The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Last post in this mini-series about editorial calendars and inbound marketing.
1. Outline key points
Why are you writing a post? What information are you going to share with your readers?
Effective writing starts with clarity and structure. There's a simple trick for that: define the key points and takeaways of your post first. The writing process becomes so much easier - and quicker.
As for outlines, I usually scribble them on paper. Visual people can instead consider using mind maps, post-it boards and more. There is no "best way" to do that - find a method that works for you, and it will be fine.
2. Forget the word count
Have you ever asked Google what's the ideal length of a blog post?
I did it for you ... and reading through it all would take ages.
5,900,000 results ... wondering what would happen with alternative wording ...
Long story short: it depends on the blog post itself.
Looking for some SEO ranking? Most recent data suggest an average of 2,000 to 2,500 words. Nevertheless, SEO isn't the only "effectiveness factor" of a blog post.
If your audience is into snappier pieces, a short post is probably going to "make it" regardless of the word count. If you're thinking of the "ultimate guide to real estate marketing", 500 words will get you crickets.
Want to write a post that works? Focus on your content, and answer these 3 questions:
3. Use spacing and formatting to "guide" your reader
Again: effective blog posts start with a solid structure.
White space and wise formatting help with the pace and rhythm of your content.
If you want people to read all the great things you have to say, you need to avoid the wall of text effect like the plague.
Walls of text scare humans and ponies alike (Image source: Knowyourmeme)
Want to improve the readability of your posts?
4. SEO is a tool, not a goal
SEO is great for making your content more visible online.
Your first goal, however, should be writing content people will love and share.
Over-optimised blog posts aren't hot anymore - so focus on crafting useful and engaging content for your human readers. You can sprinkle some SEO later, as an added bonus.
Looking for hints on SEO-optimising your posts?
This step-by-step guide by HubSpot will help.
5. Say goodbye, with an invitation
If you're blogging for business, your posts are the opening line of a conversation with your ideal client. Hence, they should always end with a call to action.
It doesn't have to be pushy or salesy. You could simply ask your readers to comment on your piece or join your newsletter. Just make sure your CTA is consistent with the post.
You're asking your readers to shake hands with you here.
If your post has been useful, they will gladly say hi.
Read through this all? Then you know what's coming ...
Say hello, and share your "tricks" for writing blog posts that make readers happy!