Great blog content is so key in growing your blog and obtaining a readership. It makes sense really, if there is nothing good to read, no one will read it! This post will not tell you what to write about (because there are all types of blogs out there that connect with all types of people that cover all types of topics), but it will talk about three key components to a great blog post: Pictures, Passion, and Questions.
ALWAYS ADD A PICTURE
I know, this is (mostly) a grown up world here but you blog should not be a chapter book (all words, no images!) We need pictures, colors, guidance. the picture is the first thing that catches the eye. It lets your readers know if something is worth or not worth reading. Think of it as a book cover – I know they say you cannot judge a book by its cover – but if nothing draws you to pick up the book and read the synopsis, you may never read the book!
Also, a great way to connect your blog to new readers is through Pinterest! When you have a picture in your posts, your readers can pin it on their Pinterest boards to help remember to come back to it later or to share the post with other readers! I pin all the time to so that I can remember to come back to the post! I also love pinning post that encourage or inspire me so that others may be encouraged and inspired!
YOUR OWN PICTURE…
Yes, pictures are so important in a blog post and I think it is best to use your own picture(s) for a couple reasons.
- Because we want to get to know you! It is fun to see how you view the world, the coffee shops you go to, the things you where, the family you have. while there are times and places to use other pictures, make sure majority of them are yours! Pictures are not reserved for only professional photographers! Do you have a cell phone, an instagram, or a digital camera? Get snapping! You might find that you enjoy it and start seeing “picturesque moments.”
- You have to be so careful about copyright and using other pictures without permission. Even if you are linking back to Pinterest or the source, you can still find yourself sued if the picture owner is not happy. You can read more about all those details here on Natalie’s blog (Thoughts by Natalie). I really think it is better to be safe than sorry and respectful than non-respectful. When you find yourself in need of that perfect picture you cannot create on your own, there are plenty of pictures that are free and available for use! Death to the Stalk Photo is a great site filled with beautiful pictures that are available for free use.
WRITE WITH PASSION
Here is where all the content goes. You have your beautiful/ meaningful/ attention grabbing picture pulling readers in and now you share with them! This part is the easy part because you just need to write about what you want to write about! It is obvious when a blogger is trying to write about a topic they are not necessarily passionate about or write with a tone that is not their own. Not everyone needs to be serious, witty, sarcastic, detailed, or dramatic (but some people should!) It always just ends up awkward when you see that disconnect in the writing and the writer.
Write in a way that you are passionate about and write about what you are passionate about. I love clothes and the GAP. I was so afraid of doing an outfit post because I never shopped at any high fashioned boutiques and I usually just copy the mannequins that I see in the store. Once I realized that I could do an outfit post with just me and the clothes I wear, it was freeing! (and they received a much better response!) It is evident when you enjoy and own how you write and what you write about. That honestly and authenticity will be attractive to the type of readers you want to draw in!
END WITH A QUESTION
If you want to engage with your readers you need to engage them! If you are doing an outfit post, ask them what their go to winter item is. If you are doing a weekend post, ask them what their favorite part of the weekend was. Continue dialogue by inviting your readers to talk to you! Some might not feel like “great post” is a comment worth typing but they might be inspired to leave a comment saying “My current favorite artist is Of Monsters and Men! – Great post! I always love your writing!” when you ask them what their current favorite music is these days. Blog community is a lot like real life community – you cannot always be the talker, you need to ask questions, and you need to read (and respond) to the answers!
- Make inspirations & Pinterest finds a treat. It may be easy to create a collection of things you want to buy on etsy or home pictures you love on Pinterest but we want more than your wish lists! Inspiration boards are inspirational when they come occasionally – we want to see you put those inspirations into reality! When your blog is just collection after collection, we wonder who you are and what you are passionate about. Content is so important. I know I skip on blogs that are packed with inspiration boards and giveaways because I feel like I have no idea who the blogger really is! You can rock the inspiration boards if that is your thing but we want more than that, we want your voice, your story, and your pictures too.
- Only endorses brands you love. This is so easy to fall into at first and such a turn off for me. It will not take long before all kinds of companies are emailing you asking you to review their products, post about their new collection, giveaway a gift card and coupon code to their shop, etc. These things are all great and exciting but you do not need to say yes to everything! Only say yes to the products that you like and you think your readers will like. Sounds simple enough but I know how hard it is to turn down free product or money! I had the opportunity to make a significant amount of money by posting about college text books but I ended up turning it down because I was not in that place of life anymore (I graduated college in 2010) and I felt like it would be unauthentic to write a post about how much I loved their company when I would never use it. It was not a bad company, just a bad fit for me. Be okay with saying no to companies that do not fit your style. Your blog content will suffer when you say yes to everything and your blog will become one big unauthentic ad. Advertising is great, just make sure you are sharing products you truly love and think your readers will benefit from knowing about!
Related: Create a Blogging Income