I’m back after a mini-break and today I want to talk about questions every blog post of yours should answer before you hit the publish button and expose it to the world.
Now, unless you’re blogging just to keep your family updated on the newest occurrences in your life or share funny cat videos (which BTW you could do via Youtube, Whatsapp, Vine, Instagram or any one of the tens of social sharing sites out there, but whatever), you’re blogging because there is a group of people who want to reach out to and help and you possibly would like to become an AUTHORITY in that niche.
Well, nobody becomes an authority by sharing funny cat videos unless of course your blog is about funny cat videos. Okay that got kind of awkward really quickly, did it not ? Let’s try that again.
If you want to grow your authority quicker than most and most importantly have the desire to stand out of the crowd, it is important to make sure that every blog post you put out from now on answers each of the 7 questions I have listed below.
1) What PROBLEM or need will compel people to read my blog post ?
People try to tackle this particular question with a catchy blog title. Now, I am all for attention-grabbing blog headlines.
All for it.
However, beyond that, the actual content should expertly address a need or problem you have determined your audience has.
And how do you find problems your audience has ? Here are a few ideas ;
- Social media groups – FB, Google+ and LinkedIn all have group features where people are constantly posing questions. You are welcome to interact and answers those questions in the group if you have the answers. However, you can go a step further and write an entire blog post or even a series of blog posts addressing this concern because guess what ? If one person has asked that question, you can bet that there are several other people on this planet of 7 billion who is looking for those answers in the search engines as well.
- Keyword Research – I am no keyword expert but I have dabbled in it and it CAN be so ADDICTING. However, keyword research using any of the plethora of tools that are available can uncover some very interesting questions people are looking for answers for.
- Surveying your audience – Finding problems through social media groups and keyword research is great and especially so when you are just getting started with blogging and you need content to get the search engines crawling your site. However, once you begin to get e-mail subscribers, you are at liberty to survey them at any point in time. Even if 5 people answer your survey, that’s 5 pieces of insight you did not have before and it will put you in a better position to serve your audience better.
The long & short of it : your blog post has to address a specific problem people are looking for a solution for. The problem should be reflected in your title and especially in your body of content.
DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST SO YOU CAN USE IT EACH TIME YOU WRITE A BLOG POST.
2) What SOLUTION will my readers get out of this blog post ?
There are several solutions to any one problem.
What solution/solutions are you offering to your audience with the problem you are seeking to solve ?
Let’s take traffic generation for instance.
There are several viable ways a person can drive traffic to their blog – social sharing, reaching out to influencers to share your content with their followers and SEO techniques are all ways to generate traffic to a blog.
Writing about each of these modes of generating traffic in depth may be impossible in a single post. However, writing about all the actionable ways a person could use social sharing as a way to drive traffic to their blog is feasible will make for a great piece of content (or series of blog posts).
Summary : Once you have identified your audience’s problem discuss solutions your audience can immediately put to use to give them the desired effect.
3) Why would readers want to read MY post rather than get their information elsewhere ?
There are other bloggers who are writing about the problems you are writing about and offering solutions that are similar to the solutions you are offering in your blog post.
What makes yours stand out ? What makes it so unique that they people want to come to YOUR blog instead of the other stellar blogger down the virtual street ?
There are so many things that come to play here :
- Your blogging voice : Regina wrote an excellent post here on finding your blogging voice. I highly recommend you read it. I believe in learning and even copying from the very best. However, it pays allow your personality to shine through in a real way. People are attracted to authenticity.
- The depth of your posts : For some reason, list posts and especially LONG LIST posts get shared more frequently and are eventually more likely to get on Google’s front page from all the back-links the post will get. Go the extra mile and create useful in-depth posts. It’s hard work upfront but trust me, you will be reaping the results for years to come.
4) What are the POINTS I want to make in the post ?
This is not fiction writing class. Getting to the point you want to make quickly will prevent you from losing your readers.
5) Do I have any DATA to support the points I have made in my post ?
Case study style blog posts are popular for a reason : they are based on real, tried and true findings not just suggestion. Here are some ways to back your points with solid data ;
- Use your own data. One of the reasons I love reading Bryan Harris’ Videofruit blog so much is because he writes about things he has done and he shares all the details ; ugly or beautiful. Experts are not just people who get it right all the time. They are also people who have been brave enough to try , fail and come back to tell the story. So don’t be shy to blog about your own data to support the points you make in your blog posts.
- No data of your own yet ? Consider interviewing experts in your niche.
- Experts not answering your e-mails ? Study their blogs. Study their movements on social media. How do they get people to engage with them in their blog content or on social media ? What are they doing that has caught your eye ? Can you make some conclusions about those and write about them ? You never know. They might answer your e-mails after they notice you wrote about their success !
6) Have I included a CALL-TO-ACTION in my post ?
Well, now you’ve poured out your heart into a post. You have provided solutions and backed it up with research data. You are rising in the ranks. Now it’s time for your readers to pay you back. What action do you want them to take to say “thanks” ? Social sharing ? Commenting ? Subscribe to your e-mail list so they never miss a post ? Well then tell them.
It seems counter-intuitive but it is well known that most people will not take an action even if it is obvious unless you tell them to take that action. Get rid of any kid of ambiguity by inviting people to share, comment or join your e-mail list at any point within your blog post. I especially love creating tweetables as well as including post-specific opt-ins within my posts and they work very well.
7) Is my post optimized for the search engines ?
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not a keyword research or SEO aficionado. Neither do I believe in necessarily writing for the search engines. However incorporating very basic keyword research/SEO techniques in your blogging process even if you don’t consider yourself a technical person will put you light years ahead.
This post here will help you cover the basics of SEO even if the term “SEO” sounds like the name of an alien from outer space.
There you have it. Seven questions every one of your blog posts should answer so that you stand out of the sea of blogs out there.
What do you think ? What would you have added to this list ? Are there any points on this list you struggle with ?
Please share this if you found the post helpful.