Blogging can be overwhelming for many business owners. You have to create a blog, or pay someone to do so. Then you have to come up with content week after week, more or less. In today’s social media world, the final step is to make sure the blog post is shareable across social media websites.
And that’s more than just slapping a Facebook share and Twitter retweet option on there.
Let’s take a look at the four elements of a good blog post that’s easily shareable.
The article itself is important. You want to make sure it’s a decent length, and stay fairly consistent on length from blog entry to blog entry. The writing needs to be professional and have the appropriate PIE recipe, balancing Promotional, Informational and Entertaining.
This is the actual product of your shareable blog post. The other three elements are the marketing. As with all marketing, it doesn’t matter how good the marketing is if the product is terrible.
But if you don’t market your blog entry well, nobody will ever read it. So now that you have the article as a whole ready to go, it’s time to concentrate on the elements of the blog that help you market it: The headline, the excerpt and the image.
First off, you need to give it an appropriate, compelling headline. When considering the importance of your headline, remember that some social networks like Twitter may only show the headline and a link. So its importance can’t be understated.
The best headlines appeal to some problem or pain your target market is likely to be suffering from. You might mention a mistake they could be making, or how to simplify something that they perceive to be complicated. The headline should make a promise that the article delivers on.
This one can take a lot of work. If you like to cheat, I recommend an ebook by blogging expert Jon Morrow, 52 Headline Hacks. Practice makes perfect, but it’s a quick way to make major headline improvements.
Next up is the excerpt. This is the actual first few sentences or first couple paragraphs of your article. It’s the initial part of your article, and should be written so that it can be separated from the rest of the article and used to entice people to read the entire article.
If you think of how a book works, this is like the summary on the back of a book or the inside of the dust cover. It should be short and end in a mini-cliffhanger of sorts.
Here’s a recipe for a good excerpt.
- Mention the problem your reader probably has. This should be an expansion or elaboration of the headline.
- Reassure your reader they’re not alone. This can be blatant (i.e. “You’re not alone.”) or much more subtle.
- Reassure your reader that there is a solution. There’s no need for despair!
- Tell them what you’re about to share with them. You might even share with them one aspect of the solution, serving as a teaser to the full solution.
Like any good recipe, you’ll want to adjust as needed to fit both your tastes and to fit specific blog entries.
Finally, you have the element of blog entries that is frequently overlooked, the image. In the blog itself, the images can be used to visually illustrate your point. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Although you may have more than one image, you’ll want to pick one primary one that represents the whole blog entry, and include it near the top.
On social networks where you can utilize thumbnails, those thumbnails do influence whether people click on the actual article or not. Your image needs to be enticing and representative of the article itself.
And make sure you don’t use a random image off Google. You can get sued. Instead, either use your own photography or illustrations, or grab some appropriate ones a stock image websites.
A few such websites include:
- Depositphotos (This is T&S’s current favorite source)
- morgueFile (free)
- stock.xchng (free)
Remember that as with most things, you definitely get what you pay for.
Here are a couple blog articles that balance all of these things. (Disclaimer: T&S runs these websites.)
As an extremely rough guideline, the article itself should take up half the time you spend writing, and then the other three elements take up the other half of the time.
And it does take time! If you see the advantage in having shareable blog posts, but don’t have the time to write them yourself, the team at T&S Web Design can help.
One client had told us, “You are scaring me with your writing! It sounds like me, only maybe a little better.”
If you are interested in learning more about our system for blogging for clients and what that investment might look like, request a blogging quote online or give us a call at 405-285-0348.