What makes a great post?

 

If you are using social media for business purposes and you are posting blogs, articles, Pulse posts on LinkedIn etc. you want people to read them. You want people to find them interesting and engaging. Above all, you want people to remember you (for the right reasons) so that when they have a need in your area of expertise, it’s you they think of first.

Yet so many business posts I see fail to hit the target. They go off on a rant or fail to engage the reader. They state an opinion but fail to deliver any useful value to the reader. How do you create a great post?

This post tackles the issue of poor posts head on, with a proven method to structure a great post!

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a post. I’ve summarised this post into a cheat sheet which you can sign-up for further down, but let’s start with an acronym: A I D A. This is a great way to look at all aspects of a post.

Attention

To get your post read you need to get people to open it. The way to do that is with an attention grabbing headline. If your headline is boring, too long or full of jargon it will switch off your audience before they have even started. There are thousands, if not millions of articles on great headlines so I’m not going to go into huge detail here, but think about who your target audience is and create a headline that will appeal to them. There are a number of approaches you can use such as:

  • talk about a pain or problem the article will solve
  • talk about a benefit the article will deliver
  • talk about a secret the reader is missing out on
  • talk about a series of key tips or steps to….
  • make a controversial statement – but be wary of alienating a portion of your target audience
  • etc.

Do you get the idea? You have to make the reader want to find out more.

Interest

The rule of 3’s means you have 3 seconds to grab people’s attention with your headline. Hopefully we’ve achieved that above. Now you have around 30 seconds to pique their interest. To do that you must focus on the need you are addressing, and you must help them see you are doing it. So use headings and/or bullet points to draw their attention to the key needs you are addressing. Did you see how I’ve done that in this post with the heading:

This post tackles the issue of poor posts head on, with a proven method to structure a great post!

Issue or pain, with solution all in one bold line.

Desire

With the interest piqued, I have earned my 3 minutes (the rue of 3’s) to immerse you in the desire for my solution. I want you to understand how using this AIDA technique can create powerful, compelling posts that your audience will want to read. In your own posts you can emphasise what the reader has to gain from your advice. You can explain the logic of you solution, your product or your service – whatever it is you are promoting. You can also play on the fear they will have of continuing to suffer the pain or distress you highlighted above.

By following the AIDA structure you take the reader through a proven process on a path to a solution they need and want. It’s laid out in simple steps, supported by examples (this post itself in my case) and social proof (just look at the structure of pieces from any of the successful bloggers you follow – notice the pattern). And it means you can post with the certain knowledge that by following this best practice, your posts will be read and not ignored like those of the many bloggers and writers who have never really thought about the structure of what they write.

Through this section of your post you are emphasising the gains your readers can make, the logic of your proposition, and then play on the fear of not getting the desired result if they don’t do as your post suggests.

Action

If you have got the first three steps right, your reader will be desperate to take action, but only if your Call To Action (CTA) is strong and congruent with the rest of the post. If the CTA is weak, woolly or only vaguely related to the content of the post the reader will be deflated and will leave. Tell the reader clearly what to do and what they will get in return for doing it. It needs to be easy to do and compelling value for them. They must desire the solution you are offering to their need.

For this post my CTA is clear – I have created a 1-page cheat sheet of the key tips in this post. Download it, print it out and have it in front of you whenever you write a post or article. Just click on the button below and enter your details to get instant access, and stop worrying about whether your posts will get read.

As a bonus, you get my future posts full of further marketing and social media tips direct to your mailbox.

There’s more….. WIIFM

AIDA is a great structure for any post or article, but whatever you are writing for consumption by a third party must be full of WIIFM – What’s In It For Me (that’s me as in the reader). When they read your headline, the decision on whether to open the e-mail or click through to the post will be based on WIIFM. Does your headline offer anything to the reader? Likewise, to gain their interest you need to be talking directly to their needs. Your post must address those needs directly. If they can’t see something directly related to them, they’ll click away. And finally they must have their desires met. The solution is what they are reading for.

So knowing your client or customer is paramount. It’s why breaking your clients onto separate segments or niches and targeting your marketing messages is so critical. So that you can get clarity on the WIIFM for your target audience.

Review before you submit

There’s an old adage in carpentry – measure twice, cut once. The corollary in writing is read twice, post once. You’ve read your post as you’ve written it. But you should always go back and re-read it from start to finish in one go and challenge yourself, perhaps using my ‘Great Post’ cheat sheet, to make sure the post fits the AIDA model and delivers on the WIIFM factors for your target audience.

And when you read it ask yourself one or more of these questions about what you have written:

  • So what…
  • In what way…
  • What specifically…
  • Which means that…

If the questions aren’t relevant or the post answers them, you’re good to go. Hit the publish button. But before you go…… I have created a 1-page cheat sheet of the key tips in this post. Download it, print it out and have it in front of you whenever you write a post or article. Just click on the button below and enter your details to get instant access, and stop worrying about whether your posts will get read.