I “stole” this idea from Derek Halpern ofÂ SocialTriggers.com.
Yesterday was my Day 6 in Jeff Goinsâ€™ Great Writers Series and the challenge was to steal something. Great artists â€˜stealâ€™ ideas from others, meaning they get inspiration from the ideas of others.
Well, I finally had a chance to watch the replay of the Halpern/Goins Webinar: How to Generate a Landslide of Blog Traffic that Converts. Â To me, the most interesting part of the webinar was Halpernâ€™s template for building the perfect blog post. So I’m stealing it. (Just consider this my Day6 ‘Part 2’.)
The Perfect Blog Post Structure
I’ll admit that I’ve never followed this blog post structure before, and maybe that’s why I’ve never had a ton of traffic on my site. I think my posts are generally well-written, and hopefully entertaining, but I rarely aim for audience participation. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid there will be no audience to participate. Maybe you’re afraid of that, too.
What do you think? Is there such a thing as a perfect blog post? Do you plot out your blog posts? Do you follow any sort of structure or do you just write, write, write? If you’ve never followed this structure or any other before, are you willing to try? Willing to let go of fear and put yourself out there? Ask for your audience to respond? Say into the ‘mic’: “Bueller? Bueller?” And hope he showed up that day? I’m willing to take a chance – are you?
Here’s How You Do It
The headline must grab the potential reader’s interest. Duh. How else are they going to know they want to read your post? Now, Halpern didn’t spend any time in the webinar about how to write a good headline but there’s loads of info about the topic around the web. Or you can just do what I do and go with your gut. Not sure that’s always the best option, but it’s sort of my style.
The image and opening side-by-side is more of a subtle point – Halpern explained that studies have shown people like to read thin columns. Really. The idea is that you squish your opening into a thin column by placing an enticing image beside it, then hook your reader in the first 3-4 sentences.
Once you’ve hooked your reader with the opening, you promise them something, i.e., what’s coming next, with a first sub-heading.
After the first subheading, you attempt to engage your readers emotionally – establish an emotional connection that makes someone say: “Yes, I agree!” or “Me too!” or “Wow, how’d you know?” or … Well, you get the idea.
Then you ask them for something: like maybe asking for them to share what their initial reactions were, or to tweet about it. This is your first call to action (CTA). (See my “Click to Tweet” above. You can make a link too at clicktotweet.com).
After your first call to action, you make another promise – telling readers what you’re going to talk about next, what they’re going to learn – in your second subheading.
Once you’ve promised something in your second subheading, surprise!, you talk about just that: the how-to, the step-by-step, the “♪ this is how we do itÂ ♪” content section. Only you don’t have to sing.
Finally, you close with one more call to action. This could be where you ask folks to reply in comments, subscribe to your blog, share the post with others, or some other request that requires more audience participation. Letting go of that fear again and putting yourself out there.
Here’s a more detailed graphic that Halpern shared with webinar registrants (along with permission to share with others):
So, what do you think? How’d I do? Did I follow the structure? Did I write the perfect blog post?!?! Would it help if I sang? Okay, probably not. Let me know in the comments below.