Blogging and writing aren’t necessarily the same thing. It is one thing to write a term paper and it is completely another to write a good blog post.
Blogging is about helping people, but doing it in such a style as to attract and HOLD attention throughout the post.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to write for your blog. Because I see a lot of people doing it wrong. And it is SO difficult to stand out in a crowded blogosphere when you don’t write in a compelling way.
IMPORTANT Your Reader’s Mindset
One of the big mistakes bloggers make (and it costs them traffic) is to focus so much on themselves that they lose the reader. It is very important to understand the psychology of your reader when they arrive on your site. When you understand that – and work WITH it – you can get get things going.
First off, understand that your typical reader is in a borderline hypnotic state. The Internet is a constant INFLOW to them. And everything is vying for their attention, so much so that it all starts to look the same. Have you ever been driving down the road for a few hours and feel yourself starting to dope off? That’s because of the constant inflow. The road is coming at you constantly and you’re not doing anything to balance it out with an outflow. So, you start to fall asleep. The SAME thing is happening online to most of our blog readers.
This is why people don’t read your posts. This is why how you structure a post matters so much. This is why headlines matter so much. Because you’ve got to wake them up enough to pay attention to you.
Lastly, your readers care about THEMSELVES. Not you. Things you think are important aren’t necessarily important to them. So, your inroads to them is helping them. You always need to answer the question for them… “What’s in it for me?”. And, by “me”, I’m talking about your reader.
WARNING Don’t Do This!
Before I tell you what to do when writing, I should first start off with what NOT to do.
- Don’t have a long post which isn’t broken up with sub-headlines.
- Don’t justify your post text right and left.
- Don’t use long paragraphs.
- Don’t try to impress people with academic language.
- Don’t use boring headlines.
This might piss off some academic types, but the truth is that people who try to write a blog like they wrote for school usually make the WORSE bloggers. We don’t blog to get an “A”. We blog to attract attention and HOLD it. And we do this in an increasingly demanding world with a lot of competetion for our attention.
Nobody likes reading term papers, PHD thesis papers, or the notorious “5-part essay”. So, don’t try to bring those “skills” to blogging.
RULES The 6 Rules Of Proper Blog Writing
Those who learn to follow these rules make the best bloggers. Learn them and apply them. Here we go…
- Always start with a compelling headline. The headline is usually the determining factor on whether anybody will even attempt to read your post.
- The first few lines of the post have to be compelling. Make it get their attention and draw them in. The purpose of the first few lines is to serve as a gateway to the rest of the post. If the beginning is boring, they won’t continue.
- Break up the flow of a post with sub-headlines which are bold and bigger than the rest of the text. Make the text of the sub-headlines interesting and as keyword-relevant as possible. The purpose of a sub-headline is to make the reader WANT to read the text right under it.
- Use short paragraphs. In academic writing, the paragraph is supposed to group a single idea together. In blog writing, the paragraph is more importantly used to control reader flow. Remember, readers are lazy. If you give them a paragraph with any more than 4-5 lines in it, you might start to lose them.
- Use bullet points and numerical lists wherever appropriate. These serve to break up the flow. Plus, people tend to scan down the left side of the content. The bullets and numbers in a list will catch the scanners and pull them into the text of those bullets.
- Don’t try to impress with snobby language. The purpose of a blog is to COMMUNICATE, and you won’t actually achieve that if people don’t understand you because you’re using words they don’t understand.
HEADLINES A Few Proven Headline Formulas
The headline is super important. You can have an AWESOME blog post, but a poor headline can still absolutely kill it.
Your best education on headlines is observation. See what the headlines are of blog posts which perform well across the web. Look at social bookmarking sites to see what headlines those popular posts are using. Another place to learn effective headlines is magazine covers. Take a trip to the local newsstand or watch the celebrity mags in the grocery store checkout line. You’re not interested in the SUBJECT of their headlines, but on how they are structured.
Here are a few headline types that work pretty well:
- Provide a reason why. The headline should focus not just on the subject of the post, but on what it can do for the reader. For example, you might be talking about a new web app designed to help people with todo lists. A headline like “New, Free Todo List Site” would be relatively boring. “Manage your daily tasks for free with XXXX” would be better. Provides a reason why and answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”
- List Headlines. Classically VERY workable. “5 Sure-Fire Ways To…..”. “6 Awesome Google Labs Projects That Flew Under the Radar”, “10 Simple Ways To Manage Your Music In The Cloud”, “5 Reasons Why The Iphone Sucks”. You get the idea.
- “How To” Headlines. Another classic and workable, as long as people are out there searching for how to do it. Important part here is to phrase the headline in a way that people would actually search for.
- Pattern Interrupt headlines. People surf the Internet in a borderline hypnotic state and part of the job of the headline is to wake them up enough to want to click. It is called a “pattern interrupt” because it disrupts the pattern. There are various ways to engineer a pattern interupt, including the use of controversy, metaphors to current events/celebrities, or even sexual reference (yes, there are tasteful ways to employ them).
MORE Additional Reading From The Archives
- Crazy Tip For Overcoming Writers Block
- 7 Simple Tips For Blogging Faster [Without Caffeine]
- How To Write For Blog Readers Just RIDDLED With ADD
- The Secret To Huge Volumes Of Content For Any Blogger
- The 10 Minute Blog Post
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