Jon Morrow does it.
Darren Rowse does it too.
Even our very own Adam Connell seems to pull it off every time.
How do these bloggers create a blog post that gets talked about, Liked and shared all across social media?
True, they do hold some heavy influencer clout online, but they were once bloggers just like us not too long ago.
They had to learn the blogging ropes, like everyone else did, to get to where they are now.
And, whenever any one of these influencers even thinks about a blog post idea, they already have the holy grail – the ultimate blog post that gets comments, ranking power and generates a swell of traffic.
What if you had a blogger cheat sheet of sorts so you can get a taste of what bloggers like Adam or Jon achieve each time they publish a post?
The reason why your blog isn’t boosting you to top dog blogging status
It seems that no matter how fantastic your content is, once it’s published; readers are bouncing off your site faster than a toupee flying off in a hurricane.
Or, if you’re not lucky enough to have many readers, the few you do have don’t care what you blog about because they’re only your mom and dad – and they are just so darn proud of anything you do, they could care less about what it is.
All you want is social engagement – a comment, a share, anything to prove to yourself and others that your blog is more than just a journal of your opinions.
So, why isn’t this happening for you?
It’s because you don’t have a plan when you blog.
Big top dog bloggers follow a plan from inception to publication and to promotion whenever they sit down to type.
It shouldn’t be any different for you or the rest of us bloggers.
That’s why in today’s post I’m going to dish it all out – the cheat sheet to craft the ultimate blog post.
The blogger’s cheat sheet – it all starts with an idea
What the heck do I write about this week?
Managing a blog content schedule is challenging enough, but throw in having no idea what to write about, and blogging suddenly becomes as hard as trying to live zombie-free in The Walking Dead.
To make blogging a cinch, here are three idea starters from the blogger’s cheat sheet you can use next time you’re thinking about blog post ideas:
Have I tried a Topic Generator Tool?
Hop on over to HubSpot and check out their blog topic generator tool.
Just put in three different nouns and the generator will spit back 5 possible blog topic ideas. For my example, I put in running, marathons and exercise:
The choices aren’t bad, but they are generic, sometimes grammatically incorrect and sometimes too common. This tool, however, can help you generate some ideas for your blog.
Have I looked at other blogs in my niche?
Found the perfect idea for your blog on another person’s site?
Don’t let that stop you from using it. Imitation is the best form of flattery.
I’m not saying to steal another blogger’s idea; rather, take that idea and make it your own. You can do this by:
- Adding your own opinion
- Taking a different spin. If you find a post on 5 Ways to Lose Weight, write a post on 5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight.
- Making it better. Add more examples, resources, research and facts to your post, making it more useful for readers and more likely to be shared on social media.
To help you find blogs in your niche, join Feedly.com. Feedly aggregates news and allows you to customize your feeds to include blogs in your niche.
Have I empathized with my readers?
If you don’t understand what makes your reader’s tick, smile, laugh or ponder, good luck having them stick around, come back or share your post.
A powerful tool popular bloggers have is the ability to empathize with their audience. This helps connect them to their readers on an emotional level.
With every blog post you write, you have the ability to produce a post that speaks to your readers – as if they are saying, she understand me. She gets me. She knows how I feel and what I’m thinking.
A quick way to make sure you’re empathizing with your audience (or would-be audience for newbie bloggers) is to answer these questions:
- Will my readers learn something from my post?
- What kinds of problems or challenges do my readers face?
- What do they hope to gain from reading my post?
By looking at your reader’s comments, other people’s blog comments in your niche – and by directly asking your audience through a survey – you can usually find out these answers.
Take this new knowledge and incorporate a problem or question a reader has in your next blog post.
The blogger’s cheat sheet – optimization is everything
Top dog bloggers are “epic” when it comes to optimizing their posts.
From making it easy to read to integrating related keywords to using all the tricks to attract users on social media, these A-list bloggers have optimization down to an art.
Let’s take a look at how you can make sure your post is optimized perfectly.
Have I tweaked my blog post for the easiest reading possible?
Tell me, which is easier to read – this,
Exactly. A big wall of text like the first example is difficult to read, making you lose focus quickly.
In fact, more than 80% of online readers barely read anything in your post – they only scan a post, taking away words and phrases that pop.
So, to ensure that readers are actually reading something on your post, do this little trick – create a lot of white space. This refers to the space around your text.
To make reading your post super easy to digest, here are more easy reading tips off the blogger cheat sheet for your next post:
- Make paragraphs short. Have no more than 2-3 sentences for each paragraph
- Throw in a one sentence paragraph
- Bold important ideas and words in your post
- Break up your paragraphs with lists, bullet lists and subheadings
Have I passed the SEO test?
You want traffic, right? Well, if your post isn’t up to SEO standards, good luck having people find your posts in the search engines.
If you aren’t already using it, WordPress has a great plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast, and it’s the easiest way to get started on optimizing your ultimate blog post.
Key points to keep in mind when using keywords and secondary keywords:
- Don’t write for the search engines; write for your audience. This means incorporating your keywords in your post as they would naturally occur and not overthinking it. Write as if you are talking to your friend.
- Placing your keywords in your headline, subheadings, meta description, and your image alt tags are good practices to live by.
The best tip is to not overthink SEO. Being redundant, using the same keyword too many times or not providing unique content can hurt your chances at landing top dog blogger status.
Have I made sure to pay attention to social media?
SEO isn’t everything. Your audience hangs out on social media, so it would behoove you to ignore such an important platform for generating incoming traffic.
Try these blogger cheat sheet tips to harness the power of social media:
Create an irresistible headline
Not sure if your headline will pique the interest of your readers? For a quick check to find out if your title can generate social shares, more traffic and ranking ability, use the headline analyzer by CoSchedule.
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer will give you:
- A rating score out of 100. The closer you are to 100, the better your headline is for attracting readers
- An analysis of the structure, grammar and readability of your headline
- A length analysis of how many characters and words your headline is
- The emotional sentiment of your headline
- The keywords it assumes your content is about
Create an introduction that will hook your readers
Remember how I told you that your audience probably isn’t reading every word of your blog post?
Well, to capture the attention of your readers, an irresistible headline and a powerful introduction can increase the likelihood that they will stop and actually read your post.
Here are four hooks you can grab your reader with:
- Tell a story – open your blog post with a personal or fictional story to help lead to your topic. For an example, check out in Quicksprout’s post on The A to Z Guide on Creating a Memorable Brand (like McDonald’s)
- Ask a question – posing a question can quickly draw a reader in, make them want to stick around and find out the answer. Adam does this in his post on 32 Smart Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Site.
- Use a statistic or fact – people love learning interesting facts. And what’s better than an interesting fact? A shocking or startling fact. Lifehack’s post on The “Sitting is Killing You” Infographic Shows Just How Bad Prolonged Sitting Is comes to mind.
- Use a metaphor or analogy – using metaphors or analogies makes your topic more relatable. SocialMediaToday’s post on Hyperlocal Advertising: Keep the Fish You Catch uses a clever analogy for advertising.
Create an enticing feature image
I’m sure you know by now that images help entice social shares by standing out in newsfeeds and encouraging your readers to share your post on heavily visual platforms like Pinterest and StumbleUpon. And, it looks just plain good on your blog.
To maximize the effect your image will have on social media, use these resources to help you out:
- A list of 14 Amazingly Free Stock Photo Websites
- Free imaging editors: Canva, PicMonkey, Pixlr, Sumo Paint, and GIMP
- Compress your image for faster loading: Kraken (does both JPG and PNG files), Tinyjpg, Tinypng
- Free fonts: Google Fonts, Dafont, and Font Squirrel
- Create your own color palette with Adobe Kuler (Adobe Color CC)
Ready to step it up?
Don’t write another bland, boring and uninspiring blog post that no one shares or cares about.
The time has come to step it up and enter the blogging world by showing the other top dog bloggers you can roll with them.
From producing killer blog topics to optimizing the heck out of your post, the only thing left is to promote it all over social media.
Armed with the cheat sheet of all cheat sheets, go out into the blogging world and blog your heart out.