What do I mean by structuring your post? Essentially, it’s planning what you’re going to write (or vlog, or record) so it hooks readers in, informs and entertains them, and gives them with something to do. Simple!
There are five parts to a successfully structured blog post: title, introduction, body, conclusion and sign-off. In this example, we’ll pretend I’m writing a post about LFW.
It’s still important to have an SEO-friendly title, but don’t let that control you too much. Your title needs to hook the reader in at the first glance so think about how you’ll make it interesting. Successful content often uses a list format (‘Three ways to wear’) or helps readers (‘How to style …’). It’s also a good idea to do your title last, after you’ve written the whole post and are able to pick out a key theme for your hook.
Here’s my example:
Five ways to win at London Fashion Week
- Uses a list format
- Offers helpful advice (winning!)
- Explains clearly what the post is about
An introduction might be one line or one paragraph, but either way it needs to be killer. Your interested reader has clicked through, ready to be wowed, and if your first line falls short they’ll bounce right off. You’re setting the tone for the whole post in the first couple of lines, so think about it carefully.
Some writers tend to dive straight into the goodies (think Buzzfeed or Mashable) and that’s up to you. But a quick introductory line can help set the scene and give further information quickly and simply.
You’ve got in. You’ve got FROW. You’ve got business cards. Now you need to win. Here are five ways to make the most of London Fashion Week, whatever sort of blogger you are.
- Explains the title in more detail: “five ways to make the most of London Fashion Week”
- Shows the article is for everyone: “whatever sort of blogger you are”
- Uses punchy, witty language to get to the point in a fun way
Here’s the rest of it. All your thoughts and ramblings in the main body of your blog post. I find the best way to create this part is to get it all out of your head, then edit and move it around.
Editing is one of the greatest skills a blogger can have, and one that’s least used. Don’t be afraid to take out chunks of your writing if it isn’t relevant – paste it into a new Word document and save it as inspiration for another post. Writing a post then re-reading it the next day with fresh eyes will alos help you pick out the best (and worst bits).
I would structure the main body copy with the five ways to win at LFW in a numbered list, with each number having an interesting first line and succinct explanation. I’d use real life examples to illustrate my points – these could be photos too.
We’re nearly there! Conclusions are often forgotten because people confuse them with sign-offs (which we’ll come to shortly). Like in an essay, your conclusion should sum up the main points of your article with some extra thoughts (‘conclusions’, in fact) thrown in. It might be a bullet point list, or just a single sentence recap. It keeps the key facts of your post in the reader’s mind and ties the article together nicely.
So, five ways to win at LFW: be brave, be friendly, don’t panic, keep notes, and enjoy yourself.
- Re-iterates the article title
- Explains the article content in one sentence
Your sign-off is the ‘call to action’ (CTA) for your reader. What do you want them to do after they’ve read this article? Share it, comment, read more, or something else? Your CTA should directly encourage them to do what you want.
Often we use questions as an indirect CTA (e.g. ‘What do you think of LFW?’ means ‘Comment on my post!’) which are fine but sometimes ineffective if people don’t feel they have an ‘answer’ to your question. Don’t be afraid to just say what you want.
Have you won at LFW using these five tips? Let me know below! or
Share this post with your fashionista friends and let’s get everyone winning at LFW.
- Clear CTA for commenting and sharing
- Appeals to personal and community interests
- Re-iterates article topic
So that’s my guide to successfully structuring your blog posts: title, introduction, body, conclusion and sign-off. Unfortunately it doesn’t make a very good acronym (maybe TIBoCoSo?) but I hope you remember it anyway.
How do you structure your posts? What’s your foolproof method? Let us know in the comments, or tweet @BonjourBlogger.
P.S. Did you notice I used TIBoCoSo for this blog post? Good work!