Establishing a successful blog is more than spinning up a WordPress site. Managing a blog is about well-written blog posts that engage your audience, offer relevant information, and promote your brand. If done right and sustained over time, it can also go a long way toward establishing thought-leadership, but there’s more to writing a great blog post than churning out words on a page.

To increase readability and social shares, a few important elements are necessary for success. Improve your content effectiveness by using these tips for your next blog writing project.

Use an Engaging Headline

A catchy headline is one of the first steps to attracting readers to your blog. A great headline will increase the odds of your content being read and shared by a larger audience.

The title should be useful, eye-catching, and intriguing to the reader. Some suggest spending half the time curating your headline as you would writing your blog post.

For help on determining the best headline, a tool like the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can grade your headlines on effectiveness, emotional appeal, and unique words.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important! Be sure to use some of your website’s SEO-based keywords. Keywords should be used intelligently throughout the post where they make sense for readership (not for Google) but certainly a key piece of real estate for keyword use is the headline (and subheads as well).

Include Visuals Where They Make Sense

We live in a visual world. Our brains are drawn to colorful pictures and images that hold our attention spans longer than words on a page. Because of this, every successful blog post should include visual content where appropriate.

We always include a photo at the top of our blog and you should too! Images throughout the post can help explain the information you’re presenting. So too can graphs, charts, quotes, or Infographics that can attract the reader and help them comprehend and retain information.

Be as Relevant as You Can

Your topics should be relevant and helpful to your readers. Blogs can be written with curated content, but blogs seasoned with new ideas offer greater value to be shared with others. If you do curate content be sure to add in some valuable thinking and build on the ideas of others.

Research your topic to know what others are saying, but don’t be afraid to chime in with your own opinions. Your readers are interested in hearing your experience so don’t be afraid to do so. Offer your audience relevant, noteworthy information to make it worth their time to engage.

Organize Your Thoughts

Free writing is a great exercise to get words on paper, but take the time to organize your thoughts before you hit publish. If your blog is scattered, readers will be less likely to understand the point you’re trying to communicate and they’ll likely lose interest.

Open with an engaging paragraph to draw the reader’s attention. Follow the opening paragraph by organizing your thoughts into main points to back up your message. Present organized information under headers and conclude with a call to action. Remember your English Composition teacher as he drilled the important of a sound opening thesis to help the reader better engage? Well… that applies to blog posts as well (IMHO).

Format Your Content For Scanning

When your thoughts are organized, your blog can be formatted for easy scanning. As readers click on your blog, they’ll first scan for headings, bullet points, images, and sub-headings. If these topics grab their attention, they’ll likely continue reading the rest of your content.

By formatting your blog for scanning and including images, readers know what information you’re presenting and where to locate what’s important to them; it might different for each reader.

Focus On Quality

An engaging headline and interesting images won’t guarantee success without quality content. Relevant topics engage your readers and providing quality material elevates your status as an expert in your field.

Focus on providing quality over quantity. One quality blog post per week is better than five mediocre posts. Edit your content for accuracy and continue editing until perfect. Quality matters.

End With Call-To-Action

After you present relevant information to your readers with visuals and proper formatting, your conclusion should tell the reader what to do next.

A call to action can offer where to find additional information or how to access your products or services. It can also ask a question to create engagement with your readers by encouraging them to respond in the comments below your post. Reiterate the value and purpose of your article by making their next action clear.

To create successful blog posts, build a strategy for content creation. When you focus on relevant topics and quality content, you’ll connect with your audience while establishing your brand and thought-leadership. Your content marketing efforts will pay off with better results and more reader engagement.