The world of blogging is crowded, and standing out often boils down to one thing: Can you engage your readers? Writing a compelling blog post involves more than good grammar and accurate information – it’s about creating a narrative that hooks your audience from start to finish.
Here are some tips and suggestions.
Nail the Headline
Your blog’s headline serves as the digital equivalent of a first handshake or welcoming smile. It’s the gateway to your content, and its primary job is to pique readers’ curiosity and entice them to explore further. Without a captivating headline, your meticulously crafted blog stands no chance. So the question becomes: How do you write an irresistible headline?
- Leverage curiosity. We’re going to dig into curiosity more in the next section, but for now, just know that humans are naturally curious beings. The more curious you make people, the more likely they are to click and read. Don’t give everything away in the headline – create open loops that cause people to read the blog post.
- Use numbers. There’s a reason you see listicles everywhere – they work! Numbered list posts provide structure and convey a very specific promise to the reader. Whether it’s "10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills" or "5 Must-Try Recipes for Busy Weeknights," numbers can instantly make your headline more enticing.
- Emphasize benefits. People read blog posts for the value. Unlike a news article, which conveys information, a blog post is designed to offer something of value to the reader. Try to focus on benefits and results as much as possible.
There are plenty of other ways to write winning headlines, but if you follow these three tips, you’ll have more success than most.
If you want an idea of what not to do when writing a blog post, read a traditional news story. Go to a site like The New York Times or Washington Post and read the latest headlines. You’ll notice that they follow an inverted pyramid style where they share everything at the beginning and then gradually peel back the layers of the story and dig into the details.
When blogging, you don’t want to give everything away. You have to lead with curiosity and take people on a journey that requires them to read the full post. You do this by leveraging something marketers call “open loops.” Another term for an open loop would be a cliffhanger. By dotting your posts with cliffhangers at the end of paragraphs and sections, you encourage the reader to continue engaging with the post.
Keep it Digestible
Digestibility is a big one. Gone are the days when you could publish big walls of text and expect people to read. You have to keep the content consumable.
“The more information and detail you include, the better. But visitors will begin to skim if the content contains lengthy paragraphs a mile long, and will pop out faster than they came in,” The Blog Starter notes. “Visitors enjoy tidbits. Keep your paragraphs short with spaces in between, use lists and standout quotes, use images, and always include headings and subheadings so that visitors can find what they’re looking for.”
Today’s blog posts have to be scannable. Otherwise, you’ll lose out to social media feeds and other short-form content that satiates online users much faster and more effectively.
One of the best ways to make your content digestible is to insert visual content and aids into the post. This includes infographics, charts, graphs, embedded videos, high-quality images, and even pull quotes.
Visuals provide relief for the eyes. They’re also capable of communicating ideas that would otherwise require thousands of words to convey. As a result, people stick around and feel like they get more value out of your content.
Storytelling is the bridge between information and emotional engagement. It allows readers to connect with your content on a personal level, making your message more relatable and memorable.
As humans, we’ve evolved over many centuries to accept stories as an easy way to understand and remember information. The more you tell stories, the more you awaken that part of the brain that’s compelled by narratives.
Use Effective CTAs
Getting people to read your blog posts is one thing. You also want them to take action. But unless you give them clear direction, they won’t.
Strong calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your post will help you control how people interact with your content. These CTAs should be concise and action-oriented. Use strong verbs that clearly convey what you want the reader to do. For example, "Download Now," "Subscribe Today," or "Learn More." And don’t be afraid to mix in a little FOMO from time to time. Phrases like "Limited Time Offer" or "Join Now to Get Exclusive Access" can spur immediate action.
Write a Killer Blog Post!
You don’t need to be a world-class writer to produce engaging blog posts that people read, share, and adore. It all comes down to leveraging principles of engagement and human psychology.
By creating an insatiable appetite for your content, you’ll never struggle for clicks or shares.