Speakers are in the thought leadership business. That means we’re paid for our thoughts, and as my friend Mike Kim often says, “Thought leaders who never share their thoughts have no marketing.”
Enter blog posts.
Blog posts are a great way for prospects to preview what you think. Moreover, building a respectable body of work on your website only adds to your authority and positioning.
After blogging (less consistently than I would like) for almost a decade, here are my best insights for writing blog posts that get read and help your audience.
1. Create a Title that Teases.
Post titles need to create a sense of curiosity and intrigue that invites the reader to explore the content. Often experts can be a bit clinical in their title. That works only if the audience is as informed as you are about the topic. Better to create a title that teases a solution to a problem your audience is facing than a title that describes the content in a detached manner.
2. Select the Right Image.
There are a couple of basic approaches to images on blogs. One is to create a custom image that includes the blog title; something that works well for social sharing and can be easily done using a tool like Canva. The second is to choose an attention grabbing image that illustrates either the problem or the solution. Both work and it is largely a personal choice, so long as the image reinforces and doesn’t distract from the message.
3. Use Stories for Context.
We all know the power of story, and if we shared the same content with someone in conversation that we are sharing in a blog post, we would always include a story. So why don’t we do that in our blog posts? Real, personal stories connect and engage the brain differently, and create the opportunity to change perspective and learn something new.
4. Format for Easy Reading.
People don’t read; rather they skim, scan, and scroll down a page. Your post needs to honor that and be easy to read. White space between paragraphs, bold faced subheads, title-like bolding of bullet points, and shorter paragraphs all guide the reader through the post quickly and make it more approachable.
5. Content Trumps Length.
Everyone assumes shorter is better, but research does not support that. If a post is well formatted and the content is valuable to the reader, long posts will get attention. And if they are packed with evidence they will be shared and saved, and get more traction. But short posts will work better for certain audiences. Neil Patel provides some valuable insight in regarding length here.
6. Links Add Value.
It’s not self-serving to provide links in your posts, it is audience-serving. You’ve read other posts and have access to information your audience may not. When you want to offer them more, provide a link to the place where they can diver deeper into the subject.
7. Include a Call-to-Action.
We write and speak for one of three reasons: to inform, convince, or equip. And we read to learn about something, change our perspective, or gain insight that will help us create different results. That’s why every blog post needs a call to action.
If you’re seeking to inform, give a call to action that helps them learn more. If you’re seeking to convince them about something, give them a first step to take. If you’re equipping them to do something better, tell them what to do next. You can do this as a directive or with a question.
The list could go on, but the key points have been made. Put these to work to increase the impact of your blog, serve your readers better, and gain more traction with your content.
Please post a comment and share your best blogging insight…
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