For better or worse, catching people's attention is probably the most crucial component to a successful blog post. Or else, what's the point of a great post if nobody reads it? According to Google, the average internet user waits about three seconds before hitting the “back” button on his browser. That's it. That's how long you have to catch the average internet user's attention.
And can you blame the average internet user? The web is full of articles, infographics, videos, and, not to mention, pictures of animals. Why then should the casual reader spend more than three seconds on your content? Put another way, everyone's got a story. Why should anyone listen to yours? Therefore, before publishing, it's best to ask yourself, “Would I read this? Would I share this?” If the answer is “yes,” then keep typing.
Having an angle is really important, too. When I think of the word “angle,” I think of a point of view or a perspective, sure. But I also think of the word's literal meaning in geometry. I think of two lines meeting at one point. Great blogs have a perspective, but they're also often an intersection of subjects.
When I look at Young House Love, I can see it's a blog about home repair. But it's also about a family starting their life together. Trailer Park Karma is about food, but it's really about spirituality and the circumstances of life. Ecouterre is about fashion, but it's also about protecting the environment. These blogs are therefore not just about one thing. They're intersections. They're fuller stories. More often than not, people don't actually want to read about food, fashion, home design, or whatever. They want to read about how all of those things play into people's lives.
Another way to ensure quality blogging is to write with the right voice - and by that, I mean your own. All too often, people lose their voice when they write. It's as though the written word is seen as this precious thing that must be treated delicately. And, hey, look, the written word is a really great thing! But bloggers shouldn't be afraid to write how they speak. If you don't speak in long-winded sentences that run on and on, then why would you write like that? Blog posts don't have to win Pulitzers. But, they should be honest. Take for example, Flourish in Progress. This woman swears like a sailor! But, it feels honest. It feels like she probably speaks that way in her real life. Most importantly, it makes for a better read, not to mention a hilarious one.
Truthfully, anyone can learn the process of successful blog writing. Like most things, it comes with practice. It's like a muscle. The more it's used, the stronger it gets.
Thomas Hynes is manager of blogger relations at PR Newswire. You can find him on Twitter at @thomashynes.