A blog post template provides FOCUS that will save time developing content for new business.
I’m often asked if I use a template for creating my blog post articles and the answer is yes. I also use it with my clients to help them develop a system for content creation that makes writing easier and more consistent. You will waste less time by having a routine in place to help jump start your writing. It will also help to keep your content focused, highly searchable and relevant to your target audience.
Here is my simple template for writing online articles:
A simple tip to help boost your rankings in Google search is to add a few select key words that you can consistently use in most post titles. 90% of my posts will contain ‘ad agency new business’ in the title. Clever post titles without an SEO strategy won’t cut it. Your target audience needs to know that your posts are specifically written to them. This will provide your blog with a steady stream of “targeted traffic” from search as well as from social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.
Try keeping your post titles around 55 characters or fewer so they can be easily shared via Twitter, which has a maximum limit of 140 characters per tweet.
I always create a subtitle that answers the question for the reader, “what is my takeaway, if I commit to read this post?” This will help you to always lead with the conclusion. In a single sentence you are telling the readers how they will benefit from reading your post which makes it more likely they will read your content.
The First Paragraph
Readers need to know that your content is relevant to them. You need to make this point in the opening paragraph. Remember that a reader’s attention span online is far less than it is for print. According to Nielsen Norman Group’s research found that only 16 percent read word-by-word.
The Main Body
Identify the specific points that you want to make and create a simple outline that will help guide your writing. Your body copy can be written in paragraphs with multiple headings and/or with bullet points or numbered lists.
Here are some tips for creating the main body copy for your posts:
- If you are just beginning I would suggest the total word count per post to be within 400 to 500 words. If it is less than 400 words there’s not enough rich information to warrant a click-through. If it is over 500 words, the content can seem daunting and a reader wont commit to read the post. You will actually get a better return on your time investment with a series of posts within this word count than you will one long post article.
- Break up long paragraphs. Keep paragraphs concise and short.
- Make your content scannable to the eye. Use bold, italics, quotation marks, indention, etc. to make copy pop. A person should be able to quickly scan through your article and get the gist of your article.
- Be sure and provide hyper links to your sources. Don’t be afraid that you will lose your audience if they go to another source. Your blog should become a repository of helpful resources for your readers.
- Use common language. This is an opportunity to do away with industry jargon and agency speak and write content that resonates with your intended audience.
Add “About the Author Box”
Most blog themes provide a Author Box that can be automatically added at the bottom of each post and provides a reader with a brief synopsis about you. If you would like to see an example, mine is located at the bottom of this post.
Include an Image or Graphic for Each Post
Make your post visually pleasing. I always include a nice photo or graphic to further drive home the main purpose of a post. Using them will create interest and help draw in a reader. A free image source for bloggers is www.photopin.com. PhotoPin uses the Flickr API and searches creative commons photos to use for your blog. It makes adding photos easy and also provides the photo credit info that can easily be copied and pasted into your post.
Add “Additional Articles of Interest”
At the bottom of my post I will manually add a bullet pointed list of other post articles that I have written around the same topic or category. Readers will usually stay on your site longer when you provide links to related content that they will find helpful to them. There are plugins that can do this automatically but I prefer to manually choose the posts I want to include.
Here are some other blog post templates that you may find helpful:
If you have a template or other tips, please share them in the comment section below.