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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

The 10 Things Your Next Blog or Article Needs In Order to Click, Convert & Connect



Have you ever read a blog that simply flopped? It either left you hanging, turned you off with grammatical errors, or just did not meet your expectations based on the title or link that you clicked.


Inspired by this recent post by the American Marketing Association, I wanted to create and share my own trusted formula and framework for a high-converting, effective and engaging blog post.


Feng shui is big on efficiency, ease and the preservation of your valuable Chi. There no use in reinventing the wheel when the guidelines above are PROVEN effective for millions of content creators out there.


Let's change the way you develop and publish content forever, turning any problem into a timeless and evergreen piece of written authority and expertise.


The components below incorporate a variety of strategies and perspectives - customer psychology, content design, SEO, and more. Taking a bird's eye view of content and then breaking it down into the smaller parts, is the foundation of a strong holistic marketing strategy.


But first...


Don't forget to clarify & define your...

  • Target Audience. Who do you want to read this content

  • Purpose & Intent. What is the larger goal? What do you hope they will do after reading your blog?

  • Location in the content funnel.

  • Distribution Plan. Will people discover this content through search, social media, or something/somewhere else? Top-of-funnel/discovery content will read very differently than bottom-of-funnel/conversion content.

Ready to dive in? Check out this simple & effective framework for your next blog or article...


1. An Interesting & Original Topic & Outline

The world is your oyster when it comes to blog subject-matter, however it's likely that only the most thought-provoking content will get traffic and shares. The end-goal of your piece should be to either Educate, Entertain, or Inspire (or ideally all three at once!)


Start off strong with your intro summary: Acknowledge and align with the reader's Problem and then proceed to present your article as the Solution, demonstrating how you're the subject-matter expert with detailed information.


Flex your knowledge and experiences by breaking down every facet of the problem in the meat of your post:

  • Why does the problem happen?

  • What to do when it happens?

  • How do we prevent it from happening again?

  • Can the solution be applied to other areas of life too?


2. A Long-form Headline

Crafting a ETA or ETC click-worthy headline is an art and despite popular belief, clever and catchy ones don't always win. What's more important than creating click-bait is providing clarity. Give as much detail as possible to create interest & intrigue. There's even research to prove it this tactic increases engagement.


Components of a strong blog title - the Four U's:

  • USEFUL.Use research-backed keywords and phrases (aka "long-tail keywords") that are the most likely to appear in search results and appeal to your target. What vocab resonates with your reader?

  • UNIQUE. Incorporate alternate characters whenever possible (parentheses, brackets, ellipses, colons, question marks, hyphens, or dashes) to add visual interest

  • ULTRA-SPECIFIC. Numbers, statistics and very niche subjects go a long way.

  • URGENT. Choose 'trigger words' that illicit an emotional response by tugging on heartstrings, addressing insecurities, conquering their objections or creating a sense of urgency or need.

BONUS

  • Can't decide on a headline? It's ok to craft several options and poll team-members for their input!

  • The bigger, the better. Larger fonts are more skimmable, and have higher recall rates.


DID YOU KNOW... Headlines that are 14-17 words in length generate 76.7% more social shares, according to a 2019 analysis by Backlinko.

3. TL-DR (Too Long Didn't Read)

You can make your blog posts perform better just by adding a brief (50 word) "TL-DR" or Table of Contents at the beginning. This reduces bounce rate because it reassures readers they’re going to find exactly what they’re looking for, saving them time and helping them quickly decide if they want to read more. It can also help you win more featured snippets on Google by summarizing your main points and multiplying keywords.


4. Brand Tone & Voice

Communicate your unique personality and perspective - trying to set yourself apart from competition by being DIFFERENT, not better. Embracing your authentic and genuine communication style will resonate most with your target customer persona, and if it doesn't they were probably not meant to be your customer.


Avoid being TOO casual though - spelling and grammar are still paramount!


5. Skimmable + Digestable Formatting & Flow

It's pretty simple: When you make your piece easy to read, then your reader will continue reading!


The average human has the attention span of a goldfish. You can keep your reader’s attention, improve your readability and encourage continued scanning/scrolling by incorporating

  • Simple, short and engaging sentences - at a third-grade reading level!

  • Section headers / subheadings with the appropriate structure and hierarchy (H1, H2, H3, etc)

  • Brief paragraphs- ideally, no longer than 3 lines each. Short paragraphs are especially important in the beginning to draw the reader in

  • Plenty of whitespace so the text can "breathe"

  • Bullet points or numbered lists to draw attention, summarize key points or sections and increase focus

  • Formatted text (Bold, Italics, Underlined words)

BONUS: Format your subheadings as questions for higher engagement. Also try to use emotion-based words


6. Multimedia Storytelling

Gone are the days of single-image posts. Today, there should be something visual to support every fold. This can be in the form of a relevant:

  • photographic image

  • video

  • chart or diagram

  • infographic

  • quote

We are visual creatures, after all!


The goal is to create dynamic visual interest and multiple text breaks so your reader stays engaged and continues to scroll... and scroll.. and scroll to stimulate their senses and get the full digital information experience.


BONUS: Seek out quotes from topic experts and SME's using professional PR query sites to really make your article stand out from the competition and be uniquely yours.


DID YOU KNOW... articles with images recieve 94% more exposure than those with text alone.

7. External Linking

Involving other data sources or humans in your content is always a good idea. This strategy not only adds value and credibility to you as an author but also provides additional opportunities and channels to promote and distribute the content AND is great for networking and boosting your often non-quantifiable reputation.


Some ways to do this:

  • An expert story or key advice from a collaborator or partner

  • A powerful statistic or data point

  • A citation to a scholarly research

  • A reference to a relevant scientific study

  • A contributor's headshot or memorable quote


8. Internal Linking

Of course it’s helpful to link to sources and related outside content, but don't forget to also link to other pages or posts within your site. Reviving and reconnecting older posts will only help your SEO as it keeps people on the site longer, and helps your reader gather more information - thus leading them further down the conversion funnel.


Including 1-2 internal links per post is recommended so that readers are kept engaged and on the site.


The anchor text you choose for these links is important too. It should be linked in a natural, flowing way within the content, as well in a more formal place at the bottom. Aim to have some exact match anchor text with contextual anchor text.


9. Call to Action

You can cover the topic in-depth, but make sure not to ramble on too long. Data shows that the most SEO and user-friendly blogs range from 1,000-2,000 words.


Once you've got all of the above elements, wrap it up all up with purpose and a compelling CTA! This is the ultimate purpose of your post, after all.


Inspiring and guiding your reader toward action should become habitual but first you must know your reader's primary intent:

  • Informational - link to the next post, or related/similar content

  • Commercial - invitation to lead-magnet/gated content.

If hard-selling is not appropriate for the post topic, then in the very least encourage them to become a new subscriber. Capturing their email is always ideal in case social algorithms fail to deliver.


10. Boilerplate

Get in the habit of including a brief bio or micro-pitch the bottom of every post. This will give new visitors some context and background and humanize you as the author and it can be a great place to add in key contact info or ways to keep them in the funnel.


BONUS: Technical Tweaks

On the back-end of your post, the following technical tweaks are imperative!

  • Leave the time-stamp off. Unless your piece references a current event or is seasonally-relevant in some way, a date posted can quickly make your content appear outdated. Go in to update your blog as needed - or if there a many changes, create an all new post for the year.

  • Optimize your meta description. It's tempting to use the first paragraph of your blog as the "teaser", but try refining it further to fully summarize the topic you're covering, pain-points, and essential keywords.

  • Categories and Tags. These are often forgotten in a rush, but are essential in keeping your content organized on your page.

  • Social Feature Image. This is the all-important photo or graphic that will appear on social media when shared as a link. Make it click-worthy!

  • Make it Mobile-Friendly. 58% of your website traffic will be from a mobile device!

    • Test and optimize your load speed with tools like GTMetrix

    • Check on your mobile bounce rate from Google Analytics

    • Compress images

    • Test all forms, menus, etc

    • Minimize pop-ups

    • Choose appropriate fonts and size (16-18ppx)


And Don't Forget...


1) To QA and edit your post like a professional would, checking for...

  • Logic & Clarity: easy to read and understand, a strong thesis + supporting text, concise and straightforward, correct spelling and grammar

  • Consistency: On brand with style, tone and voice, using preferred phrasing and terminology to discuss services/products or customers, following client's style guide for

  • Accuracy: Describing products, processes or systems correctly, Linking/Citing reliable sources

  • Crawlability & readability - following SEO best practices for headings and formatting, appealing to both readers and search engines


2) To IMPLEMENT an appropriate distribution, outreach & PR strategy to increase reach and traffic to your post


3) To MONITOR & track your posts engagement by noting organic traffic, general impressions and growth


I hope you enjoyed reading these essential tips and tricks for your next blog.


I challenge you to commit them to memory - or better yet, incorporate them into your brand's official editorial guidelines. (Hack: Use this template as a draft saved in your own CMS, then simply duplicate for each and every piece of new content you publish. You're welcome!)


And Lastly, of course- don't forget to monitor, test, tweak and repeat YOUR winning formula. This data will reveal exactly what is resonating with your audience so that you can do more of that!


To Recap:

Here are the essentials that ALL pieces of content should have:

  • Your TITLE with keyword at or near the front

  • An INTRO and lede with keyword that is short and catchy

  • SUBHEADERS (H2s) with keywords

  • LINKS to authoritative external sources and relevant internal resources

  • An IMAGE with keyword-based alt tag per 300 words

  • A CTA at the end of your post

  • Total WORDCOUNT of at least 600 words (with 3% of that being your keyword)



Overwhelmed?

Using this checklist before you publish will work for some, but others may still feel overwhelmed.


Hiring a professional copywriter can help ease your stress and anxiety. It's an art and science to create and publish quality content (that's why the top writers can charge up to $2000 per article!)


Skimping on your investment in a professional writer increases the risk of plagiarism, missed deadlines, generic and lackluster AI-generated content, or content riddled with errors, mistakes or misinformation.


Content creation doesn't have to be a headache. Want help? Let's chat!



 

Erin Ratliff is a certified feng shui consultant, holistic business coach and organic growth marketer for earth-loving heart-centered soul-preneurs.


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