Are you sometimes disappointed by the content up there in the top positions in the search engine results? Are you perhaps looking for ways to improve your own copywriting skills? Then look no further. In this post, I explain everything you need to know about good blog articles.
When I search for a topic in Google, I usually find nothing but one-size-fits-all results among the top 10. What we call search intent in SEO is taken by many content producers as an excuse not to have to worry about it.
"Google shows us what goes down well. We just need to produce something similar." – This and similar sentiments seem to be the rationale behind many articles. But the approach is fundamentally wrong.
We don't just write for the search engine, but for people like you and me. People with feelings. People who want to be informed, inspired and entertained.
As an aside, this is the problem when we always talk about traffic instead of visitors in online marketing. One is just a metric. The other is real people.
A listicle about the "100 best WordPress plugins " or "20,000 content marketing tips for the year 2035" rarely achieves this. I apologize for the cynicism, it's hard for me to bite my tongue on this topic.
At the end of the day, it's also people who are interested in what we have to offer and buy from us. A search engine won't do that – so why only consider Google and Co.
What makes a good blog article?
Let's first ask ourselves the question, when is a blog article good and when is it bad?
Good and bad are always subjective perceptions. Therefore, you may have a different perception of whether a blog article is good than I do. That alone would be too easy and would get us nowhere. After all, you expected something from this article when you clicked on it.
Let me pin down a definition of a good blog article so that we at least have a yardstick to guide us. What are the characteristics of a good article?
A good writing style
I did a survey on Linkedin about what makes a good article. The result was clear ...
We can argue about whether something is missing or forgotten in the options. LinkedIn offers only four options and this evaluation from 140 votes is better than nothing.
What does a "good writing style" mean in concrete terms?
I'm glad you asked. It means that it is fun to read the text. Not yet in the sense of composition and structure (that comes in the next point), but rather in the tonality. Some people we just like to listen to when they speak.
While with others it is exhausting. The difference lies in their choice of words. It is in the way they communicate and the context in which they talk to you.
In all the blog articles I write regularly, I imagine the following scenario: You and I are old acquaintances. You sit across from me and I try to explain the topic to you in a way that you can easily understand.
Whether it is "The effect of an infrared cabin on the body during a cold" or "Decoupled content management systems".
Reading the texts aloud afterwards also helps. It may feel ridiculous at first, but since many people read a text with their "inner voice", you can hear what the result sounds like right away.
Take a look at the Hamburger Verständlichkeitskonzept (Hamburg comprehensibility concept ). It provides a good framework for explaining dry or complex topics in simple and understandable terms.
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A sensible structure
This starts with a visually appealing structure and the readability of a text. If I run into a wall of text when opening a blog, I already don't feel like it.
Short sentences with short syllable words are part of a copywriter's standard arsenal. It's nice if you know a lot of complicated foreign words - but it definitely doesn't help your comprehension when reading. The best thing to do is to calculate the Flesch index of your latest blog articles. Then you can quickly see how well you are doing in terms of readability.
A paragraph does not need to be more than five lines to elaborate a thought. Take the articles of Raidboxes as an example. Here you will rarely find poststhat consist of paragraphs that are forever long - especially since the style guide already states that this should be avoided.
Images, graphics, videos, bullet points or tables are also helpful elements that visually enhance the structure of a blog article and contribute to a better understanding of the content.
This is often easier said than done. There is a well-known saying among copywriters "If it's easy to read, it was difficult to write".
This wisdom is confirmed in my daily work. After I have submitted my first drafts of blog articles for feedback, my customers leave comments and remarks on the text about what should be added and where.
These remarks are rarely structured and are more like mental ping pong. My task then is to sort out these thoughts and make them understandable for the audience. That's where the value of an editor really becomes apparent.
This point is tricky. In the end, however, it makes the biggest difference between bad and good. Everyone who reads this nods and inwardly thinks "yes, that's right". But only a few put it into practice. Either because they are not allowed to, due to questionable guidelines, or because they are too shy to do so.
Usually, the most thought-provoking content is that which challenges the status quo and represents contrary views.
Simply disagreeing with everyone else is not very helpful. You also need to provide a robust rationale as to why your counter-argument to the status quo is better.
- General view: "Content is king!"
- Contrary view: "Content is NOT King!"
- Reason: "Your business is king and content should serve the king."
- General view: "We prefer not to mention competitors in articles so as not to draw attention to them."
- Contrary view: "You should definitely mention the competition in the content!"
- Reason: "Your target group is not stupid and only one Google search away from the competition anyway. Better to cover everything (benevolently) with you right away."
- General view: "A good buyer persona is crucial to the success of our marketing campaign."
- Contrary view: "Most buyer personas are worthless".
- Reason: "A (target) group cannot be depicted in a hypothetically imagined representative personality = buyer persona, because it consists of a multitude of partly completely different individuals."
Put on your marketing hat here and let your inner copywriter hang out. "Be different. Think different." is the motto to stand out in the market and attract attention.
However, you should proceed with caution here. Too often, blunt contrary views are communicated in order to polarise. This not only comes across as desperate, but also quickly degenerates into the morally reprehensible when exaggerated - we want to avoid that.
A good blog post has an economic goal.
Surprised? Often enough I look into blank faces when I say that blog articles are basically only there to serve the economic success of the company.
If it is not clear that reading the SEO text moves the user closer to the purchase in the customer journey, the work for the creation was (economically) worthless.
To avoid this, a call-to-action should be included in the text. Whether this is a hard CTA (e.g. "Buy now") or a soft CTA (e.g. "Subscribe to newsletter") is of secondary importance.
Each article must increase the likelihood of generating more sales. If in doubt, the call-to-action can be to suggest more similar articles to create more touchpoints with visitors.
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The goal of a company is to make money. In other words, to make a profit. Published content that does not serve this purpose falls under the category of hobby - of course there is nothing wrong with that per se.
The only exception would be if you earn money with the articles. In the sense of a paid newsletter or magazine. Then your readers have already bought something before consuming the content. And they only need to be provided with cool content.
Publish better blog articles from now on
First of all, please don't be afraid to swim against the tide.
Far too often I see great content producers tone down their choice of words. The reason is obvious: they fear that we might disagree with them or that they will get negative feedback. Of course, that can happen if you have unpopular views.
You have to risk that to stand out in the market. Innovation doesn't happen if you always agree with everyone else. Counter-arguments to your blog articles always allow you to reflect, question your own views and learn something new.
The next tip for better blog articles is at least as important: stop reading textbooks and articles on copywriting! Yes, I'm serious. Instead, start reading the books that are so engagingly written that everyone loves to read them and they sell millions of copies.
I rarely have the typical "Wow, that person writes beautifully" moments with specialised literature on marketing or copywriting. They also rarely serve as a creative muse for me to improve my own writing skills.
I gain much more inspiration when Sebastian Fitzek casts his spell on me or when the story of J.R.R. Tolkien's works won't let me go.
Of course, tastes differ when it comes to authors and genres. The basic message remains the same: instead of listening to what supposed experts say in theory, pay attention to what real professionals do in practice.
Sounds a bit like blasphemy, especially since I'm only giving tips here. Contrary views generate more resonance than uniformity.
Conclusion: Being a bit punk doesn't hurt
You don't have to directly question the establishment and occupy an apartment building. It's okay to take issue with the content of your blog articles.
With all the 0815 content floating around in the vastness of the internet, we almost crave for variety and contrary views.
After this article, you will know how to write and prepare content so that your target group enjoys reading it. And you've learned how to make your texts stand out from the competition. Get started right away and write your next blog article that will inspire your audience. I look forward to reading from you!