photo credit: Burst

Writing is hard. It’s not easy and it’s not for the faint of heart. Creating content for your blog can often seem like a chore, especially if you’re not the most naturally gifted writer. You understandably want to put your efforts where they will make you the most money, growing and nurturing your business. Having a well-written blog is important, though, so don’t let this crucial part of your marketing strategy go by the wayside.

Coming up with a system and structure for blogging is key so you don’t miss a beat. Often times, you’re best served by hiring a niche writer who knows your industry and can produce well-written, compelling blogs on a regular basis so you don’t have to worry about it. If you decide to handle it yourself, here are four essential elements of crafting a stellar blog post:

1.    Attention-Grabbing Headlines

A good blog post is about just one topic…one idea…one story. Not 32. Not 75. Just one. Before you write your first word, determine what you want to talk about. Come up with a mock headline to provide structure to the post (don’t worry, you can always tweak it later), then just dive in and start writing.

Good titles will be interesting, engaging and descriptive. They should read like a TV newsflash or magazine headline, daring the reader to click your link. The headline accounts for 50 percent of your blog post’s effectiveness. It’s the first thing your readers see — and it will be the only thing they see – IF you don’t do it right.

2.    Captivating Lead Paragraph

First impressions matter, so you can’t waste your readers’ time with boring intros. They won’t get past the first sentence unless it hits them in the face. If you fail to hook your readers instantly, you will lose them in a heartbeat. Start off with a question, quote or bold statement. Make it count because you only have one shot.

3.    Interesting Supporting Points

This is the meat of the article, and it’s where you’ll back up your main topic, point or argument. Writing 101: every story you tell or idea you impart on your readers must have a supporting rationale, something your readers can really sink their teeth into. While you don’t have to worry about a neatly arranged three-point argument, you can’t be all over the place. Think about what you want to say, come up with a brief outline, and then fill it out.

Pepper your post with bullet points, numbered lists and sub heads, which will break up dense text and make it more likely that your readers will stick with you.

4.    Compelling Call-to-Action

If your readers made it to the end, it must mean they are interested in what you have written. Close the deal with a compelling call to action, or CTA, that they can’t ignore. This isn’t the time to be vague. Tell them exactly what to do next and be clear about it. Invite your readers to answer a question, sign up for a free promo, snag a consultation, leave a comment, or share your post. Make it clear and make it actionable.

If you don’t ask them to take a relevant and specific action, such as completing a contact form, visiting other pages of your site or making a purchase – there’s no point in creating a blog post in the first place. But it doesn’t always have to be a hard sell. Social Media Today suggests posing a simple question to spark some conversation or get feedback on your post. We all need a little direction!

Follow this four-step process every time you sit down to write a blog post and you’ll find that you will struggle a lot less in crafting great content.

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