Did you ever have one of those visible men kits when you were a kid? I did (well, I had the one that was a dog instead of a human because I was that kind of kid).
You know what I'm talking about. Like this:
It was a fun arts and crafts project but it also taught you about basic anatomy. You had to have all the parts and they had to fit together just right, otherwise the man (or dog) wouldn't stay intact.
It turns out that putting together a blog post, an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy as you should know if you've been following Intro to Inbound, has a thing or two in common with Mr. See Through Skin. Following are the most important parts of a blog post. Each one is essential for keeping a post together and making it shine like a beacon to your buyer personas.
A Stellar Headline
The fact of the matter is that no matter how great your blog post is, only a small percentage of people that see it will actually read it. The very best way to boost that percentage is with a great headline. I'm sure you've seen plenty of headlines that come across as a bit hyperbolic, like:
Is this even possible?!
OMG give me anything Oprah likes. GIVE IT TO ME.
Do they get a little annoying when you see them in your Facebook feed? Sure. But they also get your attention. And if the topic is something that's relevant to you, you're going to be a lot more likely to click a headline with a little pizzazz. Going with the anatomy theme, the headline isn't the heart or the brain, it's more like the Visible Man's clothes. Maybe it's a funny t-shirt or an interesting pair of shoes. It's what draws someone to a person before they know the real substance of that person.
A Story to Tell (and a Problem to Solve)
While a great headline is necessary to get people reading your post, once they click through, what are they going to see? You need to have a topic that is not only relevant to your readers but has some heart behind it. The opening of your blog post should hook your readers with a story that relates to your topic and connect with people on a personal level.
It should go without saying that the topic you choose is also important. You want to be solving a problem that is relevant to your readers. It's great if your topic can directly relate to what you sell, too, but that doesn't always have to be the case as long as it relates to your key personas. For instance, say your company sells cereal.
You don't want to write 20 blog posts a month about cereal (ok, maybe you do). Maybe your target market is college kids who don't have time or money to cook. You can write about other things that are relevant to those same people, like study tips, dorm life, and money management. These types of posts will let your readers know that you know who they are and what they care about.
An Organized Flow
Subheadings are your friend. Just like a human body is put together in a very strategic way with blood flowing in a certain direction through a certain order of organs, your blog posts need to be organized and divided. Most people who are reading online tend to skim much more than they read, meaning you should get your key points across as efficiently as possible. Break your post up into digestible, scannable chunks and you'll see a lot more people get to the end.
Radical, Relevant Images
Images are more than just a way to make your post seem longer. People are more engaged when your written copy is broken up by images. Plus, great images can really hammer your point home and help visual learners process your post more effectively. I'm not quite sure how to relate this to anatomy, so use your imagination.
A Call to Action
When it comes to inbound strategy, the ultimate point of your blog posts is to help generate leads and provide great content for the customers you already have. Every blog post you write should end with a call to action that encourages readers to go further. Just like your brain tells your heart to keep beating and your feet to take steps forward, a CTA tells your readers what to do next -- whether that's download an eBook or sign up for a webinar.
If you include each of these essential pieces in every blog post you write, you'll find them more effective in earning traffic and generating high quality leads as part of your inbound marketing strategy.photo credit: Breakfast Cereal via photopin (license)