Here's a formula that I use to write blog posts that inform, entertain, educate and challenge my readers. If you consider these questions and use them to help formulate your content you'll be providing quality and value to your readers.
1. Who is your Audience?
It's important to consider who you are writing for, as this will affect the content of your post. Do your readers have experience of your topic, in which case you can assume a certain level of knowledge and provide a more advanced description of your subject? If they have little or no knowledge of the topic, you'll need to use broader, more general terms. Do they expect a straightforward, factual discussion or will they allow you to inject some personality and humour?
2. What's your Voice and Style?
How interactive will you make your post? Will you ask questions or invite feedback? How close to a conversation do you intend to make it? Are you speaking with your audience or talking to them? Knowledge of your audience, their likes and dislikes, will help you adopt the most appropriate style. However, beware of assuming a persona which is alien to your own; you will be found out.
3. What's your Message?
If you don't know what you're trying to say, neither will your audience. You want your readers to feel that they've obtained value from taking the time to read your post. Don't let them feel confused or disappointed because of a lack of clarity on your part.
4. What are your Keywords?
You want your post to appear in the search engine results for people interested in your topic, so do your research and find out what they're typing in the search box. Ensure your title, opening and closing sentences and header tags all contain your keywords. Beware of overpowering your content with keywords, as this will generate unreadable nonsense and probably be viewed negatively by the search engines.
5. Does your Headline have impact?
Your headline is your teaser, and often will dictate whether the post gets read. Make it intriguing, controversial, ask a question or promise to resolve an urgent need. Play to the emotions, if you will. Think 'First Impression' and make sure it grabs the attention. Most of all, ensure that the content of your post follows through on any explicit or implicit promises made in your headline.
6. Are you using Images?
Images give an extra dimension to your post and can enhance your message by acting as visual metaphors. They need to be relevant and interesting. Would you buy a recipe book which contained no images? How much more inspired are you to prepare and cook your food when you can see the end product on the plate? Remember to add Alt tags to your images.
7. Are you using Sensory Language?
How will you engage your readers? Remember that each will experience your post differently. Will you take your readers' hands as your words resonate with them, or show them your message with visually descriptive language, or give them a rich auditory experience? The 'lesser senses' of taste and smell are important too. If you can write with the senses in mind, you'll connect with more readers. Just one note of caution: you're not writing poetry, so don't overdo it.
8. What's your Call To Action?
They've read your post, understood your message and absorbed your information; what do you want your readers to do next? You've written your post with a purpose in mind. Here's where you invite your readers to take further action.
9. How will you Broadcast Your Post?
If your message is worth saying, it's worth broadcasting across many media. Think about re-purposing your post into articles, PDFs, video and audio podcasts and use syndication to reach a wider audience. Beware of duplicate content; this article hasn't appeared elsewhere, nor will it. Take the central theme of your post and rework it into 'How To's', 'Top Tens', 'Do's and Don'ts', etc.. Original, quality, value-added content should be your intention wherever your work is broadcast.
Follow these guidelines and you'll soon enjoy a following of avid readers, eager for your next publication.
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