Blogging is a great way for authors to reach their target audience and grow their business, but it can be hard to figure out what type of content will best resonate with readers. If you’re like me, you can find yourself staring at a blank screen for what seems like hours with the cursor blinking in the top left corner, mercilessly mocking you. How do I start this blog post? What should I write about?
While there are many different types of blog posts that you can write, such as how to’s, commentary, and opinions, they all share one thing in common: They need to engage the reader. A good blog post will keep people reading until the end and inspire them to take action.
If you want more traffic from search engines and more leads for your business, this post is for you! It will teach you how to create effective blog posts that your readers will love. I’ve compiled 10 tips to help authors write engaging blog posts so they can get their ideas out of their head and onto their blog. Let’s dive in!

1. Be focused and on topic

Above all else, be focused and on-topic when writing your articles. Don’t try to cover too many topics on your website or go off on tangents that don’t relate back to what you are trying to say. You want readers coming back for more, not getting bored and moving on quickly.
A good way to do this is to use WordPress’ category feature as a Table of Contents for your blog. Decide on five to seven categories your content will fall into and if a blog post idea doesn’t fall into one of those categories, don’t write or post it!
Blog engagement tip #1: Be Focused and On Topic

2. Write compelling, click- and share-worthy titles

The first thing that piques someone’s interest in reading your blog post is its title, so you have to make it compelling. Easy to say, right? But how do you do that?
Lucky for you, there are formulas and guidelines for titles that get clicked and shared more often than others. And I’m going to share my three favorites with you right here:

How To

One of the most common searches on Google is “how to” + something, so when you use a “How to” title and your post shows up in a search result, it will probably get clicked.

Formula: How to [Do Something Specific]

Example: How to Write Compelling Blog Post Titles


Numbered List

People also love lists, so if you can give them a number list of tips, tricks or ideas, they’ll click on or share your content. The numbers that work best are 3, 5, 7, 10 and then some really large numbers like 28 or 99. The first three numbers communicated that you are providing something manageable, the rest say that you are providing a lot of information so they are bound to find nuggets of value there.

Formula: [Number] [Tips, Tricks, Ideas, etc.] to [Accomplish Something Specific]

Example: 10 Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Post Titles


The Ultimate Guide

The ultimate guide is more than just a title formula, it must also have some substance behind it. These blog posts are usually 2000 words or longer and are comprehensive in nature. Therefore, if you use this formula, you will need to deliver on the promise, as well.

Formula: The Ultimate Guide to [Topic]

Example: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Compelling Blog Post Titles You can find a list of several more title formulas here.

3. Use proven storytelling techniques

It sounds simple but telling a clear story in an engaging way is one of the most important things to do when creating a great blog post. Here are four proven storytelling frameworks that you can use to structure your blog posts so that visitors to your website find them engaging enough to read them through to the end.

The Monomyth

Also called The Hero’s Journey, this structure was identified by Joseph Campbell and is commonly found in myths and many popular movies of today. It follows a circular journey in which the hero (ideally your reader) goes on an adventure, overcomes challenges, and comes back to share the lessons he or she learned. The monomyth framework is often used to tell personal stories and in memoirs, as well.
the monomyth hero

The Mountain

This framework builds drama and tension through sharing a series of challenges culminating in a climactic conclusion. It’s called the Mountain because it continuously builds up to a conclusion.
the mountain

Nested Loop

This is a great framework for getting people to stick around to the end. You start one story, stop before it ends and start another story. After the second story is finished, you loop back to finish the first. You can also nest more than two stories, creating greater tension.
nested loop

In Media Res

Similar to the Nested Loop, this framework creates tension by not telling the whole story in a linear way. However, with this method, you start with the action moment, then go back to explain how you got there. This technique does take some finesse, though. You need to provide enough action that the reader is hooked and wants to continue reading to find out what happens, but not so much that you give the ending away.
in media res

4. Leverage story archetypes

In addition to storytelling techniques, you can also use story archetypes. Most of them are not easily adaptable to blogging, but two of them are:

Overcoming the Monster

Go to any blockbuster film, and you’ll probably witness this archetype: The hero must destroy the monster (or villain) to save the world. You can find this archetype in true life stories, as well. The hero overcomes drug addiction (the monster), the hero wins a legal battle against a big corporation (the monster), or the hero faces down cancer (the monster) and lives to raise a family.
In your blog post, your ideal readers are the hero, the monster is what your are helping the overcome, and you or whatever it is you offer, is their weapon of choice. You can also play the role of sidekick or trusted advisor (Galdalf from The Lord of the Rings or Dumbledore from the Harry Potter films).

Rags to Riches

This story archetype takes an underdog from unknown to top of the world once their natural talents are uncovered. To some degree, Harry Potter is a rags to riches character, which is why so many people relate to him.
If you use this framework, your blog post should illustrate how your ideal reader can go from their present “ordinary” state to their desired “extraordinary” state by following the steps explained in the blog post.

5. Use tried and true article types

There are several article types that are proven to attract people and keep them on the page. Use these frameworks for your blog, and you’ll improve your search engine optimization and time spent on your site, while providing your visitors with content they actually want to engage with.

The List

People like lists. I don’t know why, they just do. List articles are relatively easy to create. Come up with your list, then flesh it out with descriptions for each listed item. To further increase time on the page, add in animated gives and videos that illustrate the listed items, as well. You can even go one level deeper and provide insight and thought leadership for each listed item, creating what is called an expanded list article.
One caveat, however. Because these types of articles are easy to create, the internet is flooded with them, so take care to make sure that yours is unique, targeted and focused on what your readers are looking for.

Curated List

This is different from the list I just wrote about. With this list, you provide a carefully curated list of links to other people’s content along with commentary about why you recommend that particular content. As an author, a good way to use this type of article is to provide a recommended list of books in yoru genre or a complimentary genre that your readers might also like. Also, if you review books on your blog, you might want to periodically, perhaps once a year, do a round-up post of your favorites that you reviewed that year or that fell within a particular topic or category.

How to Guide

This framework is probably just what you think it is, a guide on how to do something. People often go to the internet to learn things, so how-to blog posts do very well. And, interestingly enough, how-to posts do well for both nonfiction and fiction authors because people are just plain curious. If, in the course of researching or writing your fiction (or nonfiction) book, you learned how to do something interesting, a how to post could work well for your blog.
For example, let’s say you wrote a novel in which one of your characters is a Las Vegas magician. You could write a post about how to do a simple magic trick, or how to become a magician’s apprentice. Or, perhaps, in your memoir, you talk about how you spent several summers in Alaska working on the fishing boats. You could write how-to posts about tying sailor knots, or preparing fish for market. Not a lot of people are going to find these tasks practical, but they will find them interesting.

Expert Round-Up

This article type has a couple of benefits:

  1. You provide your audience with a curated list of valuable advice from several points of view.
  2. Potentially, you can gain exposure to a larger audience when those you quote like and/or mention your post.
To create this article type, follow these steps:

  1. Decide on a specific theme or question that the post will focus on.
  2. Collect quotes from experts that address that theme or question. These quotes can be found on the internet (cite your sources) or you can interview your experts with a quick one question email interview.
  3. Collate and organize the information you’ve gathered into a curated list. Be sure to identify and link back to the experts so that you get some search engine juice from mentioning them in your post.
  4. When you share the post in social media, tag the experts. A best practice is to highlight one expert per post, so the more experts you include, the more posts you’ll have to share, which means you’ll be able to share this post over the course of several days or even weeks. This gives it even more search engine juice.

Interview Post

The basic format for this type of post is an introductory paragraph, a series of questions and answers with the expert, followed by a conclusion paragraph. This is a great type of post to showcase several types of people on your blog:

  • Experts you admire
  • Your fans
  • Characters in your stories
  • Experts you’ve interviewed as part of your research for your book
  • Authors of books you’ve reviewed
Including interviews with each of these types of people on your blog adds value to your blog and for your blog’s readers in different ways. Give them a try and see which ones work best for your website.

6. Write for scanners — keep paragraphs short

Let’s face it, reading on the web is very different that reading on paper. This is in part due to the flashing lights your brain subconsciously picks up that causes strain on your eyes. It is also in part to the decreasing attention span of readers these days.
Some of the people visiting your site will actually read the content. But many will skim it, reading only the headlines and stopping to read more if they find the subhead interesting.
So write for both of these audiences by including subheads and making them descriptive enough that someone who only reads them will get the gist of what you are trying to say.
Carma scanning back and forth

7. Use design tricks to keep people on the page

There are several design hacks you can use to keep a person reading and/or scrolling down the page, thus increasing the time they stay on the page. This is good for search engine optimization, so you want to do it if you can.


When it makes sense, use an image to break up the monotony of words. The image should be relevant and add value to the text. The image can be an illustration, an animated gif, a video, a graphic, or even an infographic.

White Space

Make sure that there is enough white space on the page. You do this by keeping your paragraphs short, using bulleted lists, and including subheads.


Bullets not only add white space, they also add emphasis and organize information.


Subheads add white space, help scanners understand the content, and help organize longer articles into bite-sized chunks that are easier to read and understand.

8. Write for your audience

There are a couple of ways in which you need to be aware of writing for your audience:

  • Reading level – Don’t write over or below their head. You don’t want to write in jargon they don’t understand, but you don’t want to treat them like idiots, either.
  • Tone and style – Maintain a consistent voice throughout your website. This is one way you keep your brand promise.

9. Use online tools to make sure your copy is as clean as possible

OK, I will admit that I’m of the mind that a typo or two shouldn’t prevent me from gaining the value from an article. However, if the article is riddled with them, that’s another story. And these days, there is no excuse to have that happen. There are free tools that will check your grammar for you. I use Grammarly, but there are others. Select one and use it. You’ll be glad you did!

10. Tap into the zeitgeist for topic ideas and inspiration

Consistency is key to keeping your blog healthy, but coming up with new ideas on the same topic can be challenging. A simple, yet powerful way of generating ideas for high-quality content is to tap into what’s trending in the online zeitgeist. Use online tools such as Google Trends or Buzzsumo to find out what people are talking about on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, then write an article that ties back into those topics.

There you have it! My 10 best tips for creating blog posts that will engage readers

Good content is the foundation of a successful blog and your author website. If you implement these tips, you’ll be assured to have good, if not great content.
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