10 Pro Tips: Create Winning Blog Posts
Blogs are a great way to connect with your audience, share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your industry, plus they really help boost SEO.
However, WordPress users alone produce about 70 million new posts every month– that is an average of 2.3 million posts every day (WordPress 2020)! So how do you stand out in all that?
To begin, you need to understand that writing effectively is as much an art as it is a science and that the structure of your post can have a huge impact on readability,
In 2020 only 27% of people read blog posts thoroughly so if you want to increase the percentage of people reading your posts, read on.
1. Start with a strong title
Internet readers have incredibly short attention spans, so your title is critical in helping them to decide whether your blog is relevant and worth reading.
Keep it short and to the point. The ideal length of a title is 6 words. Think 40 characters or less to maximise readability and appearance.
2. Have a clear introduction
Use your introduction to map out what your post is about – make it clear why they should keep reading.
Before you start writing, ask yourself “what is the problem I am trying to solve for my reader?”
Focus on that one problem. For example, this post is about how to structure the content in blog posts to improve readability.
As with your title keep it short – the ideal length for an introduction is 100 words. That is long enough to whet the readers' appetite and motivate them to keep reading.
3. Identify your keyword or phrase and include it in your copy
Having a keyword keeps your post focused and ensures you are less likely to digress. Extra points if your keyword's first mention is in your first 100 words (title excluded).
For example, at the time of crafting this post:
- Answer The Public revealed that “How a blog post should look” was the most popular question when researching the word “blog”.
- BuzzSumo research ranked “How To” posts as the most popular type of post for building trust authority with your audience.
So we can be confident that our core topic, our blog type and blog title all resonate with our target audience.
4. Use subheadings to ease content skimming
The average attention span in 2020 is just 8 seconds – that’s less than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). One of the main reasons for our shortening attention span is the sheer amount of information that is being presented us everywhere, on every device and on every channel.
That means most people will not have the attention span to read your post, no matter how much work you’ve put into it.
While that may be disappointing considering how much effort goes into creating a blog, rest assured that using sub-headers will improve readability. They allow users to skim your post and refer to the points they are most interested in.
Sub-headers should be long enough to whet their appetite, nothing more. The longer you make your headings, the more difficult you make it for readers to skim read. They are also another great place to fit in keywords.
5. Keep paragraphs short
Longer paragraphs and headers make skim reading hard. The research shows that 73% of people skim read posts while 27% read them thoroughly so keep paragraphs short!
Blog writing is about breaking up content into short bite size chunks so that your readers find your post easy to digest.
The shorter your paragraphs, the easier they are to skim read and the more likely your audience are to then read your post thoroughly.
6. Bring content to life with imagery
Use imagery or infographics that tie in with your key learning points will break up the text and help retain your audience’s attention. They also help catch the readers eye as they skim your content, giving them a reason to pause.
If you are looking to buy images you can a site like Shutterstock or if you are on a tight budget and want good quality free images that you can use without having to attribute the owner of the image, check out sites like Pexels, Pixabay or Unsplash.
7. Use your brand voice
This is something that a lot of people forget about.
The USP of your content is you! Most things in life have been written about before so to really stand out you need to use your own voice, the voice of your brand.
It is your voice, your style, your expertise, your opinions that help you to stand out. Write in your voice and if you work with external copywriters, make sure you thoroughly brief them on your style and tone of voice.
8. Write in Plain English
Keep it simple always and stick to one point per sentence.
Sometimes this may mean breaking some of the rules of grammar. For example, using a full stop instead of a colon. This may distress the creative writer, but trust us it makes for an easier reading experience online.
9. Tie things up with a conclusion
Wrap things up at the end with a conclusion summarising your key points much as you would in a report, briefing paper or presentation.
Your intro and conclusion may the only parts that people read, so make sure you tie things up nicely.
10. End with a Call to Action
As we said at the outset blogging is a great way to engage with prospects and customers and is great for SEO but it takes a lot of work, so that is not the only reason we are doing it.
Think about it, what do you want your readers to do in exchange for your insight? Do you want them to Sign up to your mailing list? Leave a comment? Share your post?
Always include a call to action at the end of your post and make sure is clear and direct.
In summary, blog writing is not like creative writing and a strong structure will really boost your audience's chances of reading your post thoroughly, rather than just skimming. But if you have just skimmed this post and skipped to the end, here is a summary of our top 10 tips for structuring your blog posts:
- Start with a strong title and keep it to 6 words if you can.
- Have a clear introduction.
- Include keywords around your topic in headers, subheaders and body content.
- Use short headlines and sub-headers to ease skimming.
- Break up content into short bite size paragraphs.
- Use imagery to give the reader cause to pause.
- Use your own voice – it's your USP!
- Stick to one point per sentence.
- Wrap up with a conclusion.
- Always include a call to action.
Once you have created your content you will need to publish your blog, promote it via email and social media and measure the results.
The great news is that you achieve all of this in one platform, ZYM. The flexible marketing platform puts you in control of the right tools at the right time.