I’ve always believed that writing for the internet is a skill that anyone can cultivate. Especially blog posts and articles. So, believe it or not, there is a system for writing a perfect blog post.
And by the end of this article, you will be able to create one each time.
The anatomy of a perfect blog post:
A perfect blog post is like a luxurious cruise. And to compose one, you have to be the captain of the ship, take your reader gently through the sail. You begin with an introduction that hooks them to continue reading. Then blandly use a “lead” to transit to the essence of your post(Journalists call it lede).
Once you get there, you have to make sure that the skeleton of your article is constructed in a logical way. Sail through your core idea with structured sentences and use subheadings to make it more readable.
Now as you approach the final part of your cruise/article, you have to tell your reader how you fancy to finish, do you want him to do something (call to action)? Do you want to pose a question to intrigue comments? Do you have a bang to end with?
Depending on the intent of your post you see how the trip ends. But whatever it is, make sure to summarize and conclude by the end to verify that it was safe and comfortable for your audience.
How to start?
I’ll assume that you already have an idea to write about, you did your research and covered the topic you are interested in. Now the first thing you need to think about before actually writing is: What is your core message here?
Every post or article should have a message you want to send to your readers. A core concept you want to explain or prove or inform. Do you want to sell something? Explain an idea? Tell them a story? You have to get this one figured out.
This article, for example, has a core message:
“Writing is for everyone; it’s a skill, and you can learn it.”
And what I’m doing here is using this post to prove it.
Plan your post:
Now you know whom you’re addressing? What do you want to say?
The next most important thing is creating an outline for your post. Take some time and think about how will you structure and arrange your post in clear, logical points that take the reader seamlessly through your post from the beginning until the end and make sure that you cover every vital or important point.
And the most important thing to do at this stage is to create an outline for your post.
Take this one as an example for this article:
- the anatomy of a perfect article
- how to start
- plan your post
- write an introduction
- use subheadings
- tell the reader what to do
- embrace the ugly first draft (edit your post)
- add the visuals
- kill your darlings
- 50% of your article
- the secret key to success
Write an introduction:
The introduction is the most important part of your article (the second most actually, but we’ll get to that later). It’s the first paragraph that your reader’s eye sees, the way you welcome him to your article. Either it intrigues him to read on, or he just loses interest and closes the tab. Briefly, there are 3 essential elements for an introduction:
Hook: that’s what pushes the reader to go on, get him hooked to your article. It can be a sentence, a quote, or even a word. Your hook can be a question or a challenge to the reader. (Can you identify the hook of this article?)
Transition: you grabbed his attention? Cool, now you need a sentence to transition the reader from that hook to the core of your article and clarify its purpose for him.
Thesis: now summarize the topic and emphasize why your reader needs to go on. If you do the transition right, this one will feel natural.
Writing an introduction is a real skill. And there is much more to this subject, check Neil Patel’s amazing guide to writing article introductions for more.
If there is one piece of advice you will get from this article, make it be this one: always use subheadings to structure your blog posts. It makes the flow more logical and easier for you, And much more readable and understandable for the reader. Not only that, it’s perfect for SEO too!
Remember the cruise/trip analogy? The subheadings are your reader’s eye-anchors. He sees the bold heading, and suddenly that big chunk of text makes perfect sense, and the world is right again. If you need more proof, check this study that tells you how subheadings help decrease the number of people quitting your article in the first 10 seconds.
Now if you use subheadings and already have an outline, writing an article will simply be just filling it with words. Not so complicated, right?
Tell the reader what to do:
As we approach the end of the post, you need to tell the reader what to do now. Always lead by summarizing the core idea of your post, and then pose your action, ask them to subscribe, share or do a particular action, tell them the moral of your story or pose a question to intrigue a conversation. Whatever your end with, do it with style!
Embrace the ugly first draft:
“Every fantastic article started with an ugly first draft.”
~ Ann Headley
If you think you finished writing, then you are making a terrible mistake. What you’ve finished is just your draft, Your first draft. Don’t jump into editing quickly. Take a break for 10 minutes, or if you are in the middle of the night go to sleep now and re-check again in the morning with fresh eyes.
Now read your article again and start editing, either through using the spelling checker you usually use on your editor or better, if you are writing an English article, I encourage you to try the marvelous tool Grammarly, my fav tool to edit my articles. Make sure your spelling is correct, your grammar is solid, and your sentences make sense and then advance to the most significant editing concept.
Kill your darlings:
Now it’s time to get your knife and start cutting into your text. The process of re-reading your draft is like that of carving a beautiful statue. You read every sentence carefully, and ask yourself this question: Does this sentence add anything to the core message? Believe me, almost 30% of the time the answer will be “No.”
And almost always this will apply to the introduction. We usually tend to write long introductions while the best ones are the shortest. Read your introduction twice and kill your darlings through all the text until you can’t delete anything.
“A picture is worth thousand words.”
That is very accurate and so are GIFs and videos nowadays. Choosing the perfect visuals for your article sets you apart from others. According to MDG advertising:
Articles with visuals get 94% more total views. Also, including a visual in a press release increases views with 45%.
Now there are different approaches to doing that. You can choose a visual for every subheading (My favorite style), or you can add one when you feel like you need it. Or you can add one featured image on the top of your article, and that’s it. But if you want my advice, try always to strike a balance. Re-read your paragraphs and see if adding a visual will enhance the experience. See if you can add an infographic to summarize some parts. Be creative with using GIFs and videos. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of visuals.
50% of your article:
If you will write an article in 10 hours, give these 3 elements 5 hours of them:
The title: This is the REAL most important part of your article. Coming up with a catchy, clickable title is not an easy task, it’s an art. Give yourself time and think carefully about how to intrigue your audience with a title people will click on. Hubspot has a great guide on how to do that. And here are 100 blog post titles templates that could save your day.
The thumbnail: Always spend time thinking about a great visual concept for your article. An attractive picture that will catch the eye of the readers and gives them an overall impression of what to expect. Use sarcasm if appropriate.
The introduction: I already covered this one, but to emphasize its importance I mentioned it again.
The secret key to success:
Now I decided to keep this one until the end to intrigue you to continue. There is ONE secret key to writing a perfect blog post over and over. And it’s so simple that I’m amazed why it is a secret.
The secret key to writing amazing blog posts is simply …. WRITING A LOT!
The more you write, the more you get better. That’s the best advice anyone could give you. When I go back now and read the articles I wrote 2-3 years ago, I feel so amazed at how much I improved. It’s all because I write every day, I write a lot, so I got better with time.
As I said it’s a skill, and to perfect any skill, you need to practice.
So now I revealed my secrets, go out there and fill the world with perfect blog posts!
And always remember:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway