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The 3 essential elements of irresistible blog posts

surprised blogger at laptop

Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not.

You know what I mean.

Some blog posts just take off and go crazy like a space shuttle on steroids.

Sure, it’s great stuff. Great ideas. Great writing. But what accounts for the thousands of tweets and shares and readers gushing in the comments like they’ve never read anything that good before?

Why do some blog posts go viral and others don’t?

Maybe the writer’s just one of those gifted people, you grumble, or lucky. It’s hit or miss, isn’t it?

Could be you’ve written one of those zingers. More likely, you’ve published a few pieces here and there that got more attention than usual, and you’re not sure exactly why.

Other times, what you thought was first-rate was as popular as canned asparagus with five-year-olds.

Some posts are hot and others sit cold and lonely for a reason.

It’s not about some vague concept of good writing or the blogger having an off day.

There’s a method to the madness.

Let’s assume you have at least a few regular readers and enough traffic to make a difference when they tweet or share one of your blog posts.

If you’re writing just to get a scheduled post published, and you’re not giving it a whole lot of thought, success is really going to be hit or miss.

But let’s talk about success for a moment.

How do you measure a blog post’s success?

Is it the number of tweets or other social shares it gets? The number of comments or compliments? Page views?

Most bloggers want at least three things to happen when they publish a new post:

  • They want people to read it
  • They want people to like it
  • They want people to share it

But why?

What’s the real reason you’re blogging?

You might not have specific goals right now, especially if you’re just getting started. Maybe you want to make money somewhere down the road—eventually. But for now, you just want people to read—right?

Other bloggers are more focused, but wherever you’re at, think for a moment: How are you measuring your success?

Are you building a subscriber list? Are you trying to attract a following that will buy that novel you’re writing? Do you have a product or service to sell?

Measure blog post success by how much closer it brings you to your goal.

Measuring that success is important whether it’s by tweets and Facebook shares or by the number of comments, subscriber sign-ups, or units of product or service sold. (Sales is somewhat different although the approaches discussed here can be effective.)

Make sure you have a way to measure your success and keep track of it because it’s time to get to work.

Here’s how to write irresistible blog posts.

Unless you’re already super popular and readers go wild over anything you write (or it looks that way), it’s never a completely sure thing.

But successful blog posts always have at least one, sometimes two of the following elements in place. Once in awhile they have all three.

Using at least one of these techniques in your blog posts will improve your success rate no matter how you measure it.

A successful blog post hits a pain point.

No matter how much it hurts, people are unconsciously attracted to topics they need to read about. Pulled in. Drawn in. Mesmerized, even, once they start reading.

Something is bothering them. They have a problem they need to fix. They’ve been hurt, and they need to heal.

They’ve got a goal, and they don’t know how to reach it.

They’ve strived and struggled and fumbled and failed, and they don’t know what to do next. But they want to do something about it.

Your niche or topic doesn’t matter. Find the wound, find the pain, dig deep.

Write about what hurts.

Write about failures and successes. Tell readers about the mistakes they’re making as a parent or why their business is failing and what they can do to change things around.

Get the anxiety going. Get the recognition going. Hold up a mirror and whisper could this be you? It sucks, doesn’t it? Yeah, I know. Been there. But I got out, and here’s how I did it. You can, too.

Fire up the reader’s drive to succeed. Remind them of where they want to be and what they need to do next—how they can relieve the pain—and you’ll have a winner.

A successful blog post is actionable

To really grab readers’ interest, get them hurting. Then give them something to do about it.

If you’re used to writing purely for information, entertainment, or literary value—think research papers, humor columns, and poetry—this can be quite a switch.

Although there’s an audience for just about everything on the Internet, blog posts that provide something a reader can do are especially prized.

Actionable items don’t have to be in a list form, as in Top 20 Ways to Meet Hot, Wealthy Women.

You could tell a story about how you achieved something remarkable—how you met, got a date with, and married that woman—and as long as readers can clearly see the steps you took and can duplicate them, it’s actionable.

How to fix fantastic meals in 20 minutes or less. Secrets to reducing fibromyalgia pain without medication. Why your wife doesn’t want to sleep with you (and what to do about it). Get more traffic with better SEO.

Write better blog posts by following these tips.

You get the idea.

A successful blog post is mind-blowing

Wow, I really get that. Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. Oh, how devastating but what a success. Holy shit, what a story! OMG she’s just like me. If he can do it, why can’t I?

Those are some of the recent reactions I’ve had to some really great writing. Or maybe the writing wasn’t exactly stellar. Maybe it was just good. Solid. Well done.

But I was shocked, surprised, or emotionally blown away. I learned something, either about the world and other people or myself.

I felt confusion, heartache, or horror. I witnessed rescue, revival, or redemption.

Maybe I was astounded by bravery and resilience. I felt lifted up and encouraged by someone’s actions or beliefs.

Shocked at how cruel or careless or compassionless people can be but that somehow they changed or their victims overcame all odds.

Sometimes there aren’t any victims of anything other than circumstance. And no matter what the circumstance is, there’s a hero. Jon Morrow’s On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas is a classic mind-blower. And thousands agree.

Could you write a blog post like that? Of course you can. Why not? Everyone has a unique situation or a take on life that can be turned into an amazing blog post.

It doesn’t get written in an hour, a day, or even a week, though. A lot more goes into great writing than hitting pain points, making it actionable, and blowing reader’s minds. Of course.

But if you keep goals in mind—hit pain points, make it actionable, write mind-blowing stuff—your blog post has a much better chance of success than if you just bang out whatever comes to mind.

Before you start writing your next blog post, ask some questions and make a plan.

1. Is it actionable? Does this topic lend itself to a series of steps or action items that readers can take to solve a problem or make something better? Could it be narrowed down or broadened to make those specific steps possible?

2. Will it hit a pain point? Does this topic or some part of it makes readers bite their nails, worry all day, and keep them up at night? What are they worried about? What’s the solution?

3. Does it have surprise or shock value? Do I have a personal story I could share? Could I do some research to find some little-known, surprising facts about this topic?

Use one, two, or all three of these elements in your next blog post, and use them as often as possible.

Measure the difference. Watch your tweets or Facebook shares go up. You might get more comments, or you might make more sales. You might notice a big difference in page views, too.

Success might not be obvious or measurable right away, but you’ll eventually see it, guaranteed.

And you don’t even have to be a great writer because it’ll mean the difference between unfocused, unhelpful, and uninspiring writing and blog posts that are irresistible.

Over to you. Do you use these elements or other techniques in your blog posts? Have you seen a difference? And please share if you know someone who would benefit from reading this!

 

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1 comment… add one
  • Hi Leah

    You are right, I think people tend to read when you touch the pain. If they are really in pain and they can identify with it, they will read it.
    I try to give a message in my posts, but I think I need to think and plan my posts more carefully to include the real pain, or give the reader something to do.
    In the past I wrote more impulsively about what I felt like writing, but I am beginning to realize that successful bloggers plan every post.
    Thanks for the information.

    Andrea

    Reply

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