• Mike Johnston

47 Hacks that Make an Incredible Difference for Blogs

How to Write Blog Posts

1. Shorter headlines get more views than longer headlines.

2. Headlines should be no longer than 65 characters for mobile.

3. Headlines should include a keyword and some hyperbole. Be provocative.

4. Spend as much time on your headline as you do writing the post.

5. Write the headline first, so you know where the post is headed.

6. There are many formulas for writing headlines. Use them. Tricks get the clicks. Know the tricks.

7. Never write clickbait headlines. The headline should tease what is actually being paid off in the blog post. Otherwise, it’s clickbait.

8. Use a subhead below your headline. This should be phrased the way that people would ask for more information on a phone.

9. Create high-quality content.

10. Write a new post once a week.

11. Post at the same time and on the same day each week. Test which day and time of day gets the best reaction from your audience.

12. Skip holidays. The audience is usually small and distracted.

13. Each post should be about 500 words. There is SEO value in longer posts, but make sure you’re delivering stellar content if you create a post longer than 500 words.

14. Use one of four basic post structures

15. Story — should focus on a person or a conflict. Ideally both.

  • Newsjacking — a rewrite of a topical news story. Ideally re-enforcing your expertise as a subject matter expert.

  • Listicle — informational list of facts, using lots of subheads through the piece to make it easy to skim.

  • How To — explains a process step by step.

16. Each post should include at least two of the following elements: inform, delight, entertain.

17. Always use a consistent voice.

18. Always write in first person, second person, or third person. Pick one and stick to it.

19. The first paragraph must hook the reader. Put them in the protagonist’s shoes. Set the stakes.

20. The last sentence of the first paragraph should tease where the story is headed. Try to do this at the end of most paragraphs to help pull the reader through the post.

21. Use short sentences, bullets, and subheads to make it easy for people to skim.

22. Keep in mind that Google’s algorithm understands semantics rather well, so you should not load the post with keywords. It knows that cars and autos are the same thing and will give you keyword value for both.

23. Think about who might be offended. Avoid political and religious subjects, or anything that might be construed as negative. Be sensitive about how holidays and anniversaries like 9/11 are portrayed.

24. Avoid directly criticizing the competition by name.

25. Do very limited self-promotion. Content marketing is all about bringing value to the reader, not yapping about what the brand is going to do for the reader.

26. Content marketing takes a very long time to obtain significant results. It’s ideal for brands that have long, complicated buyer journeys. Discuss with management benchmarks for every six months to demonstrate progress. However, it could be 18 months before reaching many content marketing goals.

27. Ask whether the blog post is better as a video.

28. While the content is being created, consider how it might be repurposed as a video, white paper, podcast, or infographic.

29. Have social media buttons at the end of the post to make it easy for people to share the post.

30. Have a suggested story or related story suggestion at the end of the post. Otherwise the reader will exit your site, increasing the bounce rate for the post.

31. Turn comments off. Be ready to respond to comments about the post on social media channels.

32. Include a link to your website at the end of the post. Your standard close should include keywords and relevant information about your business.

33. Measure the scroll depth of each blog post in Google Analytics. This will tell you how far down the average visitor read.

34. Have a call to action on your web page, asking people to sign up for the blog. This way, people don’t have to come back to your website to get great content. Also, it will build your subscriber list.

35. When posting on your website, follow basic SEO rules like entering tags and completing SEO forms set up by your webmaster.

36. Use a good proofreader, researcher, fact checker, and content editor.

37. If an error is found in a post, correct that error immediately.

38. Embed images. Name the images with keywords. Insert “alt text” keywords when possible and hyperlinks back to the original content on your website.

39. Split test images so you know what gets the best reaction from your audience. People’s faces usually do better than inanimate objects.

40. Embed video in the post if it illustrates a point.

41. Post to multiple channels. Power users might see your post in many places because they’ll frequent many social media sites. However, the average users will catch your post in one or two channels. So don’t be afraid to post in many channels unless you’ve targeted power users.

42. Work at least two months in advance on posts.

43. Maintain an annual editorial calendar.

44. Create a keywords list for blogs.

Create a subject list of topics you’d like to write.

45. Pay to promote blog posts.

46. Constantly be soliciting different guest bloggers to write a post for you.

47. Be clear with the people paying the bills what the blog objectives are. Discuss KPIs (key performance indicators) to evaluate whether the effort is worthwhile. Samples of some KPIs below:

  • Positioning the brand as a subject matter expert

  • Improving the organic SEO of the website

  • Moving more positive stories about the brand to the top of Google search results

  • Promoting broad online awareness through co-branding

  • Generating leads to the website via clicks

  • Generating an email list of customers who sign up for the blog

Want to know more about writing comedy? Read, "15 Comedy Hacks That Every Young Writer Needs to Know."

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