Be a Better Blogger: The Ultimate Resource Toolbox
Someone once told me, I would be a frustrated blogger, before I became a better blogger.
With countless hours lost. Writing, but never heard.
Publishing post after post and seeing minimal results.
No shares, no comments, nothing.
You have to wonder, “Does my content suck?”
It might…it might not.
Below, you’ll find a list of 30 resources, starting with headlines and ending with editing.
You’ll find tools, articles, free .pdf reports, plugins and downloadable goodies.
This resource is designed to assist in every step of the blog creation process and covers…
- Creating a killer headline
- Crafting a compelling opening
- Keeping readers engaged throughout the copy
- Writing endings that encourage comments
- Editing your copy to be “tight”
In no way is this meant to be an afternoon’s worth of reading, but rather a resource for you to bookmark and revisit from time to time.
Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
Reaching your customers in a deep and emotional way is unquestionably the secret to any successful blog at it’s core.
Online, your headline could be your only chance to make an impression, so you want to quickly grab your readers on an intellectual, emotional, or spiritual level.
This free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute analyzes the words in your existing headline, and scores it based on your impact words/total words in the title.
The algorithm isn’t based on just any theory either, but rather research that started in the late 1960’s. Dr. Hakim Chishti was a U.S. government research scholar, and was living in the Near East, studying the roots of several languages, Persian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu and several others.
The tool rates the basic underlying harmonics, and tonality that flows through language, which are in many ways more profound and powerful than the dictionary meaning itself.
Use the EMV Headline Analyzer here.
I’ve mentioned the Headline Hacks report in previous articles, but it is by far one of the most valuable free resources I’ve found in my career as a blogger.
Jon Morrow, associate editor of Copyblogger.com (The number one blog on blogging in the world) has compiled a list of the most time tested headline templates that have been selling magazines off the rack for years.
Not only do you get a list of templates, but Jon goes into why template works. Use these enough and not only will you improve your skill as a headline writer, but you’ll see more traffic to your articles.
Get the free report here
It’ll cost you an email address, but Jon is always releasing high value information, so it’s well worth it.
Headline Generator Tool by Tim Gross
Sometimes, even templates won’t help us come up with a compelling headlines.
This is where the Headline Generator comes in handy. All you do is fill out pre-determined fields like “Product Description”, “Claim” and “Desirable Result” and click Generate Headlines and the tool does the rest.
The list it spits out isn’t always the most grammatically correct, but you get you plenty to work with.
After filling out only four fields, it generated a list of nearly 40 enticing headlines.
Bonus: Plug the generated headlines into the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer and select the one with the highest score for the most impact.
Why Do Some Headlines Fail?
Sean D’Souza of Psychotactics.com has created this great free 10 page report that will “Change the way you write headlines forever.”
It’s not a bunch of hype either. Sean’s Headline guide not only gives you some seriously good headline templates, he explains the exact psychological triggers each one pulls.
The 2nd Most Important Element In Copywriting
Before we go on about openings, let’s talk about the first sentence.
Get this right, keep them hooked. Get it wrong, and you might as well never written anything at all.
The first sentence is your second impression.
“5 Simple Ways To Open Your Blog Post With A Bang”
Ok, so how do we get your readers interested?
You could start by
- Asking A Question
- Sharing a Quote
- Invoking The Mind’s Eye
- Use an Analogy, Metaphor, or Simile
- Cite A Shocking Statistic
This Post by Brian Clark of Copyblogger goes into more detail on how all of these things work.
“What A Bestselling Author Can Teach You About Hooking Your Readers.”
The headline inspired them to click, but if they don’t keep reading, you’ve failed.
The 5 tips above are a great to get you started, but only scratch the surface on what it takes to keep your readers engaged to the point they can’t help but read more.
How To Start Your Story Based Articles With A Greater Impact.
Where do you start when you’re using a story opening? At the height of the drama.
Sean D’Souza gives us a great example on why starting in the “middle” of the story is the best place to start your article.
Three Core Elements of Storytelling (And Why You Need To Write Stories Right Away)
Want your articles to stand out among the sea of “How To” & “Journalistic” styles that are ever so popular on the web?
Look no further than Cinderella and her Fairy GodMother to help.
Classic storytelling techniques can give your blog that necessary edge
“How to Be Unforgettable”
Want your readers have no choice but to share you?
Set their freaking hair on fire.
Jon Morrow of Boostblogtraffic.com goes into detail on what it takes to snap your readers out of their everyday lives, wake up, and remember everything you do.
Not only does he talk about it, he demonstrates it with every. single. word. of this article.
Read only if you want to become legendary.
The Most Important Writing Lesson I’ve Ever Learned
“Nobody wants to read your shit.”
Steven Pressfield, Author of The War of Art, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Do The Work, talks about the resistance all creative people face, and how realizing that nobody gives a damn about what you have to say, is one of the best things that can happen to your writing.
Read the post here
Why “Know, Trust, and Like” Could Be Killing Your Blog
So many bloggers who try to make a living off writing get wrapped up in the “Know, Trust, Like.” aspect of blogging, they forget that in order to make sales their readers need to say three magic words…
I Need Help!
A Fool Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content
Danny Ivy of Firepole Marketing wrote 40 posts, 80 guest posts, 2 books, and a bunch of other content in 2011, earning him the nickname “The Freddy Kruger of Blogging”
In this post he shares how structure, planning and research helped him to create a system that made it possible to churn out awesome content at super human speed.
Seriously, don’t miss this post.
20 Tips To Become A Better Online Writer
#10 Understand that Writing Online is Different
Online writing can be multimedia, so always be looking for opportunities to enrich your article with images, audio, or video. It can also be interactive. Linking out to useful information and websites is a courtesy to your readers. Since online writing is global, you may want to avoid using colloquial expressions or relying on cultural references that will only be understood by people in your country.
This list is from one of our own Nick Scheidies and goes into getting into a better mental space as a writer.
After reading these Better Writing Tips, I started listening to different music, reading more, and writing more.
How “Sound Bites” Score You More Web Traffic
“Attention spans have never been shorter…”
This post teaches you how to throw darts at your readers brains and trigger them to share using quick sound bytes that sum up sections of your post.
This is Derek of SocialTriggers at his best.
How to Write Compelling Content that Ranks Well In the Search Engines
This Free 27 page report from Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger goes through step by step how to create compelling content that scores links and engages your readers.
The report also teaches you how to gently spoon feed the search engines to get ranked for the keywords that’ll bring you the most traffic.
“Scannability and Readability in Web Writing”
Did you know people read an average of 25% slower online?
This is why it’s important to include things in your web copy like
- Headers and Subheaders
- Bullet Point Lists
- Short Paragraphs
- Bold text (sparingly)
Click Here for more details on making more Scannable Content
What’s the Best Font For Your Site? (The Psychology of Fonts)
OK, so this isn’t 100% about writing better, but the truth is, if people have to strain to read your copy, they’re not going to strain for long.
In this article Derek shares a psychological study that shows the impact a simple font change had on user’s perception of a product.
This is where he also makes his famous “Size 14 is the new 12″ argument.
If this post doesn’t get you thinking “What the Font?” by the time you’re done, your readers are doomed to squint forever.
Give Users a Hollywood Ending
You know why big movie studios hold early screenings of a film?
It’s so they can “beta test” the movie’s ending.
Hollywood Studios know that the ending of a movie is what leaves the biggest impression on the audience.
So they test the ending, and if audiences aren’t satisfied, they’ll reshoot it.
Alan Rinzler’s Tips For Writing Great Endings
Alan Rinzler is an editor and publisher, who graduated Harvard with an English literature degree.
He consults with great fiction and non fiction writers alike, and while this advice isn’t specifically towards blogging, there is a lot that you can take away from it.
How to Go Out In Style With Your Ending
Another great resource from Copyblogger gives you 5 solid ways to close your blog posts.
In a nutshell they are;
- Call To Action
- Post Script
Of course, if you want to read in more detail Click Here
14 Devious Tactics to Get More Comments On Your Blog Post.
While not specifically on closings, this post by Jon Morrow talks about the different ways you can encourage people to comment on your posts.
My recommendation, plan your content calender around some of these ideas, and engineer your content to be more “remarkable”
Hint: If comments are what you’re lacking, you need to be more passionate.
Before You Publish, Edit Your Blog Post Again!
A great blog gives you only exactly what you need, and nothing more.
Learn how to trim the fat out of your copy so only the juiciest bits remain. Edit Ruthlessly.
These copy editing tutorials show what it takes to turn an article from average to awesome, from an editor’s perspective.
7 Ways to Be Different—and Most
of ThemAre Free!
1) Have a logo or header grab reader attention the instant they
click on the page(arrive). A custom header is best, something(a beacon) to let the reader know from the first second(shouting how unique) you and your blog are both unique. A stock, out-of-the-box header won’t cut it. A custom header reinforces the branding you’ve built, and leads your visitor(s) toward whatever action you’d like them taking(your desired action).
Say what you mean, and cut the fat from your copy now.
“Make sure your copy is readable.”
But what does that mean?
- Simple Language?
- “Chunked” paragraphs?
- All of the above?
The Readability Calculator tells you the reading level someone needs to comprehend your text.
It will also give you recommendations to make complicated text easier to understand.
When people easily understand you, they’re more likely to share you.
Make sure people can read your stuff here.
Internal Link Checker Tool
According to Rand Fishkin of SeoMoz.com about 40% of On-Page SEO has to do with the keywords on the page.
While this isn’t specifically about writing a better blog, it is about making your blog a little more search engine and people friendly.
This tool is designed to give you a bird’s eye view of the internal links on your website.
When you’re using only a very specific set of keywords to point to individual pages, it makes it easier for a search engine to determine what that page is for.
And when you’ve put a little extra thought into your anchor text, people have a better idea of what you’re linking to is about too. (How many times have you opened post because the link you clicked was exactly what you wanted to read about next?)
This tool checks the anchor text. From there, you can determine whether or not that’s what you want each link to say.
Click here to use the link checker now.
Hubspot’s Marketing Grader Tool
Seriously, this tool is amazing.
It breaks your marketing funnel down into three major steps.
- Top of Funnel (social shares, Seo etc.)
- Middle of funnel (links to landing pages with Calls To Action mostly)
- Analytics (how you’re tracking your leads)
It gives you a simple score that’s based on a 1-100 scale, and tells you the areas in which you might be needing a little help. THEN, it gives you free resources to improve in those areas.
Click here to find out your marketing grade.
Bonus: Plug in competitor’s websites to gather juicy intelligence on the other guy.
If you’ve made it this far, I wanted to throw in a few extra bonuses that will go a long way in helping your blog stand out among the crowd.
These bonuses are some of the newer ways people are using the web, and quite honestly, I believe where the web will be headed.
Create Your Own Cinemagraphs
Imagine what your readers will say if you incorporated something like this into an article?
And if you don’t think you can do it… There’s an app for that.
But if you’re looking for a more advanced option, there’s a tutorial for that too.
Get an Animated Google+ Banner Image
If Google+ isn’t your thing, this may not be for you.
But, if you’re one of those people who takes Google’s new social network a little more seriously, creating an animated banner is a great way to capture your visitors attention in an subtle, but neat way.
There are professional services that create animated Google+ Banners for you…
Or if you’re more of the DIY type, you can make them yourself.
Animated Social Share Icons
In the same vein as the cinemagraphs, an animated social share icon can help improve the “remarkability” of your blog.
According to this study by Marketing Sherpa, showed that one Chocolate retailer saw an increase of 49% in sales when using the animated gif in a split test.
Surely, that sort of of CTR can be translated to your social sharing.
Warning: It’s really easy to go overboard on the animated Gif thing. Use these with sophistication or they can do you more harm than good.
(Click either of these buttons, they work)
There you have it
We first published this article on Apr 6, 2012 – with a small edit January 2017.
The amazing thing is that as fast as the Internet World moves, so much of what was written in 2012, still applies today.
Do check back from time to time.
We will be adding further resources in the future.
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