Content creation is a key part of online marketing. Blog posts play a major role in your brand’s growth, and you want excellent content to connect with your audience.
You know you need the perfect blog post to represent your brand. But where do you start?
What makes an effective blog post?
There is no set formula for a perfect blog post. However, there are some general goals your posts should achieve for them to be effective.
Effective content shares certain specific qualities, regardless of what it’s about. Formatting and visual appeal play as important a role in sharing your message as the words you write.
Let’s take a look at what makes a great blog post, and the steps you can follow to get started on your own. By following our guide, you can learn to write stellar content that takes your blogging strategy to the next level.
#1: Give Your Post An Eye-Catching Headline
Before anyone reads your post, they’ll read its headline. Your post’s headline has to catch your audience’s attention, then convince them to click the link. For many bloggers, this is easier said than done.
Clever headlines aren’t always the most effective. The best headlines catch the reader’s attention and tell them what to expect when they read the article.
There are a few headline formulas you can use to create good blog titles. How-to’s, lists, titles with interesting questions, and checklists are all effective foundations for headlines.
Your headline should cover the subject at hand. Include your target keyword in your blog title, and mention how your article can help your reader.
Want to know how your headline stacks up? Check out CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Enter your prospective title into their tool, and see how it measures up against their algorithm. Use your headline score to see how you can improve your blog title.
#2: Write A Good Introduction
Like your article’s headline, the introduction’s main purpose is to capture your audience’s attention. You want to convince your reader to read your post all the way through – at the very least, you want them to skim it.
Writing a blog post’s introduction takes time. You’ll probably re-visit it several times before you publish the article.
Making the perfect introduction gets easier with practice. Keep the following in mind as your write yours:
- Offer Value: Your reader has to spend time reading your article. Show them it’s worth their while by offering them something of value in your introduction. Help your reader answer the question, “Why should I take the time to read this?”
- Share Facts: Statistics are common used in blog introductions. Why? Because they put the topic in perspective using factual information. Factual information shows your audience you’re not only sharing your opinion, you’re using bona fide information to help your audience.
- Tell a Story: Everyone loves a good story. Have an anecdote related to your topic? Share it in your introduction to capture your reader’s attention.
#3: Write a Rough Draft
If you’re writing, editing, and publishing your blog posts in one broad motion, you may not produce your best content.
Editing is a vital part of the blogging process. No matter how talented you are as a writer, there are always mistakes or helpful changes you’ll catch by reading through your article at least a second time.
A rough draft is the first logical step toward creating a phenomenal blog post. To help your drafting process, keep the following tips in mind to streamline your workflow and speed up your writing.
Create an Outline For Your Post
Before you start writing anything, create an outline for your article. An outline will help you identify the information you must include in the final draft. It will also help you remove any unnecessary information before you start writing.
As you write your outline:
- Write down the main points and key ideas you’d like to share with your audience.
- Add bullets to your main points, detailing your knowledge and advice on the topic.
- Note ways you can help your audience understand these concepts, using images,case studies, anecdotes, infographics, videos, etc.
Your outline will probably be made up of mostly bulleted lists. Once completed, these bullets are easily converted into headings and subheadings. Then you turn their content into entertaining, informative paragraphs.
Turn Your Outline Into a Blog Post
Now that you’ve got your ideas on paper, it’s time to put them in a format people will want to read.
For your first draft, don’t take the time to edit as you write. Set aside time after to do the editing.
As you write your blog post, put down all of the information you think your audience will want to hear. Don’t worry much about your word choice, grammar, and spelling at this stage – learn to fix your errors when you edit, instead of taking time away from your writing during the draft stage.
Your first draft should use the information from your outline as a basic structure. In the draft, your job is to fill in the blanks and turn your information into something people want to read.
Choose Your Words Accordingly
Nothing annoys me more than finding an article I’d like to read, only to be met with an incoherent wall of text.
In English class, we all learned to use big words. We were also taught to use long sentence. The fancier our work sounded, the better grade we achieved.
At least, that’s how my high school was.
Blogging is different. You’re not trying to impress your audience. You’re trying to connect with them.
The best blog posts are readable. Long sentences can wear out readers, and make them lose their attention. Shorter sentences take less time to consume. This makes them easier to understand, and more enjoyable to read.
Your posts should use a combination of long and short sentences. This makes your posts easier to read. Don’t use too many short sentences in a row, or your post may sound choppy – instead, use an equal amount of short, medium, and long sentences to make your post more enjoyable to read.
Confirm Your Information and Logic
If you’re lucky enough to have an editor, they’ll do this for you. It’s easier for another set of eyes to notice gaps in logic or false information, although you can do it yourself with practice.
Consider waiting at least 12 to 24 hours after you’ve finished your post to check it for gaps in your information. This will help you look at your work with fresh eyes and see new ways you can improve it.
When you’re checking your article, look for information you haven’t sourced. Where did you find that information? Are you sure it’s true? Double-check any information you haven’t sourced to guarantee it’s validity.
Once you know your information is valid, check your logic. Are you applying the information accordingly? How much of it actually applies to the reader? Are you using any logical fallacies to prove your point or present an argument?
Finally, you’ll want to read over your conclusion. Your blog’s conclusion isn’t as important as its headline or its introduction paragraph, but it does serve a purpose: it’s your call-to-action.
Most of us rush into our CTA’s without giving much thought to the conclusion. Reader’s know this, so many times they don’t read conclusions.
How can you fix this?
By making your conclusion a valuable part of your article. Share a resolution to the problem you discussed in your article. Sum up all of the important points you made about the topic. Then, suggest an action your reader can take to apply the information to their own life – or places they can find more information, like your free eBook or Infographics.
#4: Finalize Your Draft
You’ve made it through the hard part of the process: your draft is complete.
Now that you’ve got your ideas on paper, it’s time to make them shine.
If you have a proofreading team, it’s time to send them your draft. Take their advice to heart, and keep it in mind when you write future articles.
When you’re editing your own post, you need to put your own personal opinion aside and look at your work objectively. It’s your work, so you might have a biased opinion from the start.
Edit your article as if you were editing one written by a stranger. Don’t cut any corners, and scrutinize your work thoroughly. Even a few small errors can make an otherwise excellent copy seem unprofessional.
The editing process doesn’t have to take very long, but you shouldn’t ever skip it. Even the best writers find mistakes in their work after looking at it with fresh eyes.
What should you look for as you edit your blog post? We’ve created a checklist to help you finalize your draft:
- Are each of your sentences no more than 25 words long?
- Are you using a combination of short, long, and medium length sentences?
- How long are your paragraphs? If they’re longer than 3 sentences, consider splitting them.
- Are your keywords and phrases included in your post?
- Have you proofread for spelling errors?
- Are there any grammatical errors?
- Does your article contain any broken links?
- Have you included your keyword in your headline, page title, and meta description?
- Does your post meet your SEO expectations? Have you. Run an SEO check?
- Did you format headings and subheadings accordingly?
#5: Round Out Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing doesn’t work by itself anymore. To reach your maximum potential, you’ll need associated content to promote your blog.
Associated content comes in many forms. Social media is a popular place to share associated content.
Anything you create to promote your blog post on platforms other than your website can be considered associated content. Let’s take a look at associated content you can use to promote your blog posts.
Freebies & Giveaways
Digital content is growing in popularity. Instead of buying physical copies of books, readers are turning to eBooks, PDF’s, and Infographics to learn more about their favorite topics.
What’s great about digital content for you as a Shopify store owner and blogger? You don’t have to give away a physical product for free anymore – you can give away exclusive content.
It’s common to find freebie offers from blogs around the web. Digital freebies are a cost effective way for you to share value with your reader. They also work to promote your blog posts, growing your exposure.
Offer your freebies as you see fit. We recommend creating a digital giveaway offer that directly relates to your blog post – particularly if it’s an evergreen piece or an epic post.
Take this exact post for example. In addition to the post, we could include an eBook offer. The eBook could expand on some of the topics in this article, and present new ones. Essentially, the post could serve as an intro piece to the eBook.
In addition to eBooks, you might consider offering the following as valuable freebies:
- Check Lists
- How-To Guides
- Chapters From Your Own Published Book
These freebies will encourage readers to return to your blog in the future. They’ll also encourage readers to share your blog post with others, based on the value you’ve offered them.
Freebie offers are also an excellent way to attract leads. Readers come for the content in your blog post, and they’ll be more likely to enter their email when prompted with a related freebie.
Giveaways make your content work for you. Your only investment is the time it takes to make them, and they can pay off exorbitantly by way of leads and exposure.
Make Content for Social Media Sharing
Social media marketing and content marketing go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
Once you have your final draft, you’ll have loads of quotes and statistics to make effective social media posts. The idea is to create content that entices your audience to read the article, then share it with their friends.
The more engagement your social media posts achieve, the farther your article will go. In your social media posts, ask your audience for engagement.
- Ask a question to prompt entries in the comments section.
- Prompt your audience to share your article if they thought it was relevant, or if it helped them solve a problem.
- Ask your audience to post their own advice or knowledge in the comments section.
Publish your social media posts according to each platform’s peak times. Take the time to create a proper publishing schedule for your blog and social media posts to take advantage of peak engagement hours.
For social media marketing to work best, you need to stay on track. Pages with a steady stream of new content and engagement perform much better than those who post irregularly or not at all.
The better your social media posts perform, the more attention your articles will attract. Social shares have a massive impact on an article’s exposure – even more so than SEO factors, in many cases. Maximize your social media sharing efforts to make your content work for you.
#6: Promote Your Work
Your post is finished. You’re ready to share it with the world. Congratulations!
The next step is to publish your work. How you publish your article will depend on your blogging platform, but it should be fairly straightforward.
After you’ve published your post, you need to promote it. On the internet, there is no such thing as “if you build it, they will come.” Readers won’t come to you, you have to go to them.
Share your content with your email subscribers. They’re the most likely group to read your article as soon as it’s published, because they’ve already shown an interest in your brand.
Then, share your content on social media. Not just associated content, but the content itself. Ask your audience for engagement as discussed above to get the next batch of readers to your article.
Find relevant blog posts with substantial audiences, and promote your article in the comments. Don’t be annoying about it – instead, offer helpful information and discuss how readers can fill in the gaps by checking out your work. Don’t try to make yourself look smarter or more professional. Kindly offer your additional knowledge, and you can attract readers.
Once your post has cycled through its initial influx of readers and engagement, it’s not time to forget about it. Share evergreen content continually, adding new information as it develops. You should also link back to your post in future posts, to help it get continual engagement as your brand grows.
Blog posts are an important part of running a Shopify store. Content marketing is on the rise, as it works to replace traditional marketing efforts at a substantial rate.
Whether you’re a professional writer or you’re looking to save money by doing your own work, knowing how to write an effective blog post is an invaluable skill in 2017. By following our checklist, you can create stellar blog posts that promote your brand and offer value to your audience in one fell swoop.
What process do you go through as you write a blog post? Do you have any tips and tricks to offer?
Special thanks to CoSchedule for their in-dept how-to guide on writing killer blog posts. Head over to their blog to see their advice for creating the best content on the web.