The perfect blog is not produced by a creative genius trapped in a state of enlightenment. Having said that it also is not the result of certain ingredients mixed the same way each time.
Yes, there are key elements that need to be optimised. Yes, there is a science behind the perfect blog. And, yes there is a touch of creative flare involved in those that are shared far and wide. But, ultimately anyone can write a stellar blog piece.
This is exactly how it is done.
The first place to start writing your perfect blog is to see what your competitors have been producing. Look at:
- The headlines they have used
- The content they have chosen
- The number of shares and likes each post has received
This information will tell you areas that get serious traction so that you can write a bigger and better piece on that subject matter. It will also show you what audience your competition is targeting and whether they are chasing a niche or targeting the same crowd you are.
This is all valuable information. You do not have to be at odds with your competition. If they are writing material for a particular niche you could share this and hope to build a relationship that will see your work shared by them in the future.
You should conclude your competitor analysis with an idea of what topics would be a strong base for your perfect blog. Social Crawlytics is a great tool to use for competitor research (For a blog specifically on Social Crawlytics go to: https://www.seotrafficlab.com/blog/guide-creating-great-content-will-work/.
Keyword analysis is always a good idea. There is no point writing the perfect blog post around the word SEO for instance. You have to cut a niche into your subject matter, link to something trending, or blow people’s minds with come truly original content. Chances are though that someone will have been there before you no matter how much creative genius you have brimming up inside of you.
A good way to compare your ideas to those that have done extremely well socially is to open a free Buzzsumo account. Buzzsumo takes a keyword and shows you what posts containing it have gone viral. This gives you a good idea of what users want from their content and will help you create a post from that angle.
Adwords Keyword Planner is the tool we use to research keywords so we know exactly how much traction they could potentially pull. However, it is important to note that you should not change the structure of message to suit your keyword analysis. Yes, bare it in mind and try to gravitate towards keywords that will help your post rank but if you are promoting it via social media this is not paramount. The pull of the piece can overcome keyword disadvantages if it is written well and put in front of the right audiences.
Now that your blog post has been thoroughly researched it is time to plot your layout. It sounds strange but often if you can see your blog piece in boxes you will have an overview of the big picture and then you can work on creating strong components from there. Think about what you want to achieve with the finished article and then work back to each strand in meticulous detail. Here is an overview we like to use to remind us of the importance of:
- Calls to Action
This is not a one size fits all plan. It can be extended or reduced in size but the general principle is that blocks work best. The perfect blog will be made up of lots of segments (bite-size chunks) of information. The sub-headings mean that readers can take away one segment, read them all, or scan the whole blog for snippets of advice to use in tweets/posts. The more accessible the piece the more likely people will read all of it and share it.
The ideal length of a headline is six words. These six words are the most important ones you will write because it will determine whether your audience clicks on the link or not. All your hard work will be for nothing if they do not leap over that first hurdle! Here are some of ours as examples:
6 SEO MISTAKES COSTING YOU VISITORS
GETTING TO GRIPS WITH GOOGLE HANGOUTS
HOW TO OWN ADWORDS THIS CHRISTMAS
10 TOP TIPS FOR YOUTUBE VIDEO
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY: EXPLORING THE BASICS
It is not always easy to produce a concise title that says everything you need it to say and many of ours go over the ideal six word headings. The reader will entertain more words but they still need to be snappy, catchy titles that grab your audience’s attention and get to the point without hesitation or waffle.
Your sub-headings then need to be in the right font and size to attract attention and break up your blog post into bite-chunks of accessible information. Here is our guide for optimal heading fonts/sizing:
- H1: post / page title
- H2′s and H3′s: Subheadings
- H4: Your blog’s name and possible widget placements
- H5: same as above: sidebars etc.
I sometimes use H4 for sub-sub headings or list titles. There is no fixed rule just make the piece aesthetically pleasing and functional.
It goes without saying that once someone has clicked on your link their attention needs to be captured by your introduction instantly. They need a reason for staying. The hook is usually delivered via a storyteller format because that is what people like. They don’t want to be sold to, jargon filled language will be a huge turn off and too much hype will have them leaving in their droves. People like an honest humanised introduction that tells them what they are going to find out about in a straight talking, energetic, and entertaining way.
Just keep thinking: have I hooked them? If I landed on this page would I want to stay and read more?
When to post your blog
TrackMaven analysed over 4,600 blogs and 1.2 million blog posts in order to find out what trends in terms of social sharing. They produced a huge report that highlighted scheduling opportunities that could get your blog seen by more of its intended audience.
This graph shows that because there are fewer posts on Saturdays and Sundays their share potential is much higher. This is still a somewhat overlooked opportunity and since business owners regularly take their work home for the weekend it might be an idea to schedule a post too. That way you can monitor your social media on a mobile device and potentially engage with a captive audience.
These graphs draw attention to the fact that many of us are posting blog pieces at times when people are not hitting social media. The peaks and troughs show far more activity before the official work day starts in the early morning and after it finishes in the evening.
NewsWhip studied the top 10 most shared stories on Facebook and found, with the exception of the BBC posts at 721 words and CNN posts at 938 words, most of the posts were over 1000 words long.
Long posts notably perform better than short posts for these reasons:
- Demonstrate that you know your subject area in depth and are not just summarising someone else’s
- More fresh content for Google to scan and feed into searches
- Builds an in–depth catalogue of information on your content hub establishing you as an expert within your field
The Finishing Touches
The perfect blog post has to have, and I mean has to have:
- Sound bites
The images break up the text and make it look inviting. The sound bites give them something to share with others so they also look knowledgeable through association. I am not going to write tons on these because we all know the importance of images and calls to action. You post has to have something great to look at whether that is a graph, an infographic or an image. It also has to have something readers can take away from it.
If you want them to buy something you have to put that in front of them. If you want them to subscribe to something you have to put the link for them to subscribe to it on there. Make the calls to action visible and inviting.
So now you have all you need to know to write the perfect blog. Think about it over and over again. Proof read it over and over again. Then when you have checked it is all ticking the right boxes – publish that blog and push push push. There is no point writing superb content if you are not going to spend time getting it in front of the right people!
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