Since launching my first blog, I’ve been the editor of two award-winning blogs and advising clients on their own blogs and content strategy is part of my day-to-day work.
In the course of my career I’ve been called upon to review many blog posts and even to judge entire blogs for awards. I’ve read the good, the bad – and the decidedly ugly – and all of them have taught me a lot about what makes an outstanding blog post.
The most important thing is to know exactly who you are writing for. For example, for this post my audience consists of would-be bloggers hoping to write the perfect post – and you can bet I’ve thought carefully about what they need to know.
You also need content that stands out. One of the best ways to ensure your post strikes a chord is to choose a topic that interests lots of people, but which isn’t already covered all over the internet. Such topics can be hard to come by, so why not try writing about a popular topic from a niche angle? You should also research other similar content – for example, when preparing this article I looked at some advice pieces on writing good blog posts by Social Triggers and TheWritePractice. The objective here is to identify where they are lacking so you can fill the gaps.
Getting down to the business of writing a post can be challenging. For many first-time bloggers, it’s easy to stray into the comfortable territory of lengthy school essays. Refrain from this! You’re your posts punchy, informative and funny and people will read on.
Once you have your killer content, you need to make your post eye-catching. Just combine these two tactics and you’ll be on to a winner. First step: choose a great image to accompany your text. By which I mean something like this photo of our office dog, Devon enjoying the London sights:
Rather than something like this, which is so generic it has been used to illustrate posts about HR. technology and accounting:
Next, give your post a title that will draw readers in. Come up with three amazing titles that people can’t help but click on. For example, I might have called this post “How to write the Breaking Bad of blog posts,” or “If Shakespeare blogged this is how he would do it.”
Finally, remember that written work can be a bit like a child – you always think yours is the smartest and most beautiful but that is not necessarily the case. External opinion and constructive criticism is vital here. Ask three people to review your post and to feed back on the title they like the most, any spelling and grammar errors, and, most importantly, ask them to highlight the sentence they found the most interesting and the one they found the most boring. The final step is to update what you’ve written based on this feedback and then publish.
Now you know how to get started – what are you waiting for? Start writing that first post while your enthusiasm is at its peak. And don’t forget to send me a link so I can see how you’ve done.
Heather Baker is founder and CEO of TopLine Comms, an integrated comms agency that helps B2B firms provoke a response through PR, social media, SEO, content marketing and video. Heather has an MBA from London Business School, is the current President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization in the UK and is editor of two leading blogs: The B2B PR Blog and Small Business Heroes.