There are more blogs in existence than ever, yet more and more people are seduced by the idea of sharing their thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world.
As a matter of fact, it does seem as if there’s a war out there. Everyone is fighting for attention, there are so many things to learn and master. So many social networks, marketing techniques. There’s even an awful lot of content on blogging itself, which makes it even more frustrating.
How do you write a great blog post?
I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t know the answer. Or would I …
1. The Headline (also known as the title)
A while ago I wrote a novella about a painter who used to first sign his paintings, give them titles, and then paint the damn things.
Under no circumstance do you write a post before writing a headline. How can you hit a target you do not see? How can you reach a place you’ve never been to without consulting a map (or a GPS because it’s the 21st century after all)?
A lot of posts are a bit about everything, and the title seems to be something that does not mean anything to anyone, especially to the person who wrote the post. It’s quite confusing to click on a blog post and have no idea what to expect.
If you want to write a blog post that is concise and offers clarity and conviction, spend some time crafting a great headline that sets a clear destination, lures readers in, and leaves them eager for your advice.
Your headline is your foundation. Everything you do after typing it depends on how good your headline is.
Rules to writing a great headline:
- Choose an Interesting Topic
Your headline must promise readers answers to the questions that keep them up at night. Or at least make them interested enough to open your post. Clickbaiting is a practice older than the ability to click on something, but it’s still alive and well.Try to figure out what it is that your readers like to read more from you. And if you can’t do that, then you could always ask them.
Your primary responsibility is towards your audience, and thus it is crucial to know what they want.
Of course, there are some topics that seem to garner a lot of attention. “How to do this or that,” or “How I did this or that.” I also like to title some of my posts with, “What I learned from…” List posts perform quite well: 12 books that will make you cry, Ten movies that were better than the book.
- Make the Title as Engaging as Possible
If your headline is too vague, or lacks soul, then your readers will be indifferent to it. The title should make them feel, not only understand what the post is all about.
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Engage the senses. Make them feel that this post means something, that it offers the kind of insight they’ve been longing for. This post is going to accurately describe the way they felt and could not put into words. It’s the kind of magic that turns a casual reader into an avid fan.
- Don’t Give It All Away
A common mistake is to give away too much in your headlines. They should lure your readers in like the song of a mermaid, they should catch their attention and make them curious, not offer them a condensed version of your blog post; if you do this, then they won’t feel the need to read past the headline.
- Don’t Cheat Your Readers
When it comes to headlines, this is the one rule you must never, ever forget about. Do not deceive your readers.
This may seem like common sense, but a lot of bloggers do this by promising one thing and delivering something else. They over-promise and fall short.
You must deliver what you promise. Let’s say you write a post titled 8 Best Ways To Gain Followers For Your Blog. Nothing wrong with that, except the fact that your eighth way contains but a link to a page that sells people something.
In other words: don’t tell people it’s raining when you know it’s sunny.
2. The Introduction
Even though that killer headline of yours lured your readers in, don’t celebrate just yet. You’ve got to keep them, and in this age of short attention spans, that’s no an easy task.
When so many things are clamoring for your readers’ attention, you must fight to keep them glued to their screens, reading your post.
How do you do that?