13 Quick Tips To Write A Successful Post

13 Quick Tips To Wrtite A Successful Post Writing content is not easy, no doubt about it.

Then we usually go and start worrying about how to make that content easy to share, how to provide valuable information, how to engage readers and so on to make it even harder.

How do you write your content? There are just too many things to consider…

In the last couple of weeks I was asked a few times on what are the things I consider when writing a post, so I thought of putting a list or items together which then turned into this post. I hope it can of help to you.

I will also ask you to participate by adding to the list or simply discuss the recommendations I’m posting.

1. What’s The Goal?

Yes, you can write a post with a specific goal in mind. If you have been blogging for a while, you should know already what kind of content to write in order to achieve different objectives by observing the impact on your previous content.

Your own experience will actually tell you how to write a popular post that gets tons of love from Twitter or provide a powerful list of resources to get Delicious bookmarks like it’s 1,999. Write a controversial piece to fire up massive comments or simply answer a very specific question in your niche to build trust.

Know what you want the outcome to be before you start typing. If you’re fairly new and have no experience in how your content behaves, take a shot. Dare to try things and observe the impact.

2. Research

It is very important that you’re not just repeating what someone else already said. Most of the time this happens not because we’re trying to copy other people but due to our lack of research. A simple search on Google and Twitter will give you a pretty good picture of what has been said around that topic.

Research will give you a better idea of where you stand and how to approach the topic.

3. Your 2 Cents

Chances are there is already some content published on the same topic you’re writing about, that’s fine as long as you’re adding to the conversation. Again, focus on answering questions that are still open, disagree, do something but add your 2 cents. Don’t make people leave your post with a sense of “being there, done that…”

Kick it up a notch and reference the previous material and then take the discussion further. In other words, provide value or die!

4. Be Yourself

The beauty about blogging is that you have become the publisher, the content creator. Remember that when you’re writing a piece of content.

There are two common thoughts I get from people:

  • One is trying to write like somebody else. There are some awesome writers out there BTW… but you should try to bring out your own personality in your content. People will eventually see that and maybe recognize it as your writing style.
  • The other one is the world famous “finding your own voice”. Great, but sometimes we force the situation and end up with a final product that doesn’t represent who you are.

Being yourself when you write content should be a natural process.

5. Forget The Search Engines

There is a lot to chew on this topic but I’ll give you the quick version. Do you write for search performance or do you write for your readers?

This is just my humble opinion, forget the search engines when you’re writing and focus on communicating with human beings, robots don’t benefit from your kick-ass piece of content. Once you’re done, go back and optimize as much as possible but please stop as soon as you feel you’re starting to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Seriously.

6. Clever Headline

Of course you heard this before, first the headline then the first paragraph and so on, that’s when the reader is sitting in front of your post. I also want you to take this in consideration…

Social media is an attraction tool and if you think about it, the only part of your content that makes it to Twitter, Facebook and the others is usually the headline. With the invention of the 140 characters, we are forced to allocate a little more time on crafting that headline.

Write Clever Headlines

Let me also point out that I said clever, not smart-ass. Sure, a cute headline will probably get you that click but if there’s no meat on the other side, you’ll also get the visitor to bounce.

7. Never In First Person

The focus of the post should be on others, not yourself. Nobody cares about you (sorry…). People care about getting their needs covered and their questions answered.

A good exercise to accomplish that is to prohibit yourself from writing in first person.

8. Make It Fun To Read

People love when you throw in a little humor or use some sarcasm here and there, without being obnoxious of course. There are bloggers that get away with lots of this stuff, in fact, people can’t get enough of them, but this is not always the case.

This should start with you, if you’re not having fun writing it, this most likely reflect on the post. Do your readers a favor and lighten up a little =)

9. Provide Resources

Don’t be afraid to share links to other people, specially if somebody else has written a great post on something related to your topic. This is not only appreciated by your readers but it builds relationships with other bloggers.

Besides, links is the name of the game baby…

10. Examples

Use lots of real-life examples to illustrate your point. You can even point out people as case studies. This makes for a more entertaining read and allows people to see how a concept works in the real world.

Metaphors can also get you home if you can’t find a good example.

11. Images

It might not be considered as important but I gotta be honest and say that I put some time and thought into getting photography for the post. Having a bad image (you’ve seen those blurry old images…) on your post will damage your chances of a good first impression.

There is a lot of good content you can use for free on sites such as Flickr but if you want to step up your game, paid services are also available and for a buck or two you’ll have your post looking like a million dollars.

2 quick tips on the use of images:

  • Optimize for web so it doesn’t affect your loading times while it still a good quality.
  • Optimize for search engines. For example, change the name from “DC_10112009.png” to “socialmouths_quick_tips_to_write_a_successful_post.png”

12. Get Rid Of The Clutter

After you finish writing your post, strip it down. Eliminate the fluff. Thank you!

Find simpler ways of getting your point across. Get rid of all the unnecessary wording we sometimes use trying to sound smarter or because we feel the post is too short.

Don’t be afraid, people appreciates the simplicity in reading.

13. Hand It To The Reader

Finish with a call to action. What do you want from the reader? If you want the reader to participate in the conversation by leaving a comment, then ask for it. Sometimes we complain because we get no interaction from readers but we fail to open a forum to discuss the topic. Leave some room for people to add their thoughts.

Here is an idea: Invite people to disagree with you!

Your Turn Now…

As I said, these are some considerations I take when writing a post and thought of sharing them with you, feel free to share your process or why not… disagree with me!

Happy writing.

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  • http://www.waliqfactory.com/ Michel J. Gagnon

    Pretty interesting list. What I would add is “Make it part of the conversation”. I like when someone picks up a post from someone else and expands the conversation with his own 2 cents. It's great to see that some bloggers read other blogs and want to contribute to the discussion. A discussion that does not only happen in the comment section of their blog.
    Great post.

  • sheilamikulin

    Hey Francisco – thanks for these great points. However, have to strongly disagree with the “first person” perspective.

    Our “voice” has to be in the first person. People relate as part of our tribe when they hear us speak and “see themselves.” They say, “Hey, I get that – that's me too.”

    Here's a good article on it (among many more that can be found supporting this):

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/190392

    As always, thanks for your helpful blogs!

    Sheila

  • Yolirich

    So much to learn… I know my goal. It's what got me blogging in the first place, and I know the more I do it, the better I'll be (if I pay attention). But I gotta tell ya… all the techie – talk has me in a dizzy tizzy.
    I have no idea what you are talking about when you say optimize! blah blah blah.
    I've got to learn this mysterious language!
    A good class or two are in order. Any suggestions?

    Great post!
    Thanks much
    Yoli
    @ppebble

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Hello Sheila, I completely understand your point, you're right. Your community wants to hear from you.

    My point is that in creating content with the purpose of adding value, you should put the focus on others instead of talking about yourself. Getting rid of the first person is just an exercise that helps you do that. My opinion… of course.

    Good to see you here, it's been a while.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    That's just B.S. language we use to feel “techie”…

    But seriously, what I meant was that you should write freely, with your reader in mind instead of worrying about how that paragraph or that term will help or not on the search engines. Now, once you're done, go back and see if you can position some keywords here and there or adjust stuff to be search friendly…

    Feel free to get in contact francisco@socialmouths.com

  • http://www.smallspaceheater.com Tim

    Those are all very good tips. I have found it very hard not to personalize them. I do this because that is the only things I know. If, I really need something new, I outsource it.

  • Karengunton

    thanks for this post. i have just been suggesting to some little business builders that they ought to start blogging. i love this post because it is applicable to any type of biz or blog and it is applicable to newbies as well as people who have been blogging for a while and want to do a better job (me!). i will be sharing this with my readers… =)

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thanks Karen, it's hard to write something that's applicable for everybody, I'm glad you think I was able to accomplish that. I really try not to lean towards any particular segment.

    I don't see a way of connecting with you, let me know what your blog's address is to check it out.

    Have a good night!

  • http://ahechoes.wordpress.com/ AH

    Thanks for sharing. Amazing article

  • http://ahechoes.wordpress.com/ AH

    Amazing Article. Thanks very much

  • http://twitter.com/howardcshen Howard Shen

    What an interesting post here!

    Thank you!

    I've shared this and made a blog post! :)

    what more, I give you a trackback.

    Keep it up,
    Howard

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  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Francisco,, Very nice list. I agree with every point, and sometimes have slipped on #7 :)

    Have to say #13 is my fav.. I see it like this “if they don't know what you want, then you can't be mad that they didn't give it to you”.

  • Gabrielpr

    These are all good points Francisco, especially #1, I think it's so important to know who your audience is and write for them.

    My problem with blogging is finding something to blog about that hasn't been blogged about already. I'm very big on thought leadership, but every time I turn around someone has taken my thought. I guess I need to be quicker on the draw. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Excellent point Gabriel, thanks for the comment.

    I think the answer is tiny markets instead of trying to cover “everybody”. The focus has to be shifted to providing value to YOUR tribe. Seth Godin talks about being remarkable in YOUR world in “Purple Cow”.

    Have a great weekend!

  • robhuk

    I particularly like point 11. I often ignore images and I must take the time to include them – optimised!

    Thanks

    Rob

  • Ray

    Very clearly stated. I especially took note of not writing in first person and the importance of the headline.

    I have written (an am now) in 1st person believing that it brought a personal element into the blog. But I can see where it might turn people away as being narcissistic or self absorbed.

    Writing a great headline is a skill that I am feverishly trying to master.
    Thanks for a great post.

  • http://www.capressocoffeemakers.net Kim

    This is like being back in school. They would give me the answers there too. Thanks for the help.

  • http://www.bloggingteacher.com/?utm_source=comment&utm_medium=comment&utm_campaign=comment Paul Cunningham

    I disagree with #7, from time to time you can write something more personal and in the first person and get a great result from your audience. That has been my experience.

    Generally speaking though these are all good points to keep in mind.

  • http://twitter.com/girlpluscamera M Elizabeth Williams

    I disagree with #7 — some of my favorite (and some of the most successful) bloggers like Pam Slim and Ramit Sethi, among others, write almost exclusively in the first person, but know how to make actionable posts with a human touch.

    Most of the new media, social media, etc. is based on person-to-person interactions and a feeling of intimacy. I think it's almost imperative that one write in the first-person to give that sense to one's readers. Most of the people who've been following me from website to website, platform to platform, have been doing so since I started online journaling in 1996. The followers who drop in and out tend to be the ones just looking for business-side answers.

    I think the REAL challenge to #7 is to look at how to take your (the author's) story and make it about other people. It's not enough to just say “I did this” or “This is what happened today” — it needs to not only be relevant to your readers but also focus as a call to action for them as well.

    Another favorite blogger (who's from my home state!) Eva Abreu recently wrote about cleaning out her old DVDs and (horror) VHS tapes after deciding that she needed room for the eventual DVD release of Despicable Me! and wrote a post about emptying out old (and in the case of VHS tapes, unusable) items to make room for new things — both physically and psychologically.

    Now THAT'S a great post–personal but relevant to the audience at large.

  • http://seanseo.com Sean SEO Marketer

    If I have to pick the best among all the points I would choose 'Headline'. Headline is the most important aspects of content/article. Because a good headline hooks the reader and gets them reading your content or article. Just as you had written to this post, it is always better to use number written in numbers only when you have got some good points to discuss. And yes all the other points are also important if you want to reach the benefits specified .

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  • http://www.searchengineoptimisation.com/social-media.html Jack

    I think headlines as well as the flow of your contents which makes your readers interest in your post………these points are important to engage your visitor to read your posts on regular

  • http://www.bulletproofreading.co.nz Angela

    I whole-heartedly agree with the 'forget the search engines' part. If you are focusing on your reader and writing fabulous content, you'll get noticed by the right people. Focus on the people, not the machines. Also, if bloggers take notice of all the other points you've made they can't go wrong. Great post!

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Angela. Great point, that the difference between being visible or being visible to the right crowd, which becomes your audience.

    Have a great weekend!

  • http://twitter.com/juliatanen juliatanen

    Thank you. This is a very informative post. I'm going to retweet.

  • http://twitter.com/juliatanen juliatanen

    There is no other great advice out there than this – it provides a step-by-step To Do list for new and existing bloggers.

  • http://twitter.com/juliatanen juliatanen

    Well said – the trick is to know how to write in first person, and perhaps the beginner isn't as well versed. What I like about blogging and tweeting is that it forces everyone to think before they write.

  • http://ashleyscheck.blogspot.com Ashley

    This is one of the most original posts I've read about blog writing – hard to do at this stage of the game – so congrats and thank you!

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you so much Ashley, it really means a lot!

  • Erik

    #14 – Use spell & grammar check!!! It's hard to gain credibility if you appear illiterate.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Erik,

    It's harder to gain credibility if you go around the internet without showing your face. I will not delete your comment because I believe this to be an open format and I'm willing to take positive and negative, I'm a big boy…

    However, another thing that's pretty open is the social web and it is easy to check if a person has credibility.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.ideaindia.com Jal

    Good advice.

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  • http://www.thepeoplepeople.co.nz Jason Armishaw

    Well done! I like #7 Never in first person. Been able to write or speak with your reader/client in mind is a very hard, but respected skill. As a new blogger, it is something that I'm working on daily…

    All the best,
    Jason

  • http://twitter.com/Luxegen Joan Miller

    I agree with many of your points especially writing for the person and not search engines. Also having a catchy headline. Great article!

  • http://twitter.com/dankando Daniel James Cooper

    Great post. I really enjoyed it :) I've learnt a few new tricks that I'll apply to my future posts (e.g. inviting people to disagree, a really good idea because it gives you the chance to further prove your point by replying to the person's comment with your argument back).

  • http://hotlinks.blogspot.com Raven Lee

    This should be #1 for any type of writing…

  • http://hotlinks.blogspot.com Raven Lee

    I have to agree, Elizabeth. I see the point of #7 as a writer, you shouldn't use 1st person. But, blogging is much more personal. In blogging it's reversed. The majority of blogs tend to be in 1st person, including many popular sites. Use 1st person or 3rd person or even 2nd person. Whatever gets the point across. This is a blog, not the “Great American Novel.”

  • mihla

    But please make the images relevant! One blogger used an image of frying eggs to illustrate a post about technology. The only relationship between the image and the content was a vague reference buried several paragraphs down about having to break eggs to make an omelet. If a blogger persists in using unrelated images just to get attention, I unsubscribe to their feed despite the content.

  • http://www.amitkarpe.com/ Amit Karpe

    Really interesting article for those who want to write blogs. I am really surprise by point no. 5 “Forget The Search Engines”. Which is true, after 3-4 months of your blog you will find that SEO will be not as important as your audience. As of now I am still experimenting about “Blog Writing” and “Engaging Audience”. Which is very difficult job. With this article you will get some hints/tips “To write successful post” :)

  • http://www.searchengineoptimization.co.uk Bronte

    I am sure most readers give more attention to spell & grammar of your post

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  • http://petulaw.blogspot.com Petula

    You have a lot of great points here, but I also disagree with “never in first person.” I think it depends on the blog and the purpose or mission the blogger has determined for themselves. I've had individuals comment and complain about the more advertising like posts, the giveaways and reviews. There's one who always says she came by to see how we are doing and didn't feel like reading all of the other stuff. LOL… I have noticed that my personal, first-person posts tend to get more comments so I think I'll keep with that. Other than that I think your points are valid. :-) (Not that you needed my validation. LOL) Have a great week.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Petula, I think the point of # 7 is that we put the focus on the audience instead of ourselves. Of course when I provide my personal opinion I have to do it on first person but the post as a whole is not about me or written in first person.

    Of course I'm not a writer, I only speak from my experience, one thing that I believe has had a positive impact is to avoid referring to my reader as “You”, like I'm giving you instructions, so I always say “We”.

    Thanks for your comment and have a great day!

  • http://petulaw.blogspot.com Petula

    Hey, that's a great idea to say “we.” I often change some of my posts when I'm doing other writing when I've used “you.” It often doesn't work, but I have a bad habit of using it. In posts and in comments. LOL. :-)

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  • http://www.4x4golfcarts.net Becky

    I like all of your suggestions. I have even use them lately. I really have a hard time with this but, I have also, learned to write like you are doing it for an eight grader. This is not a bad thing, it only makes for easy reading.

  • thetweetingquill

    I like point #11. Some audiences are visually stimulated before they even consider reading an entire article. Sometimes I can't blog without having chosen an image that I'm happy with.

  • Adina Joy

    Interesting point. i will use in my next tweet.

    thanks

  • http://www.ezgo4x4.com Carter

    This is great information. I like the way you write and wish that I could write like you. Now that you shared your secrets, I think I might have a chance to be a better writer but, never as good as you.

  • http://www.techbirdy.com Louis

    Make It Fun To Read??
    Writing Blog Post is not fun my friend!

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ Payton_vege

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

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    This makes for a more entertaining read and allows people to see how a concept works in the real world.

  • Michelle

    That’s nice. Thanks Angela. Your tips are super healthy. Keep up.
    http://criminalattorney.co

  • http://twitter.com/geugeniocontent Gene Eugenio

    I disagree about not writing in first person. Dude, it’s all about you. Your social media presence is about YOUR BRAND and what YOU have to offer.