What Goes Into An Epic Blog Post?

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What makes an awesome, shareable post that gets comments and ultimately drives sales for your business? I’m going to show you exactly how to write the perfect blog post and how to get your readers coming back for every piece of gold on your site.

Obviously, as a blogger your content is the core of your business. Even if you’re not exclusively a blogger, maybe you offer a service or a product that you use your blog to drive traffic to, content is the driving force behind your success with social media.

The simple fact is, longer, content rich, well designed, and actionable posts have a better impact on your business than any other kind of post.

It might seem a little counter intuitive that more robust content is favored online. Isn’t the web all about the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version of stuff? That’s why Twitter exists, right?

Not exactly.

While I LOOOOVE twitter (I’m on that like frosting on a cupcake, yo.), the pithy little quotes in 140 characters or less represent just one side of the internet. Social media is all about being conversational and finding content in the blink of an eye. Your blog is NOT about this.

Your blog is a resource. Your blog is the thing those pithy little quips link to. Your blog is the place people go to solve a problem, to learn something, to overcome an obstacle. Think of it as the instruction manual to your clients life.

Yes, it should be super easy to navigate and be skimmable, but the content should be pure freaking gold.

I get asked a lot if it’s better to create 1 super awesome post that’s crazy long, or break it up into several smaller posts. The answer (from loads of testing under countless conditions), is “it depends.”

Don’t be disappointed. I promise I have something more valuable than that for you.

The truth about post length, is that people actually prefer longer articles with clear, actionable steps…TO A POINT.

The Sweet Spot = 1,500 Words

A short blog post might be informational, but usually, people are looking to dive in deeper with your topic. 1,500 words is about as deep as they are willing to go. Anything over 1,500 words you start to see much faster scrolling (skimming behavior), and less engagement with that last part of the post.

For most of your content, if you’re spilling over into the 18-, 19-, 2000 word mark, you might be better off splitting that idea into 2 posts.

Easy To Follow Steps

Coming from a marketing background, I have a pretty intimate relationship with “fluff”. I can spot it right off the bat, and it drives me insane. I need you to feel the emphasis on that. Insane.

Fluff is any piece of content that is all about the setup. Gets you excited, convinces you that you’re going to learn something amazing, inspires you to dive right in, then proceeds to drag you through a bunch of talk that never actually says anything. I know you’ve heard it before.

“I’m going to show you exactly how to get clients from whatever social network. It’s going to be great! You’re going to make a million dollars! YAY! The first thing you have to do is…..use that social network. And use it right, and look really pretty, and have a coffee, and then you win.”

What? Did I really just waste 10 minutes of my life on that? No shit, of course I have to use Facebook if I want to get clients from Facebook!

Fluff is a major turn off to readers, it dramatically impacts the number of return visitors to your site, and it does absolutely nothing to convert readers into customers. In fact, producing a lot of mediocre content actually dethrones you as an expert, making it harder to convince customers of your value.

So, if you’re going to write content, make it valuable. Approach every post with the intent of creating a complete, actionable guide to solving a problem, answering a question, or offering a creative solution to an obstacle.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what questions your ideal customers have or what problems they need to solve, check out this post.

Structure your post so that the reader can walk away with a list of things they can do, right now, to get to an end goal.

When you’re done writing, take a read through your own post and make a list of the steps you have given your reader to work on. If you can’t find any…go back and make your post more valuable.

At the end of this post, for example, you should have a list of items you can check off as you add them to your next blog post. In fact, I’ve created that list for you. Download the Perfect Blog Post Checklist here.

Clear and Bright Images

It doesn’t matter if you are selling products, services, or some kind of unidentifiable slime, your blog needs photos. People are visual creatures, and make judgements about the value of your content and the quality of your business based on the images that you show them.

Whether that is right or wrong, you need to be taking advantage of it. Each and every single post should have some kind of on brand graphic that leads your readers into the content.

Your post should have a perfectly sized header image at the very top of the post and at least 1 more somewhere else in the text.

If you’re working with a very photo-friendly topic you can shoot for breaking up the text with a image after every 300-500 words.

Use these guidelines to get the most out of your images.

-Social Media Optimized (I.e. They fit the standard sizes used by social media networks when shared)
-Easy to Read Text Overlays
-Clearly Labelled with your Web Address
-Include ALT tags that describe the photo and your perfect blog post topic.
-Use proper file names (yourwebsitedotcom_blog-post-title_relevant-image-name.png)

Easy To Read Structure

After analyzing the behaviors of more than 15,000 readers with 3,000 different pieces of content, I found that there is a clear pattern in the way people interact with blog posts. Most users will click a link bringing them to some digital content, scroll down an arbitrary amount of the page, and then back up to the top before they actually start reading.

What are they looking for? Subconsciously, they are making the decision to either invest the time into reading the content because it looks “valuable”, or to click away.

By using headlines, lists, bullet points, and short paragraphs you can convince a reader that your content is a great investment before they ever read a word.

Organize your content into logical sections and try to include the following in your organizational structure. You might be tempted to think “my post doesn’t need a list”, in which case, you might want to reconsider how you are presenting information.

-An Actionable Heading
-Clear Section Headings
-Descriptive Headlines
-Numbered Lists
-Bullet Points
-Short 2-3 sentence paragraphs.
-Links that stand out
-Embedded Twitter or Facebook posts
-Block quotes
-Proper punctuation (I.e. Conservative use of “!”)

Content Upgrades

To make your content work harder for you, and attract more shares from readers, offer a content upgrade. These are additional media elements that you add to a post which increases the overall value to the reader. Try to include one with every post to help grow your email list and encourage more social engagement.

These could be…
-An Email Course
-A Download
-A Webinar To Sign Up For
-A Video
-A Survey or Poll
-A Closed Facebook
-A Podcast
-Etc.

For more ideas and a comparison of the pros and cons of different content upgrades, check out this post.

A Few Technical Items

You’ve just finished writing an awesome post and you’re anxious to hit publish and start promoting. I hate to rain on your parade…but you’ve got a little more work to do. There are a few technical items that will really help take your post over the top and cross over in the realm of “perfect blog post” status.

The SEO you do in your posts will go a long way to helping your business get found by potential customers. Doing a little extra work here will even make sharing your post on social media easier and save you time writing descriptions.

1. Install and use Yoast SEO plug in
2. Add links to other, relevant posts in your blog
3. Include a keyword rich summary of your article’s topic as your first paragraph
4. Test your Readability Score and shoot for about a 60-70
5. Make a strong call to action for your products/services visible on the page
6. End with a question that encourages comments.

You Know How To Write The Perfect Blog Post
It’s as simple as providing real, genuine value to your readers. The same posts you love to read, are probably very similar to the posts your audience wants to read. Don’t be afraid to take a card from your favorite bloggers and use their work as a template to inspire your own epic content.

To make your job easier, I’ve created a nice little printable checklist that will help keep your posts inline.

Download the Perfect Blog Post Checklist here.

What to include in the perfect blog post

What was the word count of your most popular post? List it in the comments. Mine was 1,024.

  • I have found Yoast to be so valuable. Love it as a tool in writing posts. I struggle with reaching enough words, that is probably the most difficult part for me.

    • Try outlining your posts first and assigning word counts to each section. If your idea goes deep enough, you should have no problem getting to about 1,000+ words.

  • Really great tips. Yoast is awesome as well. I just re-reviewed it this week actually. I like what you said about having clear, bright images. It really makes a difference.

  • This is some great advice! I didn’t even realize that there were so many things to do. Clear and bright images – a must! 🙂

  • These are awesome tips. I’m totally with you – I hate fluff, too! Pinning this for sure.

    • When you’re in marketing for a while you start to see fluff everywhere. It drives me crazy in webinars when the hosts just talk in circles.

  • Great tips here. Offering more content upgrades is my current goal.

  • Vanessa

    love this!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • This is such a great roundup of tips and I couldn’t agree more! Fluff and random thoughts drive me nuts as do poorly lit photos. I’m not expert at photography, but having pretty pics can make or break your post.
    -Linh

    • Thanks Linh. Social media is all about being visual. You’ve got to present a clear, cohesive image no matter what medium you are using.

  • These are actually really good tangible items of advice. You are so right about the fluff part.

  • Stacey Skrysak

    Great tips! As a fellow blogger, I’m always looking for ways to improve my posts. I despise fluff! (And I love twitter like you!)

  • Boxwood Avenue

    Conservative use of ‘!’ and fluff – girl you’re telling it like it is… and I LIKE it! I’m so glad you popped over to my blog, I am now a major fan of your writing.

    • Thanks Chloe! I love your blog! Im so glad I found it! Added you to my reader.

  • Christina Graham

    Love the tips! I will keep these in mind when I am writing!

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  • Sujal Pandey

    Really helpful post. My blog is all about providing information and facts so I have to be extra careful that virtually every line that I write offers something to the reader. I am a big fan of using appealing images/infographics in my blog posts as well.

    Your opinion about the post length really helps too because I am always uncertain if I am hitting the right length or not. This should help!

    • I love to hear that….”providing information and fact”. I am a no fluff kinda girl.

      • Sujal Pandey

        😀

  • Lowcountry.Felicity.Life

    Your blog is an amazing resource! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience.
    Sandra
    http://www.lowcountryfelicitylife.com

    • Thanks for those wonderfully kind words, Sandra! You’ve got such pretty photos on your blog! How long have you been writing?

      • Lowcountry.Felicity.Life

        Thanks for visiting my blog! I have read several of your posts and my head is spinning – the post about finding your niche is especially relevant to me right now. I have several layers that I need to consolidate into one awesome brand – lowcountry life, for the mature lady, who loves to cook, decorate, garden and think about life’s lessons (I have a few of these!) Then i need to post more often.

        You offer so much good advice! I’ve been writing for my blog for 1.5 years. I did a lot of business writing prior to this – blog writing is surely more satisfying! I have found a new enjoyment from ‘macro’ photography. Thanks for noticing.

        And thanks for following me on Twitter.
        Sandra