That’s how many blog posts are published EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.
So the big question is…what’s gonna make someone read yours?
Now you might think to yourself, ‘No worries here. What I write about is unique. No one else is writing about it.’
Are you sure about that?
Even the topic ‘underwater basket weaving’ generates 1,200,000 results on Google.
The chances of you writing something original are slim. And that means we have to compete for both search rankings AND our readers’ attention.
To do that we have to write compelling blog posts that connect with our readers from the title, all the way to the conclusion.
I’m going to tell you how to do exactly that. In this blog post, you’ll learn…
- How to write a headline that both readers and search engines love
- How to write an introduction that excites the reader
- How to structure a blog post so people get it
- How to write a lead-generating, inspiring conclusion
Ready? Let’s get started…
1. First Things First: Your Blog Post Topic
The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Blog Post Topic
One of the biggest issues with blog posts is that they go wide on topic and thin on detail. We like to call these ‘pancake posts’.
For example, let’s say we wrote a blog post called, ‘Ten things you can do to improve your website’. Point number one might say, ‘Make it mobile-friendly.’ And point number two might say, ‘Make sure you choose the right font’ and so on.
The problem with these kinds of posts is that they only provide surface-level information about a wide variety of topics. This means that…
- You won’t get as much search traffic
Most people won’t search for ‘how to improve my website’. But people do search for ‘How to make my website mobile-friendly.’ or ‘What font should I use on my website?’ People want specific answers to specific questions.
- You’ll provide little value to the reader
Because you try to cover so much ground in these blog posts, it means you can’t go into much detail. You merely skim the surface of many different topics. Whereas if you can focus on one thing, and go in-depth, you’re going to provide much more value to the reader.
- Your Lead Gen won’t work
Want to use your blog posts to capture leads? That’s much more difficult if your blog posts cover a wide variety of topics. This blog post is all about blogging. And that’s why I feature our Content Planner as our lead capture just below 😉
When your blog posts cover a wide range of topics, it’s difficult to find a lead magnet that will get your users to click – because you don’t actually know what they need help with specifically.
What Should You Do Instead?
You don’t want to waste time and energy on something that doesn’t give you any results. The best thing you can do when creating any piece of content is to pick one question and go in-depth with the answer.
2. The Dreaded Headline: How to Write a Blog Post Title
In all honesty, I write the headline to my blog post right at the end. I start with the idea and general topic. So for this blog post, I wrote the words, ‘Blog Post Structure’ at the top of the page. But I didn’t actually finalise it until the end.
Because you’re the clearest on your blog post right after you’ve finished writing it. Trying to do this before you’ve completed it can feel like a lot of pressure. And sometimes when we start writing our focus changes, which is why you see blog titles that don’t quite match the main content.
The Biggest Mistake You’re Making with Your Blog Post Title
Not saying what the actual article is about!
One of the biggest things to remember (before you get clever with your copy or try to make your heading SEO friendly) is to actually say what the article is about.
Imagine I’d called this article, ‘Writing Blog Posts’ – that actually doesn’t tell anyone what this blog post is about. But for some unknown reason, a lot of people do this with their titles.
How to Write a Title That Conveys What The Post Is All About…
The easiest way to do this is to tell the reader what you’re teaching, and what the outcome your reader will get if they read your article. This is why we’ve called this article…
How to Write a Blog Post [what we teach] That People Will Actually Read [the outcome your reader will get if they read your article].
You don’t have to follow this exact format but do make sure you make it clear what your post is about. This is the most important bit – more so than clever copy or SEO.
SEO vs Fun – Which Should You Choose For Your Blog Post Title?
The main title of a blog post is hugely important for SEO. If you want to rank on Google, you want to make sure that your title contains your keywords or phrases. (If you want to know more about how to optimise your blog post for search engines, have a look at our SEO Checklist for Blog Posts article.)
Sometimes, this means there’s a battle between SEO and fun copy. Martin and I have this
argument discussion quite a lot. I want the fun headline, he wants the SEO friendly one.
But there is a way to compromise. Yay!
The Blog Post Title Formula: Combine What People Search For + Make It Intriguing!
Let’s take a hypothetical blog post about ‘The Problems with WordPress.’
If I wasn’t thinking about search results, I would want to call this ‘Things that make us angry about WordPress (from two WordPress Web Designers).’
Because that will get people to click, right? Ooooh, these guys are angry about something! And why are they insulting the platform they use? Oh, this sounds interesting!
The problem is, no one searches for ‘things that make me angry about WordPress.’ They search for ‘common problems with WordPress’ or ‘problems with WordPress.’
Now for the exciting part…
In the title of your blog post, we always recommend combining what people search for and potentially adding on a twist that can get people to click. This could be, ‘Annoying Problems with WordPress and the Easy Ways to Fix them.’
We added the word ‘annoying’ to intrigue people. We still included the keyword ‘Problems with WordPress’ and we added the outcome that the reader will get (an easy way to fix these problems).
And that’s not to say we couldn’t use ‘things that make us angry about WordPress.’ We’d certainly lead with that on social media, but just not in our main title.
This is one of the reasons why our blog post ‘11 Reasons Why You’re Not Ranking On Google and How to Fix It,’ brings us in over 1000 visitors to our website every month. It’s a specific problem that people search for (‘why am I not ranking on Google?’) and it promises a solution. Although, if I were to rewrite this I would add the word ‘Easy’ by putting ‘…and easy ways to fix it.’
Why? This brings me on to my next point…
Use Your Power Words in Your Title
Power words in your titles are irresistible words that people can’t ignore. They make us feel something – like the example I gave above, ‘Annoying Problems with WordPress and the Easy Ways to Fix them.’ The words annoying and easy are power words that will pique someone’s interest. The word annoying gets people feeling an emotion, and the word easy attracts people because…well, we all want the easy solution!
Unfortunately, there are plenty of websites that overuse power words, and it makes us wary about using these words in our own marketing (I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed).
We don’t want to get a bad reputation for being clickbaity. But remember content is only ‘clickbait’ if the title fails to deliver what it promises.
I remember Laura Robinson, a copywriting coach, gave a good tip about using power words. She said to use them sparingly. Pepper them in your content. Think of them as a seasoning!
Some examples of power words are:
You get the picture. If you use these words and combine them with what people search for and you’ll have a search engine friendly, compelling blog post title that gets people to click!
3. How to Write Your Blog Post Introduction Without Boring the Reader
Like the title, I always write the introduction to a blog post at the end as that’s when I’m most clear on the topic.
You don’t have long to grab your reader’s attention. Mere seconds, in fact. So you have to make those seconds count.
The biggest mistake people make with blog post introductions
What’s the biggest mistake people make with blog post intros?
They tell the reader something that they already know.
For example, imagine we started this blog post saying, ‘blogging is a good way to connect with your audience and build trust.’
Well…duh. Yes. That’s why you’re here. You know that. You know the benefits of blogging. If you thought blogging was a load of crap that didn’t get you results then you wouldn’t be here learning more about how to do it.
But this is something people do ALL.THE.TIME!
Bloggers tell the reader something that they already know. And that’s usually because bloggers start with the intro first. They treat the introduction as their warm-up writing. The-writing-before-you-get-into-the-writing, writing.
But no one should treat the introduction this way.
The introduction is the make it or break it zone. You have to stop someone from hitting that backspace button. You have to hook them in.
The question is…how?
The Easy-Peasy Question and Empathy Introduction
Martin openly states that he is not the best writer. But he has consistently blogged since 2017. In that time, he’s found little ways to engage readers quickly, and one of the simplest ways to introduce a blog post is to ask your reader a series of empathetic questions and confirm you understand their problem.
For example, I could’ve started this blog post like this:
Are you getting crap results from blogging?
Getting frustrated when you squeeze in writing in the evenings and at weekends and see nothing in return?
Are you beginning to feel like blogging just doesn’t work for your business?
I get it.
A few years ago, I would spend 12-15 hours a week writing a blog post. I’d publish it with high hopes – imagining a flurry of web traffic, a surge in search rankings and lots more leads and sales…only…
I got nothing back. And I began to think, ‘is blogging just a waste of time?’
But actually, it wasn’t that blogging was a bad strategy.
I was just doing it wrong…
This is the easiest way to engage your reader. To have them nodding along. It’s even better if you can use their phrases and language back to them. Rebound their frustrations in their words and you’ll have them hooked.
The Story Introduction
This is a personal favourite of mine. I love the use of stories in blog introductions, but they have to be used carefully. You may be the protagonist of the story, but the reader should imagine themselves in the scenario you describe.
For example, I could’ve started this blog post like this:
A few years ago, I sat down to bash out yet another blog post, until I stopped and thought…’wait, how many hours have I spent blogging without seeing anything in return?’
I did a rough calculation…
At my hourly rate, that’s £150 x 184 hours.
That’s £27,600 I could have earned.
What the hell?
How could this happen?
It was like I was autopilot, churning out these blog articles with no real reason or purpose.
All because I thought it was something I had to do.
I knew other business owners blogged successfully. And if I did it long enough, I could be successful too right?
In fact, my entire approach to blogging was wrong.
And if you’re reading this too, I’m guessing you can relate. But don’t worry, I’m about to tell you how to create the perfect blog post so you can…
Get found on Google
Get more loyal followers
Get more leads
If you’re going down this route just remember not to take too long on your story. No one wants to read your memoir (sorry).
Finally, loop it back to the reader at the end by stating that you’re guessing they’ve felt/experienced the same thing.
The great thing about doing these is that you can also use them in social media and over email. This story can easily be repurposed elsewhere.
The Stat Introduction
This is usually my least favourite option as introducing anything with a statistic automatically sounds snooze-worthy.
Often people use a statistic with a stuffy reference right at the beginning, like ‘According to the Institute of Things That Are Utterly Boring, if you start a blog post like this, people will press that backspace button within 0.00000002 seconds.’
That’s why I hate statistical introductions. But, if you do it right, it can have a big impact. And it’s the method I’ve used in this blog post.
You’ve just gotta make sure that the stat is something that’s shocking and impactful, and is used to really hammer home your point.
One-Liners Work Every Time
The opening line of your introduction should act as your chat-up line (one that doesn’t make the recipient want to throw up).
Ideally, you want just one sentence. Even better if you can get it all on one line.
Why? Because people don’t want to run into a wall of text when they land on your blog post.
Take our blog post.
We could have opened it like this…
According to WordPress, there are 70 million new blog posts published every single month. For us bloggers, this is a frightening statistic. How on earth can we compete when so many other businesses are doing the same thing?
But we opened it like this…
Now, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with the first version, but the second definitely gets your attention!
The purpose of the opening sentence is to get your reader to the next one. And that’s why a quick, snappy line works really well.
Sell Them On the Blog Post
It’s a good idea to tell people what they’re going to get out of the blog post in the introduction. But again, don’t do this to such a degree that it bores people.
People don’t want to read a long introduction. They really want to get to the meaty part of the content.
So don’t do as your English teacher always told you and write a 500-word intro telling your reader what they’re about to learn.
Instead, write a quick sentence or some short bullet points that highlight the main benefits the reader will get from reading your post.
4. How to Structure the Main Body Of Your Blog Post
Ugh. The structure of the blog post is the part that always trips people up. Me included.
I’ve reviewed a lot of blog posts in my lifetime. And one of the most common problems with blog posts is that they lack consistency. They feel convoluted and confusing to read. They hop from one subject to another.
And this is usually down to one simple thing…
The Biggest Mistake People Make With Their Blog Post Structure…
There are two types of fiction writers – planners and pantsers. A pantser is someone who flies by the seat of their pants and just writes.
Steven King is probably the most famous pantser.
And most of us (me included) cannot write like Steven King.
We have to plan. If we don’t plan, we ramble in many different directions.
Whereas when you take five or ten minutes to plan before you sit down to write, it creates a much more cohesive and focused piece of content.
I start planning by bullet-pointing the main things I want to cover in the post (you can see this in the two pictures below).
Essentially these become my main headings.
Then I break that down into further points.
If I hadn’t completed that task, I bet you anything I’d have gone on to talk about SEO for blog posts, or tone of voice or how to make your blog posts look pretty. And it would turn into this mammoth mess of a post.
Your plan keeps you on track and on topic.
Keep the structure the same!
Our brains love patterns. And they love to know what’s going to happen next.
In this blog post you’ll notice I follow a similar structure.
I have five main headings in this blog post – ‘Topic, Title, Introduction, Structure and Ending’.
I break each of these down by giving each a small introduction. Followed the biggest mistake people make with each. And then finally, I follow it up with some tips on how to do it well.
This structure is repeated five times.
Each main heading has the same style. Each subheading has the same style.
It’s clean, structured and easy to understand.
Repetition is so helpful in blog posts as it helps our brains predict what will happen next. This means that we don’t have to work as hard to understand the blog post.
The easier you make it for your end reader, the better!
Use Headings and Subheadings
Use plenty of headings and subheadings in your blog posts.
Readers skim. I’m sure you’ve skimmed through some of the points in this post. And what makes that easier is having headings and subheadings which tell the reader exactly what’s coming next, so they can decide whether they want to read it.
It also helps to break up the text and give the illusion of more white space on the page. Remember you don’t want your reader to feel overwhelmed by so much text. They’re much more likely to read your posts if you give them lots of breathing space.
5. How to Write a Blog Post Conclusion
The ending is just as important as the beginning, as this is your opportunity to get the reader to take action. You managed to keep them hooked the entire blog post, and now is your time to get a little reward.
The Biggest Mistake People Make With Blog Post Endings
Not giving a crap about the ending.
Sometimes I think we’re either just so relieved to finish the blog post or excited to get it out there that we forget to actually…well, finish it.
We sort of run out the door, shouting a vague ‘hope you enjoyed this blog post! Please comment below with your thoughts!’ Which, obviously, no one ever comments on.
But we really need to take our time with the ending. Just as much as we would any other part of the post.
Should You Reiterate What The Reader’s Learned?
Ugh. We’re back to English class again. This is the last thing you should do…
And now you have read said-blog-post, you’ll have learnt the following…[goes into massive list]
No. Don’t do this.
What you should do instead is give the reader one key takeaway from the blog post that they can remember and use straight away.
Will you remember everything in this blog post? No. Of course not. But if I can have a small impact on you then that’s enough. If I can change your thinking in a little way. If I can make your life that bit easier then I’ve achieved something.
That’s what you need to do.
Get your reader to do something
Oh, what’s this? You’d like to get leads and sales from your content?
Well, if so you’re going to have to get your reader to do something.
Instead of getting your reader to comment, ask them to take that next step with you. This could be…
- Downloading a free guide/cheatsheet/video series from you – it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s helpful and a similar topic to the blog
- Booking a call with you – this should be used sparingly and more with content that talks about your products or services
- Actually asking them to purchase a product
This is your opportunity to get direct with your reader and tell them what you’d like them to do. Don’t waste it on getting them to comment!
Want to Know More About How To Make Your Blog Posts Awesome?
Here is some further reading!
Your Next Blog Post
So I hope you enjoyed this blog post, please comment with your thoughts below.
As we already know, this would be a CRAP way to end my blog post.
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to writing blog posts is, don’t overcomplicate it. Keep the topic simple. Make sure the headline is clear. And keep the structure clean and easy to follow. As time goes on, you’ll get better at the creative stuff. But get the foundations right first.
What’s next for you?
If you want to gain more leads and sales from your content, then check out our Content Marketing Planner. In this planner we go through the 5 key topics you can explore in your blog that are guaranteed to boost your traffic and rankings!
Better yet, these topics are super easy for you to write about.
Download our planner below…
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.