6 steps to writing the perfect blog post

Blogging is an essential tool for marketers looking to increase brand awareness of products and services.

It helps drive traffic to your site, can establish you as an authority on particular topics, and is great for driving long-term results. For example, 70 per cent of Hubspot's traffic each month comes from posts that weren't published that month.

When converting leads is the name of the game, marketers have to use all of the tools at their disposal. So how can you write the perfect blog post?

Get the headline right

Conventional wisdom dictates headlines should be no longer than six words, with the goal to grab attention. Keeping it to around 55 characters will also help with SEO, as this means the entire title will show on search engine results pages. Around 80 per cent of people will read a headline, but only 20 per cent actually finish the article. This underlines how important it is to use a headline that is creative and eye-catching. It should either be useful, develop a sense of urgency or be unique. Feel free to use numbers, negatives or pose questions in order to attract readers.

Focus on the intro

Getting people to read on is just the start, as they will be let down if there is no substance behind the style of the headline. This is where storytelling comes in, as marketers should spend time making sure the first three of four paragraphs draw the reader in. Alex Turnbull, founder and CEO of Groove, told Buffer that using storytelling led to a 300 per cent increase in readers for blog posts. Whether it is using a personal anecdote or including an epiphany, it's clear that storytelling works.

The power of images

Visuals are processed up to 60,000 times faster than text, so a compelling image is a great way to retain interest and break up the text. It can also be used to reinforce the main point of the blog in a creative way. Research has found that consumers prefer fewer characters per line when it comes to snap decisions, as the text is easier to comprehend and appears to the reader as less complex. In short, readers are more likely to be convinced of the text if your blog post has a compelling image in the top right or left hand side.

The value of sub-headings

People are known to scan content online, with the typical heat map showing an F shape. This means breaking up your content with subheadings - which act as signposts for the future direction of the blog - is a very good idea. These can be bolded or underlined to emphasise their importance and act as the perfect vehicle for moving the story forward.

Call to actions

The main aim of business blogs is to push people further down the sales journey. Including a couple of call to actions (CTAs) offers readers the opportunity to do just this, as they can either endorse the content or find out more information on your site. Good CTAs include a 'click to tweet' quote button, or an opportunity to subscribe to the site in return for personal details. Remember, you're looking to boost brand awareness and get as many readers as possible.

Content is king

While you're rightly concerned with structure, formatting, image selection and the use of CTAs, the content itself should still be able to stand on its own. Crafting highly-engaging and thought-provoking blog posts is not easy, so marketers should always be looking for ways to personalise big ideas and make them relatable for your target audience. Research shows that blog posts of at least 1,500 words will get more shares, but there is no set rule. Take as many words as you need to tell your story.