The Key to Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed

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You’ve started a blog and have been writing your heart out for months.

Sometimes your post hits a nerve and get noticed but most times they languish without shares or comments.

It’s easy to use the standard blog post writing tool box and prescribe better headlines, different post types, and fancy diagrams depicting the perfect post.

The problem is that these solutions focus on “manipulating” the reader rather than giving them what they want.

What do readers want?

They want specific, relevant, and concise guidance for their particular situation.

However a review of many blogs show a wealth of first-person perspectives posts that are long on passion and short on relevant information. I call these “encouragement” posts and they are the staple of first-time bloggers, especially those in the coaching and self-help niches.

While, encouragement posts are easy to write, they have a significant weakness. They turn your reader into a spectator. The first-person narrative at the heart of encouragement posts puts you at the center of the story. This is the kiss of death for readers because they would rather put themselves at the center. They want to be the hero – as they should be.

I advise my blog review clients to review their editorial calendar and only write encouragement posts 1-2% of the time. This feels awkward at first but its necessary for you to reap the benefits from writing what I call “Guidance Posts.”

Write More Guidance Posts

I wrote about this before while exploring “The Hero’s Journey” and is critical for bloggers to understand.

Guidance posts teach and coach readers. They offer new concepts, frameworks, and points of view. They are the meat of your approach and value proposition. Readers love guidance posts because they are the hero. The narrative is pointed directly at their issue and they leave the post with tangible advice they can use.

Guidance Posts get shared. Guidance Posts get comments. Guidance Posts get promoted by influencers.

That’s why I recommend filling 60% of your editorial calendar with guidance posts. (For you math nerds out there, the other 38% focus on tools. More about that in another post.)

You are reading a guidance post now. If you look over my past work you’ll see that I rarely write encouragement posts. When I do, I always sneak in a little guidance :)

A Quick Look at a Scary Word

It’s Meta-Cognition or thinking about how you think.

The best teachers, speakers,and writers have a clear idea of why they think the way they do. Slightly confusing I know but it’s important.

A blog is a powerful tool for dissecting your thinking process. Seth Godin says that this is the primary reason why he blogs. If blogs are the platform then guidance posts force you to be explicit about your approach.

This is great because people pay for your approach. They hesitate to pay for your opinion.

Make sense?

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

12 thoughts on “The Key to Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed

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  4. Elizabeth Traub

    I think I may have just written a semi-guidance post. This is the first blog, in a while, that I took out pen and paper and copied some of your statements to remind myself. “Teach and coach readers” This is a hard subject for me. I was never really in the teaching kind of industry as a designer. I basically lead my clients to their decisions, as people typically hire a designer because they are not creative, they do not want to be taught, they just want an amazing room. This is truly a challenge for me. If you have a minute, I would love your feedback on my last blog post. My feelings are pretty tough. Thx for this post, Elizabeth
    p.s. latest blog if you have time.

  5. Frances Caballo

    What you suggest absolutely does make sense. I know that I’m more inclined to read and share posts that guide me through a problem or an innovation. I need to remember this when I write my own posts.

  6. Mark Badran

    Nice read. Totally agree about guidance posts and helping your readers learn something or help to solve a problem. Demonstrating your expertise through guidance posts, helpful tips and tricks, and teaching your readers something of value is more likely to build an audience and potentially turn some of them into paying customers.

  7. Gregory Ciotti

    Are you saying that “data heavy” posts performed better?

    I’d call that ‘utility content’, and I’d refer to those other posts you mentioned as posts that ones that created ‘high emotional arousal’.

    It seems to me that data + usefulness OR personal take + emotions seem to be key in creating popular posts.

  8. Bill Alpert

    Wow, nice post! Your thought process here is indeed helpful, and refreshingly original. I’ve never seen anyone pose the subject of content creation in such a straightforward manner. Kudos.

  9. Abdallah Al-Hakim


    very good post on blog. The other important point about blogging, I believe, is the consistency of providing material. Also, a good blog post should engage the reader and almost drive them to want to comment. This latter point is probably one of the best metrics judging the success of your blog.

  10. Aleksandra Walsh

    Thanks for your post Stanford. I am coaching my Realtor husband on how to write his new Blog and I intuitively asked him to come up with topics that help readers solve problems. I’m glad to know we are on the right track.

    I especially like your last comment about people paying for your approach – not your opinion. That really hit it home for me.

    Looking forward to more great reading from you.

    Sunny skies!

  11. Kenny

    The short time I was blogging I noticed how your gudiance reflected the stats and reality of what was shared. The posts that were focused on the “inner world” did not do as well.

    There were exceptions primarily because I think that touched raw nerves and people sensed it was an outpouring.

    I believe in general your guidance is spot on. I know my next iteration will be better but I believe the more you write the better you get. You have to have something to offer and focus on delivering that value proposition.

    Been a long time Stanford. #Hattip

  12. Michael Corley

    This post is more timely than some reading might be aware.

    I just unsubscribed from 5 email lists by some big name bloggers (each of whom everyone would recognize if I mentioned their names) and its because a lot of what was being delivered was opinion and recycled content.

    Opinions are fine but there’s little value you can draw from it.

    Now tell me where you’ve been, what you’ve done and how you solved a problem and you’ve got my undivided attention.

    Really glad you published this one, Stanford … confirms my instincts to unsubscribe was right.

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