This is how you write the perfect blog post. More than 2,000,000 (two million) blog posts are published on the web every single day, according to an infographic by MBAonline.com and research by Technorati. With all those posts, there’s a wealth of data out there about what makes blogs and blog posts successful. Thankfully, Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers.com analyzed some of that data for us and published his conclusions. Based on Derek’s article, here’s everything you need to know to write the perfect blog post.
9 Keys to the perfect blog post
The above image links to the full version. Below are the text blocks in a scannable form, along some additional analysis. By the way, you may notice that this very blog violates some of these keys. We’re working on it.
1. Grab attention with a compelling headline
Your headline gets read more than anything else on your website. That’s why your headline serves one goal: grab attention so people feel compelled to read your opening.
You never get a second chance at a first impression. If your introduction is weak or easy to miss, you blew your first impression and you’ll be fighting to make up lost ground from there. Hopefully, for the web authors out there, “How to Write the Perfect Blog Post” is a good headline. It certainly caught my attention.
2. Hook them in the opening paragraph
Direct marketers have long known that if you get people to read your first 3-4 sentences, they’re more likely to read your entire article. That said, the point of your opening is to get people to read your opening…and that’s it.
There’s a reason many journalists open their stories with the conclusion and end with the introduction. Getting to the point and hooking your reader makes gets them interested and keeps them reading. Your opening should be strong, clear, and succinct.
3. Half-width image
When people make snap decisions about text, they prefer fewer characters per line (CPL). The half-width image shortens the line length of the opening–fewer CPL–thus enticing people to read because it caters to their preferences.
One size may not fit all and your mileage may vary. That is―if your layout is non-standard, or your CPL is already low, the half-width image may not work for you. I chose a full-width image below my opening, since I’m comfortable with our blog’s line lengths already.
4. Big promise
This sub-headline has one main goal…to entice people to read your first piece of content and that’s it. How? Make a promise to your readers…give them a benefit.
Our sub-headline came right below my image: “9 keys to the perfect blog post.” It repeats elements from the title. It’s big and bold. And it wraps up into a bite-sized number (9) the information we’re about to give you. I think it does its job.
5. Connect emotionally
Your first piece of content should aim to trigger an emotion in your reader. When people get emotional, they pay attention. They’re also more likely to take action after being put into an emotional state.
Admittedly, this post is lacking in the emotion department. I tried coming up with visions of glory in the heat of battle to motivate you and inspire some pride, but it wasn’t coming together right for a blog post about blog posts. Again: we’re working on it.
6. The soundbite
Use a click to tweet “quote” right here. Why? Why do people quote? People quote authorities. Enticing people to quote you positions you as an authority. Plus, people like tweeting quotes and you’ll get more traffic from social media as a result of it.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Try something different.
Not a bad sound bite, right? Unfortunately, it arrived later than Derek suggests, buried in the middle of the post’s main content.
7. Big promise #2
Here’s where you promise people exactly what they’ll learn…the step-by-step method…the how to. You already connected, now’s the time to get people to take action.
My description paragraph immediately above #1 does just that. It gives an example for context, previews the content below, and even provides a little pre-analysis analysis.
8. The how-to section
Give people practical, easy to implement advice. Get people results, and they’ll remember you forever. Also, practically useful content is more viral than other types of content.
How’s this for practical advice? It doesn’t get any more step-by-step than this. These 9 keys are the path to successful blog posts.
9. Buy or subscribe
Here’s where you close out your article with another call to action. You can include a “buy now” CTA or a “subscribe.” I often use subscribe.
We’re working on it. The best action we can offer (or ask for) at the bottom of this post is to comment and share. They’re not as dramatic as subscribe or buy now, but we’d love it just the same if you would do it anyway.