Blogging is a key part of a content marketing strategy, but writing blog posts without a built in strategy can represent your brand in a negative fashion.
In a previous post, I touched on how to prepare for writing a blog. Once you have all the elements in place for the blog post, it’s time to sit down and write the content itself.
Here are four basic aspects of blog writing that you should know.
Identify the goal of the post
The first thing that you need to keep in mind throughout the writing of your blog post is the goal of the post itself. Before you write the post, ask yourself “What do I want to accomplish with this blog post”?
The five common goals of most blog posts are:
- To inform: This is usually about something that is newsworthy about your product, service or event. A newspaper story and a new product that you’re introducing to the market are examples of an informative blog post.
- To educate: These posts focus on content that teaches you how to do something. The goal of this very blog is to educate you on how to write a blog post. A video game, movie or book review are examples of educational posts, because the media receives access to the materials before the general public. They in turn educate you on whether the product is worth your money.
- To entertain: The goal of these posts are to make the readers laugh or at the very least take their minds off of their stressful day. BuzzFeed stories like this are great examples of this type of blog post. Notice the story isn’t that funny, but it does make the readers wish they were eating at one of these breathtaking restaurants.
- To introduce a discussion: The goal of these blog posts are to increase the interaction between the writer of the posts and the audience. This story used social media to create a discussion about telling better stories. The writer served as the moderator and sometimes contributor to the discussion. He simply used embedded tweets to dole out the advice.
- To motivate: The goal of these posts are to get the audience to do something worthwhile. A good example of this are the “Get out to vote” posts that you will see as election time approaches.
There are times that you will be able to combine these goals, but it needs to be done in the right manner. For example, if you’re are trying to educate children on how to write an essay, you should not use examples of bad essays as examples in an attempt to entertain. You can still entertain, but maybe use good essays as examples of the quality of essays that children can work towards.
Capture audience attention quickly This is the hardest part of blog writing. Most visitors won’t read even 50 percent of your content and many will be gone before the halfway point if you don’t capture the readers attention immediately. Content Management Systems having a designated meta description box, which will allow you to write creative and informative ledes that can draw the audience into your stories.
Get to your main point of the story quickly. Tell the audience what they need to know right at the top of your post. For example, you’re writing a movie review, tell the audience whether the movie was good or bad right away. Don’t dive into the plot, individual performances or cinematography before telling the audience that this movie is worthy of their time. This movie review from Variety is a great example of telling the audience what they need to know about the movie. Variety may be the best example of getting to the main point quickly before dealing with the other details. They devote a whole paragraph to telling you that the “Need For Speed” movie is ok.
Have multiple headings When someone visits a blog post the visitor needs to be engaged throughout the whole post.
If the entire post is just regular text, the audience is never going to devote the mental effort of figuring out the main points of the story. However, if you put the main points into individual sections and give the sections a title, the audience can clearly see when you’re transitioning to a different point. Remember that when you blog, you don’t use indents so diversifying your content by creating headings will allow you transition from point-to-point.
Change up paragraph lengths The days of having to write four or five sentences to make a paragraph are long gone, at least on the Web. For online, you usually want your paragraphs to consist of 1-3 sentences. A direct quote should be it’s own paragraph, even if it’s not a block quote.