Creating content for a blog can sometimes be intimidating. Did you know there are nearly 1 million blog posts published across the world every day?
Putting together a few paragraphs of the same old stuff that everyone else has already written about just won’t cut it today. To truly create something that gains attention, breeds loyalty and makes you into an authority figure takes some talent and a lot of hard work.
Here are my key pointers for creating epic content:
Make it Personal
So much of the content produced around the world every day is generic. It’s often written by a nameless, faceless author. It’s exactly that kind of useless content that you click away from as soon as you see it. It’s no wonder that Google has no use for it.
The most successful blog posts, in my opinion, speak from the heart. I write most of our blog posts in first-person. I often give my personal opinions about the topic, even when that opinion isn’t popular.
For example, there’s a type of Medicare plan that’s cheaper than others but if you get sick, you’ll really wish you had the better coverage. No one really wants to hear this… I could tell my readers what they hope to hear about the cheaper plan. Probably could sell lots of it by having the popular opinion… but that’s not how I feel.
I’m not afraid to say it on my blog either, and ultimately people appreciate the truth. So be personal and truthful and bold – you’ll find it makes you easier for readers to trust you. I also recommend putting your photo in the sidebar of your blog. I’ve found that this helps the reader to imagine you speaking to them one-on-one. Make sure your readers can see that you are NOT the nameless, faceless generic opinion.
A side benefit of this is that when people contact you to do business with you, they’ll speak to you like they already know you. That’s one more leg up you’ll have on your competition.
When I’m choosing a topic for an epic piece, I tend to go very broad with my overall topic. However, my subheadings will sometimes go for miles. Write about a topic that will give you some mileage.
Outline your sections ahead of time and come up with cool or catchy subheadings. In a post that I wrote called 4 Simple Steps to Understanding Medicare, my topic is Medicare from a high-level view. This topic is so vast that it could probably run for 50,000 words. However, I know my readers won’t stick around for a post of that size.
So, I mapped out with pen and paper the top 10 questions we get asked by people New to Medicare, and then I worked backward to create my sections. Try to make each section be an answer to a burning question that you know your readers are asking themselves. You can probably come up with these pretty easily, but don’t hesitate to use Google Suggest or Quora to research common questions.
Sometimes I even use the questions themselves as my sub-headers. Doing this might result in you ranking for some long-tail keyword questions too.
Now I mentioned that 50,000 words would be overdoing it – especially on a topic as dry as Medicare insurance. (I hope, for your sakes, that your industry is juicier than mine!) On the other hand, though, what can you really accomplish with only 500 words? I strive to make my posts a minimum of 1200 words and preferably 2000 or more.
A longer post can deal with more questions than a shorter post can. This gives you more opportunity to land some real estate in the search engine rankings as well. Break up your content into paragraphs of only two or three sentences each. This type of layout will give make a longer post easier on the eyes.
Longer content also makes you unique. The majority of posts out there are far shorter, so when you come in with an epic long post, you stand out in the crowd. Anyone that can write 2000+ words about a topic is no novice, so long posts also establish your authority.
Lastly, long-form content makes it easy for you to repurpose that content. You can take your subheadings and create a Facebook Live or Youtube video on each of them. You can create “takeaway tweets” to use on Twitter. If you podcast, your blog sections can be turned into episodes.
So many benefits.
Use Stunning Original Images
Using stock photos is fine with you are a beginner. However, if you’ve been blogging for a while or if you are blogging in a crowded field, then I really encourage you to start creating your own images. I use Canva for this, and I think it’s the bomb. Believe me, I am no graphic designer. However, creating your own images with Canva is so easy that it almost becomes addictive.
It also sets you apart because everyone else is mostly still using the stock photo stuff.
Once you get good at it, challenge yourself to create some infographics for your site. Infographics are highly shareable and linkable content. You don’t have to create them super long like you see the professional graphic designers doing either. After all, you are just putting some color into your post to break up all those words.
I tend to favor square or rectangle infographics without too many words. The goal is to give my readers an image that communicates a concept at a glance. You can see an example on this page where I created a simple colorful graphic to demonstrate an enrollment period. Readers can look at this and in two seconds can visualize how that enrollment period works.
In the end, creating quality content is what makes blogging fun. Anyone can do things the easy way. Instead, be bold and be different. Color it up. Take a controversial stand. Tell what you really think, and don’t make it short.