You’ve heard “content is king” often enough. But simply knowing that content matters doesn’t help much. You want to write great blog content – posts which readers bookmark, share, even print out. You want your readers to keep coming back for more. You want to write such compelling posts that readers subscribe to your blog because they can’t bear the thought of missing out.
Here’s how you can make sure your blog succeeds too, by making each post brilliant.
1. Take Your Time
Good content takes time to write. If you’ve got a background in literature, journalism, or creative writing, you’ve obviously got an advantage – and you might find that you can turn out high-quality writing quite fast.
Even so, you need time to research, to mull over ideas, and to craft a great post.
If your content isn’t drawing the attention you’d like, take a good hard look at your blog. Are your posts all fairly short? If so, are they short because you’re a master of concision (like Seth Godin) – or because you’re rushing them?
Unless you’re something of a freak (or have a great gift) creating compelling content takes a lot of time and effort. Really it is the same as any creative process – it takes time. (Darren Rowse, The Power of Taking Extra Time to Create Content, ProBlogger)
Give yourself time to write great content. Post two solid, thought-provoking pieces each week instead of a rushed, sloppy piece every day.
2. Care About the Topic
You can get away with an imperfect grasp of the English language if your passion and enthusiasm shows through in your writing. Make sure you’re blogging about topics which really engage you. If you’re churning out words for the sake of it, why should your readers care?
When you start a blog, pick an area which you love reading and writing about – don’t choose something which you hope will make yo
u a quick buck. Blogging rarely works like that!
If you’ve got a current blog that you’ve lost interest in, can you turn it around? Can you find topics that do grab you – perhaps by linking into current affairs or pop culture?
3. Structure Your Post
Having a clear structure for your post does several things:
- It helps you organise your thoughts logically (to avoid waffling or going off-track)
- It makes writing the post much less daunting
- It lets readers engage with your content more easily
If you regularly find yourself staring at a blank screen, wondering what to blog about, then your problem might be that you don’t have a structure for your post. Your structure doesn’t have to be complicated at all: this post has a very simple structure with an introduction, five points (each with a subheading) and a brief conclusion/call to action at the end of the post.
4. Quote and Link Usefully
You might not be an expert on all the topics which you want to blog about. That’s fine: there are plenty of people who are! Including relevant quotes, such as entrepreneurship quotes, in your post from authorities in your niche helps you to be credible. Don’t just throw quotes in at random – make sure they follow on from or lead on to the points which you’re making.
Whenever you quote someone, link to their blog or website; not just because it’s polite, but because it makes your content more valuable for readers.
In general, you should try to link usefully. Don’t just link to friends or to your own blog posts – look for excellent, thoughtful content by other bloggers, and point readers to that. They’ll see your content as all the more valuable: you’re doing the hard work of sifting through lots of information and finding the gems for them.
5. Don’t Forget the Headline
Finally, it’s always a good idea to spend a few minutes thinking about your headline before you hit “publish”. Writing great headlines is something you can learn by watching the experts at work: what headlines have grabbed you recently? Words like “secret”, “expert”, “free”, “tips”, “how to”, “easy”, “simple”, “amazing” and “unique” are all attention-grabbers – but make sure your post will live up to the promise you make in the headline.
A must-read for great headlines is Copyblogger’s Magnetic Headlines set of posts.
As well as the headline, get creative with your post slug (that’s the bit that appears at the end of the URL). If you can modify this using your blog software, do, as most headlines make over-long URLs. I’ve found that using a bit of humour or intrigue in post slugs can help get attention: my latest ones were crazy-quitter (for a post titled “How to Deal With People Who Think You’re Crazy to Quit Your Job”) and passionately-broke (“When Following Your Passion Will Leave You Broke”).
If you’ve been blogging for a while, what tips do you have on writing great content? Have you ever been surprised by which posts did well – or didn’t do so well! – on your blog? If you’re new to blogging, do you struggle with writing posts, or do you find it comes naturally? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments…