Perform a Google search to learn how to create your next epic, shareable, sticky, awesome, mind-blowing blog post, and you’ll come up with an authority article of some sort.
Indeed, many of these authority articles are published by names that are well-respected in the content marketing space.
Having gone through many of these articles, I quickly spotted a problem.
Yes, many of the better posts give good tips. But they tips they offer are too broad and generally focus on how to situate elements like your headers, your line spacing, etc. None of them offer advice from an experienced content marketer who shares their specific thought process.
I’m not saying that I’m the ultimate authority of content marketing writing, but after time spent in the trenches, and after experiencing the joy of receiving and reading positive feedback from subscribers like you (Thanks, guys!), I feel that it’s time for me to spill the beans on how I come up with the posts that you love reading, and sharing.
Specifically, I’m revealing the steps that I take in creating great text content so that you can do the same thing with your marketing blogs.
Ready to dig in? Let’s start with the technical aspects that I use in creating enjoyable, informative, textual marketing content.
Focusing on Headlines Is How You Win the Game
Why do I refer to creating headlines as a game? It’s because for me, it is!
Everyone knows when it comes to writing their next cold email or crafting the next client proposal, that headlines are critical to capturing attention.
Content marketing is no different.
And while you’ll find plenty of articles that discuss the importance of a good headline, they miss what might be the most important element of any blog post, or article.
First, I ask myself a few questions:
- Will the headline stand out from the rest?
- Does the headline create interest?
- Is the headline too over-the-top?
- Is it topical and relevant to the rest of the story?
- Will my headline deliver on its promise (as it pertains to the topic of the story)?
Let’s break these down.
Needless to say, I want to create a headline that will motivate subscribers (and new readers) to check out the body of the story. That means that the headline needs to be interesting, yes?
But here’s where things get sticky, and many content writers get the next part wrong:
The headline needs to generate interest without being perceived as over-the-top.
You’re familiar with click-baity headlines, and if you’re like me, then they probably tick you off!
It’s true that you can’t resist them, but once you read the rest of the article (or blog post), then you’ve probably realized that you wasted your time, thanks to a hyperbolic headline that sucked you in, despite feeling like you should have known better.
Now you’ll read the rest of the information with a cynical side-eye, or you’ll become so disgusted with this cheap ploy, you’ll stop reading the information altogether!
The marketer has lost all credibility, and their click-baity headline scheme becomes a total waste of time, and resources.
So sure, push the edge of what you feel you can get away with to generate interest, but at the same time, keep your interesting headline in the realm of what’s credible to your reader.
And if the body of the post or article promises the reader information that answers a question or resolves a problem, then the headline had better speak to this! At the very least, the headline should offer a strong hint at what the post’s topic is about.
By the way, here’s another reason why creating a headline is like a game to me:
I use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer tool (Not an affiliate link). When I’m testing out a headline, I type it into a query box, and the tool scores my headline based on markers such as emotional words, power words, number of words, and its perceived sentiment.
It also gives you a alphabetic grade, just like you received in school. My goal is always to at least score a B+, and I like a numerical score in the mid 60s, at the very least. As time has progressed, I can hit a score in the low 70s on my first go round.
And when I can hit a score in the 70s while also scoring an A+? Then, I’m in word-nerd heaven!
Give it a try! It’s free, and you can test your headlines as many times as you’d like until you reach a score that you’re satisfied with. And also, be sure to scroll down to the part where you can see where what your headline would look like in Google’s SERPs.
Speaking of the body of the post, let’s delve into its structure.
Carving Out An Irresistible Body
This is the meat of your marketing post. Now that you proved that you can attract readers, it’s time to satisfy their curiosity. Luckily for you, it’s not hard to do at all!
You can create a very satisfying post (or article) by structuring your post like a basic essay-you remember those from English Lit class, don’t you?
You began with an opening statement (or paragraph), you proved your thesis (or your case) in the following paragraphs, and then you finished the essay with a closing statement that reiterated everything that you’ve just wrote. Simple, yes?
To this I’d add, make sure to use language that your blog audience can understand-after all, you’re writing the post in order to create a connection with them. Speaking of creating a connection, don’t be afraid to inject personality into your posts.
If you’ve read my previous posts, then you’ll notice that I often inject silliness or humor into the post when it’s appropriate-who says that teaching or learning needs to be boring, right?
And sometimes, I use slang or of-the-moment verbiage. Let’s face it-we’re smart people, but there’s a way that we speak to our friends or to others in casual situations, right?
I feel that a great way to create connection with the reader is to literally speak their language! But of course, there are some topics that just aren’t funny! And sarcasm used incorrectly can come off as snide and alienating-this is the opposite goal that you’re trying to accomplish.
So be mindful of your marketing goals, your brand, and who your audience is while taking creative linguistic liberties.
Let’s talk about one more technical aspect in the body of your post-sourcing information.
You’ll notice that most writers source information and quotes, and this is completely legitimate as long as you cite your source.
What this means is that you need to give attribution (credit) to the person and the source where you found your information or your quote. You can mention the original author’s name and the publication where you found your info, or you can simply mention the publication and hyperlink it.
As long as the reader understands that you’re using previously-published information from another source, then you’re good on the plagiarism front.
The Heart Of The Matter
We’ve looked at the technical aspects of a great post. Let’s look at the questions I ask myself while conceptualizing my topics on an intellectual and emotional level:
- Will the topic improve the lives of the readers?
- Is the story/advice/lesson practical and actionable?
- Is the tone of the post relatable?
- Can I insert humor or any other device to make it feel more real (and less distant or dry)?
A marketing post (if nothing else) should improve the lives of the reader in some form or fashion. They should feel as if they’ve learned something, have experienced satisfaction, or had their question answered.
You’ll find the right way for your brand to accomplish this, but keep these three goals in mind at all times.
At the same time, the reader should feel that they can apply what they’ve learned from reading your post. The more simple your advice is, the sooner your readers can put your information into action, and that helps to establish trust and authority.
There’s few things more frustrating than reading a post or an article filled with information that feels overwhelming or out of the reader’s realm of accomplishment. Remember, your posts are all about them.
Finally, write your posts or articles with a tone that’s enjoyable to read. I’ve discussed this earlier, but keep this in mind if you want to create a list of subscribers who actually look forward to reading what you’ve published.
So here’s what it all comes down to:
Practice creating (or improving upon) headlines that legitimately create interest without insulting anyone’s intelligence or leaving them wanting. Think of topics that your readers care about. Anticipate their questions and concerns.
Share information that will improve your reader’s lives on some level. Don’t be afraid to be human-your readers want to connect with you and your brand. At the same time, don’t be too human-don’t be the offensive person who everyone loves to ignore.
Remember that your story should have a flow, a natural progression that keeps your readers eyes on the page. Your marketing post isn’t your personal diary. This isn’t the platform for your stream of thought style writing.
Feel free to use this post as a guideline, a tip-sheet of sorts. I can’t promise that you’ll generate top-tier email subscriber levels of success, but I’ll bet that you’ll generate a dedicated fan base who will be more than happy to share your posts, and trust your brand offerings.