As a blogger, when you sit down to write a post, you have two primary objectives:
- Present the dilemma you’re going to solve and give a top-down view of the big picture.
- Flesh out the details and give specifics in form of answers to the dilemma and the big picture.
In most blog posts, these are the two main steps that need to be focused on. By way of your article’s title and introductory paragraph you need to set forth a foundation, by presenting a problem or a question and then laying it out so that your readers understand exactly the issue your post is going to address.
Delivering the Big Picture
So by the time your reader has read your title and the first few sentences of the introductory paragraph, you want to have already delivered the big picture.
This should do several specific things for your reader:
• It will give them an idea of what kind of information you’re about to provide —
• They’ll know right away whether or not your article is going to solve their problem or at least address their issue —
• It will give them a high-level aerial shot of the dilemma that your post is troubleshooting —
All these things should be accomplished by the end of the first paragraph. If it’s not, there’s a high probability that your reader hasn’t stuck around. People online need to know quickly whether or not what they’re about to read is helpful to them in their situation. That’s even truer in the case of the blogging world.
Examples of “Big Picture” Titles
Since this starts with titles, I want to give you a few examples of what I mean. A title that is introducing an informative post should do at least one of the following things:
• Ask the same question the user is asking — What kind of fertilizer works best for growing tomatoes?
• State an area of concern and a pledge to address it — 5 Quick Remedies for Knee Pain when Running
• Show a path to an unseen solution — Steps to Creating a $5000 Emergency Fund
If you’re going to offer an informative post, you need to let people know what that information will pertain to via the title. The title is your best shot at drawing in readers, so give it some thought and make sure that you’re able to allude to the thesis of your article within that title.
Delivering the Details
Once you’ve told your readers what you’re going to tell them, you need to tell them. At this point, any and all fluff should thrown out the window. Each paragraph you write should be devoted to accomplishing the task you pledged to accomplish in your title and introductory paragraph.
Additionally, you should be thorough enough to walk out as much detail as you can after introducing a solution or making a point.
A great way to do this is with bullet points.
Let’s say you have a short two or three sentence paragraph about how plyometric training is one of the best ways to improve lower and upper body strength at the same time. Now, let’s look back at what a corresponding title might look like.
Dilemma: How can I improve upper and lower body strength at the same time?
In that title you’ve promised to deliver an answer, which you have in the form of a paragraph.
Answer: Plyometric Training Paragraph
However, even if that sentence is two or three sentences all you’ve really said is, “The answer to your dilemma is plyometric training”. How can we make that more meaty and substantial? The answer will once again be related to what the reader would want to know and what kind of questions they would be asking at this point.
The most likely question your reader might have would be related to what kind of plyometric exercises they could do. Right away you have an opportunity to provide a more full answer using bullet points and short simple explanations.
• Box Jumps —
• Battle Ropes —
• Weighted Jump Squats —
• Kettlebell Swing Lunges —
Adding these details could be a relatively endless process, since there are a number of different questions that your reader could have after reading your plyometrics paragraph. It’s incumbent upon you to make a judgment call about what type of person will be reading your post, where they are in life and what they’ll be asking or will need to know.
Yet regardless of what you choose to address, the principles remains the same.
- Pose a question or dilemma.
- Pledge to solve it.
- Devote paragraphs to the task.
- Flesh out the paragraphs with details and specifics.
What’s the end result? The reader now has a tool to go attack the problem on their own. Even with our limited exercise example. A reader who didn’t know about plyometric exercises can now use that information to go and address their original problem of wanting to workout both the upper and lower body at the same time.
It’s a simple formula and we might understand it on some level. Though being able to construct truly informative posts requires that you understand and execute both the big picture and the details in an effective, well thought out manner.
Jason Bayless is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. He writes for BestSEOCompanies.com, a nationally recognized comparison website of the best SEO companies in the United States.