How to write blog content people love
Blogging is still one of the most popular content mediums in the world. More than half of marketers say blogs are their primary focus when it comes to content creation. But anyone can write a blog – the skill is in writing something people enjoy reading.
With that in mind, let’s explore how you can improve, update, or enhance your blogging skills to grow a loyal and engaged audience.
Do your homework
One of the first things you should do is find inspiration. Find blogs or articles you enjoy and consider what you like about them – this will give you something to aim for. In most cases, you’ll find great blogs have two key ingredients: an interesting subject and an accessible writing style.
Most subjects have already been written about in one way or another. What makes them interesting is the writer’s unique perspective. Research can help you find gaps in what’s already been written, and get you thinking about your subject in more detail. But remember to choose your sources carefully, and fact-check everything you read.
If you’re championing one side of an argument, read the opposition’s side, too. This will give you ideas to strengthen your own points or create counter-arguments, but it also avoids building a flimsy case based on something that has already been disproven.
Be wary of confirmation bias, which is the tendency to believe things that we already agree with. It clouds our judgment and ruins best intentions, so be aware of it the next time you find yourself nodding along to someone’s argument. Doing so might help you uncover a unique angle on a familiar topic that no-one has written about before.
Write like a human
The language you use will vary depending on your subject matter and the audience you’re trying to reach. In any case, accessibility is important and going overboard with jargon can alienate readers who’re less familiar with the topic. It’s always good to ask a friend who is unfamiliar with the subject matter to read through your work. If they can understand it, you’re on the right track.
When it comes to your choice of voice, favor the active over the passive – as I’m doing now. The active voice is more engaging, less open to confusion, and doesn’t sound as academic or stuffy as the passive. Consider this question: Why was the road crossed by the chicken? Doesn’t sound good, does it?
Also, use shorter paragraphs. If a reader comes across a large wall of text, it immediately becomes off-putting, so try and stick to a maximum of five or six sentences per paragraph. This isn’t set in stone though, and a little shorter or longer isn’t always bad. The most important thing is that you articulate your point succinctly and each paragraph ends logically. Subheadings and lists help readers scan for the information they’re looking for, so consider breaking up your content into easily discoverable and digestible chunks.
Thomas Jefferson, without a hint of irony or self-awareness, once said: “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Had he heeded his own advice, he would’ve said, “Don’t use two words if one is enough.”
Grab people’s attention
Titles and headlines lure people in to read your content. They should be specific, relevant, and benefit-focused. People are more likely to read an article titled How to change a car tyre in 5 steps, for example, than A guide to changing car tyres.
Be direct. Don’t mess around with something misleading or unclear. People click on blogs for a specific reason – they want answers, news or advice – so your headline should be something that either highlights the main benefit of what you’re writing about, solves a problem, or divulges some new, exciting information.
The average person spends just 96 seconds looking at a blog, so make sure you deliver on the promise made in your headline. Clickbait titles usually turn people off, so be honest about your content. It doesn’t have to appeal to everyone – when you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no-one – so stick to titles that grab the attention of your target reader.
Also, include SEO keywords in the title if you want it to appear closer to the top of search results – take a look at what we went with for this piece – I can assure you that is not a coincidence!
The more relevant you are, the more people will turn to you for fresh content. Keep up-to-date with the latest trends and make sure that the information and sources you’re using are still factually correct.
If we take the example of financial news, you should check markets and reliable news sources regularly, such as the Financial Times or Bloomberg, for anything that can undermine, contradict or otherwise change your material or arguments. At the time of writing, the financial markets are particularly volatile and fluctuations are commonplace. Even the traditional ‘Steady Eddie’ of the stock world, the S&P 500, has been all over the place – with a 1,000-point loss from February 20th to March 20th, and then a 600 point recovery since, it’s some feat keeping up with it.
The content is always going to be important, but you should also aim to be on the cutting edge when it comes to delivering your message. Keep up-to-date with the latest social media trends, and take advantage of sites like Buffer and Social Media Examiner to better understand how social media works.
Write for your audience
Understanding your readers is vital if you want them to stick with you. This means figuring out who your typical reader is, building a persona based on their lives, including hobbies, interests, income, age range, principles, and priorities.
If you enjoy data analysis, Google Analytics can reveal a lot about your visitors, but even better, ask your readers to give you feedback via forms, “like” buttons, or comment sections. People love talking about themselves and giving their opinions. Involving them isn’t just beneficial for you, but it makes your readers feel valued.
Feedback helps refine your work and is also a great source of ideas for future articles. Praise is always nice, but criticism is actually a lot more useful. Don’t take the negatives to heart – use them to make your work better. Once you know your readers as intimately as possible, you eliminate guesswork, you know what they love reading and write more of it.
Another way to keep readers engaged is to reward them. Affiliate programs, for example, are a great way of benefiting both you and your audience. If you sign up for our Affiliate program, you can give your readers $10 for free with no obligation to invest or borrow (all they need to do is pass KYC). You’ll also make $20 for every person that deposits at least $10, as well as 20% of the interest on their Flex investments.
Writing is hard. In many ways, it’s a craft and you must practice it to get better. Commit to writing a blog a week. Not only will this help you write content people love, but your content will rank higher (SEO), too.
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