Whilst I could lay out a specific formula for you to apply to your blog posts, the fact is that it wouldn’t apply to every situation. The “formula” for successful blog posts may be relatively straightforward, but that formula can be molded and adapted to such an extent that no rigid framework would afford you the necessary flexibility to allow you to communicate your message in the best possible way.
So instead of giving you a strict step-by-step process for creating content, I’m going to focus on the three key sections that you should look to include in the majority of your blog posts.
1. The Hook
Any blog post you write should have a hook. If the headline’s job is to get people to click on your post, the hook’s job is to (you’ve guessed it) “hook” them into reading the bulk of the content.
What I am essentially talking about is an introduction, but the key thing to bear in mind is that you need to give visitors a reason to carry on reading. You need to appeal to their curious side; their thirst for knowledge.
So when planning a blog post, consider the information that you will be divulging. Who is it relevant to? Who is going to want to read it? Get that target reader in your mind and put yourself in their shoes. What motivates them to understand more about the topic you are tackling? If you know the answer to that question, you have the material for your hook.
Consider the following hypothetical example. You are planning a post in which you will reveal a simple, effective and achievable solution to consistent weight loss. Your hook might read something like this:
Do you fear the outcome every time you step on the scales? Are you fed up of fad diets that promise the world, but don’t deliver?
I know I was, which is why I decided to take matters into my own hands and devise my own weight loss plan that is simple, effective, and achievable. There are no tricks and no gimmicks. If you desire steady and consistent weight loss, I have the answer.
Starting a post with a question that your target reader will respond to with an emphatic “Yes!” is a great mechanism for drawing them into the content. A good hook sets up the rest of the post with a promise of what is to come and makes it extremely difficult for the reader not to continue reading, and that is of course the desired outcome.
With the above said, always ensure that you are able to deliver on your promises. To make promises that you cannot fulfill is a cardinal sin as a blogger.
2. Problems and Solutions
You should now move onto the bulk of your blog post, which is where you will define the problems and solutions relating to your chosen topic.
In our weight loss example, we might define problems with existing weight loss plans:
- They’re not sustainable
- They require mammoth levels of willpower
- They do not allow room for flexibility
By defining the problems, you are building up a picture of what you are going to resolve. The kicker is in then providing a solution for all of the problems that you mention. The solutions represent the “meat” of the post — what the reader is there for.
If we assume for a moment that you do have a good solution to a problem that your audience has, imagine how fired up you’d have them by this point. You related with them immediately in the hook, engaged with them fully by providing a list of the problems that they are experiencing, then delivered the knockout punch by providing them with a solution.
If you’re pushing your content to the right people, how can they not love your content with a structure like this?
3. Wrapping Up
Any post you write should have a conclusion in which you round up the key points in the post and tell the reader what they should do next. Remember — the point of a blog post is to encourage a particular action from a reader (e.g. to sign up for email updates or purchase a product). As such, you should encourage them to take that action.
If possible, you should always end a post with a Call To Action (CTA). It could be anything from asking them to get in touch, to leaving a comment, to signing up to an email list. The point is that you shouldn’t simply expect people to take the initiative in carrying out your desired action — you should ask them to do it. If your content delivered, many of your readers will only be too happy to adhere to your request.
How to Plan Your Posts
If you’re ever feeling a little unsure of and/or overwhelmed by taking on a particular post, I consider it best practice to first plan it out. I probably do this for a fair proportion of the posts I write — the ones I don’t plan are typically short, straightforward, and/or relate to topic that I am extremely familiar with.
The planning process I recommend is not complicated:
- Gather all of the reference material you will need (if any).
- Read through everything that you will use to create the post.
- Write a draft headline and sub-headers (based upon the hook > problems/solutions > conclusions model above).
- Write key bullet points for each sub-header.
That’s it! Remember — you’re writing a blog post here, not a novel. If your plan is difficult to follow then the post probably will be. The sub-headers alone should be suitably descriptive of exactly what the reader can expect to find in your post.
- Write a hook for your favorite five post ideas that you have come up with so far.
- Pick your favorite hook and write out a full plan for the post, complete with sub-headers and bullet points.