Is the thought of writing a blog post for your organization daunting? You know you have a lot of information to share with your community, but a lack of time and confidence may prevent you or your team from jumping in.
Some years ago, I added a blog to the website of the nonprofit for which I volunteered. I naively thought that many others would enthusiastically rush to share their passion for our mission through writing on the blog. (Oops!) The low interest in writing certainly is not due to a lack of passion or ability, but rather a hesitation about where to start.
Let’s get writing…
In this blog post, I will break down the formula I use for blog writing. I’ve refined it over the years, and I know it can help you, too. By the end of the post, you will be able to create an impactful blog post that will rock and roll your mission forward. Without skipping a beat, let’s get right to it!
1. The Headline
The headline is quite possibly the most important part of your blog post. The only job of the headline is to lead your readers to the opening sentence. If your headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, your blog post won’t get read. Because the headline is so important, it must evoke curiosity.
Think about what your blog post promises to deliver. Write at least a half dozen possible headlines, and pick the best one for your working title. After you are done writing the post, review the other headlines you wrote, and make your final decision.
For example, here are the headlines I drafted for this blog post:
Aside from developing the best possible headline for your post, the rejected headlines may make for great subheads throughout your post. You’ll notice that even though I settled on the 7th headline I wrote, I used the 5th one as the first subhead and the 3rd one for the subheading in the yellow image above. Extra time well spent!
Rockstar bonus points if you are able to use one other headline you created elsewhere in your blog post!
2. The Intrigue
The Intrigue is the critical opening statement of your blog post. Some people may refer to this as the hook. The Intrigue briefly, clearly, and thoughtfully address a problem your readers face or something that your readers would find supremely interesting. As a general rule, it should be only 2 to 3 sentences.
The Intrigue should grab your readers attention and lead them to the main points of your post. You want to fascinate your readers so much that they stop dead in their tracks and want to read more.
Rockstar bonus points if your readers will likely think, “Yes! That’s exactly my problem!
3. The Image
Pictures pull people into your writing. Ideally, use photos you take yourself or ones that are unique to your organization. Alternatively, if you want to get creative and make your own images (like I have in this blog post), I recommend Canva.
Rockstar bonus points if you edit the image in any way to better match your topic!
4. The Personal Connection
The more transparent and honest you are in your writing, the better. Spend a few sentences explaining your connection (or your organization’s connection) to the topic. Why does it matter to you?
A word of warning: If you take too long to explain your own experience, you may lose people. While you want to include The Personal Connection, remember that the most important person is your reader.
Rockstar bonus points if you inspire your readers to see their story within your story!
5. The Pivot
Now is the moment in your blog post to make a shift. The Pivot is the point you move from the introductory elements to the main elements of the blog post. The Pivot serves two purposes: 1.) to state your objective, and 2.) to get your readers excited to read more.
You may be tempted to skip this element, believing your readers already know the what the post is about. But I urge you to state your objective clearly so that your readers know what they will learn.
Rockstar bonus points if, when reading The Pivot aloud, you are eager to continue!
6. The Main Body
The main body in your blog post is the heart of rock-n-roll! This is the part where you teach, inform and make your case for your viewpoint. Fill The Main Body with bullet points, numbered lists, subheadings, and short paragraphs.
Readers rarely consume every word of a blog post. So, design your blog post for the skimmers, scanners, and scrollers of the world. Make your case in the fewest words possible.
Rockstar bonus points if you include bullet points or lists so that your content is more accessible to busy readers.
7. The Call To Action
Finish strong with The Call to Action (CTA). A CTA is anything you desire the readers to do, such as sign a petition, download a whitepaper, order product, donate to a campaign, get a discount on a membership, post a comment, or simply click a link for more information on the topic.
Every blog post should have at least one CTA. You need to keep leading your reader by the hand to show them what to do next. Depending on the type of blog post, you may need to sprinkle CTAs throughout your post.
Rockstar bonus points if you have at least one CTA that links to more information about the topic on your own website!
The good news is your blog post will never be perfect. (Yes, that’s good news!) Don’t get hung up on perfect grammar or punctuation, or agonize over how to make your case better. As they say, “Perfect is the enemy of done.” Trying to make your writing perfect will prevent you from working quickly to get your message to your readers.
So get to it! Write a blog post using these 7 essential elements and your readers will be compelled to stick with you and take action.