Do blog posts even have ingredients? Of course they do! Let’s look at a blog post as if it were a sandwich. A BLT is bacon, lettuce, and tomato. You can subtract an ingredient, but you’ll be making an inferior sandwich. Add one more, and you might make something completely new and potentially more successful, but BLTs are still iconic, and everyone still wants them. So what are the bacon, lettuce and tomato of a blog post? And how do you choose the best ingredients for your information sandwich?
A Visually Appealing Presentation
Making your both your site and post visually appealing are non-negotiable.
Us experienced internet users have a sixth sense (of prejudice) developed about design, and if something is off about the look, we’re already about the content.
To make the post itself more visually appealing, make sure you make frequent paragraph breaks, and use sentences that are on the sort side. The information you present is likelier to make its way into readers’ heads if it’s easy to consume.
If you can format the information into a list, do it! Lists are something we know instinctively to gravitate toward. Just look at all the headlines that start with “[Number] Reasons Why…”.
An Awesome Headline
The headline is the first impression you make on a reader — this is your time to shine. Don’t worry about the actual content for the time being — this is all about making your headline the most attractive. As nice as it is to have high quality content, what you’re after is the click, and a good headline is what will earn you that.
Headlines are best when they are economic with words. The number commonly thrown around is five for optimal readability, but Buzzfeed commonly goes up to fifteen words, and you see how well they’re doing, so don’t worry about making it a specific number of words.
Try not to use too many modifiers. The more you tell someone how bestesest your post is, the more incredulous they’re going to be.
Headlines work best when they’re hyper-specific. In this saturated information marketplace, you can no longer do with a bland, objective headline of the newspaper era. They have to know what they’re about to walk into by clicking.
Your headline must fill a reader’s need for something. This is every blog post’s function — to solve a problem, to satisfy a craving, to fill a need. Play on their desire to read your stuff.
Remember, if they’re looking at your headline, they’ve already made the first step to reading whatever you wrote. They put themselves in a place to consume your headline — social media timeline, email, your blog’s homepage — so don’t work too hard on convincing prospective readers. If you’re fully clueless on what to do, memorize this: “Wanna Learn X? Here’s How” is simple and perfect. Try variations on this.
A Killer Intro
Hook them straight away. Whether you’ve got space for a lede or just an opening paragraph doesn’t matter, but it’s got to be strong.
At this point, the reader has granted you some of their attention. To return the favor, give them something they can sink their teeth in. What is the rest of the post about? Make it crystal clear here, but be wary of tipping your entire hand to the reader.
The Final Ingredient
Finally, the last ingredient in your BLT sandwich — the bread — will be your point of view. What will make your post truly shine and connect with a reader is a unique sensibility and point of view. Without it, it’s just a mishmash of stuff. Put that stuff between some nice buns, and you’ve got something appealing on your hands.