5 Steps to Writing a Captivating Blog Post
Don’t you just love it when ideas just come rolling in? When you’ve been searching for that blog post inspiration and all of a sudden the ideas just seem to flow from your mind to the keyboard.
It’s easy to forget that an idea is just the beginning. If you really want people to keep reading or listening, like all things, it’s all about the execution. If you idly write for the sake of writing, hit the publish button and sit there waiting for engagement… you’ve probably wasted a potentially great piece of content. Start with the intention of grasping your readers attention with the headline and not leaving them feeling disappointed in the first paragraph.
Here are five ways to turn your next big idea into a piece that will keep readers coming back for more:
1. Always address your readers
Think about the best blog articles that you’ve ever read. What is the one thing that they all have in common?
You felt a connection. And, in a day and age where there is content every where you turn (the internet is literally becoming a man-made black hole), allowing your readers to relate to what you have written is increasingly important and mind-blowingly simple.
Just address them directly. Use the word “you” and ask questions that allow them to reflect on the advice that’s being shared. Instead of starting with your own stories and experiences, draw readers in by making it clear that this post offers a solution to an ongoing problem.
For example, imagine you’ve discovered a solution for a single person managing 20 social media profiles. Here’s how not to start that post…
I’ve single-handedly had to manage multiple social networks for myself and clients. Finally, I’ve discovered a way to do everything from scheduling to listening in less than two hours a day.
Interesting, yes. Engaging? Not very. Now here’s how you could do it:
Are you struggling to manage what seems like hundreds of social profiles? Feeling a little overwhelmed.
You’re not alone.
Finding a routine that works for you isn’t easy. I’ve had to single-handedly manage multiple social media accounts for myself, and clients in the past. Finally, I’ve discovered a way to do everything from scheduling to listening in less than two hours a day.
Addressing people directly allows them to feel although they’re a part of your story. The experience becomes relevant to them and the promise of delivering a solution intrigues them to continue reading.
2. Remember to include emotional queues
If you really want your readers to feel something then you have to make the emotional connection clear.
Start by identifying how your readers feel and make them see that you truly understand what they’re going through. Better yet, make them think “what else does he/she have for me?”.
Emotions make people click, continue to read and potentially subscribe.
How you need to make people feel! Customers = readers and product = your writing. (Image rights to Buffer)
Here are a few examples of emotions you might want to convey:
Many people will be doing this without even realising (more often than not, through their headlines), which is great. Take Sprout Social’s post “Revitalising Your Celebrity Social Media Strategy“, for example, the emotional queue is right at the beginning of the headline. Revitalise immediately gives you the impression that this is going to provide you with a high-energy plan that will stimulate the results.
They’re creating a sense of excitement.
This post is trying to interact with readers that are feeling overwhelmed or a little bit bored with their current strategy. There’s nothing wrong with using several emotions in order to interact with a number of users. But, be consistent. You have to be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the emotions that you mention (not just list them!).
3. Identify a problem that needs to be resolved
All content, whether it’s a blog post, podcast or infographic, the purpose is to resolve a problem. If readers are going to take time out of their busy schedule to read your post, they have to gain something from it.
Each section of your post should explicitly state the problem that the reader is experiencing, and how you’re going to help them solve it. That you, they are engaged and want to keep reading. You may even bring people’s attention to a problem that they didn’t even realise that they had.
From poor time management to wasting valuable resources, it’s your job to make them feel that there is a solution at their fingertips (and you’re simply guiding them through the process).
Check out some blogs by Buffer, Content Marketing Institute, and CoSchedule — they all nail this!
4. Play off of their biggest dream
We all have aspirations. Your post should be a foot in the back door for them — you’re helping them to get one step closer to being a better writer, marketer, business woman etc. Whatever it may be that they want to achieve… you need to tell them that it’s possible.
Give readers an insight into the foot-steps that they could be following by using examples of the best in the business. Ask questions that encourage readers to really think about what they would like to achieve. Starting a paragraph with, ‘do you want to double your blog subscription list? You can go from a few sign ups a week to X% increase in lead generation’.
You gave them something to aspire to, figures to compare their own to and now you just have to provide them with the solution…
5. Keep your promise — show them how it’s done
Now all that’s left for you to do is show readers how you’ll resolve their issue. You blog post should seamlessly direct them and give them the necessary tools to be better than they were yesterday.
Make sure that you content is as strong as your headline.
The last thing you want is to be known for click bait! Don’t rush the process of writing otherwise you’re great idea may not reach your readers in the style that you’d like it to.
Now it’s over to you…
Follow this formula for your next blog post and see how it turns out. I’d love to know how it goes! Feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @lifeofaworkgirl
Originally published at thelifeofaworkinggirl.com on April 10, 2016.