Just like most other forms of creative writing, there is no wrong way to write an article for a small business blog. There is, however, a better way.
Many times people will just relate what is on their mind and use little formula for writing a blog post. It is like sitting on a couch with Freud. All he wanted his patients to do was talk about whatever came to mind as he gave them prompts. Most of the time though it was just word soup that he attempted to codify for them. Blog posts can seem like that sometimes. Very little direction and a need for an interpreter. People won’t read that for long. You will very likely lose your audience without some formula.
So, let’s look at some of the ways you can format your blog article to help make the post appealable to your audience.
Break It Up
We all bemoan the fact that people have shorter attention spans, but it is a fact of life. Yes, media is to blame, but since it is a reality at least you can use it. There are several ways that an article can be broken up:
- Use a lot of headings. If you write in a narrative style where the blog post is one continuous block, people will become bored quickly. The brain is conditioned to look forward and try to evaluate what comes next. We are born browsers. So, give the brain what it wants. Allow the reader to look ahead and easily see what’s coming next.
- Use short paragraphs. In school, a paragraph was often described as three sentences long at the very least. Many times English teachers want something even longer than that as a minimum. Throw that rule out. One sentence, two sentences… however long it takes to complete a thought.
- Use short sentences. Again, people want to move on. Shorter sentence structure helps them do just that. You actually read faster if the sentences are shorter.
An Interesting Title
Okay, this one is a no brainer. Titles are among the most important tools a blogger has. Again, people are born browsers and that trait needs to be satisfied. A catchy title means that they will quit browsing for a while and at least look at your article. This goes for section headings, also.
A catchy title does need to say something about the article in the blog post, but it should be interesting enough that it causes the reader to pause. Maybe it’s funny, maybe the title has some information that they need. Whatever the reason, a good title gets you more views.
A Thousand Words Per View
Yes, this is about that old cliché. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This piece of advice could have come under breaking up the post, but it deserves its own section. It’s that important.
Images break up the blog post, but they also give the reader something more. Imagination is a powerful tool for any writer. When you are writing something down, there is little left for the imagination. The words are there in your blog article and they can likely only be interpreted in one way. But a picture… an image opens the door to the imagination.
We all see things differently due to diverse experience. So, what one reader gets from an image will be completely off base for another. Feed that imagination and allow you readers to engage with you in a completely different way.
An image also makes the blog post more personal both for you and your reader. You chose that image because it meant something to you. It offers a glimpse into who you are as a person and makes the post more meaningful.
Make a List
People may say that they hate lists in blog posts; critics may love to pan them. But, they get more views than any other type of post. Why?
A list is easily accessed chunks of information. It is something that can easily be referred back to also. This is again a tool you can use based on the short attention span research. People can skim through a list quickly (whether it is in bullet format or delineated via headings) and gain access to information without much effort.
Remember that your small business blog is one of millions… maybe hundreds or thousands on the same topic. You want people to read it obviously, so using those tools available to you will draw people to your website. A topical list in your blog article can add credibility because it will demonstrate your knowledge of a subject and provide an easily accessible reminder for your reading public.
Leave Them with a Call to Action
This may not be possible for every blog post you write, but it is one way that you can gain views and comments. A Call to Action (CTA) is your call for your readers to respond to a question you have asked of them. After they read it they will be given a response mechanism like a pool or a question they can answer in the comments.
This type of ending promotes discussions and allows your readers to engage each other. It doesn’t matter what the CTA is, but it does have to be related to the topic of your blog article. It should also be something that your readers care about.
Take the ideas in this article as suggestions. You can use all or one as needed, but remember that your articles in blog posts should have some type of structured format if you want them to be appealing to your audience.