Content sites have a tremendous amount of competition nowadays. Not only are there hundreds of millions of blogs in 2021, but a growing number of brands are starting to invest in content marketing. So the criteria for high-quality content is getting higher and higher by the day.
But as brands and marketers compete to write the most valuable blog posts for driving results, they fall into a trap: writing too many words with too little substance.
In this post, we’ll discuss how getting to the point is essential to driving amazing results with your blog posts. How do you avoid burying the lede? And how can you ensure that your investment into content comes with a high ROI? Let’s find out.
The Ideal Blog Post Is Getting Longer
According to recent research, the length of content being published is getting longer every year.
As you can see from the graph below, the average number of words grew from 808 to 1,269 between 2014 and 2020. And the numbers are likely to go even higher if marketers keep up with trends and research.
As an example, three different research studies show that longer posts get better results.
- HubSpot states that the ideal blog post length for SEO is between 2,100 and 2,400 words.
- According to Buffer, posts that are over 2,500 words long get the highest number of social shares.
- Semrush states that, for high-earning blogs, their most popular posts tend to be longer than 2,424 words.
So, for any brand trying to drive results with content marketing, this may seem like a straightforward piece of advice: write longer posts to get better SEO results.
But here’s the deal. Long posts open up a lot of room for error. Not only can they get overwhelming for readers, but they often rely on fluff to hit those high word counts. And, the byproduct of these is almost always poor organization. In other words, writers try so hard to offer a lot of information that they fall into the trap of burying the lede.
What It Means to Bury the Lede
The term originates from 1970s journalism. At the time, to bury the lede (or lead) meant that a writer failed to state the most important piece of information in their article in the top section. To solve the problem, writers were taught to follow the inverted pyramid. Starting from the vital information, they would work their way down to the stuff that wasn’t crucial to their readers.
The results they got by following this advice were well-rounded news articles. These would allow all reader types to get what they were after without becoming fatigued or thinking that a piece was irrelevant to their interests.
But, in the world of online publishing, SEO, and cutthroat competition, the implications of burying the lede aren’t just that a potential customer won’t recognize a valuable piece of content. It’s that they’ll think they’ve arrived at the wrong destination, will navigate away from your website, and will go to your competitors, all the while sending a signal to Google that your article is not worth being shown on the top of SERPs.
How to Get to the Point When Writing Blog Posts
Now that you’re aware of how important it is to properly structure your blog posts to drive results, here are the main tips on ensuring your readers know what they can expect.
Make Your Point Known
There are very few things more frustrating than false marketing. So, when writing blog posts, make sure that readers know what they can expect.
For example, if you’re writing a post about how people can pick the best watermelon at the market, you can achieve a lot by tweaking the headline.
Compare this post by Healthline and this one by Delish. Both promise the same thing, but Healthline offers something extra: it states right away that it includes six tips. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that it ranks higher on Google. It’s straightforward about what it provides from the very beginning.
If you’re writing about something more complicated, consider including a table of contents towards the top of the article. That way, people will not only know what they can learn, but they’ll also be able to jump to the points they’re interested in. See how Skillcrush does it in their piece on the difference between front end, back end, and full stack development, which is a topic that typically needs careful explanation to a reader who knows very little about it.
Write a Killer Introduction
Another super-helpful tactic you can start implementing to avoid burying the lede is to learn how to write amazing introductions.
If you’re new to writing, don’t fall into the trap of producing clickbaity posts that never get to the point. Instead, try to stick to the age-old advice of hooking your readers, giving them a short preview, then succinctly discussing all the promised points.
Yes, you can add extra info for those with time on their hands and a deep interest in the topic. But don’t let yourself alienate readers by rambling on about things no one cares about.
Keep Crucial Info Above the Fold
Designers often discuss “above the fold” and “below the fold” when deciding where to place valuable web elements like CTAs.
But, the thing is, the point of your article has the same weight as a CTA button. So moving that one crucial line of text to the end of your post simply won’t do.
Instead, make sure that the crucial information you’re trying to present stands out immediately. You’ll want to do this even if it’s just the headline of your piece. Don’t just slap a stock image to the beginning of your post (like 303 Magazine does).
Provide a Short Summary
If you’re gearing up to write a particularly long post (which, if you’ve read this entire article, you definitely should), then it’s not a bad idea to create a section for those readers who don’t want to go through the trouble of reading 2,000+ words.
Adding a short summary, like the one used by Best Mattress Brand in their best adjustable beds post, is an excellent way to manage reader expectations. It’s easy enough to add to all your posts and it prevents bounces from readers looking for a quick reference. Plus, it even provides a handy spot to add a couple of extra affiliate links to your post.
Now that you know how to write better (and longer) blog posts without burying the lede, it’s time to get down to work. But if your content doesn’t immediately drive the desired results, don’t be alarmed.
For one, writing is a skill that needs honing. Moreover, finding the perfect voice for your brand can take some time. So make sure you’re doing your best, look to analytical data to identify underperforming articles, and keep editing your writing. That way, you’re sure to see progress.