You’d love a community of readers.
Thousands of people who bookmark your blog and come back regularly to read your posts.
Who click straight through to your website from every email you send because they can’t wait to read your latest blog post.
They swoon over your products and services and, yes, they buy them.
To help you reach that goal, here are five ways to write an awesome blog post and build your online community.
The most important thing you can do to build a community of readers is to be a person first and a business second.
Write from the heart. Be joyful and enthusiastic. Open up about your life to the extent that you’re comfortable.
You may never meet the majority of people who follow your business online, but you can still have an authentic and meaningful relationship with them.
If you base your business on transactions, that’s all you’ll give and all you’ll get.
Write as if you’re having a conversation with your readers, and don’t make it all about you. Listen deeply to what they say, and make their needs your focus.
Relax your tone of voice, loosen up and write as if you’re sitting on the sofa chatting.
Study the column below on the right and you’ll be writing an awesome blog post in no time.
Formal writing is serious, business-like and it doesn’t address the reader directly.
Generally written in a passive voice, formal writing is at arm’s length, using pronouns like he/she and they.
Long form writing is common in formal writing. It avoids contractions and uses ‘I will’, ‘we will’, ‘do not’ and so on.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place in the world for formal writing. But it’s not your blog, or mine.
Informal writing is more relaxed, conversational and addresses the reader directly.
More laid-back and even tugging at your readers’ emotions, it speaks directly to people with pronouns like you and we.
We use lots of contractions in informal writing. They’re carefree and breezy words that spell RELAX loud and clear.
Bypass slang and don’t be too cheeky in your writing. Always be respectful, transparent and genuine.
Who is your reader and what do they need from your writing?
Do you know your typical reader, or are you assuming they’re just like you?
It’s comfortable writing about what you know, and to assume your readers have the same questions, needs and goals as you.
But this is where you can make mistakes. It’s like tailoring a suit without taking measurements, or like buying a house without inspecting it.
If you want your readers to become your clients, then you’ve got to know what they need from your blog posts.
Are you digging deep enough and pushing sideways as well? Do you provide unique perspectives on the content your readers care about? Are you really writing an awesome blog post?
During March 2019, over 4.4 million blogs were published every day. Two important ways to make your blog stand out are by your unique contribution to the subject matter and how well you’ve optimised that subject matter expertise for Google.
Another way to write an awesome blog post is to identify your readers’ needs through ‘the buyer’s journey’, which is the process buyers go through to reach a final decision to purchase a service or product.
The buyer’s journey is composed of three steps.
One – the ‘Awareness stage’, where the buyer realises they have a problem.
Two – the ‘Consideration stage’ where the buyer understands there’s a problem and researches ways to resolve it.
Three – the ‘Decision stage’ where the buyer selects a solution.
To understand your buyers and identify what part of the buyers’ journey they’re on, you need to communicate with them.
When writing your blog post, make sure you align your content with the current stage of your reader’s buyer’s journey.
Some marketing experts suggest addressing all stages of the buyer’s journey in every blog post you write.
Download this free buyer’s journey template from Hubspot and learn to map the buyers’ journey of your readers.
If you’re not optimising your blog posts for search engines you should re-examine your online strategy.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has undergone a significant evolution, and we now need only one long-tail keyword (‘keyword phrase’) in our content to properly optimise it.
Avoid the keyword phrases at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). There’s no way most of us will be able to compete against the big companies for these spots.
Instead, be clever and use a keyword phrase that is niche, narrow and even a little quirky. Research has shown that narrowly focused keyword phrases result in higher rates of conversion.
The truth is, people who narrow their online searches are near the end of their buyer’s journey and are looking for specific products and services.
Don’t forget that SEO includes optimising your title, headings and alt text (image tag) with your keyword phrase or synonyms. Google rates these too.
There’s a strong correlation between writing to address our readers’ needs and another important skill, which is identifying ‘searcher intent’.
Julia McCoy at Content Hacker addresses both keyword research and searcher intent in this great blog post.
Learning how to research winning keyword phrases is worth the time and effort it takes. Seriously, jump in embrace the challenges and aim to get near the top of those SERPS.
Seriously, don’t do it!
Whenever you reach for a cliche, stop and find your own words.
Cliches indicate a lack of imagination and a disregard for independent thinking. They’re plain lazy and your readers know it.
Something else happens when you serve up a cliche. Your readers skip over it because they’ve likely read those words a thousand times. They’re desensitised to them. Internally a voice is telling them that you’re a boring writer.
Enough said? Here’s a list of cliches to avoid in your writing. Use them and you’ll lose readers. Guaranteed.
A bee in your bonnet
Cat got your tongue?
A blast from the past
All that glitters isn’t gold
A bed of roses
Read between the lines
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed
Kiss and make up
Better late than never
Do your blog posts align with the reading level of your website visitors, or are you writing above their heads?
Sounds bewildering doesn’t it, but achieving harmony between your writing level and your reader’s reading level really is a deal-breaker.
In 2015, a Deakin University study found that Australian health websites were too difficult for the average person to read.
This was doubly concerning because it meant that websites weren’t delivering important health information that people needed. Information on dementia was the most difficult to read, while the topic ‘obesity’ proved the trickiest to read on government websites.
An average person comfortably reads information online at grade 8 level, which is 13 to 14 years of age.
But before you decide that writing at grade 8 level is not your thing , let me introduce you to the Flesch reading ease test.
This tool evaluates your sentences on factors such as sentence length and the average number of syllables per word.
Writing at grade 8 level isn’t about dumbing down your writing, but about composing sentences that have outstanding clarity.
Your subject matter expertise stays intact.
Yoast has an excellent free plugin that uses the Flesch reading ease test to measure the level of your blog writing.
It provides you with a score and feedback that enable you to adjust your writing so that you meet the criteria for grade 8 level.
Hi, I’m Sharon and I love talking about how to write an awesome blog post. I’m also fond of SEO discussions. 🙂
Seriously, it’s almost as much fun as swimming in a turquoise ocean on the Amalfi Coast.
Speaking of turquoise, press gently on the button to send me an email.