After writing over 1,000 posts, I have learned a thing or two about writing engaging blog posts, and while everything that works for one person may not necessarily work for another, there are writing guidelines that cut across all industries and personalities.
In this post, I’ll share a formula for writing blog posts that will engage readers. The formula is basically a simple five step guideline that you can use as a template when creating your posts. Enjoy!
1. Start With a Working Title and Outline
No matter your writing style, audience or niche, starting your post with a working title and outline makes the writing process a lot more organized.
A working title is simply a draft title that you can use to remind yourself of what you want to tackle in your post. You don’t need to put an awful lot of thought into it, because you will be honing it later on.
An outline is essentially a blueprint of your post. It provides a structured format that you follow when you get down to actually writing the post. In most cases, your outline will also be your first draft as you research for the post. A typical outline looks like a bullet point list with a few subheadings, along with relevant notes expounding on the subheadings.
As most people who use this format would agree, starting with an outline keeps you from wandering off topic. It also sets up the flow for your post before you start drafting.
2. Perform Thorough Research
With reams of content being published daily, what’s going to make your posts stand out? Content that is thoroughly researched will do just that, so be sure to back up your claims with solid research.
Research can encompass a lot of things. It could be your own data acquired from Google Analytics or it could be scientific findings from journals or research papers pertinent to your industry. Research could also be your own nonscientific experience or other people’s observations obtained through interviews.
Regardless of how you obtain your research data, the most important thing is to be honest about how you’re backing up your claims. For instance, if you’re making scientific claims, ensure that your sources are reputable and if the data is based on small sample sizes, be sure to point this out.
3. Provide Actionable Tips
The majority of Internet users flock to blogs searching for information to solve some kind of problem, so giving readers actionable takeaways is one of the best ways to keep them coming back to your blog. Quite often the posts that get the highest readership are how-to type of posts because, they provide advice that people can put into practice.
No matter what type of post you write, providing actionable tips for the reader almost always gives a better response, because it meets a need.
There are many ways to provide actionable tips. For instance, at the end of each post, you can suggest ways in which readers may apply the tips in their situation. The general format is to first set up a topic, explore it, and then break it down into tasks that readers can complete.
4. Pay Close Attention to Your Introduction
Perhaps I should have made this the first point, but many successful bloggers actually write the introduction after completing the full post. The reason for this is that introductions are difficult to nail down, yet incredibly important to get right. Leaving the introduction until you’re done with the post makes it easier to accomplish this.
But what exactly makes a good introduction? Opinions vary, but generally you want your introduction to provide readers with the opportunity to connect and engage with the post. Highlighting pain points and promising a solution within the post is a classic strategy, as is using an engaging story to ‘suck’ people into reading on.
5. Build Your Readership With Catchy Headlines
Tiles and headlines are the first parts of your post that readers see. Also, when a reader is scanning through a post, they use headlines and titles or subtitles as reference points to ascertain if the content is worth reading.
With the above in mind, attention-grabbing titles are what set your posts apart from the run-of-the-mill content. And while headlines draw readers into your posts, the content should always live up to the promise of the headlines. In fact, creating catchy titles might be the easiest part in a way. Getting readers to read the full post takes a lot more effort than writing a single attention-grabbing title.
This post’s headline is a good example of how to draw people in. It uses evocative words like “simple” and “engaging” to give the reader a clear and positive idea of what they can expect. Furthermore, it refers to a “five step formula” – clearly defining and delineating a post in this way is typically very attractive to potential readers.
It’s time for action now. Take these guidelines and try them out with your new posts and watch how your readership changes. Whatever formula you choose for writing your posts, remember to make your content compelling, thorough, and above all else, interesting!
What formula have you found most successful for writing killer blog posts? Let us know in the comments section!