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Blog Post Components

Lesson 7 from: How to Write a Blog Post That Drives Traffic

Darren Murph

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Lesson Info

7. Blog Post Components

Lesson Info

Blog Post Components

So let's talk about the actual components we have already talked a bit about framing up the title and in the bonus material with this class I take these top three bullets and drill them out and what I love about this is you know not everything can be a three step process but for this it actually can be and so when you're getting to the nuts and bolts off writing a block it can be a bit daunting where do you start? Do I start with the the actual crux of the post? Do I need to know what I'm going to write about and what I'm going to say before I ever start? I would recommend framing up the title framing up the opener planning your closer if you focus on those three things most of the time that's just three lines the title was one line the opener is one to two lines the closers wanted two lines that's not that much text but if you nail these three things everything in between tends to flush itself out and so instead of being really overwhelmed with how am I going to write multiple paragra...

phs on this topic? How about just figure out three lines that's a much easier place to start and it's a lot less daunting so I'm goingto go into an example of a post that I wrote for a gadget and we're gonna break down these three elements frame up the title so I want to take a look at this title this was a feature article out wrote about samsung and hdc these air too technology giants in the space that compete against each other in the smartphone world so the title is when being better doesn't equal victory samsung's curious over shadowing of hd see now this is one of the longer headlines that I had written but I tried to simplify it as much as possible because it was probably a two thousand word peace so when you consider I had about two thousand words to work with distilling it down into this this is I just wanted to explain cem some of the thought process that went into it first of all it's it's clever for when being better doesn't equal victory so that's that goes back to challenging the status quo why is it being better on equal victorious like what? Why is that that immediately makes me think well I gotta learn more how is how is the underdog uh being put in that situation? It makes you curious the word curious is in there but I'm telling you that what you're about to read is a story about david and goliath and how one of them is overshadowing the other despite the fact that the other on paper is better so there's some conflict there's some intrigue there's, some romance all of that going on and that's in the headline the other thing is that this tells you the crux of the story this gives you a very clear window into what you're going to read without me telling you everything that you're going to read so the conclusion is not in there but I tell you enough about it that you at least get a sense of what you're clicking into. A lot of headlines I've seen recently are sensational in the sense that they tell you it's a tease on lee but you don't actually have a promise of what you're going to get I prefer to at least give people an idea of what they're going to get that way there's no surprises yeah love this headline because you're telling me what I'm going to get like you just said that whereas these teaser headlines so like this is just teasing me but I have no idea what they're talking about and so I really appreciate this because it triggers the desire for me to know well how does this play out in this case? It's the story that I'm going to get when I read and that's what we all want we want that story because you know, if I just that top headline doesn't uh give me the full flavour but it's definitely a wonderful appetizer that's good I'm glad to hear it yet and so it kind of goes against the grain of sensationalism, but long term, I think this is gonna be better for your brain in your business, because honestly, if you write about something that may not apply to a certain person that shows up, you should at least do them the service of letting them know in the headline, if you write something that you try to get everybody to click into and they do, and they don't like what they found, you probably have just lost a reader, so you might have one. In the short term. You may have driven a lot of traffic that post in the short term, but what are you doing for your long term brain reputation? It's really worthwhile to give them a sense of whether or not this applies to them? Uh, people respect that I know, and engadget, not every post was going to apply to every reader, even though most of our readers like technology, they didn't necessarily like all of it by being open about what you're going to get into. Well, it gives you the opportunity to scroll through to the next one by tricking someone to something that they may or may not like it's it's, not a great long term bat where you're talking about titles, yeah, moment with this, and that is that to become a trusted source. You want people, even if even if I like to read you, that might not have been of interest, but you did the courtesy of telling me, you know, I got a headline and not interested, but you become a trusted source right by virtue of using this approach, right? And so much of getting a longer term audience and building traffic long term is built on that trust, and it could be ruined so easily, you know, it's just it takes a lot of work to build up a relationship where, like with john gruber, I go to his his side every day, but it took a long time to become for him to become that trusted voice to me well, and also that the headline is actually a major way you're going to do that. So that was the part that I had connected that that's where it is that's, part of a consideration and a headline not just click bait, particularly because in today's world of consumption, especially with twitter, facebook, r, s, s and aggregation services, many of them will on ly pull the headline and because they have a very short amount of space to work with. So it's absolutely critical that the headline tells people whether or not it's going to be of interest, because once they make the commitment to then click in and read more it's on you to deliver on what the headlines said, and so you can't assume that everybody is gonna have the luxury of seeing the headline as well as the opening paragraph they may only get to the headline and have to make their decision. They're so it's it's very important to put a lot of thought into that, but the upside of putting so much thought into that is when I'm thinking that headline through so much of the story that's going to be beneath that is already coming together in my head and I'm I'm ableto flesh that out much more easily once I've settled on the headline, so this is the opener now and this I included the first two paragraphs s o this is what I would consider the opener for this, but again this was a two thousand word piece, so it makes sense that the opener is a bit more now if you have a three hundred word block post, it might only be a sentence or two I'll just start at the beginning, it says in a lot of things, being the best generally leads to victory you saying boat is the fastest man in the london olympics? He wins the gold ah hosting company that has the best recorded up time it takes home an award google launches the fastest consumer broadband available in the u s boom victory but every so often life throws us a curveball for every seventy two dolphins team there's, a pack of believers from nc state eager to do something crazy in nineteen eighty three, and in more germaine terms, there's presently no rommel reason why stc has continually outgun samsung in terms of design prowess, yet continues to bleed cash while it's, korean rival mental. Actually, there is a reason called marketing, so this was the intro, and the the reason why I wanted teo blow this out is it has a lot of things going on, and most of which I put together tow hook people early on, because I really want them to read the other eighteen hundred words, and if you don't catch him early, if you don't catch him in the headline or the opener, they probably won't hang around to read the rest, so that the opener is the second most important thing I could included a few cultural inclusions, there's, some sports references to draw some parallels there a bit of clever wording, uh, put a few questions in there to make it more conversational in relation a ll on, and then at the end of it, I do have a tease on the conflict, so h d, c, I think, a superior design than samsung in this particular case, but hdc is having a hard time in in the business so this story is going to tell about that conflict and provide some resolution and explain why marketing place such an important role in this real quick there yeah good just in from the chat room uh jump in nineteen eighty one would like to know you know other is so he has a call to action but he's not really getting a lot of comments on his posts he wants to know if you know there's kind of like a better way to go about that it's tough I've written freelance for a site that just generally has a smaller traffic doesn't have millions of readers a day and so at the end of each post we do we do have a corner action that invites people to comment but what you'll find in smaller blog's is that the first comment is hard to get and then once someone breaks the ice a lot of the other comments end up happening it's the same thing in just in actual real life like if you're at a party like meeting the first person is actually quite tough and then once once as a group of two it swells out three or four or five people show up and so getting that first comment is tough and if that's been a continual problem I would recommend reaching out to social if you push it out on social on twitter I asked people to comment back and forth on twitter and on facebook because those platforms are designed for communication where his comments are just bolted onto a block so some people are a little bit hesitant to put their stuff out on your property. But on twitter, they feel like it's their own voice and they started that way, so but yeah, it's it's gonna be slow, but there are other mediums, thankfully that, uh, help catch you up. Yeah, so the closer. So in this post, what I did was ah hammered out the headline and I figured out what my opener was going and then I went to the closer. Now this this line of thought isn't going to work for everyone. Sometimes they're going to say, you know, I have to do it sequentially. I have to figure out what's in between before he gets it the closer and if that's you that's totally fine, as long as you do the headline in the opener, I'll give you some leeway on the on the end. But I think planning the clothes is very, very important, even if you don't write it before the rest of the story and the reason is if you plan the clothes. Then you know how to open it this these things all worked together if you know what you're closer is going to be you know what the conclusion is going to be then you know what you can promise in the headline and make good on if you don't then the two may end up being misaligned so I just want to point out at the end of this when I did in this one with a question and this isn't a direct call to action in terms of comment on what you think maybe you think samsung and hdc I'm viewing it differently or what have you but it's a subtle way of saying hey do you agree with me do you not agree with me maybe you maybe maybe you want to comment maybe you want to reach out to me on twitter you don't always have to have a direct call to action and we will have a section on calls to action but this is uh I just wanted to point this out because you know it gets boring just writing hey comment blah you don't always want to say the same thing every time and there are ways to in your post that still concertedly nudge people tio give their comments in the comments section yeah he's there he's for subheds yeah there are um you'll notice a few slides back a few of those did have subheds uh if your blog's supports them then use them at your discretion some blog's don't here's what I would say subheds are great when you write the headline that you want but it's just too long and you say cannot simplify this and the answer is no so you're running up against the wall you wanna long headline because you want to make sure people know what they're getting and you don't want to simplify that's when subheds couldn't be great because that means you can take something out of the way the actual headline and put it in the subhead and it just flows a little bit better so if you have a two line headline like I need to make that a little bit shorter, see if you can rearrange it and put half of it roughly in the sub I like some heads uh the only thing you have to watch out with subheds is generally they aren't picked up in search engines as much as the headline, so if you have something that is, you know is going to get traffic in terms of search ability and ceo you want to be careful what you put in the subhead because it will have almost no impact on so use the subhead is mohr of additional flavor and put the core core items in the headline, so if it matters for search, make sure you get it in the headlines so speaking ofthe calls toe action this is just a snippet of a block post that I wrote for travel site where we were making suggestions on apse that every traveler should have so in the transit section I'll talk about monty esa in ways tuapse that I recommended so there's a couple of calls to action here first of all, these are both links so marchesa in ways are both linked, so if you were to click on them you would go to their home paige go to the ap download so what I've done here is I've made a shortcut for someone it just click right there get to the app I'm making it easy for them to find what I'm talking about if I just put that up there and I'll just tell people hate google it maybe you can find it well, you know, why don't I just save them the step and put the lincoln there so a link can actually be a call to action? Be sure to link liberally especially if you if you're a designer and you're working on a project with other designers link out to their site uh I'll get teo my wife's wedding photography blogging dead but what she does every time when she has a wedding block is whoever made the cake whoever did the dress all of the vendors that air their list those out link out to them because you can reach out to those people and say look, I've mentioned you hear would you consider sharing this? Maybe this will be of interest to your audience it goes a long way so don't ever hold back when you have the opportunity to do that and of course at the bottom this is a pretty standard call to action to try to get some interest going in the comments have any other digital tools to monitor weights and keep things humming let us know in comments below that's a pretty standard way to do it uh I'm fine with putting a boilerplate things like that at the bottom of your post, but if you want to go one step beyond that you could say reach out to me directly on twitter maybe put your your at handle reach out to the author directly through email ah lot of people we'll reach out personally through email that won't put it on any public forum like twitter or in comments. A lot of people are really hesitant to put their voice on someone else's property and so for as many comments as I received in that prior article, I probably received twice as many emails people they just wanted to reach out and be direct, but if they don't have your email, we can't do that and so it's probably worth putting out there yeah, you say let us know uh, is this here personal lug? That's a good question. So this was this was a publication, and so I said, let us because the style guide for this particular publication wants everyone to write in the royal we instead of the ei it's, totally a stylistic choice. I've seen different publications treated different ways, even it engadget we usually did the royal us, but on reviews where I was, I personally was reviewing a smartphone. I could then choose to write I throughout the post because it was a more intimate personal experience. But in this case, we chose us because there's a collection of riders that right for this block and we want teo put forth e the effort that we all write in the same tone and style, and when you see something from me, it's just like seeing it from another author, because collectively we are the voice of this site, so you don't have to worry about that. If it's, a personal black, us obviously wouldn't make sense. But if you end up owning a business where you you allow multiple people to write for the block it's worth considering to try to unify that voice, uh, I wanted to point out that I thought it was really useful toe have, um, the clarifying question have any other digital tools to monitor weights and keep things humming because I've seen a lot of things that well, just say hey, if you have any thoughts, comment below where is that question isn't very active question reminds us what the topic is and also there's those words waits and then keeps incoming is very emotional kind of gets us excited about oh yeah, I have something to say I think it's really enrolling and engaging and I think I need to do that more no that's a very subtle point, but it is a good one it's it's just all too easy to say if you have any thoughts, but when you ask somebody do they have thoughts? It's just too easy to say no good, I don't really have any you don't have any thoughts, you know we're all good, but if you ask them a very specific question, what this does is it actually gives it encourages them to help the broader world to help other readers of this site to help people much like themselves because you have to assume if you're reading this, then the people reading the comments would be people like you and people like helping people like themselves, so if you ask a more direct question, you're more likely to get some sort of feedback so it's it's never a bad idea uh, and and also, this is a great way for you to learn me personally. Someone comments on this, and they mentioned an app that I'm not aware of. That's. Awesome. I mean, that's, building up my knowledge base. Now I can make reference to it. Maybe I even update the post and say thanks to reader john, for mentioning this app. I reviewed it and thought it was suitable for inclusion, useful on a lot of ways.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Recommended Blogs and Authors

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Sample Style Guide
Top Tips for Framing Every Blog Post
Bonus Video - How Professional Bloggers Got Started - HD.mp4

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I have been blogging for more than 20 years. I started out with personal blogs then eventually shifted into blogging and other forms of content creation professionally (part time) in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and wellness while I also train and teach classes. I took this course because I've been contemplating make this my full time work. This was a great review of some blogging basics AND I learned a few new tips and tricks that I plan to implement right away. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about LinkedIn blogging. What a great way to add portfolio pieces that can be viewed by potential clients/employers! Great class! I highly recommend it!r

Tom Jamieson

As a new writer, I found this fantastic. Darren was a pleasure to listen to and I would happily recommend this to anyone who is starting out writing for the first time in regards to a small business blog, which is the area that I am coming from. He probably has taught me to use fewer words, but that can wait until tomorrow. Great class Darren

Dawn Pedersen

There was a lot of good content here for anyone new to blogging. I am not new to it, but I did gain some insight. Just a note: the 4 EASY STEPS TO LOSE WEIGHT was an intentionally satirical/ironic headline, which you discover once you get to step 3. Step 3 was "getting your heart broken", which I'm guessing anyone would agree is actually far from easy. The humor and sudden depth of meaning are the reason the post got so many likes and comments.

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