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The Blog Post Template Michael Hyatt Used to Build His Platform

Executive Summary

Whether you’re trying to grow your business or simply share helpful information, writing a blog post is a great way to build your audience. Bestselling author, Michael Hyatt, shares the blog post template that has helped him become one of today’s top-ranked bloggers.

  • Having a blog post template to follow can help you write more productively and accessibly.
  • It’s easy to write about your “wins” as a leader, but your readers may actually connect more with your losses. Don’t be afraid to be open about both the ups and downs of leadership. You may be surprised at how much your audience will appreciate the transparency!
  • Even the most well-written blog post can get overlooked if it’s too wordy or lengthy. Keeping your blog posts simple and brief can help prevent potentially scaring off readers who are short on time or attention.

People often ask me if I use some sort of template when I write one of my typical five-hundred word posts. The answer is yes. I do, in fact, use a blog post template. A blog post template is nothing more than a generic outline that I follow for most posts. I don’t follow it slavishly, but I always start with it. It includes all the elements that I have learned make for an effective post. It also helps me write faster, because it provides me with a track to run on.

5 ELEMENTS OF A WINNING BLOG POST TEMPLATE

My blog post template consists of five components:

1. Lead Paragraph

This is key. If you take too long on the windup, you will lose readers. You have to get into the premise of the post and make it relevant to your readers. After the title, this is the second most important component of your post.

2. Relevant Image

Bloggers should use images for the same reasons magazines do: you want to pull readers into the post itself. Pictures do that. I get 90 percent of mine from iStockPhoto.com. Occasionally, I use a screenshot or an embedded video or slideshow.

3. Personal Experience

I always try to share a personal experience. The more honest and transparent you can be, the better. Why? Because readers connect with stories. In fact, my most popular posts generally come out of my stories about some failure on my part.

4. Main Body

Everything to this point has been an introduction. Try to make the main content scannable. I use bullets, numbered lists—and often both. This makes the content more accessible to readers and more sharable via Twitter and Facebook.

5. Discussion Question

For the past few years, I have ended every post with a question. I don’t intend my posts to be a monologue. Instead, I want to start a conversation. As a result, I measure my effectiveness at this by how many comments I get.

5 KEYS TO CAPTURING (AND KEEPING) YOUR READER’S ATTENTION

I also follow a few overall rules when writing my posts:

  • Make the posts short

Aim for five hundred words. For those of us who tend to be too thorough, this usually means you’ll have to write the post and then go back and tighten it up.

  • Use short paragraphs

Try to stick to three to four sentences per paragraph. If it’s more than this, the content looks too dense. Readers will give up and move on. (Notice how newspapers usually follow this rule.)

  • Keep sentences short

As a general rule, try to avoid compound sentences. A period gives readers a natural stop—and a sense of progress as they pass one milestone after another. To quote a common copywriting axiom, short sentences make the copy “read fast.”

  • Use simple words

I love language, so I am often tempted to use big words. Nonetheless, I have learned to avoid this. The goal is to communicate, not to impress readers with your vocabulary.

  • Provide internal links

You can’t say everything in one post, so link to other posts where you have developed a thought in more detail. This has the added advantage of increasing your page views and session times. I think it is also genuinely helpful to readers.

While your blog post template might be different, it is worth outlining and tweaking as you hone your writing skills. This will allow you to write faster and more effectively.

Michael Hyatt

Formerly the chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt is a bestselling author, top-ranked blogger, and leading podcaster for Productivity, Leadership, Publishing, and Social Media Marketing. He is also a successful entrepreneur whose business was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, after experiencing 330 percent growth in just three years. Hyatt and his wife, Gail, live outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

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