If you have spend any time researching online marketing, you will know that not all blogs were created equal. Some blogs just seem to draw people in, in droves while others remain hidden in the dark, dark corners of the Internet – never to be discovered.
So what’s the difference between a successful blog and a less-than successful blog?
Proper planning is the answer.
Simply taking a random idea that comes to mind and putting it in written form is not enough to generate interest in a blog and establish loyalty among your readers. You have to give them tangible information that makes them want to come back for more and pass along to others what they learn from your blog.
A good way to begin your proper planning ritual is a blog post audit that encompasses key aspects of what makes for a successful blog post. We have created a 10 point blog post checklist that you can incorporate into your blog’s editorial calendar to ensure that your future blog posts not only attract readers, but also establish long-term readership.
It doesn’t matter how fantastic the contents of the blog post are. If the title isn’t appealing, no one is going to bother reading any further. It needs to be compelling and concise – yet detailed enough to tell the reader what the post entails and why they should read it.
The introduction is where you really grab – or lose – the reader’s interest. It needs to pique their interest enough so that they continue reading the entire post while maintaining the theme delivered by the title.
A well-written blog entry will flow easily and transition smoothly between sections and sub-headings, which makes the blog post easier to read, follow and consume. This can be accomplished by breaking the post into bite-sized portions using italics, bullets, numbered lists, bold font and well-spaced paragraphs. Remember, the easier something is to read, the more likely people are to actually read it.
4. Call To Action
You can’t expect your readers to know what you want them to do, unless you tell them with a clear, concise call to action. If you want them to buy a product, say so. If you want them to sign up for your email list, show them how. If you want them to invest in your services, show them why they should. Remember, readers follow your lead. Be persuasive and direct without being pushy.
5. Images and Media
All blog posts should be illustrated with a relevant graphic. It doesn’t matter whether you use a drawing, a picture, an info-graphic or video. Blog posts that contain media that keeps within the theme of the posts are exponentially more appealing than blog posts that only contact blocks of text.
A great closing is the icing on your blog post cake. It needs to recap everything you wanted to convey in the post as well as offer the promise of additional useful information in the future.
7. On-Page SEO
Now that your blog post is written and audited, you need to optimize it’s searchability. This is achieved by making use of unique keywords to be used in the images, links and title for that page as well as cross-linking to additional content within your blog. This is very, very important to improving the visibility of your blog post as well as your blog in general.
8. Proper Tags
All blogs have tag clouds that let you categorize your posts under various headings that you create. These tags make it easier for readers to find additional content they are interested in on the same subjects in your blog. It is imperative that each and every post you make is tagged, cross-tagged and re-tagged to maximize it’s visibility among readers.
Be sure that your blog post is complete before it’s published. Does it have all the content you wanted to include? Relevant imagines? Links and crosslinks? Keywords? Calls to action? Closing? Introduction? Is anything missing? Check and re-check before you put it out there.
Are all your blog posts consistent with your brand? Are they consistent with each other? Are they so consistent that your readers will be able to associate the content with your brand, just by reading the headline or intro? If not, rethink them before you post them. Consistency is one of the most important elements of a successful blog.