Take the time to improve your blog post before you hit publish.
The web is a crowded place. You can’t open up your browser without tripping over the same kinds of content written by multiple businesses and websites. It’s easy to find yourself stuck in a factory churn of boring, stale posts without offering anything new or insightful.
So how do you differentiate yourself in this kind of environment? How do you get people to not only choose your blog post, but also read it, and follow whatever call to action you include?
You need to take the time to step out of that factory churn – that’s how. That means taking a few minutes to improve your blog post. The Internet is filled with stale, boring lists. What the Internet is missing is quality, informative content that is unique to your experience.
So don’t just be an industry typist looking to churn out the same stuff that everyone else has. Add a little extra to the world.
This is how.
Use These Tips to Improve Your Blog Post in Minutes
Add Something Personal – For years I’ve been a Cubs fan. A hopeless, bitter, cursed fan of the game, even though the prospects of a reward seemed delusional. I made it known to those around me that I knew the Cubs sucked, and how futile the whole exercise felt.
Then things changed. 2016 became the year of the impossible in so many more ways than one. Where the Cubs had a century-long streak of folding like a lawn chair in crucial moments, it didn’t happen this time. They persevered. A faith was tested, and a faith was rewarded. What’s the blogging lesson here? Take your readers along for the ride on your journey. People love a good story. So give us a personal anecdote that sets your post apart.
Add Another Picture – The Internet is becoming more visual every day. Imagery is a good way to offset text overload. Your post can (and sometimes should) have more than one image. Stock photos are improving all the time. So make sure it’s not all business people sitting around a corporate table smiling. If possible, choose images that relate to the specific topic of your post.
Proofread – You’ve got us hooked with a stellar opening. We’re moving on, sentence to sentence and then all of a sudden…BAM! There’s a spelling error. Or the wrong it’s/there/your. These things are called stopping points. One or two might be generously overlooked by your reader. But when they are littered throughout your post, it can detract from your message. Go back and proofread your post before you hit publish. It may just be the difference between someone acting on your message, or not.
Seek Out a Second Set of Eyes – So maybe you have proofread your post. A second opinion can improve your writing. You can seek out a business colleague, coworker, friend, or hire a copy editor. All are valid options.
Improve Your Call to Action – Don’t let your post just drop off at the end. Wrap up what you were trying to say, and take advantage of your captive audience. Make sure you have an effective call to action, and tell people what you want them to do. You can be a little bit bossy. Buy now. Download today. Comment below. People are also more likely to act if there’s only a single call to action.
Cross Link – If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, chances are you are mentioning the topics you wrote about last week, last month, or last year. You can link to that content in your posts, to keep people reading for longer. These interior links can also have a positive impact for search rankings. This is a great way to improve your blog post.
Tweak the Headline – Your audience is making the decision whether or not to click on your post in fractions of seconds. A headline that conveys the benefit of reading your post is crucial. Make sure your readers will know immediately what they will get for clicking and reading. Then deliver.
Tweak the Social Media Link– You can vary up how you promote your posts. Again, people will make the decision whether or not to click on your blog post within a matter of seconds. This is just as true on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter as it is in the Google search results. If you can lead with a benefit, or some variation on the headline for your social media post, it can improve your chances of being read.
Create a Clean Layout – Do you have a lot going on in your side bar, or at the top of the page? If the design of your blog is too busy, it can distract people from the message you are trying to convey. It may be time to clean out the design components you don’t need. Creating a minimalist feel can be a great way to improve your blog post.
Link to Other Great Content – Surely others have created authoritative content on your subject. Part of becoming the expert on your industry, is showing your audience the necessary resources to learn everything they can. Link to strong content written on industry websites and blogs.
Syndicate Your Blog – Once it’s published, you have more promotion options than strictly social media and search. You can have your blog post republished in other industry-related sites. When I’m done writing a post, I publish the post in entirety on Medium and LinkedIn as well. Most of my posts also run on Business 2 Community. There are countless opportunities to raise the visibility of your message this way.
Make Your Opt-In More Visible – Make sure your readers know how to subscribe to your email.
Link to Your Products – Have you written a book, or do you have reports, white papers or checklists available? Don’t make your reader guess as to where they are.
Make Your Post More Visually Friendly – Since blog readers are often scanners, it’s a wise decision to make reading your work as easy as possible. Keeping paragraphs between 2-3 sentences, breaking items into a bulleted list, and using subheads are all great ways to make your content a little easier on the eyes. Your mobile readers will thank you.
Add Another Bullet Point – Readers who are genuinely interested in the subject matter want more information, and more actionable tips on how to improve. More bullet points will appeal.
Be Thorough – Not every post needs to be 1,000 plus words, but don’t leave ideas incomplete, either. If you want your post to be the authoritative piece related to this particular topic, then tell people what they need to know. Don’t tell your audience to Google it. More depth is a great way to improve your blog post.
Add a Related Quote – If you are looking to add a little context around your subject matter, a quote can help. Maybe a well-known industry authority has spoken on the subject. Maybe there’s a historical quote that can bolster what you are trying to say. Either way, it can be a great way to add a little context or build on your industry authority.
Add a Short Bio – If someone lands on your post for the first time, they may not know who you are. You can add a one or two sentence bio at the end of your post that tells people who you are, and can also capitalize on links. It’s a great way to link to your main site, or a product in each post. Many guest posts require this, and it can be effective for your blog, too.
Make it Conversational – Take a minute and really think about your audience. Think about the subject matter they are seeking out, and what they are finding elsewhere. In order for them to act on your post, they have to like you and trust you. Make your message sound like it’s coming from a friend over coffee.
Go ahead and use contractions. Avoid the industry geek-speak when possible. Spell out acronyms on first use, so your audience doesn’t need to guess what you’re talking about. Ask them questions in the middle of your writing. In general, just write how you talk. There’s no need to make your marketing writing sound like an academic dissertation.
Link to Your Contact and About Pages – Remember, you are blogging and creating a high volume of content because you want to sell more. You don’t want to sound like a telemarketer, but it is OK to link to your contact, about, services or product pages. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to tell your readers more about what you do.
Break The Rules – Don’t be afraid to try something new as you work to improve your blog post. You won’t know what works unless you are actively experimenting on your posts. Experiment with post length, language, blog formats, and anything else that you can think of. Go ahead. Break the rules.
What has worked for you in the past, when it comes to drawing new readers in? Are there any quick ways that you have discovered to improve your blog post? How have you taken the time to put better content out there? Let me know the answers in the comment section below.
Matt Brennan is a Chicago area marketing writer and the author of Write Right-Sell Now: How to Create Content That Grows Your Business.