5 Elements of a “Perfect” Blog Post

We recently talked about how long your blog posts should be. Today, let’s talk about writing a blog post that helps you accomplish your goals as a writer.

write a blog post

Photo by Annie Annie Pancake

A Writer’s Guide to Blogging

Sure, there are marketing tips and tricks you can use to grow your blog and get more readers, but the reality is that unless you’re writing good blog posts, no one is going to want to read your blog, no matter how many creative ways you market it.

Here’s the hard truth: the single best way to accomplish your writing goals with a blog is to write better blog posts. (Share that on Twitter?)

So how do you write better blog posts, especially if you normally write fiction and aren’t necessarily comfortable writing non-fiction blog posts?

It starts with finding your perfect blogging template.

5 Steps to a “Perfect” Blog Post

Every time I start writing a blog post, I already have a template, a structure, in mind before I even start writing, and this template is founded on the three “acts” I mentioned above.

Keeping that three-step structure in mind, here’s a “perfect” blog post template:

1. The Lead

Also known as lede for journalism geeks, this term describes the first paragraph, the hook of your story where your job is to grab the attention of the reader, preferably by presenting a problem that your reader desperately wants solved. (Another way to describe a lead is your premise.)

Length: one to three paragraphs.

2. The Aggravator

Remember what “act two” was above? The next step is to make the problem worse, and that’s what the aggravator is for.

Here you want to identify with the reader, telling them what makes solving their problem so difficult. You’re also setting up your solution, which we’ll get to next. This is a great place to tell a story or use an example.

Length: three or four paragraphs.

3. The Core Points

This is where you finally explain the solution to your readers’ problem.

Take note that in this template, you don’t get into the solution, the core points of your post, until you’re halfway through the article. Most people start their post here. However, that’s a huge mistake. Skipping to the solution before you’ve fully explained the problem is like passing on foreplay, and if you do, you might find that your post comes out flat.

Length: three paragraphs or more, depending on your post length.

4. The Connector

This is where you connect your core points to how they will actually solve the problem that you presented in the lead.

Another word for this is the “conclusion,” and surprisingly, many people skip the conclusion (myself included, shame on me!). However, it’s the single best place to connect the dots and show how your solution actually solves your readers’ problem.

Length: one to three paragraphs.

5. The Question

What makes blogging different than print newspapers or magazines? Blogging is interactive. That’s why a blog post is never finished until you’ve added a question to stimulate discussion. Scan to the end of a few blog posts from top bloggers (like Michael Hyatt or Jeff Goins). You’ll find that they always include a question to their readers. Give it a try!

Length: one or two sentences.

What Is Your Perfect Blog Post Template?

It took me a long time to discover a template that worked for me. Along the way I experimented with several different templates, many of which I still use (like my writing prompt template). I’ve found that this one, which I’ve explained here, works best for me in most situations, but that doesn’t mean I’m trapped into using it all the time.

You need to find your perfect template, too, and the only way you can do that is through practice (we’re fond of that around here).

So don’t take my word for it. Go try out this template and others and figure out what works best for you. (And don’t forget to have fun while you do it!)

How about you? Do you have a blog post template that you use regularly? Or even several templates?

PRACTICE

Give the “perfect” blog post template a try. First, pick a problem that you know how to solve, and then write a blog post sharing the solution. If you post it on your blog, share the link in the comments section for the community to see how you did!

And as always, don’t forget to have fun!

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • Ahh, but the question is, should every post be about problems? Perhaps just as books can be plot driven or character driven, blogs can be problem driven or not.

    • Well said, Mirel. I would argue character driven stories are still about solving it’s characters’ problems, but there are certainly plenty of stories where problems aren’t the central focus. Whether those stories/blog posts have much of a readership is open to debate, though.

      • I agree with the analysis of character driven stories, that is that they’re about solving the characters’ problems. One of the people in my critique group keeps on grumbling looking for the action in my submissions, till another person pointed out that unlike his action novel, mine is character driven. There is action, obviously, but no major wars or battles 🙂 The others in the group seem to be fine with the amount of action there is. But the point is, that there is more than one way of doing something. My blog doesn’t really deal with problems, and while I have not reached the big time, the number of hits is on the rise and the site is growing. The most popular post on my blog is entitled “A tribute to my mother-in-law,” and though like most people, my mother-in-law has had problems in her life, the post is certainly not about how to solve a problem…

  • Dennisfp

    “Stories are about solving the protagonist’s problems, whether their love
    life is floundering or aliens are trying to kill them or their fighting
    cancer.”

    Good blog post about perfect blog posts, but to make yours closer to perfect, it’s “they’re fighting cancer.”

  • Sandra D
  • Christine

    This sounds really interesting! I’ll give it a shot with a current non-fiction issue here.

    Lead:
    Guess what? Back at the end of April a skunk burrowed under our mobile home.

    Aggravators:
    –She then had her babies under there.
    –A stray cat would like to become part of our family and has discovered a way into the trailer–through the hole the skunk made.
    –The skunk gets really aggravated when that cats pokes its nose into HER
    hole, near her babies, as it tries to enter our family via a gap in the
    bathroom plumbing area.

    Core points:
    –Skunks can raise a stink, especially when aggravated. You never want a skunk living in your basement or under your floor.
    –Mother skunks are determined. All attempts to shut her out and separate her from her offspring have met with stiff resistance.
    –Badgers hunt skunks and may enter a skunk’s den to try and kill them. Believe
    me, this battle is not pleasant for occupants living above. Talk about chemical warfare! (See my post: The Sound of Murder at Midnight.)

    Connectors:
    –Our son-in law offered us their skunk trap. But this skunk evidently understands what a trap is all about. Hence our efforts to trap the critter have been in vain.
    –We have made various efforts, but have been outfoxed time and again.
    –We must find a way to get the skunk out from under the trailer before winter — and another litter of kits next spring.

    Question to leave with readers: How would YOU handle this ticklish situation?

    Does this sound like a good foundation for a blog post that could hold interest?

  • FeliChivaughn

    This was extremely helpful and encouraging to know that I was basically using this structure. What I was missing was the interactive component and that makes all the difference!!!

  • Great post.
    It’s given me several ‘ahah!’ moments.
    Thanks.
    Dawn

  • Grief the Unspoken is petitioning President Obama to have
    August 30, 2014 declared as National Grief Awareness Day. For those who have not experienced the death
    of a loved one it may appear that grief awareness is unneeded. You may have
    family, friends, or coworkers who had a loved one die recently. To your eyes
    they look as if they are coping well with their grief. They could be coping well. More than likely
    though they are grieving in silence and alone.

    For many new grievers it comes as a shock that grieving has
    a stigma associated with it. Some family and friends may come right out and say
    it is time to get over it. When the deceased’s name is spoken it will not be
    acknowledged in conversation. Invitations to family events and outings decline
    until they stop all together. Sleepless
    nights begin immediately. In the quiet of the house the weeping is smothered to
    avoid waking other sleepers. Expectations of completing housework, performing
    well at work, and maintaining relationships with others is the mask that is
    worn every day. Feelings of loneliness, not being understood, and feeling less
    than become constant companions. Mystery
    illnesses plague the body. Aches, pain, fatigue bring the ability to cope with
    the grief even lower. Loss of employment, loss of significant relationships
    become a reality.

    This is the reality of grief. Grief is not about denial,
    anger, bargaining, depression and anxiety. These stages of grief have become
    the accepted concept about the grief process despite the fact that Elizabeth
    Kubler-Ross’s stages were developed when she worked with people who were dying
    not grieving. Grief is the breakdown of
    the emotional, physical, and psychological systems in response to the death of
    a loved one.

    This is why Grief Awareness is important. It is important to
    educate society on the reality of grief. For doctors to understand grief
    reactions include physical symptoms. For therapists to understand grief is not
    time limited, and to allow healthy grieving reactions. For families and friends
    to understand grief reactions interfere with relationships. If society would
    become more compassionate towards people who are grieving there would be less
    sleepless nights, more support, and healthier grieving.

    • I write blog posts for examiner.com on relationships, and grieving. Their expectation of a blog post is 400-600 words.

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  • Thanks, Joe. This blog post couldn’t come at the right time. I’m working on creating a blog post template and I needed a structure that would make researching and writing blog posts for my blog time efficient. My current template includes blog objectives and benefits only. But this post just gave me some more ideas.

  • In my first journalism internship, my boss once told me: “When you’re looking for an effective conclusion, that means you’ve actually concluded”. I recall in mind this statement when I start writing an article for magazines, where interaction isn’t always required… or it should be? 🙂

    I think it’s really hard to conclude each post with a question: in a blog like The Write Practice is essential, because comments and community practice nourish it and allow its growth. But what about… for example… the review of a novel? How conclude it with a question, or with something that inspire the reader to start a dialogue with me about the novel, or about its author, or about any kind of stuff which could be connected to my review?

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  • Willson John

    Nice tips for blog posting thanks for sharing.

  • Talha

    Wow Amazing Work Joe, It really helps me also have a look on mine strategies for best and attractive articles for your blog that may get more followers or fans http://techfumes.com/how-to-write-a-blog/

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  • This post is rock solid! I never really looked at the sequence or true elements of a compelling blog post but…looks like you nailed it! Thanks for sharing.

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  • The interesting thing is that I do most of this in many of my blog posts without knowing that I’m doing it. I shall have to print out your blog post and keep it handy for writing tomorrow’s blog post.

    The one important thing I’m trying to do more often is to end with one or two questions for the blog readers. I think it really does lead to more blog comments. I’m also doing that for my Facebook posts and even some Tweets. Just to let people know I want their opinion.

  • Sami AF

    Awesome insight Joe!

    I am continuously looking for ways to improve my writing, and this just did wonders for me.

  • What, please, are the “three ‘acts’ mentioned above”?
    I’ve only just found you, and am not sure where they are explained. Thank you

  • Mario Popov

    Many thanks for sharing this valuable material with us.I’m a beginner in blogging and this will help me a lot .

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  • Sarah Jones

    I am a first year law school student and I have been following the careers of some of the most influential attorneys in the United States in order to help guide me on my career path. Joel Hyatt is one of the most successful lawyers in the United States. I have learned a lot by following his career. Here is a comprehensive blog post that gives some background information about Mr. Hyatt. https://disruptivelegal.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/who-is-joel-hyatt-the-little-known-pioneer-of-innovation-in-the-legal-services-industry/

  • Did anyone see what “three acts above” he’s referring to in the first section?