So you want to write better blog posts, eh?
Every writer may have their own unique style — but these 6 methods can be applied to any blog, blogger or blog post.
This seems like a logical place to begin…
1. Focus on Intros
Often the weakest part of an article is the introduction. Sometimes an article will go from good to great just by chopping off the first 5 paragraphs and getting the reader to the point much more quickly.
Here’s a trick… use a very punchy, curiosity building sentence to open every post. This sentence should be short (rarely longer than 8 words.)
The idea here is to open with a simple sentence that is easy to read and that builds curiosity. This first sentence is intended to create a “greased chute” (I stole that term from Joe Sugarman) that forces them down the page.
Once you get someone started down the chute it’s much easier to keep them moving. The tough part is getting them started.
Jon Morrow is fantastic at creating these “greased chute” openers. Here’s an example from his blog…
Notice that it’s really not possible to stop reading after that first sentence. You immediately wonder “Why are we fools? Am I a fool?”
These short, punchy, curiousity building openers pull the reader down the page.
You can also open with a question that “calls out” the audience and the problem your article will address — like I did in the opening of this very article.
2. Open Loops
Ever wonder why all your favorite dramatic TV shows go to commercial just when it’s getting good? Why do they leave you hanging? What’s with the cliffhanger at the end of each episode and season?
It’s called opening a loop.
And it works like gangbusters to hold an audience’s attention.
If you want to create compelling content that gets consumed… learn to open loops.
Take a look at how Ryan Deiss does this in the “How We Grew a Blog from Zero to $6 Million” post…
Notice how Ryan opens a loop by revealing a benefit that will be explained later in the article. This keeps people reading.
Opening a loop is as simple as adding a little tease early in the article and previewing the goodies that will come later.
3. Hide Easter Eggs
How is it possible for a full-grown adult to sit through countless viewings of the same Disney film designed to entertain a 3 year-old without losing his mind?
Simple. Disney films are filled with hidden “Easter Eggs.”
Here’s what I mean — this joke is lost on an 8 year old…
But it makes me laugh.
You can incorporate Easter Eggs into your writing as well.
Notice how Sonia Simone does this over at Copyblogger in this article about SEO…
That reference to Woodstock and brown acid is lost on some percentage of the Copyblogger readership.
But the ones that “get it” and “dig it” become bigger fans of Copyblogger than ever.
In fact, writers that hide lots of Easter Eggs can build a raving cult of fans quickly.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it — the article needs to work whether the reader finds the Easter Egg or not.
4. Break Up the Text
Take measures to create content that is easy to digest. You do not want the text to appear intimidating, daunting or frightening to the reader. You should rarely have a block of text that contains more than 3 sentences and you’ll often have only 1-2 sentences per paragraph. Pamela Wilson (founder of Big Brand System and a stellar blogger) says… “Writing less and styling your text so it’s easy to read could be all you need to do to attract and hold attention.” See what I’m doing here? This paragraph looks scary, doesn’t it?
But what if that paragraph was styled this way?
Take measures to create content that is easy to digest. You do not want the text to appear…
…to the reader. You should rarely have a block of text that contains more than 3 sentences and you’ll often have only 1-2 sentences per paragraph.
Pamela Wilson (founder of Big Brand System and a stellar blogger) says…
“Writing less and styling your text so it’s easy to read could be all you need to do to attract and hold attention.”
See what I’m doing here? Big difference, right? This paragraph looks much easier to read, doesn’t it?
- Bulleted lists
- Numbered lists
… to break up the text.
5. Write Better Headlines
Watch out for headlines that are merely statements or incomplete phrases.
Take a look at these 3 headlines found on a fitness and nutrition blog…
- Chocolate for Breakfast
- Benefits of Meditation
- Win The War Against Childhood Obesity
Notice how these are simply statements of (presumably) fact and could be dramatically improved. Often, a simple modification can make the headlined 100’s of times more impactful…
- Chocolate for Breakfast?
- 7 Benefits of Meditation
- How to Win The War Against Childhood Obesity
These headlines aren’t perfect but they’re infinitely more effective than their originals.
Often there is a better headline hiding in the opening or closing of the article. Look for the benefit statement included in the opening and you’ll likely find the beginnings of a headline.
Take a look at this opening to an article on a blog called Strength Running regarding shin splints…
This opening provides multiple avenues to tease out a decent headline.
- How to Treat the Most Frustrating Runner’s Injury
- Are You Making This Common Shin Splint Treatment Mistake?
- 5 Common Training Mistakes That Cause Shin Splints
- 3 Training Regiment Changes That Cure Shin Splints
All of these headlines are hiding in the introduction to this article.
6. Focus on Closes
The closing of the article can often take it from good to great.
Remember, this is where the reader will decide to share the post, comment, optin to a Lead Magnet, dive deeper into your site, etc.
Your closing doesn’t HAVE to be epic but be sure the article doesn’t simply end abruptly.
You can often tie it up at the end by returning and restating the intro and then asking for comments in the comments section.
Now that I’ve gone and told you how important the close is — I’m feeling the pressure to close this one down with gusto.
Hmmm… well… this is embarrassing. I got nothin’.