A blog post is a form of written text which is partially connected to academic writing, partially to journalism, partially to creative writing and also involves a lot of knowledge regarding social media communication, SEO and psychology.
Blog posts represent a key component within a standard content marketing strategy implemented by businesses.
A blog is the central hub around which the whole business communication takes place and where companies can centralize their inbound marketing strategy, their social media communication and can also promote and deliver all the remaining content that they decide to produce besides blog articles.
Each single article is a complex ecosystem which requires a disciplined approach.
Writing a proper blog post is not something that you can learn from one day to another.
The process involves four main steps:
1.Learning the basics in terms of communication, writing techniques and digital strategy
2. Reading a lot of articles trying to see how great posts are designed and constructed
3. Writing, writing, writing…
4. Reviewing, assessing feedback and learning from mistakes
The main goals here are:
-To find our own style
-To write informative and entertaining articles while also taking into account keywords and keyphrases
-To be recognizable
-To be unique and create value
-To be able to cover the main points for complex topics in a few paragraphs
Blog Post Length
There are many opinions when it comes to the length of a blog article.
Let’s say that anything between 300 and 6,000 words can be considered an average post. The span is huge…
But most likely, great articles usually consist of circa 1,200 to 1,900 words.
Statistically, it seems that these articles tend to be shared more often and that search engines like to reward them with higher priority due to the fact that such pieces of content contain enough information to be considered exhaustive.
The idea here revolves around your content, though.
If you feel you covered all the most important points in 700 words, there’s really no added value in adding extra paragraphs that would only bore the audience.
A blog post is a written text: repetition (essential in speeches) is useless, as readers can always go back and reread the most salient pieces of information.
At the same time, if the subject is extremely relevant and interesting, people (selected people who are particularly interested in the topic) will also follow you for 10,000 words.
Typically, though, a standard blog post should be read in six to seven minutes and if you need to add more data you can always subdivide your post into a series of posts or write a booklet or white paper.
Blog Post Structure
Feel free to experiment and find your own style in terms of structure as well…but make sure that your post is clear, easy to follow and immediately approachable.
Ideally, a blog post should be subdivided into blocks of paragraphs which represent mini chapters.
Each point should contain a very limited amount of paragraphs and paragraphs should be relatively short. Big chunks of written text scare readers off!
You information has to be clear and digestible. We are not trying to write a text book!
Blog Post Headline
As discussed in several blog posts, a headline is the most important part of your post when it comes to convincing people to read your article. It’s the cover of your book. If the cover is boring, nobody is going to want to open the book.
You can access plenty of resources which will show you what words statistically work best and trigger interest. You can view lots of information regarding what headlines went viral and why.
The idea though is that we need to create our own strategy: it would be sad if we all followed the same rules and included the same buzzwords. There would be no more variety and also effective keywords would just lose their meaning and strength.
Sensationalism is also a problem that might, in the long run, disrupt the whole blogging environment.
Too many hyperboles and powerful adjectives will turn words into useless and meaningless strings of characters. Hence, be careful when using superlative words.
Unless you’re actually writing about an extraordinary, ground-breaking research you personally carried out and which will revolutionize the whole internet communication sector try not to trick readers by using words like “extraordinary”, “awesome”, “revolutionize” and so on!
A story that covers the nutritional aspects of a yogurt can’t be defined as “a fantastically mysterious journey through the amazing and magical proprieties of the most miraculous product you’ve ever tried!” It’s just a ridiculous way to trick your audience.
But here’s what you can and must do:
-Spend a lot of time creating great content but also invest a very long time coming up with several headlines that capture the essence of your piece of content
-Select the ones that sound more original, interesting and valuable
-Test them with friends, family, neighbors or random strangers if you want
-Try out different combinations of words and ideas until the whole headline starts talking about your post
-Include words which trigger emotions. Feelings and emotions are in fact the most important component of pretty much everything…including information
-Deliver on your promise. Make sure your reader will agree on the fact that the time they invested in reading your post was well spent…starting from the fact that the article actually reflected what you presented in your headline.
Blog Post Introduction
The whole message contained in the article should be conveyed through the structure, as readers should be able to grasp the main gist just by skimming the post.
Typically, you can start with a brief introduction to the topic and you can mention why the information you’re about to share is relevant, interesting and important.
Your first paragraph must capture the attention of the audience and should immediately convince people to stick with you till the end. You need to pinpoint the real value of your piece of content and explain (also indirectly) why you decided to share your point of view on a topic.
Talking about SEO then, the introduction should also contain some of the most important keywords you want to present through your article, as the initial part of the post is highly valued by search engines which try to understand what your story is about.
The main body of your blog post
As mentioned, the main body should be divided into succinct chapters and the beginning of each chapter should contain the most important pieces of information since, sadly, most readers only focus on a few important sentences and swiftly fly over the rest of the content.
The main part of your article should extensively cover all the most important facts you intend to present in your piece of content: according to what kind of blog article you’re writing (how-to, a list, a piece of news, product review…) you should include all the critical facts and figures you want to write about in a very structured way.
The idea here is that there must be a logical sequence of thoughts which follow a scheme that you need to outline before jotting down ideas for the article.
You can’t treat a whole academic subject in a blog post, but the main points (what, why, when, how….) should be included and organized using a sensible and logical sequence.
It’s okay if the reader is left with some questions and wants to know more. It’s not okay, though, if they don’t even understand how your arguments and explanations or data and figures are connected with the main topic.
You need to learn a lot from other writers, but at the same time you need to find your individual way to present your own point of view, including your personal experiences and ideas.
Learn a lot about storytelling. There are plenty of resources out there and we also wrote a list of essential readings which will guide you through the process.
Take your reader out for a journey and show them how interesting the surroundings are!
The structure of your article should serve the objective of the article itself.
If it’s a how-to guide, readers should be happy about what they learned, if it’s an opinion piece, your idea should be clear and supported by sources and additional information. If you present data and figures you should also provide some analysis and categorize the information so that it can provide some insights….and so on.
Of course, your piece of content should be clear and well presented.
Proofreading and editing your posts are mandatory processes which you can perform after finishing a story.
Grammar and spelling must be checked and don’t trust your spell-check or online tools too much.
You (or better another person) have to be the real, human judge of your article.
Apart from that, in terms of language and style you’re pretty much free to find your own voice!
You can choose your personality and, as long as you can make your point, your unique style will only help create a competitive advantage for your article.
That’s the place where you need to be creative.
Blog posts are generally quite informal and casual as if you were having a conversation with a friend.
Nonetheless, adapt your style according to the kind of article you’re writing of course, but don’t be afraid to show your personality and present your ideas the way it works for you.
Be yourself. Writing a blog post is not like writing a university paper!
Find a balance between a proper informative piece of written content and the way you’re used to communicating with people on a daily basis!
Make sure to include your personal experiences and emotions and at the same time make sure that you find the right spots to involve the reader.
Wrapping it up
The final part of your blog post should offer some form of closing remark.
Either you confirm the idea you presented in the introduction or you just wrap up by reiterating the main points.
Sometimes a clever note or a provocative question are also useful tools which allow you to include readers in your journey and inspire them to comment and ask questions.
The most important point is that pictures should support your arguments or add information.
Visual aids are extremely powerful and definitely help maintain a proper level of attention while also creating some sort of structure in your post.
As usual, make sure that you are allowed to use the picture you publish, that you properly cite the source if you aren’t the owner of the image and that the photos you choose are more or less previously unseen and captivating.
One last point: Be Original!
Even though people are getting used to specific standards and these standards help readers navigate a typical blog post, you should always keep in mind that you are the sole creator of your blog article.
That means that you constantly have to try and find a balance between expectations and your own style on order to offer value and present a clear competitive advantage when people approach your articles.
This short list of tips should inspire you to find out more about topics like storytelling, composition, SEO and blogging in general.