What are the characteristics of a great blog post? I wish I could tell you there was a magic formula. There isn’t. And anyone who tells you so is absolutely lying. But there are some rules of the road I’ve learned in my five years of blogging on a regular basis.
- Consistency. This is why most people jump off the blogging bandwagon. Before you start a blog, commit to a regular posting schedule. Even great content delivered irregularly will not help you get the results you deserve.
- A great title. In the digital world, titles should be driven by keywords. Don’t be afraid to use popular words and numerals. Strange enough, negative expressions of an idea seem to draw broader attention on a whole than positive ones. (Not sure what that says about us as a culture.)
- Appropriate length. My recommendation is that your blog posts be between 200-400 words. People don’t read with the same commitment online as they do in print. As more and more content is consumed via smartphones, the pressure to reduce the length of your post will continue to weigh heavy on those of us responsible for creating content.
- Actionable content. Use bullets, numbering systems, and styling (bold or italics) to help guide the reader to the most significant ideas and phrases in your post. Make sure your reader walks away with something they can put into action immediately. This will keep them coming back.
- Avoid perfection. A former journalism professor once told me, “What is on the front page today, ends up on the bottom of a bird cage tomorrow.” Perfection is not something you should reach for in your posts. Search and archiving helps keeps digital content alive longer than printed content, but don’t overthink your blog post. Just do write, review it, and publish it. There will be another post to write tomorrow or the next day.
What would you add?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.