A good SEO strategy largely depends on the quality and quantity of the content you produce. While quantity is something that most teams with an adequate budget can easily manage, quality is hard to come by.
How do you write a blog post that your readers like? How do you make sure it triggers the right emotions and encourages them to become subscribers, fans, and, ultimately, your loyal customers?
In this blog post, we discuss just that.
Here are a few tips to help you create highly engaging and interesting blog posts that will help you improve your organic rankings, engagement metrics, fans, and revenue.
1. Perfect the art of writing catchy headlines
It all starts with the title of the blog post. If the headline is interesting, more readers would feel encouraged to click on it and read the blog post.
It is also essential to remember that many people will not read past the headline of an article. Therefore, it is important that the headline of your blog post is interesting enough to make readers want to know more and continue reading. Each word should be carefully selected, and the headline must also have the right emotional and sentimental value.
Here are a few resources to help you write better headlines for your blog post:
- Use the 212 blog post ideas cheat sheet to see how different types of blog posts are usually titled.
- The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer helps you optimize your titles.
- The AMI Headline Analyzer helps you increase the emotional value of your headlines.
2. Hook your readers with the first sentence
The main job of the headline is to encourage the reader to read the first sentence of the blog post. After that, it all depends on that first sentence and how interesting it is.
Here are a few tips to help you create an interesting first sentence that encourages readers to keep going:
- Use an interesting, verifiable, and backed-up statistic.
- Start with a personal story.
- Pose a relevant and important question that encourages readers to think.
- Start with a famous quote that is relevant to your blog post and the topic at hand.
- Start with a controversial statement that you start explaining and/or justifying right away.
3. Foreshadow and promise
The attention span of the average online user is dwindling. You need to find the right balance between giving your readers enough information to hook them and holding enough information back to keep them going.
That’s why foreshadowing and promising your readers what to expect work so well.
To show your readers that it’s good for them to keep reading until the end, tell them what to expect. Address the most important questions and promise what solutions you are going to present to them in a blog post.
If they know what they are going to get by the end of the post, it serves as a motivation for them to continue reading.
4. Understand your target audience
But how do you address the biggest problems your readers are facing? How do you know what those problems are?
That’s only possible if you truly understand who your target audience is. This includes knowing everything about them, including the problems they face, the solutions they seek, who they are, what they like, what they dislike, which publications do they follow, and everything in between.
Use the knowledge and understanding of your target audience/readers to craft better content for them.
If you do not already know to whom you are writing for, start by creating audience personas. You can also use the following tools to learn more about your audience:
It is also important to write for one specific group of audience. If you are writing for everyone, you are writing for no one.
Select a group of your readers — based on their characteristics and the problems they are facing — and write specifically for them. This helps you make your content much more appealing and interesting to them.
5. Use shorter sentences and paragraphs
Writing for the web is slightly different than writing in a traditional publication. Online users prefer shorter sentences and paragraphs that help keep moving.
How do you tell if a sentence is too long?
Take the breathing test.
Read that sentence aloud and see if you run out of your breath by the end of it.
Also, if you notice too many adjectives and adverbs in a sentence, you should shorten it. Similarly, complex and compound sentences should be simplified.
6. Improve the readability experience
You can write the best, most useful piece of content there is, but if the readability experience is poor, not many people will like it.
Here are a few tips to help you improve the readability experience of your content:
- Design your website around readability. Medium is a great example where content is at the front and center of the design.
- Divide your content into smaller chunks. Use headings and subheadings to ensure the right flow and division of ideas.
- Use bullet points whenever necessary to convey information in an easy-to-read format.
- Use videos, images, and infographics to aid your content and keep things interesting for your readers.
- Use the right font and font size to ensure an easier reading experience.
7. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar words
As a content marketer and writer, your job is to make your content accessible for the most number of people. Ideally, a fifth-grader should easily comprehend what you are saying.
Therefore, avoid technical words, jargon, and words that might be unfamiliar to your target audience. Again, it all comes down to how well you understand your readers (as discussed in point #4).
You can use free online readability testing tools to see how easily readable your content is.
8. Find the perfect content length for your audience
Search engines generally prefer long-form content. Blog posts over 2,000 words often tend to rank higher in the search engine results pages.
However, a blog post that is too long is also more likely to lose engagement and readers. Therefore, you need to find the right balance and the perfect content length for your audience and niche.
The best way of doing that is to dive into your Google Analytics account and make a list of your best-performing blog posts in terms of search engine ranking, average on-page time, and other relevant engagement metrics.
Find blog posts that rank well on both scales (search engine rankings and engagement metrics). Then identify patterns in those blog posts, including the total word count. You will be able to replicate those qualities in other blog posts and find reasonable success more often than not.
Keep testing different things to optimize your results and find the things that your audience likes the most.
Content is the bedrock for any online business and its SEO strategy. Make sure to spend the time and effort that a high-quality content marketing strategy deserves.
For more information and tips, stay tuned to our blog.