The internet is stuffed full of online content. From recipes to conspiracy theories to lego building, you can find content on just about anything. But writing a useful blog post that people see and enjoy is harder than it looks.
Below is a short guide to writing a successful blog post that should give your content the best chance of survival in the big bad online world.
A headline that hooks
The title of your blog is your chance to make the right first impression. As well as giving a clear indication of the central idea of the piece, it should also create enough intrigue to entice the reader to click.
Depending on your subject matter, try to appeal to your readers’ needs and curiosities. E.g. For a blog on healthcare innovation, ‘Are you ready for the healthcare revolution?’ is more interesting and arresting than ‘Innovation in Healthcare’.
SEO keywords are another really important factor when writing a blog title. Keywords are words or phrases relevant to your topic that readers may search online. Blogs can be excellent platforms for driving traffic to your website.
What's the point
Before commissioning or writing a blog, ask yourself the question ‘why are we doing this?’.
Your wider marketing goals should drive the goals of your blog. Each blog should match an organisational objective (increasing newsletter subscriber, lead generation, course sign-ups) with a reader’s need (answering a question, finding out more information about a course, getting a discount).
The content needs to be authoritative and also feature a call to action (CTA).
While having lots of people read your content is great, if it’s not leading your readers to take the action you want them to then it’s a missed opportunity.
This is where well-crafted CTAs come in. With the readers’ needs in mind, write copy that promises to fulfil these needs. For example, ‘Try for free’ will be more likely to drive action than a URL link as it helps assure the reader.
Your blog should have a loosely organised structure, which includes an intro and conclusion surrounding your main paragraphs.
You should get across the most important information in the first paragraph. It may not be the whole story but the most important concepts should be raised here.
In journalism, this structuring is called the inverted pyramid. Online reading habits suggest the first paragraph is often the only section read so it’s essential to drawing the reader in to read further.
The subsequent paragraphs should go into more detail about the subjects raised in the first paragraph, with the least important detail left to the bottom.
Don’t be afraid of using small paragraphs as creating white space (gaps on the page) can help the reader digest the information more easily.
It’s also essential to use subheadings for each section of your blog as these are factored into the SEO strength of your page.
It also helps readers navigate the page as they can skip to the sections they find most useful.
Great images should be used to add to the narrative of your blog, whether they are diagrams and infographics or illustrative of the content.
Not only do images help break up the text on the page but naming your images appropriately will help your post rank well with search engines.
Eg. A blog on AI in healthcare may have an image of an AI machine in a hospital setting. If you name your image ‘AI machine in a hospital’ people who search this term or similar terms are more likely to see your image and post.
Things to consider while choosing your images:
- Do you have the right to use the image?
- Does your image help convey the core message of the blog?
- Does the image fit within your brand guidelines?
So you've published a great blog, now what?
You’ve written a great blog, chosen the perfect pictures, and crafted a cracking title, what next?
While you could just rely on people finding your blog through a search engine, a good distribution plan is essential to see real results.
Make sure you’re sharing the blog on your organisational social media channels and encouraging anyone else affiliated with your post (e.g FutureLearn) to share it too.
You should also make the most out of your networks by asking relevant colleagues and partner organisations to share the blog on their social media networks.
Another great channel is email marketing. Try to secure a regular slot for your blogs in an organisational newsletter. The team responsible will most likely be happy with additional content and your blog will be seen by a wider audience.
Backlinks are also a good way of not only getting more visibility for your blog but also boosting your SEO. Backlinks are links to a page on your website that are hosted on other websites. Check out our article on backlinks for a more detailed guide.