As small business owners, we are told we need to blog if we are going to be successful. But, no one tells us how to go about it. Today I thought I’d post some quick guidelines outlining just how to construct a successful blog post.
There are 4 Elements to a good blog post:
- Call to action
These elements combine to form “the upside down pyramid.” This is a style of writing common to newspapers today.
Let’s look at each of these elements in detail.
How Important Are Headlines?
The answer is…very. Studies show 80% of internet readers never click past the headline. The headline’s function is to spark the reader’s curiosity enough to get them to click through to the body of the article.
You don’t have to write the headline first. Many bloggers write the body of the blog, then go back to create a compelling headline.
Here are some of the things a good headline does. Your headline should do at least one or two of the things on this list.
- It’s short. The best ones are 8 words or less.
- It grabs your reader’s attention.
- It asks a question.
- It makes a promise.
- It stirs curiosity.
- It makes an offer.
- It challenges the reader.
- It introduces a compelling idea.
Here’s a few other suggestions to help make your headline compelling:
Use “how”, “what”, “why”, and “who” in the headline. How to get a college degree online.
Use numbers. 10 Reasons Small Business Owners Need a Blog. Studies show readers prefer headlines using numbers.
Be careful with superlatives. Studies show 51% of readers prefer headlines with one or fewer superlatives
Make it simple…and powerful. Click Here to Save Money!
Remember, your goal is to get the reader to open the blog post. The headline is the bait.
If the headline is the bait, the lead sets the hook.
The lead is usually short. It contains the whole point of your blog post right up front for the reader to see. It should contain the one thing you want your reader to take away from your post. But, it shouldn’t tell them everything. Leave something out the reader can only get by going to the body.
The body of the blog post contains the information supporting your headline and your lead.
It’s important to note, most people scan internet content, they don’t read it. You need to break up your content to fit this pattern. Your paragraphs should be short. No more than 3 or 4 sentences at the most. Studies show internet readers skip long paragraphs.
Your sentences should be short. No more than 8 to 12 words. Avoid compound sentences. Use the active voice. Avoid adverbs as much as possible. You can use italics, bold, or underlined text for emphasis. Be careful though, too much of this can be distracting. Use numbers in your text.
Write in plain English. Avoid jargon or buzzwords. Make your tone conversational. Imagine you are sitting down with your best friend over a cup of coffee, telling about the story of your post.
Lists are easy to scan. You should use them where possible. You can use bulleted lists or numbered lists or both depending on the length of the post.
If your content is long, break it up with sub-heads. This helps the reader skim the post and find what interests them.
Speaking of length, how long should the post be? The answer is: As long as necessary to tell your story. You should make the post at least 300 words. Why? Because, posts less than 300 words are not ranked by Google. Google indexing and ranking are important. You want to build an archive of posts for your readers to find.
When you’re done, read the post out loud to yourself. Doing this will reveal clumsy structure or natural breaking points. If it doesn’t flow as you read it, your reader won’t get it either.
Call to Action
Your post should always end with a “Call to Action”.
Ask your reader to do something. Click here to:
- Sign up for my course
- Join our email list.
- Contact me for more information
That’s it. I hope these guidelines will help you as you create your posts. Blogging can be a lot of work. It can also be a lot of fun. You’ll get a lot more responses if your blog is structured so it’s easy to read.
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