Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do Your Blog Posts Suck?

Blogging can be a great way to attract new clients, increase your online presence, attract media attention, and educate/inform your clients. However, if you want to write effective blog posts, you need to know who your audience is and target every post to them. You also need to create a plan of action for your blog posts, both individually and as a whole. For instance, you might start your blog posts with general themes, moving toward more specific advice and information as your audience becomes more informed. 


While all that is important, let's get down to the nitty-gritty about what should be included in each blog post.
  • Blog posts need a great title. The days of puns in titles are over. It's important to create a blog post title that tells the reader what's inside the post. This is why they'll click through to read it. People do not like being tricked and will be more focused on the trickery than the post if you're not clear in your titles. If you're looking for a free online resource for coming up with titles, check out Jim Edwards Wizards (click on the tab for "Free Wizards"). I LOVE these.
  • Catch their interest with your first paragraph. Your first paragraph is very important in terms of blog posts. You only have seconds, one or two sentences at the most, to capture your audience's attention. This is where understanding your target market comes in. Create a compelling first sentence and first paragraph that catch the reader's attention.
  • Give readers a glimpse of your personality. Nobody wants to read dry blog posts stuffed full of keywords that ultimately say nothing. While it's true you want to include keywords, show the reader your personality inside of your blog post. Let them know a little bit about your story, and how you think.
  • Create an informative body message. If you've planned out your post well, with an outline, you will be able to create the body message easily. The body message is the meat of the message that you want to deliver.
  • Provide a conclusion in the last paragraph. Nothing is worse than reading something and feeling like it's left unfinished. Remember to make some conclusions in your last paragraph that ties everything you said together. Then ask your reader for feedback. Ask them a question about the content and invite them to answer.
  • Don't forget the CTA. Always include, within that last paragraph or directly under it, a specific and clear call to action (CTA). Do you want them to respond, to share, to buy? What do you want them to do? Tell them how and why to do what it is you want them to do.
Aside from these factors, it's important to also be concerned with headings, bullets and plenty of white space. Your headings need to be keyword-rich headings that make sense for what is about to be read by the reader. By using bolded headings, and larger text for headings, the headings will stand out better. By using bulleted points the same thing occurs. It just makes it easier for your reader to take in what is being said. People read by "scanning" and a blog post with bullets, headings and plenty of white space makes it easier.

Images that you include should be relevant images. If you're looking for blog images, check out Fotolia.com. For about $1 each, you can get great graphics to illustrate your blog posts.

By taking into account all these factors in your blog posts, you'll create effective blog posts every single time. In other words, your blog posts won't suck!

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