You've published your blog.
Great, now what? What's at stake if I don't read it? How quickly do I discover this while reading your post? I suspect you don't want me to get bored or distracted, and I know you want to have a meaningful and positive impact on my life (as the reader).
Writing great blog posts is not only about enlightening or inspiring the reader. It's also about positioning it in such a way that they're driven to think, discuss or act on what we've shared.
I recently read this blog post by
Michael Lukaszewski about ensuring we include what is at stake in our message. Inspired to act, I decided to inject this ingredient in my blog posts to help posture my message in a more powerful way.
In journalism, the title, subtitle and first few lines give you the most important information. If the reader is interested in the details, they can continue reading. My goal with blogging is tapping into this approach, and leveraging the first few seconds of engagement to communicate what is at stake, and why they should care.
When thinking about stakes, it brings to mind vision
. Vision is what pulls us forward. It's the glimpse of our journey's destination. While many are familiar with vision, very few have thought about anti-vision. If vision is how we define success, anti-vision is how we define our failure. What does it look like when I fail miserably?
A well-balanced blog will dance between what we hope for (vision), and what we fear will happen (anti-vision). Our symphony of words should guide the reader on how to prevent this failure from becoming reality, and it should empower me to move towards my vision. When I know what is at stake and I'm motivated to take action, I need help on HOW to take action.
So, for those motivated to improve their blogging positioning, here are two steps you can take to do so.
Create A Powerful And Enticing Headline
When I first started blogging, I didn't pay any attention to stellar headlines. At the time, my goal was simply to create great posts and get into the habit of writing. Once I was comfortable with this step in the process, I begin experimenting and practicing writing headlines. I eventually came across this great headline analyzer tool by CoSchedule
. When I create a new headline for a blog post, I plug it into their tool and it assesses the headline's effectiveness. It also gives tips and insights to help me improve my score. Interacting with this tool helps me elevate the quality and power of my headline. This blog's headline scored a 69.
Start Your Blog By Answering These Two Questions
Keep it simple, and answer, what is at stake if the reader doesn't act on this blog post? Also, what could happen if the reader did act? You could share the answer to these two questions as statements, questions or a story. The point is to quickly and effectively move the audience to act on what they've learned.
We only have a few seconds to hook our reader and compel them to finish reviewing our blog post. First, we need to draw them in with a compelling headline. From there, we need to entice them with a strong enough message that they'd feel the loss if they left before finishing. Before you start your blog and after you finish, grade yourself on how well you've hooked your audience as a way to help improve what you've written.