Here’s a question: how many people do you know who’ve started a blog in the last year?
If you’re counting on both hands, you’re not alone. There are almost 400 million blog accounts on just Tumblr and it’s estimated this number grows by 50 million every year. Which begs another question – how does anyone write a blog that stands out?!
In the last year, I’ve read thousands of blogs in order to share great content on my clients’ social media feeds. In doing so, I’ve had to root out the ones that really, really work. But I’ve also learnt there’s a common knack to getting clever thoughts read online: a great blog takes great design. I’ve discovered 10 key steps to creating a blog that cuts through the white noise. So here goes – the anatomy of an awesome blog.
- Make sure the opening sentences have impact ?
Edit your headline and introduction until they’re absolutely perfect. You need to clarify your offering in a nutshell as you have only about 8 seconds to grab your reader’s attention.
- Add a great image to sum up what the editorial’s about ?
It’s a fact that strong visuals attract people to content and help people retain the information. Think of an image as an essential signpost to your content. You can create a copyright free image on a graphics tool like Canva or find a great shot in a photo library like Pixabay.
- Ask – who is your audience? ?
Who do you want to read your blog? When you’re being creative, you also need to be strategic. Take some time to consider who might benefit from your knowledge. Map out your ideal readers – just write a few sentences to make them feel human. Then write your blog as if you’re talking to them.
- You have an idea for a blog – so make it helpful to your audience ℹ
A time poor audience needs a darn good reason to read on. A great blog offers value to the reader so package your editorial with USEFULNESS in mind.
- Create a hook ?
A hook is a single focus that helps to reel the reader in. It could be a topical hook – which makes your blog feel timely. Or an educational hook that’s helpful to the reader. Or a newsworthy hook that ties your editorial to current affairs. When you’ve analysed the single most important point of your blog, align this to the title, the image and the editorial.
- Keep it short! ?
I’ve found that many successful influencers write blogs that don’t go over 800 words. Once you have your draft, edit it down to make sure the essential information flows.
- Think of your ‘content stamp’ ?
Try to create a standardised look for your blogs. This doesn’t mean make them look boring – roll out a design style that ties in images, fonts and colours.
Why? Well, imagine your ideal reader clicking on your website to discover a host of thumbnails that look part of a brand. Professionalism conveys expertise.
- Make it readable! ?
This is different to keeping it short. It’s all about the layout – text that’s dense can be very off-putting. So try the following:
- Make sure your blog layout includes lots of white space.
- Highlight important quotes to break up the text.
- Put your copy through a readability test.
- Where will you publish? ?
Do take time to consider the best platform for your blog. Ask yourself – where am I going to post to find my ideal audience?
You’ll need to do a spot of research on Medium, Tumblr, Facebook Notes, Linkedin or your website – there will be pros and cons to each platform. You’ll need to weigh these up against your objectives for blogging to find a fit.
- Make some noise! ?
Writing a blog is a lot of hard work. There’s no point in posting your blog then leaving it to languish, unread. So finally, work out a mini strategy to market your blog on social media before you post it.
About the author:
Paula Gilbert is a content marketer who helps clients with blog writing, video content and social media strategy. She works out of The Garden Shed.