In our previous post, Creating a Great Lead for Your Blog, we continued our series all about blogging by discussing how to create great leads for your blog and gain readers.
In this post, we continue the themes from our last post with part 2 on creating great leads for your blog.
Write Scannable Text
Since your prospective readers are going to quickly scan your article to decide on its relevance, be sure to write in a way that enables scanning. This means no long, laborious, clause-laden sentences. Write in a shorter, choppier style that quickly imparts the information. And use lots of white space, especially between paragraphs.
Use bulleted lists. You may have noticed we have a lot of them in our blog posts. Take a moment and scan back through some of our previous posts. See how the bulleted lists attract your eye, and quickly give you a sense of what’s on the page, and what the topic under discussion is?
Notice that we use a lot of white space as well, often setting sentences off apart from the rest of the text.
That’s not the way you were taught to write in school, but that’s what works in the increasingly attention-deficit world we’re living in. So keep your paragraphs short, and don’t be afraid to make them only a sentence long. There’s a great example of how to lure the reader in on the Problogger site in a post called How to Craft a Blog Post — 10 Crucial Points to Pause. Since the author, Darren Rowse, also uses type styles to attract attention, we’ve reproduced the beginning of the post in the next figure.
Figure 1 — Example of a Great Blog Post Lead
Doesn’t this lead make you want to read the rest of the post? Rowse dares you to read on by taking the risk of placing a picture between you and the rest of the post. Brilliant.
By the way, the rest of Rowse’s article, and the series it’s part of, is killer, and we definitely recommend you read it.
Keep it Short
Pundits differ on the precise recommended post length, but pretty much everyone agrees blog posts should be short. We think you should aim for 300-500 words. As a guide, the average 8 ½” x 11” page has roughly 400 words on it.
If your topic is long and involved, split your post into multiple pages, with about 500 words on each. If your topic really demands more extensive coverage, consider making it into a series of posts. We did this recently when a blog site asked us to do a guest post on business use of LinkedIn. They suggested 500-700 words for the whole article. We replied that there was no way to do the topic justice in that amount, and ended up doing a five-part series.
You’ll need to figure out the length issue yourself. We suggest you ask your community what they think. Perhaps you always leave them wanting more. Perhaps they get tired of reading you after half a page. Remember that it doesn’t matter what you think when it comes to these issues. It’s what your audience thinks. And the great thing is: You can ask them.
Next up: Good Blog Topics
Create a Great Lead for Your Blog Part 2 is the 148th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 382. At this rate it’ll be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2
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