One of the questions that I get the most from my blogging clients is, “how do I write a good blog post?” This question usually comes up when a new employee joins the blog team at one of my clients. (One of the first things I do when starting with a new client is help them form a blog team.)
So let’s tackle the formula for a good blog post. This involves the Hook, the Structure and the Pictures. (I just told you what I am going to tell you… more on that later.)
Every story needs a hook. In our busy, busy lives, most people don’t have time to read things unless there’s something that catches their attention. This is why the title of your story is critically important. You want people to click. And the only way they are going to do that is if they care about you as a person, or if your title includes something interesting to them.
The way to determine the hook for a story is to start by writing the story. Whatever you are talking about, just get the facts and flow down. (More on blog structure in a minute.) When you have a rough draft, ask yourself what is interesting about your story.
The short story method I like to use is:
- Tell them what you are about to tell them. The title should have already given them a good idea, but start by locking the idea you are sharing into their brain.
- Spend some time telling them your story, breaking the content into 4-5 (or more) paragraphs. Focus on flow and readability, I recommend it be conversational.
- Wrap the story up by summarizing what you just told them. It takes this kind of repetition for people to remember the story. Just look at this blog post as an example.
- Include a call to action. Ask for a comment. Give them a link to find out more on the subject. Direct them to your Contact page so they can get in touch for next steps.
Every single story you ever write should have at least one picture. Normally, this picture is called the Featured Image and is the most representative picture of the concept you are sharing.
- Your picture shouldn’t be grainy. This happens a lot when people take the photo on their smartphone and then email it to themselves (or worse, text it to themselves.) When you email it to yourself, choose a larger file size so that the resolution is decent. And never text it to yourself… the image quality is reduced dramatically by default for text messages.
- The featured image shouldn’t be one that you had to crop things out of. If the shot you took isn’t a good one, take another. It’s free. You don’t have any film to develop. (Some people reading this might not even understand what I mean by that.)
- I recommend you take a “wide” shot, not a “tall” shot. Landscape is almost always better than portrait. There are a few reasons for this, especially when the photo is going to be used as a featured image on a blog post, but take my word for it. Just take wide shots, not tall shots.
Thinking like a blogger opens your eyes to the moments as they happen, and you should have your camera ready to go. Your smartphone probably has a fantastic camera, you just have to remember to use it. And I’m not perfect. I’ve missed plenty of photo opportunities when I get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to enjoy what’s happening and to forget that you might want to capture it in a photo for fond memories or a future blog post.
This is where I recap what I just told you. And yes, insert smiley face here.
The Hook, Structure and Pictures method has worked well for me for the last ten years. And it’s often really helpful for aspiring bloggers at my clients to learn this method. Following the process will result in a decent blog… but the magic happens when you pour yourself into it. When you’re excited about sharing a story, it comes across in the words that you use. And you’ll include more interesting details because you aren’t just “reporting” on an event… you’re sharing something you care about with an audience that hopefully cares about you.
Call(s) to Action
So, did you find this story helpful? Let me know in the comments.
Is there something you would like me to discuss in a future blog post? Let me know!
Thank you for reading! My goal is always to help you, make you smile, or make you think. I hope I accomplished that this week. If you made it this far… high fives. Thanks to every one of you that shared the date that they signed up for LinkedIn after reading the blog post last week!