If you ask them something that could be relevantly useful, they’ll become engaged.
2. Start your post with a quote.
Everyone enjoys a good quote. Finding one that’s relevant to the idea your post is about can help you deliver your point strongly.
If your quote is from someone of authority that also helps to lend credibility to your point.
3. Start your post with an anecdote.
An anecdote is a short and amusing account of a certain incident or event that can help drive in the point your post will make right from the start. When used correctly they can spark the necessary emotion in your readers to snag their attention and pull them further.
4. Start your post with a statistic.
People also love statistics… the most shocking the better. This is also like using a quote in that it should be relevant to your post.
For example, if your post is about getting more blog comments you could find a statistic saying something like “On average people will comment a blog only X% of the time. Do YOU want to waste any more chance than that for getting comments?”
Then you can introduce the problem you’re addressing in a way that they CAN’T refuse to keep reading.
5. Start your post with a story.
These work sometimes, but can also horribly backfire. If your introductory story isn’t too long and is interesting – you have a winner.
However, if the reader can’t see the first subhead of your post to get an idea of where the story might be leading, you might lose more readers than you care to.
The best stories aren’t the kind that start off disconnected from the blogger.
The best stories are the kind that are directly related to the blogger.
Sharing YOUR own account of something related to your post is a good way of building YOUR credibility on the subject as well as getting them interested in you AND your post.
6. Start your post with a metaphor or analogy.
Metaphors and analogies are a good way of adding uniqueness to an idea that’s been covered before.
They are also good for connecting your reader’s understand of a new idea to something they already understand.
Children use analogies to better understand the world. That’s why a lot of cartoons personify animals. That helps the children understand how to behave as well as to understand that animals do co-inhabit the earth.
You can open a post with an analogy and directly get an understanding or interest in the subject at the very least.
7. Start your post in a controversial manner.
We all have opinions. Some of us are more opinionated than others of course. And some of us like to share our opinions more than others.
But when our opinions are compromised in a manner that stands out against our beliefs we feel compelled to react.
The first stage of this reaction is to read the post, which is good for opening up your writing. This is also good for sparking debate in your comments and getting a rather deep discussion going!
3: You need a unique voice or style for your writing
Creating a unique voice is important, but definitely not something you should stress out about. Your voice is simply your style of talking and writing. It’s how you present yourself and your information.
This takes practice and time more than effort. Trying different styles of writing and seeing what works best for you and your readers isn’t something that happens overnight!
This is an area I’m still progressing in, which at first I found a little difficult.
Here’s a bit of advice to keep you from pulling out your hair while trying to be original:
1. Being original doesn’t mean being different.
Being original means doing what you want to do the way you want to do it. If you have a certain personality trait…like let’s say, being goofy or sarcastic, use that to your advantage!
There are people out there who enjoy that approach, and they are your perfect audience. I believe great content is written FOR the readers but the style needs to be for the blogger.
Their content, your style.
2. Don’t try to mold yourself after others.
Don’t try to imitate the style of another person. It’s best to fail a couple times according to your own standards while trying to be original than it is to become a run of the mill voice. You won’t find a unique style if you always try imitating others.
The only way you find a unique style is by doing things your way. If you don’t like your way, then change it to something else. A blog is a growing process. Your voice will grow right along with your ability to write compelling content, right along with your traffic numbers, and right along with your reputation.
3. Try writing conversationally.
Writing while talking works sometimes… but if you can’t multitask like that, try reading your post out loud and see if it sounds like something you would say.
It’s ok to take extra precautions editing your post in order to ensure the quality is there!
The best bloggers in the business have high standards for their blog and do not publish low par material. You should hold the same standards for your blog as well.
Reading out loud is a great way to measure your tonality and overall sense of personality.
4: Show that you really care about your readers.
Try being as genuine as possible. I would steer clear from being a know it all, or pretending to be above your readers just because you have a blog.
Your readers should be thought of as your friends. They will become a network and community. Your blog is just a gathering place to bring a bunch of people together who are all interested in the same topic.
1. There is a comment area.
Discussions and relationships are built through the comments of your blog, not your content. When you write your, be genuine and caring. When you comment back to your readers be even more caring.
2. Always comment back!
This is a key to having great blog content! Commenting back doesn’t do so much for the actual quality of your content, but it keeps people coming back for more.
When people see that you are social and engage in conversation, they are more likely to read your posts in the future and become engaged with you themselves.
5: Stick to the post topic.
If you stray off topic, readers will stray from your content. That’s a simple rule to write by, but you’d be surprised at how many bloggers divert from it.
When you write a post on a given subject don’t wonder off into a totally different subject… Now I’m not pointing fingers at you and saying I don’t sometimes do the same thing, but I do keep this idea in mind and try to avoid drifting when possible.
However, don’t take that as not being able to include personality! Write a joke here and there, but don’t get too caught up in a meaningless story.
…these may just be guidelines, but don’t take them lightly!
1: Balance your posting structures.
There are more ways than one to skin a cat. Ever heard that phrase before?
The same principle applies to blogging – there are many ways of explaining any given topic. The key is to find a balance between your different posting structures.
1. Don’t write all how to’s, don’t write all list posts, and don’t write all about case studies.
I see a lot of the same kind of posts on some blogs. On other blogs I see a good balance between different structures.
The differences between these two different types of blog are immense.
The balanced blogs are much more popular and have a larger more valuable readership base. Sometimes bloggers get caught up pursuing a unique style and fail to focus on structure also. I’ll admit to this myself, and I’m still working on improving my balance.
If you’re developing a style that’s best delivered in a how to format, try to adapt that style for a couple list posts, or visa versa.
2. Do write some how to’s, do write some list posts, do write about some case studies.
Take the advice of major bloggers and write list posts because they are popular to your readers. Also take their advice and write some value packed how to posts for viral traffic. While you’re at it, do a case study on an interesting subject, or maybe an interview and add that into the mix.
Whatever you do, make sure you try to be as balanced as you can. Don’t get caught up writing only list posts… your readers will get tired of them after awhile… Also, don’t belt out how to after how to because they only have so much time and energy to learn these things.
Space it all out and take your time sharing your wonderful information. You will benefit and your readers will be happier.
2: Write short posts sometimes, write long posts sometimes
Once again this is a balancing act, and is clearly up to you. This is a more optional guideline because I’ve seen blogs go either way while being solid in only one approach.
1. Example of long winded posts.
Take Steve Pavlina’s blog as an example of this. His posts are very long, but each one is packed full of treasure. He over delivers on his content and has built up enormous popularity because of it.
Longer posts allow you to provide more value for your readers. They give you the time and space to over deliver on what you have to offer. Don’t get caught rambling though, or else your posts will never get read!
That’s where engagement and compelling come into play. If I were to repeat that one more time, you might could call me redundant 😀
2. Example of sneeze posts.
A sneeze post is short, catchy, and informative. All posts should be informative or you’ll just be called out as lazy.
There are some bloggers who write shorter posts looking to spark discussion. Sometimes these can go viral, sometimes they can open up a can of worms. Sometimes your perfect reader prefers to read something short but with value.
Either way you look at it they can be extremely successful.
There is always the chance that a post will be a dud if you fail to put effort into it, so don’t be scared to sneeze out some value if you’re willing to be crafty enough.
3: Use pictures that work with your post, not against it.
Some bloggers use pictures and some don’t. I lean more towards using them because they help to balance out the vision of those reading your posts.
Pictures will draw the attention of people and give them something to contemplate. Pictures also help to relieve the strain that huge blocks of text may present.
1. What NOT to do with pictures in your blog posts.
One thing you want to avoid doing with your blog content is using pictures just because you hear it’s good practice. Don’t choose any ol’ random pic and say “Yep, got a picture, so now my post is readable.”
Here are some points for what not to do with pictures:
Don’t use a picture that isn’t relevant to your blog posts.
Don’t use your pictures at the bottom of your posts. You want them to lure readers in.
Don’t use a picture without properly adjusting the aspect ratio.
Don’t use a poor quality picture.
Don’t use a picture without permission or that’s copyrighted.
2. What you SHOULD do with pictures in your blog posts.
What you need to do with pictures is use them with specific intention. Pictures are useful in blog posts and should be used, but only if you plan to do so correctly.
Here are some points for what you should do with pictures in your blog content:
Do give credit for the pictures you use. This is as simple as adding a caption in the image settings that links back to the site.
Do make sure it’s the credit link that leads back. Don’t make the image itself a link back to the site.
Do use images from flickr’s creative commons or any other public domain directory.
Do use multiple images throughout your post, being careful of your overall structure.
Do add border’s and margins to your posts so that they are formatted correctly and look decent.
Do use your own photos if you have any available. I sometimes take pictures with my iPhone just to have a few home made images ready.
4: Use subheads that grab attention.
Blog content that’s easy to scan will get more reads and more shares. People have shorter attention spans these days and more often than you may think will draw conclusions about a post before actually reading all of it.
Sometimes they will share just from the conclusions that were made. They get their conclusions by scanning through the post and reading bits of it here and there.
The subheads need to be thoughtful in order to grab your reader’s attention and pull them into your content.
1. Making your posts easy to scan using
In this blog post I use
tags on the four primary subheads of my post. I use
tags for the subs of each of the four subheads, such as the one above which reads “4: Use subheads that grab attention.”
tags for the subs beneath each one of those, found in the
areas. The reason why I decided to
these was to break up this massive amount of text with a visual that is more relaxing.
This post has gone three levels deep which is not usual for a blog post, but I felt it necessary to deliver the value I had in store.
What if I would have decided to just write it all out from start to finish? You’d easily get lost and would call me a crap blogger… you may still call me a crap blogger, but at least you can navigate my blog posts!
2. Use lists and blockquotes to break up your text
Another good way to make your posts easy to scan us by using bulleted lists – anytime you have multiple points to make, it’s a good idea to break them down visually in bullets or numbered lists.
Also, as I mentioned just above, using the blockquote code is a good way of highlighting information. Most people actually use this for quoting someone, but in my case here it helped to break up my rather extensive number of levels I brought this post to.
5: Pay attention to your sentence length.
Write shorter sentences. Sometimes break them up. Even if they are fragments. We talk in fragments, so it’s ok to write them.
Studies have shown that people prefer a certain length for sentences. I believe the magical number is 45 characters.
They say that writing longer sentences will cause people to read faster, which may seem like a benefit when really it isn’t.
They say shorter posts weigh heavier. People contemplate them longer. Do you want your point to get across? Write shorter sentences where applicable.
Here’s a great post that led me to this fact:
“7 Ways to Improve Your Writing … Right Now”
6: When in doubt, space it out.
Make your text a new paragraph.
Even if each paragraph is one sentence, do it anyways.
They make your posts easy to read.
Ok, I’m done with literal representations. I just like to lead by example, and what better way of doing so than by being sarcastic with it?
The point is, paragraphs add more “white space” to your posts, making the strain on your reader’s eyes lighten up a bit. Large blocks of text are harder to read, especially on computer monitors. If you don’t believe me, try finding a paragraph that’s been overly written (you may not have to search very far, hehe). You’ll quickly notice how much easier it is to read a paragraph that’s been broken up into a few smaller parts. Writing for a blog isn’t the same as writing an essay or writing a novel. You CAN write each sentence as a paragraph and still get away with it. Catch my drift?
Ok, NOW I’m done with literal representations! 😀
1: Check to see if your content is compelling.
Hey, are you still with me? Is your mind drifting? Am I losing your attention? How many times did you check your twitter feed while reading this post?
Hopefully you have been reading through this post (or maybe scanning through it) and have gained some insight. If you have the urge to go out and whip up the best blog post of your life after this – that just means I’ve passed this particular quality control checkpoint.
1. Engaging content is content that keeps your reader’s attention.
Attention spans are sporadic in today’s time – especially with frequent internet users. We are bombarded with information from all angles, which actually increases our dopamine addiction and causes us to constantly seek more and more information.
The result is we never quit browsing and we don’t hold our thought process. So, how can you turn this around for your blogging efforts?
How can you keep your readers engaged, all eyes on your content, all thoughts hanging in the balance anticipating that very next bit of golden knowledge you’ve yet to reveal?
You make sure your knowledge is really golden.
You ask them questions throughout your post that they can’t answer (will explain further in the 3rd step below).
You answer their questions using the golden knowledge.
Make your presentation as entertaining as you can without going overboard.
Repeat that process throughout your blogging career.
All of your posts will become engaging, then you can step it up a level. Give every post more depth by linking to other posts of yours in each one – if your reader just has to go searching for more information at least let it be information from you instead of anyone else.
2. Compelling content is content that gets your readers into action.
So you’ve just revealed the hands down best method for doing something… let’s say writing great blog content as an example 😀 .
You don’t want people reading it and saying something like “well that was alright I guess – oh, I’ve got a new email let me see what it is!” and never give it a second thought… do you?
Of course not! You want your readers to put your hard efforts to use – I want you to put this post to use!
I don’t care so much if you decide to skip commenting or sharing it on twitter (though I would appreciate that them both). As long as you can take some level of wisdom from this post and benefit from it, my job has been accomplished.
Your end goal when writing a post shouldn’t be for YOUR ultimate benefit. You’ll get nothing then. You should try your hardest to ensure your readers get the most benefit.
So how can you ensure your readers get into action?
Well you can’t ensure something like that, but you can increase the probability that they will.
All you need to learn are the elements of persuasive influence. When you master influence, you can strongly urge people to do certain things.
The next step would be to urge them to take the actions that will benefit them. If you do that, they will be better for it and who knows, they might just decide to repay the favor!
3. Pretend you’re John Doe and read your post.
Does it compel and engage you? If you can read your own writing in a non biased way, with a clear thought process and be moved by your writing then you know you’re on to something.
If you can get an outside opinion that’s even better. But let’s assume for now you’re the only one.
Wait a day or at least a few hours, pretend you’re on someone else’s blog, get into the mind of your readers (someone who has the problem your post is addressing), and read it as if you’re looking for a solution.
Does your post hold YOUR attention?
Does it push you to ACT on your recommendations?
This may not be the easiest exercise to do, but it sure does help when you have no other opinion to count on.
2: Consider the problem & solution of your post.
This should be your ULTIMATE goal while blogging: honestly trying to solve your reader’s problems.
This goes back to the point of genuinely caring about your audience. Finding that perfect reader of yours and becoming a friend to them.
If a friend had that problem, would you recommend your post to solve it?
Think about that for a minute. If your absolute closest friend had a problem, could your post solve it?
Wouldn’t you TRY to make your post good enough to help them? Of course you would!
Try your best to do this every time with your posts solution. Really consider their problem beforehand and do your best to help.
Is your problem one that your audience is really experiencing?
In order to really help your audience though, you’ve got to make sure the problem you THINK they have is really there.
This goes back to knowing your perfect reader once again. Check over your posts and make sure they address problems that are sufficiently bothersome.
Make sure your posts address those problems efficiently as well. These two steps will give you a major quality boost.
3: Does your post ask any questions to the reader?
Read through your post and see if you ask any questions throughout it. Questions are so easy to add in to a post that you should do so often. They are like attention checkpoints.
Asking questions does a few positive things for your content:
1. Makes them feel that the post is really about them.
Your readers shouldn’t feel disconnected from the solution. They need to feel that the solution was made just for them.
Just as a psychiatrist will ask questions to the patient, so should the blogger to the reader.
It’s not like your readers are your patients, but the goal of the psychiatrist and the blogger is similar. Both are taking problems and seeking to offer solutions.
The only difference is that the psychiatrist is immediately on listen mode. We bloggers as questions just to get our reader’s minds in the right place.
Our listen mode begins in the comment area.
Point is, questions build up trust and likability in you AND your post. They feel the solution is for them and you are here to really help.
2. Makes them ponder the point you are making.
This is called “self-discovery” and is a form of persuasion that works extremely well.
By asking questions your readers will naturally consider possible responses. Even if you answer the question later on, they will still feel as if the idea came from them.
This puts them in a position to be easily compelled into action.
3. Engages their attention.
Just as mentioned above, attention spans wander. Using questions you will snap them back to your post.
We have a natural tendency to seek the answer to a question. Without getting the answer we feel incomplete about the matter.
Have you ever watched a movie that left questions unanswered when it finished? Remember how mad you were and how negative the unsolicited “review” was that you gave to the movie?
You may not have liked that movie, but you sure did keep your attention on it much longer than a good ending would have caused.
A good ending leads to “Wow that was a really good movie… what are we doing next?”
4: Make commenting an open invitation.
Comments make blogging unique. They turn websites from a static presentation of information to a medium of open discussion, engagement, relationship building and entitlement of opinion towards the subject at hand.
At the end of every post, make sure you ask your readers for their opinion or insight. Ask them if they liked the post.
Have you enjoyed my point of view? Do you have a point to make on this matter of your own?
Would you mind sharing your thoughts in a comment below for me?
That was halfway a representation, halfway honest. I want you to comment me, but I also what you to see what I’m talking about.
The question you need to ask yourself is this:
Do you leave room open at the end of your posts by inviting comments for discussion?
5: Is your post one-of-a-kind?
Is your post unique?
Do you share your personality through it?
Check how creatively you approached the topic, and decide if the personality you are reading is really you.
A few things to look for are:
1. Did you share any insight towards what you find interesting?
You can connect your ideas to things YOU find interesting. That sheds light into who YOU are. For example, my About page mentions something about being a mind Jedi.
Personally I’m not a Star Wars fanatic, but I do like the genre. There are also some out there who like it as well, and others who don’t even know what it is (I still scratch my head on that, but I know it’s true – my wife is one of them!).
The point is, I’m a nerd. A dork. Maybe even a geek. To get that point across, Star Wars is perfect for the job.
Do you relay who you are in your posts?
2. Think about the analogies you use in your posts.
Being unique is just explaining something in a new way – most of the time. As I said earlier, originality is doing things your way, so don’t get the two confused.
You should read your post and see if it sounds like everyone else’s description of the topic. Could you see someone else writing the same exact blog post? If so, it may not be as unique as it could be.
Now don’t kill yourself trying to make your posts SO different. Just add a bit of “personality flare” here and there. Give it a zip, or a zing. Find a pizazz to offer.
Nothing TOO much – a little goes a long way.
6: You need to enjoy the process!
This is probably one of the most important