The Makings of a Great Blog Post- and Other Writing Enigmas

By Hector Cisneros
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With the success of our blog comes compelling questions as to how we did it? How were we able to grow our readership organically from nothing to as many as 85,000-page views in one month? The growth of a blog audience is a marketing question to some extent, but many bloggers forget one very important aspect of blogging – that of what people want! People want to read high-quality articles that are Relevant, Timely, Useful, Focused, Educational and or Entertaining. A high-quality blog that is useful to lots of people will garner readers and subscribers. Even if you have a great distribution system, if your blog is mediocre, it will produce poor results. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore the many elements of a blog and what is needed to end up with a high-quality product that compels an audience to read, comment on and share your articles. So, start reading and taking notes as we pen – The Making of a Great Blog Post and Other Enigmas.

Getting Started, A Few Important Elements - I want to start out by saying that there is no one perfect way to create a blog. In fact, there are dozens of ways to write blogs. However, all great blogs include a great compelling headline, are grammatically correct and clean, have high-quality, authoritative content, are relevant to the audience, are timely, useful, focused, and provide educational and or entertaining content. You
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can use programs like Ginger and Grammarly to help fix your grammar. On top of this, the timeliness of a blog or article is specific to something that is of current interest.  They can be designed to take advantage of trends like hot news items, current events or highly needed information for specific industries. They can be seasonal to take advantage of holidays and regular recurring events, or they can be evergreen, based on principles that are always useful.

A few more items almost always seen to show up in high-quality blogs. Things like the clever use of appropriate subheadings and multimedia elements like videos, animation, photos, pictures, graphs, and podcasts. Also, don’t forget to use keywords when appropriate to the content, adding backlinks to your websites and social sites, and always provide attribution and links to other authors' content.

What is the Ideal Length - The last element worth mentioning is article
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length. When I first started writing blogs and articles, I was told that a blog post should be about 400 words and that articles should be between 500 and 800 words. My experiences, experimental testing and research have revealed that this is not the ideal length for a blog post or article. In fact, the length of the article is more related to its quality and usefulness than to any quantity of words predetermined by a publishing company trying to manage the cost of print.  We generally create blogs that are in the 1,400 to 2,200-word length. We always want to make sure we are providing useful information, and we also want to make sure we have enough material to use during our BlogTalkRadio show. You see, our blogs are the guidelines for our show. Your blogs/articles will be written for a specific publishing purpose, publisher or end in mind. This will also influence the blog/article length.

We have written about blogging and article writing many times over the years. In the past, my business partner and blogging buddy, Carl Weiss wrote, an article called – “The Write Stuff – How to Blog & Make a Profit,” which talks about what he calls - “The ABCs of Successful Blogging.” He states that A stands for - Always intrigue the reader. B stands for – Bring your readers a great read. And C stands is for – Create a sharing atmosphere. This article and the article “Is Blogging for Business The Write Stuff?”, talks about how to write and market your blogs. If you enter the words “blog,” “blogging: or “article writing” in the search box on our blog you will find many articles to help you get more from your blogging efforts. At the end of this article, I will also provide a short list of other blogs that can further your understanding.

Types of Blogs/Article and Themes - Did you know that the design
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layout (i.e., the flow of content) of most blogs fall into only a few dozen categories? When I say categories here, I am talking about themes. These themes can all be either - Topical - Based on Trending subjects - be Seasonal, Evergreen or even a combination of all four types. A theme, however, is more about the way the content information flows. I usually write a combination of current events and list articles. These are my primary themes.

I love writing blogs and articles based on themes. In fact, after you have been writing awhile you discover themes that are the most popular and work best for you. These often become your go to themes, but themes can go beyond these limitations as well. For example; you can have a List theme, a Pro Versus Con theme, it can be a Review article theme, a True or False article theme, A lesson learned theme, A Best practices theme, A holiday theme, a “things to watch out for” theme, etc…   

Early in my writing career, I had a great mentor, Dr. Ivan Misner who helped me with blogging and creating my first book. I also learned a lot about blogging from writing and publishing articles on EzineArticle.com.
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This writing platform and syndicated publishing company are where I cut my writing teeth publishing my first articles and learning about themes and publishing. Their platform has writer training information and article templates to help you write better articles. It's geared for articles published on their platform, but it’s still good stuff. We have also published a book on Amazon that covers all aspects of internet marketing, including blogging that you might find useful, especially if you have Amazon Prime. Along these same lines, I have found that getting and regularly using a blog buddy to be a godsend. I think a good blog buddy can help any author get to the next level faster. I recommend you get one.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts
  • Do have A Great Compelling Headline.
  • Don’t Mislead the reader with your Headline.
  • Do be Focused and provide High Quality, Relevant, Timely, Useful, Focused, Educational and or Entertaining content.
  • Don’t talk about more than one main subject in your blog/article.
  • Do Choose one type of blog - either Timely, Trending, Evergreen or Seasonal.
  • Don’t try to be all types at once.
  • Do use Relevant Multimedia videos, pictures and podcasts.
  • Don’t mislead with sensational irrelevant multimedia links – this trick can cost you more than readers.
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  • Do give attribution to any multimedia content you may be using including free images.
  • Don’t use any multimedia elements that are not listed as free to use without purchasing them.
  • Do summarize other content with attribution or quote them directly with attribution. Never plagiarize, you can be sued.
  • Don’t copy a person’s content of any kind without their permission; it is illegal.
  • Do use relevant Sub-Headlines with keywords if possible.
  • Don’t use sensational headlines if your content can’t meet the expectation
  • Do share your blog/article with all of your social nets and share it with influential readers, authors, and other bloggers. Also, make sure you reciprocate by sharing the blogs and articles.
  • Don’t expect to have people clamoring to find and read your blog/article, it must have a distribution channel, and that channel must have a sizable audience.

Now let’s look at the individual parts of your blog/article in a little more detail.

The Headline – The first thing a reader will see when they reach your
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article is the title, aka the headline. This title must be catchy, intriguing, easy to understand and compelling. If the headline doesn’t get them to read a little more, your prospective reader won’t even click on the social post to get to your blog. Also, understand this. If you try to trick your reader with a sensational headline, but your blog/article doesn’t live up to your hype, you would have succeeded at either disappointing the reader or making the mad, (both of which gives you a bad reputation).

Adding Your Name – It is appropriate for you to include your byline at the beginning of anything you write unless the publishing platform you're using wants you to do it some other way. It can be as simple as; “By Hector Cisneros” – or it can include biographical information like many of the online and print magazines do.

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Compelling Intro – The first paragraph of your blog/article is what usually determines if the reader is going to at least scan your publication (to see if it’s worth their time). I like to add a few appropriate teasers in my opening paragraph and then provide a list of goodies that will be forth coming, and a call to action to read the rest of the blog/article.

The Subheading – Using subheadings are another way to intrigue the reader to keep going. It is also very helpful if they are the type of person who scans first to determine if the blog has what they are interested in. These subheadings need to be catchy like the main headline, but also appropriate to the content they proceed. Trickery is also a no-no here.

The Body of your article/blog – Here is where the meat and potatoes
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are served up. It has to be the answer to the question - “where’s the beef”? Your article must provide the goods. A “Good Read,” as my business partner Carl says. Your content needs to be useful, easy to read and understand. I try and avoid big words and write at a fifth-grade level. However, your vocabulary needs to match the target audience as well. Along with this, your writing also needs to be unique. Prose authored by you provides a value add, and increases your credibility. If you're just quoting other authors all the time, you provide little value. Also, the body is where you will add your list of useful items and make good on the promise you made in the opening paragraph.

Your Call to Action – I like to conclude my blog/articles by making a point and providing a call to action. My call to action usually includes asking them to learn more by following the links and reading the articles
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they lead to. I also sometimes ask readers to take action by sharing my article, to call me or to do something altogether different. I don’t normally include a sales pitch here, but if you're tempted, make sure it’s a soft sell.

Descriptive Summary – Most blogging platforms ask for a descriptive summary. In Blogger, it is used to display what’s in the article on the search listing. It is also one of the places a reader might go to if they are looking for a better idea of what’s in your blog/article. I usually provide keywords and a few details like a list of items covered, but I don’t provide too much information, just enough to make them want to read the article.
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Company information with a call to action or offer – On our blog, we usually include a company call to action and offer form asking the readers if they want a free copy of one of our eBooks. We also encourage them to explore our blog, share it with friends, family, and co-workers, leave a comment and to call us if they need help with internet and content marketing. We believe that this should be listed after the descriptive summary.

Your Bio – Your bio should be relatively short, highlighting any accomplishments, awards, and accreditations you have achieved. It should be no longer than a paragraph in length.

Shortlist of articles you will find on our Blog

It is my hope that you find this article useful enough to recommend it and share it with other writers and authors. It is part of my company’s belief system “to freely share useful information with others.” In turn, we believe it comes back to help us in other beneficial ways. Follow the links in this blog and read the articles that they lead you to, they will broaden your view of what it takes to make a great blog.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

This article discusses the elements needed to create a great blog or article. A full list of elements is explored, and details are provided to help the reader understand and create their own great blogs. It also provides many links to other resources.

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If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links in the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject.  If you have a related useful comment or opinion about to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.



Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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