Well-written and engaging blog posts can provide traffic to your site, backlinks and prestige years after it’s written, but only if its digestible to those who read it.
There’s no doubt that blog posts are an important part of content marketing and digital marketing in general. Unless you’ve been writing for a decade or two, you likely don’t know the proper way to write a blog post that maximizes readability.
1. Hook Them From The Start
People rarely click on an article and read the entire thing. A headline captures their attention, and then the main paragraph is so interesting that it entices them to keep going. If your first paragraph, the intro, doesn’t have a little flare, then your post could end up dead in the water. The hook has to be thought-provoking and encourage them to read on.
Start the paragraph with a question that your readers might be wondering about or with a unique and surprising fact that most people don’t know about. Your first paragraph should quickly summarize the content and leave them wanting more.
2. Paragraph Structure Matters
In a world filled with bite-sized tweets and status updates, the attention span of the general public can be pretty low. They want their information instantly, in nice little bundles. When you’re an expert in a subject you’re passionate about, it can be easy to ramble a bit and end up with a large sentence and massive paragraph blocks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do well for the reader.
If you want to keep the reader’s interest, then keep varying lengths of sentences and the paragraphs to 3-4 lines. Notice, I said lines and not sentences. Sentences can vary in length, but if you want to keep readers focused on your copy, then shorter is better. Also, don’t forget about the flow of your blog post. Too many short sentences can make the article sound choppy and difficult to get through.
3. Write For Your Audience
Have you ever read something and had to keep re-reading a sentence, because you’re trying to figure out the meaning of a word from context clues?
That’s a sure death knell for an article. Choose the type of audience you’re writing to before you even type a single word. If you’re going after a general audience, then cater your prose to a fifth-grade reader. This lets your copy be easy to read and people won’t be tripping over jargon and difficult words.
If your target audience is at a more business or expert level, then you can ramp up the technical terms a little, but still use them sparingly. If you have a WordPress blog, then you can use Yoast SEO to show you the readability score. If you don’t use WordPress, there are Chrome extensions or online readability checkers such as webpagefx.com as well.
4. Be A Thought Leader
When you’re pressed with getting a blog done, it can be tempting to just go the easy route and pull something out quickly, such as a news piece, etc. That’s perfectly fine every now and then, but if you want to really get an audience motivated and interacting with your blog, then insert your own thoughts and opinions.
You’re not just a content creator, you’re a leader in your niche. Tell them what you think are the biggest upcoming trends in your industry. Do you agree with published reports, or do you have another opinion?
Don’t be afraid to share your personal insights. Your content will be much more exciting if it’s something your readers have never seen before. It’s all about balancing your role as a content curator with that of an industry thought leader. Keep up with leaders in your field, quote them in your blogs, and post your thoughts about those subjects.
5. Engaging Blog Posts Are All About Quality Content
We’ve gone through and listed ways to make your physical copy more readable and enjoyable to your readers, but let’s not forget about the copy itself. There is a massive amount of blogs and articles created every day, and the Internet is being saturated. It’s important to create content that informs and educates your readers.
Startup investor Murray Newlands says in a Huffington Post article, “Quality content is your moneymaker in any startup. When you create outstanding content, you’re establishing yourself as an authority figure. And this content that connects or engages with your audience will be shared on social media and gain quality links.”
Blog posts aren’t just about gaining traffic and backlinks, it’s also about prestige, respect, and authority. When you attach your name to your blog post, you’re showing people your ability and expertise. They should read it and know that you’re a leader.
If you create posts on the fly just because you need to put something up, and they end up being filled with grammatical or factual errors, then you’re damaging your brand, the website’s brand, and your company’s brand. Research your posts, provide attribution to statistics and make sure it looks great and is factually accurate.