If you're planning on writing for an audience of 3, consisting of your Mom, your cat, and that random family member who always likes to know what's going on in everyone's lives (we all have one!), go right ahead.
However, for those of you that want to run a blog that makes money, you'll want to know how to write killer content, 'cause that's the only kind that gets shared, and brings in the bucks!
When I first started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing.
None. At. All.
I would read other bloggers' posts and was like "Pffft, I can do that! It'll be easy! Let's go make some money!"...I was so clueless.
[hangs head in shame]
I would watch what they posted about, then try and mimic what was popular (putting my own two cents and spin on things of course!), and would hear crickets. Every. Damn. Time.
It made no sense to me. I was lost.
After awhile I started getting frustrated, and questioning whether I should just give up. It was way harder than I ever imagined it would be, especially since I had a newborn at the time, and my brain could barely compute how I was going to make dinner, let alone build a full-time income online...
When I was making dinner, I wasn't just going to head in the kitchen, look at a picture of something I wanted to eat, and start cooking even though I'd never made it before...I needed a recipe!
Just like in cooking, there are tried and true recipes you can follow when you're starting a blog, to fast track your growth, and get noticed!
I've spent years studying, practicing, and perfecting this recipe for killer content, and want to share it with you so you can skip the guessing games, and get down to business.
So, here it is...
The Ingredients For A Kick Ass Blog Post
Topic That Grabs Them.
The topic you write about should...
♥ be relevant to your target reader, and make them think "I need what this chick is talking about!".
♥ explain something to them they want to understand.
♥ solve a problem (problem solvers are always popular!).
Have an audience already? Save yourself a lot of unnecessary work and just ask them what they want to see next from you!
This great idea generator from Portent.com is also a fun way to get the creative wheels turning, and sometimes a good laugh too (you'll see what I mean)!
Attention Grabbing Title
With most sharing happening through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), you have mere seconds to grab your reader's attention in their news feed, before they scroll right past you to see which Kardashian sister is starring in today's scandal.
The best titles...
♥ are 10 words or less.
♥ are under 60 characters long.
♥ trigger an emotional response/spark curiosity.
♥ use your keywords close to the beginning.
♥ are guides that begin with "How To...", "10 Ways To...", or something similar.
Intrigue your reader, and give them a little hint that says "Hey, you know that crap you've been struggling with for-ev-er? I got you!"
NOTE: Please, for the love of everything awesome, don't click bait people to your site! Your title should be intriguing in a way that builds curiosity, but the person should get what they are expecting to get when they get there, get it?
Click bait is gross, and you'll lose your online friends (and credibility) real quick with sneaky stuff like that...don't do it!
Your post should begin with a relevant, professional looking image, ideally with the title included, as well as your site url or logo. This will set the tone for your post, reinforce to people why they're there, and will be the attention grabber once people start sharing your goods with their BFF's!
Always, always, always use pictures that you have the rights to use! Don't go snatching up other people images and throwing your name and post title on it, it's not only tacky, but could land you in a heap of trouble.
If you are horrible at taking your own pictures (like me!) then dive into the wonderful world of stock photography. There is something for every topic, guaranteed!
Yup, you'll need all three!
Engaging posts tend to start with a bit of a back story, something that involves the reader enough that they can relate to the topic you're chit-chatting with them about.
This will be where you share your process leading to a solution, explaining the in's and out's of the topic/issue at hand.
Finally, tie the solution back in with your introduction...this is key!
Relating your post content back to the start not only rounds out the post and gives it some closure, but it demonstrates to your readers, "See, that thing I said I was going to help you with? I came through for ya, didn't I?!"
This helps them trust you as a resource, and the next time they see something from you in their email inbox or on social media that peaks their interest, they'll know for a fact that you deliver on your promises!
The tie back to your intro is also a great time to share any changes that resulted from using the solution you provide. For example, if you were writing about how to potty train your child, you could talk about the money you save now that you don't need to buy diapers, and how freeing it is to not have to worry about your kids having an accident all the time.
Your reader's experience should be something like this...
Reading Introduction-"I can totally relate to this girl's story, we're having the same issues with Johnny!"
Content-"OK, so there's a few different steps to getting there, but this is how she potty trained her kids, so it's worth a try!"
Conclusion-"Wow, once she did this with her kids they were able to go to the washroom alone, and no more changing wet sheets or paying out the nose for diapers either? This sounds amazing!"
Make It Easy To Read
The majority of people have exactly zero time to spend reading something that doesn't answer their questions (and there's a lot of that out there!). So how does someone make sure they aren't wasting their time on something useless to them? They skim!
79% of internet users will skim over an article, pulling out various words and sentences that stand out, to get an idea about what the point of the article is, and if it's worth their time.
Feed into this habit using "scannable text" to draw attention to main points, and images to break larger articles into bite-sized chunks.
Scannable text includes...
♥ bolded or highlighted words within the text.
♥ subheadings that help identify where they are in the article (make these clear and topic, don't try and get too clever!)
♥ bulleted/numbered lists (like this one!).
When it comes to images, don't just throw something in for the sake of breaking up the text. Think about creative ways to use them that break up the text, but also help progress the "story"!
Building images featuring quotes, or infographics that outline step-by-step instructions, is a great way to break up your text in a way that adds value at the same time.
Engage Your Readers
The last thing you want is for your audience to "read and run", you want them to hang around awhile, click a few buttons, and become familiar with what you have to offer.
Be sure to tap into their desires to give their two cents on your post (because everyone loves to voice an opinion!) by asking questions that allow them to speak about themselves.
"Have you ever run into this problem?"
"I'm kind of stumped on where to go with this next! What do you think would really bring this home?"
Hand them a free pass that says "Welcome to my website, here is your free pass to speak your mind, show off what you know, and talk all about yourself!". It might sound bad, but I'm not here to "sound good", I'm here to be honest with you. And the honest truth is people love, love, LOVE to talk about themselves...feed that urge!
Another way to get your reader engaging with your content is adding some sort of call to action. Whether it be sharing your post, subscribing for a "free XYZ", or incorporating a clever quote they want to show off (ClicktoTweet.com is great for this!), getting that little bit of interaction goes a long way in terms of standing out in their minds among the millions of other websites out there!
The Free Tool That Will Bring It All Home!
You didn't think I was just gonna info dump all over your screen and disappear on you, did ya? Oh no friends, I've got something for you!
The Perfect Post Checklist!
The perfect post checklist is a free printable tool (available in our Free Resources Library) I've created for you to run each of your posts through before you hit publish, so you know you're always putting your best blogging foot forward!
It covers everything you've just read (plus a couple extra little tidbits), and can be used with any topic, in any niche, ever in life! BOOM!
Since I've been using this checklist, writing new posts that actually gain traction with my audience is an absolute breeze, and saves me so much time (which none of us have to spare!). I can just sit down and run through the steps while I write, or just completely brain dump everything I want to say, and then back track and tweak things using the checklist!