by Mandy Tinglert, for The Design Prose
Finally stop staring at a blank screen and start crafting the blog you’ve been procrastinating over for the last 8 weeks/months/years (delete as applicable)
I see you, hiding behind your laptop (or under the duvet), toying with the idea of creating a blog but talking yourself out of it time and time again because you don’t think anyone could possibly be interested in what you have to share.
Or even worse, letting your chimp tell you you’re not good enough to join the blogging world.
Newsflash! You’ve got it all wrong.
There are circa 150 million blogs on the web as I write this, and every single one has relevant information for someone.
Not only does everyone have a story to tell, information to impart and expertise to share, but also, in 2019, business is all about building relationships. So you’re missing a trick if you don’t use every avenue available to you to do just that.
A blog is a great tool for increasing your reach and authority in your niche, and creating blog posts your audience want to engage with isn’t as hard as you think.
You’ve just got to get started.
These simple steps will help you get out of the blogging blocks today, so let’s start by breaking down the headline I’ve used for this blog post.
Trick 1: Create a Powerful Headline
Numbers work phenomenally well at piquing the interest of the casual scroller, so try and get both a number and a keyword into the headline. In this example, we’ve used both the number 5 and the keyword, ‘simple blog tricks’. This also shows the benefit they’ll gain from reading the post.
Using power words in your headlines triggers emotional and psychological responses from your reader, so in this example, ‘simple’ suggests that what you’re about to show the reader will be easy. The inclusion of the word ‘trick’ lets them know they’re going to discover a shortcut.
People want quick and easy solutions to their problems, and this headline promises just that. Nobody wants the long and complicated version, we’re all inherently lazy so make sure what you’re teasing in your headline is delivered in your content.
We’ve also added emotional words here. ‘Surprising’, suggests it will give them something they may not have read before. Who doesn’t want to discover something their competitor might not know about?
Consider creating a sub-heading for your blog, and make it benefit rich. I’ve used brackets in my sub-heading. Research shows the use of brackets can increase click through rates by a whopping 38% so if you can get brackets into your headline, you’ve struck gold (but don’t do it for every blog post – you don’t want to become predictable)
Use numbers and keyword in your headline
Use powerwords to elicit emotion
Create a benefit rich sub-headline & play with brackets
Trick 2: A Simple Introduction
Don’t fill the introduction with fluff.
You want to be clear and to the point, and to move them on to the body of the blog before they get bored, so make sure you explain what they are going to learn and how they are going to be able to implement it immediately.
Show how you understand what their problem is so they feel your empathy about their situation, and then simply let them know that your blog is going to solve that problem for them.
Show empathy with their problem/pain
Give brief overview of your solution and how it will provide quick relief to their problem/pain
Trick 3: Bullet Points & Simplicity
If your blog post is about your business, and you’re imparting information and advice, then it doesn’t need to flow with descriptive and emotional prose describing the hero’s journey. Save that for your personal blog (the one you’re definitely never going to get around to).
For business, just find the quickest way to deliver relevant information. Don’t be afraid of using humour if that’s congruent with your brand voice, but be mindful of adding just to increase the word count. For example, the word count for this blog post could be halved if necessary.
Get to the point and provide a pleasant user experience.
Write your first draft, read it aloud, remove anything that doesn’t sound right. Then read it again.
If you’re a serial waffler, commit to halving the word count of your first draft.
Remember what you promised and keep checking that you’re delivering.
Ditch the jargon and write like you speak.
Trick 4: Make it Visual
You’ve seen the new badges on Facebook showing who the ‘conversation starter’ is and who the ‘visual storyteller’ is right? Visuals are vital if you want people to read to the end of your blog post, and come back for the next one.
You don’t need to be a graphic whizz for this either. Simple screenshots like this work just as well as a fancy infographic to explain concepts to your reader visually.
You can use your own photos or find some blog worthy snaps online. Remember they need to be copyright free, so searching on platforms like Unsplash or Pixabay will allow you to find free and relevant images without any fear of being chased for infringement.
If you’re creating your own, think about your branding and make sure it’s congruent with your business, and easily recognisable as you. Not only does it mean people who are not in your circle, who find the blog post through shares can trace it back to you, but it also means those devilish little internet sneaks can’t download and pass it off as their own.
What about graphs and infographics?
Both are particularly effective when the content of your blog is rich in facts and figures.
Backing up the information you’re providing in your blog with research adds authority. For example, right now I’m talking about how important visuals are to your blog.
A quick Google search on this subject returned a beautiful infographic full of facts, figures AND sources, explaining EXACTLY why creating image rich content is key to encouraging high user engagement.
From a ranking perspective, it seems the more images you have, the more likely you are to return high in Google search results. Be generous, for a blog post of around 1500 words like this one, I’d start with 10 and work up from there.
Each image should be linked and clickable out to your other content or platforms, to research you’ve done backing up facts and figures, or to owners of content you’re sharing, keeping copyright infringement firmly in mind.
Let’s say you wrote this blog, and you had a previous blog post where you talked specifically about headline creation. You could link out to that blog effectively multiplying the impact of one blog to a heap of other content you’ve created in the past.
That’s how you make a beautiful evergreen blog world for your business, one that works hard for you whilst you’re doing other, far more interesting things with your time.
Just make sure the content you’re linking to is up to date, even if you wrote it months ago. Cast an eye over to make sure it’s still relevant.
So here we are having covered the headline, introduction, content and imagery, but what are we missing?
It’s the all important close with compelling call to action of course! Let’s not waste anymore time. The final and arguably most important blog trick we’re going to talk about is the Call to Action.
Trick 5: The Compelling Close and CTA
Transitioning from the body of the blog to the close should be smooth, see how the last paragraph of ‘Trick 4’ leads smoothly into ‘Trick 5’?
Again, it’s about writing like you speak so it doesn’t sound robotic.
In the close, you want to start having a conversation with the reader.
Get them involved.
Ask them which part they liked the best, or what they’re going to take away and start implementing on their own business.
If you’re brave, and your blog allows it, you can ask them if they think there’s anything missing from your content.
Then ask them to take specific action.
Leave a reply.
Encourage them to get involved in the conversation.
Share the blog.
This is where the magic happens. If they’ve made it to the CTA, they’re hooked so never leave the CTA out and stick around to get involved in discussions immediately after you’ve posted.
By posting blogs consistently you’ll reach more and more people, and even when the fanfare of your amazing blog post dies down and it stops being shared, it’s still going to appear in search results so you can find you’re enjoying leads months after you posted the content.
It goes without saying then that the more you post and the more consistent you are in doing so, the greater the chance you can be gathering leads in your sleep.
Not only that, but think of the repurposing!
A good blog should provide you with content for your other channels without you even thinking about it. Put in the hard work now and reap the benefits in the future.
Who’s ready to start their blog today?
Share in the comments and let’s support each other
Fancy getting to grips with the fundamentals of copywriting?
Mandy Tinglert, Copywriter for The Design Prose, and Copy Expert for The VIP Life Coaching Community has put together this easy to follow and simple to implement video course, so you can start writing compelling content for your social media, your sales pages, and of course YOUR NEW BLOG!