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5 Keys to Writing Excellent Blog Posts

Today in a radio interview I was asked to give 4-5 quick tips on how to write great blog posts.

Quick isn’t my forte when giving tips (I have a lot to say) and I can think of many more than 5 tips for writing great blog posts – but here’s a brief overview of the things I mentioned:

1. Be Useful

When I start writing a blog post, I always identify how useful the post will be to my readers.

Will it solve a problem? Will it make people think? Will it start a conversation? Will it entertain? Will it make readers feel like they’re not alone? Will it teach them something?

Unless a blog post is useful on some level I don’t think it’s worth publishing.

More on Useful Blogging: Usefuless: Principles of Successful Blogging #3.

2. Write Conversationally

This one partly comes down to my own style, so it may not be for everyone, but I find my most effective blog posts are written as if I’m sharing the topic with a friend.

As a result, my posts are fairly informal and written with a lot of ‘I’ and ‘You’ language.

For me, this is partly because I find it a lot easier and more natural to write in this tone of voice – but I also find it connects with readers in a pretty powerful way.

Read more on conversational blog writing at 23 Top Tips to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational

3. Write Great Headlines

I think about my headline before, during and after writing and it often will change numerous times before I settle on the final version.

Headlines, or blog titles, are often the deciding factor on whether someone reads a post or not – so they have a lot of impact.

Read more about writing headlines at – How to Craft Post Titles that Draw Readers Into Your Blog (with 8 great tips) and Titles that Work on ProBlogger – And Why.

4. Build Anticipation and Momentum

Having somebody read one of my blog posts is something I value very highly – it is a real honour – however I have a higher goal.

I want them to read more posts – both immediately and in the future.

As a result, I’ve discovered that if you write blog posts that build momentum in some way you’re much more likely to keep readers hanging around.

One simple way to do build momentum is to link back to old posts you’ve already written, both during and at the end of a blog post. You can see an example of this a few paragraphs above when I gave you links to read more on writing great headlines.

Linking back to old blog posts drives readers into your archives which makes them more likely to engage and become loyal readers.

I’ve found that writing in a way that builds ‘anticipation’ in your readers is particularly powerful. If you can get your readers to look forward to posts you’re yet to write, you give them a reason to subscribe and connect with you in the future.

I wrote a series on building anticipation that I highly recommend you check out.

The key is to look beyond the blog post you’re writing and draw your readers (particularly new ones) into the story (both past and future) of your blog.

If you can get them to see that your blog is much more than the post they’re reading, you might just find you have a reader that engages with you for years to come.

One more bonus link: How to Keep Momentum Going By Building on Previous Posts.

5. Build Engagement

The last thing I mentioned in the interview was to try to build some level of engagement into the blog posts that you write.

This can start with writing in a conversational style (see above) but it goes a lot further. The benefit of getting your readers to engage with you and your content is that they’re much more likely to stick around and become a regular reader.

It also builds social proof, making your blog more useful and relevant to a wider audience.

I won’t go on a great deal about building community because it has only been a couple of weeks since I wrote this mega-series on the topic:

How Would You Answer the Question?

If you had to give 4-5 tips on writing great blog posts – what would you say?

Looking forward to your responses in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. asma says:

    I am a newbie, I read this article very helpful. Nice post, thanks :)

  2. I was trying to write excellent blog post for my blog but couldn’t. So, now I need to really thank this blog and author to produce me with amazing news. My problem is truly solved now.

  3. Thank you for this… there are some really great ideas that I need to implement. I especially found the first one useful. I blog about my new pieces, and try to share some tips about technique or the creative process I followed, but I think I really need to take more time to write meaningful, and useful, posts. Thanks!!

  4. Nice tips. I already write my blog posts in a conversational style and I have noticed the difference.

    Will follow the other tips too from now on.

  5. Ian says:

    I love how you carry out your suggestions in the post itself. Process and content together. I’m going to read more posts now (but you knew that, right?!)

  6. Hi, interesting notes. Very useful. I want to create a blog site
    Can you recommend some good , free, safe site that I can use. It must be easy to use and build; free from adverts, (may not be possible because it is free)
    Most recommend wordpress.
    Thanks
    Albert
    Twitter @careif

    • Delia says:

      Albert, free, safe, and good do not go together, right? :) Definitely recommend WordPress.org self-hosted. It’s not free however :)

  7. Greg says:

    All great advice – thanks for sharing. Writing interesting articles is a must in today’s online marketing campaign. Guess alot of us should have paid more attention in school. In any case, articles like this provide helpful information that we ignored earlier in our lifes.

  8. Lorne Marr says:

    Definitely the most important aspects of writing blog posts. I noticed that there are many bloggers writing in a too conversational manner and using sensational headlines resembling red-tops. The usefulness of their content, however, often equals zero, because they don’t realize that great blogs are about quality content. And without it, hardly anyone can build some anticipation and momentum to catch readers’ attention.

  9. Nice post! I agree with writing useful posts with a conversational tone; you should also know your target audience and write to fulfill their specific needs in order to consolidate your readership. I tend to write what interests me and I’m seeking to share information to people who are at my level without targeting a specific group of people and that’s where I need some improvement.