The 9 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. The components below incorporate a variety of strategies and perspectives - customer psychology, SEO, and more. Taking a bird's eye view of content -identifying it's larger purpose and goals and then breaking it down into the smaller parts, is the foundation of a strong holistic marketing strategy.
Check it out! A simple & effective digital template for your next blog or article...
1. An Interesting & Original Topic
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: align with the readers problem, present your article as the solution, and then proceed to demonstrate how you're the subject-matter expert with detailed information.
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 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.
3. Brand Tone & Voice
Communicate your unique personality and perspective - trying to set your self 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!
3. Skimmable Sub Headings + Digestable Paragraphs & Lists
It's pretty simple: When you make your piece easy to read then your reader will continue reading. Influence readability with section headers, increase readability by embracing whitespace and avoiding paragraphs that are longer than three lines, and encourage continued scanning/scrolling with bullet points or numbered lists. Lastly, don't ramble on too long. Data shows that the most SEO and user-friendly blogs range from 1000-2000 words.
4. Multimedia Storytelling
Gone are the days of single-image posts. Today, there should be a relevant image, video, diagram, graphic or quote of some sport to support every fold. 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 get to the full picture of your piece.
DID YOU KNOW...
Headlines that are 14-17 words in length generate 76.7% more social shares, according to a 2019 analysis by Backlinko.
5. 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
6. 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. 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.
7. Call to Action
Inspiring and guiding your reader toward action should become habitual. Before crafting your post, identify your reader's primary intent (informational or commercial) and craft a CTA around that, best positioned at the end of your post of course. If hard-selling is not appropriate for the post topic, then in the very least encourage them to become a new subscriber, or invite them to access gated content as a lead-magnet. Strive to always capture their email in case social algorithms fail to deliver.
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.
9. 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!
I hope you enjoyed reading these essential tips and tricks for your next blog. 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.
I challenge you to commit them to memory - or better yet, incorporate them into your brand's official editorial guidelines. (Another 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 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!
Did I miss anything? Let me know!
Love, Light (and LESS)
Erin Ratliff is a certified feng shui consultant, holistic business coach and organic growth marketer for earth-loving heart-centered soul-preneurs.
SUBSCRIBE NOW to never miss another post related to mindful marketing. We can also stay connected on social media at the links below!