Content marketing revolves around a simple premise.
If you produce useful content for your audience long enough you’ll soon become a trusted source and make it easy for people to do business with you.
That’s plain enough.
But, don’t confuse simple with easy. Gaining trust takes time. It’s achieved bit by bit, one post at a time. To do that you need a proven blog post template that’ll get you results. Without a tested framework, you’ll produce bland me-too content that sucks.
That’s why you must learn how to write the perfect blog post. Strive for a complete post that thrills readers and thrusts your business forward in one deft touch.
Before we dive into the details watch out for these common oversights that can derail your post from the word go.
Miss These 4 Things And Your Post Is Doomed
A stellar blog post doesn’t start when you put hands on the keyboard. It begins well before that. Before you write a word ask yourself these central questions:
#1. Where does this post fit into my content strategy?
Your post is not just a post for content sake. It’s a small piece of your overall content puzzle. No blog post can succeed in isolation. Or, even if it does, it won’t grow your business long term. Remember this: a good blog post is not good words. It’s intricately tied to your business goals.
#2. Who am I writing for?
If you write for everyone you’ll touch no one. Write strictly for your target audience and forget everyone else. Focus solely on your target audience needs and your post will resonate.
#3. What’s your goal?
Why are you writing the post? Without a clear specific goal, your focus is broken. And, because your focus is broken, your writing will be unclear. You’ll produce weak ineffective content.
#4. What’s the post’s direction?
There are multiple slants to any given topic. Where are you going with this particular one? Craft a clear outline for your intended post. The outline will be your navigation system so you don’t get lost and fail to get your message across convincingly.
Once you’ve answered these questions you’re ready to tackle the bigger one:
How do you actually write a blog post? Not one of the fluff-filled me-too ones clogging the internet, but a good solid one. That’s the question we want to answer today. Definitively.
Here’s where we’re headed.
The 8 Elements Of The Perfect Blog Post (Summary)
Element 1: An enchanting headline so people click
Element 2: A gripping opening so readers stay
Element 3: A well-structured body so readers follow easily
Element 4: A people-friendly style that charms readers
Element 5: A booming close so readers leave inspired
Element 6: A compelling CTA so people take action
Element 7: A stunning picture that draws readers’ eyes
Element 8: A few rounds of editing so people gobble it up
Element 9: A few SEO tweaks so people find it on Google
Now that you know where we’re going, buckle up.
Let’s jump right into the qualities of a blockbuster post.
#1. An enchanting headline so people click
Since your headline’s the first thing your readers see, it’s crucial that you get it right.
Cobble it up and it’ll cost you. Readers will click away. It’s said 5x more people read headlines than those who do the body.
But how do you get it right?
I’ll give you three guidelines.
First, make sure your headline is crystal clear. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, many blogs come up with cryptic headlines in an ill-advised attempt to stand out. Do that and your readers will flee from your site.
“How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World” (ProBlogger) is a good example of a simple powerful headline.
This headline is emotionally charged, offers an irresistible promise, and gives people a chance to be part of a greater cause.
Second, make sure your headline focuses on reader benefits. When you craft your headline ask yourself: What’s in it for my readers? If your headline doesn’t benefit them in any way they won’t read. Hook them by addressing their needs, hopes, dreams or problems as Jacob McMillen.
If you’re dreaming of a career in writing, this headline is irresistible. You just have to know how much writers make.
Thirdly, inject some power words into your headlines. Power words tickle the emotions, paint gripping pictures and promptly engage. Henneke Duistermaat is a master at using sensory words as seen below.
What an eye-catching, heart-tugging and easy to relate to headline. Take note of the power words: engage, touch, and energize.
For some more headline writing tips, check out these 8 psychology-backed strategies from Buffer Social
- Surprise– “This Is Not a Perfect Blog Post (But It Could’ve Been)”
- Questions– “Do You Know How to Create the Perfect Blog Post?”
- Curiosity gap– “10 Ingredients in a Perfect Blog Post. Number 9 Is Impossible!”
- Negatives– “Never Write a Boring Blog Post Again”
- How to– “How to Create a Perfect Blog Post”
- Numbers– “10 Tips to Creating a Perfect Blog Post”
- Audience referencing– “For People on the Verge of Writing the Perfect Blog Post”
- Specificity– “The 6-Part Process to Getting Twice the Traffic to Your Blog Post”
The topic of the examples above is rather convenient, hey.
- Brainstorm topics you can possibly cover in your next post until you find one that resonates.
- Download a headline swipe file so you don’t waste time trying to reinvent the wheel.
- Write up to ten headlines on the topic you chose. Keep writing until you find a winner.
- Test two variations of the headline on your social media accounts to see which one sticks.
- Use tools like Coschedule’s headline analyzer or Advanced Marketing Institute’s emotional headline analyzer
to fine-tune your chosen headline.
Halt people suffering from content overwhelm through a strong headline.
#2. A gripping opening so readers stay
While drawing your reader in through your headline and picture is important, keeping them on your page is even more significant.
That’s your introduction and opening lines job.
A great opening sets the reader on a slippery slope. It makes her read the first sentence. The second one. The next one. And another. On and on until she gets to the end.
Here are three easy ways to nail your opening.
First, open with a shocking or surprising statement. Lisa May opened her blog post about how to write a blog post excellently.
Source: Lisa May Huby
Her first few lines are gripping. She says she actually hates writing content. Say what?! Instantly, her readers are hooked. They’re eager to know what this person who hates writing will say about writing. Also, her opening remarks harp on the pain of writing content. This way she grabs her reader and doesn’t let go.
Another simple way to open a blog powerfully is using questions.
Good questions tease, provoke, or tantalize. Asking questions is a natural way of engaging with your readers. Social Media Examiner knows the awesome power of questions that they open all their posts using a series of loaded questions.
Source: Social Media Examiner
The third and final way of starting a blog post is using quotations. Relevant quotes I must say. A good quote says a mouthful using a few words. It’s memorable and mesmerizing.
Michael Pollock opens a post on how to write intros with a William Zinsser quote.
Here are some more quick tips for writing a great blog opening.
- Open with a short sentence that pulls readers in fast.
- Use a short story or anecdote that’s tied to your topic.
- Use metaphors and similes to take your reader on a mental journey.
- Hook the reader with an emotional opening by targeting a specific emotion.
Great openings ensure that people read on. That’s no easy feat in an age of 8-second attention spans.
- Choose two of the three methods of openings described above for you to try out.
- Write two openings to the blog headline you wrote in Point# 1.
- Ask for feedback on the two openings you’ve chosen from a few of your trusted readers to see which one resonates.
- Work the feedback into the opening and polish it up.
A smart opening spellbinds readers.
#3. A well-structured body so readers follow easily
Once your opening has pulled readers in, move into the meat and potatoes of the post, the body.
A good body makes both reading and understanding a breeze. It explains your main points simply, thoroughly, logically. And, crucially, presents them in a palatable format. Subheads are the spine of a well-shaped body.
Sparkling subheads guide the reader’s mind, act as teasers and keep your readers engaged.
Here are some guidelines on writing winning subheads that enchant readers.
- Add a subhead every few paragraphs to guide readers along with your post.
- Ensure subheads are linked to the headline to keep readers focused.
- Use short, sharp and sweet statements that grab readers.
- Avoid complicated subheads that confuse readers or they’ll leave.
- Use sensory words that whet reading appetite.
Great subheads sum up your post in a few words. This way you accommodate scanners. What’s the subject of this post BTW? How to write a perfect blog post, right? My subheads answer the question. The components of the consummate blog post are:
- An enchanting headline so people click
- A gripping opening so readers stay
- A well-structured body so readers follow easily
- A people-friendly style that charms readers
- A booming close so readers leave inspired
- A compelling CTA so people take action
- A stunning picture that draws readers’ eyes
- 8.A few rounds of editing so people gobble it up
- A few SEO tweaks so people find it on Google
The subheads give the gist of the post in a few words. Big chunks of text are hard to read and make people reach for the close button. Break your content into short paragraphs, 2-4 sentences long.
Even one sentence paragraphs do.
See what I did there?
A lot of white space around your words is good. It gives your words a chance to breathe and makes reading a pleasure.
Another way of breaking up slabs of text is using relevant images. According to Buzzsumo articles with images, every 100 words or so get double the amount of shares than articles with fewer images. Use screenshots, graphs, and visual data to support your points. Not only do pictures emphasize your points, but they also give your reader sumptuous eye-candy.
Bullets are another simple way of making your post readable.
They help you run through a series of points fast while giving your readers’ eyes a break from the regular paragraph structure. Good bullets follow a set pattern e.g. similar length, starting with a verb etc.
If your post is very long & includes a clickable table of contents, this enhances user experience.
A master stroke in the body is to use examples. Illustrations help readers get your point fast. The word illustration is derived from two Latin words ‘illustrāre’ and ‘lustrāre’. They mean to make light, explain, or brighten. So then, illustrations are windows of your post, they let the light of understanding in.
Great examples are often the difference between a good and an excellent post.
- Come up with 3 to 5 subheads that form the outline for the rest of your post.
- Write out the points under your subheads.
- Make sure all the points are thoroughly explained and logical.
- Take time to look for and include relevant examples.
- Break up slabs of text by using shorter sentences.
- Use pertinent images to support your points.
Smart formatting boosts reading efficiency, underscores key points, and makes the post more attractive. Readers shovel in well-moulded content without any hitches.
#4. A people-friendly style that charms readers
Stellar posts are written by a human to other humans.
Don’t write for search engines. People will bounce off — and never return. Stuffing your piece will keywords will make you sound robotic, or to put it bluntly, downright ridiculous. Worse, it’ll invoke a heavy Google penalty. Besides, search engines are much wiser now.
Another pit to avoid if you are to communicate and connect powerfully with people is using gobbledygook. What on earth is gobbledygook? It’s an overused catchphrase that has lost its meaning. Jargon takes time to process and confuses readers.
Enrapture your readers by replacing lofty language with simpler words.
Here’s an example:
Maria used our world-class solution-driven widget to catapult her domestic satisfaction to unprecedented levels.
Maria used our popular time-saving widget to free up 2 hours in her daily schedule. She’s thrilled because she spends the extra time playing with her toddlers and massaging her jaded husband.
Here are the top five tired words and phrases to avoid according to David Meerman Scott in his free report The Gobbledygook Manifesto.
- “next generation”
- “world class”
Avoid them like a harmful virus. Instead, put your points across simply and succinctly. Your readers will love you for it.
Above all, follow the golden rule of blogging:
Write as if you’re chatting with someone over a cup of coffee. That someone, of course, is a person who fits your target audience buyer persona. Writing as if you’re speaking makes your post real and intimate.
It doesn’t end there.
Write with personality as well.
For some reason, companies insist on sounding’ business-like in their copy. The result? A stuffy dry tone that bores readers to death. Yuck. In a world where millions of posts are published daily, only your unique voice will make you stand out.
A blog post without personality is like pizza without the topping.
Dry. Flavourless. Unappetizing.
- Go over what you’ve written so far and identified all gobbledygook.
- Replace all complicated words with simple everyday ones.
- Work your brand tone and style into the body.
- Add a dash of humour. It humanizes you and your brand.
- Share a personal story if it fits the context, you’ll connect better with readers.
Massage your brand tone and style into your copy. Your content will pop and fizz.
#5. A booming close so readers leave inspired
The success of a blog post hinges on its opening and the closing.
The opening hooks the reader to the post while the closing gives them a sense of closure, completion, and satisfaction. Anything less and your readers feel cheated somehow.
Here’s a stupid easy formula to help you nail the closing.
In your introduction, tell them what you’re going to tell them.
In your body, tell them what you said you’d tell them.
In your conclusion, tell them what you’ve told them.
Neil Patel wraps up one of his posts by summarizing the main points.
This is the easiest yet powerful way to close your piece.
Use these 6 types of closings to close with oomph:
- A quick summary- a simple but effective way to end is to go over your main points.
- Actionable takeaways– give the reader a specific take-home point for them to go and implement.
- A cliffhanger– create suspense and evoke your readers’ curiosity so they anticipate the next instalment. This is especially true if you are writing a series of related posts.
- An inspiring quote– a great quote can wrap up a piece nicely. Make sure it’s applicable not just sweet words.
- A positive affirmation– a dose of inspiration can help your readers go out pumped up.
- A promise- thrill your readers by telling them the lovely results they’ll get if they act on your advice.
End with a bang.
- Go over the 6 types of conclusions again.
- Pick one and write an ending to your post.
- Tie it seamlessly to the rest of the post so there’s no disconnect.
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#6. A compelling CTA so people take action
There’re just too many rudderless blog posts floating on the cyber-waters. What a waste of time and resources! Like any piece of content, your post must have a goal.
What’s the one thing you want people to do after reading your post?
Here are several suggestions for you to consider.
- Encourage readers to comment so that you build community.
- Offer them a free but useful download and build your list.
- Ask them to share the post with their peeps and grow your reach.
- Ask readers to give your product or service a try.
- Pose a question to generate discussion and engagement.
Aaron Orendorff closes a piece for Klaviyo by urging readers to dig deeper into the subject of the post. He offers them practical examples of cart sequences that worked.
The CTA is apparent. Once readers click it they step deeper into the company’s funnel.
- Identify the one thing you want readers to do after reading your post.
- Based on your goal, craft a persuasive CTA that’ll move people to act.
A crisp blog post-CTA advances your content marketing goals.
#7. A stunning picture that draws readers’ eyes
Once you’re done writing, time to hunt for your lead image.
That’s the pic that comes right under your headline. Practically this step comes almost at the end but technically it’s second after the headline.
Why’s the lead pic crucial?
It draws readers’ eyes to the post and keeps them on the page in those crucial first few seconds when the reader’s just arriving. Put simply, it’s a visual opening that precedes and compliments the verbal opening.
Jeff Bullas reports that articles with images get 94% more total views than those without. This is true of blog images in general. How much more the lead image? Position the image centrally. Or, move it to the right or left of the first paragraph as Hubspot recommends.
Get pictures from free stock photos sites like Pixabay or Shutterstock. Or go a step further and come up with your own custom pictures. HennekeDuistermatt of Enchanting Marketing magnetizes her readers through her drawings that accompany every post she publishes.
A pretty picture is not enough. To enhance understanding, make sure your picture matches your topic.
- Brand your picture if you’re using a custom image.
- Get a picture that fits your chosen headline and subject.
- Make sure you have permission to use the picture.
- Compress the picture so it loads quickly.
Pull readers’ eyeballs into your piece through a great main picture.
#8.A few rounds of editing so readers gobble it up
Nothing puts off readers like a half-baked blog.
After all, writing is only half the job. The other equally, if not more important stage is the editing. No wonder it’s been said there’s no such thing as great writing, only great rewriting
According to Smart Blogger, the major difference between your writing and that of your writing hero is a simple one- editing. Many a great post has been relegated to oblivion simply because the writer failed to spit polish it until it glittered.
Here are a few editing tips to help you keep your article tasty:
- Structure. Break up long paragraphs and sentences. Use bullets, block quotes, and images so it’s easy on the eye. Bold and italicize some words/phrases for emphasis.
- Fluff. Cut off extraneous words. Use as many words as it takes to put your point across and no more.
- Grammar. Make sure you follow all most Grammar rules or you’ll be in trouble with Grammar police and spelling Nazis.
- Flow. Good writing has rhythm. Ensure that your writing flows smoothly from one point to another. Reading aloud will help you identify flow issues easily.
- Verbosity. A perfect blog post is magnificently, gloriously, awesomely, and wonderfully worded. Stop this kind of writing. Don’t overuse adverbs and adjectives.
- Links- Make sure that your links are not broken and lead to the right places.
- Sources- make certain that you’ve properly acknowledged all sources.
Finally, let me let you in on a simple yet potent editing tip. Never edit your piece immediately after writing it. Separate writing and editing. Let the post rest for a day or two. A couple of hours will do if you’re under pressure.
That way you’ll come back with the keen eye of an editor.
- Read your post aloud. This makes it easier to identify slip-ups.
- Edit one item at a time so you do a thorough and meticulous job.
- Ask a writing savvy friend to go to your post and flag any issues.
- Use online tools like Hemmingway edit to check for errors.
- Hand your piece to editing specialists if your budget allows.
- Proofread your post one final time.
Edit your piece until it gleams flawlessly. Once you’re done editing, you’re almost there.
One more thing.
#9. A few SEO tweaks so people find it on Google
What good is your content if people can’t find it?
You might as well not publish it.
Take time to fine-tune your post so that search engines (and people) find it. You can do this by uploading it to your site’s Add Post area.
Once uploaded work on the following:
- Meta Description
Include keywords in your descriptions if it’s naturally possible to do so. Make it attractive so searchers click through and read your post.
Add tags to link to previous posts on your blog that discuss similar topics so as to give the reader more value. Also, tags make readers interact with a larger part of your content ecosystem.
- Picture tags Include your target keyword as part of your image alt text.
If you use excerpts in your theme, make sure you drop that in. To make it easy use your meta description as your excerpt.
- Link Internally and Externally
Link to two or three previous posts because it’s good for internal SEO and for keeping readers longer on your site. Then, link externally so that the readers benefit from other people’s resources.
Do this right and you’re all set to get some SEO juice.
I hope by now you’ve realized this:
A great post is not about literary fireworks but using a tested formula that leads to better ROI. It’s not your word wizardry that matters. Rather, it’s crafting a focused and easy-to-digest post that wins more business for your startup.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your post for search engines, you’re done. Yay. Hit publish and watch your cash register ring. Not so fast my friend. Rinse and repeat. Eventually, your solid posts will produce bumper sales.
Use this blog writing template to grow your business
There you have it.
All the 9 ingredients you need to cook up that perfect deliciously sweet blog post. If you follow the recipe precisely you’ll reap the rewards. A well-done post is a key growth lever for your startup. It does so much for a business. It…
- Leaves readers with a good impression of your brand.
- Closes more sales more often.
- Moves the reader a step further down your funnel.
- Grows your list and generates leads.
- Significantly boost your authority in your niche.
- Drives relevant warm traffic to your site.
- Attracts the attention of influencers and grows your network and by extension your net-worth.
Does all this sound good to you?
Then go write that sizzler.