I write a lot. In just over a year, I’ve published 301 (make that 302!) blog posts.
In the process, I’ve found out what works. I’ve found out what doesn’t. Over and over again, I’ve found that the most successful blog posts have nine common characteristics.
Master these nine things — write blog posts that are these nine things — and you’ll write killer content primed to go viral.
This is number one for a reason. You need to solve a problem.
Fill a need. Provide a solution. There is nothing better than a simple how-to that explains the fix for a common problem.
Why, you ask? Well, Google is a Question Machine. More often than not, searchers are entering questions and looking for solutions to specific problems.
If you provide that solution in a way that others cannot, your blog post will have Page 1 value.
Now, here’s the thing… You may be an expert in your field. You may have the solution to the problem people are searching for in your brain. But you’ve got to provide the details.
Don’t leave anything out. Explain it in a way that is easy for new users to understand. Don’t assume people come in knowing anything.
The balance is providing detail without being overwhelming.
Ah, yes! Provide details, but be concise! Makes sense, right?
You know what’s hard to read? Rambling.
You know what else is hard to read? Long paragraphs.
Still more? Long sentences. And big words.
Stop trying to impress your high school English teacher. Get to the point. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. And don’t don’t use long words unnecessarily that your readers may not understand.
I keep talking about balance, well here’s another example. You should be short and to the point, but not boring.
Story telling helps. Use language in unique and interesting ways. Create content that people want to read to the end, no matter how long.
This is a characteristic that may be more of a gift than a skill. But before hitting publish, read the post to yourself and ask, “Do I want to read this?”
One important piece of being interesting is creating a title that begs to be read. Most website visitors will stop at your title unless you grab them.
Make it good!
You’re not a robot. You aren’t perfect. Don’t pretend that you’re either.
Your writing needs to have soul. That way, your reader doesn’t only connect with the content, they connect with you.
Explain the experiences that make you an authority on the subject. Describe your successes and failures to allow people going through similar problems to connect and have hope.
This doesn’t mean that you should make your blog posts all about you (unless that’s what you blog about). It just means making sure to include a little humanness in everything you write.
Being human also means having a voice and a style. Write in a distinctive way that when someone reads your content elsewhere, they immediately know it’s you!
I’ve seen a lot of helpful blog posts that are well-written but absolutely painful to read.
Organize your content. Use headers and lists and bullets and create white space with line breaks and short paragraphs.
But the organization shouldn’t only be visual, but functional. Have a clear flow and process that is easy to read from start to finish.
This may seem obvious, but it’s gotta be listed. Please, please, please research your facts.
If your helpful blog post isn’t accurate, it is worthless. It will attract unwanted traffic and criticism. And your errors will reflect poorly on you as a writer and professional.
So make sure that whatever information you provide is factual. Also cite and link to any sources that back up your facts.
After you’ve written your blog post, read it. Edit it. Move things around. Remove words. Correct misspellings.
Read it again.
Look, you don’t need to use pristine grammar. I’m sure that English majors will find issues with every blog post I write. But it’s gotta be readable.
Make sure that there are no glaring mistakes. Misspellings and typos will destroy your credibility. But even a blog post lacking errors should be combed through multiple times to make sure it reads well.
If you can, have another set of eyes read it first. If you’re like me, that’s not possible. But make sure you’ve read it through multiple times before publishing.
On March 7, I wrote this blog post. It’s received more than 200,000 page views and continues to receive 1,000-plus views on a daily basis.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s not a blog post at all! It lacks nearly everything I just listed.
But you know what it is? It’s helpful, detailed, concise, organized, accurate and edited. And more than anything else, it’s visual.
That’s the key. If you have the choice of telling a story with an image or with words, choose the image. Or choose both. But strategic use of imagery is critical to killer content.
Oh, you need a visual? Here you go!
Is there anything missing from this list? Let me know in the comments below!