This blog is competing for your attention with more than 152 million others. Nearly 173,000 blogs are added to the Internet ever day. There are now four more than when you started reading this. That’s according to the Journal of Applied Communications.
With all that competition, what can you do to make your blog stand out?
My measure of a good blog is whether it provokes me into action: to change my behaviour, to do something new at work, to read a book or an article. I’m also a sucker for a new computing tip or shortcut.
Roberts & Evans (2015) recommend a ‘What; So what; Now what’ approach for blogs. This entails starting with a discussion about the topic. It’s pretty clear that this one you’re reading is a blog on blogs. Your investment in reading it will be rewarded (I’m hoping ) with tips for writing better blogs.
We need a compelling first sentence to capture readily distracted readers. Is my first line good enough? Well, it got you this far.
We’re now well into the ‘so what’ part. This is the new development, or in my case, the inside info on steps to blogging fame.
The Internet serves up almost as much advice on blogging as there are blogs themselves. While not based on rigorous science, most make good sense:
- Blog regularly
- Write about things you’re good at
- Include a catchy headline
- Use hyperlinks and lists
- Use lots of keywords
- Be concise
- Be accurate, informative and timely
- Engage people, such as by asking questions
Noah Kagan has applied some science to the subject. He has analysed almost 1 million blogs and their headlines. He concludes that posts with lists are huge (tick for this blog), use ‘you’ and ‘your’ frequently (tick), use promising words like ‘how to’ (tick), and use emotional words in your (tick) headline (tick).
In fact, crafting that headline took me almost as long as writing the blog itself. I did it using a formula. The theory is that to attract interest, a headline needs to connect emotionally. So it should include powerful words that invoke feelings. According to the headline analyser, my headline rates highly for intellectual impact words.
Has my headline worked? I’ll tell you in a future blog, where I will explore further the science and art of headline writing.
Oh, yes. I almost forgot to address that last bullet point above. So, what words in a headline attract your interest?
Roberts, O. & J. Evans (2015) Tackling structure and format–the ‘great unknown’ in professional blogging. Journal of Applied Communications, 99(2). Available at http://journalofappliedcommunications.org/images/stories/issues/2015/jac_v99_n2_final.pdf. Accessed on 11 January 2016.