So how does one whip up blog posts that make a reader start searching for the subscribe button?
There's a seemingly overwhelming amount of ways to improve the value of your posts. But there are a few, very simple, very easy (and often times overlooked) ways to get the ball rolling... or just add a little spice to some already great stuff! Personally, I consider most of these "pointers" to be, for lack of a better word, good habits.
One of the most important things to remember is that a blog post is like a conversation (there are a few exceptions to this rule). When a person visits your blog, they'll most likely follow these steps:
1) Look for the desired content (whether by a custom search function, categories, or simple browsing).
2) Either leave the site (failed to find desired content) or stay and open the full serving of content (think they found what they were looking for based on a good title).
3) Begin reading content.
4) Amidst the reading process, either close the content and exit the site (content wasn't what they thought / didn't contain the info they needed), begin at Step #1 again (thinks there might be more content they want / need, or is simply interested in the site), or start formulating "responses" in their head.
If your reader is still present after this point, you can bet you've got yourself a fan (or at least a solid visit). That last step is the key to the "conversational" element of a blog post: formulating responses tells us that, whether it be negative or positive, the reader has an interest in the content you’ve provided. That means you successfully pulled off an interesting "conversation". A comment by a visitor in the comments section reinforces that possibility even more!
So what does this mean for you?
As I said above, you need to write like you're in a sort of "conversation" with your readers. Don't be afraid to ask questions, point out something seemingly off-topic but interesting (largely remain on-topic, though), be a bit whimsical, show a little emotion... generally be a real person. If you can do this, your readers will at least acknowledge that you're not BSing them.
The next most important thing to remember is that you never want to completely clinch your topic. This comes as a kinda spin-off to the previous point. If you tie every loose end in your content, you don’t even give your reader’s the ability to reply with their own thoughts. You’ve already provided the perfect answer, what’s the point of anyone else trying to add their own two cents, or further the topic with some extra information? Sometimes you might not have all the answers, but you can make a reader feel like they have nothing more to add. Avoid this, as well!
However, there are some special situations where this does not apply. Works such as tutorials, lessons, walkthroughs, guides, and others of similar context are usually more appreciated in a "complete" form. If you can’t fully provide the answer to the reader’s problems, they’ll be less likely to keep returning. These types of writings are also, more often than others, less "conversational" and more "you listen to me, I tell you what you need to know". Kinda like a teacher instead of a conversational partner.
My last point for today would have to be the "intelligence" of a blog post.
Being intelligent does not by any means refer to using lots of big words, complicated ideas, or "higher learning" to make you look like you’re a real pro. The fact of the matter is that nobody is equal, and assuming that everyone else reading your stuff is a super-smart scientist or big-time author will put a big fat road block in your popularity. Keep on topic, and be to the point!
I’m not saying you need to avoid using big words, but a lot of redundant, meaningless, low-value yet complicated words for no reason will make people look at you as a pompous ass more than anything else. Use them sparingly, and only use them if you’re trying to really highlight a point. Not everyone is as familiar with the English language as you are, don’t make them feel bad because they wanted to do other things instead of read the dictionary front to back.
After all is said and done, writing interesting blog posts has a lot of common sense involved. Any good writing requires a bit of perspective. Try to think like your readers would; don’t just think like you would. Remember that you’re trying to impress a potential millions and millions of readers, not just yourself. Try and fit your writing to that bill!