Over 2 million blogs are published every day so it’s important to break through the noise. Here are six tips that will make your posts stand out and keep readers coming back for more.
Write the Headline First
You can write the best blog post ever known to man, but if no one reads it then who cares? How do you get people to read your stuff? You write a great headline.
Spend time writing the best headline possible. The headline is what convinces someone to actually click through to read your work.
Here are a few ways to help you write better headlines.
Get a reaction
A great headline makes the reader feel something. Make them curious, surprised, annoyed, happy, mad, etc.
Write in plain English
Most people will see your headline scrolling quickly or on a small screen. You have one or two seconds to get your point across. Don’t make your headline difficult to understand and never use complex words, jargon, or niche acronyms.
When writing your headline, pretend that elevator doors are closing and you need to tell someone on the other side about your post. You need to quickly communicate the main idea. Don’t bury the lead (AKA the most important part of your story).
Use a framework
Frameworks are proven blueprints for writing high-quality copy. They give your writing a clear structure and help you avoid common writing pitfalls. Plus if you ever struggle with writer’s block then frameworks can be a great place to start.
If you’re working with a copywriter then metacopy should be your new best friend.
Collaboration on creative work is hard. How many times have you gotten back a first draft of an article that was nothing like you had envisioned? Or felt like you were stuck in Groundhog Day with revision request after revision request?
Getting an idea out of your head and communicating it to someone else isn’t easy. There’s usually a fair amount of miscommunication that happens along the way.
Most people try to solve this by using an outline or a brief. Usually it looks something like this:
This type of outline is ok, but it could be better. Metacopy takes things a step further — communicating the underlying strategy of a message.
When sketching out a blog post, give your copywriter a simple and to-the-point description of what the copy in that section is supposed to communicate. Boom! You just wrote metacopy for the first time.
Here’s an example of the exact metacopy we used as a first step when creating this post: What is Intent Data and How B2B Marketers Should Use It.
Avoid “Rambling Old Man Syndrome”
How many times has this happened to you?
You’re searching online for the answer to a question. You end up on a blog post. You start to read it.
You skim through section 1 looking for your answer… section 2… section 3… section 4… section 5… you think to yourself “geez this post is pretty long” … “ok let me skip to the bottom” … “hmm still can’t find the answer” *clicks the back button*
Whoever wrote that post is guilty of “Rambling Old Man Syndrome”.
That’s when it feels like you’re listening to a rambling old man who never finishes his story or gets to the point.
Good B2B writing is clear, concise, and effectively communicates your point to the reader. You shouldn’t be trying to make your high school English teacher proud with your descriptive language or flowery prose.
Make your point. Provide the value. Then wrap it up.
Tip for avoiding “Rambling Old Man Syndrome”: Before you begin writing, ask yourself “what is the purpose of this article?” If you don’t have a clear-cut answer quickly, then stop and go figure that out first. Write the article to fulfill that purpose only. No extras.
Make it easy to read
Sometimes with writing it’s not what you say but how you say it. Make your writing easy to read.
Write at a seventh or eighth grade reading level and keep your sentences to 25 words or less.
Paragraphs should be no longer than two to four sentences. Also, remember that line breaks are your friend. Don’t believe me? Which of these is easier to read?
See how I just used a picture to communicate an idea? You should do this too. Graphics break up your text and make your posts more dynamic. Make sure to use a bunch of them.
Appeal to an audience, but write to a person
When choosing blog topics, it’s good to think about your ideal customer profile. What’s interesting to them? What will be helpful? Do they face common problems that you can they solve them?
But when you’re actually sitting down to write, don’t try to speak to your whole audience at once. Instead, imagine that you’re only speaking to a single person in it. Pretend you’re having a one-on-one conversation with them.
Renowned author, John Steinbeck said it best: “Your audience is one single reader.”
Writing can feel like a multiplayer activity. You’re trying to communicate your ideas to your audience. But reading a single-player game.
A reader will be consuming your content solo so make them feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Literally, pick a person that you know who fits your ideal customer persona. It could be a coworker, friend, client, etc. and imagine you’re writing directly to them.