Each day, an average of 92,000 articles are posted on the web.
Big publishers, such as The Huffington Post, Forbes, BuzzFeed are ahead of the game. For reference: The Huffington Post produces at least 1,200 pieces of content a day, and Forbes produces 400 (with 1,000 contributors).
At the same time, WordPress users produce about 35.8 million new posts each month.
That’s why is not surprising that small websites and bloggers are constantly looking for a way to differentiate themselves and make their content stand out. An unique, well written and original article could be a good starting point, but it’s not enough.
You also need to pay an extra attention on the way you present your content.
In my previous post, I wrote about the anatomy of an effective blog post.
In this article, I’ll focus on some additional ingredients, that can make your blog post stand out and give your content an extra boost.
Appropriately used, these small details, can effectively attract user’s attention and make the difference between yours and your competitors content.
1. Compelling and strong title
The blog post title is the first thing that your visitor will read. For some of them, it will remain the last impression they’ll get on your article, for others it will be the starting point of the reading.
In both cases, the blog post title is what gives a first glance at your article and is your best shot to attract user’s attention. That’s why it’s of critical importance: it highly determines the effectiveness of your entire article.
Blog title’s main purpose is to make the user read your article. But a good blog title is more than that. It should:
- describes the topic of your article,
- be strong, compelling, magnetic, eye-catching,
- promises a benefit to the reader,
- creates an effect on the reader.
Robert Collier, a very well known copywriter from the 60s once said: “Before you put pen to paper, before you ring for your stenographer, decide in your own mind what effect you want to produce on your reader — what feeling you must arouse in him.”
2. A grand opening
The leading paragraph is the second most important component of your post.
If the blog title captures reader’s interest, the leading paragraph is what will retain his attention.
So don’t do just a simple summary explaining what your post is about. Of course, your introduction will have to get into the premise of the post but it also should be capturing.
I advise you to always spend some extra time, on crafting a brilliant article opening.
And remember: the main goal of the introduction is to get the visitors to read the entire article, so you don’t want to say too much.
3. Surprising image
Most of the copywrites know that a good blog post should have an image.
Images capture user’s attention and we’ve always heard the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words“.
Images are also useful from SEO perspective, because you can use the <alt> meta tag to better optimise your article’s visibility for search engines.
However, your post will have a greater impact if you don’t include just any boring “business” image found on Fotolia. Behind every blog image there should be an idea and an impression that you want to create. The image could surprise, shock or make you visitor smile.
Think out-of-the-box and don’t be afraid to experiment.
4. Descriptive bullet points and numbered lists
Bullet points will help the visitor to read your content more easily.
They will make your article more “scannable” and can be used to emphasis the main elements and takeaways from every paragraph.
5. Great sub-headings
A blog post should be composed by short paragraphs and descriptive sub headings. The sub headings announce the topic of every paragraph and make the blog post more scannable -> easier to read. They are particularly useful when you have long articles.
6. Convincing words
The power of your words will determine to what degree people will react to your content. If you’re writing content for landing pages, you’ll want readers to take a specific action: purchase a product, subscribe for a newsletter. What action you desire visitors to take after reading your blog post will depend on its goal. But in any case, you’ll need strong, persuasive words
If you need some inspiration, I suggest checking this post with 50 emotional trigger words and phrases used in copywriting.
7. Honest story
Readers connect with stories.
They love to see how the story they’re reading begins and how it ends.
But what they don’t like is to be lied and misled.
Always be honest.
Avoid trivial big selling speeches.
The more honest and transparent you can be, the better.
8. Killer examples
The examples help to illustrate what you’re saying and make the content more accessible for the reader. As already mentioned, readers like stories. Make your story personal by including personal examples and sharing your personal experience.
9. Unique style
Developing a unique and distinctive writing style can take a long time. But if you succeed in this, you could make each of your blog posts stand out. Your writing style could be provocative, humoristic, plain, controversial etc. May be it won’t please everyone, but it’s an important element that will make a difference between you and your competitors.
In the beginning I mentioned the huge volume of content that big online publishers produce daily. Of course, having an optimized blog post structure, a killer title and a persuasive head-line, is not enough to beat the competitors. Small websites are not able to compete with The Huffington Post and New York Times (big players) based on sheer volume. But they can find a way to differentiate themselves by the quality of their content and writing style.