These days, everyone and their dog has a blog which means it’s incredibly difficult to stand out as a blogger and actually get your posts noticed. It’s discouraging when you put all of your effort into something only to have your hard work go unseen, and it’s the reason why a lot of people give up on their blogs after a short period of time.
But what if I told you there were five simple strategies you could use to write totally epic blog posts that get noticed, read in their entirety, and shared all over social media?
Even though I’ve only been blogging for about a year, my love for gathering information means I’ve read a LOT of blogging strategies and how-to posts – I’m the kinda girl who likes to do my research, y’see.
Unfortunately, most of the posts I’ve come across are unoriginal, lacking depth, or just way too damn complicated.
Rather than making you sift through all of the blogging tips out there, I’m going to narrow it down to the top five strategies that I think can make your blog stand out from the rest and keep people coming back to read your posts.
Here’s what to expect:
- Actionable advice to get you improving your posts right away
- Concrete examples of epic posts for inspiration
- A free worksheet to help you improve your old posts and make your future content majorly epic
Let’s make your posts brilliant, friend!
Strategy 1: Write to help your audience
Here’s the thing: most people don’t really care about you. Sure, your friends, family, and loyal blog readers love you, but someone who’s just stumbled upon your blog doesn’t love you…yet.
In order to get people to love you and your blog, your posts need to address one or more of the most basic human interests:
- to be informed
- to be inspired
- to be included as part of a community
- to have their lives improved and problems solved
I mean, think about it. If you happened to be scrolling through Pinterest and you saw a pin that said “My Favorite Fall Beauty Products”, your first thought is going to be:
“…and who are you?”
If I don’t know who you are and I just happened to stumble upon this post, I’m not really going to be that interested. But, if I saw something instead that said “5 Products You NEED For Fall“, I’m going to want to click on that because it sounds intriguing and I think it could help me in some way.
By rotating the angle of the post to be more about your audience and less about yourself, you’ll get more people interested in what you have to say. You can still share your experiences, but share them in a way that can benefit others.
Remember, people want you to help solve their problems and make them feel like they’re not alone.
The Exception: Posts about overcoming your own struggles or realizing your own mistakes can also do really well, but it’s still because people need help – they want to know how you did it so they can avoid it or overcome it too. For example, ‘How I Overcame My Body-Image Struggles’ or ‘What I Learned From Traveling Solo In A Dangerous Country’ sound intriguing, maybe even controversial, and I think I could apply them to my life.
Go back through your old blog posts and think about how you can make them more about your audience and less about you. For example, I wrote a post that was originally called My Favorite Food Bloggers, but I recently changed it to 5 Inspiring Healthy Food Bloggers to make it more specific and imply that the post could inspire you (not the best title I’ve ever come up with, but it’s a lot better than it was!)
Examples of Audience-Centered Posts:
- Meditation: Why you should try it + how to get started via Smart-Twenties
- 15 ways to feel better about yourself via inthefrow
- 10 ways Pinterest can help you refine your personal style via into-mind
Strategy 2: Make your content readable
This seems like a no-brainer, but so many blogs use a tiny, barely decipherable font that makes it difficult to read for longer than 5 seconds. I want to read your post, okay?! Let me do it with ease!
The best things you can have to make your posts more readable (and therefore more share-worthy):
- Increase the font size: Use a medium to large font size. Mine is 15px.
- Add space: Space out your sentences by increasing the line height.
- Darken the font color: Make sure the body text of your post is black or dark gray. Light gray is hard to read.
- Split it up: Split up your content with subheadings, bullet points, lists, and images if you use them.
- Go sparingly with the bold text: I know you might want to emphasize something, but bolding an entire sentence doesn’t have much of an impact if it’s mixed into a paragraph. Put an important sentence on it’s own line for emphasis instead.
Take a look at your current design and see if you can tweak the font size and spacing to make it easier to read. Go through 3-5 old posts and split up your ideas using subheadings, bullets, and anything else you can use to make it easy on the eyes.
Strategy 3: Write in-depth posts with actionable advice
There are so many blogs out there that barely skim the surface of the topics they’re talking about, and I’m always disappointed when I see an interesting headline but the post leaves me wanting more information.
Longer posts allow you to go into more depth and include information that sets you apart from other bloggers. This study by CoSchedule shows that long-form content also tends to rank higher than shorter pages, and they make a great point:
If you are conducting a search on “how to kill zombies,” what kind of post are you going to be looking for? The 500 word overview, or the 2,000 word in-depth article with pictures and examples?
The answer is pretty obvious.
People want advice that they can immediately apply to their lives, and they can do this if you give them more information. You want to get your audience thinking, taking action, and bookmarking your post to refer back to. You don’t want them skimming, writing ‘nice post’ in the comments, and forgetting about what they just read.
Quality Over Quantity
You’re probably thinking, ‘But Catherine, long posts take a long time to write. I need to get content out regularly.’
Welp, my dear. Here’s the thing: Your posts should take a while to write. Most of my posts take me days, maybe even a whole week. Unless you’re one of those people who wrote college essays the night before and still got an A, you’re going to have to give your posts the time they deserve before they can get to that epic level.
Take it slow and realize that more content does not always mean good content. One incredibly epic and helpful blog post a month is better than 5 mediocre, un-detailed posts per week. To beef up your posts and make them even more helpful, include links to other posts, add in research and statistics, work in some quotes, or try your own case study.
Another sure-fire way to get people more interested in your posts is a content upgrade. A content upgrade is basically an extra bit of goodness that adds value to your blog post and gives your reader even more. You could include any of the following:
- Checklist or worksheet
- Wallpaper download
- Printable quote
- Audio clip or video
- Discount or deal on a product you mentioned
- Even just a summary of your post that people can print out and refer back to
If you’re worried that you don’t have the skills to make these content upgrades, Canva is a free tool that can basically turn you into a graphic designer in less than a minute. It’s epic.
Speaking of content upgrades…
Here’s a free worksheet to help you write incredible blog posts! Don’t you like how I just snuck that in here?
- Use Google Analytics to find your most popular posts (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages), and go into even more detail with them. How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe has consistently been my most viewed post, so I fine-tuned some of my advice and offered a capsule wardrobe planner as a freebie if you sign up for my email list.
- Go through some old posts and think about how you could go even further with your advice. Assume that the person reading it is a beginner rather than an expert. Don’t make something up if you can’t think of anything, but don’t be afraid of saying too much. As long as you keep it concise while also sharing the details, you’re golden.
Examples of In-Depth Posts:
- How I got a job within a month of graduation via The Blissful Mind
- How to make your workspace work for you + a design planning worksheet via bloomology
- How to define your own version of success (free workbook with thought-provoking questions) via The Nectar Collective
Strategy 4: Write Evergreen Content
So what the heck is evergreen content? I like to think of it as writing content that isn’t time or event specific – it has no expiration date.
You want to write posts that will still make sense if someone found them 6 months from now. Of course, some posts are intentionally seasonal which is totally fine, but you want to have a good balance between evergreen and seasonal posts.
If you want your posts to be shared again and again, it’s going to be worth your time to write evergreen content.
Examples of Evergreen Content:
10 travel wardrobe essentials – Daisy could have made this post about a recent trip she was taking and what she was packing. Instead, she made it about her audience and their needs, and made it appropriate for any season and location.
14 ways to stop living for the weekends – I would usually avoid referencing anything about the day of the week when the post was published, but it makes total sense for Jennifer to mention that it’s Friday because it’s completely relevant to the post (because duh, it’s about the weekend!)
Examples of Non-Evergreen Content:
- The top ten fashion trends for 2015
- Why you should visit London over Christmas
- 5 blogs I’m loving right now
Find 3-5 old posts where you might have mentioned a season or event in your life that isn’t 100% necessary to share with your reader. Make them more universal and relevant to someone scrolling through your archives so that they can apply your advice to their lives right now.
Strategy 5: Give people a reason to share your post
Okay, you just put all this effort into writing an epic blog post, so how are you going to get it out into the world beyond the group of followers you already have?
You make it share-worthy!
Remember that people typically share things for these reasons:
- They want to help others
- They want to make themselves look better
People who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge didn’t necessarily do it because they cared about the cause – they knew that if they didn’t accept the challenge, they’d look like an a-hole. It was share-worthy because people wanted to make themselves seem like good people.
You want to write share-worthy content that’s to-the-point, easy to read, and helps solve some sort of problem people might have. If you’ve follow the steps above, you’re already on track to having totally share-worthy content.
Here’s how to take it to the next level:
1. Jazz Up Your Headlines
Headlines are everything. Sure, your loyal followers will read anything regardless of the title, but imagine someone has just seen your post shared on Facebook – it needs to have a good headline to catch their attention. ‘My Favorite Blogging Tools’ it’s less shareable than ‘5 Blogging Tools That’ll Save You Massive Amounts of Time.’ That one just sounds like something I totally need.
Examples of great titles:
- How to _____
- 10 ways to _____
- The ultimate guide to _____
- What you need to know about _____
- Have you ever _____?
- How I survived _____
If you want the most extensive list of topic ideas known to man, this e-book is for you.
2. Make Your Images Pinnable
I started off using horizontal images on my blog, but I knew I wanted to make my images more Pinterest friendly when I redesigned it in July. Horizontal images just don’t do very well on Pinterest because there’s a 554px width limit, whereas there is no vertical limit.
Making my images vertical was probably the best decision I’ve made for my blog so far.
During the month of July (when I hadn’t yet started using vertical images), I had 13 blog sessions that came from Pinterest.
In August, I had 1,065.
In September, I had 2,165. WHAT.
Just look at that percent increase!
You better believe the power of Pinterest for bloggers. I also have to credit the Pinfinite Growth course I took for some of this magic, but making my blog posts Pinterest-friendly was a huge game changer.
3. Add a Click-to-Tweet Message
Click-to-Tweet is an awesome plugin for WordPress that allows you to craft a tweet that links to your post, and all people have to do is click it to share it with their followers. This is incredibly helpful for getting people to take action because it requires zero effort on their part. I would also recommend getting a widget like Jetpack or something built into your design that makes it a piece of cake for people to share your post on social media.
Examples of Share-Worthy Content:
Look at those beautiful graphics and epic titles. You’d be a fool not to share those!
- Install a share widget to your posts, such as Jetpack.
- Start including horizontal images in your posts and sharing them on Pinterest.
- Add a click-to-tweet to a post.
- Make sure you’ve updated your old blog post titles to make them totally shareable and epic.
Okay, recap (+ that free worksheet again!)
- Write posts to benefit others – Make their life easier, inspire them, make them feel like you care about their problems
- Make your content readable – Use subheadings, bullet points, and a large font
- Write in-depth posts – Share all that you know about a topic, give examples, and offer a content upgrade
- Write evergreen content – Make your posts timeless and easy to understand from a beginner’s perspective
- Give people a reason to share your post – Jazz up your headlines, make your images Pinterest-friendly, and add a click-to-tweet button
What are you going to start doing to make your blog posts more epic?