So you want to be a blogger… Well, here is a quick read that will start you down the road to blogging history (maybe not history, but it will be fun either way…)
- Know Your Target Market
The most important thing in every writing project in your life is to know your target market. If you are writing for your own blog, it may be easier to figure out. If you are guest blogging, you will need to find out who your target market is. Either way, it is essential to know who will be reading the post that you will be publishing.
Part of knowing your target market will be to speak in the language that they understand. Use the phrases they use. If you do not have a client profile, create one. Know if the readership is male/female; business owner/employee; Fancy Coffee/Gas Station Coffee; No piece of information is not usable when it comes to your target market.
Know where they spend their money, what they do for fun!
Give them a name and write with their picture in mind…
The goal of your headline should be to grab your reader’s attention and pull them in to the open/lead. It has been said that the headline is 80% of any good post. It is THE thing that compels a reader to click and read on. If your headline is not effective, people will not continue reading.
Recent studies have revealed that a human’s attention span is less than a goldfish’s. I don’t know if it is true or not, but make sure you are doing everything you can to keep the attention of your reader.
A headline should be unique, helpful to your target market, specific, and urgent (make the reader want to click now, because they are being sucked away by cat videos!)
This sentence or short paragraph should reveal what all you are going to cover in the blog post. It should just give the one big idea that will continue throughout the post. The open should also build interest, keep the reader’s attention, and provoke curiosity. But first and foremost, this section should set the reader’s mind for what will be coming next…
- Graphic or Video
It should be fairly obvious with the popularity of instagram, youtube, snapchat, facebook, twitter, pinterest, and whatever social media is popular right this second that graphics and videos are essential to telling a story. The graphic that you use should be engaging, keeping the reader’s interest like the headline and open. It should be relevant so you are staying focused on the message at hand. It should pull readers into the post.
If you use a video, be sure that it is embedded so the reader doesn’t leave your page. We have already covered the attention span problem, and once they are gone, they gone!
I have learned that the best stories are personal experiences. Personal experiences are usually the easiest to tell because you lived them. You don’t have to fact check, you don’t have to trust Wikipedia, you can just relate what happened in your own words.
The difficulty of personal experiences is that you are being transparent and possibly revealing facts about yourself that may be embarrassing. And let me tell you, those stories are always the ones that people enjoy the most and learn the most from.
Make sure your story is relevant, reveals a problem/conflict, and explains a solution.
Stories are the best way for human beings to learn. You can see that from parables and fables that have been passed from generation to generation throughout recorded history.
- Call to Action
The last and most important essential is the call to action. You wrote all that information down for a reason! You want the reader to do something. Maybe it is to call their mom. Maybe it is to buy a product. Maybe it is to answer a question in the comments section of the blog.
What the call to action is doesn’t matter, but you need one for an effective blog post. Tell the reader what you want them to do. Make it something that you can track. It may end up being a good testimonial for you!
A couple more things that are helpful when writing a blog post, but not always essential:
- Make the post scannable (short words, short sentences, short paragraphs, bullet points, numbered lists, etc). If the post is too dense and doesn’t have any break points, you will lose your reader.
- Link to other posts you have written in your post. Obviously what you wrote in the current post can’t cover EVERYTHING on the subject. As you start accumulating posts, link back to others you have written. Not only does it help your seo, it helps your readers. I always make sure the links open in new windows, because if they click out of your article all together… THEY GONE!
Tell me about your blog essentials… Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with my essentials? Let me know in the comments below…