Looking for things that improve a blog post?
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been blogging for a while, you may find these basic things helpful in improving your next blog post.
I’m not sure about you, but I usually pause before hitting publish and think about ways I can improve my work. The following list is basic stuff, but it’s good to get into the habit of incorporating them into your work as much as possible.
Let’s take a look.
1. A PROMISING HEADLINE
What makes a headline promising?
We crave information because it allows us to shortcut the learning curve. Instead of spending hours experimenting and gaining personal experience, we can read an article from someone who already did it and gain that insight.
For this reason, we’re attracted to content that promise some kind of information in the headline.
Data, news, personal insight – it’s all information.
Try using numbers, power words, and emotional triggers in your headline, then run them by the headline analyzer for tips on how to improve it.
Make a promise to your reader.
2. AN IMAGE PEOPLE WANT TO SHARE
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the web is pretty damn visual these days.
Do you know why?
It’s not because of social giants like Pinterest and Instagram – it’s because visual sensory accounts for 90% of information transmitted to the brain, and we process visuals 60,000x faster than text.
Including an image is a smart way to attract more attention, but it isn’t enough to generate next-level engagement … the type of engagement that amplifies your content further than your audience.
Your image has to be sexy.
You have to include an image people want to share … an image that looks so good, people want to be associated with it.
Try to mimic images you want to share.
Do they involve color, effects, or lack thereof? If so, take not of your observations and practice creating your own with tools like Canva.
If you’re not great at visual creation, lean toward minimalist.
Keep it simple.
3. A STRONG FIRST SENTENCE
If you know a little about copywriting, you know the first sentence only has one job – get the reader to read the second sentence.
The first sentence has to hook the reader’s interest.
So, how do you do this?
There’s no right or wrong way to go about this, but here are a few things that usually hook my attention.
- Ask a question your reader wants answered.
- Say something unexpected.
- Start with a single word.
Writing a good first sentence is a lot like writing a good tweet – it’s not about finding a formula, it’s about identifying what works with your audience.
For example, we know tweets that include images and hashtags get more engagement.
4. A QUICK OPENING
Get to the point!
That’s what your readers are thinking when they start reading your content.
They’re not sitting down with a bag of popcorn excited to see where you take them in the next two hours. They just want the information you promised in your headline.
You don’t have to provide an overview of your entire content – you just need to identify their pain point, twist the knife, and offer a solution.
Keep it short.
Try some of these opening formulas if you’re having trouble getting to the point with your opening.
You already know people skim content, but do you know why?
It’s a way to find out whether or not the content actually delivers on the promise offered by the title. We look at subheadings before we commit our time and attention to reading content in its entirety.
Because we’re super-busy, super-distracted, or in most cases super-both.
We don’t want to dive into a 700 word block of text – we want to get to the information promised by the title as quickly as possible.
Subheadings help us achieve this.
In addition, subheadings also provide a summary of what your content is about. This is why search engines pay attention to subheadings, which, in turn, is why it’s important to optimize your subheadings.
Avoid the block.
Break your content into sections.
Then break your sections into paragraphs.
Then break your paragraphs into short sentences.
The style may not be aligned with traditional writing or whatever, but it makes it easier to read.
That’s all that matters.
5. PUNCH, NOT FLUFF
No one wants to waste their time reading content that doesn’t actually say anything. One of the reasons I have so many unpublished drafts is because halfway through the writing I realized I didn’t actually have much to say on the topic.
I could have fluffed it up and published it, but it wouldn’t do anyone any good – especially not me.
A few things to avoid:
- Striving for a specific word count goal
- Adding content to make your article appear full
- Writing out loud ( wandering through the topic without direction )
Focus on punch.
Give your readers the information they want quickly.
This isn’t to say you should strip your voice from your content. Your readers want to hear your voice. It’s what makes you different from others ( ideally ).
Try to create momentum by punching to the information your reader wants.
You could spend a lot of time trying to rewrite something so it’s more concise, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Write naturally, but be sure to re-read the content with the goal of cutting it into a leaner form.
Your content should be easy to skim.
Before we commit to reading an entire articles, we skim the surface to assess whether or not it looks like an article we want to read.
We’re not just looking for key points of information, as conveyed by subheadings and images, we’re also looking at the aesthetic of the content.
Bullet points help make content more aesthetically pleasing.
Similar to subheadings, bullet points break content up into smaller bite-size sections.
I’m not saying dense content isn’t valuable … I’m just saying no one wants to read it.
Skimmable content offers value with its convenience.
People want convenience.
They also offer a chance to create hooks more specific in their nature than subheadings. If your subheadings fail to hook the reader’s attention as they skim through your content, your bullets may do the trick by providing an interesting tip, statistic, or whatever.
Avoid overusing bullets throughout your content.
Use them where it makes sense.
You don’t need to hoard your reader’s attention.
The more helpful you are, the more likely your readers will think of you. Link out to content from around the web where it makes sense. You won’t get credit for the content you link to, but you’ll get credit for introducing it to them.
We enjoy when someone introduces us to new people. It’s a moment of opportunity to connect with new people, gain insight, have a laugh, or make new friends.
We love people who connect us with each other.
A link is no different.
Links connect us.
Links introduce readers to value beyond the scope of our own content, which scores points for helpfulness and even authority.
On top of that, linking to another blogger can be a great way to get on their radar if they’re paying attention to their backlinks ( we all are ).
Furthermore, search engines consider sites that link to related content more valuable.
Don’t be afraid to send your visitor away from your site.
Be generous with your fist bumps!
9. A POWERFUL CLOSING
This is where a lot of people fall short.
It takes practice, but writing strong closings can help generate a reaction.
In my opinion, the best closings provide a short summary of your article, suggest the next steps the reader can take, and ask a question.
These three things help form a powerful closing.
Let’s break these down.
This quickly wraps up the content by reminding the reader why they started reading in the first place.
It reiterates the pain point they’re experiencing, sweeps through the major points of information you just covered, and gives them a reason why the information you just gave them will help remedy the problem.
Providing the information promised in the headline is great, but providing readers will a plan of action is next-level helpful.
Suggesting the next step the reader can take to implement the information relieves them from having to interpret the content, which can be extremely helpful. It’s the difference between knowing the information and knowing how someone else is using the information.
Reveal how you use the information with your own work.
ASK AN EASY QUESTION
If you want to spark discussion around your content, consider asking an easy question in the closing.
Readers are more likely to jump into the comments section of your blog post if you ask questions. The trick is asking the right one.
Keep it simple, easy to answer, and relevant to your content.
We love discussion … maybe even more than Brick loves lamp.
Discussing information with others helps us discover additional value – it may be in the form of questions we didn’t think to ask, insight from those with additional tips, or simply connection with others experiencing the same problem.
Take the time to engage your readers in the discussion.
In addition to providing value beyond the initial information, the discussion also reveals social proof that others find your content helpful.
Getting more comments is a popular topic among bloggers, as people aren’t as eager to jump into the discussion section of an article these days.
Respond to every comment.
If someone takes the time to post a comment, try to respond in a way that sparks further discussion. Ask additional questions, provide additional links, or let them know you just read a related article on their blog and recommend others take a look by providing a link.
When we discuss things offline, it often includes multiple exchanges. Strive for this in your discussion online and you may be able to spark an ongoing discussion.
Push yourself to publish the best work possible.
Next time you pause before publishing and ask yourself if your blog post could be better, take a look at this list for ten things that improve a blog post.
Try to include one or two of them to start, and gradually include more as it becomes more comfortable.
I hope these ten basic things help you improve your next blog post, but I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.
What else improves a blog post?