Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded several successful web analytics firms such as Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics.
He's also one of the most prolific bloggers and content creators on the internet today, with more than one million email subscribers that look forward to his frequent posts on digital marketing topics.
In addition to writing on his own blogs, neilpatel.com and quicksprout.com, Neil is a columnist for several major business publications such as Inc. He's also the author of a new book, Hustle:
The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum, which landed on the New York Times Best Seller list.
I recently spoke with Neil on my podcast, Write With Impact, about his strategies for crafting blog posts that get read — and shared — by readers. He also shared some big changes to the format, length, and frequency of his posts that he’s about to roll-out on his blogs.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about writing blog posts?
Short, to the point, very educational, and tactical work best. You can’t do that for every industry, but for most you can.
It’s all about writing a really catchy headline. 8 out of 10 people read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 click through to read the rest. And then you need a quick intro, get right into the body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
8 out of 10 people read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 click through to read the rest.
How do you come up with ideas, and how do you know what’s going to resonate with readers?
Send out a survey: You can ask people what they want to read. Or go to Buzzsumo and type in keywords to see what’s popular in your space, to see what’s hot and what’s not. I mainly base it off hearing what people want to read from emails and from conferences I attend.
How do you craft your headlines?
The Copyblogger headline formula breaks down how you can create an attractive headline. Portent has a headline generator tool. Those are two things I would look at to ensure your headline is attractive and hopefully more and more people will click through it.
How do you make your blog posts sound more "human" so you can engage more readers?
Most people fall asleep when reading blog posts because they’re poorly written. If you use the words “You” and “I”, it makes it more like a conversation than a professor that lectures to you and makes you fall asleep in school.
The other thing you want to do is end a blog post with a question: That helps you increase comments. You also want to use sub-headings throughout the blog post to make it easier to skim. And your paragraphs should be 3–5 lines maximum. You can go up to 6 but anymore than that it becomes too long.
There’s so much content being generated every today, what do you do to break-through the noise?
I’m changing up the process. There are too many people giving general information out there. Even though my content is not bad, it’s not amazing. I’m going to a format on neilpatel.com where I blog only once a week, maybe twice a week, but I’ll publish really amazing content.
For example, I’m writing a post now: “How thorough content increases rankings: what I learned from analyzing 162,321 web pages that Google penalized.”
So I’ll write just really thorough content where I’m using stats and data. I have a researcher that I pay $10,000 a month. He’s just analyzing sites, and we’ve gained so many interesting insights from the data we’ve collected.
I’ll end up writing one post a week instead of one a day. It’ll take more time to write that one post and do all the research, but I do believe it’ll hit harder, get more links, and go up in the rankings faster. I think it’s necessary because there are too many people writing today.
In terms of length, what works best for ranking on Google?
Longer posts of 3,000 to 5,000 words. It’s not necessarily just about the length; you need to cover all topics related to the subject you're writing about. If you're trying to attract traffic through Google, then you shouldn't just write about pizza, for example. You should also be talking about crust, cheese, toppings, baking temperature. The content that do
es best has all the other keywords related to that topic.
Listen to my complete conversation with Neil Patel, where he talks about the techniques he uses to build a massive email list, and why he’s going global with his blog.
What strategies do you use to ensure your blog posts sound more “human” and make readers want to share them? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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