In Part 1 of this article, we talked about the first 5 tips on our list of the 9 Tips For Writing Awesome Blog Posts Every Time.
The 9 Factors For Creating Optimized Blog Posts Are As Follows:
- The Headline
- The Featured Image
- The Hook
- The Link Strategy
- The Sub-Headlines
- The Images
- The Content
- The Viral Coefficient
- The Call To Action or Opt-In
And now it’s on to the rest:
6. The Images
It’s a well-known fact that articles which contain images work much better than ones without. According to data from some studies, this could be as much as getting 94% more engagement than articles that have no images in them.
This makes sense because it’s always a nicer experience to read posts that contain attractive images than long posts that have text only.
That’s like reading a phone book, and why would anyone want to do that?
But this doesn’t mean that you should start inserting images in your posts just for the heck of it. Littering your blog posts with generic images won’t make much difference to your engagement levels.
If you want to move the needle, then you have to put a bit more thought into it.
It’s always a great idea to use images to show what you’re talking about (where applicable), and images with people in them do particularly well, but they do have to be compelling photos and not any old stock photo.
If you are giving steps on how to do something, show the steps. If you are giving stats, show a diagram depicting those stats.
But How Many Images Should You Use?
When it comes to the number of images you should use in your posts, a study of the top 100 highest ranking blog posts, which was conducted by BlogPros, showed that the average length of the posts was 1,150 with an average number of 3.3 images per post.
That works out to about one image per 350 words.
Of course, you don’t have to get very scientific about this, but it does give you a good idea of how to structure your blog posts in the future. The odds are that you are probably using fewer images in your blog posts than you should.
It would be even better if you could make your own graphics, whether you take photos with your camera or create charts and info graphics using software like LucidChart.
It’s actually quite easy to design such things thanks to a lot of tools on the market that allow you to do it with just a few clicks of the mouse.
You could even keep it super simple by just plugging some data into a spreadsheet and then making a chart. Snap a screenshot and you have your statistical graph.
There are even lots of great tips online about how to use Excel for creating awesome charts for your content.
Here are some mechanics that you have to bear in mind when it comes to using images:
- Before uploading images to your media library, make sure that you rename the file to include keywords for what is in the image.
- Get the image optimized to reduce file size. Large images slow down the load time of your page, and this is an absolute traffic killer.
- Make use of the ALT tag when you insert the image. Don’t overuse the keyword. All you have to do is to type what is in it (pretend that you want it to make sense to someone who is blind).
- For custom images that you created yourself, consider putting a watermark on them so that if they show up on other blogs, your brand will still be on them.
7. The Content
What your content is about is obviously up to you but it’s important to remember that the perfect post should be compelling, relevant, useful, and also entertaining whenever possible.
We have already covered blog post headlines, sub-headlines, and images, but here are some other factors to keep in mind when crafting the ‘guts’ of your blog posts:
The Ideal Post Length
Short blog posts don’t usually go viral. According to some studies, optimal blog posts are those that take about 9 minutes to read.
This works out to about 1,800 to 2,000 words. Of course, this isn’t set in stone, and many bloggers actually believe that the idea that there is a perfect blog post length is ridiculous, but the numbers don’t lie.
If you have been following our blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I lean more toward the longer posts, personally. The reason is that I have come to realize that the posts I feel most compelled to share on social media are the ones that have given me true value that I was impressed with.
Sharing those posts makes me look good, and it also rewards the author.
So if people like to share posts that are packed full of value, then those are the ones I’m going to write – the ones that inspire, and wow them with the amount of useful information in the post.
And typically, that is a longer post.
The Ideal Blog Post Format
Each post you write is going to be different, but certain practices stay the same when it comes to crafting the perfect blog post:
- Make sure that all of your lists are bulleted or numbered. These types of lists tend to stand out more especially to readers who are scanning the post (as discussed in Part 1).
- Use block quotes for quoting someone or for quoting some other part of your blog post. This ensures that it stands out.
- Use bold text and highlights to make the key text in your post stand out.
- Don’t justify text, but make sure that it’s left-aligned to make it easier to read.
- Never use long paragraphs. While that may work other places, it never works on blogs. Keep ’em short and sweet.
8. The Viral Coefficient
However, what you want is to get those people to bring in even more people for you. That’s how your posts can increase your business’s size.
You do this by increasing the viral coefficient.
Geckoboard defines Viral Coefficient as the number of new users generated by an existing user.
This metric is the exponential referral cycle which is sometimes referred to as ‘virality’, and it’s what accelerates the growth of a business.
To put it simply, if you acquire 10 leads, and then one of those leads refers one friend, this means that you get a viral coefficient of 0.1 (or a 10% viral lift).
Of course, we’re talking about web traffic here and not email subscribers, but the concept is exactly the same.
There must be an inherent incentive for your readers to refer other readers. What reason are you giving them to refer friends or colleagues to your blog posts?
You want to put all that you can in place to raise your viral coefficient which not only makes it easier for people to refer others but also entices them to do so.
But how do you do that?
A great method to use is the ‘tweetable’. A tweetable is just a quote within your post that is highlighted and is suitable for a tweet.
It comes with a button next to it that invites your readers to retweet that quote. The tweet has a link back to that post. This is a quick and easy method of raising the viral coefficient of your posts.
Using tweetables is also another great way of making your quotes stand out visually. They highlight your content to make it easier for those who are just scanning the post to see it.
Here are more ways of increasing the virality of your blog posts:
- Create an info graphic for the post. These are quite popular and get shared a lot on Pinterest.
- Run some kind of contest on your blog post. One of the conditions for entering should be to share the post.
- Present a call to action to all of your commenters and ask them to share the post. You can use a tool like Thrive Themes to get this done.
- Create a content upgrade and ask people to share the post in order to unlock access to the upgrade.
While there’s no guarantee that your post will go viral even if you do all of these things, it still helps to set the stage so that it could occur.
The major thing that underlies all this is that your content has to inspire people to share it in the first place.
9. The Call To Action or Opt-In
Bloggers shouldn’t write blog posts just so someone can read them.
Each post that you write should have a reason for existing. I’m a big advocate for propelling your business forward using the power of blogging, and so every post you write should be considered by you as a marketing asset.
The aim of each post that you write is to provide immense value to your readers and to solve their problems for them.
But even more than that, your posts should inspire them to take action so that you can move them up on the customer awareness scale.
What is the Customer Awareness Scale?
Your major posts are designed to attract new readers. These are the people who are first on the scale and they are considered ‘unaware’.
After reading the post, these people are now (hopefully) ‘problem aware’. It’s most likely that they already are problem aware but they just weren’t aware of YOU.
So the next step in this marketing cycle is to make those people ‘solution aware’.
This means showing them that the solution not only exists but that YOU can provide them with it. Get them to subscribe to your email list for a lead magnet that is closely related to their issue, whether it’s a PDF, a webinar, video, or anything else.
That is the process you should be going through with each and every blog post that you publish on your site.
Don’t ever publish a post without a call to action. That’s just a waste of your time. Every single one of your blog posts should have one or more calls to action.
The most effective way of doing this is by using the content upgrade. You can create a free download for your post and then offer that as a lead magnet via an opt-in embedded directly into your post.
One of the easiest solutions for WordPress users is Thrive Leads.
It makes this whole process so simple that you can do all this with just a few clicks. This is an effective tool that allows you to insert opt-in forms on your pages and easily edit them to fit the appearance of your blog content.
One way to go is to use the two-step opt-ins that trigger when a link is clicked, or you could use the buttons that trigger a popup. You can even insert a full opt-in form if you like. You don’t need any technical skills whatsoever to do this.
It’s possible to insert multiple CTAs on the same post if that is appropriate.
If you tend to write longer posts, it may actually be better that you do so.
Those posts certainly have the room for it. Just ensure that the call to action that you use is totally relevant to what you’re discussing in the blog post.
You must also consider the target audience as well as the marketing purpose of that post.
For example, a blog post can be used as a sales page when selling a product, but you would want that post to reach a qualified and warm audience such as your email list.
However, if the post is designed to bring in a new audience, then it should aim for getting opt-ins as opposed to going directly to a sale. You can, of course, link to your products within that post as some people may be ready to make a purchase immediately.
Once you have those readers on your email list, they now enter your sales funnel, and that’s how a blog fuels your business.
So What’s The Bottom Line?
This article has provided you with the mechanics of a perfect blog post.
Now you should be able to craft posts which are structurally set up for maximum performance. While the stuff on this list may seem like a lot to do, if you get yourself into the habit of implementing these tips whenever you publish a blog post, then you will find that it becomes easier and easier.
In time, you will be doing most of these things without even thinking about them.
A word of caution:
If you’re one of those bloggers who post every day then it’s unlikely that you will be able to do this effectively.
For one, it will be virtually impossible for you to create content upgrades with every single piece of content that you create.
Also, you probably wouldn’t take the time to create vertical feature images for Pinterest, or even make it to 1,800+ words since you’re churning the posts out with such frequency.
This is why it’s always better to focus on creating awesome posts the right way even if it means blogging less.
Quality over quantity!
But don’t obsess about this.
I get it. You’re busy, and you’re doing the best you can with the time you have for growing your business or blog. So do whatever you can.
What matters most is the consistency with which you do these things.
The more things you do right more of the time, the stronger your posts will start to perform and you will enjoy the results of all your hard work when that steady stream of traffic makes its way to your blog.
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Updated: Originally published July 13th 2018