We are bombarded by the statistics EVERYWHERE. “I get 200 newsletter sign ups a day!” “I make $300 while I sleep…every night”! “Last month, I earned $9,000 on affiliate marketing ALONE!”
You get stoked. You get signed up. You create opt-ins….and where does it get you?
In a blogging insane asylum. Lost in the waves of everyone else’s posts and successes.
Where did you go wrong? What makes your content so much less appealing than the other bloggers’?
I am SUPER stoked about this mini-series…because I THINK I’ve hit on something unique here! I began writing your basic “Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post” kinda thing, but realized that there are actually TWO different reasons for a successful post. There is voice, writing style, and WHAT the blogger says…and then there is the layout of the post itself! In other words…how the content is presented.
SO, in this first post…I am going to go over the aesthetics of writing an appealing blog post. We are going to talk about your writing style and voice, HOW you present certain things like Affiliate links, your imagery, and a little on your methods of marketing.
In the SECOND post, we are going to talk more about the anatomy of the post itself; where your affiliate links and opt-ins should go, formatting your post, disclosures, and more!
So…without further ado…
The Importance of Aesthetics In Your Blog Post
The Purpose of Your Post
Before you EVEN get started writing your post, you have determine what the purpose of the post is going to be. No…I don’t mean your topic…I mean what you want your readers to DO. For example, I know that with THIS series, (although there are affiliate links in the text) I want my readers to click the links to other blog posts…helping to lower my blog’s bounce rate! In addition, I want my readers to be excited to sign up for the badass download I give at the end…
You need to know EXACTLY what you want your readers to do, so that you can focus all of your energy on making that happen in a natural way. If you give your readers TOO many prominent options, they won’t have a clear idea of what they need to be doing next. LITERALLY TELL THEM IN YOUR TEXT!!! (I also include what I want them to do in the CTA (call to action) at the bottom of the post…but I’ll go over that in a bit!)
Do you want your readers to:
Sign up for your opt-in or newsletter?
Click affiliate links ?
Comment in answer to a question?
Share the post on FB, Twitter or Pinterest?
Sign up for your Facebook Group or Page?
Click another link to a post within your URL?
These are ALL great CTA’s…and EVERY post you write should be geared towards at least one of them!
Your Topic – What to Write
Watcha wanna write about? Now that you know what you want your reader to DO…you need to determine what you want them to READ! Perhaps you’ve already decided on your idea (I get my blogging ideas in the shower!), so this step is THAT much easier for you!
BUT, if you’re a little bit stumped on a topic…here a few ideas to get you rolling!
- Work Backwards – What is a problem your reader commonly suffers from? Can you break that problem down into a blog post and create an amazing opt-in to help them solve their problem?
- Is there a SERIOUSLY amazing program or website you’ve started using? (Bonus points if they have an affiliate program!) Write a post, with screenshots, about how you’ve improved your own business!
- “How-to” posts are AMAZING for generating interest! Is there something you are doing in your business (either with a product or how you run your biz) that you think your followers would love to see? Break it up into steps or bullet points!! (We are going to go over formatting in a sec.)
- Scan Pinterest!! I am NOT saying to copy another blog post…but Pinterest is a GREAT place to get ideas for new content in your industry AND gauge how popular the topic is!! Can you take a popular post and spin it in a unique and fun way for your audience?
- Re-work an older piece of content! – Did you post a video, write a blog post or send out a newsletter that had a better than average response rate? Can you create a blog series based on that? Elaborate on the topic and go into detail!! Remember…the more in depth, detailed and amazingly open your content is…the more your readers will love you. DON’T HOLD BACK YOUR BEST STUFF!!!
Your Writing Voice – Be Unique
THIS one is super important to me!!! It’s SO hard to do when you are just starting out in blogging…but it’s SO important!! Blogs are NOT about making money, getting sign ups or selling your products. Those are just cherries on the blogging cake. Since the advent of the diary…the purpose of journaling has NEVER changed. A journal is the documentation of a specific topic in a non-restrictive writer’s voice.
Readers DON’T read a blog unless it’s unique. I’ve read about a BAJILLION articles on Pinterest about “How I Gained 5 Billion Followers on Pinterest in 4 Weeks”. They are LITERALLY a dime a dozen. BUT, because of her voice and the way she presents her information, not only are Melyssa Griffin’s articles the best…but I PAID for her course on Pinterest!!! I knew that I would be able to connect with what she said and HOW she said it. (When I signed up, I knew there was a chance that I had already read the information she would give in her course….but I was SUPER, pleasantly surprised!!! Tons of unique traffic building info in this course…and it’s understatement to say that it’s changed my business!!)
Make sure you are writing in your own voice. The goal is to have your friends and family say “I could TOTALLY hear you saying that!” Yes…that can be difficult, but here are some tips to help you get there!
- Write with a pen and paper.
- Write in a program other than your WordPress platform.
- Read your post out loud when you are finished. (This not only helps you to find mistakes, but it lets you know when something you’ve read doesn’t sound natural and in your voice!)
- Everyday, do a simple writing exercise. It sounds counter-intuitive, but take your favorite blogger…and intentionally write 1-2 paragraphs in imitation of their voice! DO NOT PUBLISH THESE!!!! PERSONAL USE ONLY, PEOPLE!!! You’ll start to see a pattern in what is natural…and what is coming across as forced.
How to Present an Affiliate Link
A lot of people make the mistake (the first go around) thinking that affiliate links are specifically for making the blogger money. YES…if used correctly, that is the case! BUT, if affiliate links are NOT working for you, you need to change how you are thinking about them. First step? Delete all of those links for products that you’ve never used before. I know…you’re asking yourself, “But what about that $4.25 I could be missing out on if someone buys the “How Train Your Dog to Skateboard” e-book??…What if that post it’s on goes viral??”
Nix that thought!! The key to a GREAT affiliate link is to have used the product for yourself…and to recommend it because you stand behind it. If you are collecting affiliate links like baseball cards…you’re doin’ it all wrong!!!
Your list of affiliates should be:
Directly related to your niche and your post’s topic
Loved and used by you with success
Current!! Don’t be recommending an e-book from 5 years ago that is completely out of date!
If they do NOT fall under those categories…delete them from your sidebar and unlink them from your posts. They are doing you NO good…and readers can smell a sales pitch from a mile away!
Alrighty…now that you’ve got your house cleaning finished, it’s time to repopulate those posts and sidebars! If you take a look at the sidebar to the right of this post…I have ONE affiliate link for a Pinterest system that I use (Boardbooster) that has doubled my re-pins and my blog traffic!! I recommend it more than ANY other tool in my arsenal….and their affiliate program isn’t even for money!! It’s for credit! My Boardbooster account ends up being free simply due to the traffic it gets from blog posts and the sidebar.
My sidebar is NON cluttered…simple…and pleasing to read. This makes my buttons in the sidebar stand out even more! It also makes my blog less intimidating to readers.
Of course, making a profit may still be on your affiliate agenda…and that’s perfectly ok!!! It’s on mine too!!! My general rule is that every blog post I write, MUST include 1-2 affiliate links. This is usually pretty easy, since my affiliates directly relate to the topics I write on.
When I put an affiliate link the text of my post…I include in the affiliate’s paragraph:
WHY I am recommending them
Any statistics that prove why they are an AMAZING product
How I used the product for my own business!
All three of these are SUPER important!!!!!! Your affiliate recommendation should be natural…and there for a reason!!! For example, in my blog post “My Webinar Only Had One Attendee…”, I include a section with the tools I use to put my webinars together. Two of those tools are affiliate links! In one paragraph, I talk about one my favorite new Twitter tools…twitter cards!! It’s a completely free service that Twitter provides…but my account with ConvertKit (my newsletter peeps whom I want to marry and have children with) connects seamlessly with the system and allows me to create sign ups for my opt-ins DIRECTLY in twitter!! My conversion rate has gone through the roof!!
I don’t preach about ConvertKit and why my readers should buy them…I simply tell my readers one of the reasons why I love them!
Creating a Converting Title
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t have this one at the TOP of this list. After all…an amazing post title is what generates interest, right? RIGHT!! No denying that!! A title that evokes some sort of emotion in your readers is what’s going to get them to click in the first place…BUT, in order to WRITE your amazing title, you need to focus on your content and your reason for the post FIRST. After you’ve written your post, you should spend 10-20 minutes focused SOLELY on the quality and catchiness of your title.
One of my favorite tools (not an affiliate…just a fan!) is the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. You type in your headline…and it scores it as well as gives you suggestions on how to improve your headline with emotional and impactful words.
So what do I mean by “emotional” headlines? No…I don’t mean you have to go all “The Notebook” on them. All you need to do, is make them FEEL something!!
What reverberates more with you:
How to Write a Newsletter OR Keeping Your Newsletter Out of Spam Folders
Uncork Your Dork Downloads Library OR Get Access to A Library of the Best Blog Traffic Downloads
My Favorite 7 Bloggers OR These Seven Bloggers Will Change Your Business
Tip: you can create multiple headline images for Pinterest and see which headlines convert the best!!
The goal with your title should be THREE things…
1) Telling them what problem you will be solving,
2) Evoking an emotion of “want”, “need”, “curiosity”, “agreement” or even “disagreement” and
3) Including your long tailed keyword (which we will go over in Post #2)
Using Branded Imagery
JUST as important as your title, is the image you use to represent your post! You should be using an image template that is recognizable across all social media platforms. I’ve created my template in Canva…so all I have to do for each post is head over there, use the template with the color scheme I’m going for, update the title and change the background image! It takes about 3 minutes per image…if that.
Once that’s done, I upload these images into my Social Warfare widget (see that pink share bar at the bottom of the screen?) and now whenever someone wants to share my post…they share a BRANDED image instead of a screen shot in my post! One of my biggest reasons for re-pins and traffic on Pinterest has been the instantly recognizable images that represent my writing!
Psychologically speaking, when a reader reads a post that looks clean, branded and professional, they are more likely to want to share it and believe in what that person is saying.
For example…let’s say you are taking a stroll the city. You walk by a disheveled guy in the streets who is holding up a cardboard sign that reads “Aliens Have Landed in Chicken, Alaska!” (real place). Would you believe him? Or would you just keep walking…trying to find that Michael Kohrs you KNOW is around there somewhere.
Now…let’s say you are sitting in your living and you turn on the evening news. There is our commander in chief…large and in charge on your tv screen. “Fellow countrymen…aliens have landed in Chicken, Alaska!” Granted…you’d giggle, BUT…you’d probably take it a bit more seriously than the guy on the street corner! The president is branded…well put together…and professional. He is BELIEVABLE.
SO…don’t be the cardboard holding blogger!! Give your readers your message in a branded and beautiful way!
Creating Kick Ass/Unique Downloads
I have a lil’ headsup for you bloggers that think you’re all smart n’ such. APB: YOUR READERS ARE SMARTER THAN YOU!!!!!
For the LOVE all things pizza, STOP creating crappy downloads that you think will lure your readers into giving you their email address! My general rule of thumb, is that I only create downloads that I would feel good about attaching a price tag to! The price tag may only be $4-$6…but it’s a price tag.
Ask yourself these questions about your download idea:
How much would you charge for this?
How will your readers use this?
How can you add more value?
Not gonna lie…worksheets and checklists are the MOST useful, and the most highest converting opt-ins in my arsenal. My 21 Day SEO Checklist and SEO Assessment Worksheets have been kicking ass and taking names. The common denominator between the two? I use them both in my OWN business!
I recommend designing your download in Canva! This way…all of your future downloads are branded in a similar fashion, PLUS they are easily editable if you find mistakes or outdated information.
I ALSO recommend creating your opt-in AFTER you’ve written your blog post! Take notes while you write…and create a worksheet or checklist that will help your readers solve their problem even more!!
Bottom line is, you’ll get ten times the conversions if YOU are proud of the opt-in as well!
Pretty Opt-In Ads
Again…it’s all about convincing your reader that you are legit!! You need to prove to them that you are polished, branded and organized! THIS will convince them that you know what you’re talking about!! Canva is one of the BEST tools I’ve ever used for this. Every time you create a new ad, blog image or website component, you’ll be able to get an overview of how branded your imagery is!!
If I create something in Canva that stands out like a sore thumb…I redesign it or kill the idea all together. That being said…Canva is where I design my click through ads! They’ve been through a few different redesigns over the past few months…but I’ve finally fallen in love with two designs that work across the board for both branding and conversion.
In every post, you’ll see a yellow bar that starts with “BONUS:” and then a 2-3 sentence description of the opt-in they will get and what it will do to help them! No images…just a bonus bar. For example…
This is a SUPER simple, super easy to find image for the reader. It sets expectations in every post. See the yellow bar? Grab the epic, problem solving download!
The other opt-in I do is a full blown ad for the video library. Wanna see?
I’ve found that people want to see ME when it comes to the video library…since it’s not on my site and I’ll be teaching it LIVE, onscreen…this ad gives a MUCH more personal touch.
Again, it’s yellow! I want people to know that although this is a SPECIAL opt-in…it’s still an opt-in!! Basic rule of thumb on this website…is if it’s yellow…it’s a download!
I want to make sure my opt-in images are INSTANTLY recognizable, so these are the two that I use across the board for every post. It helps to streamline the time it takes me to create new images…as well as helping my reader to find the download amongst the massive amounts of text I write. (Holy shit!! This post is 3,000 words long!!!!)
Depending on the length of the post, I’ll include the big one once…and the yellow 1-2 times throughout the text.
Craft a Unique CTA
Finally….we are onto the Call to Action, or CTA as we “professional”, hoity toity, pinkie’s up bloggers like to say. (We secretly just like people asking “What’s a CTA?” because acronyms are cool.) Your Call to Action is simply a sentence or two telling your readers what they should do next!!
What was it, in step one, that you wanted your readers to do from the beginning? THIS is what you’re going to tell your customers to do in the end! For example, I want you guys to click around on all of the links above and check out the other related posts (and of, course Part 2 of this series)! I want you to get AS MUCH information out of all of this FREAKIN’ HUMONGOUS POST as possible!!!
I ALSO want you to download the opt-in I put together for you! So, my CTA at the bottom of my post will look something like:
I have LOVED putting this together for you guys…and can’t wait for you to check out all of the links above!!! Go ahead….open a crap ton of new tabs. 🙂 I won’t judge. I know this was a TON of information, so be sure you download the “How to Write a Converting Blog Post: Part 1” download!! I turned this post into a super easy to use cheatsheet/checklist just for you! Until next time!!!!!
You know…something like that. Make it fun and non-robotic and your readers will LOVE helping you out!!!
Well…now I’m confused. I already put my CTA above, so now I feel like I don’t have a way to end this post…
So….uuuuum….do the stuff I said up there and head over to the second half of this Series when you’re ready! We’ll be covering the technical anatomy of a kick ass, converting post! (Think long tailed keywords, Affiliate Disclosure, formatting, length, and what to do with those conversions!).
Yeah…that works! 🙂