Blogging is inherently casual, which in large part accounts for its universal appeal—it’s approachable and anyone can do it. But when you look at the few truly successful blogs out there, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface that makes the posts work.
The cogs may not be immediately apparent to the casual reader, but marketing professionals know it takes the right moving pieces to put together successful posts. Whether you’re just getting started on your own blog or if you’ve been running a blog but want to grow your readership, here are the elements to keep an eye on. Plus our own tips for each!
1. A Strong Title
The title of your post needs to be something attention grabbing, without screaming “clickbait”. Note that we didn’t call this post “You’ll Never Believe These 9 Weird Tricks for Getting People to Read Your Stuff.” In other words, get creative with your title, but also be ready to deliver on what you’ve promised.
Our Tip: As you go through your day, keep a running list of post titles you see in your own feed that entice you to click. Once you’ve compiled a list of 50+ titles, you can analyze it to see if there are any patterns in the kinds of titles that appeal to you.
2. The Meta Description
The meta description serves two functions—it appears under your title under search engine listings, and also helps search engines decide exactly what your post is about so they know how to classify it.
Our Tip: Focus on clarity—the post title is the place to get creative and come up with something that stands out, but the meta description should utilize industry keywords to tell both your audience and search engines exactly what they’ll find inside.
3. The Image
It’s been proven that in a feed of posts, those with images get more clicks. Take a few extra minutes to choose a visually arresting image that not only inspires others to take a look, but also epitomizes your post.
Our Tip: Try using your own original images, even if they’re not as great as stock photos. Using stock photography is easier, but its popularity means people have gotten used to the stock photo “look” and are more likely to ignore it.
4. The Introduction
Now that your title and image have encouraged someone to click on the content, it’s the intro’s job is to convince them that they’re in the right place and they should keep reading. Avoid standard intros that summarize what you’ll be talking about—instead, think of a creative angle to get the reader involved.
Our Tip: Try using an amusing anecdote or analogy that relates to and transitions into the content of your post.
5. The Body
This is where the bulk of the magic happens. A post with all the other elements but a weak body is nothing but clickbait. Be aware of readers’ attention spans and avoid rambling. If you’re making a complex argument, build an outline first before your start writing.
Our Tip: Use section headings to orient the reader in the post, and stick to shorter paragraphs of four sentences or less, which are easier to read in the online environment.
6. The Resources
Even if you’re a good writer and make great points, be aware that most readers these days are looking for some data that backs up what you have to say. Including some data, statistics, or resources from experts in the field can help your readers learn more about the subject.
Our Tip: Build at least 3 data points, links, or additional resources into your post to back up your points.
7. The Visual Aids
More and more posts now incorporate some non-text elements to break up the wall of copy. If you can afford to create or source this kind of content, it can help readers avoid fatigue and give some variety to your posts.
Our Tip: One easy way to get started with building more visuals into your posts is the use of screenshots.
8. The Conclusion
The conclusion should sum up your post, but try to avoid getting redundant by restating things you already have. Instead, the conclusion should help the reader place what he or she has learned into a larger context and prepare them for the call to action.
Our Tip: One great way to tie things together is to bring back the anecdote or analogy technique you used in the introduction and, with the new knowledge you’ve relayed in the post, help the reader see it in a different light.
9. Call to Action
The call to action exists for one purpose: to incentivize the reader to do something. In this way, calls to action are one of the most important parts of blog posts, because they affect what the reader will do next, whether that action is to make a purchase, subscribe to your site, or contact you.
Our Tip: Do some research on call to actions that work in your industry, and incorporate these elements into your own posts.
Need help with the overhaul of your blog? We can help you rethink every part, from topic selection, to writing, to publicizing after publication. Contact us today to get started!