What makes a good blog post?
This is the first in a new series of posts that provide tips on content marketing. Over the years, I have read a lot of information on this topic and applied them in my career as a communications professional.
Although you can find content marketing tips in books and courses, the purpose of this series is to give you some very quick tips on what you can do today to make your content shine. If successful, it will help you to reach and generate loyal customers and make writing content much more fun and simple.
Do you know these scenarios?
You never know what to write for your next blog.
For some reason your blog is not generating the readership you would like.
Your website visits are dismal.
We have probably all been there. Writer’s block. Or perhaps resistance to write ONE MORE POST. You’re feeling you’ve said it all or you just can’t waste anymore time coming up with a new topic. After all, writing a blog post for you is like shouting into a void. You can write all you want, but all it seems to do is generate the sound of crickets chirping. At best your mother or sister write a great comment: “Love your post, honey!”
The less obvious, underlying problems
If your experience is the above three scenarios, there’s more going on than just writer’s block, resistance or disappointment.
Problem 1: Your content doesn’t consistently grab your readers or targeted audience.
This one is tough to accept, because you’re writing your little heart out and it just doesn’t seem to have any affect. What am I doing wrong? Why does no one care? And honestly, would I want to read this crap? Not really. When you’re not feeling great about your content how can you expect others to?
Problem 2: Your content doesn’t link them to the products or services you offer.
You don’t feel great about putting your products or services into your blog content. After all, if they wanted to buy them, they’d hop on over to the products and services page on your site, right? Well, no. If you’re sharing your blog post on another platform, such as Facebook, those folks won’t necessarily know what you offer. It’s a good idea to spell it out, even if you assume people already know you and what you do.
Problem 3: Your content doesn’t connect you to the problem your reader is trying to solve.
I fall into this trap a lot. I have a great idea of what I want to write about and because I tend to shy away from “making a pitch” I post it, because it’s a great topic. The problem: it has nothing to do with any issue my readers are trying to solve or that I can provide the solution for. Why are they reading this? What’s the point? Sure, it might be a great story or something interesting, but it doesn’t inspire action or maybe even make a connection to my audience. The reader has little time these days, as he or she is bombarded by information 24/7. Keep that in mind before writing just for the sake of writing.
Problem 4: Your content doesn’t inspire or entertain.
This goes back to the busy-ness factor of readers these days. The Internet is FULL of content. Why should anyone read yours? If it entertains, inspires, strikes a chord right off the bat, then they’ll more likely stick around and read to the end of the article.
Problem 5: Your content doesn’t contribute to your readers’ forward momentum towards a goal.
Everyone is out for themselves. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. The question: “What’s in it for me"?” is a legitimate one and doesn’t make you a narcissist or a bad person for asking it. The point is that if you provide a service, regardless of what it might be, share the next step. Let’s say you sell houses. Your blog post should help your home sellers or buyers to make that one important step forward on their journey towards their goal. Otherwise what you’re writing is just fluff.
Solution: Write a blog post that includes these essential elements
So how do you write a blog post that address the right audience, speaks to them, and encourages them to keep engaging with you?
A good blog post includes these six things:
It addresses the audience you want to reach. When you think of your ideal customer, what is it they are looking for, in need of, might not know the answer to?
It helps them in some way that also showcases your skills, talents, services or offerings. What can you share with your audience that, when it comes to them using the steps you propose, you have the unique skills for helping them take those steps? Or the tools. Or the unique method which you designed and have proven works.
It meets your audience at the point where they are on their journey and helps them move forward. What do you understand about your ideal customer that is a pain point or something they experience or think about a lot? What do you and your customers have in common? How can you show them you have been in their shoes? That you empathize. That you want to help them past this point.
It creates a desire -- either to stay engaged with you as a reader or to take the next step to become your customer. People are busy, so how can you write the content or present it in a way that makes them laugh, cry, feel an emotional connection? Emotions often lead to desires. If it’s sadness, the desire is to feel happy. If it’s fear, the desire is to feel courage. If it’s joy, the desire is to maintain it or even bring it up a notch and capitalize on it now that energy is high.
When you engage and help a reader answer a question or solve a problem or see steps forward, they’ll more likely share it with others. After you have engaged the reader through an emotional connection, they will want to give the same feeling to others they care about. Be generous and give them something for free, in addition to your advice. Blow them away with your willingness to help them. Ask them to do you a favor back by sharing what they learned. By paying it forward.
Write focused and purposeful content so your audience trusts you and connects with you on the solution they’re looking for. (And will be ready to pull out their wallets.) Of course, the end goal of all content is to have the reader take some form of action. Either they subscribe to your emails or they download a free item, or maybe check out some of your priced items. Trust builds over time, so it’s important to keep moving the readers forward and provide them with the next best thing that could help them. Whether it’s free or has a cost.
Has this been helpful? If so, please comment and share. I’d love to know what else I can provide in this space that will make writing content that much easier for you.