Did you ever come across a blog post with a catchy headline but the actual content says nothing? Sure, there are a bunch of words there, but they never seem to back up the title. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine. I’m a sucker for a good headline, so you can imagine my disappointment when I’m sucked in via blog’s title and end up receiving little or no return on my investment of time.
It’s easy to ramble on when blogging. However, if you’re going to write a title that promises something, you need to be sure you’re going to deliver. If you’re writing a how to, give a how to. If you’re going to discuss whether or not something works, explore what you promised. It’s kind of annoying to expect to learn something and instead walk away wishing you had those five minutes back.
Here are a few tips for writing blog posts that say something.
Write Your Headline Last
I know, I know….you’re supposed to think up a really catchy headline in order to bring in traffic, but what happens if you write a great headline and the rest of your post sucks?
Most of my ideas for blog posts come to me headline first. I title pops into my mind and I log it for later use before I can forget. When it’s time for me to blog, I choose from about 800 titles that are in my WordPress drafts. The problem with this is that I end up writing around the headline and often times the carpet doesn’t match the curtains. Now those headlines are merely ideas.
Here’s one of my best blog post writing tips: If you have an idea for a blog post, write the blog post first. Get an outline going and then write it out. When you’re done you can think of an appropriate headline. When you write with a headline in mind you might miss the mark. Write with an idea in mind instead. Play off the idea rather than the title and you’ll find it works out a lot better.
- Outline your blog post to make sure your ideas flow.
- If the purpose of your blog post is to teach, ask yourself if people actually learned something from your post.
- If the purpose of your blog post is to answer a question, make sure that question is being answered.
- Don’t write topics you have no business writing. If you know nothing about your subject matter, it will show.
- Don’t be afraid to let your passion show through. If you have a true passion for a subject your readers are sure to walk away with a good experience.
- Always, always deliver what you promise.
Put yourself in the reader’s place
In case you haven’t realized it yet, you’re a very small part of your blog and you’re not writing for you. Blog with your community in mind. Don’t assume they know about a topic because you do as not everyone has the same level of expertise. Write as if it’s the readers first time to learn about a topic. That’s not to say every single blog post needs to be on a beginner level, but it does mean that not everyone knows what your talking about. Don’t be afraid to add definitions and background or give a brief overview. If you don’t have time to give a brief primer, liberally link to definitions and explanations so your readers aren’t lost. Before hitting “publish” read your post as a reader, not as the author…you’ll see it makes a big difference.
I have to be honest. The inspiration for this post hit a few days ago after reading a title that asked a questions, but said nothing in the post. I was disappointed. It was clear the blogger was just getting his 300 words in. When was the last time you read something that said nothing? How do you make sure your readers are satisfied?