How to Write a Blog Post

Blog posts begin with a little preamble. This part sets the tone of the article, and helps the reader establish what they’re going to find out over the next 500 words, even though they’ll probably only just read the section headings. This part typically segues quite quickly to a controversial statement or question - designed to provoke the user into thinking they actually need to read another vapid post; in this case I’ll be asking:

Do you know the six secrets behind the perfect blog post?

With the establishing question out of the way, we’ve set ourselves up for criticism if we don’t deliver an answer. The best thing to do is to distract the user with a picture; either something to do with technology or sex works well here - a blend of the two works even better.

That's not how you use a trackpad.

See - you’ve almost completely forgotten what we were talking about.

After your eyes have lingered for a while, you may eventually get back to the text. Since you’re almost certainly feeling a little down about how your life sucks compared to Little Miss Sexyblogger up there, the post will boost your ego by spatchcocking a variety of selcouth expressions into this farrago, to show that the writer trusts you to know their definitions. And then the galimatian text continues with:

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

After a clichéd title that’s clearly had little thought put into it, the post hits the readers with the statistics equivalent of a one-two combo: statistic, plus graphic.

The average blogger shares 96% DNA with a chimp.

Generic Pie Chart

We’d rather you didn’t look too closely at this chart - it’s just there to suggest we’ve done some substantive research.

If the statistics need some justification, this is probably a good time to do some name dropping to create a vague air of trust about you. This idea actually came to me on the afternoon with James Franco. (True story, I did. Calm down girls.)

Time for Controvesy

In this section, we mention that Michael Gray is a hack, Lisa Barone shouldn’t voice her opinions, DaveN’s never done a day’s work in his life, Rand is only well-known because of a legion of fanboys and  Jeremy is a sell-out.

Pull quotes are useful, because you can’t trust people to read the body text.

This segment has two main aims: it first causes division amongst readers which encourages them to tweet about it saying how right the post is, or link to it saying how wrong it is. Secondly: by linking to some prominent bloggers, we hope they notice the link and come over to visit the site.

The intended outcome here is that by bringing more visitors and having controversial statements, the post will receive more comments . This is important, because as you may know: comments are the lifeblood of bloggers and without comments they will shrivel and die.

Comments are also useful as a substitute for real world relationships so, you know, they show that I am loved. All I ever wanted was someone to tell me they loved me.

The Seven Point List Bit

  1. Some posts may consist solely of the seven point list bit; in other cases it might just be one of the sections
  2. The seven point list bit may have any number of items, but magic numbers like three, seven or ten are most common
  3. They can be used instead of having to write full sentences
  4. A list of the top seven lists posts would be the most awesome post-modern blog post ever if the idea hadn’t been done to death already
  5. Most lists are way longer than they ought to be; the writer is typically grasping at straws by now.
  6. Did you know that rats can smell x-rays?
  7. With great relief, the last point it reached and the author hurries on to......

Some other reading

Again, the writer makes a shout out to other blogs, in the hope that someone will read their post. These are typically posts that are much better written and much more useful than the one you are reading, or demonstrate quite clearly where the idea was ripped off from.

The Funny Bit

By now, the writer knows you’ve just scanned the post and not really read anything. They also know that the post massively lacked any humour, so it’s time to crowbar someone else’s comedy to liven up the post. A barely related cartoon works well: try something from XKCD or that one with the dogs from the New Yorker.

shitty_cartoon

Your crazy pills are right there next to the bed; I suggest you take them.

The Call to Action

This is the end of the post, and hence it’s time to reiterate a call to feed the poor blogger with acknowledgement. Hence, the writer begs you to FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER, asks what you thought of the post, and then offers the invite that’s as old as the web: “LEAVE A COMMENT, AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

 

Rob Ousbey

Rob Ousbey

Rob joined Distilled’s London office in 2008 as an SEO Consultant. Over the years, he’s developed and executed SEO strategy for clients from small businesses to large organizations, and managed Distilled’s Reputation Management projects, where he’s...   read more

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14 Comments

  1. First. LOL. ROFL. Hey. I love your blog post. Be sure to come back for more.
    kthxbai

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  2. hi, Rob,

    here's a quick note where I try to claim the 'first comment' spot. I'll start by saying something positive about your GREAT post. I loved it.

    Then In this two-sentence paragraph I'll mention something very tenuously related to your post. For example it reminded me of Charlie Brooker's Newswipe.

    Finally I'll finish with something that may be a question or doesn't make sense?

    Accidetnal typo,

    dan

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  3. I. Want. More. Of. This.

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  4. What the hell happened to this blog? I mean, I've been a subscriber for months and never really got anything interesting out of it (sorry I have to be honest). I was literally going to unsubscribe when this post comes up and give me hope that I will see more of those coming. Easy to read (and write), yet very interesting and spot. Heck, I'm gonna retweet this.

    reply >
  5. Brian

    Another great post. (That's how a good comment should begin. Complement the author.)

    Then comes a gratuitous mention of the time we talked to each other last week, so everyone will know we are pals. Bonus points if we talked at a conference, at the hotel lobby bar.

    Now it's time to disagree with you about something. Speaking of which, you forgot to mention that a blog post will get more links if it includes a video.

    It's important to end a comment by mentioning the name of your consulting company.

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  6. Stands up & applauds loudly

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  7. Guess what... I just tweeted a link to this post! Mission accomplished ;)

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  8. Brilliant in its originality. Awesome-tastic in its delivery and
    spontaneity. Thanks for the article.

    reply >
  9. One of the more entertaining blog posts I have read in a while, I really do like the jive of your jib. Should do nice in the fishing for links arena, heck I might even link to it myself.

    reply >
  10. Nonny

    Nice use of imagery and a word that doesn't exist in the English language.

    Fair well.

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  11. Great blog! Really interesting, and well done on the research!
    I'll recommend it to my boss.

    Now, who's that girl on the photo?

    (Or was her name mentioned in the text somewhere?)

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  12. Ditto @rhys - Standing ovation

    Man, I really need to figure out how to copy this post without folks knowing where the idea originated from. lol - too funny!

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  13. John

    One more tip for great blog posts, run spell check. Not sure what Controvesy is.

    reply >
  14. professional seo

    I really need to figure out how to copy this post without folks knowing where the idea originated from. lol – too funny!

    reply >

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