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Let’s talk about creating a plan of action to make sure your blog posts get the attention the deserve. It will be one of the best ways to save time and energy instead of wasting your hours on posts that just don’t get the clicks.
You want your posts to get your readers all jazzed to keep reading or to at least return in the future, so it’s imperative that each piece of blog content you create has a purpose. Everything from the words in the post to the graphics and/or photos should help deliver some level of value to your readers.
Your goal: tap into some of that sweet organic search traffic by creating content with targeted keyword that rank, but still deliver value.
Why? Well, if your content is a waste of people’s time, you’ll have a high bounce rate. That will negatively affect your search engine ranking.
Why does any of this matter?
Do you even relevance?
Haha that’s my attempt at the “do you even” trend. How did I do?
Anyway, the number one thing you should ask yourself as you plan and map put your blog’s content and structure is if it’s even relevant to what you normally post.
Yes, a personal blog post is okay once in a while, even if you’re in a different niche. Sometimes you want to break from your own monotony.
If your blog is about a specific diet, why would you suddenly start posting about weight training with no plan for a pivot or topic change?
You’ll need to find a way to link those topics.
Example: “Is weight training good for someone on a keto diet?”
Now, the post is relevant.
Your blog posts shouldn’t be alone in their categories.
Get the idea? Great, let’s move on.
This is the part of your plan that involves knowing who you want to read your blog.
Ask yourself what their demographics are:
- A/S/L (age, sex, location for those of you who were never on AIM)
- What type of humor do they respond to?
- Do they appreciate tough love or prefer pretty lies?
- What types of personalities do they have?
Even the smallest difference in demographic would make a huge difference in how you present your ideas.
Suggestion: spend some time poking around to see which demographic would most benefit from your topic/niche, then plan accordingly.
Get to know your audience before you write for them. Check out:
- Topic-related forums
- Facebook Groups
- Niche-specific networks
The more time you spend crafting your ideal reader, the better. It makes writing directly for them so much easier.
Confession: I’m a research nerd. For this reason, I always encourage others to do their own. You want to be able to back up your content with facts.
Did you quote an article? Link to it. Use articles that add sources to their own content.
The internet has no shortage of fake news or opinions presented as facts. Understandably, this makes people believe things they read online are mad sus.
*Thanks to Davina for her input to add this piece of trending language. I wish you could have seen her face when I asked her if I should use the phrase “mad sus” or “very sus”. HAHA! For those of you who aren’t familiar, it means suspicious.*
Research allows you to build a solid foundation of posts that help your readers and might possibly be responsible for your content going viral. Yay for that!
entrée & Side Dishes
Your entrée: the post’s main topic. You’re not trying to write everything for everyone in every niche in one post.. but there will probably be a sub-topic (your side dish).
By all means, you can lightly mention a few other sub-topics in passing, but pick one sub-topic and dive into that.
Why bother doing that? You can save them for another post.
In fact, when you think of things other than what you’re mainly talking about, write them down. Now you have a springboard for future content while also having an opportunity to backlink to your content where it was previously mentioned in brief.
This process keeps you thinking ahead with SEO and gives a way for your readers to stay on your site. They will keep clicking around to related content.
That greatly reduces your bounce rate and allows you to provide more value, building that know, like and trust factor that is crucial for turning readers into customers.
The majority of your posts should have some kind of call-to-action.
- Are you promoting an affiliate product?
- Do you recommend one of your own products?
- Does your post offer an opportunity to join your list?
It might be a good idea to embed an email sign-up form somewhere on your blog posts. You can create forms and add them with a little html coding.
I recommend using either:
Another option is to make some posts private, hidden behind a code and available to your subscribers only. My resource pages are public, but I know other bloggers make them exclusive to their subscriber base. Just an idea 🙂
You’re going to need a CTA plan in place. Why?
Well, if you decide to embed a sign-up form, you’re going to need to create one (and the nurture sequence that goes along with it if needed), so you’ll definitely need to know that in advance.
WHEW! That was a lot, I know.
Each thing is important and should be given proper attention when creating your blog content.
Content creation is a necessity, but purposeless creation is pointless.
Use your time and energy wisely by making sure each post counts so your blog does well and readers love your content enough to trust your recommendations.
Now that we’ve discussed your post plan, let’s move onto structuring your contents so it actually gets the clicks you’re looking for.
Let’s face it: content alone is just not going to be enough to hook readers and keep them wanting to read more. You need structure.
What does that entail?
It was mentioned in THIS post previously, but it bears repeating: the average attention span of a consumer is only 8 seconds.
Why do I mention this? Well, I think it’s important for you to know that your competition isn’t other blogs in your niche.
Yep, it’s true. Simply put: they’re in the same boat as you.
So what is your actual competition, vying for your audience’s attention?
- News Sites
- Roku Devices
- Cute Dog Videos
- Rabbit Content
Yep. These places are filled to the brim with billions of people.. and they are the ones who have the adspend budgets that allow them to fight HARD for consumer attention.
Constant social media notifications and no shortage of content have created attention spans of a housefly. People now prefer to watch videos or listen to podcasts instead of reading. <-side note: our podcast is coming in the Fall.
Enter the rise of infotainment. If you’re not entertaining or at least attention-grabbing, they will not hesitate to click away. Nowadays, most people don’t want to read encyclopedias (I’m totally okay with that though, but I’m a reader).
They prefer to be entertained as well.
Have these tips in mind when structuring your post:
- Keep sentences and thoughts short and conversation-like.
- Use bullet points to make it skimmable.
- If you can, use bold type or colors on headlines.
- Add stories and anecdotes wherever you can.
Your main goal: to inform and entertain.
The Billboard Technique
Billboards are still around because they still work. The messages on them are straight to the point because they know you don’t have time to linger on them.
Why do I mention this? Because you need to think of your headline as a billboard for your post.
Clickbait titles get a lot of hate (most of it deserved, let’s be honest), but they do work. They get people to click on the links.
A headline needs to pique your audience’s interest enough to click and learn more. Just make sure your content matches your headline. The biggest drawback of clickbait headlines is they are sometimes outright lies and the article tells a different story. Don’t be that person!
A Thousand Words
Images are a great way to capture attention (my favorites are HERE under “stock photos”). You don’t necessarily have to add a caption, but definitely make sure you edit the alt tags on the photo to boost your SEO.
In addition to photos, you can also use:
- Personalize Images
- YouTube videos
In a nutshell: something that will enhance your post and entertain your reader. Just make sure it’s relevant to your content.
While I love (LOVE) the Backstreet Boys, I wouldn’t add a random video into the middle of the post, UNLESS it has something to do with the song’s lyrics. However, if I were writing a post about how lonely I feel working from home sometimes, I could 100% embed the video for “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” because it would make sense.
Let’s move on 🙂
Word to Your Mother
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Just ask Vanilla Ice.
Your first paragraph should state your post’s intentions. Grab their attention.
Once you have them interested through your first paragraph, they’ll most likely commit to reading the rest of the post.. and possibly read even more posts.
Add some personality into the content. Be your own post salesperson. People are interested in other people’s content. If you feel you can’t win them over because you’re posting “the same thing everyone else does”, your charisma will be what sells it.
One of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits was “I Will Always Love You“, but were you even aware that it’s a remake? Country legend Dolly Parton actually wrote and recorded the song in 1973, releasing it in 1974. In 1992, Whitney came along, made the song her own for The Bodyguard soundtrack and it earned her numerous awards.
What’s my point? You can keep making the same points as someone else, but infusing yourself into it could turn it into one of your greatest hits.
To ascertain if content is worth their time, readers might choose to skim the text first.
What does that mean for you?
It’s a good idea to use sub-headings to break up ideas. Reading from a screen is more stressful than reading a book, so inserting headings will help skimmers get the gist of your post. I don’t always do this. Sometimes I use random song lyric or phrases in my headings, but it gets them noticed, so I guess it works on some level.
WordPress even recommends using headings to improve your post’s readability. Another suggestion is bullet points.
- I love bullet points.
- I use them all the time.
- They make lists better.
- Text is summarized and simplified through bullet points.
You also have the option of bringing attention to certain words by using the bold text option, but that should be done sparingly.
I recently watched a great YouTube video from Maria Wendt that illustrates how formatting can make or break your content. In this video, she is referring to Facebook posts in particular, but it rings true for all your content. I linked to it in case the tech gremlins don’t allow this embed to be shown:
In case you were unaware, plugins are what customizes your site, making it look, feel and function the way you want it to. My list of recommended plugins can be found on THIS previous post and on my Blogging Resources page.
I previously mentioned using a plugin like Thrive Leads to get readers to sign up for your list (you can also use Flodesk forms).
I recently found out about a plugin called Post Gopher that allows readers to download your blog post as a PDF while being added to your list. You’re pretty much killing two birds with one stone there: building your list and encouraging an offline way to consume your content. Sounded like a worthwhile investment to me.. so I purchased it. Look for updates from me after I have been using it for a while to report on it’s lead generation potential.
While plugins may not be a crucial element in the structure of your post, they are too important to ignore. You want to find creative ways to build your list.
Your Conclusion + CTA
Make sure you plan to end you posts well. Don’t end on a cliffhanger, even if you are doing a series.
A CTA might not be imperative, but as mentioned earlier in this post, it’s a good thing to have if your content is a piece to your Client Journey. It’s basically pointing them in the direction of whatever product or service will be of value to them.
It will help you:
- Get more sales
- Build your list
- Earn affiliate commission
- Keep readers on your site longer
It also gets readers used to knowing you won’t just lecture them, then let them go. You are going to help them implement what you spoke about in your content. It signals that your blog is also a business and if they like you, they will do their best to support you.
You have a few choices when figuring out the best way to structure your posts:
- Trial and error: post how you want and see what gets the most responses.
- Visit trending blogs and see how their popular posts are done (the number of likes, comments and shares will tell you how well-received a post is).
- Download and use a Blog Post Template, like this one from Lucrezia of Blogging for New Bloggers.
- Use the format of your choice.
- Follow the tips in this post.
You now instinctively know how to plan, create and publish blog posts that are both pleasing to the eye and grab attention. Congratulations!
Designed to help both new and experienced bloggers to:
- set goals
- plan content
- build their dream blog business
- clarify your concept
- identify your audience
- brainstorm how to monetize
- daily action item calendar
- growth planning pages