Last week, a business colleague of mine called me in a state of high excitement, because an article she had written for her blog has resulted in her making contact with someone who requested her writing services on an ongoing basis.
She was pleased on a number of levels – her own site had done its job properly, bringing in a new contract for lucrative ongoing work. Secondly, here was real, tangible proof that blogging works to meet marketing and selling objectives. Her blog, which often doesn’t get a wide readership, had struck gold because of one factor.
She had written a killer article.
The killer article is hard to come by.
It has a range of special qualities that many of us can write for years to try and achieve, and yet our articles remain largely unread, mediocre or completely ignored.
However, every now and then, because of a freak combination of choosing the right topic at the right time, having a curious title, using great SEO processes and a great deal of luck, an article we publish on our blogs ends up somehow attracting a record number of hits, a huge amount of feedback, and (best case scenario) an unsolicited request for our services or products.
Journalists experience this all the time – that amazing moment when they see something they have written in print, and all of a sudden the whole world is talking about it.
They have managed to achieve something which is memorable, attention-grabbing, interesting or controversial enough to generate a lot of discussion, and this can make or break a career. Some of the most memorable headlines we remember from over the past few decades in newspapers have had a very happy writer behind them, watching in astonishment as the word sat up, took notice, and discussed it. Sales of papers soar, and the journalist in question is left slightly stunned, very proud, and set up for life on an illustrious career path.
While blogging rarely leads to this kind of overnight success, unless we are exceptionally lucky, it’s still possible to seize upon the magic formula which leads to people visiting our blog, reading, and responding to a certain type of article more than others.
Simple things like making sure you use search engine optimisation carefully, picking the best possible keywords and linking to popular posts can all help you increase your readership. However, the main thing to remember when you set out to write a killer article, is that the article has to be outstanding.
An outstanding article is one which is original, thought-provoking, at times controversial, and written superbly. It has been chosen to meet the current needs of the audience being written for, following some simple research activities to work out what readers are searching for online right at this moment. It is the type of article which is written on that day for a reason – tapping in to media trends, news events or global affairs in a way that will instantly meet the needs of the time it is published.
Also, a killer article has all the trademarks of writing that we have come to appreciate – it is written without errors, it is pithy and on-target, and the text is easy to understand. It avoids jargon or industry-speak, simply and efficiently delivering a message which readers will respond to. It asks for input from the reader, engages their attention with a great heading, and leaves its readers feeling fulfilled and glad they spent the time to read it.
The next time you sit down to write, think about why you are blogging, who you are blogging for, and what you need to do to make sure that your next article is truly a killer piece of writing.
So…now your turn?
What do you think makes a killer blog post?
Please share your views in the comments below.