The following is a guest post by Norman Arvidsson. Norman Arvidsson is an independent author based in Atlanta, GA, USA. Considers personal growth as the main goal in his life. You can contact him through his Twitter, Facebook, G+or LinkedIn.
If you’re looking for what makes a great blog post, this article will cover the three major pillars: Before you write, while you write, and after you write. Each section has actionable items you can put to use in your next blog post to make it, well, perfect.
Before You Start to Write
At this stage, you’re not even close to typing words to string together a sentence. This is all about setting up the blog post to have the most success possible.
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1. Have a Plan
Don’t just wander into a word document and start typing. Have an idea for a topic, a presentation style, an idea of what you want the reader to take away. Planning will dramatically speed up the writing of your blog post, and help you keep on the topic.
This is where you’ll want to tackle any research for your article. If you wait until you start writing, you’ll find yourself going back and changing things you’ve already written to include the new info you’ve found.
2. Tell a Story
This goes hand-in-hand with planning. Everyone loves a great story – what’s the story of your blog post? Even if it’s just one or two sections of the blog, prepare to share a story. Stories are great ways to engage readers and move the blog post along. Keep in mind that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Don’t miss one of those sections, or your story will fall flat.
3. Use a Fun, Common-sense Style
This isn’t an academic paper. Have some fun. Write in a style that’s playful and easy to read. You’ll find that your readers will enjoy it more than being a stiff technical document.
Use words that are descriptive and draw the reader into the action of what you’re trying to share with them. Don’t over explain, but ensure they understand what you’re talking about.
4. Be Unique
What makes you unique? What about your blog? What about the story you’re telling? If you’re doing the same thing as everyone else, your post is not likely to be read. If readers can get the information elsewhere, you’ll need to determine why it is they should get it from you. Maybe it’s your unique perspective on the issue. Or a personal story about the topic.
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5. Be Yourself
This goes a long way to reinforcing the above point about being unique. It takes it one step further, though – let your true colors show. Your blog and the internet is the perfect place for all your quirks and quarks to show up. People will really appreciate seeing that side of you, and they may be able to relate to it. Let your personality come through in your blog. It’s who you are. This will go a long way towards making it unique. There’s nothing better than being real.
While You Write
Once you’ve got a plan laid down, and you know the style you’re going to write, it’s time to hit the ground running.
6. Write a Great Headline
This kicks the whole thing off. Your headline can make or break your readership for this article. You’ll want to engage them right off the bat. If it’s a good pizza recipe, don’t just title it “A Good Pizza Recipe”, there’s nothing special about it. What makes the recipe good? Is it low-calorie? Uses unique ingredients? You could write a headline like “A Low Calorie-Pizza Recipe That’s Good for You” or “This Pizza is Made with Ingredients You’d Never Think To Use.” Something just a little catchier.
7. Draw Readers In
Start the article off with a bang. Tell a story, something engaging that will have them hooked. Maybe give them a taste. Use interesting and colorful language that lets them know this will be a fun article. Use pictures to show the final product up front. Anything to lure them in.
8. Write for Short Attention Spans
The truth is, many people don’t read blogs – they skim them. Make your blog easy to skim through. This article, for example, uses a lot of subheadings. If you were to just skim the subheadings, you’d get a great idea of what you needed to do. Your blog will be more shareable if you do.
9. Wrap It Up Quickly
Get to the point, and when you do, finish it off. No need to meander and linger. Your reader is done with you. Add some finality and let them move on. Check out these 7 tips for ending a blog.
Once you’re done writing, you can do a couple of things that will help your blog post be more useful and shared more.
If you’re talking about topics that you’re not going to expand on, link to other blog posts where you did expand on the topic. Or link to other sites that expand on the topic. This will make the post a lot more useful. It’s important you don’t link to trashy sites, though. That will hurt your SEO.
11. Proofread Your Post
Spelling and grammar errors are inevitable, even with spellcheck. Just read back your post, out loud, and you’ll find all the weirdness you didn’t know was in there. It will also help you realize where you used one or two words a little too frequently. You can now go back and change them to make your post more engaging.
12. Allow People to Share
You want people to share your post? Ask them to. At the end of the article, add a call to action that suggests to people they should share it if they liked it. Many people will.
If you’re going to ask them to share it, make it easy to do so. Add the tools so they can just click and share. The easier you make it, the more it will be shared.
These tips will help set the foundation for a great blog post, but writing great content is the part that matters most. Engage your audience in a fun and interesting way, and that will do more than anything to make a great blog post.
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