How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read
Today it’s easier than ever to publish your message to a wider audience by creating a blog and promoting it on social media. But once you have the blog, how do you create content that people want to read? Call yourself a writer? find your tribe? find your voice? Establish a home base and then promote your website on social media? Internet personalities have suggested all of the above, but in the final analysis, how do you write blog posts people will read?
Here’s a trend I see. Use my suggested formula and include a compelling headline and image.
Use This Formula for Your Posts
- Start with your experience that connects to a wider story. For example, where were you the first time you heard about the latest tragedy in the news? What were you thinking or feeling? What did you do? Write this part in first-person.
- Move to the bigger experience. Explain what happened, why it qualifies as news, and how it connected to your experience. Write this part in third person.
- How did your life change because this happened? If you felt helpless, how did you move from helplessness to action? Write this part in first person.
- How can you help your reader take action? Give your readers three steps they can follow to avoid the helplessness you felt. Explain how they can do what you are advocating. Write this in a list form in second person.
- End with a compelling question that allows your readers to think about how they will take action related to what you just wrote. Write this in second person. Or, ask a question that causes readers to form an opinion and then express it in the comments.
How to Write Headlines So People Will Read Your Blog Post
Pick a compelling headline. Scroll through your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed. Which headlines are you most tempted to click? Are they lists? Do they surprise you? Do they contain words that catch your attention? List those headlines. Make observations about them. Reread your blog post. Write a headline using what you learned from your research.
OR, write your headline first. Make sure it’s a headline you want to click on and that your audience will want to click on. Then write the content. Make sure your content fulfills the promise your headline makes. If your content doesn’t match the headline, then your post becomes clickbait, and your audience is less likely to click on it next time they see one of your posts.
Always Include an Interesting Image
Find an interesting image. Check out sites like Creative Commons or LightStock. Make sure you follow the rules if you use one of their free photos. From an ethical and legal point of view, don’t use pictures you haven’t paid for or don’t have permission to use.
OR, If you can, take your own pictures with a smart phone. Train yourself to look for what’s interesting around you. Take pictures of your garden, scenic views, or close ups of interesting centerpieces. If you include faces in your photos, make sure anyone in the photo signs a photo release giving you permission to use their image.
Join the Conversation and Challenge Your Readers
So, join the conversation. Write content people want to read by connecting yourself and your readers to the larger story of the culture around you. Pick compelling headlines. Consider writing your headline first. Find an interesting image that your readers will want to click on. Use these suggestions to write content that will challenge your readers to think about what they are doing and why.
Anne Marie, a 30-year-staff member, coaches staff members to become better writers through Writing for Life, a ministry of the Global Leadership Office.
Currently she manages content at globalstaffwomen.com, a website for Cru staff women and Prayer for Prodigals and she edits The Women’s Resource, a newsletter for staff women. She likes to travel and will say yes to almost any invitation to train staff members how to write compelling stories.