You can also find this on Huffington Post.
You hear it all the time. To get hits and engagement on a blog post you have to build your social media following.
To get hits and engagement on a blog post you have to write a damn good blog post. A post so in-factually and objectively damn good that readers can’t help but click that headline and then share that post with their followers. You sharing yours has little to nothing to do with the grand scheme of how well your post performs.
This post on Lifehacker barely broke 100,000 hits.
That might seem like a lot at first, but this one (below) did way better, breaking half a million and landing at over 680,000 hits.
Same blogger, same platform, and shared on the same social media channels & accounts. Completely different outcome.
You may be thinking, “I can still get 100,000 hits on a bad day? I’m fine.” but Lifehacker is within the top 800 sites in the world (out of over 16 million). So, unless you plan on being in the top 1% of global websites with several writers, graphic designers, and more under your belt, no, my friend. It doesn’t work that way for us little guys who are running our own show. You think Gary V. would be as big as he is without D. Rock? Even he knows better.
But you can get more hits by writing a kickass blog post. In fact, you can completely beat the system by putting out fantastic content.
A large part of my career has been built on studying why people react to certain posts, products, etc. better than others. So I did some studying to tell you how to create the perfect blog post. Not only that, but I enlisted the help of some of the other leaders in the blogosphere to help me tell you all about it.
Here’s what we came up with.
Leave Your Weak Headline At The Door
Your headline is the first impression people have of the content you’re putting out, and trust me: they won’t walk in the front door if it’s looking shabby. Even if your most loyal readers click a weak headline and share the post, I promise you your traffic stops there. Your not so loyal readers won’t be so willing to lend the benefit of their doubt as your dedicated following.
I’ll give you a pro tip from my free Blog Traffic training video:
Plug benefits and power adjectives into your headline like nobody’s business.
Take the headline to this post, for example. Would you have been so keen to click if it only said “How to Write a Good Blog Post” versus “How to Write a Kickass Blog Post That Gets Clicks and Engagement”?
Probably not. The adjective “kickass” is way more powerful than “good”, and naming the benefit of “clicks and engagement” really seals the deal for those who are looking to obtain exactly that. You can tap into the benefit of anything you’re putting out to the word and simply name it in your headline. Conversely, if you cant name a benefit, you should probably touch up your content until you can.
“Break the Damn Mold!”
If you want to stand out, you have to do things differently.
Richard from Let’s Start Blogging Online supplies us with one of my favorite tips:
“Is everyone writing boring posts with perfect APA formatting? Break the rules and swear your ass off! Are the other blog posts on the subject short? Make yours twice as long. Do you see people using a lot of stock photos? Dress it up with a custom graphic or add real screenshots.”
The cool thing about this tip isn’t the generic “be different!” that we always hear — it’s the fact that Richard has clued us in on exactly how to methodically stand out.
Instead of just coming up with a “unique” idea out of thin air, look at the similar posts your competitors are writing first. Figure out the mold they’re all abiding by, and then tweak yours to be more eye-catching and engaging.
This could be as simple as adding comedy to what’s normally a boring instructional post, throwing some GIFs in instead of plain stock images, or like Richard does with his flagship post, making an ultra-long in depth post where your competitors have kept it shorter and more surface by default.
These small tweaks can be the difference between thousands of visitors who leave and forget you versus getting thousands of visitors to become real engaged readers and fans.
Don’t Pack In The Posts, Pack In The Value
“…the biggest thing I always have in the back of my mind when I create a new blog post is, make it better than anything else out there on this topic.” – Melyssa Griffin
Melyssa, an information products seller that’s high up in the blog influencer network, went on to explain to me that having a well-stocked site of mediocre content didn’t cut it in her own journey. She made that mistake early, but decided later on to slow down (2-4 posts per month) and just make sure that everything she put out was the best she had to offer. She went deep into each post to make sure she delivered examples, screenshots, and thorough explanation compiled with magnificent readability that her audience could take in with ease.
The quality over quantity mentality has been a “huge” success for her and her readers, and if you look at any other successful solo-blogger you’ll find remnants of the same sentiment.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you need to put out 2-7 blog posts per week. Put out one. Just make it the best.
Show Up To Your Own Party
Writing a blog post and being too rigid to display your own voice is like throwing a party and sitting in your room during its entirety. Gatsby much? Kim Doyal aka The WordPress Chick reminds you not to be so shy, grasshopper.
“Share where you are, whether you’re on your knees or at the top of your game.
There’s truth to the saying that there are no ‘new’ ideas. The biggest differentiator is YOU. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion, take a stand, and go against the norm. Use your voice.”
You can rest sure of two things when you show up in your blog:
- Some people will judge or disagree with whatever your truth is.
- For each person who fits into #1, there will be more who will stand by your side, relate to you, crusade for you, and follow you. Those are your readers.
You’re going to get a lot more out of blogging and life by breaking out of that shell of yours and putting your story, your struggle, your strengths, and your opinions on the table for everyone to take or leave. It won’t be your perfect exterior that turns heads and lures crowds, it’ll be the depths of your own presence in your content.
Inspire Action or Rip Out Some Heartstrings
“…will it inspire, teach, or challenge someone. If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rework the post. I don’t believe in sticking to a niche, I believe in creating content that is meaningful to people.”
Helene (In Between) has one of the most dedicated readerships you’ll see, and with her key ingredient to the perfect blog post its no wonder why. She doesn’t settle for anything less than inspiring some major action, thought process, or emotion in her readers.
I’m inclined to agree. Niche or not, the only readers that find you memorable are those you’ve moved or inspired. They also happen to be the only readers who will talk about you and share your posts. I didn’t find out about Helene through search engines. I found out because a handful of people recommended that I check her out within minutes of one another. And here I am doing the same.
That’s what influence actually looks like. Not a follower count.
So every time you write a post, ask yourself, “will it move them?”
Define Your Goal and See It Through
“the thing that really guides a blog post in regards to engagement is your goals. You have to know what outcome you’re trying to get from people and tailor your marketing and content creation to those goals.” – Ramsay Taplin, The Blog Tyrant
Ramsay gets straight to business in reminding us that not all engagement is good engagement. Each blog post should serve a higher purpose and lead to your bigger goal. Regardless of what that bigger goal is, you should allow it to determine the way you work the post. Who to cater it to, what to write about, etc.
If you want people to download your lead magnet on puppy training, then, you should probably write a post about puppy adoption, or starter care. Then, in the post or in your page’s pop-up your lead magnet should jump out at readers and ask them to sign up for the logical next step in their process: puppy training.
Imagine is the post was about koala care? It would only attract koala breeders and all your hard work on your lead magnet would be lost in the sauce.
There’s more you can do, of course. There always is. If you’re still hungry for ways to drive blog traffic without a social media following or SEO click here. But even if you start with the basics on this post, you’ll see a huge improvement if you weren’t using them before.
Keep reading to get the full quotes of our lovely contributors. And good luck!
Richard Goodwin of How to Start a Blog Online
“Is everyone writing boring posts with perfect APA formatting? Break the rules and swear your ass off! Are the other blog posts on the subject short? Make yours twice as long. Do you see people using a lot of stock photos? Dress it up with a custom graphic or add real screenshots.
A great example of this is my homepage on howtostartablogonline.net, where I’ve written a 5000+ word blogging tutorial filled with screenshots.”
“Honestly, the biggest thing I always have in the back of my mind when I create a new blog post is, ‘make it better than anything else out there on this topic’.
When I first started my blog, I would write “fluffy,” short posts that barely scraped the surface on an idea. My motto was to pump out as much content as I could, assuming that a well-stocked site would create daily readers. Later on, I realized that the meatier I could make each post, the more people stuck around, read every word, and got real results.
So, nowadays my posts are regularly 2,500+ words, include extra freebies and opt-in incentives, share lots of examples and screenshots, and aim to be ultimate resources for my tribe. This also means that I post way less now — only 2-4 times per month — but the payoff for myself and my audience has been huge.
For anyone interested, I do have a sweet blog post all about how to write killer blog posts (so meta, right?). It includes a free checklist too, and you can check it out here: http://www.melyssagriffin.com/create-blog-post/”
Kim Doyal aka The WP Chick
“Just Show UP. Share where you are, whether you’re on your knees or at the top of your game. There’s truth to the saying that there are no ‘new’ ideas. The biggest differentiator is YOU. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion, take a stand, and go against the norm. Use your voice.”
Helene Sula of Helene In Between
“The first thing I think about when writing a post is: does this move me? Meaning, will it inspire, teach, or challenge someone. If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rework the post. I don’t believe in sticking to a niche, I believe in creating content that is meaningful to people. Whether it helps or causes some type of emotion, I want it to invigorate others.”
Ramsay Taplin aka Blog Tyrant
“The perfect blog post, to me, is a combination of many factors. A lot of people will say that it is all about providing massive value (and that’s true!), but it is also about creating something distinctive that stands out from the competition in some way.
That might mean doing a 5,000-word post that has graphics, videos and tools included such that it becomes a one stop solution for readers. But the thing that really guides a blog post in regards to engagement is your goals. You have to know what outcome you’re trying to get from people and tailor your marketing and content creation to those goals.
All of your content should form part of a bigger strategy. There’s no point in getting 100,000 views per month if they don’t convert to an email list or buy a product. For example, in this post I want to tell people about how to start a blog correctly and so it’s set up for that goal.
Engagement has to be about furthering your blog’s strategy and if you can’t explain your strategy out loud to someone in a 30 seconds then I’d recommend sitting down and planning it out for a few days until it’s perfect. That will shape your blog’s engagement forever.”