As blogging becomes more and more popular, forming an integral part of any content marketing strategy, the importance of how to write an engaging and reputable blog.

We see so many people starting their own blogs, whether it be for personal or professional reasons. With this has come a lot of learning around the do’s and dont’s for blogging.

So why blog?

 

business blogging

 

With our experience we wanted to share our top tips to blogging, so anyone who is unsure where to begin, should be able to read this and come away with an idea of how to write that very first blog post.

 

Let’s take a look at what we know is important for blogging so far:

  • Structure of your post
  • Getting across your style and personality
  • Storytelling ability – can you captivate the audience to want to read on.
  • Choose a niche you care about/are interested in

 

They are only some of the key elements in order to creating a successful blog.

Now in this blog we wanted to start at the top of that list by looking at how to best structure your blog post.

Most blogs will consist of a mix of posts, including individual pieces of content, like articles in a magazine.

Posts can be long, short, or a mixture. They may be part of an ongoing series, or they might be standalone pieces.

The one thing that is key across all of them is that they need to have a structure.

Let’s take a look at how you can nail down your blog post structure:

Blog post structure

Like any piece of writing or storytelling, it is comprised of three key elements:

  • The beginning – which we will call the introduction, here you hook the reader
  • The middle – which will house the main body (content) of your text
  • The end – this is your conclusion where you sum up your post and encourage readers to take action.

 

We would recommend doing this as your starting point, plan your sections and then headings within each, this will help you keep on track. This can be done digitally or if you are like me, with a good old fashioned pen and paper

The introduction

In short the introduction serves two main purposes, to hook the reader immediately and to encourage the reader to read on – otherwise that whole main body of content is wasted.

There are different methods to capture the audience’s attention and keep them interested.

 

Some of the methods we suggest to use in your introduction are:

  • Use statistics where you can to support the main point of your blog. Be short where you can and use graphics or bullet points
  • Share a personal story. People take interest in you and buy in to you (this is a personal favourite of ours)
  • Present your readers with a problem in a relatable way and then position your blog as the answer to said problem.

 

You don’t just have to stick to one of these methods, sometimes it can be very powerful and effective to use a combination. For example presenting a problem with statistics and then your blog being the solution, again with statistics to back this up.

 

Now bring your introduction to and end with a transition into the main body is key. Whilst they should be able to be stand alone elements, the blog also needs to flow and the transitions between sections are key in this.

 

The body content

This section is where you now need to add ‘meat to the bones’.

 

A good way to structure this section is to use headers, treating each one itself as a ‘mini’ blog post. We’ve found this can help break down the workload mentally and make it easier to complete.

 

The key advice for this section is:

  • Break up text – no-one likes a wall of text, no-one.
  • You can utilise call to action’s throughout this section
  • Use imagery and infographics wherever you can
  • Keep an eye on your formatting. Break up sentences, use bulleted lists and subheadings etc.

 

Finally and most importantly, keep your personality flowing throughout. People will read YOUR blog because of YOU.

 

There are a couple of approaches you can take to writing the body content for your blog:

 

  • The essay style – this is great if you are discussing first hand experience or telling a story. It can be difficult to structure this type, so ensure you use imagery and small paragraphs to keep people engaged.

 

  • The list e.g. Top 5 XX ever made – lists are generally easier to write than other formats of blog, but don’t be fooled. You still need to spend the time researching and writing your blog. They’ve got a strong built-in structure, and plenty of appeal for readers who want to pick up some quick tips rather than wade through lots of in-depth thinking.

 

Think about what order you want to put your ideas in. For instance:

  • Alphabetical (I’d only go for this if the list was a glossary, or if none of the others made more sense)
  • From easiest to hardest (more encouraging to readers than vice-versa!)
  • From earliest to latest (works if your tips relate to different times of the day, or different stages in an academic year, or even a whole career)
  • From first to last, or last to first (if you’re writing a “top ten” post)

 

It is not essential but using one consistent formatting for your list posts can help readers identify your posts and it becomes part of your blogging style.

 

  • The ‘how to’ post – these differ from the above list post as each element in a ‘how to’ post leads on from the previous. Basically creating a step-by-step guide or tutorials. These can be valuable to readers and if you offer products or services through your blog; you can help to establish your credibility. Normally, “how to” posts begin with Step #1 and work from there.

 

  • The ‘Interview’ post – interview posts can be good fun to put together, and they can be a good way to establish yourself in the blogging world and get linked to some big names. If you want to construct an interview post, normally you think of someone you want to interview, come up with a list of questions (about 6 – 10), and email them to them. If all goes well, your interviewee will be keen to participate. As with a list post, try to have a logical sequence to your questions – for instance, start off with some general ones, then move on to different aspects of your interviewee’s writing, work, or life.

 

TIP: don’t ask boring questions, try and use questions the interviewee will also find interesting.

 

  • The ‘review’ post – fairly self explanatory, good for reviewing products, books, services etc. Below is a template you can use for reviews:
    • Overview (what is this – a book, a course, a service?)
    • Price (it’s helpful to readers to have this up-front)
    • What’s included (I leave this out if it’s obvious)
    • Good points (I normally have two or three of these, with subheadings for each)
    • Bad points (even if I loved the product, I point out any negatives – it helps make the review look honest)
    • Verdict (do I recommend buying/using it, and who’s it most suited for?)

 

If you regularly do reviews, you might find it helpful to always use the same template – it’s quicker for you and it’s reassuringly consistent for readers.

 

The conclusion

I quite often read blogs that have been very informative or engaging, then you get towards the end and the blog comes to an apparent abrupt ending. No conclusion, no wrap up, it just ends.

Imagine reading a novel getting 250 pages through a 300 page book and then the pages suddenly go blank, leaving you guessing what happens.

You would be pretty annoyed right?

Well, that is exactly what you do when you don’t round off your blog with a conclusion. Also, consider this is a massive wasted opportunity for you.

We would recommend closing with a strong call to action or posing a question for your readers.

You can also consider offering them something for free in return for an email address – you will see this quite often happens to get a ‘free guide’. Remember, data is everything.

So, in order of sticking to my own advice I am going to finish this blog by posing a question – was this blog of any use to you? Let me know in the comments below.