The Basics of a Share-worthy Blog Post
Why do we write blogs?
If you prefer to keep your musings to yourself, that’s one thing. I call that keeping a diary and I’d suggest it to just about anyone. The stark majority of internet blogs, however, are written for the benefit of others.
When people stop what they’re doing to read a blog post, they’re usually seeking information or to simply be entertained. Because of this demand, there are bazillions of blogs collectively offering endless amounts of news, photos, videos, and informative (or even downright rude) reviews. We can count on the internet for pretty much any information we want.
The web is also chock full of helpful “how to” articles. (I’ll bet you didn’t need me to tell you that). In the old days we used to break out an owner’s manual or give dad a call for help, but today, we can use the internet to figure out how to do just about anything. It’s an incredible tool. For example, my brother Kyle recently rebuilt the entire engine in his ‘66 Chevy pickup. He’s mechanically inclined, sure, but he’s no professional. And yet, he got that jalopy running like new with nothing but his box of tools and a series of blogs and videos. He will remember and reuse those lessons for the rest of his life. That’s the kind of content we want to put out there.
A One Way Ticket To Share Town
If you want people to enjoy your blog posts so much that they’re willing to vouch for you on social media, your writing has to be relevant, useful and easy to read. It’s a huge plus if it’s funny, too. If you can offer your readers the information they’re looking for and a laugh to boot, you’re writing pure gold. And, when they come across that golden nugget of clever, helpful content, they’ll instinctively want to be the one to share it with others who might need it. Make them say “Ah ha!” and they’re almost guaranteed to retweet it.
To help you formulate share-worthy blog posts, I’ve outlined a few “must-have” elements…
1. Start with a compelling headline
This is really an art and a science. Coming up with one concise sentence that makes your article impossible to pass up is tough to do. How do you compete with headlines like “29 Signs Your Boss Is Drunk Again,” or “What The Human Face Will Look LIke In 10,000 Years”? Here at Webfor, we like to use puns and pop culture references— you may have noticed. A play on words is also a clever place to start. If you get stuck, use the tools at your disposal to help you find something captivating, like Portent’s helpful and sometimes hilarious title generator. Copyblogger recently suggested the use of double-whammy headlines, which attract readers to blogs like flies to those zapper things.
Just make sure you draw a line between creativity and promising things you won’t actually cover.
2. If your headline is the bait, your intro paragraph is the hook.
A great headline will make them click, but it’s that first paragraph that will make them stick. It’s like a first impression— which we all know means quite a lot— so put your best foot forward. Briefly assure your readers that they’ve found what they were looking for and tell them what the rest of your post will expand upon.
3. Share an original idea
Sometimes its hard to come up with new topics. There are a million blog posts out there about how to decorate small spaces or how to get flat abs. If you’re an interior designer or personal trainer those posts will definitely need to be a part of your arsenal. So, see if you can incorporate at least one tip or trick that hasn’t been covered a thousand times before. If you’re an expert in your field, use your own personal experience to inspire a fresh topic.
3. Use photos. Big ones.
We are visual creatures, there’s no denying it. By using images in your post you will attract readers and encourage them to stick around. They can also be a helpful tool to use for breaking up your copy and illustrating your ideas. When you include photos, make sure they’re relevant, sized properly (not too small, but not so big that they take over the page either) and always give credit where credit is due.
4. Be timely
A how-to piece about winterizing your home obviously isn’t going to be a popular post in the spring and summer. Think about what’s on your reader’s minds right now, and tie your topics in with current events if you can.
5. Make it clean and easy to read
No one sets out to publish crapola, so making sure your post is well-written is a no brainer. Do your best writing, then organize your ideas by using lists and bullet points, and bold important take-aways. Then, walk away for a few hours or sleep on it so you can make your edits with fresh eyes.
6. Always serve the reader first
This might be the most important aspect of blogging. Unless you write with your readers in mind, your blog might end up like that diary I was talking about. Do you audience a favor by being helpful, inspiring, clarifying, or valuable in some other way. This is what brings people back.
I hope this helps you in your quest to write blog posts that people will read and share. It was definitely a good refresher for me.
So, what do you think? Was this share-worthy? Have I missed something? Share your tips for writing great blog posts in the comments below!