How To Write An Irresistible Blog Article

How To Write An Irresistible Blog Article

“In the flowery meadows of their island they sat singing their sweet songs, and the sailors whose ships were passing could not forbear to go on shore. There were they slain.”

Such begins Circe’s warning to Odysseus in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Upon that island sat the beautiful, yet deadly maidens known as the Sirens, whose sweet lyrical promises proved irresistible to any sailor who chanced upon their voice.

Yet it was not sensuality that the devilish mermaidens promised. It was knowledge.

Knowledge, not flesh, proved the lure that no man could resist.

Likewise, smart content marketers know that information wrapped in the shroud of entertainment can lure even the most hardy sailor of the social seas.

If you want irresistible content, you need your siren song.

You need to plan it. Organize it. Package it. Deliver it.

And this article is going to help you do that.

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1. Simplify Your Topic

There is a little-known secret that very quickly separates the writing of A-list bloggers from the rest of the pack: simplicity.

In fact, one of the most common mistakes made by new bloggers is attempting to cover too much in one article. Every component of your writing needs to reinforce one central idea. This central idea should be able to be communicated simply and concisely. If you cannot sum up what your article is about in a sentence of 10 words or less, then it is too complex.

For example, I can summarize the goal of this article in 8 words: Offer a basic overview for planning an article.

If you’re not simplifying your topic, you’re losing your reader.Click To Tweet

2. Open With A Bang

Once you know what your article is going to be about, you want to find a compelling way to lock your reader’s attention from the very first sentence. The first sentence is what copywriters and journalists refer to as “the lede.”

Your lede needs to be explosive. It needs to generate interest quickly and move your reader down the page in anticipation of what you will say next. It should be short, punchy, and unexpected.

One of the masters of the lede is Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger. Among his tips for a hypnotic opener are suggestions such as:

  • Asking A Question
  • Anecdotes Or Quotes
  • Engaging The Imagination
  • Analogies Or Metaphors
  • Shocking Statistics

Planning your lede ahead of time also helps prompt your brain when the time comes to sit down and write the article. If the opening line is written and compelling, the remainder of your article begins to flow much more smoothly.

If you don’t grab attention at the beginning, you won’t have it to hold onto later.Click To Tweet

3. Organize Your Thoughts

Now that you know what your topic is about and you have a concept for entering into it, how are you going to support it?

Having a logical thought flow is critical for creating digestible content. This is important in any form of writing, but in writing for the web it becomes essential. Blog readers are savvy, and they know how to scan an article to get the information they want.

If your article is not scannable, you’re losing your audience.Click To Tweet

So take the time to arrange your subheadings in a scannable format. Sometimes, this will need to be a list. Other times, you would do well to craft compelling mini-headlines for your main points.

This is also the time to gather your research. In the planner, there is space for three links under every subheading. Linking out is integral for demonstrating your authority as a well-researched expert in your field. It helps with building industry relationships. Even more, according to Rand Fishkin of Moz, outbound links may also work to increase your organic traffic.

I aim to have at least one link in every subsection, and I will occasionally go as high as three. Taking the time to do the research and include your links dramatically increases the trust of your reader.

4. Be Memorable

For some reason, bloggers will spend hours writing an amazing article only to throw it away on a lousy conclusion.

Your conclusion is the last thing your reader will remember about you. It is the moment where you earn loyalty, drive a response, and capitalize on all the hard work you put into the piece. If your conclusion is anticlimactic, the entire article falls flat.

So take some time to nail your closing sentence. Often, the best closers tie back into the opening. Your conclusion reiterates the main points of your article, and your final line brings the entire experience full circle. It leaves your reader with a satisfied sense of completion, and it fuels your call to action.

So invest the time to make your conclusion count.

Want to linger in your reader’s mind? Make your conclusion powerful.Click To Tweet

5. Now, Get People To Read It

Once you have planned the article, it is time to craft the headline that gets it read.

Headlines are not summaries. They do not exist to tell people what they are going to read. They exist to tell people why they need to read it.

So when you craft a headline, focus on the benefits and give it some punch.

This is arguably the most important line in your article, so take the time to get it right. Come up with a list of several possible concepts, and then narrow it to the top contender. Use that to build your promotional graphics and drive the click.

Your headline is the single most important line in your article. Get it right.Click To Tweet

Conclusion

Odysseus managed to survive the sirens, thanks to the warning from Circes.

He plugged up the ears of his men with wax and lashed himself to the mast. Only when they were past the island and Odysseus stopped fighting his bonds in an effort to follow the deadly song did they release him.

As the legend goes, the sailors ability to resist the Sirens led to the death of the mythic maidens. And that, too, should be a lesson.

Planning your articles so that you deliver the highest quality content strengthens your allure. It makes your content irresistible.

Failing to plan, however, leads those who have encountered you to stop up their ears with wax and resist the power of your song.

So carve out your flowery meadow of the web and hone your voice.

Then lead the weary travelers to your island.

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11 Comments

  1. Being memorable happens when you are super uper duper authentic. Power tips dude! I follow each one each time I publish a post. Doing the long form content bit helps me deliberately work through your list. Before I publish my 7,000 word piece every Wednesday – usually 😉 – I figure out where I need to spruce things up but in truth the more genuine I become the easier it becomes for me to publish something that makes an impact. We all have the tools to knock each post out of the park; our authenticity allows us to flourish, to use the tools responsibly.

    Keep up the great play dude, inspired work!

    Ryan

    Reply
    • Could not agree more, Ryan.

      The heart of what we do as bloggers is build relationships. Content is only an entry point to offer value and make that connection. And the thing about relationships: they require authenticity to survive.

      Glad to hear from you man. Enjoy your time in Bali!

      Reply
  2. Hey man,

    Found this on Triberr and shared! Good stuffs.

    I love the part about starting with a bang. Sometime, titles that create controversies are excellent to get more clicks. I remember a case study I did in 2014. That created some traction and basically, got some sort of viral for a few days.

    Not bad and thanks for sharing!

    Cheers.
    Reginald

    Reply
    • Controversy can be powerful, but you also have to be careful with it.

      Controversy has a tendency to be polarizing, and too much of it will alienate a nice chunk of your audience. Also, controversy for the sake of gaining clicks has a tendency to diminish your credibility as an industry leader. Blogging for an industry (such as content marketing and social media, in my case) is a platform for demonstrating your expertise, growing your reputation, and earning the trust of your readers. Risking that reputation for the sake of visibility is a big gamble.

      At the same time, when controversy is tied to authenticity and is not overdone, it can be a huge benefit to you. Taking a controversial stance on something because you are passionate about it demonstrates your values, reveals your expertise (assuming you support your stance well), and will connect you to those who agree with your position — who are most likely the people you want to work with.

      So yes, controversy can be powerful when used well, but it needs to be used authentically, strategically, and sparingly, or it will almost certainly backfire.

      Reply
  3. Hi, Thomas,

    Truly enjoyed this article! Sometimes I need to reacquaint myself with the basic structure of a blog post so I stay on track with my writing.

    Thanks,
    Sue

    Reply
    • Glad you found it helpful Sue. The planning process is incredibly important for me in saving time in the long run. Not only does it allow me to produce better quality material, but it helps shorten both my writing time AND my editing time, because there is less extraneous fluff for me to cut out.

      Appreciate you coming by!

      Reply
  4. Excellent post and a nice style of writing Thomas. This is the firs time I have visited this site. Impressed with a simple but effective design. Although I am a tech-blogger, I still think that a nice style of writing which is different from others and a bit of emotions is something which is useful in my niche as well.

    Thanks for sharing nice information.

    Reply
    • Hi Ahmad! Welcome!

      I would agree with what you said. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the more “technical” a field is, the more important skillful writing becomes. If someone is writing about topics that are inherently interesting, the level of writing can slide a bit without killing the intrigue of the content. When a topic is a bit more dry, the skill of the writer becomes essential in making the article interesting as well as useful.

      Reply
  5. Thanks for the great guide! While not a blogging pro, I’m looking to use our business blog to inject more engaging content – stories, examples and information – to augment the more formal backbone of our website. Meta-perspectives, as in your article, truly help better structure and present the raw content materials. Now, if I could find a way to establish the most appropriate ‘voice’ for our target audience…

    Reply
    • The great thing about “finding the most appropriate voice” is that “voice” is less about drawing in your audience as it is filtering them out. Skillful writing and useful, interesting topics will connect you with your target audience, display your expertise, and convey why your business is good at what it does.

      Your voice, on the other hand, is what allows you to connect with the RIGHT people for your business. Thus, it should better convey the tone of you as a writer and your business as an entity, rather than just seeking out what your intended audience wants to hear. If you allow your personality to show through, that will cultivate your voice. It will also mean that the people that resonate with that voice are the people most likely to be the clientele you are looking for as a business.

      So my advice: don’t try to find the most appropriate voice for your target audience. Instead, try to find the most appropriate voice for your business.

      Reply
  6. Hi,

    I am relatively new to blogging and IM and have struggled with writing effective blogs, as my conversion rate indicates. Very frustrating because I consider myself an above average writer and have been told so.

    Fortunately I know how to learn and now I know where to learn. Appreciate the tips and will definitely incorporate them into my blogs. Not only the written tips but the feel of what it takes to captivate.

    I already have an opening with a bang in mind: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” E.A Poe The Cask Of Amontillado. I am sure sooner or later you will be reading one of my blogs. Thanks again.

    Barry

    Reply

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