The Internet is strewn with very well articulated blog posts. By all accounts they are good, indeed some are excellent, but somehow they fall shy of perfection. So what is it that makes a perfect blog post?
First and foremost, the success of a blog post is ordinarily measured in the amount of attention it receives. Whether this is through the media, social networking or swollen traffic numbers, cold hard statistics tend to be a determining factor in the success of a blog.
Not always though, at least not independently at any rate. Occasionally there are posts written to provoke action, reaction and change. When writing with a purpose, the success can only be charted in the post’s ability to effect the intended change, whether through a single post or creating a movement amongst its readership.
Ingredients for the Perfect Post
Understanding the metric by which success is ordinarily charted is just the start, we now need to work out how exactly you can achieve it.
For anybody who has deliberately set out to write the perfect blog post, you will no doubt understand just how difficult it is. There are, after all, a number of different factors that must all converge like an astral alignment. Here are just a few of those vital elements needed to claw success from the jaws of mediocrity:
Your title is the first thing that most people will see. Whether searching for articles on Google or sharing it amongst social media counterparts, the title must demand attention and provoke a response. That response could be anything from outrage to empathy, from intrigue to excitement.
It ought to be snappy, include the main points of your article and give the user a taste of what they can expect.
Some of the best titles include a question. This is simply because it immediately engages the casual reader and might well lead them to leave a comment (another very good metric for success). Once comments get moving, conversations start and then comes the cross linking and debate, all of which will help your blog post achieve notoriety; taking one small step to perfection in the process.
A title is nothing without something a little more substantial behind it. The subject of your perfect blog post should immediately attract the attention of the widest possible readership; something like ‘EXCLUSIVE: Google Buys Twitter’ (please note, that is very much a made up subject) would be of interest to Twitter and Google users, including most Internet Marketers.
Of course, not all posts can be quite so monumental, in which case you have to be a bit more creative. This is where a little journalistic digging could pay dividends; by researching and investigating a subject for a while you can unearth something new that could perhaps benefit the wider community. This is particularly prevalent in SEO circles where extensive testing can often provide a new insight into the search engine algorithms; information that will be hugely appreciated by a global audience of professional and DIY optimisers.
Essentially it needs to offer something unique and provide information that visitors can take away, use and share.
Well Written or Argued
To attain perfection in terms of how well your post is received, you first need to look for perfection in how you approach it. An article that is well constructed, researched and argued with language to match is far more likely to engage with an audience than one that approaches the same subject but in a far sloppier fashion.
Writing in a style that will appeal to your readers is vital, so too is accuracy. Minor language errors are forgivable in an otherwise exceptional piece, but if the quality is increasingly indifferent or errors become too frequent, you could lose your audience.
This doesn’t mean resorting to scurrilous lies or insulting a large swath of the online community. Provocation can come in the form of simply offering an opinion and welcoming alternative viewpoints or kick starting a debate. Presenting undeniable facts works when reporting on a news story, but you need to be a little more astute when it comes to opinion driven pieces – something I’m failing to achieve currently.
If you can add a little spice to your argument, people will talk and your post will become the key staging point for constructive (occasionally embittered) debate. The bigger the debate, the more successful your blog post comes.
For those that don’t mind courting controversy, then the pursuit of the perfect blog post can be made all the easier, at least in terms of encouraging comments and spreading like an unceasing virus. All you need to do is write something wholly outrageous (Jan Moir being a perfect example [see: Jan Moir, Trafigura, Carter-Ruck and Reputation Management in the Twitter Age]) that polarises society, suddenly you will encourage visitors who both virulently support and object to your musings. Perfect link baiting, if you can handle the negative after effects.
Whilst this blog post is antithetical of all the above points, it is at least structured in a way that gives a clear enough guide through the main points. By breaking up the reams of copy with sub-headings, images and bullet points, you give the reader a vague overview of what to expect without having to digest every word. This can help you to attract the attention of blog scanners and encourage them to hang around for a closer look.
Keep it Relevant
Probably the simplest portion of this particular pie, but if you are looking to attract traffic that is relevant to what you do, your post has to be equally relevant. Going off on a tangent, miles off course from your area of expertise might get you noticed, but the benefits will be diluted. So, in short, write about what you know.
Market it Accordingly
The perfect blog post needs to find its audience. You can’t simply rely on visitors being able to find you, there’s got to be a portion of self-promotion and gentle cajoling involved. Social networking and bookmarking are two ways to get your message spread, as you can directly tap into a potential audience of millions instantaneously.
The more you interact with your surrounding community, the more likely they will respond in kind. Posting comments on other blogs and discussing issues on Twitter will help you stay in your audience’s consciousness and could help that great blog post attain perfection. The bigger your existing readership (take Copyblogger, TechCrunch and Mashable as good example) the more likely your post will reach viral levels; but that isn’t to say smaller blogs can’t achieve such success, it just might take a bit more effort and time.
The Final Result
If all of these things come together in perfect harmony then maybe, just maybe, you might have written the perfect blog post. This post will then give you notoriety within the community, for a time at least and will give your inbound linking profile a fair boost. For businesses or those who use their blog as a source of income, the symposium that your post has conjured up could generate interest in your other services.
So it isn’t easy, far from it in fact, but if you follow the above suggestions you should be well on your way to a blog post that can achieve great things.
But, adhering to my own advice, this is only one person’s opinion; what do you think is the vital ingredient for the perfect blog post? Indeed, do you believe there is such a thing as the perfect blog post? If so, which one would you choose to nominate?
All your comments and feedback are always welcome, so make sure you let us know what you think.