What is the “perfect” blog post? Does such a thing even exist? Probably not. Depending upon your audience and your personality, your definition of “perfect” might vary wildly from someone else’s.
However, there a few qualities all great blog posts share. By looking at these qualities, you can create a template of sorts for yourself. If you follow this template, you’ll be able to connect with your readers on an emotional level and they’ll be more receptive to your call-to-action. With that in mind, here is a cheat sheet that you can refer to when you’re creating your own blog posts so that your content stands out from everyone else’s.
- Have your fundamentals in place.
It’s all well and good to theorize on the intricacies of a great blog post, but you’ll get nowhere if you don’t have the fundamentals in place. To create a fantastic blog post, you’ll need to have two basic things in place.
– A fantastic, unmissable headline.
Your headline is the first thing people will see about your article. The job of your headline is to hook your readers so they absolutely can’t help but click on it to read the entire post. Read books like Great Headlines Instantly by Robert Budoch and How To Write Great Headlines by Copyblogger Media.
Your headlines must be analyzed so they get the most shares and traffic while also ranking well in the search engines. You have to walk a fine line when you’re designing your headline. If your headline is too sensationalist or too bland, you might drive your visitors away. In addition, when you’re optimizing a post for search engines, you have to look at how your headlines and subtitles show up in the search engines. There are several online tools available which show you a preview of what your page might look like in the search results.
– An engaging introductory paragraph.
After you’ve got your readers to click your post, you need to deliver on the promise of the headline through the first paragraph. The introduction is crucial because it sets the stage for the rest of your article. It has to convince the reader that whatever comes next is worth reading. When you’re starting off, you can leave an unfinished version of the introduction in your draft. When you’ve finished the rest of the article, you can revisit your introduction and spice it up even more.
- Create your draft.
If you’re someone who likes to write your article out in one go and press “Publish” immediately, stop what you’re doing. You should always have a draft copy ready before you publish your article.
Creating a good blog post takes a lot of time. You have to research your topic, digest it, formulate your take on it and then get to the actual writing. There are a few things you should take into consideration when you’re writing.
– Your post should be visually appealing.
Even though your readers have agreed to read a bunch of words that you’ve written, you should lead them through the process smoothly. Having a large wall of text right at the beginning will turn most readers away. You should have an understanding of how many characters you’re cramming into the first part of your post.
When you get into the main body of the post, you have to worry less about the character count. Even here, you have to be conscious and not let your writing turn into a huge wall of text. As an exercise, you can practice writing with major margins to the left and right of your screen. Alternatively, you can have an inline image to the left or right of your post. This way, you’ll get into the habit of creating shorter, crisper lines and paragraphs. There’s no consensus on exactly how long your paragraphs should be, but try to keep them as short as possible without diluting what you want to say.
Having enough white space around your article is crucial. It makes the article look more organized. Just don’t go overboard with the spaces. It will make your article stop and start, making it difficult for readers to get into the flow of your message.
– Work on the flow and conclusion of your post.
You took a subject and created an article that expressed your views on the subject. Now, you should have someone else take a look at it. It’s difficult to be objective about your own writing. But an editor or someone else you trust can offer you a fresh perspective as a reader. They’ll tell you if you’re losing track somewhere in the middle or if your overall takeaway is unclear.
While conclusions aren’t nearly as important as headlines or introductory paragraphs, they still leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth if they’re handled incorrectly. Your conclusion needs to either resolve the problem you’re talking about, reiterate your original message or include a call-to-action.
- Work your magic on the draft.
This is the part where you, the writer, turn into an artist and give the painting (your article) the final finishing touches that turn it into something truly special. This is why you need to get into the habit of creating draft copies of your articles. Here’s how you can refine your drafts.
– Make sure the draft goes along with your overall template or style.
If you’re writing for a company website, you’ll have to fit your content into the overall look and feel of the blog. This means, your content should look like it organically fits into the template, stays within the margins and blends in nicely with the imagery and/or ad placement around your article. In addition, the blog you’re writing for might have an official style guide. You’ll have to tweak your post to make sure it meets all of these requirements.
– Triple-check your grammar and typos.
If you’ve got an editor in your team, you don’t need to worry about this part. If you don’t, you’ll have to proofread and correct your articles yourself.
Proofreading content for a blog presents a few unique challenges. You’ll still have to check your grammar, sentence formation and eliminate any typos. In addition, you’ll have to optimize your posts for any keywords that you want to target. If you have an SEO target in mind, you’ll also have to take care of metadata and search-engine friendly headlines.
Don’t take the proofreading part lightly. It’s as important as the writing of the content itself.
- Develop related content.
Your words aren’t the only kind of content your blog post needs. When you’re developing a piece for your blog, you should also keep the following things ready:
– Images and infographics
While you’re developing your blog post, you should talk to your preferred designer to create/source the images and infographics that you are going to use on your post. Work with them on creating demos of what the final image will look like so that you don’t have to veto their work after they’ve spent a lot of time creating it.
– Social media content
Once your article is ready, you’ll have a lot of quotes that you can use from it to create social media posts. Since you’ll also have the graphics ready by this point, you can use quotes from your article along with the graphics to create attractive social media posts. If you’re going to post to multiple social media platforms, consider using an automation tool like HootSuite.
- Marketing and promotion.
You’ve published your post! Congratulations. But your work doesn’t stop here. You’ve already got a little bit of momentum from the social media posts you’ve created earlier, but there’s more you can do. For example, you can participate in the discussion about your article on the platforms you’ve chosen. You can send an email out to your list briefing them about the major takeaways from the article and encouraging them to read it in its entirety.
The process of creating any blog post will always vary slightly. But if you have an overall plan in mind, the process gets much easier. Examine your past posts to see if they fit the tests outlined above. Going forward, make sure you use this process as a rule of thumb for your writing. The results will be spectacular.