Have you ever clicked on a promising-looking blog post, only to discover partway through that the blog writers had created an article that wasn’t even remotely connected to the topic suggested by the title?
Or have you ever wasted time on an article that obviously wasn’t researched, and contained no facts––or worse, tons of inaccuracies?
Or have you slogged through one that was so garishly packed with keywords and SEO that it felt like a human reader wasn’t actually important?
Or have you found yourself wondering what the author was even trying to say, simply because the writing was so unclear and unfocused?
If so, you’re not alone. We’ve all come across at least one of these offenders at some point.
A World of Bloggers…
Every day, the internet adds 4 million new blog posts.
For reference, 4 million is the number of people that currently live within the city limits of Los Angeles. That means for each and every Angelino, there’s a new blog post appearing on the web every single day.
The internet is packed with new articles, many of them hastily-produced. The downside is not difficult to guess: a decline in quality writing.
In fact, there is so much poorly-written content out there that it hardly even surprises most of us. We don’t get upset or offended by it, because that would be a waste of precious minutes of our lives.
What do we do instead?
We move on.
We go to the next article.
We skip ahead to the site that will answer our question. We find the source that does contain useful facts, or that will be a pleasure to read (or at very least coherent).
This doesn’t seem so bad when we look at it from the point of view of the casual blog reader. Going to a different website is hardly difficult, and it’s all part of an average day. Why worry about that?
But when we see this problem from the perspective of the blogger, it becomes glaringly obvious how important it is. Quality content is non-optional.
Anything less will result in readers giving up on your post––and quite possibly, your entire website. That’s why it’s crucial to find the absolute best writers you can.
So what is it that the top writers are doing that the others aren’t?
What is the secret sauce?
The 6 Skills of Exceptional Blog Writers
As you have probably already guessed, there isn’t just one magic answer that makes everything better.
In reality, there are at least six keys to go about creating good web content (there are many other ways to improve an article, too, but good writers will have mastered these six essentials.)
#1 – They Know How to Write Eye-Catching Headlines
Quality blog writers know the first thing they need to do is to grab the reader’s attention.
The headline and article image are the first things that a reader will see. These two features tell us what the article will be about, and they can also hint at the tone of the piece as well (is it humorous or serious?)
In many cases, blog writers don’t have a say in what image gets used for their article. They have to come up with the best title they can, because that’s the part they can control.
And of course this is important. The headline is what convinces someone to click on the article to begin with.
You can write a great article, but if you pair it with a terrible headline, no one will ever know.
So what constitutes a “good” headline?
Catch Attention With Numbers
First off, you’ve probably seen plenty of articles that are organized as “Top 10” lists. Perhaps the number changes (this article went with 6).
It’s an incredibly common formula, but it works.
Our brains crave simplicity and completeness. An article that promises a precise number of ideas is more appealing than an article that could go on forever, and it piques the reader’s curiosity.
Limit Your Title Length
According to HubSpot, titles that get the most clicks are usually 8-12 words long. Why is this length the most successful?
It’s difficult to say precisely, but this seems to be the sweet spot between “too vague” and “overly complicated.”
But a strong headline isn’t enough. Experienced writers know that once they grab the reader’s attention, they have to build on it.
#2 – They Follow Up With a Strong First Paragraph
Your web content doesn’t need to win awards. It doesn’t be Shakespeare or Hemingway.
But it does need to keep your audience reading.
Most readers decide how they feel about an article in the first ten seconds. In most cases, that means the first paragraph.
Readers may change their minds down the road if the article goes off-topic, but smart writers know that if you want to get readers invested, it needs to happen right away.
Create a Scenario
One of the absolute best ways to start things off is to establish common ground with your readers. One technique is to illustrate a widely shared experience.
In the case of this article, we discussed reading potential blogs that were confusing or poorly organized. Most people have had that experience at some point, and it’s usually not a positive one.
Why does this work?
If we talk about a situation that is unfavorable, it suggests that the article will provide a solution. The reader will be able to figure out right away if they’re interested in knowing more about what that solution will be.
It’s not necessary to start every blog exactly this way. But whatever the case, writers who “define the problem” in the first paragraph will get an invested reader much more quickly than those who don’t.
#3 – They Write With the Target Audience In Mind
There’s nothing wrong with writing a blog purely for the joy of it, regardless of who is reading.
However, if your goal is commercial blogging and not personal blogging, then you absolutely need to make sure you’re reaching your desired audience.
The Ideal Reader
Perennial New York Times bestselling author James Patterson has a trick that he’s shared many times. When he writes a novel, he imagines his “ideal reader.” Then he writes for that person.
You might be writing a medical blog, but who is your customer? Who is the ideal reader for this post? A doctor? A person with a specific illness? Someone interested in the business side?
Blog writers write for the ideal reader. Not all of them might go as far as James Patterson and “visualize” who this is in such detail, but they all know that they are writing material that is targeted at a specific audience.
#4 – They Incorporate Quality SEO Research
Of course, writers are creating articles for more than just the ideal reader. They’re also crafting their content in such a way that search engines will notice.
Higher search engine rankings lead to more readers.
The use of keywords is an invaluable tool for any blog writer. These phrases or pieces of text are the tags that help your readers find the article to begin with.
One particular recent trend is the increase in “long-tail” keywords. These are multi-word phrases that can be targeted to a niche audience, providing added visibility when used properly.
Smart writers incorporate a mix of long-tail and shorter keywords into their blog strategies, in order to diversify their readership.
#5 – They Break Up the Material
Have you ever had to read through a huge wall of text on a screen?
You won’t be surprised to learn that your brain does a lot more work when confronted with large paragraphs. It’s much easier to read text when it’s divided up into small paragraphs. Two to four sentences is ideal.
Why is this?
As we pointed out before, our brains crave simplicity. It’s easier to look at a small paragraph and read it quickly, then move on to the next one.
Wading through a huge chunk of text takes a lot more concentration, even if the material is exactly the same.
So why don’t we always do this?
The reason probably comes as a result of tradition and habit. When books were originally printed, paper was considerably more expensive, and it was more important to get as many words onto a page.
If you’re dealing with a web blog, this doesn’t matter nearly as much. Nowadays, it’s more important for material to be easy to read, and viewable on a mobile device such as a tablet or phone.
Blog writers format their material for today’s readers, without sacrificing the content itself. It might seem like a small distinction, but it will ensure that more readers stay engaged, and make it to the end.
#6 – They Always Use a Call to Action
If you’re writing a commercial blog, then you are selling something. No matter what it is, it is probably a solution to someone’s problem, desire, or need.
Get the reader’s attention, define the problem, make your points, and then provide a solution. This is the call to action, and without it, you have forgotten the gold at the end of the rainbow.
Blog writers know that they are writing their content with a purpose, and they make sure not to forget it.
Where Do You Find These Writers?
If you’re a business owner looking for blog writers, then you need to look no further.
SteadyContent works with over 500 individual writers and 150 editors who craft effective, targeted, smart blog posts for your specific needs.
By leveraging a team structure, we ensure that our content meets the highest standards for both writing and SEO.
In addition, we’re including an introductory package for new clients, so you can see the benefits for yourself at an amazing price. Get in touch with us today, and see the difference that quality can make!