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The Art of Crafting a Blog Post that People Will Read

Believe it or not, being a good writer is not enough to create compelling blog posts. To master the intricate art of blogging, you need to seek perfection in every element inside an article—from the headline all the way to the conclusion.

You can probably find numerous guides that cover certain aspects such as keyword research, utilizing visual content, creating catchy headlines, and sharing the finished product on social media. New bloggers tend to write with a browser tab open – checking the guides and other resources every once in a while.

Relying on various guides, however, can make the process lack cohesiveness, not to mention tedious. Keep in mind that you need to sustain a clear flow of thought to provide a smooth reading experience to your audience. That is why you need to develop and live by a solid content development strategy that you can always remember, and this process starts by identifying the key elements in a polished blog post.

Without further ado, below are the seven components of a blog that you should never forget:

 

1. The Perfect Headline

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Based on statistics, only two out of ten people will read the rest of your article after reading the headline. In other words, your headline is the only thing standing in the way of the other eight people and the rest of your post. If you want to beat the odds, then you should never settle for anything less than the best headline you can think of.

Here’s another interesting statistic: the online audience tend to absorb the first and last three words in a headline. According to Kissmetrics, the ideal headline length is only six words long since the first and last three words are clearly emphasized. When it comes to SEO, headlines must be less than 55 characters long, so they are shown correctly in search engine results.

Unfortunately, six-word headline ideas are very hard to come by. So instead of focusing on length, the more practical way is to concentrate on making the first and last three words stand out.

The question now is what those six words will be?

Applying a bit of psychology, a perfect headline can be any of the following:

  • Surprising – Simply put, “surprise” sparks curiosity, and curiosity captures attention. That means you should not be afraid of out-of-the-box headline ideas, such as using curse words.
  • Questioning – A question mark (?) is enough to stimulate the brain. A compelling question, however, can hold the interest of your readers.
  • Referencing the Audience – Addressing your target audience directly or referencing to them in your headline is an excellent way to get your readers immediately involved.
  • Focusing on the Negative – Aside from referencing the audience, you can also mention their problems and exacerbate them with words like “worst,” “boring,” or “saddest” to pique their interest.
  • Using Numbers – When reading a headline, readers want to know “what’s in it” for them. Adding numbers like “10 best tips” or “top 5 hacks” heightens their anticipation on what they are about to read.
  • Specific – Lastly, adding exact figures such as “increase traffic by 55%” or “raise $1,500 in one month” implies that you did thorough research.

 

2. A Story

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Notice the beginning of this article when it talks about how bloggers write with a browsing tab open. Studies reveal that storytelling is a great way to hook the reader’s attention and therefore inspire them to read the rest of the post. It can be a personal story, a reiteration of the blogger’s inspiration for writing the post, or anecdotes from famous people.

Just remember that there is a fine line between storytelling and writing fluff. A narrative intro should be linked directly to the rest of the article and add value. You can add some dialogue to make the story more vivid, but that is it.

 

3. A Featured Image

Visual content is great for capturing attention and communicating data-driven information, emotions, and instructions. However, a featured image that is shown in the upper-right corner above the fold serves another function – reducing the number of characters in the first few lines.

It may sound weird, but lessen the number of characters in the first few lines of an article using a featured image has a positive psychological effect on the readers. Although the length of the sentences per se is not reduced, having to read fewer words in a row makes it much easier to comprehend from a reader’s viewpoint.

Alternatively, you can increase the size of your opening paragraph to show fewer characters in a line without a featured image. A quick way to implement this is to add the following bit of code in your CSS file (if you are using WordPress:

p: first-child { font-size: 1.5em; }

Take note that you can easily replace the “1.5em” number with a bigger value to further increase font size in the first paragraph.

 

4. Subheadings

Take note that most people do not necessarily read a blog post from top to bottom. They only scroll and skim away until they are satisfied with the information they have extracted.

To help them scan the article and find the particular piece of information they need, make sure to use well-structured subheadings to organize the sections of a post.

 

Notice that, in blogging platforms like WordPress, subheadings are further classified in tags H1, H2, H3, and so on. These tags correlate to the heading’s importance, and you need to know how to use them right.

H2 and H3 tags typically fit subheadings throughout the article. These tags can be used interchangeably or even presented in boldface for more emphasis. They stand out just enough to make them easy to find, but not as big as the H1 tag which denotes the main headline.

 

5. Seven Minutes’ Worth of Content

A rule of thumb when writing blog posts is to have at least 700 words. That, however, is a underachievement. Bear in mind that the average content length of the top 10 results in search engines is over 2,000 words. Apart from visibility, long content also receives more engagement in social media.

According to Quick Sprout, an article of at least 1,500 words in length gets 68% higher shares on Twitter and 22% more likes on Facebook. This length can keep the audience occupied for around 6-8 minutes, which is the sweet spot when it comes to how much time readers are willing to spend on a single post.

Just remember that making your blog post longer means you should also utilize subheadings more efficiently. Also, try to use different content formats such as numbered lists and visuals to make the article easier to skim through.

 

6. Tweetable Quotes

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One of the goals of blogging is to have your content shared by readers in social media. However, people would rather share quotes than links to an entire article. So instead of relying on just social sharing buttons, you should also add “tweetable” quotes or soundbites in your content.

 

They can also be call-to-actions or pieces of advice.

To create a tweetable quote, you need two things: a tweetable quote plugin, and the ability to write crazy good sentences. If you are using WordPress, then you should have no trouble searching for their official repository for a “click to tweet” plugin. However, when it comes to writing proper sentences, below are some of the things you need to remember:

1. Don’t be too stiff on grammar. Bear in mind that tweetable quotes are better off believable and authentic – as if they came straight from the blogger’s mouth during a casual conversation.

2. Write in the second person. Again, reference to the audience and establish a connection. It catches the audience’s attention and makes advice more actionable.

3. Learn your power words. Amazing, game-changing, supercharging; these power words emphasizes the positive. They impact readers on an emotional level and inspire them not just to read the entire post, but to take action as well.

4. You do not need to show off your expansive vocabulary. Avoid using hifalutin words, eliminate unnecessary adverbs, and keep it simple.

 

7. The Perfect Timing

Aside from learning how to create the perfect blog post, you also need to pay attention to the factors outside the post to make the most out of your efforts. One of these factors is timing, which is a deciding factor when it comes to the visibility of your blog posts.

The key here is to share your content when your audience is most active in your primary distribution channels – be it social media or your mailing list. Take note that this time depends on your target audience. Full-time employees, for example, are more active in the mornings and late at night. That is when social shares tend to spike, so be sure your posts are making noise in the social space by then.

 

Conclusion

Crafting perfect blog posts take more than just wordsmithery. Each article must possess the essential ingredients that maximize its value and the reader’s experience. With the elements highlighted above, you should now be able to devise a content development strategy that will help you produce quality articles on a consistent basis.

 

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