A blog is essential for any freelancer. It’s brought me many clients and is a great marketing tool to grabbing new people and directing them to my little internet-place but if you’re not including certain aspects, it could be a waste of time.
If you’re finding that your blog isn’t attracting the right type of reader (and encouraging them to stay), it may be because you’re not including these seven things:
1. A click-worthy title
The key to a successful blog post is to get readers hooked into visiting it in the first place. This can be done by creating a click-worthy article title that helps SEO, too.
There are many elements that contribute towards creating a click-worthy blog post title but you can start by using:
- Numbers – i.e. this blog post!
- Negative and position emotions – i.e. “These 7 elements could be ruining your blog post”
- Questions – i.e. “Are you missing out on blog traffic because of these 7 things?)
There are also tools such as the Coschedule Headline Analyser that take these things into consideration, as well as optimising them for the organic results through SEO.
It’s essential to be using photos and visual in your blog posts as many people pay more attention to these than words – especially when your articles are over 1,000 words long!
Use the images on your blog as a hook to entice new readers in and guess what? It doesn’t take up a shit-ton of time. In fact, you can use free tools such as Canva to create a template that you simply delete and re-add information based on the blog post you’re writing.
You can also use branded stock photos to create a cohesive brand across your website which allows your website to be identified elsewhere.
In every blog post that you create, use a selection of images that can be used for:
The vast majority of blog post themes allow you to insert images into your blog posts and you should always take advantage of the featured image section.Use a selection of images throughout your blog post to break up text! Click To Tweet
Inserting branded images into this section aids with making your blog fit-in with the rest of your freelancing website and also provides you with a way to make your articles look more aesthetically pleasing.
Once you’ve added a variety of images throughout the blog post itself, you should also get into the habit of creating separate images to share on social media. (You could even use premade social media templates here!)
In general, you should create two images of different sizes:
800 x 1200 px
Images of this size are perfect for use on Pinterest, where vertical images have been proven to be the most successful. You can also use the same image for posting on Facebook, where the additional length will help you to stand out in a busy News Feed.
1024 x 512 px
This is the recommended image size for a Twitter post but the horizontal features mean that they’re also ideal for posting on other social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
Once you’ve created a version of each of these graphics, try experimenting with different wording, colours and styles. You can change the title of the blog post slightly (i.e. wording this exact article as “blog post checklist: 7 things to include”) and change the background of your featured image using the Canva template you created previously.
I usually create two or three versions of each image size and use them to post on my Pinterest boards. This helps with trying to bring traffic to the blog post whilst providing people with a variety of images that best-suit their own board styles and branding.
3. An attention-grabbing introduction
After your images have been included, the next thing that you’ll use to hook a reader is to write an introduction that grabs their attention. It’s the first thing that somebody reads when they click on your blog post and be the make-or-break factor when it comes to them reading the remainder of the article.#TopTip: Use an attention-grabbing intro to encourage readers to actually read your post! Click To Tweet
Typically, I use the following structure:
- Explain a problem and how it relates to your audience.
- Elaborate slightly
- How you can change it (& how they desperately need this blog post in their life)
For example, if you’re writing a post about writing useful website copy, something like this will do the job:
- The content that your website uses is important for making sales.
- As a business owner, this can lead to you missing out on important leads and conversions on your site.
- However, you can avoid these issues by writing content with converting tactics in mind to make the copy on your website more valuable to both your readers and a search engine by following these tips.
Personally, I always write my introductions last. This is because I have a clear vision on what the blog post is about – something that I rarely have before I start writing!
Breaking up text
We’ve all heard about how important it is to craft blog posts that are “written for the internet”. (Fun fact: I was given this link on my first day as a “professional” copywriter and I still refer back to it to this day!)
There are many ways that you can format a blog post so that it’s internet-worthy, including:
Along with being great for your blog’s SEO, heading tags help with breaking up sections of your text. The chances are, some people may already know some of things that you’re talking about and just want to skip to the parts they’ve not read before.
Using headings to segment the article allows people to do this and they’ll be less frustrated when they don’t need to manually search.
Once you’ve segmented your blog post into relevant chunks, it’s important to break up the text beneath these sections into readable bursts.
Although this is generally dependant on the nature of the blog post you’re writing, I generally go for the two/three sentences per paragraph rule (unless I start blabbering too much).Do you want to get more out of your blog posts? Include these things! Click To Tweet
This makes it easier for a reader to digest and becomes less overwhelming when you’re not faced with hundreds of worded mush.
6. Lists & bullet points
You should also think about using bullet points and lists to break down your paragraphs even further.
These are ideal for explaining step-by-step actions or instructions and are much better than being overwhelmed with text.
As you can see, your blog posts aren’t really as simple as writing a rough draft and uploading. These days, people expect more from online articles and if you aren’t doing the right things to attract readers and encourage them to stay, you could be missing out on valuable traffic!
7. Content upgrades
As a blogger, growing your mailing list should always be your goal. Forget about social platforms where a change in algorithms can cause you to lose touch with your readers. Instead, connect with them via email; focus on building your list and creating your own community.
The easiest way to build your list is to add content upgrades within every blog post that you write. Just like the one I’ve added to the bottom of this post (and in my free resource library!), it gives your audience a way to get extra information on your topic – via email.
Content upgrades can be anything from checklists and cheatsheets to free email courses. Whatever it is, giving exclusive content to your audience in return for their email address is a fab way to grow your audience.
(P.S. If you’re looking for a course that’ll teach you strategies beyond content upgrades for growing your list, I’d highly recommend the List Surge online course. Since using it, my list has grown by a massive amount – to the point where it’s now full with like-minded people who I can connect with on a more personal level!).
* this post contains affiliate links – click here to view my full disclosure.
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