Most of us know all too well the feeling of overwhelm we can get from blogging. Juggling the day-to-day demands of running a blog alongside a day job and our daily lives is challenging to say the least. I’m there with you right now, juggling social media, taking photographs and we won’t even mention emails.
"Overwhelming" is probably a good word you’d use to describe it. Especially when you feel like no one is reading, commenting or even listening. Growth can be slow, and sometimes, you wonder what the hell else you need to do to see a difference.
Don’t you wish someone could give you some secret information and let you know about some tips to help you create amazing blog posts and ultimately grow your audience and online presence?
That’s why I’m writing this post today.
Like most bloggers, I check in with my stats around once a month to see what changes there have been. But recently, I was interested to see what had happened over time, starting right at the very beginning.
What I found really surprised me.
The way I created my most popular post of all time is exactly how I go about creating my blog posts today. It’s popular for a reason, and it’s because I did certain things that made people want to read it.
So if you’re looking for some fresh ideas for creating content or you just want to try some things that actually work, you’ll get it all right here. Let’s get going.
Not only is this my most popular post over the history of ABOH, it’s also usually one of my top posts every month. Here’s why I think readers love it so much.
The topic for this post directly solved a pain point for my audience. The majority of people who read this blog are on one social media platform or another. And what’s one of the biggest things everyone wants to know? How to grow a community or in other words, how to get more followers. I knew that people would benefit from this idea - but what made it even better was providing solutions for them too.
Takeaway for you: Whatever you’re blogging about, make sure it relates to your audience. Whether it solves a problem, inspires them or gets them to take action – your reader has got to get something out of your post to want to read it.
At one of my recent blogging workshops, I told students how a lot of people hate coming up with headlines, but it’s actually my favourite part of the process. This headline is a great example and there are a few reasons why it works so well.
- It’s a list. What huge website is likely to use a headline like this? Buzzfeed. It’s the king of headlines, and list articles (or listicles) are the most popular pieces of content out there. Plus, it uses an odd number, which I was told works better in a list headline than even numbers.
- It uses the word “you”. Using the word "you" reassures your audience that this is a post for them. If you use the word “I” or “My”, people will be less inclined to read it, because you’re taking the focus away from them.
- It tells readers what to expect…without giving anything away. If I’d have left the headline as “15 reasons you aren’t getting more followers on social media”, it wouldn't have been as good. But because I’m letting readers know they’re going to be able to fix this, it has even more of an impact.
- It delivers. You can click through the headline to this article and know you’re going to get something valuable.
Takeaway for you: Take care when creating your headline. It’s honestly the most important part of any blog post. Experiment with ideas and try out some of these features.
The image is Pinterest-ready
The reason why this post is my most popular is because it got almost 500 shares on Pinterest. That’s down to the image. It’s vertical, related to the actual title of the post and includes the headline on it too, so people know what they’re going to get. I shared this to my own Pinterest boards and group boards too – it still gets shared today.
Takeaway for you: Experiment with vertical images and sharing your content on Pinterest. In January, I took horizontal images. Now I’m taking vertical ones and uploading them to Pinterest – I’m already seeing a difference.
It includes data
The first sentence of the article kicks off with a data fact. And then another. Whether you actively realise it or not, when you’re reading something and looking to see whether it’s legit, data can make the difference. The fact that I included some facts made sure people were aware that I knew what I was talking about.
Takeaway for you: Try to include one fact in one of your blog posts each week. Just one. Not only are you learning something, but you’re establishing your expertise too.
It’s a comprehensive guide
It’s step-by-step, it’s numbered, it tells you everything you need to know. There’s not just one sentence for each point. It goes into detail and explains everything.
Takeaway for you: As you’re writing a blog post, ask yourself whether you’ve really covered everything. Is there anything else your reader might want to know? Be as comprehensive as you can.
There’s facts mixed with personal anecdotes
In one point you’ll find me sharing a fact about the life-span of a tweet. In another, you’ll find me talking about a conversation I had on Twitter. Mixing the two together is the perfect recipe. People like to know you know what you’re talking about, but they also want to know they’re talking to a real person.
Takeaway for you: Don’t worry that sharing your own personal experiences is taking the attention away from your reader. They’re the best ways to give them tips, because it shows you’ve been there and implemented them.
It’s filled with useful links
There are links scattered through the post, but what makes it even better is that I’ve provided them as “further reading”. So if there’s a point in the post where another of my articles relates to it and gives the reader a chance to learn more, I’m going to put it in there!
Takeaway for you: Link to your other articles that relate to the post you’re writing about. Don’t overload it, but definitely put a few in where you can.
There’s a content upgrade
If you’ve not heard of content upgrades, they’re essentially an extra something you give your readers at the end of your blog post. It could be a free download or a pinnable image – anything you want.
That’s definitely another reason this post is so popular. I was giving people an extra reason to read the post and that made it even more valuable.
Takeaway for you: You don’t have to create a whole new epic resource – it could be something as simple as a free graphic. Using Google Analytics, go back through your three or five most popular posts and try creating a content upgrade for them. Then pin each post to Pinterest and watch the views come rolling in.
It’s well over 1000 words
1000 words is sort of the benchmark I try to aim for when I’m writing blog posts. All the freelance jobs I’ve applied for have always required 1000 word posts or more and there’s good reason why. You’ll see a massive increase in your engagement and views if you write longer posts – trust me.
Takeaway: Try experimenting with your blog pots to include at least one 1000 word per week. You might not think you can do it, but it’s surprising how much the words will flow.
I really hope you found this case study helpful. Writing it has definitely made me think more about how I create my own blog posts. Feel free to let me know how you get on trying out some of these ideas!
What's your most popular blog post of all time? Which of these tips will try out for yourself?