Good writing is good rewriting.
We’re all writer’s here. We all know this famous quote and how true it is.
Not only is it true for books and articles in print. It’s also true for blog posts.
Knowing how to edit and rewrite your blog posts is the difference between a blog that languishes in obscurity and one that truly takes off.
If you want to get more traffic to your blog posts; if you want your blog posts to be shared on social media; or if you want your blog posts to generate sales, you need to know how to rewrite your blog posts effectively.
Master the rewrite and your blog will take off. It’s that simple.
But just how exactly do you edit and rewrite a blog post? Throughout my career as a content creator and copywriter I’ve found that certain editing and rewriting style can significantly boost your blog posts. These tricks will generate traffic and lead to shares and sales.
Let’s take a look.
Here are the key edits and rewrites you need to write a great blog post
Start by writing a well written blog post
If you’re reading this post you’re probably a writer. Most of the visitors to my blog are either writers or content creators. Either way, you probably know a lot about writing already, and you’re probably a pretty talented writer, yes?
Being a talented writer, you will already know how to write a good blog post in terms of traditional writing. You know how to write good headlines. You understand the technical aspects of writing. And you know how to craft a compelling article.
By knowing how to write a good article you know how to write a good blog post. But a great blog post is different.
If you’re going to write a great blog post, a blog post that is effective at generating traffic, sales, and shares, you need to know the tricks of the internet and of social media. That’s what the rest of this article is about.
I’m going to assume that you have a blog post (actually go and open a blog post right now and work with me through the rest of this article).
I’m guessing your blog post is interesting, well written, and deserves to do well online. But I’m also guessing that you would like your blog post to get more traffic, more shares, and more sales.
Here are some excellent ways that you can achieve precisely that….
How to turn your well-written article into a blog post that will succeed online
1. Let’s cover the basics first. To write a blog post that gets traffic, you need to do SEO
The first step we’re going to take is to make your blog post have good SEO.
If you don’t know about SEO, let me fill you in real quick. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process through which webmasters and content creators help their content to rank higher in search engines like Google.
SEO is a deep field (if you would like to discuss it with me, please email me at PaulH@PMHarrison.com).
But thankfully, it’s relatively easier to get to a reasonable level of SEO with just a little know-how.
To start with, you’ll want to write out the keyword you’re targeting. Make it a longtail keyword (a phrase with four or more words in it). This is the term you want Google to rank you for. When people enter this term into Google you want to come up top of this list. (Again, I’m covering the basics here, so if you already know SEO feel free to skip forward a little).
Once you have your keyword term write a list of related terms. These are all phrases you’re going to include in your article.
For instance, if you’re writing about the topic of this blog post (How To Write A Good Blog Post), you might also include:
Writing effective blog posts
Writing blog posts that generate sales
Writing blogs posts that get shared
Writing blog posts for social media
And so on.
Write your article around these phrases and you’ll have more chance of being discovered in search engines. This is a very basic overview of the most important aspect of SEO. There certainly is much more to SEO, and you can learn more from great blogs like Search Engine Land. For now though, let’s just say that you should target a specific keyword and write your article around that.
2. Once you’ve included your search keywords and related terms you’ll want to think about internal linking and external linking.
Another of the basics. Internal linking helps people discover more of your site (and also helps your SEO) and external linking helps with your networking (and SEO, again).
Personally I like to reread my articles and highlight parts of them that to be converted either external links or internal links.
The internal links are easy. Simply link to the relevant parts of your own blog.
The external links are more interesting. These external links do two things. Firstly, they allow your users to find relevant information online, which helps to improve the overall quality of your blog (and also increases your dwell time, which will improve your search rankings).
External links also help you to connect to other bloggers. Linking to another site is a lot like nudging someone on the elbow to say “Hey, how’s it going?” You’re opening a line of communication. By linking out to other sites you will make the owners of those sites aware of you. This is great for networking, and it also produces backlinks. Those bloggers will link back to you, and their links will improve your SEO and will generate traffic. It’s a win / win. Michael Martinez has a great article about external linking on SEO-Theory.
With these points you’ll improve your performance in the search engines. Whoopie! But SEO really is just the beginning of this article.
We’re much more interested in writing blog posts that generate real results for you and your blog. To do that we need to consider social media marketing, branding, and promotion.
We’re going to boost our branding and our social media networking through effective blogging. To do that we’re going to refer to the three key elements of sharing, as defined by researcher William C Schutz in “A Three Dimensional Theory Of Interpersonal Behaviour”.
3. The first point Mr Schutz tells us about effective blogging is that you have to make your blog reflect a positive personality in the reader
Your blog reflects your reader. Every time someone likes your Facebook page they are not liking your Facebook page.
Well, they are. But the truth, as always, runs deep. Because not only are they liking your Facebook page, they are liking an aspect of their own personality that they want to develop.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re one of the many Facebook pages that talks about being kind and compassionate. People like pages like this because they want to think about themselves as being kind and compassionate people, and they want other people to know that they are kind and compassionate.
If your blog posts reflects a positive aspect of the reader that they want to develop in themselves, they will like it.
So how in the hotcakes do you pull that off, Batman?
Simple, Robin; you write in a way that says, “People who read this article are [insert positive attribute].
Take science blogs, for example.
Have you seen how popular science blogs have become? Do you know why science blogs have become so popular? It isn’t because people actually care about science. Most of the people who like science blogs couldn’t explain string theory to you. That’s not what they care about.
What those readers care about is that they fell intelligent and they look intelligent to others.
Important difference. Because you could write the most ingenious science article in the world and people will not like it unless it makes them feel and look intelligent.
If you want to take off on social media you have to become a positive reflection of your reader. Your job is essentially to send the message “This reader is awesome because they read my blog.”
So let’s succeed in this. And let’s do it the smart way. Here’s the smart way:
1) Find out what your readers want to feel like
2) Find out what your readers want to look like
3) Write your blog in such a way that it makes your readers feel and look how they want to feel and look.
There are lots of great writers online. But many of them don’t grasp these three points.
One of the main reasons why truly talented writers don’t succeed on social media is because they talk at people.
Let’s say you’re writing your science article and it’s amazing, but you’re writing it in such a way that it’s very clear that you are the genius and your readers are not.
You’re going to fail.
You’re going to fail because you’re not making the reader feel and look the way they want to feel and look.
Now rewrite your science article. Write it in such a way that it says “My readers are very intelligent people”. Bingo. You just went viral.
So which positive attributes should you reflect? Depends on your niche. However, there are a few universal traits that we all appreciate. Everyone likes being popular. Everyone likes being intelligent. Everyone likes being funny. If you include those three traits in your writing your blog post will perform well.
4. Next, your blog post should show that your reader cares about specific people and groups
Remember, your blog post is a reflection of your reader. With that in mind, you want your blog posts to show that your reader cares about specific groups and specific people.
Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about parenting. Your readers want to be seen as loving parents. When they share your posts on social media they want your post to carry the message “This person is a caring parent because they shared this post”.
Let’s make it a little more specific. Instead of the title “Kids with ADHD are a nightmare for parents”, write “Why parents of ADHD children are more patient and caring than the rest”. These articles may very well say the exact same things in the actual body of the text, but the first title says something negative about the family, and the second title says something positive. Naturally the second title will generate considerably more shares than the first. The first post suggests that parents of ADHD children don’t enjoy being parents. The second says that they are better parents than everyone else.
Make sure your posts say “This person cares about the people in their lives and the groups they belong to”.
To succeed here, you’ll want to determine precisely what groups and people matter most to your readers. Sometimes this is easy—when people care for family, friends, etc. But sometimes it’s more challenging. What, exactly, do people who read about gardening care about?
I chose gardening because I know nothing about it, and I fancied a challenge, so this might not be quite right. However, I’d guess that people who read about gardening care about their homes, and by extension they care that the people around them live comfortably. They probably also enjoy nature. So, to succeed on a gardening blog you will need to write your blog posts in such a way that they say “My readers care about their homes, their family, and nature” and you will want to communicate that message in everything you write.
5. Once you’ve rewritten your blog posts to show a positive side of your readers, and to show that they care, you will want to make your readers feel as though they belong to a specific group.
The third point in Schutz’s seminal research paper is that people want to belong to groups. We identify ourselves by the groups we belong to. Writers belong in the creative group. Webmasters belong in the tech group. And so on.
When you understand what groups your readers want to belong to you should make them feel that following your blog brings them closer into the group.
So how do you do that?
Let’s say for example you’re writing about video games. Your readers want to belong to the happening gaming scene. They want to be involved in gaming. In fact, gaming is such a broad market that your readers will want to belong to a specific group within that market, which is usually defined by the genre of games they play.
Once you’ve determined which groups your readers want to belong to you have to carry the message liking my blog will make you more a part of that group.
This is where things get tricky, because your blog could carry people more towards their group or away from that group, even when you’re discussing the same subject.
Let’s return to the video games for a moment. Let’s say your readers are hardcore gamers who want to be appreciated for their in-game skill. If you put out a game guide that is clearly intended for beginners, you’re going to put your readers off, because in effect your blog article is moving them more towards the beginner gamer group than the advanced gamer group.
Determine what group your readers want to belong to, and making so that following you brings them closer to that group.
6. Make your blog sell yourself
Odds are you’re using your blog to sell yourself and not just to amass followers or increase traffic.
Many of the points we’ve already covered will help to sell you as an individual. But you should also make your blog post actually introduce yourself to your readers.
To introduce yourself to your readers it’s a good idea to include some backstory or information about yourself.
No one likes overly promotional people. Well, maybe Dwayne Johnson gets away with it. But for the most part we don’t take kindly to overly self promotional people. Too much self promotion just says “I only care about me”.
Many beginner marketers try to be too forthright. Visit the average blog consultant and they’ll immediately tell you “I help consult bloggers on how to blog better”. But their readers just say “Eh. Self promotion. Yuck”.
What I’ve personally learnt from my own blog consultations is that people prefer it if you’re subtle.
Do not use overt marketing or self promotion. Bring yourself into the picture subtly. One of the best ways to do that, in my experience is to use yourself as a way to communicate or substantiate the points you’re making. If, for example, you’re writing about weight loss, you don’t want to say “I lost weight because I ran a marathon, yay me!”
You might want to say “Running has been proven to burn hundreds of calories, as I personally learnt while training for a marathon”. This sentence subtly introduces yourself as evidence of the point you’re making. A subtle but important difference. Toby Nwazor wrote a great article on subtle self promotion for Entrepeneur.com, I recommend it.
So, to market yourself in your article, be subtle. Use your life experience to substantiate and reinforce the points you’re making. And make sure that everything you say about yourself communicates all the positive personality traits that we’ve covered above.
7. Finally, make your blog posts actionable
In my opinion one of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is that they don’t place their actionable content in an optimum position.
Social networking buttons, for instance. Where do you put them?
Lots of people just put them at the top of their website because it’s a convenient spot. And they hope people will see them. But honestly, when you started reading this did you think “Where’s the LIKE button?” No. You thought, “How do I write more effective blog posts?” And then you started reading this article.
If my social networking buttons were at the top of the page you would have ignored them.
To make things more effective you should make your actionable content an integrated part of your complete post.
So where’s the best place to put them? Maybe here :
I mean you can’t miss that, right?
And what about those ebooks that you’re trying to sell? Should you use a pop-up for those?
No. Because you didn’t come here thinking “Where do I buy Paul Harrison’s ebook?” You came here thinking “How do I write better blog posts?”
And you’re still reading this. So while I’m sitting here wanting you to read my ebook, you’re still reading this article on how to write better blog posts.
So where do I put my ebook so you’ll read it?
I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what. If you want to succeed with your blog posts you will want to read this free ebook about How To Build Your Author Platform. Heh.
You’re writing one thing. Your readers are thinking about that one thing. So if you want people to perform specific actions, you have to integrate those actions into the thing that they’re doing. So that if you want to market your consultation practice, simply put in your article If you want to discuss anything on this page contact me at PaulH@PMHarrison.com.
And that’s my guide to writing good blog posts.
Phew! What a journey. How about we recap everything using a cheat sheet?…
The Good-Post-Writing Cheat Sheet
1. Write a well-written article.
2. Decide on the primary keyword you’re targeting
3. Write a list of related keywords
4. Run SEO on your blog posts using those keywords
5. Use internal links to increase page views
6. Use external links for networking
7. Remember that your post is a reflection of your readers. Make them look and feel how they want to look and feel.
8. Determine who / what your readers care about (or what they want other people to think they care about). Make your blog post reflect that.
9. Determine what groups your readers want to belong to. Make your blog post carry the message “By following my blog you will be closer to that group”.
10. Subtly introduce yourself as evidence to substantiate the points of your article and to highlight personality traits that are important to your readers. This gives you powerful but subtle self promotion.
11. Integrate actionable content into your blog post.