How to write engaging blog posts that stand out

First, some getting to know each other is in order. My name is Ioana and I am a content writer, blogger, an English-Romanian teacher, and also the latest teammate in the Pixelgrade squad. Yey!

I have more than nine years of writing experience, I mastered in English Linguistics and Pedagogy, and for the past four years, I’ve specialized in Marketing and Content Creation. Here’s a sample of my work, if you wish to take a peek.

The idea for this blog post came to me when I was thinking of the bloggers or writers out there who are struggling to stand out with their content and engage with their readers – a pain I frequently experienced throughout my career.

And in today’s ecosystem, finding your voice can be so misleading when everyone is shouting: Me! Here! This!


Because we are oversaturated with information and charged with excessive ideas, news, etc., identifying value among any produced content is like finding a needle in a haystack. 

How many of you feel overwhelmed by the process of writing a good article on your blog?

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Just like you, there were times when it was nerve-wracking and time consuming. I would sit down, prepared to deliver my best work for my readers, but I would stumble upon an abundance of ideas: What’s important? Is this helpful? Who will read this? Does it have value?, and the list went on. Shortly after, I would get frustrated, distracted and doubtful, even postponing my work.

As a result, after years of training and practice, I’ve decided to bring more structure and meaning into my research. I did it by drawing from all the ups and downs underwent, giving myself the best chance to write authentic, heartfelt and valuable content.

As a consequence, I’ve put together some content solutions that will simplify your creative process. Come back to them whenever you decide to bring more meaning and feel to what you create.


1 — Do you know the audience of your blog?

First of all, it’s best if you accept the fact that whatever you write about is not for everyone. And it shouldn’t, because regular individuals don’t bother with generic stuff.

Write well for one person and you will impact thousands. We are more alike than different, so if you succeed to touch one single person you will find out that there are dozens who feel the same.

So, before you start writing, I think the most important aspect is choosing your audience. And I’m not talking about the false sense of knowledge you get when you have an idea to whom you address the piece.

No, no, I’m talking about pulling up your sleeves, doing some research, all in order to identify the profile of your readers.

To be more precise, imagine who would actually be interested in reading the information you share. Start with basic stuff, like their profile. Will you address designers, musicians, marketers, etc.? If you target photographers, it won’t make sense to talk about cooking, so make the topic relevant for them. 

Then think of the level of complexity: Will the ideas be too complex for their understanding, or too basic? Single out the type of information that will be appropriate.

After reaching your answer, dig deeper. This group of people, do they have busy lives? If so, what do they do, what do they like, what interests them? Once you have a clearer idea to whom you’re talking to, you can start writing a suitable text and adapt your style to meet their profile. 

Furthermore, if you’re interested in finding out how to build a community around your blog, and you’re looking for more in-depth explanations, check out this article.


2 — Have you narrowed down your message?

Now that you know whom you’re addressing, it’s time we concentrate on the actual information. It’s essential to determine the general purpose and why your ideas are helpful and important, along with the main points that’ll help you support your ideas.

From experience, I came to the conclusion that by following these six questions, I will get more clarity to determine my major focus points for any piece I write.

  1. How will your blog post bring value to your readers?
  2. Does it address or solve a problem for them?
  3. Are your ideas authentic?
  4. Have you used enough, relevant examples to support your statements?
  5. Are the ideas clear and logically presented, or have they become a bit mixed-up in places?
  6. Have you answered what was actually set, or you focused on what you preferred to write about?

Give yourself time to answer these questions because it’s not the part you’ll want to move past quickly. When you provide the answers, draw them from your own experience, from something that touched and inspired you.

Don’t fear getting too personal because authenticity is what’ll differentiate you from the crowd, building trust with your tribe. 

For instance, at Pixelgrade, when we plan a new blog entry, we don’t rush into things. We are honest, transparent and we take our time to extract the most significant and true pieces of information, either from our collective expertise or by doing research. But we make sure the way we present ourselves to the world and what we produce is genuine and honest.

Dare be yourself to stand a chance.

At this stage, you’ve reached the point where you have a clear structure about the next blog post. So now, the hard data and examples must follow in order to complete your work.

When you talk from your knowledge, or when you share something personal, you open yourself up to your audience. Doing so, you let the guard down and let others step into your world to listen to your story. This approach is more impactful and genuine than generalising or adding stats.

When we post on our blog, we don’t shy away from sharing the sweet and ugly moments because when you open up, you determine others to join in and trust you as well. Thus, creating a real scenario, not a fake, cool-on-paper one. 

Additionally, when I started my blog, I aimed at always sharing how I felt, even if it meant getting vulnerable or talking about things that were painful, like in this post.

I, too, was scared about sharing too much, but the reputation I’ve made and what my readers expected, has directly influenced what I deliver. And being sincere is a core value, and what my website stands for.

That is why, depending on your blog’s objectives and the person you’ve become for your audience, it’s crucial to maintain that standard and consistency. If you fake it, or you distance yourself from your values, don’t be surprised if your engagement rates drop, and your web pages have reduced visibility.


3 — How to market your blog articles?

Once you’ve ticked major elements related to your blog content, you’ll want your article to reach as many viewers as possible. Why? For more traffic on your website that luckily converts leads into potential clients.

Traffic is essential because the number of visitors equals the number of opportunities you have to add new clients. 

Does it sound complicated? Don’t move on just yet. I’m still here to simplify things and point out some basic tips you can implement, so you turn things around for your entries to gain blog visibility. Ready? Let’s dive in!


Bloggers often overlook the impact of headlines

Believe it or not but powerful headlines matter as much as your entire content. Without a great title, the rest might not be read. This is because we are exposed to so much information, that we quickly scan through relevant content, until something worthy grabs our focus. So your title is like a hook that will draw your readers’ attention or make them move away.

Sometimes, even if you have a genius idea and produce an amazing entry, if you are careless about finding the right combination for your title, it will remain unnoticed. 

And this happened to me on so many occasions. 

I would write an engaging, properly-structured article, but audience engagement was missing. It made me feel frustrated and so I began searching for solutions to my problem. 

That’s when I discovered the SEO world, and I focused more on the aspects I mastered, the ones related to content. That is because SEO is a vast concept and approach that requires some studying.


Four essential rules for content optimisation

Still, if you follow these four essential rules regarding your text, you will make your entire piece more reachable. 

#1. Use numbers and lists
Adding numbers will translate to readers that your content will be easy to read, point by point. Keep in mind that digit numbers are preferred instead of writing them. Additionally, organising your posts using lists, makes the viewers easily skim through the text so they go through the whole piece. 

For instance, in our latest transparency report, we’ve relevantly added #9 since it’s our ninth one, showing consistency and continuity in our practice. Plus, if you scroll through the text, you’ll see how efficiently we’ve added lists for each main point and example. 

#2. Use free headline analyzer tools
Once you are finished writing, use tools like: Coschedule. The value this one brings is that it uses certain formulas that identify how appealing your title will be for your readers. 

Besides this, it identifies the problematic aspects in your wording, guiding you towards better options, so you get the best chance to get noticed.

When I write blog articles on our website, I copy-paste the title I had in mind, because I’m curious to see what words I should change, or if my title is too short/long, and then I add it in the tool.

It provides a precise analysis of the phrasing you chose and what can be bettered. I never skip this step to make sure I give my article the best chance in terms of heading creation.

#3. Use keywords
In simple words, they are how people reach your website, and how search engine optimisations, like Google or Safari, will decide how well your web post will rank online. This involves doing a bit of research regarding your content. Luckily there are a few good tools to help you determine key phrases and words. 

I usually use Google Trends because it provides more specific information and it’s pretty intuitive to understand this tool. 

For example, I think of the topic for my article and of the major concepts included. Then I type the words, select the region (The US, Worldwide, etc.), I click enter and then it generates a pretty thorough analysis, providing the keywords that are trending.

I also use BuzzSumo because it shows you how well the word included, performs on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. You simply type the appropriate word or words connected to your subject, adding time filters if you wish (past 24h/week), and it will generate your keywords. 

Once you identify your keywords (between 5-10 words), placement is also crucial. The best advice I followed myself, was to include them in headlines, subheads and in the first and last 25 words of your article.

This is because the search engines use bots (small programs) to examine each webpage and they pay more attention to certain places of the page. And so should you.

#4. Meta texts/descriptions
They are the short descriptions your webpage gets by search engines. It’s no rocket science so don’t get scared by the technical name.

To be more precise, they are HTML elements that describe and summarise the contents of your page. In the image below, they are the ones inside the orange square:

Meta-text example

If you don’t edit them yourself, they are automatically selected based on your text and added as a description to inform users what to expect regarding your post.

I recommend that you decide what gets written, and to do it yourself. When you make these changes, don’t omit to add a few keywords as well. If you wish to know how to do it, check out this article.


Takeaways

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! 🎉 It means that you are now more knowledgeable about the new ways to write content. They will make your piece more valuable, closer to your audience’s needs, ranking higher on the world wide web.

So let’s recap the main aspects discussed:

  • Knowing your audience — when you are aware of who your article will target, you will be able to construct your message in more relevant ways for them. Do your research.
  • Organising your text — narrow down the main points and how they will blend in together. Don’t shy away from being authentic by sharing examples or stories from your experience. This way your blog entry is original and meaningful.
  • Marketing impact — even if it sounds complicated, by focusing on easy concepts like: headlines, keywords and meta descriptions, you gain more visibility. And when you also make use of some free, efficient tools, you truly simplify your work.

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All things considered, once you integrate all of these steps into your work, you’ll begin to notice the added value and even engagement towards your website. I know that building up from them is no walk in the park but, then again, nothing good comes easily. 

After you decide to use these guidelines, ping me at ioana@pixelgrade.com and tell me how it went. I’d love to see what changes followed for your websites. Let’s make our community a better one, leading by example and sharing from our experiences.

Ioana Făghian

I’m the gal with the words and goofy stories. English teacher, linguist and translator by academic background, blogger, visionary and animal lover by choice.