Did you know 95% of all published blogs won’t get read? So how do you make sure you reach the 5% blogs that do? What’s the reason only a small amount of blogs score well? To find out I’m constantly researching successful blogs. In this blog I’ll share six easy steps how you can write successful blogs yourself.
These numbers confirm that it’s difficult to write a successful blog. That’s why I support the quote of Jodi Harris, Director of Editorial Content and Curation at the Content Marketing Institute: ‘Anyone can throw together some personal opinions or controversial remarks, toss in a few supporting stats or anecdotical examples, share it in a public forum, and call it a ‘blog post’, but that doesn’t mean it’s truthful, meaningful, or even valuable content’. Blogging is a profession if you want to do it right.
New research shows that more than half of all people (55%) are less than 15 seconds active on a page. That makes it important to write attractive so that it grabs the attention of your reader immediately and that you keep them hooked.
Did you know people don’t read but scan content online? Aligning your blog to it can increase the readability with 57%!
Step 1: Write a strong headline
It’s wrongly thought that a strong headline will sell your services or products, while instead it’s meant to inform people. You attract readers when you can touch them with your story, by offering something they feel attached too and want to know more off.
You can hook them by sharing specific information in the headline, such as the problem you solve or the audience or region you aim for. Another great option is to use a quote as your headline. When you do this, the number of recurring visitors increases with 28%.
Brady Dukart of CoSchedule researched strong headlines. The five most important factors are:
1. Share an interesting (statistic) number;
2. Share a tip the reader can take advantage off;
3. Use adjectives;
4. Don’t use more than 6-7 words;
5. Ask an open question.
The research of PR Daily shows other elements for writing strong headlines. In addition:
- don’t use more than 117 characters when you want to share your headline on social media;
- don’t use more than 65 characters when you want your blog to be found in organic searches;
- create a headline between 81-100 characters when you want people to click through (your website)
You can also use ‘brackets’ in your headline. Just like I did in the headline of this blog. It increases the click-through-rate (CTR) of your blog with 38%. The use of specific words in your headline can also increase the readability of your blog. Words like ‘photo (+ 37%)’ or ‘who (+22%)’ score well, because people are visually oriented (photo) and the word ‘who’ makes it possible to share your knowledge with others.
Blogs are even more successful when you combine ‘brackets’ in your headline with positive words (such as amazing, wonderful, great, superb etc.) because these kind of words have a positive impact on the mood of the reader.
You can use these guidelines for writing professional blogs, but you have to stay critical since every audience is different. By experimenting with various headlines you’ll find out what kind of headline scores best.
At least make sure your headline appeals to your audience, choose a unique angle and a specific audience. Creating a sense of urgency is also very effective.
Step 2: Write a compelling introduction
1. Share a problem and a solution;
2. Start with the end of your blog (and work towards the beginning);
3. Share advantages for the reader;
4. Keep it short and to the point.
People find it hard to write a compelling introduction, so these four guidelines can help you. You can also use the problem/solution/advantage formula.
· First, determine the problem by asking yourself: ‘What is the problem of my audience?’ Identify it and mention it in your introduction;
· Share a solution for all parts of the problem;
· Share an advantage that can help solve the problem.
The reader recognizes his/her problem immediately in a compelling introduction. When the solution also seem interesting, the reader will read further. If you succeed in both these things, the reader will most probably read the rest of your blog as well.
Step 3: Use keywords and referrals
You've set some expectations in your headline and introduction. The reader hopes you can accomplish them. With keywords and referrals you can keep them engaged. Problogger researched keywords and found out that it’s best to use keywords two to three times throughout the text. The first keyword can best be used in the first 150 words of the text.
Referrals support your story which increases your credibility. It also helps you share a positive reputation online. That’s why Brian Dean advises to use two or three referrals with every 1000 words.
Step 4: Increase readability
Use short sentences for high readability. Make sure you only use words in a sentence that are necessary. Can you still understand a sentence when you remove specific words? It’s easier to keep your reader engaged when you write short and effective sentences.
Step 5: Choose an image
Images can increase engagement, because people are visually oriented by nature. Your audience will read your blog faster and they stay longer on your page. You can also share information in an appealing way by using infographics and screenshots, because then, 80% of all readers will read more then just the headline and introduction.
Often, it’s difficult to select great pictures. What do you have to look for when selecting images? There are various websites on which you can find great photo’s for your blog. Here are some guidelines:
- Use high resolution photo’s;
- Avoid stock images;
- Use the same width for your photo as for the text;
- Use all kinds of images in your blog.
Step 6: Activate the reader
You write a blog with a purpose, because you want the reader to do something. Before you start writing you have to ask yourself what it is that you want your reader to do. For example, do you want the reader to leave a comment? Or do you want him/her to visite your website for more information? In marketing we call this a ‘call-to-action’ (CTA). A CTA is extra information that isn’t mentioned in your blog, but can be very interesting for your reader. There are all kinds of CTA’s. So be creative!
By writing a strong headline you earn attention from your audience. You can keep the reader engaged when you also write a compelling introduction. Especially when the solutions and advantages seem interesting to them.
You can use keywords and referrals too make sure the reader reads the complete blog. Keywords and referrals are great for search engines and it also increases your credibility.
Use short sentences and appealing images to increase readability. You can't only inform but also activate the reader by using all kinds of call-to-action’s (CTA’s) in your blog.
There are a lot of factors you can use for writing a successful blog as you can see. I’m very curious for your thoughts and experiences about writing successful blogs. Do you get the results you hope for? Please let me know!