The human body is a wonderfully complex mechanism, complete with gauges, systems, and a support structure.
It is, in fact, so brilliant in its execution, that we can learn and use some of the same principles to write the perfect blog post.
Most of you know about the structure of a blog post: headline, introduction, featured image, conclusion, but there’s so much more you can do, there’s so much more you can achieve if you think of your article as a living, breathing organism.
The skeleton of an article is comprised of five basic elements:
- The headline. The first thing a potential reader notices, and it offers crucial information as to what the article is about, what type of value it aims to provide, and even the style and voice of said article.
- The featured image. An image or graphic that showcases your article’s main point, and the most valuable piece of real estate on your blog feed, on search engines, and on content aggregators. It can be used to attract the article’s target audience and provide a visual representation of the article’s key takeaway.
- The introduction. The opening paragraph (usually no longer than five sentences) provides just enough information to entice the reader into wanting to read the rest of the article.
These 3 elements combined form the hook; what is usually visible across blog feeds and on search engines and content aggregators. Everyone in this universe, from your target audience to your haters, will decide whether or not to click on your article based on how well these 3 elements work together.
Next, we have:
4. The subheads. Think of them as the backbone of your article. If it were a product you were selling, the subheads would have been your product’s main features. It’s best to think of them like that. The subheads are your article’s main takeaways, the insider secrets, the actionable steps, the paradigm shift you provide your readers.
5. The conclusion. Also known as the call to action, if your article is trying to inspire action. The ending, most of all, has to enhance the introduction, tie it all together, and provide one last piece of actionable advice or motivational phrase that empowers your readers.
An article’s skeleton ensures that your blog post has a sense of direction and purpose, that it’s structured in a way that can support the main idea/topic, and that the main elements work together to form a coherent piece of writing.
Next, we must add a bit of meat on top of our skeleton. Think of the meat as the arguments you use to support your key takeaways, or the story you tell to end your article on a positive note, or the analogy you use in your introduction.
In other words, the meat adds consistency to your article.
The internal organs are:
- The bullet lists you use to organize a lengthy paragraph
- A list of benefits you share with your readers
- The key features of your article.
The skin is represented by the graphics and images you choose for your article. They are not just there to break down large chunks of text, they’re there to further enhance your article’s key takeaways, to provide a visual representation of your calls to action, and to support your article with charts and graphs.
The muscles? Well, that’s when you punch those damn keys. The emotional undertone of your article, the bold truths you share with your audience, even if your fingers shake against the keyboard. Passion, conviction, authority. These are the 3 building blocks of the perfect article’s muscles.
99.9% of bloggers stop at this, albeit most of their articles are kind of skinny for lack of muscles and their skin has a weird glow because of an uninspired choice of images and graphics.
What do they fail to realize?
All they have is a body. It’s not quite alive. It’s just a beautifully preserved corpse, destined to be ignored among the 1,500 other articles that will go live during the exact same hour.
Yes, the sad truth is that over 70 million articles go live every single month, and 99.9% are not even alive, let alone blockbuster articles that educate, entertain, or engage.
What is missing?
The elements that give an article life:
The brain represents the data you collect, the research-driven points you make, the studies you quote. They appeal to the rational reader.
The lungs are there to give your article a bit of breathing room. The formatting of your article, the way you break down paragraphs, your use of bullet points.
Your article must be easy on the stomach and offer easy-to-follow tips and advice.
The eyes represent the vision you share with your readers, the way you paint an image of a potential future, or the way you help them become aware of what has always been hidden in plain sight.
The kidneys filter out the fluff, the useless, the harmful, the redundant information. They are there to help you provide clarity to your readers. Or as Stephen King says, “they kill your darlings,” the redundant elements you’re too scared to remove, even though their omission would have a massive positive impact on your article.
Last but not least, the heart represents your courage to inspire, to write your truth, no matter what, to motivate, to give hope to your readers. A lot of bloggers mistake muscles for heart. Yes, the heart is a muscle, but it’s also what keeps us alive. It’s also the bit of empathy that comforts your readers and overcomes their objections.
In the end, we have something that looks like this:
Click here to download a high-quality version of this infographic as part of our free bundle of resources.
No matter how long it takes, how much time you’ve got to spend at your desk, bleeding words, doing research, refining your style, vision, and voice, make sure that your article is truly alive, that it can sustain itself, that it has a backbone, all the internal organs, and a beating heart.