How to Write a Blog Post – The Opening Line

How to Write a Blog PostFirst impressions make all the difference – it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a blog post or the next great novel.   When it comes to writing a blog post – make sure you don’t leave the best for last!

A friend of mine tells the story of how he invited an editor to go boating one afternoon.  The editor replied, “I have about 50 manuscripts to go through before I can go.  If you’ll help me – we can knock these out in under an hour.”

“Fifty manuscripts in under an hour!  There’s no WAY we can both read 50 manuscripts in under an hour!” my friend replied.

To which the editor wisely stated, “Don’t worry – you’ll know within the first three paragraphs whether the book is any good.  If the writer hasn’t grabbed you by the first few sentences – the writing will never get any better.”

Earlier, we talked about the importance of the title of your blog post.  In the world of creating your blog post content, it’s recommended you spend 60% of your time on the title – of the 40% of the time you spend writing your blog post – pay considerable attention to how you OPEN your blog post.

As a general rule, blog readers will read the headline – and if they’re interested, the first one or two lines.  Readers will decide quickly whether the blog post is worth their valuable time to “wade through” until the end.

The “rule” public speakers use to engage their audiences is to “tell them what you’re going to tell them – tell them – then, tell them what you’ve told them.”  If your blog is instructional in nature, then this is a good “format” for you to use as you create your blog posts.

If your blog is more “conversational” in nature, then you won’t want to adopt the “tell them, tell them, tell them” format – but rather keep in mind that your audience’s attention span is limited so don’t dilly dally around  – especially in the beginning.

Just remember that, after the headline- readership of your blog post drops dramatically from top to bottom.   As you write a blog post – be sure you don’t save the best for last!

How to Write a Blog Post -the Title

How to Write a Blog PostIn advertising there’s an old saying that 80% of readers will see the headline while only 20% will read the first paragraph.  While I’m not sure if there are studies to prove that the same is true with blog posts – one thing is certain – a great blog post title is probably the most important piece of content you’ll write on your blog.

Your blog post title has many jobs to perform.  It’s primary job – of course- is to encourage readers to “dig in” and read the actual content of your blog post.  This is similar to the “job” of a newspaper story or magazine article title.    However, that’s the ENTIRE job of the magazine or newspaper story title – to encourage people to read the article.  The blog post title has to do that and a whole lot more!

YOUR BLOG POST TITLE HAS TO BE GREAT WITH NO “CONTEXT”

See, magazine content is tightly targeted.  There are magazines about parenting -and magazines about sports – to name just two broad categories.    The magazine article title “the terrible two’s” might be a catchy title for an article on toddler temper tantrums –  and might be an equally catchy title of an article describing a struggling sports’ franchises latest woes – as in “Two straight errors, coupled with a two-run shot, cost the struggling home team…”

Same title – different meanings.  The reader of the sports magazine doesn’t expect to read an article about parenting a temperamental toddler – but if the reader has ever been the parent to such a creature – such a title would DEFINITELY not only catch the reader’s attention AND elicit an emotional response.

Your blog post title – on the other hand – has to be catchy even without the benefit of context.  The title must be catchy AND provide proper context for your article.  You don’t have the benefit of context which is enjoyed by the magazine or newspaper writer.

YOUR BLOG POST HAS TO CATCH THE EYE OF HUMANS AND MACHINES ALIKE

Not only does your blog post title have to catch the eye of the human reader – it also has to catch the attention of the search engines as well. Since 80% of all internet traffic is search driven, your blog post HAS to communicate to not only human readers – but also the search engines – what the content of your blog post is all about.

If this sounds like a tall order – to fill – it is!!  Which is why, you will want to spend CONSIDERABLE time “naming” your blog content a.k.a. choosing the title.

As you write your blog post, plan on spending 60% of your time focusing on, researching and creating an attention grabbing title which humans and the search engines will love.  Then, spend the remaining 40% of your time on the content of the blog post itself.

Yes – the blog post title is THAT important!

Blog Post Secret of Success: Keyword Research

Looking for the best kept blog post secret of success? Look no further than the title of your blog post.

Blog Post Secret of Success:
Using the right keywords in your blog post title can make or break your blog.

SEOmoz’s CEO outlines this 4 step process in his post Run Your Blog Post Titles Through Keyword Research Before You Hit Publish

Using this mind-numbingly simple and obvious tactic every time you publish requires a bit of discipline, but if you make it part of your blogging process, you’ll see incredibly positive results over time. Not only do you earn more search traffic, but that traffic will send more links, resulting in higher rankings and a snowball effect that will make your blog the envy of its niche

It’s true, doing keyword research on your blog post titles will increase your blog’s visibility with the search engines and it’s one of the steps I outline completely in The 8 Week Blog Power Launch.

See, people use keywords to find information on the internet. In my blog post Wickedly Wise and Wonderful WordPress Plugin for Keyword Research, I use the following illustration.

There’s a song in the musical West Side Story that begins with the phrase, “I Feel Pretty”. If you search for the keyword term “I feel pretty” you get some YouTube videos featuring Adam Sandler singing the sing in Anger Management followed by some Westside Story websites which featured exactly what I needed for that post.

There’s another word for pretty and that word is beautiful. However, if you search for “I feel beautiful” you won’t find at the top of that list websites featuring the lyrics for West Side Story but instead you’ll find lyrics to another song by the similar but different title.

In creating this blog post, I began by using the Semvironment Keyword Research WordPress Plugin, I was able to research my anticipated blog title. I began by clicking on the prominent Google Keyword Tool link on the Write Blog Post page in WordPress. I then typed “Creating Blog Post Title” into the Google Keyword Tool.

blog post secrets
blog post secrets

Oops! According to this, not very many people are searching for help on creating blog post titles. However, there are a LOT of people searching for BLOG POST SECRETS- thus the headline of this blog post and the secret to making your blog a success.

Using the right keywords in your title is a significant factor in blogging success.

Grabbing Attention with Famous Names in Blog Post Titles

When it comes to grabbing attention for your blog post title, one really effective tactic is to grab attention by using a famous name or title in the blog post title.

Your blog post titles are very important… so choose them carefully.

Eighty percent of your blog readers will read your blog post titles…. a mere twenty percent will read the content of a particular post.  A great blog name combined with a great blog post title will attract clicks whether it’s via search or RSS feeds or sharing on Facebook or Twitter.

I have a confession to make. I ADORE the movie Fight Club. I’m sure my love of this dark and twisted tome reveals a definite “crack” in my psyche. What does Fight Club have to do with grabbing attention?  In a word – EVERYTHING! Any blog post with “Fight Club”  in the title instantly GRABS my attention as it does the other fans of the movie.  Take for example:

I could “justify” this tendency of mine by claiming that most posts which reference Fight Club are witty and well written. They usually are.  But this is an illustration of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) syndrome  in action- something that all the “potential” readers of your blog suffer from in varying degrees.

Successfully tapping into the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) of your target audience is a key element in building traffic and attracting readers to your blog.

The first step to tapping into the WIIFM of your target audience is to determine what movies or celebrities do they follow?

Fans of Paris Hilton are an entirely different audience than those who adore Mitt Romney.  Fans of the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are decidedly different than fans of “Texas Walker”.  Sure – there may be a straggler or two who watches both – but it’s safe to assume that as a general rule, if you begin blogging about RuPaul’s Drag Race you’re not going to need to worry about offending any Chuck Norris fans who might be reading your blog.

Determine who your target audience is and then try to “get inside” their heads to discover what famous names and movies will grab their attention.  It’s a great way to attract readers to your blog.