Writing a blog post has come to mean more than just expressing ideas. For most bloggers, the purpose of a blog post is to drive traffic to their website and capture email addresses from new prospects. It is also used to build credibility within their niche, create an audience for another business objective and start building authority by ranking for certain keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs). This guide will focus on how to write a blog post that truly captivates and engages your target audience.
Understand your audience.
The first step in writing blog posts that captivate your audience is to know who your audience is. This may sound simple, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t think about when they write blog posts. Writing for a specific target audience will not only help you build an engaged following but also be much more satisfying in the long run. You’ll feel like you have a purpose and know exactly who your readers are.
If you want your content to resonate with them, it's important to understand what they're trying to achieve and how you fit into their journey towards achieving their goals. If you can answer those questions, you'll have no trouble writing compelling content!
Write to your strengths.
This is a very important section of your blog post. Not only does it speak to why you’re the best person to write about this topic, but it helps the reader know that they’re in good hands. Plus, by discussing what you do well and what you don’t — and then writing about something that challenges you in new ways —you’re setting yourself up for growth as a writer.
You can even use this section to draw on interesting personal experiences or anecdotes from your life so far — think of it as an “About Me” page for your blog post. There are many reasons why readers will be interested in learning about you before they continue reading, so make sure this is a strong part of your content.
Plan with an outline.
Don’t just jump in and start writing. You will fail miserably. Instead, spend some time coming up with an outline that you can use as a framework for your post.
An outline helps you to:
come up with a great topic (assuming you haven’t already been assigned one)
decide what to include and what not to include
figure out how much content will fit within the space constraints of your blog post (which will vary depending on the platform).
Craft the perfect headline.
Your headline is your first and possibly only impression on the reader. It can mean the difference between a loyal following and an audience that never sees past the surface. There are simple ways to improve your headlines, but if you want to write truly great ones, it takes creativity, practice, and patience.
Although there are different types of headlines, they all contain two basic elements: a hook or attention-grabber (like surprising statistics), and a sales pitch (such as how readers will benefit from your content). To see examples of these elements in action, check out these blog posts we love:
__[Why You Should Stop Using Chrome](https://backlinko.com/switch-chrome)__
__[The Ultimate Guide to Manually Building Links](https://backlinko.com/manual-link-building)__
These headlines are all very different from one another but each does an effective job of capturing attention and communicating the benefits of reading on. In fact, we could probably even make this section longer by talking about more examples—but then we’d run into our next tip: keep it short.
Set up the blog structure first.
Before you start writing, it’s helpful to have a plan. Do your best to stick with the following blog post structure:
A subheading (optional)
Bullet points and/or numbered lists (optional)
A call-to-action (CTA). Add a CTA at the end of your blog post so readers know what they should do next. It could be something like, “Let us know in the comments what you thought about this article!” or “Click here to read more articles from our blog.” Adding images is also recommended.
Consider how your readers will consume the content.
Content consumption has changed significantly over the past few years. More and more people are reading content on their mobile devices, so it's important to consider how they will consume your content when developing your blog post.
Here are a few ways you can optimize your blog post for readers:
Structure your content with headings and subheadings. Your readers will skim through the article to find what matters to them most. Provide an overview of your article by using different sized headings and subheadings that clearly state what the topic of each section is about.
Hook your audience right away.
If you’re going to ask a question, make sure it's one that your audience is asking themselves.
For example, I asked what’s more important to your business: having an online presence or being on social media.
This question is relevant to many small businesses because they are often unsure if they should invest in a website and digital marketing or just focus on social media marketing.
One way to tell if the question you want to ask is relevant is by looking at your analytics and seeing what type of questions people are searching for answers to on search engines.
You can also review the comments that people leave on your blog posts and see what types of questions they ask you in the comments.
Tell a story.
Now you’re probably thinking, “wow Ben, that’s a lot of work. I don’t think I have time for all of that. What if I don’t have any interesting stories to tell? Or what if my business isn’t very interesting? Do I just skip this part? Are you trying to set me up for failure or something?!”
Not to worry. There are several options available when it comes to finding a story to include in your blog post. You can tell personal or fictional stories, use quotes from other sources, and even share customer success stories or the success stories of others who aren't your customers (yet).
Use powerful words to evoke emotion.
We all want to be more persuasive. Whether we’re trying to convince our boss that she should promote us, or pitching a client on why they should buy our product, persuasion is vital to getting what you want.
Powerful words are the key.
From a psychological standpoint, the most relevant traits of words are connotation and denotation. Denotation refers to the literal meaning of a word, the “dictionary definition.” Connotations are the emotions, values and images that become linked to a word over time.
For example, take two words: “slimy” and “slippery”—both words can be used literally (a slimy eel is slippery), but each carries additional emotional baggage with it. If you were describing an unethical car salesman who tricked your grandmother into buying a lemon of a car for too much money, would you refer to him as “slimy?” Probably so! But if you were describing an ice-skater who performed a gorgeous triple axel without falling down once, would you call her “slippery?” Probably not!
Include images and video when possible.
Including images and video in your blog post can be a great way to further illustrate your points, allowing you to break up long blocks of text.
Images have been shown time and time again to increase engagement on social media, so if it makes sense for your particular blog post, including an image will only help.
Break text into short paragraphs and sections.
You’ve already seen how you can use bold text, italics and formatting to make your blog post more captivating. But another way to do that is by breaking up your content. Here are a few ways you can break up your text:
Break it into short paragraphs.
Use bullet points or numbered lists whenever possible.
Use images and media whenever possible.
Blog posts full of long paragraphs and sentences will often deter readers because they are daunting to read through. Readers want to be able to find what they need quickly and easily on your site, so making it easy for them to digest is always a good idea.
There are many things you can do to improve the way you write blog posts, but knowing your audience is what matters most.
No matter who your target audience is, they will expect certain things from your blog posts. They’ll want you to help them solve problems, teach them what they want to learn, and/or entertain them in some way. But how can you know what those things are?
The best way to figure that out is by getting to know your audience and the topics they are interested in. That way, you can write blog posts that resonate with the readers you’re trying to reach. Knowing your audience’s pain points will also help you come up with ideas for blog posts that provide more value to potential customers.