Writing a good blog isn’t easy, especially writing a good blog about how to write a good blog. In a way I’m kind of setting myself up for a fall with this, because I’m going to attempt to describe how to make content interesting, engaging and successful – while ensuring I actually do all of those things myself. But anyway, here goes…
One of the most important things about writing good content is ensuring it’s appropriate for the target audience. A piece of content for a fashion website aimed at 18 to 25-year-olds will to be very different to content for a law firm – and that doesn’t just mean the subject matter. It also means the way the piece is written and the language used, which must be both age and industry appropriate. Getting the tone right is half the battle and clients will be looking for something that suits the existing style of their website and the image they are projecting, so this is a very important issue to consider.
But how do you engage a reader and grab their attention in the first place? With an enticing hook and an opening paragraph that really makes an impact. Humans are fickle and impressionable – and whether we mean to or not, we form opinions very quickly. We also have very short attention spans, which is why the opening paragraph of web content is so important.
Research shows people stay on a webpage for less than a minute, while they will only read a quarter of the text unless it has value and is of interest to them. So basically, readers will scan the first paragraph and make their mind up there and then about whether they will continue. Your opening paragraph has got to pack a punch.
So you’ve come up with a killer first line, what next? The next step is to move on to the bulk of the content and this is where the hard work and research comes in. As I said before, content needs to give people something of value and this means presenting them with information, advice, statistics – basically anything that ensures they gain something from reading the content. If you just waffle on about a particular subject for a few hundred words without adding any concrete facts your reader will lose interest, so you’ve got to know what you’re talking about.
Finally, it’s important for content to have some personality. A tired writer will produce tired and formulaic content instead something that flows nicely and keeps people engaged. Although you aren’t telling your life story in a paragraph, don’t be afraid to let a bit of personality shine through – it makes it easier for people to identify with you and what they’re reading about.
As the used-so-many-time-that-it-almost-becomes-meaningless saying goes, ‘content is king’, but that’s not actually the case. Content does a job, but it’s good content that rules and it’s something that is worth the time and effort to get it right.