Ever wonder how “A-list bloggers” regularly publish excellent content? Are they born with this ability? Or did they learn a secret formula that others don’t know?
The truth is anyone can create great blog content!
All you need is a willingness to work hard and study what works in other markets.
In this article, we will show you how to write a great blog post that engages your readers.
5 Elements of Engaging Blog Posts
We all have a personal style for writing blog posts. Some people like to interject their personality in every article, while others prefer the straightforward “how-to” model and don’t worry about being likable.
No matter how you write an article, it’s vital that you include a number of important elements. This engages readers, which ultimately helps you build a loyal audience.
1. Compelling Headline: Craft a great headline that commands attention. The best way to create a compelling title is to use proven formulas that are used by other bloggers.
2. Hook Statement: Start the article by describing a painful problem related to the topic. Use this to grab people’s attention and get them to read the rest of the content.
The goal of a hook is to “sell the value” of a post. It should help the reader identify a problem they experience and give them a valid reason to keep reading.
3. A Solution: Follow the hook with an offer to help fix this problem. Evoke emotions with your copy and talk (in explicit detail) about what it’s like to experience this problem. Then finish this section by promising a solution that will be presented in detail in the bulk of the article.
After that, you’ll describe a detailed solution to the problem. You can provide a numbered list of content, or you can talk about a step-by-step strategy. The key point is to fulfill the promise you made to your readers.
4. Make it Easy to Scan: Don’t write a blog post like it’s a research paper. Instead, make it easy to scan. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Limit each paragraph to a few sentences
- Use headlines that provide an overview of the content
- Include bolded statements and large quotes
- Add bullet points to break text apart
Include all of these elements and you’ll have an article that’s easy to follow.
5. Solicit Feedback or Questions: Conclude the post with an engagement-building question. Ask for a comment or tell them to voice their opinion on the subject – both are excellent ways to get readers to interact with you on a personal level.
How to Write a Blog Post in 13 Steps
Writing great blog content doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you can systematize the whole process by following a few proven strategies.
All you have to do is follow these 10 steps:
1. Address a compelling topic
Before you start writing your blog post, consider the following: what do my readers want to know about? What will appeal to them? You may not realize it, but creating buyer personas can help you develop blog topics that contribute to authentic and engaging content for your business.
It’s similar to planning a trip: You consider where you want to travel, what activities interest you, and who you want to travel with. Playing out your scenario in your head as realistically as possible will give you a lot of clues about the type of trip you want to take.
If you need a concrete example to start with, think about how you can teach them something that is niche but still in demand in their generation. For example, if you are a business-savvy Millennial who has seen the value of social media marketing, you could teach your readers how to use Instagram for business.
2. Pick a catchy title
Titles play a major role in attracting an audience to your blog and increasing page views. Good blog posts may languish without a title that attracts eyes. Try to make your article’s title catchy and interesting so your readers will want to read it.
So how do you write a compelling title? There’s a formula. First, let’s get to the basic ones:
Benefit + how-to or list + power word = powerful title
In your title, make sure to offer a benefit to the reader. What is her reward for reading? Your ideal reader will always subconsciously ask herself this question: “What’s in it for me?”
Make sure that you nail the answer to her question for her to care about what you wrote. If it doesn’t touch a chord in her in any way, she wouldn’t click and read your post.
Here’s an example.
Ideal Reader: Katie, a work-at-home mom
The topic of the blog post: The advantages of hiring a VA.
Like I said, offer a benefit and then include a how-to or list, and then add a power word.
Benefit + how to or list + power word = powerful headline
It doesn’t have to be in this exact order.
Example of Titles:
- 12 Ways You Can Save More Time by Hiring a VA Now
- 12 Ways You Can Exponentially Save Time by Hiring a VA
Notice the power word I used in the first sentence: Now
The headline is good without the word Now but adding it can give it an extra oomph.
The second headline has Exponentially as a power word. Exponentially is an adverb, and I should caution you to use adverbs sparingly. But a little dose of adverb isn’t bad if done well.
3. Organize your content in an outline
I often find that blog posts can be overwhelming and intimidating to readers. That’s why it’s important to organize information so readers don’t feel overwhelmed by the length or amount of content. And what works for one post won’t necessarily work for another.
When you write long blog posts, you can alienate people with all of your information. You have to give them breaks in the form of sections, lists, or tips.
You don’t have to rely on your own knowledge of the topic you’re writing about. Do your own research especially if you’re blogging about a topic you don’t have wide experience in.
A resource that you might find helpful is HARO.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a website that allows writers to connect with experts in different fields. As a writer, you can use these experts as resources persons for your articles. If you’re going to quote these experts, be sure to acknowledge them in your article. You can check the website here.
You can also do your research by asking questions on Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
5. Write an enticing introduction
There are numerous ways to begin a blog post. But remember the goal of the introduction: to connect with the reader.
Lay out the problem, make the reader feel how dire their situation is, describe their plight, and then promise them a sunny destination.
In other words, promise the reader that after reading your blog post, they will have a specific benefit or experience a positive change.
The best blog post introductions immediately pique the reader’s interest. This is crucial because if you lose the reader’s attention before they get to the “meat” of your post (where you start talking about the topic you want to address), they will not get to it in the first place.
6. Begin with short paragraphs
Limit the number of words in your first few paragraphs. Actually, put each of the first 4 lines in a separate paragraph. Yes, this breaks a few grammar rules, but it gets people to read the rest of the content.
7. White Space
Reading from the web is different from reading a physical book.
Web reading can put more strain on the eyes because of the screen. Add to that the fact that people on the internet are always in a hurry.
They have a lot of social media sites to check and a gazillion blog posts to read, not to mention they’re living their lives.
So, as a blog writer, you must help your reader read your post.
Give him enough white space to make it easier for him to read.
Observe the popular blogs on the internet. Notice that some paragraphs consist of only one sentence. Some even with one word.
Writing in big chunks will strain the eyes, and big chunks of texts mean B-O-R-I-N-G on the internet. You’re not writing an academic paper; you’re writing a blog post for busy readers.
8. Use subheads
The reason why listicles are so popular is that they give what the readers need. You give them the number, and they can easily go over your article because of the list. They look forward to reading each item knowing they have that certain number in mind that you promised.
Writing subheads also gives your post coherence.
Even if you’re not writing listicles, insert subheads that correspond to each subtopic that you write about.
9. Write without editing
Editing while writing will cripple your creativity. That is because when you’re editing, the critic in you is wide awake and relentless. In the process of writing, what you need is the creator in you.
Try to calm your inner critic during the writing stage.
Allow yourself to make mistakes.
Tell yourself that this is the first draft and that it’s okay to write whatever comes to mind.
Don’t be overly too concerned with spelling, grammar, and proper word use at this point. You can take care of those during the editing stage.
10. Write an inspiring conclusion
The purpose of the final paragraph is to inspire your readers to apply the lessons you taught them. After all, the reason you wrote the article is to help them solve their problems.
So, in your final paragraph, inspire and challenge them. Motivate them. It’s good to read a helpful blog post, but it takes effort and discipline to put what you have read into action. So, challenge your readers to take action.
When you’ve delivered great content to your readers and inspired them to act, everything else will practically take care of itself. Not only will they share your blog post. They will also be compelled to sign up for your newsletter. Or binge-read your blog and look forward to the next one.
A few things to keep in mind:
- It’s perfectly okay to ask the readers to leave a comment or share, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a lot of comments.
- Looking at the number of comments is one way to measure the engagement of a blog post, but it’s not the only way. People can always reach out to you via email or social media.
- Ask your readers to sign up for your mailing list.
- It’s okay to end a blog post with only a one-sentence final paragraph, especially if you wrote a mega post. But make sure it’s interesting. Ask a question or throw a challenge.
11. Keyword Optimization For SEO
Because such a large proportion of Internet traffic comes from search engines such as Google and Bing, it’s important to help those search engines locate your blog. The content on your site, from the words you use to the titles you give your images, can either make your blog more visible to search engines or bury it.
Therefore, every blog post should have a primary keyword that you’re targeting. This will help you get extra traffic from people using the search engines to find content.
The best place to find keywords is to use Google’s Keyword Planner tool which comes with their free AdWords program.
It’s not hard to use this tool. Just:
- Type in a few related phrases.
- Select the Exact Match parameters.
- Deselect Broad/Phrase matches.
- Hit the search button.
What you’ll get back is a list of phrases that people use to find related content.
My advice is to pick a primary keyword that gets at least 100 exact searches per month.
Once you have this keyword, insert it a few times into your article. You can include it in places like the:
- Opening paragraph
- Closing paragraph
- Different sub-headlines
- Body of the article
- Main image
Now, don’t overdo it. Include it a few times in the article, but don’t stuff your content full of the same phrase. This action might get you penalized by Google, so it’s best to play it safe here!
12. Proofread and edit your post
Editing is an essential part of blogging — don’t skip it! There are times when what you wrote doesn’t get your real message across, so you need to revisit your draft.
Revising can mean moving sentences or paragraphs to other places. Maybe a sentence must come first, and a paragraph you wrote at the conclusion makes a good part of the introduction.
Your article will go through several revisions and that’s okay.
If you enjoy your co-worker’s writing, ask that person to read through your post and offer suggestions. You could also use a free grammar checker like Grammarly.
13. Promote your blog
Once you have written enough posts, it’s time to start networking and promoting your blog. If your blog is related to your business, promotion is especially important. Ways to promote your work include podcasts, building an email list, or guest posting on a related blog.
To be a successful blogger, you need to master content marketing. In general, social networks are incredibly valuable tools for bloggers. It is now all but a requirement that bloggers use social media tools to promote themselves and connect with readers.
Most blogs include a tool on each post that allows readers to share the post title and a link to it across a variety of social networks. You can include this tool in your own blog by activating a built-in feature if available or by installing a social sharing tool.