When I suggested last week that content isn’t king, I concluded that you need two things for successful blogging: great content and SEO (in which I included social signals / authority / branding / marketing).
But, how do you create great content? How do you write content that people want to share, content that people want to link to and content that makes people want to come back to your blog again and again and again?
1. Create an eye catching title that is relevant to the subject
An attention grabbing title gets people to click through and visit your site. I did this recently with my post “Why You Suck at Charging Clients and What To Do About It”. This technique works well on Twitter where I got many more click-throughs than if the title was: “How to bill your clients”.
The sooner you win your readers’ attention, the longer they will stay on your blog. Try to include your keyword in the title. Ensure that your content is relevant to the heading. Never include information that is irrelevant as this will confuse your readers and work against you SEO-wise.
More eye catching title ideas here from Copyblogger: 7 Sure-Fire Headline Templates That Work.
2. Use the “pyramid style” to deliver your message
In the newspaper industry, journalists knew that they only have a few seconds to grab the attention of the reader. They prioritized the information, starting with the most important points and moving the least important ones at the end. The same applies when creating blog content. Ensure that the most relevant information appears in the first few sentences of the blog post.
And, like news journalists, use short sentences to emphasize a point.
3. Write like you are conversing with a friend
A real friend will tell you the truth in a manner that you can understand. Apply the same when writing your content. Avoid flowery speeches and use of jargon. The use of long and complex words will only confuse and bore your readers; so avoid them.
George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
4. Be straightforward
Do not be wishy-washy when creating your blog content as this can be very annoying to your readers. Support what you are writing with facts. If you are giving an opinion, stand up for it. It does not matter whether people agree with you or not. Never worry about being politically correct as trying to please everyone can backfire on you.
5. Remember your keywords
No matter how great and informative your blog content is, it will not achieve the desired goal of reaching your audience if it is not optimized for the search engines. This is why you need to identify your keywords and key phrases and use them in the titles and throughout your content. But, don’t “stuff” your content with keywords.
6. Call your readers to action
At the end of your content, be sure to ask your readers to take action, whether it is clicking to a link, subscribing to your feed or signing up for a free ebook. Ask, and you shall get. You can ask them to perform some task that was discussed in the article. Without calling your readers to action, chances are they will leave without doing anything.
7. Write content that your audience wants to read
You can be composing the most fantastic, eye-catching, straightforward prose in the world, but if no one is interested in the subject it won’t do you any good. So, use Analytics, the Keyword Tool, Google Suggest and forums to see what your target readership is interested in… and give them what they want!
What you can do
We find creating good content for our blogs challenging sometimes. So the next time you do, sit down with a clear head in a quiet place and try to bang out a 700-hundred word classic that the blogging pros would die for.
Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the call to action: click one of the following buttons, please!