Hopefully you’re taking a comprehensive approach to content marketing and inbound marketing: creating and promoting great marketing content, connecting with your target audience through a variety of social media channels, continually fine-tuning your website copy and landing pages, and coordinating all your efforts through a marketing automation tool like HubSpot. If you are, your blog posts are just one element of your strategy. Consequently, you may simply be “cranking them out” to keep the content flowing. However, failing to give these important communiques the attention they deserve means you may be missing out on the tremendous awareness and engagement benefits they can produce.
Formula for the Perfect Post
If you want to get the most out of your blog posts (and of course you do!), here are some characteristics that are proven to increase readership and engagement:
- Concise, compelling headline. Readers have a short attention span. You’ve only got 5–8 seconds to grab their attention or they’re gone. The advice on headline length varies depending on the expert, but 60–70 characters and 8–14 words are a good bet. Are your headlines boring? Too long? If so, you want to correct that going forward.
- Meta description. This verbiage doesn’t show up in the post itself, but instead is displayed in search results to give a potential reader an idea of what the post is about. The optimal length is around 150 characters. Like your headline, your meta description should be a powerful tease that makes the reader want to click the link and check out the post. Many companies don’t pay enough attention to these descriptions. Does yours?
- Enticing image. The featured image for your post usually sits at the top and is meant to intrigue or maybe amuse the reader. It doesn’t have to be literal (e.g. a screenshot of a blog post in a blog post about blog posts!). In fact, if it takes a split second for the reader to make the connection between the image and the topic, that “aha” moment is a good thing! Are your pics making a positive contribution to the reader experience? Avoid clip art, opting instead to use quality photos... and some branding consistency in the image is often a good idea.
- Easily digested intro. Next you want to hook the reader by explaining the content of the post clearly and in a way that’s interesting and engaging. If you make a reader “hunt” for what the post is about, they will quickly find something else to read. Are you introducing your posts with concise and catchy verbiage?
- Body copy of varying lengths. Here again, research has provided mixed results on the ideal length for blog posts. Some say short posts (i.e. 350 words) attract more readers. Others say long posts (2,000+ words) do. From our perspective, a combination of quick hitters and longer reads is the way to ensure you attract both kinds of readers. Are you providing an appealing mix to your readers?
- Reading “helpers.” Anything you can do to make it easier for someone to read your posts will help grow your audience. Interesting subheads and bulleted key points are crucial. Are your posts made up of one long paragraph after another?
- Facts and figures. People find data (like the word/character counts we’ve provided in this post) helpful. If there are stats you can include in your post, you should do so.
Boosting Your Content Marketing with Better Blog Posts
Our teams in Colorado Springs, CO, Springfield, MO, and Olympia, WA, help clients nationwide develop effective inbound marketing strategies and optimize all aspects of them, from implementing and fine-tuning HubSpot to providing input on social media campaigns and content creation. As a leading HubSpot partner in Colorado Springs, we’ve got the skills and experience to help you achieve your marketing objectives.