Business Blog Anatomy: Headline, Body, Photo
In this post about blog anatomy you’ll learn some strategy behind writing a good blog post. We’ll be discussing the importance and content of your headline and body copy, and why you should always include a photo in your posts. You may remember in the last blog anatomy post we discussed creating a custom prompts list for your business blog, identifying your desired audience’s challenges and providing solutions, and ending with a teaser and call to action. All of these business blogging tips and strategies have a common goal: to attract and build your target audience.
Blog Anatomy: Headline
Again I’ll refer you to the last post, where we discussed identifying your audience’s challenges, and using those to create your prompts. The same concept applies to your headlines. Here’s some steps to consider when creating your blog post headlines:
Who do you want to attract with your business blog? Write down a list of your ideal clients and customers.
What problems and challenges do those ideal clients and customers face? Write down the problems and challenges those ideal clients and customers face. Try to do this in short and sweet sentences.
How can you help them solve those problems and challenges? Write down how you help your clients and customers solve a particular problem. Again, try to do this in a short and sweet sentence.
Try to be as succinct as possible, and think in terms of lifestyle marketing – how will your goods and services make their lives easier and more enjoyable? Not “my widget is so shiny,” but rather “my widget will cut your housework time in half.”
Now look back through what you’ve written, and see what you can use as a blog post and headline. Think about what those folks might put into a Google search, if they were to do a search for a solution to their problem. Then write your headline to be an answer or a fit to that search. Use relevant words and phrases.
The idea here is to help your blog posts have a better chance of coming up in the results when your desired audience is doing their search. So put thought into your headlines, craft them to be on topics that attract your desired audience and answer the questions they are asking in search.
By the way… take note that if you have a Google+ profile and post to Google+, this will give you a boost in search results. People who are signed into their various Google accounts (Gmail, Google+, YouTube) will receive personalized search results. In the example photo at top of this post, you see the personalized search results I get when I am signed in to Google+. One of my own Google+ posts comes up in that search. If I were to sign out, and not receive personalized results, my post would not rank so high in the results. Your stuff will get priority in results when your Google+ connections are searching.
Blog Anatomy: Body Copy
When you know what the topic and headline of your blog post will be, and you have written down what some of the search terms might be that your potential clients and customers are searching for, you have a guide for your body copy. You’ve identified the problem or challenge, you’ve identified the solution that your business provides. Now you write about that problem and solution. Use stories and examples to make your points clear and easy to understand.
It’s a good idea to reinforce in your post’s headings and particularly in the first paragraph what you are writing about. For blog themes that auto pull excerpts from the first 200 words or so of a blog post, this ensures that those important key words and phrases will be included in the excerpts. The excerpts are that little blurb that show up under the headline in search results, so they are very important. You need to get across what the topic of your post is, and/or how you can provide a solution to the challenge the searchers are wanting to address. A good excerpt will encourage searchers to click through to your post.
There’s a golden rule of 3 for presenting information:
1) Tell them what you are going to tell them (headline and first paragraph)
2) Tell them (body of post)
3) Tell them what you told them (summary / review)
As you can see in the photo above, this rule of 3 is a tried and true device that presenters and educators use to enable their audience members to remember what they learned during the presentation. In terms of marketing, reinforces brand identity and positive value of you and your business. You are establishing your value by identifying their challenge and providing a solution (headline and first paragraph). Then you provide additional value by actually helping them (body). Then you reinforce your value in their minds by reminding them you helped them (summary / review).
In fact, 3 is quite the magic number. Studies indicate that writing in groups of 3 makes the content easier to remember. Present your information, solutions and tips in 3 bullet points, 3 steps, or 3 tips in the body of your post. This will make it more interesting to your audience, and lessen risk of overwhelming them with too much info. Hopefully, it will present enough info to whet their appetite for more, and encourage them to read more of your posts.
For an example, look at this blog post! It discusses 3 items included in Blog Anatomy: Headline, Body and Photos. In the Body Copy section, I give you the golden rule of 3 for presenting information, laid out in 3 numbered line items. Even in the paragraph above, I use “information, solutions and tips” (3 items) and “3 bullet points, 3 steps, or 3 tips” (3 items again).
In summary, for body copy:
- Use relevant and key words and phrases in the first paragraph, and write it so that it would make a compelling excerpt.
- Use the Golden Rule of 3 Ts – tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them
- Use the Golden Rule of 3 for writing: Make 3 points, provide 3 tips, list 3 helpful solutions
Blog Anatomy: Always Include a Picture!
The reason for this is simple: Pinterest! Note that includes the word “interest.” Pinterest is a very popular social site that makes it easy for people to save their favorite articles and follow their favorite bloggers. However, if you don’t have a photo or video included in your post, it can’t be pinned.
When a Pinner tries to pin your post to their board, they will get a message stating “there’s nothing to pin,” or they may get a pin that just has their own profile picture on it.
Including interesting visuals will enable Pinners to choose a pin that includes what should be on it: an interesting photo that will attract interest, encourage people to click on the Pin (and therefor get directed to your blog post), and be an indicator of what the post offers. See the photo below – this results in a much more interesting pin that will attract people who enjoy arts and crafts.
Blog posts that include images or videos are also generally much more appealing to readers than posts that are text only. Always include a photo or video when you post!
I hope you’ve enjoyed, and even more, learned some useful tips from this Blog Anatomy post that discussed how to create a strong Headline, what makes good Body Copy, and the importance of always including Photos.
This post was written in answer to the awesome Blogging University‘s online course and assignment, Blogging 101 Day 4: Identify Your Audience. My audience is primarily small business owners, non-profit staff, and especially solopreneurs who want to learn to use social media (including their blogs!) effectively to promote their businesses and services, and to attract and build their target audiences.
Meilani MacDonald is a brand identity and outreach strategy consultant who runs Meilani's Blooming Business Club. Club members enjoy affordable monthly workshops and "Consultant is IN" Hangout sessions focusing on marketing, social media, task and time management, and business coaching and brainstorming.
Meilani also offers editing, proofing, copywriting, book doctoring and graphic design services.