2. Subtitle (optional, depending on the situation)
3. Summary or Description
7. Keywords or Tags
Here’s a breakdown of your blog post writing template:
1. The title
Your title is about 90% of the article’s grabbing power. It needs to let the reader know what’s in it for him. It needs to let the reader know his question will be answered, his problem will be solved, or his need will be fulfilled. It needs to entice the reader to move into the article’s subtitle or introduction. It’s the attention ‘getter.’ In other words, it sparks enough interest for the reader to pause a moment to see what the article is about.
Here are 5 examples of effective titles:
-Lose Weight – Shed 5 Pounds in 10 Days
-Make Money Online Starting Today
-Write a Book in Under 30 Days
-Employee Incentive Plans Work – 5 Tips on Creating an Effective Plan Today
-Has Your Website Been Hacked? Five Steps to Ensure it Doesn’t Happen Again
All five titles above let the reader know what’s in it for him or what he can learn, and four of them have a time element. This makes them effective.
Also, notice that each title is keyword effective.
2. The subtitle
The subtitle elaborates on the title. It gives more information, further motivating the read to read on. You may or may not include a subtitle; it will depend on the situation. If you do use a subtitle, be sure to include effective and relevant keywords.
Using the title above, Employee Incentive Plans Work – 5 Tips on Creating an Effective Plan Today, below is a possible subtitle:
Recent studies show that employee incentive plans foster an increase in worker productivity
Notice how I bring ‘studies’ into it and include two effective keywords for this particular niche. It’s all about optimizing where and when you can, without overdoing it.
3. The Summary
Whether you’re using article directories or posting to your own blog, a summary or description is an optimization tool. Most directories require one. And, Blogger and WordPress provide an option to input it. Whenever there is an option to enhance optimization, USE IT.
The summary is a brief, two to five sentence paragraph. It should be keyword effective and give the gist of the article. The idea is to make it enticing, motivating the reader to want more information.
4. The Introduction
The introduction is the deal maker. It’s what will turn attention to interest. In the introduction you need to discuss the problem the reader is having. This should, hopefully, be done with empathy and credibility.
Using the fifth title example above, Has Your Website Been Hacked, here is a brief introduction:
If you have a website the chances of it being hacked are increasing daily. Hackers have sophisticated programs that will keep trying passwords and user names until they get in. It’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to some of you. And, it’s one big PAIN!
Due to this problem, you need to protect your website. You need to take steps to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to gain access to your site.
Below are five easy steps to make your website a fortress.
Notice how I make the connection with the reader and empathize with her. Then I let her know I have a solution to the problem in five easy steps. She’ll have to read on to get the solution.
5. The body
The body of your article is the meat and potatoes of the topic – it’s the main course. It’s where you explain how to do it. It’s where you’ll list the steps to getting it done.
The important element in the body of the article is to fulfill the title and introduction’s promise. Using the Introduction example above, if you mentioned in the title and introduction that you’ll give the reader ‘five steps to help protect his website, then you must have five steps that will help the reader attain the success or results you promised.
Along with having it fulfill your promises, you need to make sure the content is organized, easy to understand, engaging, and shareable. And, most of all, make sure all the information needed to accomplish what your promise is there.
If you leave out an important step or tip, the reader won’t be able to accomplish what you promised he would.
6. The conclusion
In the conclusion you will paraphrase what the article was about. You’ll want to note the important takeaway points.
You might also engage the reader further by asking one or more questions. Going back to the introduction sample content above, you might ask the reader if she has any tips for protecting websites from hackers, or if she’s found a specific program/plugin that does the trick.
Further engaging the reader with questions motivates her to leave a comment.
7. Keywords / Tags
Keywords are an optimization tool and should be used with every post or article you create. Article directories have sections to add keywords, and so does Blogger and WordPress and other hosting services.
Keywords allow search engines, such as Google, to find, index, and categorize your website and your content. It allows the search engines to answer a search query with your link. This is an important factor in online marketing.
As an example, the keywords I will use for this article are: blogging, content marketing, blog post tips, blog post template, and maybe video.
8. The Bio / Tag
Yes, the bio or tag should be a standard component of each and every post or article you write. Don’t assume because you’re posting to your own site that the visitor will know it’s you who wrote the content. Make it clear by including a brief bio or tag.
One of my tags is:
Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor
Your Content Writing Prescription
(Content Writing Services and Training for Small and Home Businesses)
It’s only three lines, but tells it all. The reader and potential client quickly knows what I’m offering and what it can do for him. It answers the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) question.
And, be sure to link to the site you want to bring traffic. This would usually be your landing page or squeeze page.
Images and Video
While the eight elements of an article or post mentioned above are standard, there are other elements you need to add to your content to make it more effective and engaging.
One element is images. People love visuals. You might include one relevant to the topic or you might use screenshots to aid in understanding.
The other must-use tool is video. For further reader comprehension, you might link to a video or include it in the body of your article. Or, you can create a video blog post. Video is super-powerful!
Summing it up
If you have a product, service, or just want visibility for another reason, you need to do content marketing – you need to write articles for your blog and/or for article directories and guest posts. There’s no way of getting around it. This blogging template should help your create your articles quicker and easier.