Before I get down to the five blogging tips, I just want to emphasise that nothing, I repeat nothing is better in social media terms than regularly posted, well-written, original blog content.
1. Write a Headline that Tells your Whole Story
What is the first thing people see? Your headline or post title. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. They often see it in isolation, and often on another platform like Twitter. Does it tell enough about your story to make readers want to click through to your blog?
TIP: Keep your headlines factual, searchable and relevant. Forget smart heads or puns. Search engines don’t get ’em.
2. Your Intro Paragraph Must be a Summary
The intro is also called a summary paragraph. Your intro needs to be short – 1 to 2 sentences. Type a search term into Google and have a look at the results. What you see there are the headlines and intro paragraphs – or beginning of them. Now understand why you need to start your intro with the really important stuff. Don’t waffle. Don’t put a little headline, or piece of chitter-chatter, at the top of your post.
TIP: Ask yourself: Will this interest people who are skimming through search results to click on my post?
3. Photos and their Captions
Make sure that every blog post has an image. If you can, find a great photo and write a great caption.
As you will have noticed from the exercise above, search posts with photos are much more eye catching.
Photographs with captions are also more useful to you because people may use them via other distribution channels on the web. If they are relevant, they could Pin them onto Pinterest.
TIP: Make sure your caption includes at least one of your most important keywords
4. Schedule your Blog posts
Timing is important. Have you hooked up your blog posts with your Facebook Page and Twitter? It seems to work better when they appear on a regular schedule. So you can schedule them on your blogging software to appear when you think you will have the largest audience.
TIP: Check out Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Buffer. They each have different features depending on your needs
5. Keep Your Blog posts Short and Scannable
People don’t read the same way on the web as they do when they are reading print. On the web they scan. They pick up headlines, subheadings and captions. That is why all blog posts have to employ scannable text:
- meaningful sub-headings (again, not “clever” ones)
- bulleted lists
- one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
- half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
TIP: After you’ve written your post, go back through it removing every extraneous word.
That’s my five. What have you found most useful as a blogging indie author?