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How to Write a Legendary Blog Post

By:     Topics: Blogging

As a blogger, you dream of writing that post that shatters the status quo. The post that causes people to stop whatever they’re doing and makes an everlasting impact on everyone who reads it.

But the problem is that most bloggers don’t understand the fundamentals of a great blog post. They don’t understand how to craft an ADD-stopping introduction, how to write scan-then-stop-to-read subheads, or how to truly engage a reader with every word they write.

Before you can write that legendary blog post, you need to know how to write a good one.

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Start with a Simple, Keyword-Relevant, Power-Word-Laden Headline

The headline is and always will be the first part of the post that people see:

  • On Google, it’s the blue title tag.
  • On Facebook, it’s the bolded text.
  • On Twitter, it’s the default tweet.
  • In email, it’s the subject line.
  • In backlinks, it’s the anchor text.

No matter how people get to your post, they read the headline before they get to your site. Not to mention, the headline is the only reason they came to your site in the first place.

How do You Write an Epic Headline?

  1. Start with the benefit: Learn How to Write a Good Blog Post
  2. Edit down to the keyword: How to Write a Blog Post
  3. Add power word(s): How to Write a Legendary Blog Post

Then Snag Their Attention with an Eye-Catching Image

The goal of the post image is to immediately grab their attention and redirect it to the headline. Here a few things I keep in mind when choosing an image:

  • The color red does the best job of grabbing attention.
  • The quality of the photo communicates the quality of the post.
  • If you include people, animals, or arrows, choose photos where their eyes direct your attention to the headline.

How do You Choose an Amazing Image?

  1. Go to compfight.com and filter your results to only include Creative commons.
    You can use these as long as you attribute them back to the artist.
  2. Search for your headline’s power words.
    Instead of searching “blog,” “blog post,” or “writing,” I searched “legendary” and found an image of the Trojan horse.
  3. Choose one of the first images that you see.
    If one photo grabs your attention amongst 40 other photos, it’ll grab attention on your blog.
  4. If the license allows, you can resize and edit the image.
    The post images on IncomeDiary are 345×180 pixels. I’ve yet to find an image that fits that ratio. So I can only use Creative commons photos that also allow me to remix or adapt the work.
  5. Attribute the image in the post.
    Link to the artist’s photostream on Flickr somewhere within the post or on the page that you use the image. I choose to attribute images in the bottom-right corner of the post.

Rope them in with an Artfully Crafted Introduction

Copyblogger taught me a lot about refining headlines, but they also taught me about the second most important element in copywriting: the first sentence.

As they put it, the point of the headline is to get them to read the first sentence. The point of the first sentence is to get them to read the second sentence. And so on and so forth.

Then, if they get through the intro, they’re likely to keep reading.

How do you Write an Introduction?

  1. Hook
    Start with a quote, ask a question, reveal a stat, elicit imagery, and otherwise inspire curiosity. Oh yeah, and make it short.
  2. Rapport
    Make yourself relatable. Empathize with they’re hopes, dreams, and struggles.
  3. Problem
    Reveal a common problem and make sure they understand why it’s a problem that’s important to fix.
  4. Promise
    Promise to solve that problem if they continue reading the post.

Maintain an Authentic Tone to Your Writing

The most important thing you can do as a blogger is maintain an authentic, conversational tone. This is much harder than it sounds.

I think one of the reasons Michael’s posts are so engaging (despite the dyslexia-induced grammatical errors) is because he hasn’t had any formal writing training. He simply writes what he thinks as he thinks it.

Meanwhile, the rest of us were taught to write with the goal of hitting a certain number of words.

How do you Write Well?

  • Use small words.
    The point of writing is to communicate as effectively as possible. The best way to do that is with simple words.
  • Write short sentences.
    It’s a lot easier to comprehend a short sentence than a long one.
  • Use contractions.
    If you talk with contractions, use contractions.
  • Include expletives.
    Use words like, “Oh yeah” and “You know.” If you say it when you talk, you should say it when you write.
  • Edit it out loud.
    When you’re done writing, read it out loud. If you struggle to carry a natural tone, it’s bad writing.

Teach through Examples, Metaphors, and Stories

Once your introduction has them reading and your writing has them engaged, it’s time to solve that problem.

My favorite tools for teaching people are examples, metaphors, and stories. You can simply tell somebody about a concept or strategy, but it won’t stick unless you offer up an easy way for them to remember it.

How do you Include Examples, Metaphors, and Stories?

  • Examples
    When I’m blogging about blogging, I like to use examples from the post I’m writing within the post (Inception-like). Follow up every concept with an example.
  •  Metaphors
    Using a metaphor to explain a concept is like using counting sticks to teach math to a four-year-old.
  • Stories
    Did you notice how many Super Bowl commercials used 1-minute or more to tell a story this year? Telling a story is the most powerful way to teach somebody something.

Summarize All Your Points through Subheads

When you’re writing for the web, understand that most readers start by scanning the subheads. If the subheads do a good job of capturing their curiosity, they’ll stop to read the rest of the content.

For instance, if you started “reading” this post by scanning through the subheads; let us know in the comments. This will also show that the subheads did a good enough job of making you stop to read.

How do you Write Subheads?

Similar to headlines:

  1. Start with the section topic: Subheads
  2. Make them actionable: Summarize through Subheads
  3. Clarify: Summarize All Your Points through Subheads

When you’re reading a post, you should be able to scan the subheads and know exactly what that post was about.

Know that Principles are Merely the Foundation for Creativity

I understand that compiling a set of rules on how to write a legendary blog post is like telling a painter how to paint.

So I want to make sure that you walk away from this post understanding that these principles are simply common elements I’ve found in the best blog posts I’ve ever read.

If you want to truly be remarkable, you should be prepared to break the rules and reset the status quo. But you also need to recognize the basic elements of a masterpiece.

Image:  rubyblossom

  • Teresa

    Hi Nick,
    Another great post with lots of usefull tips. You are telling us all your secrets. Keep writing like that. My blog is still under construction yet but I’m taking Your advices very seriously and I think I will be able to publish my blog very soon.
    Best wishes,
    Teresa

    • Nicholas Tart

      Hey Teresa, you’re right, I’m probably telling you all too much. But that’s ok. I’d rather teach than do. I’m glad it helps.

  • Sarah

    I don’t think expletives is the word you’re looking for.

    • Nicholas Tart

      Haha… I was hoping somebody would catch that. I had just listened to a Gary Vaynerchuk rant and I was totally engaged, partly because of the expletives ;). You’re right, I should probably change it.

  • Matthew Newnham

    Hi Nick,

    Great post – thank you! You’ve got a real skill in making your words count; love it…

    Best wishes from Scotland,

    Matthew

    • Nicholas Tart

      Ooh, Scotland! I re-read your comment in a Scottish accent and it made it better. Thank you, Matthew (in an Coloradoan accent).

  • Learn Affiliate Marketing

    This is an excellent post on how to write a great blog post. I really like the guidelines on how to write the subheadings to summarize what is in the post. It is true that most people will skim the article first. And, if you have good subheadings, they will entice the reader to read the entire article.

    • Nicholas Tart

      Right. I could probably put together an entire post on subheads. They’re that important.

  • JanDirk

    Awesome blog post really is a little blueprint, what’s also impotent is how you end your blog post that’s where you make the money

    • Nicholas Tart

      In the words of Sarah, I don’t think impotent is the word you’re looking for. And you’re right about the call to action.

  • lianne-carla savage

    I’m yet to cone across a post on this site that I can’t follow and implement straight away. This is another great post and yes i did read the sub headings first. I now realise the thousand word post i wrote just a few days ago is compleyely missing these! What a way to make prospective readers switch off and move on. I did use short pragrapghs split up with 2 images but without subheadings readers dont know if its relavent or a waste of time. Thanks

    • Nicholas Tart

      Sure thing, Lianne-Carla! (Cool name.) Make sure you wrap the subheads in H2 tags rather than just bolding them.

      • Lianne-carla Savage

        Thanks. I keep coming back to this post because it’s just so useful. Thank you again

      • T. Marie Kennedy

        Hi Nicholas,

        Would you please share what “H2 tags” are for those of us who are “newbies”?

        Thanks.

        • http://www.expertphotography.com Josh Dunlop

          They are Heading 2, usually you can change them by highlighting and selecting ctrl/cmd 2.

  • Jon

    Wow! That was one of the best posts if ever read about tips on blogging. I’m so inspired I’m ready to write right now. Keep up the good work man. You rock. I get emails from about 20 different people on the subject and it’s always yours I end up reading. You are going to go far in this industry. Thank you for all the insight. Hit me up @EmpoweredGaub on twitter. Very cool!

    • Nicholas Tart

      I’m glad, Jon. Every post here has two intentions, to teach and to inspire. Glad I hit both of ’em for ya.

  • http://officialaffiliate.blogspot.com Lita

    Thanks Nick! Great information as always.

    • Nicholas Tart

      You’re welcome, Lita.

  • http://veggieab.com Abigail

    Hi Nick. Thanks for another great post. This is helping me build quality content for my blog. I also think highlighting key points in the article makes it easy to read. I have found most legendary blog post point out the key content for those who just want to skim just like this article does.

    • Nicholas Tart

      The other thing about legendary articles, Abigail, is that the bolded key points and subheaders convince you to stop and read the whole thing because you don’t want to miss a word.

  • William

    Hi Nick,

    Great post! I love all the information on this site and if it wasn’t for Michael and the income diary theme, I wouldn’t have started my own website(only a week old and getting better).

    Keep up the good work!!

    • Nicholas Tart

      Good to hear, William. I’m not so sure I would be here if it wasn’t for IncomeDiary and Retire@21.

  • http://www.kfm24.com Kenny Fabre

    Nicholas

    my brother thank you this is high quality information on how to write a great article blog post

    • Nicholas Tart

      Sure thing, Kenny. What did you get out of it?

  • http://www.bizopportunitiesfocus.com Owen

    Hey Nick, You are the man when it comes to good info. Some valuable info here that I will surely implement. When I see your name, I just read the post.

    • Nicholas Tart

      That’s nice of you to say, Owen. I’ve been on a secret mission to make my name synonymous with “quality.”

  • Kelvin @ Entrepreneurs Discuss

    Thanks nick for this great and legendary post. Really learnt a lot and hope to implement them in my next post. Thanks

    • Nicholas Tart

      You’re welcome, Kelvin. Specifically, what did you learn?

  • Sally

    Hi Nick…Thanks a million for that great post. I really appreciate all the info as I am working hard at getting my blog great. Im going to go back and edit all the ones I have done so far :)

    • Nicholas Tart

      Good, Sally. I’m glad you recognize the importance of including the fundamentals in every blog post, even those you’ve written. What changes are you making?

  • Finch

    Interesting post.

    I disagree with a couple of your points in the writing section though.

    Even if you use terms like ‘you know’ and ‘oh yeah’ in speech, that doesn’t make it good speech, nor does it make it good writing.

    As for small sentences. Yes. They work well. But only when mixed. With longer sentences. Otherwise. The writing begins to suck.

    I think the best way to write a legendary blog post is to condense in to words what people feel but don’t know how to express. They can then use your writing as the placeholder of their opinion.

    • Nicholas Tart

      Clever point about the longer sentences, Finch. There are two types of books. Books that are hard to put down and books that are a bear to read. The former tend to be good fiction books. The latter tend to be dry business books. I like reading both, but I wish business books were more like their fun-to-read fiction counterparts. One big difference between the two is dialogue. Therefore, I think good writing should include the space fillers that we put in our speech, regardless of old-fashioned technical writing rules. What do you think?

      • T. Marie Kennedy

        Hi Finch and Nicholas,

        Fillers and legnth of sentences will depend upon the end purpose. I absolutely agree with Finch about “condense in to words what people feel but don’t know how to express,” but again, that comes down to purpose. If one’s purpose is to get straight to the meat and potatoes, then the side veggies (extra words) will only get in the way. However, if I’m hungry for brussel sprouts, serving only meat and potatoes will be insufficent. An example between the two would be like trying to persuade an individual to a particular viewoint of politics or religion; where as the other teaches a step-by-step process. So when deciding which approach to use, always keep your end purpose in the forefront of your mind.

        Nicholas, what I LOVE MOST about this post: ” If you want to truly be remarkable, you should be prepared to break the rules and reset the status quo.” I often enjoy criss-crossing the line to discover what lies on each side of the road. Since my purpose is helping others to discover their Authentic Nature, I could not have written this particular line better myself. :-)

        Thanks!

  • Sune @ Extra Income Blogger

    Thank you so much for this is terrific information! I am definitely going to be using ALL of your tips in future!

    • Nicholas Tart

      Good, Sune. Were there any that are new to you?

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    Great blueprint for any blogging to follow, I’ve printed out a smaller version with a summary of each section 😉

    • Nicholas Tart

      Thanks, Jamie. I admire how eager you are to learn. Keep it up.

  • Niall Madhoo

    Thanks Nicholas. Sounds like a plan!

  • http://mkutu.wordpress.com Mategyero

    Talking about LEGENDARY, this is it! Great post Mr. Tart

  • Joe Collins

    Wow! This is outstanding wisdom from such a young man. Excellent tips.

  • http://www.corporatefasttrack.com Iris

    Great ideas! I was so excited I told others. I plan on using everyone of them.
    Michael, keep sending great stuff!

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