Is there a method to your blogging madness?
Blogging isn’t new, but the notion of blog authorship contributing to marketing effectiveness is very much gaining favor in the U.S., resulting in a flood of new bloggers, especially B2B.
Encouraged by inbound marketing proponents like Hubspot, Chris Brogan, Michael Gass, (and me), organizations are jumping on the blogging thing like a nine year-old boy with a pogo stick and a can of Red Bull.
And for good reason. It’s at least 97% true that if you commit to taking what you know, “atomizing it” (coined by Todd Defren), and giving it away in digestible chunks, it will eventually lead to new business. This is especially true for professional services providers, but not exclusively.
I work with many PR firms and corporations that are giving blogs a warm embrace for the first time. Most of these organizations are opting for group-written blogs to lessen the burden on any particular team member.
That makes sense from a social media strategy standpoint, but makes consistency a challenge. Many (most?) of the contributors have never written a blog post before, and sitting them down and saying “Go for it” makes for a pretty daunting circumstance.
Blogging Isn’t As Hard As Bloggers Make It Sound
In an effort to provide new bloggers with a framework for how to write an effective posts, I developed the Blog Post Worksheet seen below.
8 Ingredients for Blog Post Success
The premise here is that like solid blackjack play, or Mel Gibson’s career demise, a good blog post can be segmented into its contributing, component parts.
1. Blog Post Headline
You must have a good, intriguing headline. It must fit in a tweet, so 120 characters or less (leaving room for RTs). Problogger.com and others have suggested that posts containing numbers work well (like this one). I’ve seen a similar effect in my own blogging here at Convince & Convert.
2. Main Point
Also known as “your thesis” – but not since college. What’s the point of your post? You have to boil it down to just one.
3. Secondary Blog Points
In addition to your thesis, what other points of view are you trying to convey? No more than two, please. This isn’t a manifesto (that’s a whole different worksheet).
4. Search Term
If you had to pick one search term (phrase) that best describes your masterpiece, what would it be? Figure it out (more specific the better), and incorporate it into your post. (great post from Lee Odden 37 Tips for Blog Optimization)
It’s always a plus to give readers’ eyes somewhere to land, and breaking up long passages with subheads accomplishes it, while also giving you some SEO extra credit. I prefer 2-3 subheads in most posts.
No question in my mind that thoughtfully selected photos and other art improve the readability and enjoyment level of your blog posts. I usually use Flickr’s Creative Commons search engine to find good photos.
7. Resources, etc
Where are you linking in your blog posts? To other bloggers? To online resources? How can you improve the usefulness of your post by directing readers to other great content?
8. Blog Post Call to Action
The aforementioned Chris Brogan told me to end posts with a question to generate more comments. I have found that he’s right (as usual), and recommend finishing with a question or some other call to action to solicit comments from readers.
Do you find this blog worksheet helpful? Would you use it to plan your own blog posts?