Asking the question “What makes a good news or blog post?” is just like asking the question “Am I beautiful?” We know that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and so everyone will have a different opinion on what they believe to be the correct answer.
Just like with beauty, there are many ideas and opinions when it comes to blogging and what makes up a good blog post. To answer this question as a full guide would mean providing a very opinionated explanation of what works well within a blog post and what doesn’t. However, there are some very basic guidelines that will determine that your news or blog post is a good fit for your website and your target audience, or at the very least will at least govern that your post is not bad (which is the minimum that you should be striving for).
Ideally, your post should be two things:
- Relevant and valuable for your target audience
- Capable of being picked up by the search engines.
To ensure that we cover both of the above conditions are met you will need to achieve the following:
1. A catchy headline
Your headline needs to catch the attention of your target audience. It needs to make them want to read the article, to find out more about what you have to say on that particular subject. Your headline also needs to be relevant to your blog post. I have seen a number of blog posts that have a catchy title to draw you in, but when you get to the post itself, the content bears hardly any resemblance to what the headline has lead you to believe.
2. Understanding your audience
It is important to know what information your target audience needs. What is it that your customer needs to know? What problems are they facing? How can you help them with your knowledge and expertise? Do they have questions and queries that you can provide answers to? Addressing your audience’s needs will help you to become a known and valuable resource for information.
3. Using the appropriate tone of voice
If your website is fun and funky, you don’t want your blog to come across as formal. And also if you have a very corporate image you don’t want your blog posts to appear flippant. This is where image and branding is important – it needs to reflect your business goals, it needs to represent your company ethos. Your tone of voice is part of your branding, it needs to reflect you and your business.
4. Including a suitable image
We all consume information in a different way and an image helps to provide visual interest. If your blog post is long and mainly copy, an image can help to break up what can sometimes be seen as a mass of text.
If you are using a content management platform such as WordPress images can be vital to gaining traction with your blog post, gaining click-throughs onto the articles you write. WordPress includes facilities to add featured images which will show up on your archive pages (if the theme being used allows them to). So, wherever you have a list of your blog posts displaying on your website, any that have a featured images attached to them will display that image next to the article. Statistically speaking, people are far more likely to click-through to read more on a blog post if a good image is shown representing the article.
The images you include can be varied and can include photographs, icons, graphs, anything that helps you to demonstrate the point you are trying to make. Important tip: If using images that are not your own, please ensure that you obtain the owners permission and that you attribute the correct copyright.
5. Use of headings (and subheadings)
Headings (and subheadings) provide structure to your blog post. They allow your readers to more easily digest the information that you sharing with them. Headings, bullet points, numbered lists or any other type of formatting when creating content helps to establish the important points that you are trying to make.
6. Writing at least 350 words
As a general guide, your blog posts should contain at least 350 words. Anything less than this could be negatively considered as a ‘stub page’ by the search engines. A ‘stub page’ is a post or article with very little value because of a lack of content. It is very difficult to write an authoritative article that contains less that 350 words and authority is exactly what search engines like Google are looking for. The more authoritative they consider your article or blog post to be the more highly they will rank your content due to its perceived value to the visitor. Please always consider writing blog posts of a decent length as well as good quality information, otherwise, if you want the article to be appreciated by search engines you will be wasting your time.
7. Accurate grammar and lack of typos
One of our (and a lot of people for that matter) biggest bugbears is a lack of proofreading. We all make typing errors and we all get our grammar and spelling mixed up from time to time but don’t publish that blog post until it is ready to go. None of us create a word perfect first draft. When drafting this post, I wrote onions instead of opinions and it was only on my second read-through that I spotted it 🙂 So just make sure that you have at read it through at least once before you click the publish button.
My aim with this post was to provide you with a starting point to help you establish your own ideas on what makes up a good blog post for your business blog. There is a lot more involved in creating powerful news and blog posts as I’m sure you can imagine. Just following the above basic advice will elevate your writing above many others and above a lot of your competition.