I have been writing online since 2011. For the better part of the decade, I have faced a huge problem of creating a content writing framework that works for writing on any topic. I saw the need for that system very early and started experimenting & researching a lot. I applied what I found online, some worked some didn’t.
Nothing wrong with the stuff I found online, maybe my writing & working styles weren’t a right fit for those gold nuggets. With this post, I want to share the elements of a perfect blog post that hooks the readers on your blog. After a ton of trial and error, I’ve found this system to be amazingly working. I’m continuously optimizing the framework & you’ll see that in my writing.
This post is for those who’re content creators, bloggers & freelance writers. Since I’m sharing a framework, you will find this completely dry & theoretical. I’ll try to keep it as interactive as possible. Let’e begin.
The number one mistake content writers make
We’ve all been there, one of the mistake that almost all content writers make is not follow a framework for creating content faster on pretty much any topic. We’re all busier than ever, nobody has time to stop and think the one thing that needs to be done.
That one in this context is creating a framework. I remember struggling & blaming the lack of time I had. I was so wrong. I didn’t know how to fix it unless I saw a pattern in my failed attempts to write, let alone something creative & important.
The idea is to transform the energy of your writing into thoughts in the reader’s mind. This can’t be done without being aware that you need to create as fast as possible before turns pale & the idea wears off. This exactly requires a system in place. The one thing that will take care of resonating with your audience is the relevance of your content to their problem. If you can fix this one mistake, you will be able to create a ton of content great enough without too much effort – because you have a system in place that doesn’t let you go wrong.
Let me further help you optimize the mistake to work even better.
Creativity in writing: The paradigm shift
I have spent years writing, forcefully writing that didn’t resonate with my target audience. I must admit, only 20-25 percent of my writing has been good enough to pay my bills. The only outcome of blogging (& expecting traffic from search) is being in front of the right people at the right time. If your content cannot do that, there’s something terribly wrong. I was so lost & absent-minded that I didn’t see the pattern in techniques established writers use to hook readers to their blog.
There was a small paradigm shift that brought a huge improvement in my writing & thinking process. I treat each blog as an individual product that has its own funnel. The framework that I use is an industry standard for sales, but since I treat each of my blogs as a product, the framework applies to that as well. If you’ve spent some time in this space, you’d be aware but the way I’m using it will blow your mind on how effective it can be for blogging as well.
The Framework is AIDA (aka sales funnel) but I have added a few sub-steps to make it relevant for my blogging career. I don’t know if this will for you as well, but my job is to share my learnings with you & that’s what this post is all about.
Here’s are four steps to hook readers to your blog
The content writing framework
Remember I said above that I treat my blog as a product & I use a typical sales funnel adapted by the industry to create the flow? Let me talk a little bit about that to build a context around why I chose to use that funnel for my blogs.
“AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Decision, & Action”
The way this funnel is built takes the prospect from discovering your product/service to being a paying/repeat customer. There are a lot of complex concepts when this funnel is applied for increasing sales. But I tweaked it for my blog writing process in such a way that I can straight away get started with writing the post with that framework in my mind with just 30-60 minutes of initial research.
Now that I have implanted this context in your mind, let me introduce my secret sauce of clocking millions of views across the web.
This is the step one of the whole funnel, obviously. But this is where you hook the readers to read the whole post. This is the lead of your post & you can hook the readers by using several elements depending on the topic you’re addressing.
Writing hooks for the blog is extremely important because that’s what they read first when the visitors land on your webpage. I’ve made it a practice to spend at least 5-10 minutes on creating the headline & the hook of the post.
I’ve done this for long enough to get these two pretty good in lesser time. It comes with practice. Initially, you will find it extremely hard & exhausting to think of it.
It’s like flexing the muscles, initially, they’re so retracted that you find it very difficult to exercise. But as you do more of it, the muscles become flexible enough that you don’t have to put any effort into workout. I still have to practice a lot to make this a muscle memory.
Here are the elements I juggle around to hook visitors to read my blog with the lead, the first sentence as a hook:
- Introduction: Why are you writing this post. What inspired you to write the post.
- Questions: Adress the burning question of your target audience, this requires extensive research of your audience.
- Stats/numbers: People pay a lot of attention to numbers because numbers don’t lie. If I have a relevant stat, I use it right away. If required I even lookup on the web for an interesting number to be used as a hook. I even use it in the headline. Works like a charm.
- Studies: Anything after “studies have found” is consumed almost every single time. This doesn’t mean you link puke some bogus studies just to use as a hook. Do your homework and find if there’s any study carried out.
- Problem statement: This works every single time. I use it almost every time. Drop the bomb of the problem statement right in the first paragraph. Writing content around the problem your audience is facing is the easiest way to hook them, to begin with.
- Desire: What does your audience want to accomplish? What do they want exactly? Serve that on a silver platter & you’ll have their attention right away.
Don’t take this step lightly. Practice to at least write enticing enough for you to read. If you come back to that article, you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you wrote & sent out to the world.
This is just the first step, you might lose their attention if you fail to have their attention.
In the previous step you took care of grabbing your audience’s attention, but you need to have them around. If they pounce off, that will be recorded by Google and that will be an indication to the algorithm that the page isn’t useful to the user. Which is true to a very large extent. Isn’t it?
The problem & pattern I have seen in my own reading habits is that I read the first few paragraph of a blog post & I drop off. This must be happening with my own content & your content as well. So how do you fix this?
The chance to retain the visitor begin here. The practice is to retain to the end of the blog post. You do that by talking about the intention of your visitor. If you’re not addressing the intention of your audience, knowingly or not they’re never going to come back to your blog.
Again, I play with a couple of elements to address the intention & interests of the visitor. Let’s have a look at it.
- Examples: If you’ve written a post on how to reduce weight in 30 days. One thing I’d like to see is examples of real people who’ve done this already. That can testimonials of your own services or the people you found on the web.
- Case studies: Similar to examples, you can include case studies as a solution to the problem your target audience is facing. The major difference between a case study & an example is in the details. The case study will share the strategies & all the story around the case. You can use these to keep the users engaged with the blog post. The one thing I have discovered while sharing the case studies is people are more interested in failure stories because it has so much to learn from. The success story is the source of inspiration, there’s very little to learn.
- Research & studies: I’ve mentioned that using studies as a hook will give the attention of your visitors but using it in the body of your blog will glue them throughout.
- Stats: Again, I’d be interested in knowing the latest statistics in SEO space or digital marketing on the whole. I can go ahead and create a whole blog post on this topic. Will you be interested in reading such things? Obviously yes! It gives me an idea of where the trend is going in the niche you’re interested in.
- Need: This part of the funnel is all about intention. What do they want to know today? Share that with them. In the hook part, you’re supposed to address that thing. In the body of your blog, you’re going to cover various questions your audience might have & fulfill the need. You can think in terms of 1) What’s that one thing your visitor wants to achieve today? 2) What’s stopping them? 3) How can your skills/services solve their problem?
With this step, you’d be done with sharing what the visitors Googled in the first place. You’d be pitching your product/service by now. Usually this is where most of the content marketing experts & writers slip in the menu card. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll share what I noticed on several blogs.
Every time I stuck with something I Google, find a webpage, skim through & find a solution that’s usually in house & they’re trying to pitch the sale. What I didn’t find in most of the blog was why should I choose that product? There’s nothing encouraging for me to try.
This is similar to seeing a landing just with a buy button & a couple of lines about the product. Not cool right? Here’s how I have tweaked the step for better results.
- Include my own experience of using what I have shared in the blog post. You can see throughout the post that I have mentioned so many instances where I talked about what I felt & experienced. I also include what others have found out, these can be case studies, surveys, statistics & whatnot? These act as external links. Super useful for SEO.
- Another thing I do along the way is, make the post interactive. That can be storytelling (I’ve been doing this throughout this post) or gamifying the process if the subject is too dry. I use this on Quora & medium since I have less time to grab the attention, let alone retain the attention of my audience. Quora has turned to be the best place in terms of engagement & result.
You have successfully retained & pitched your product/services. Now is the time to wrap things up. I’ll tell you, I was amazing at writing the body of the post when compared to introduction & conclusion.
I can say I have improved with writing the introduction, but I still struggle with concluding the post. However, I have been following & practicing a framework that works decently every single time.
This is where you sow the see to retain the user or make them visit again. This is the happy ending or sweet goodbye. As I said I still struggle at concluding the post. I used to stare the screen for a long time before I can think of writing the conclusion.
After failing almost every time I write a blog post & learning it from experts, I have a bunch of elements that I play around with in the conclusion. Let’s look at it.
- TL;DR: This is a must. 79% of the readers skim through the webpage. They don’t read. I don’t want to lose their attention, hence TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read). I started doing this on my Instagram profile where I used to write long captions. Then I included this on my blog posts as well. Works like a charm.
- Call-to-actions: I told you, the conclusion is where you leave the string to bring the audience back. Call to actions like following on social media, joining the mailing list or any such relevant CTA should do. CTA is extremely powerful to generate leads.
- Related post: You can guide the visitors to other posts that they should read to expand their knowledge. I usually link to 2-3 related posts at the bottom of the post. Also, make sure the posts are directly relevant. Don’t link for the sake of linking.
- FAQs: I usually take this before concluding the post. Apart from being the questions, I couldn’t address in detail these FAQs act as a good receptor for landing in ‘People also ask’ of Google (or any search engine for that matter). If you’re using WordPress, Yoast & Rank Math SEO plugins have built-in schemas for FAQs. If you’re not using WordPress, here’s the official guide from Google for further reading on FAQ schema.
Paragraph writing to engage the visitor throughout
I wanted to quickly touchup on this. When you’re writing the body part of the blog, it’s important to understand the importance of structuring the paragraphs. This is the meat of your blog & even those who’re creating videos (instead of blog) will find this helpful.
One of the biggest mistakes content writers make is not writing like a conversation. Your blog is read by one person, why would you want to address the reader as a third person? That’s the ice breaks and everything melts down the drain.
This is the basic step you need to take care of. Always create paragraphs just long enough ‘you’ can read in one breath. Here’s an amazing I’ve found on paragraph writing.
Best practices for content writing that hooks the readers
If you’ve made this far, you deserve this. Apart from following a framework to come up with a skeleton to write around quickly, you need to know the best practices that will make your writing even more fruitful.
#1 Know your audience
This goes without saying, you need to know your audience more than they know themselves. It’s all about being aware of their needs. Most of the blogs & bloggers fail in the first few years of existence. One of the major reasons why this happens is they don’t focus on knowing their audience.
If you don’t know your audience, you’re never gonna know what content you should be putting out. Create an outline of an ideal user of your blog. Figure out as much as you can know about them, of course only the things related to your blog. Record that & keep yourself up to date about it. The more you know about them, the better content writing strategies you can come up with.
#2 Focus on SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. I have been practicing SEO almost since I started blogging. And even after doing this for so long, I still feel I know nothing. I have been advocating SEO since the time I have realized its power. Here’s a guide on SEO if you’re new, you must check it out. If not, you should still checkout, you’ll find it useful.
#3 Create buzz on social media
Social media is one thing that I regret not focusing on in the early stage of my career. The biggest advantage of social media is the readymade audience it has. You can simply start creating content & engage with users to grow the community around your niche.
It’s that simple. For low search volume keywords, you can use social media to get more visitors to that page. Don’t directly promote the blog post, that won’t help much. Make sure you contextualize the post for the audience keeping in mind the ambiance of the platform.
#4 Write for readers & optimize for search engines
I was a victim of this mistake but soon I realized my mistake. Even today, I see so many users who focus only pageviews over everything else. I have seen so many users on Facebook groups who indulge in black hat techniques like visit-for-visit & paid traffic.
Do those people really think paying someone $10 would let them fool a $700+ billion dollar company power by AI who has learned such patterns years ago? Please! Write for reader & optimize for search engines, not the other way around.
#5 Build a community around your content
Another mistake I did since I began writing on quora was to fail building a community. Quora is the biggest source of traffic for me. I have 1.7 million views on the platform & if I had started building a community there I would’ve been at least 10x huge than I am right now.
I don’t want you to fall for this mistake. If you’re starting out, start focusing on building a community around your niche online. The platform doesn’t matter, but there should be a loyal audience to your work. It can be email, social media, or offline. But have people who’re hungry for your work & look up to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it okay to use free article content sites for my blog?
Absolutely not! That’s the last thing I’d do in my career as a blogger. It’s just a matter of time that search engines find it and blacklist your blog from their index. You can find a ton of services that provide free content but all those sites will lead you to get blacklisted, i.e. none of your pages will rank on Google once it’s banned in their index.
Can I copy content for my blog?
Will it be okay if someone copies your original blog post? Write your own unique piece content. This guide is to teach just that.
How to write short articles?
I don’t have good experience writing short content (unless you have a user base ready to consume your content). However, you can use this technique that I use to write newsletters. Focus on the outcome & come straight to the point. Address the problem & solution in less than 500 words.
What is the format of an article?
Usually, an article should have introduction, body & conclusion but I’ve come up with more efficient way to write articles that people love to read. This post is about that.
What are the steps to write a great article on any topic?
Step 1: Research about audience & search intent of the end-user
Step 2: Create an outline of the post or questions you’ve found in your research
Step 3: Create a funnel to hook the user through the post (check out the post to learn more)
Step 4: Write for readers, optimize for search engines
Step 5: Share on social media & create repurposing content to link back to the post
What are the parts of an article?
A good performing article contains an introduction (what made you write the post?), the lead (to hook or grab the attention of the visitor), the body (the meat of the post where you address the main points/questions the visitor might have) & conclusion (you can summarize, include CTA, generate leads & more)
What makes a well written article?
Here are best practices to write a well written article & grow as a content writer:
1. Know your audience
2. Focus on SEO
3. Create buzz on social media
4. Write for readers, optimize for search engines.
5. Build a community around your niche
How do you end an article?
Conclusion is the part where you sow a seed so that the visitors wants to come back or keep in touch. Here are some ways to write a conclusion for an article.
1. Summarize your post for the people who’ve skimmed through
2. Include the social media links or newsletter links
3. Generate leads with relevant call-to-actions
4. Link to relevant post within your blog to retain the user longer on your site
5. Appeal to the visitor to share the post with their network. This expands your reach.
What does a content writer do?
The content writer is supposed to create content that resonates and converts visitors into engaged prospects & sales. As a content writer you should develop a writing style and along with a framework (this post is all about that) to write faster & better.
How do I start content writing?
If you want to start your career as a content writer, I’d recommend to start practicing & learning on Quora & medium. These are great platforms to not only practice writing but also to check if you really want to be a writer. Do it for a year and then ask yourself, “can you do this for the rest of your life?” If the answer is yes, start a blog for better control over the visitors.
TL;DR: Final thoughts
I have come up with this post to help you have a clean framework to write better. Since I know the pain of writing without any such framework I wanted to save time for you. Lack of any such framework leads to visitors finding the writing directionless & lose faith in you. I don’t want that to happen to you. Hence this framework will help you hook readers to your blog.
For those who didn’t read the post fully, here’s what you’ve missed.
- Create an AIDA framework (I have tweaked it a bit to make it relevant for blogging) for every blog post. Divide the blog posts into these sections -> Awareness, Interest, Desire & Action. If these piqued your interest, read this part.
- Paragraphs are the most crucial part of your blog. Make sure you write paragraphs just long enough to be read in one breath.
- Best practices for writing engaging articles:
- Know your audience
- Focus on SEO
- Create buzz on social media
- Write for readers, optimize for search engines.
- Build a community around your niche