4 blog post essentials (A beginners guide for church leaders)

I met with a pastor over coffee Thursday morning and among other things we talked about how much potential his church website has. One of its strengths is that it has a blog. Unfortunately it’s not well maintained. And that could be worse than not having one in the first place. So this pastor asked me if I’d write a brief article about how to write a good blog post.

It just so happens that I’m working on a full e-book just about blogging. Here are some of the things it’ll have for you:

  • It’ll be packed with different blog post templates
  • Best practices
  • Tips, tricks and suggestions
  • Facts and stats
  • How-to’s and more…

As soon as it’s complete I’m going to make it available for download absolutely free. You don’t even need to be a subscriber. But if you want to make sure to receive a copy, click here and I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Here are 4 essentials to a good blog post

This list is not exhaustive by any stretch. For a deeper explanation of each point see the blogging e-book I’m working on. For now you’re just going to have to take my word for it. Trust me. Though this blog is new I’ve been blogging since 2008, and these four points are essentials I sometimes see newbies overlook.

1. Captivating Title

Every blog needs a captivating title. It won’t do just to put any old title on your post. It should be a pregnant, descriptive, brief and powerful title which accurately reflects the content of the post. I find few things more frustrating than when I visit a blog because a title was so catchy only to discover that the content didn’t match. I felt misled.

Your title is so crucial that I’d suggest you craft it carefully. Then write your post. Then go back to the title and tweak it asking questions like:

  • Does the title reflect the content?
  • Does it summarize the content?
  • If it came up in my newsfeed, would it grab me as a reader?
  • Is it powerful?
  • Is it descriptive?

2. Great Content (Goldilocks style)

Content is King, as they say. No blog will ever get off the ground if the content is poor quality. But your post format matters just about as much. How long should your post be? Should it contain visuals?  What about breaks?

Of course the length of a blog will depend on your audience and the type of blog you have. I know a blogger who’s a professional theologian. His posts are long, dry by most standards, and not at all visually appealing. But he’s an expert in his field and people expect those type of posts from him. Yet for most of us, we need something a bit easier on the eyes.

My suggestion is to keep your post between 500 and 1000 words. Like Goldilocks, we need to find the length that’s “just right.” Too short and you won’t have room to provide real quality content. Too long and you run the risk of losing your drive-by readers. I also suggest you allow people to give their eyes a rest. Break up your post with headings like I have. Add quotation boxes. Small paragraphs are helpful too as well as bullet points. Anything that will help your read move through your post quickly and efficiently.

3. Flaming Image

You’ve heard the idiom “like a moth a flame.” Well people are like that when it comes to images. I read a staggering statistic that says an article with an image will receive 94% more views than an article with no image. So next time you’re wondering if it’s worth taking a few minutes to add an image to your post, consider that fact!

But be careful where your images come from. There really are only 4 options.

a. You can buy an image from a reputable website like shutterstock or istockphotos.

b. You can get a free image from places like Creative Commons or Flickr or Wikipedia Creative Commons.

c. You can ask someone if you can use their image (with credit).

d. You can create your own image like I did for this post using PowerPoint.

4. Raving Audience

So you’ve created a captivating title and wrote a great article with a stunning flame image, now all you have to do is let people know about it. Start with your raving fans. These are usually the people you lead in your ministry. Your small group and your friends on Facebook. Then move out from there and post to your larger social media outlets like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter or wherever you’ve set up shop.

As I said at the start, there is way more to blogging that these four points. But these are the absolute essentials and I never cease to be amazed at how often they are overlooked. So take my advice, print out this article (button below) and tape it up next to your computer somewhere. Reference it for as long as it takes to get these points in you until it becomes second nature.

In the e-book I’m working on we’ll talk about share icons, calls to action, overall design and more. If you click here and subscribe I will certainly let you know as soon as it’s available for download.

Question: Do you have a question about blogging that you would like me to discuss in my upcoming e-book? If your question is chosen I’ll mention you and your blog in the book. You can leave a comment by clicking here.