Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Raise your hand if you’ve read a blog post that was so-so and you just knew it could be stellar with a bit of tweaking. Think back to a blog post you either wrote — or read — that made you stand up and say, “wow!” What make one ho-hum and the other shine? Chances are, it was not one item but myriad little ones that combined to either make it a great read or one that left you wanting more.
When you’re competing with close to seven million people who are blogging, you need to find a way to stand out! While nothing in blogging, or in life, is one size fits all, here are my top tips for making a good pet blog post great:
- Who are your readers? I know we’ve written about this before — especially in the blogging business plan series — but if you know who your readers are (and conversely, who they are not) you can tailor your blog posts toward that reader. If your reader comes to you for humor they won’t stick around to read about your trials and tribulations with trying to change a flat car tire. Give the readers what they want. Poll your most faithful readers and ask them why they read you and then do more of it!
- Know how new readers find you. If you understand what terms they are using to search your website and/or blog you can determine what is driving their reading habits. If you use Google Analytics it can give you a snapshot on the search terms that were used to bring visitors to your site. If they’re searching “dog groomers in Upstate NY” then you want to use those terms. If they’re searching “social media pet blogging divas” then sprinkle those terms throughout. If, however you want to be known for something specific such as “miniature poodle pet groomer” then you need to start using those terms and you will also want to do a search and see if 1) anyone else is known for that and 2) where that individual is ranking on the search.
- In the newspaper world your opening line is your “lede;” it is what hooks the reader and draws them into reading the rest of the article. Would you rather read a post that opened, “Did you know there are dangers that are lurking in your home that could injure your pet?” or would you rather read, “Your pet may be in danger! These everyday household items could be in your kitchen right now.” Yes, the second one is quite sensationalized, but it gets your heart pumping, right? If I saw that I’d be sure to read and check to make sure I didn’t have any of those deadly dangers that Henrietta could come in contact with. You certainly don’t want to have an attention grabbing lede like, “A spice in your kitchen is killing countless pets…” and then move into a blog post that talks about the dangers of overfeeding your pet and pushing them into obesity; they are both relevant topics but your reader will feel cheated. Keep the theme of the post in keeping with the opening and the headline. Speaking of…
- Your headline. Think about the magazine article titles that you see on the newsstand or the headlines in a newspaper or even the way television newscasters “tease” the upcoming piece, “Stay tuned if you want to know the secrets to losing 10 pounds while you sleep!” Your headline is the first thing a reader sees and will likely be the first thing to show up in a search. Consider these: “How To Bathe A Cat”… not horrible, but how about, “No Fuss, Muss and No-Scratch Ways To Bathe Your Cat” or “Tips For Making Fluffy’s Bathtime Fun!” They’re both more catchy than the first even though the first certainly lets you know what you’re in for if you read the post. I believe you should spend as much time crafting your headline as you do crafting your post. The headline for this post started off as “How To Make A Good Blog Post Better” that certainly put the blah in blog post title. I then changed it to, “How To Make A Good Blog Post Great” better but still not there. By the time I was finished with the post I landed on, “5 Tips To Make a Good Pet Blog Post Great.” What did I do? Added a number (readers love lists); took out the words “how to” but kept the essence of “how to” and added PET because our SEO terms indicate people find BlogPaws based on the word pet — makes sense.
- Your readers are busy people, make your post easy to digest. I could certainly have not put the number “5” in my headline and then you’d be left wondering, “Am I going to have to read 100 tips? I don’t have time for that!” You know with 5 tips you are in and out! Also, I broke the paragraphs up with numbers and bolding and photos and links. Because we are so married to our mobile devices we want to make it easy for readers to pick out the relevant info from a blog post from the comfort of their smart phone. Some studies have shown that readers are clamoring for blog posts in the 2,000 word range, or even higher; I still like shorter and sweeter, but if you find your readers want more in-depth posts then give ’em what they want. If you have a topic that simply can’t be broken down into a shorter post then consider turning it into a series.
Are there any small changes you could make to your next blog post that could amp up the readability? I’d love to hear!
(Photo: Shutterstock Man on Couch)