The best blog posts give readers exactly what they’re looking for — and maybe even a few things they didn’t know they were looking for!
Building out your company’s brand publication can be a major step forward in establishing your online presence. Whether you’re looking to boost your social media following or hone your SEO rankings, blog posts are the foundation of a healthy, sustainable digital media strategy.
Actually writing them, however, can be daunting. Just because you’re a pro in your industry doesn’t make putting your expertise down on paper — or on screen — any easier. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s no such thing as perfection in blogging. That said, your blog posts should aim to achieve two things: communicating your brand’s message while providing information that your target audience wants — and needs — to read.
Check out our two-part series on writing a “perfect” blog post so that you and your team can build a blog that perfectly represents your brand.
Cater to the Reader
First, take into consideration who your audience is and how they’re finding your content. You can write the best professional-oriented content in your industry, but if this particular blog post needs to be accessible to the lay consumer, you may have written a magnum opus that the average reader can’t make heads or tails of.
If visitors to your blog are familiar with your field and have searched out your content on their own, then target these bottom-of-the-funnel consumers: optimize your content to convince them that your product is the perfect solution to their problem. If your readers are coming to you from organic search queries and lack a real understanding of your industry — or what it is they even need — make sure your content helps orient them to your field and to how your product or service can help.
Above all, make every effort to display your credibility: tout your own expertise, and cite reliable sources that corroborate your points and demonstrate a deep understanding of your field. If readers don’t think your two cents are reliable, their visit to your blog may be brief — and their chance of converting slim.
Structure Your Content to Add Value
The best blog posts should save readers a click. This means that the content should do what it says it’s going to do. If you’re writing a blog series on building a sustainable YouTube strategy, for example, your readers expect to see a fully fleshed out, step-by-step guide after the jump — and may leave the page quickly if they don’t.
Your headline and standfirst should immediately give readers the “too long, didn’t read” version of your post. That way, visitors will know immediately whether your content will provide the answers or experience they’re looking for, generating valuable insights in the process as to who your most engaged readers are and why.
When it comes to the article itself, follow the pyramid writing style. The first (and broadest) section should include the most newsworthy information — the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your blog post.
Phrasing such as “We’ve outlined the three major reasons why the most successful brands are turning to video” will prepare your readers for the blog post ahead and give them a mental checklist to follow. In this instance, a pyramid writing style will flesh out each major reason, addressing the “who, what, and where,” and will provide context as to why this topic matters to the industry at large — and to them, as clients or consumers, specifically.
Keep Length in Mind
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that today’s average internet reader has a short attention span. Over 50% of users will abandon mobile sites if they take more than three seconds to load, according to Google, so the pressure’s on to grab attention and keep it. That doesn’t mean that you have to resort to gimmicky, clickbaity content, but you should be aware that you’re up against something of a time limit: how long can you keep the reader engaged before their attention takes them elsewhere?
The optimum length for a short-form blog post is typically in the range of 300 words. This length packs a punch, giving you ample space to expand upon the topic laid out in the headline and to feature a call to action for your product.
If you’re writing a more in-depth news article that offers commentary on current events in your industry, the 600- to 800-word range is best. At this length, you can reference multiple sources to give the reader a panoramic view of the topic, cite studies that provide a more nuanced understanding of the issue, and even tie the news event back to your product.
Anything above 800 words is typically considered a feature-length blog post, ideal for readers who are seeking a deeper dive to unearth expert insights — think white papers, case studies, or exhaustive product overviews.
In the next installment of our series, we’ll discuss the more technical aspects of your blog strategy: writing for the web, refining your slugs, and optimizing your metadata. Stay tuned!