Writing for a blog is not for the faint-hearted. It is serious business and that is why successful bloggers have developed and honed a writing skill that makes them stand out. Of course, they have also kept their heads around many different aspects of the medium, but at the center of it all is the ability to write compelling and engaging content on a regular basis.
If you run a company or you’re working for one, your blog is one of your company’s most valuable marketing tools. Your contents can be used to build trust with customers, educate and inform consumers, generate leads and build brand awareness.
The best blogs are engaging, they deliver value and most importantly align with the blog’s niche. However, it is not an easy task to consistently write valuable and engaging contents. It is a constant battle to grab people’s attention with your blog posts.
There are a number of tools that can help you blog the correct way, such as installing plugins, employing social networks, and various marketing techniques you’ll need to try but the first thing you’ll have to learn is how to write like a professional. There are so many amateur writers out there, please don’t be one of them.
Luckily for you, writing engaging blog posts is actually a skill you can learn. Do you have great ideas that you would love to captivate your readers with? Perfect your writing skills with this guide and succeed in mesmerizing your readers.
Step One: Craft a Headline That Readers Can’t Resist
If you’ve been writing your post before your headline, you have been doing it the wrong way. Without a title, you don’t really know the direction your post is going to take, so it is possible you find your post going in several directions and ultimately missing the point you’re trying to pass across. This type of writing style can leave your readers disoriented and confused, and you don’t want that.
If your aim as a writer is to write a clear and concise blog post, then you must spend some time in creating a quality headline that gives the post a clear direction and also captures the attention of your readers, making them eager for the message contained within the post.
Think of your headline as a road map, your writing navigation system. It will help you decide which road to take and which to avoid so that your readers can reach your intended destination easily.
The following rules will help you craft a killer headline.
1- Pick a mouth-watering topic
The truth is there are so many blog posts available online that talks about that same topic you’re trying to talk about. So if you want people to click on your post, your headline must convince readers that you have the answer to whatever is disturbing them.
Your headline shouldn’t promise them something out of this world because that doesn’t work anymore, readers are wiser now. Try not to go overboard, keep the benefits constricted and precise, this will compel the readers to click on the post and get the answer to whatever question they’re having.
How do you know what’s bugging your readers?
– Review comments on your posts and other websites in your niche
– Send surveys to your subscribers enquiring of their greatest struggles
– Make use of tools such as BuzzSumo to search for popular posts in your niche. This will help you better understand the needs of your target readers.
– Go to Amazon to read reviews of books in your niche. There you’ll find well of feedbacks to help you write better.
Your responsibility as a blogger is to serve your audience. The better you know them, the better you can serve. Although it might take a while to know them, when you eventually do, your headlines will reflect what they’re thinking.
2- Steal from the Pros
So you’ve done some research and you’re confident you know what your readers need. It is now time to turn your chosen topic into a killer headline. The best way to craft captivating headlines is to steal them. Not in an unethical way, but rather in a smart and efficient way. If your aim is to grab your reader’s attention, then you have to stick with what works.
Over the years, advertising and copywriting research have revealed the types of headlines that have succeeded. The types of headline capable of capturing a reader’s attention and compelling them to open your post.
Stealing your headline doesn’t mean it has to sound like it came from Buzzfeed, you can reconstruct it in such a way that it reflects your voice and style. So until you become well skilled as a writer, allow the proven templates guide you when drafting a headline for your blog post. Blogging is already hard on its own, make use of templates to help simplify the process.
Here is Amber Carlton’s free 25 Headline Hack, to help you find great template options when creating a headline for your blog post. To proper guide you in your search for a suitable template, you should start with “How to” headlines and list post headlines. These are classic templates that work. Our skilled writers at TextBullet use these formats and you should too.
3- Engage Your Senses
Unclear headlines can leave your readers feeling empty but a solid headline will leave them feeling understood. So how do you create a solid headline? Imagine yourself in their position. How are you feeling? What can you hear? What do you see, taste or smell? Engage all your senses when coming up with a headline. The more your headline gives voice to the exact thing they are going through, the more they will identify with the post.
4- Tease, Don’t Satisfy
When you give way too much information in your headline, you give your readers no reason to open the post. Your headlines should lure readers in like a literary temptress. They should be written in such a way that they can capture the reader’s attention and invoke their curiosity not outrightly giving them a solution. Giving them a solution in the headline automatically makes the blog post boring and they won’t bother clicking on it. If this happens, you do not only lose but you’re also depriving your readers of the information contained in the post. They give up the richness of your post for the quick solution offered by the headline.
5- Honor the headline Commandment
There is only one commandment when it comes to creating a headline and that is “Thou shalt not deceive.”
As obvious as this commandment is, a lot of writers bring this commandment all the time by promising what they know they can’t offer. This is a big NO. The content of your post must be fully in line with your headline. If your post doesn’t deliver on the promise you made on your headline, the reader will feel misled and might not return to your site again. Strive to gain your reader’s trust, not lose them.
6- Trim the fat
The mistake most bloggers make is writing headlines the way they speak. Although this is okay to an extent when writing the post, it is never okay when writing the headline. Do not use weak and flabby words when writing your headline. Using unnecessary and empty words that adds no real value to your post will leave your readers in confusion. Instead, use power words that make your headline as ruthlessly concise yet powerful as much as possible. Jeff Bullas published a great list of 79 Power words to create striking content for your blog.
7- Don’t be a smarty-pants
Your headline should make sense to everyone reading it, irrespective of where they’re from or in what context they’re approaching the post from. You’re supposed to be a mind reader, do not let them guess what the benefit of the post is, be as direct as much as you can. To achieve this, you will want to avoid using metaphors, rhymes, jargons, terms you made up or anything that will complicate what your headline is talking about.
8- Rock your style
When you’re consistent, your readers will trust you. For example, your readers are used to seeing simple headlines from and one day you decide to bombard them with a headline jam-packed with power words, your readers will be confused.
Once you develop a writing style after some time of writing, it is important that you stick to the style and use it consistently. However, if your intention is to change your writing style, then you must do so gradually. Make small changes each time you write so that you don’t totally throw your readers off balance. This way your audience learns and trusts your brand.
When writing a headline, try creating 5 to 10 versions of the same headline. This is a proven tip many successful bloggers have used over time to create captivating headlines. The more you bounce the words around, the better your chances are at creating a clear, concise and interesting headline that readers can’t resist.
Here are some more awesome resources that will help you craft killer headlines:
5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines – Jeff Goins
17 Easy Tricks How to Write Catchy Titles and Headlines – Priit Kallas
How to Create Winning Headlines in 9 Simple Steps – Scott Martin
Headline Writing: 19 Ways to Write Irresistible Headlines – Marcus Taylor
Step Two: Write an Introduction That Grabs and Seduces
You’ve successfully lured in readers with your headline and now you have to make them stay. Like we said blogging is not an easy task. A lot of reader’s do not have time to waste, they’re very impatient and fickle. Once they take a quick glance and your post is not what they’re looking for, they will vanish from your online sanctuary before even reading the rest of the post.
As a blogger, you must fight to keep your readers interested and the way you craft your introduction will play a huge role in their commitment. Follow the rules below to craft an introduction that captivates your readers.
1- Slip into Their Shoes
A common mistake most amateur bloggers make is trying to sound too academic in their blog opening. For example, starting a blog post with “Research has proven that 92% of people fail to achieve their goals because they…” can bore your readers. Yes, solid research is good, but in the blogging context, such approach will definitely bore your audience. If your aim is to captivate, then you must put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Make them feel as if you’re reading their minds. A great way to achieve this is through empathy. Step into their shoes and write from their perspective. Identify with their struggles and show them you know exactly what they’re going through.
Most times we write about what we most wanted to learn. So since you’ve gone through a similar situation, you can easily write about it and how you learned to overcome it.
Show your readers that you get what they must be going through and you’re willing to share with them the tools and advice that got you through the same situation.
2- Get into Character
If you really want to captivate your readers you must trigger their emotions. So before you write, think of the kind of feelings you want them to experience. Is it fear, sadness, hope, anger, shame, love, comfort or whatever feeling you’re thinking of? As a writer, you have to first get into character and feel these emotions yourself as you write. If you’re able to feel the same emotions you want to evoke from your readers, then your words will read with undeniable authenticity.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was the first to shed tears when she wrote the heartbreaking lyrics in Hamilton that left millions of people in tears. So as a writer, you have to first play your emotions. Map out the emotional journey you want your readers to take and imbue those feelings into your writing. You have to first feel what you want your audience to feel, by using your words to carefully craft out those emotions. Although this tip is vital to your whole post, your introduction will set the tone and trigger the intended emotion first before the rest of the post.
3- Lure Readers Down the Page
Do you want your readers to commit to your post? Accelerate their experience. Lure them down the page. The faster you tell them the solution to their problem is just a few lines below the more committed they become. If you don’t start right, they can easily get bored and leave, never to return. Here are three copywriting tips to use in your introductions to better lure readers down your page.
4- Open with a Short Sentence or Question
Opening your blog post with a short sentence or most times a question is a copywriting technique that has been proven by many successful bloggers to pull readers in. if you start a post with a long paragraph, readers will feel exhausted mere looking at it.
5- Take A knife to Your Words
If the first draft of your introduction is 200, try reducing it to 100. The more you practice the act of slashing your words, the better your writing skills. And when you write efficiently, your words become powerful, keeping your readers spell-bound. Do not be afraid to slash as many words as possible.
6- Set the rhythm
Every blog post that has ever been written has a rhythm and a pace. Your introduction pace should be quicker, you can slow things down later. How do you achieve this?
1- Make use of short sentences
2- Your paragraph should not be more than three sentences
3- Use delayed transitions to weave sentences together
4- Each sentence and paragraph should be able to pull readers into the one that follows
5- Read the post out loud to check the flow. Are things advancing gradually or stalling?
Just like the best music composers, writers should be able to take their readers on a journey in whatever pace they choose. It could be fast or slow, loud or soft. The more you give attention to this detail, the more rhythm you’ll infuse into your words.
7- Make Them Beg
This is where you use their fears and worries against them. What are your readers worried about? What is the imminent danger they stand to face if they fail to solve the problem the post is addressing?
Making them read about their fears will not only make them feel more comfortable with you (because they can see that you’ve gone through the same situation), they will be more eager to read about the solution you’re about to present. Everyone has what they’re afraid of. Make your readers understand that they need to give voice to their fears, in order to set themselves free.
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8- Hint at the Promised Land
As you conclude your intro, it is important that you hint at the Promised Land. The Promised Land is where you post promises to take them by the time they’re done mastering your methods.
However, remember not to give it all away. Like we mentioned earlier, readers are easily bored, so just one sentence that gives too many information about the post is capable of sending them away. While writing your introduction, keep it in mind that the introduction is not where you provide the solution to the problem, its purpose is to set the stage for the advice you’re about to provide.
A tip that can be very useful to you when writing your introduction, is to draft two completely different approach to the problem, triggering different emotions. By doing this, you can easily find out the emotions and techniques that work best for the post as well as your audience.
Check these posts for more tips on how to write a good introduction:
10 Brilliant Examples of How to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang – Michael D. Pollock
How to Write Great Blog Post Introductions – Matt Smith
How to Write Catchy Blog Post Intro [Quick Guide] – Akshay Hallur
10 ways to write awesome introductions – Leah McClellan
Step 3: Deliver Advice that’s Easy to Consume and Impossible to Ignore
Okay, you’re on the right track. You’ve gotten the readers to click on the post, you’ve successfully lured them down with your intro, now you have to deliver on all your promises.
You have no options here, you either over-deliver or under-deliver. If you want your readers to fall in love with you and keep coming back for more, you’ll over-deliver, but if you want them to take a quick glance and never return, then you’ll under-deliver. The choice is yours.
If your choice is to over-deliver, the following tips will guide you on how to deliver valuable and easy-to-consume advice:
1- Add Pitstops
Make use of subheadings. Readers are scanners and you can’t really blame them because there is a huge amount of information and several contents on the net and not many of it is good. So they scan through, just as you’re doing right now.
Making use of subheads proves to your readers that your post is valuable. This keeps luring them down the page, even when they are thinking of leaving.
Keep these tips close to your heart when drafting your subheads:
1- Add one Every Few Paragraphs
Strategically placing subheads throughout your post, helps to guide your readers along the direction your post is going. Keeping in mind that your blog post is all about your reader’s experience, subheads will make that experience feel clearer, easier, and a lot more enjoyable for them. A blog post with too much text and no pitstops can be overwhelming for readers and trust me you do not want to overwhelm your readers.
2- Avoid the 3 subhead blunders that make readers bounce
Subheads can easily be likened to a headline. They should invoke curiosity in the minds of the readers, that will make them want to keep reading and not chase them away. So play by the same rule when drafting them and avoid the following blunders:
1- The Plain Label Subhead: Do not bore your readers, treat your subheads the same way you will treat your headline. Your subheads are your mini-headlines, so ensure they invoke curiosity
2- The Spoiler Subhead: Do not give too much away in your subhead. Doing so will give the reader no reason to read the text below.
3- The Cryptic Subhead: Readers do not have time for guessing games. Be as clear and direct as can be, and still add a pinch of curiosity in the mix. Don’t try to be too clever.
3- Compare Each to Your Main Headline
Each and every subhead contained within the post should be in line with the overall headline of the post. Subheads should all lead to the ultimate destination promised by the headline. If subheads are distracting the readers from the promised destination, readers will be left feeling confused and lost. Do not put your readers through such an ordeal.
4- Follow a format
Consistency is an important skill when it comes to blogging. If for example, you’re listing various ways, steps or methods to achieve a particular thing the headline promised the readers, try to keep the format consistent.
Without consistency in the way you present your facts, the post will be scattered and seem unpolished. A lot of bloggers fall short of this as they tend to overlook it, but do not be afraid, it’s an easy thing to fix when you become conscious of it.
One way to easily achieve this is to write down the subheads outside of your post, one after the other, this way you can easily pick out the ones that stray off course.
2- Unleash the Unexpected
Readers nowadays are always expecting never-before-heard information. Old recycled information just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want them to finish the present post they’re on and keep coming back for more, then your content must be bold, unique and eye-opening. Probably Epic.
An easy way to do this is to list your major points and see if you can add a unique spin, perspective or experience to them. Take them unawares. What do you know that other bloggers don’t? What belief system are you challenging? What new information do you have on an old problem? What make your methods or approach different? You do not need to go overboard with your spin on things, just be authentic and truly helpful.
3- Follow a Formula
When writing a blog post, like we’ve said before you need to be consistent. The more your post have a formula and a pattern it follows, the better your reader’s experience. Each of the sections contained in the post should be similar in length. You can’t write a list and have your first subhead at 500 words, the second at 100 words and then the third at 200. It will look sloppy as though you didn’t bother editing before you published the work.
Want your post to have a professional standard? Take a look at the beginning, middle and end of every section and create a guiding formula from there. You could start with a bold statement or a personal experience and then chip in your advice in the middle, then close with a call to action.
Your readers deserve the best, therefore your post has to be well organized. Avoid minor issues that might interfere with their reading experience.
4- Be Ridiculously Generous
Don’t be stingy with information when writing a blog post. Although many bloggers hold back because they want the readers to subscribe to their paid coaching or their products and services, so they hold back information. The truth is if you don’t give your readers tangible information, they will not be eager to subscribe to your paid services.
Do not hold back when giving them information. Guide them through the problem and give them powerful advice and complete solutions to their problem. When you sweep them off their feet with your generosity, they will become your loyal readers and customers.
5- Start and end strong
The same way your introduction held your readers spell-bound and your conclusion mesmerized them, the main body of your post should also start and end strong as well.
For example, you’re ditching out 5 tips on how to achieve a particular goal, you should save the best two for number one and number five. The first one will keep them hooked and the last will leave them feeling satisfied, but if each tip decreases in value, they will feel the post has no real value, to begin with. Strive to leave your readers filling fulfilled by the time they’re done reading your post.
Outlining the main sections of your post has been proven to work wonders when writing a blog post. The clearer and a more simplified outline provide your post clarity and conviction. So before writing the main sections, make sure you flesh out an outline to better explain your points.
Step 4: Close With a Motivational Bang
It is time to close your post and there’s no better way to do this than to close with a motivational bang.
At this point is where you really show your readers that you truly believe in them. You’ll have to assure them that they can achieve the goal you promised them in your headline.
Follow these rules when crafting your motivational conclusion:
1- Give Your Readers a Pep Talk
Motivate your readers. Show your readers how far they’ve come in their journey to solving the issue the post addressed, and what they can accomplish if they successfully implement your advice.
Here you can give them the pep talk you wish you had when you were going through the same issue. Tell them you believe in their ability to rise above the challenges and encourage them to take action immediately. Make them see that the time is now, no matter how hard it might seem.
2- Avoid New Information
This is not the time to give out new information. However, most amateur bloggers continue to make this mistake. Do not insert new tips or information in your conclusion, its jarring.
It’s like getting to the last 5 minutes of an intriguing movie and all of sudden a new character is introduced to mess up the perfect ending. You won’t be happy about it, so ensure you don’t do that to your reader.
When writing your conclusion, put yourself in your readers’ shoes. What will they accomplish if they adhere to the advice in your post? What will their lives be like? How will they feel? If you can successfully see the situation from your reader’s point of view, you can actually motivate them to take the necessary action.
Step 5: Polish Your Post So It’s Smoother Than a Slip ‘n Slide
You’ve succeeded in completely your post. Now what?
Take a little break from the post. For maybe a day or two, so you can come back with fresh eyes to view what you’ve written. After your well-deserved break, it’s now time to edit your work. Editing your post is very important to the entire process. You have to make sure your post provides a smooth reading experience for your readers if you do not want them to lose interest and bail. To prevent losing valuable readers, you must ensure your post is very clear and concise from the first word to the last. And the only way you can achieve this is through editing.
Make use of the following checklist when you’re ready to edit your post:
– Take a knife to it: slashing out unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs or points will help you pass your message across clearly. Leave only what is absolutely important and necessary to better convey your message, nothing more.
– Motivate, Don’t Lecture: Rewrite every sentence that might make you come across as a condescending Professor. Ensure readers that you’re on their side and you’re willing to help them through whatever it is they’re experiencing. Do not act like you’re above them in any way, but rather be on their level.
– Add Emotion: your readers have to see your passion and enthusiasm for the subject you’re writing on for them to better relate. If you’re bored by the topic, your readers will be bored too.
– Make it Easy on the Eye: Long paragraphs can be a major turn off for readers. Break up any long paragraph. Writing only about 5 sentences in a paragraph should be your goal, that way your readers do not get easily bored.
– Break it Down: Break down complicated words. If there’s no simpler way to say what you want to say, do not write it. Try not to confuse your readers.
– Speak their language: Insert examples or metaphors to better clarify your idea and make it easier to digest.
– Check Yourself: Read your post carefully and make sure to remove any contradictory statements or repetitive ideas.
– Don’t Yo-Yo: Ensure every sentence and paragraph drives the post towards the destination promised in your headline. Do not side-track, readers have no time to waste like we keep saying.
– Be smooth: every sentence and paragraph should flow effortlessly into the next. So make each sentence and paragraph dependent on the previous one and the one after to ensure a smooth transition.
– Avoid Sharp Turns: Modify any sudden changes in your post, they can be reeling to readers. The post should evolve gradually and not abruptly.
– Keep it real: Be as real as can be. Do not use styles that don’t come naturally to you. Develop your writing voice as time goes on and stick with it.
– Add Highlights: properly format your post by making use of highlights such as bold and italics to stress your points where necessary but do so sparingly.
- Shoot bullets: make use of bullet points to group together ideas that are related. This will help your readers digest the post easily.
- Spark the senses: be specific and concrete when describing things. Make use of the reader’s senses when writing, such as what they can see, feel, hear, smell or taste. Avoid using abstract statements.
- Be firm: using words such as might, may, probably, possibly or perhaps will make your opinion or advice appear shaky to the reader. Be firm and sure about what you’re saying, only then will they trust you.
- Respect Nature: when editing, make sure you put things in their natural order, e.g., from past to present, young to old, small to large etc.
- Be consistent: group similar points in the same category. For example, a list of steps should only list steps, and a list of rules should only list rules. Although this sounds like what everybody should know, you still find lots of writers still breaking this rule.
- Don’t be lazy: ensure all relevant information needed is contained in the post. Do not rely on external links to explain what you’re talking about. External links should only be used to provide additional information that will support what you’ve already said. Do not put your readers through the stress of opening an external link just to understand your post.
- Kill the weak: remove weak and flabby words and replace them with powerful ones. Swap weak verbs with visceral verbs and replace passive voice with active voice. Weak adjectives should also be replaced with strong adjectives.
- Feel the beat: like we said earlier, every post has its own rhythm and pace. Be mindful of the pace and the rhythm of each section. You could slow things down with long paragraphs or speed things up with short crisp sentences. A good writer should be able to use both.
- Do the obvious: check and recheck for spelling and grammar errors. You can make use of tools like Hemmingway App to make your post easy to understand and Grammarly to correct grammatical errors.
- Be Honest: Give credit where credit is due, do not take credit for what is not yours.
Editing Resources: If you want additional details on how to self-edit, check out these posts:
10 Sure-Fire Editing Tips That Work For Bloggers – ROBERT MORRIS
15 Editing & Proofreading Tips Every Blogger Should Know – Anna Olinger
3 Quick Editing Tips to Improve Your Next Blog Post – David Boutin
A proven way to self-edit your post is to read them out loud. When you read out loud, you can easily notice many of the issues listed above, most especially complicated words, disjointed sentences, and sloppy rhythm.
Win the Battle for Your Reader’s Attention
The battle for a reader’s attention is never easy. But the most dreaded battle you will have to fight is the one against yourself. As a writer, you will be faced with a lot of obstacles keeping you from achieving your goal, such as; fear, resistance, procrastination among many others.
It is up to you to keep writing against all odds that might present itself. It is absolutely okay to feel intimidated sometimes, every writer does, but what makes you stand out is your ability to overcome that intimidation. Whatever you do, do not let it stop you. Keep bringing your words to the frontline.
Follow the guidance provided in this post and let it fuel your courage. It doesn’t require you to be perfect, it just equips you with the tools needed to write like a pro.
Take each piece of advice and master it and soon blogging won’t have to feel so scary anymore. Your confidence will be strengthened, your technique sharpened and your artistry will shine.
Always remember as you write that there are lots of people out there that really need your bold ideas and brave words. The world is counting on you and so are we.