8 essentials for the (almost) perfect blog
What if I could give you the secret to writing the perfect blog? Would that ignite your commitment and resolve, and get you writing your blogs every week, come rain, shine or an overly busy diary?
Well, there’s good and bad news. There is no ‘one size fits all’ secret formula to writing the perfect blog (that’s the bad news). Not least because there are too many ways of measuring perfect. But you knew that, right?
A great blog is a combination of the practical and the technical, the ethereal and the creative. And knowing your audience so well that you hit them with exactly the right thought or information at exactly the right time.
But that doesn’t mean you should abandon your blog. There are some basic essential ingredients that if you keep firmly in mind, will keep you on track to that perfect, or much nearer perfect, blog (and that’s the good news- obviously). So what are they?
The big idea
I’m going to start with the hardest so stick with me, it will get easier.
What is your point? Your original idea? Your concept? Your message? Your angle? Call it what you will. It’s pretty difficult to come up with original ideas but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
One of the golden rules of blog writing is that you should give your reader something that they need or want to know. But before you churn out the same old, same old information that all your competitors are churning out in equal measure, stop.
Ask yourself 3 questions: does the reader really need or want to know this, could they find the same information in 3 other places without much effort and what message or point will they take away from your post that is different or new?
In other words, try and make your content fresh and give it a new perspective. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. You may be writing about something that’s been written about many times before, but try and come up with something original about it. Can you give it a twist, look at things from a different angle, give it your own unique touch? Can you combine ideas or resources to come up with something different?
What about expressing an opinion? I often hear people caution against the merit of “expressing a strong opinion” in a blog, but I disagree. Having an opinion is good, it helps show your expertise and authority. It’s how you express it, that’s crucial. You do of course need to be respectful and fair.
How else do you come up with something unique? You research, read around your subject, listen and develop your own brand. The more you work at it, the better you’ll become.
A strong headline
I know, I know. I’m always going on about this but guess what? Without a headline that grabs your reader by the eyeballs and pulls them in, no one will ever read your blog. Include keywords, emotions, imperatives and power words. Think pain and gain: what is the issue your reader is struggling with and what would a solution feel like?
Keep your headlines punchy … with a big dollop of something to make your reader super curious.
One of the main purposes of your blog is that you want it to be found by as many people as possible. And you’ll achieve that by using the right keywords.
Choose wisely and use wisely. Think about the words or phrases your readers are likely to use, not what you want them to use. And then include them naturally in your writing. That remains the golden rule. Cramming as many keywords in as possible will kill your content stone dead and your search engine results.
Finally, don’t forget to write your Meta data. That’s your Meta title, description and URL. Drop me a line if you want to know more about that.
A Strong opening line
Don’t waste your strong headline on a poor opening line. Build your reader’s interest and intrigue, pique their desire and draw them firmly in by their flaring nostrils. How?
There’s lots of techniques you can use (actually I might do a separate post about this). Asking questions, sharing success stories or failures, saying something unexpected, possibly controversial even or using statistics and quirky facts all work well.
Come on. You want your blog to stir people. To excite them, persuade them or make them reach for the subscribe button. So give it some thought and decide which of their emotions you can tap into. Make them angry, happy, relieved or excited. Make them feel.
A call to action
You may not be hard selling but you do want to keep your reader on board. You do that by feeding them smoothly into the sales funnel which means having a clear aim for each post and therefore, a clear call to action: download a lead magnet, subscribe, pop over to the website to find out more. Ask yourself, what do you want your reader to do next when they’ve finished reading.
A good strategy
Let’s be honest … a blog written once in a blue moon or when you have time is going to achieve diddly squat. It may sound like marketing speak but you do need a strategy including, your overall aims and where and when you are going to post and promote. Oh and don’t forget to build in some sort of process for monitoring. It may not sound fun but it’s the make or break stuff of blogs.
Personality and authenticity
This brings us back to point 1 because being uniquely you will help make your post original. Use your personal experiences, your failures as well as your successes. Let your excitement and enthusiasm shine. Know your brand, be genuine and be brave and then you will be original.