Fun facts time! I’ve written about 700 blog posts in the last ten years. For real. I've also taught a social media class for the past year at Southern New Hampshire University in which I read and critique about 3 blog posts by 25 students for each class. That’s about 500 blog posts that I’ve read and graded.
Today I want to share some of the techniques I look for when I’m grading my students’ blogs and when I blog myself.
1. Eye-catching photo. Our culture is simply too image-oriented not to include a picture in every post. It doesn't have to be incredible artistry but it does need to be eye-catching and visually pleasing.
2. Interesting and informative headline. Your headline needs to make sense to more people than just you. While you don't want to give away the big take-away of your post (after all you do want people to bother reading the post itself) it should give the audience a clear sense of what they will receive in turn for reading the post.
3. Scannable content. Make the key points of your post easy to locate. Make a list. Put important words in bold. Use subheadings to break up the post. Keep paragraphs brief. Do what you can to help your audience find the jewels in your post before they're distracted by another website.
4. Clear take-aways. Keep your audience in mind first. Every post you write should add value--whether it's a practical tip or a different perspective. Make the point crystal clear.
5. Ending each post with a question. All of social media is a two-way conversation. Blogging is no exception. Spur reader engagement by concluding your post with a question. Remember: blog's aren't megaphones.
A lot of best practices exist in blogging but these are just a few of the non-negotiable cornerstones. What are your blogging non-negotiables? Do you have any blogging tips that you swear by?