5 Crucial Elements of Every (Great) Blog Post
For many, writing the ideal blog post is an elusive dream. You know the kind of post I’m talking about – the one that gets tons of likes, shares and comments. Yeah. THAT one. Well, I wanted to give you good news: there is no secret sauce, no magical mystery, no ethereal enigma to creating captivating content, if you know the basics.
Here are five simply essential elements to writing a blog post that will keep your readers hooked.
1. A Killer Headline
You’ve probably already heard about the importance of a headline, but it’s worth mentioning again. It doesn’t matter how compelling the content of your post is, if no one is grabbed by the headline you shouldn’t have wasted the time you took to write it.
There are a quite a few tried and tested tactics that work:
- Headlines with numbers and listicle articles are consistent favorites, as people are drawn to the ‘expectation management’ factor of these pieces.
- Paradoxical headlines create curiosity – ‘How to lose weight and eat 5 meals a day,’ or ‘How to make money online without a website.’
- Headlines with prescriptive statements – ‘To women who want to retire early,’ ‘For the other introverts of the world,’ and ‘The secret to making people like you.’
- Questions – ‘Do you make these mistakes in English?’, ‘Do you have these symptoms of nervous exhaustion?’, ‘Whose fault is it when children disobey?’
- Declarative-type headlines compose some of the most famous headlines ever written including ‘How to win friends and influence people.’
- And the use of sentence fragments has also resulted in some classics – ‘What every mother ought to know,’ ‘The crimes we commit against our stomachs,’ etc.
Of course you can also always fall back on fool-proof tactics when all else fails and your creativity dries up: namely, humour or controversy. This is another great resource if even those old faithfuls don’t get your creative juices flowing.
2. A Strong Opening
Don’t pull a bait-and-switch on your readers: an alluring headline followed by a weak opening isn’t going to keep them reading or leave them with a good impression of your blog.
In fact, many successful bloggers attest that the opening paragraph is the second-most important aspect of each post, right behind the headline. Newspapers have been doing this for decades; top copywriter Eugene Schwartz spent a week or more on the first 50 words of his sales copy. So, put as much effort into your opening as you do for your headline.
3. Subheads and Bullet Points
It’s no fun to encounter a large ‘wall of text’ when you click on a blog post. As most people tend to scan instead of read, likely they won’t make it past the first couple of sentences. Instead:
- Break it up with bullet points
- Separate your copy into readable chunks with subheads
- Avoid writing long-winded bullet points for optimal impact
Subheads and bullet points act like miniature headlines, ‘selling’ your readers on what’s to come. Just remember to keep everything easy to skim, easy to scan.
4. Solid Writing
Contrary to popular belief, textspeak and emojis haven’t killed the English language. But (and very good news for all us writers scratching away at a living), good writing still counts.
Readers simply won’t be inclined to trust your products or services if your writing is unprofessional or unclear. Even the best blog topics can be dragged down by poor grammar or an awkward writing style. To be completely candid, if you don’t have the resources to provide quality content, then don’t provide any at all. The resources don’t always have to be you or your in-house team, there are a lot of great freelancers out there. Just sayin’.
5. Eye-catching Imagery
Humans are highly visual creatures by nature: about 90% of information that’s transmitted to our brains is visual, and the brain can process visual data much faster than text.