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The success of any digital strategy rests on attracting visitors to your website, and one of the most fundamental ways of doing this is through a well written, interesting, and informative blog. However, for some reason, a lot of businesses who start a blog fail to ever gain any traction among their followers. They go from posting once a week to once a month, and eventually you find they haven’t posted anything in over a year and their blog is effectively dead, never to be heard from again.
At the same time, some blogs seem to experience explosive success, going from zero to tens of thousands of visitors a month in just a short period of time. What are these blogs doing differently, and how can you make sure you fall into this category, and not the suffer the fate of the dreaded barren blog?
First things first
There are a few things you need to think about before you type a single letter of your blog post. Those are:
- Who your reader is.
- What your reader is looking for.
- What you want to tell your reader.
Without these three things in place, you run the risk of writing a long-winded diatribe of nothing which adds value to no one.
Identify your reader.
For instance, if you’re writing a blog for your photography company. You need to identify who your potential readers are. Are you writing to first time, novice photographers? Seasoned pros? Amateur photographers looking to start a business around their hobby? There are a lot of niche groups out there, and you’ll find a lot more success by focusing your efforts on a single one, and speaking directly to them.
Focus on their problem.
Secondly, you have to identify what their problem is. There are a lot of keyword tools out there which can help you find exactly what people are searching for. Additionally, you can look at forums specific to your niche and see which questions keep coming up. Or, you can jump on Reddit, and ask people directly. The important thing is to keep the scope narrow, and address a single issue. Look at the difference between these two posts:
- “How to take better pictures.”
- “How to adjust your camera’s setting for low light photography.”
Offer a solution.
This is the part of blogging that most people get wrong. The ability to craft an interesting and informative post which speaks to your readers’ needs, keeps them engaged, and offers them a unique solution can take a bit of practice. However, there is a tried and true formula which anyone can follow to write a winning blog post every time. That is:
- Lead paragraph / hook.
- Personal story.
- Scannable body.
- Tell readers what to do next.
Let’s go through them one by one.
Write an attention-grabbing headline.
There’s a general rule called the 80/20 rule. That means that for every 10 people who come across your post, 8 will read your headline, and 2 will go on to read the rest of your post. The job of your headline is to hook readers into reading the rest. In fact, it’s been said that the job of every sentence is to get the reader to read the next one. Which means that the headline is the single most important line in your entire article. It’s the whole reason anyone would read it in the first place.
There are over 57,000,000 results on Google on how to write attention-grabbing headlines, and more than a few lists of headline formulas which you can repurpose to your needs in case you’re lacking in inspiration. Such as:
Do you want to [blank] in [amount of time]?
- Do you want to start earning money from photography in just 3 months?
The secret to [blank].
- The secret to running a successful photography company.
The hidden trick [blank] are using to [blank].
- The hidden trick professional photographers are using to double their bookings.
[Number] little known ways to [blank].
- 5 little known ways to triple your photography profits.
What everybody ought to know before [blank].
- What everybody ought to know before becoming a professional photographer.
And there are hundreds just like these
Hook your readers early.
This is where you really sink your teeth into your readers, and get them to keep reading. Ideally, you’d want to surprise them with a counter-intuitive statement, or intrigue them with a thought provoking question which makes them rethink how they’ve been approaching their problem. Keeping with the theme of a photography blog, you could say:
“Most people think the more money you spend on a camera, the better quality your pictures will turn out, but what if I told you that I’ve taken some of the best pictures of my career with a camera that costs less than $100?”
If I were a struggling photographer looking to break into the business without much of a budget, there’s no way I’d stop after reading something like that. It’s too good to pass up, and speaks directly to the issue that I’m having myself.
Tell your story.
People are drawn to stories, it’s a thousand times more interesting to hear someone tell you how they overcame an issue personally than to just have someone hand out advice. It also builds authority, and instills confidence. It’s especially effective if there’s an element of wish fulfillment involved. If I’m a 9 to 5 office worker dreaming of the day I can quit my job and strike out on my own as a renegade photographer, it’s almost as satisfying to sit in my cubicle and read about someone else doing it than it is to actually do it myself.
I can picture myself telling my boss to shove it, picking up my camera, working around the world in fantastic locations, having the freedom to do what I want, when I want. So when people buy your ‘how to become a photographer’ product from your blog, they’re not just buying the knowledge, they’re buying the story that you’ve crafted that they too can live this fabulous life as well.
Hit all the high points.
After you’ve walked people through your story, it’s good to outline the process in concise actionable steps which people can follow to recreate your success. As we all know, people are pressed for time, and there’s an infinite amount of information to read online. It’s best to keep this part short, and to the point, so even if people are just skimming through your piece, they can still glean valuable information from what you have to say.
Sum it up and call to action.
Your final paragraph should give a short summary of the points you’ve made in the rest of the article. It’s useful to include a checklist or bullet points for your readers to follow. If you’ve correctly identified your reader, figured out what their issue is, and offered them a solution by:
- Grabbing their attention with a well-crafted headline.
- Hooking them in with a thought-provoking leading paragraph.
- Building their trust with a well-crafted story.
- Showing them how to recreate your success.
You should then invite readers to explore further articles on your blog, let them know where they can find more information on this topic, or encourage readers to get in contact with you, leave comments, download your ebook, join your mailing list, or otherwise engage with you and your community. Like this:
Your blog is the cornerstone of your entire digital strategy, so it’s important to get things right. If you’d like more information on how to get a winning digital strategy, contact Green T digital now. We’ve helped tons of people do digital the right way, and we can help you get a blog which brings readers back for more.