The Only 6 Posts Worth Writing (and How to Totally Nail Each One)

The Only 6 Posts Worth Writing (and How to Totally Nail Each One)

Want to know the secret to a popular blog?

Drumroll please…

Popular posts.

Simple, huh? πŸ™‚

So simple as to be, well let’s be honest, completely useless.

Because if you knew the secret to writing consistently popular posts, you’d already have a popular blog. Right?

But instead, you approach each new idea with a gnawing trepidation.

You quietly hope that this might be the post that finally rockets you to Internet fame, but it’s all you can do to suppress the creeping fear that people will completely ignore it – or even ridicule it.

The problem is that nobody – not even the A-List Bloggers – knows how a post will be received until they click publish. And even the top dogs understand that they are just one underwhelming post away from a raft of unsubscribes and a flurry of premature – but strangely prophetic – rumors of a fall from grace.

But there is a way to give your next blog post (and the one after that and the one after that) the best chance of being your most popular to date.

The Crazy Simple Secret to Writing Popular Posts

All wildly popular posts have one basic quality in common. One simple characteristic shared by all posts that set their audiences alight.

They change the reader.

In other words, the person who finishes the post is not the same as the one who started it – they’ve experienced a change.

It might not be a big change. Or even a permanent change. (Although truly great posts achieve both types.) But the simple act of reading the post changes the reader in some meaningful way.

It changes what they know, changes how they feel, or even changes what they believe.

And the best posts change how the reader behaves.

They prompt the reader to take action; action that sets them on a new path, toward a new destiny. And whether that’s a minor new arc in their day or a whole new trajectory in their life, it wouldn’t have happened without that post.

So here they are. The 6 types of posts that set out to change the reader. Posts that have popularity in their DNA.

For each type you’ll learn:

  • What to say in the opening – how to open your post with the right ideas to draw the reader in and set the scene for what’s to come.
  • How to transition to the body – how to introduce the first major idea of the post, developing the theme and bridging smoothly from the opening to the main body.
  • What to say in the body – guidelines and tactics for writing the main body to ensure it creates the desired change.
  • How to close – how to write a closing section that echoes the main theme and leaves the reader poised to take action.

Let’s get started.

#1 The Wake-Up Call

The Wake-Up Call is a tough-talking post whose purpose is to snap the reader out of behavior that’s destructive, misguided or simply isn’t in line with their claimed goals.

Sometimes the reader is aware of the mistakes they’re making. Other times they have no idea they’re pushing so hard in the wrong direction. But The Wake-Up Call aims to put them straight.

This post deals in hard truths and tough love. It leaves the reader bruised, but wiser. And importantly, ready to face the world again with eyes wide open.

How to Totally Nail It

What to say in the opening

Open by talking about what the reader wants and what they may currently be doing to get it. Acknowledge that their actions are perfectly reasonable given what they know, and empathize with the frustration of not making progress or not making progress quickly enough.

How to transition to the body

Reveal that the real reason they are not succeeding is that they’re doing something fundamentally wrong. They’re taking the wrong actions, pursuing the wrong goal or operating under the wrong assumptions. But it’s not their fault – it’s just that no-one bothered to point out their mistakes before now.

What to say in the body

Highlight the reader’s errors and omissions. Convince them of the folly of their current strategy. Talk about what it really takes to be successful, and suggest alternative behaviors that will yield better results.

Specific tactics:

  • Give hard reasons why old advice no longer works and why a new approach is required.
  • For each mistake provide a remedy; for each false assumption, an insight.
  • Highlight real-world examples of success using the alternative behaviors and examples of failure using the old.
  • Share personal stories about making exactly the same mistakes – and say what you learned from the experience.

Keep an eye on:

  • Tone. Ensure that your overall tone is supportive rather than judgmental. You’re giving the reader hard truths because you want them to succeed, not because you want to bring them down.
How to close

End by challenging the reader to finally let go of their misconceptions and embrace the truth, however difficult that might be. Remind them to keep the end goal in mind and reiterate that only a total change of mindset will allow them to achieve it. Caution them by describing the consequences of slipping back into old behaviors. Finally, coax them to take their first step in a brand new direction.

The Change This Post Creates

A change in beliefs, leading to a change in behavior.


Examples of The Wake-Up Call in action:

#2 The Catalyst

The Catalyst is a post designed to push the reader over the edge – but in a positive way. Its purpose is to persuade, cajole or even to shame them into taking a step they have been meaning to take for some time.

The Catalyst is aimed at the reader who knows what they need to do but has a mental block about doing it.

This type of post is concerned with reasons. It demolishes the reasons that maintain the status quo and gives new reasons for taking the desired steps toward the destination.

How to Totally Nail It

What to say in the opening

Start by empathizing with the feeling of being blocked and reassure the reader that it’s perfectly normal to be stuck. Speculate about some of the reasons the reader might have for not moving forward.

How to transition to the body

Pivot by saying that while it is normal to be stuck, it’s not okay – certainly if the reader is committed to being successful. Call them on their BS by bringing into stark focus the disconnect between what they say they want and what they’re doing to get it.

What to say in the body

Systematically demolish the reader’s excuses for inaction. Use counter arguments and counter examples. Show them how apparent obstacles can be removed, or convince them that these are not true obstacles at all. Teach them how to make progress even in the face of their perceived barriers.

Specific tactics:

  • Give examples to show how others moved forward under the same – or tougher – circumstances.
  • Use humor to point out contradictory behavior without bullying the reader.
  • Reframe perceived limitations as advantages. (“Can’t find the time to write? Great – write for just 15 minutes, but every day.”)

Keep an eye on:

  • Scope. You’re looking to get the reader moving again – not make huge strides forward – so don’t overreach. If the task seems too daunting, they will slip back into the rut of inaction.
How to close

Talk about the perils of inaction and remind the reader that nothing worth having comes easily. Describe a vision of the future where they have stepped past their previous limits and are enjoying new freedom and success. Finally, prompt them to take a first step that commits them to the new path.

The Change This Post Creates

A change in mindset, leading to action.


The following are some examples of The Catalyst in action:

#3 The Lifeline

The Lifeline is a highly practical post that gives the reader the solution to a problem they already know they have.

Unlike The Catalyst, which helps readers who know what to do but can’t take the step, The Lifeline rescues readers who are blocked for another reason – they simply don’t know how to proceed. Their problem isn’t inaction – it’s finding the right action.

How to Totally Nail It

What to say in the opening

Empathize with the specific problem the reader is facing. Show you understand their situation. Amplify the pain and frustration they feel while this problem remains unsolved. Talk about some of the things they may have tried that failed.

How to transition to the body

Tell the reader that they’re not stupid – the problem is a tough one and the solution may not be the same for everyone. Reassure them that the problem is not unsolvable – they just need to be pointed in the right direction. Build credibility – what makes you the right person to offer a solution?

What to say in the body

Reveal your solution. If you have one solution that works in all cases then be sure to provide the detail that others omit. If there are many valid approaches, provide enough alternatives that the readers will be sure to find one that works for their situation.

Recommended tactics:

  • Give specific, easy-to-follow tips that yield quick wins – even if they only solve part of the problem, leaving other tips to solve the rest.
  • Provide specific examples of how others have solved the same problem successfully using similar approaches.
  • Point out the potential pitfalls and guide them safely away from common advice that’s confusing, simplistic or just plain wrong.

Keep an eye on:

  • Detail. Provide enough for the reader to take action and get results. If you promise a solution but the reader has too little information to act, they will feel cheated and frustrated.
How to close

Remind the reader of the pain caused by the problem and suggest that a solution is now within their reach. Reiterate what they need to do to get started (follow the steps, pick a tip, try an approach) and urge them to take action. Get them to imagine a near future where the problem has disappeared and is a distant memory.

The Change This Post Creates

A change in focus – from obstacle to action.


Examples of The Lifeline in action:

#4 The Hand-Holder

The Hand-Holder takes a new reader on their first baby steps toward a large and seemingly impossible goal. It aims to transition your newest fans from wide-eyed novices to confident apprentices.

At this early stage in their development, The Lifeline is no help because they don’t even know what problems they should be solving yet.

Likewise, The Catalyst won’t help either – procrastination is only an issue if you know what to do next.

How to Totally Nail It

What to say in the opening

Open by empathizing with the feeling of not knowing where to start, of being overwhelmed by possibilities and feeling a million miles behind everyone else.

How to transition to the body

Reassure the reader that feelings of overwhelm are not a result of stupidity or naivety but rather the sheer volume of advice given, much of it contradictory. Reveal that some simple steps will set them on the right path.

What to say in the body

Lead the reader to a place of basic competence by filling in the gaps in their understanding. Build their confidence levels. Show how even a small amount of knowledge and skill can yield useful results.

Specific tactics:

  • Give clear, simple examples that are easy to follow.
  • Ensure your advice is unambiguous and free of nuance.
  • Use simple metaphors to relate important concepts to widely-understood principles.
  • Provide regular encouragement throughout the points.

Keep an eye on:

  • Jargon. Don’t assume the reader is already familiar with the common terms in your niche. With a new reader, trust is a fragile thing, and strange, unexplained terminology can easily break that trust.
How to close

Remind the reader that even experts were once beginners. Show them how far they’ve already come. Gently remind them of the first step they need to take and show them what lies ahead if they keep working.

The Change This Post Creates

A change in confidence levels and capability.


Examples of The Hand-Holder in action:

#5 The Strategy

The Strategy gives the reader a robust process for reaching an elusive goal. This is a post for the reader who already knows where they are and where they need to be but cannot see a clear path between the two.

This type of post doesn’t aim to give an exact solution for everyone because each reader and each situation are different.

Whereas The Lifeline is focused on solving problems, The Strategy helps the reader achieve goals. It doesn’t promise an easy ride or a quick fix, only that diligently following the process will yield the desired result.

How to Totally Nail It

What to say in the opening

Build empathy with the reader around wanting to achieve an important goal but not knowing how. Show them you understand the frustration of cookie-cutter solutions that promise much but deliver little.

How to transition to the body

Reveal that there is no easy answer – it’s going to take hard work – but there is a process they can follow to get where they need to be. Establish the credentials for the strategy – is it one you’ve successfully followed yourself or have you distilled it from the success of others?

What to say in the body

Break down the process into its component steps. Think carefully about the transitions between steps. Make the process no more complicated – but no simpler – than it needs to be to guarantee results.

Specific tactics:

  • Make the criteria for moving from one step to another clear – don’t let the reader skip difficult steps.
  • Show how each part of the strategy might apply to a specific scenario to make it easier to see how it might apply to theirs.
  • Give likely timescales and set reasonable expectations.

Keep an eye on:

  • Coverage. Make sure the strategy covers all of the scenarios the reader might reasonably expect. Provide alternative steps where necessary.
How to close

Remind the reader of the value of their goal and suggest that a clear target together with a rock-solid strategy is a prize half-won. Warn them not to start the process lightly but to steel themselves for a long journey. Ask them what they need to do to be ready to embark upon the first step and urge them to start that preparation right away.

The Change This Post Creates

A change in approach – leading to better results, sooner.


Examples of The Strategy post in action:

#6 The Horizon-Expander

The Horizon-Expander aims to broaden the reader’s knowledge and open them to new ideas and opportunities.

It’s not interested in helping people be more effective with the knowledge they already have. It wants to broaden their thinking to include new options.

This type of post says, “Here are some new toys to play with,” and whether those are ideas, principles, tools or even people, they help the reader imagine new possibilities and play a bigger game.

How to Totally Nail It

What to say in the opening

Play upon the reader’s curiosity about a subject. Empathize with a desire to learn more and reveal that few of us in reality have time for actively seeking new influences in the hope they might one day be useful.

How to transition to the body

Reveal yourself as a humble curator and tell the reader where ideas in the post have come from. Build anticipation by describing the benefits they will receive – new sources of inspiration, new models to copy, new ways of thinking to apply to their work.

What to say in the body

List your examples. Explain the important principles. But ground them in a recognizable world. New ideas and unusual influences can be powerful, but they need context. Show the reader how these relate to their current world view.

Specific tactics:

  • Show abstract principles in action by giving real-world examples.
  • Use hypotheticals to show how the reader could apply the ideas to their own work.
  • Use analogies to make unfamiliar principles easier to understand.

Keep an eye on:

  • Relevance. Ask yourself: are these truly useful points of reference or simply an excuse to explore personal interests outside your normal topic?
How to close

Remind the reader of the benefit of looking outside their immediate sphere for new ideas and influences. Encourage them to pick an example from the post and explore it further or to apply an idea to their own situation. Prompt them for examples to add to your list.

The Change This Post Creates

A change in awareness – more options leading to better results.


Examples of The Horizon-Expander in action:

So What are You Waiting For?

As a blogger, you can easily feel that writing a popular post is a matter of pure luck.

Popularity is not something that can be engineered – it’s just something that happens once in a while, when the planets align, right?

Certainly it’s true that if you write enough posts you’ll eventually get lucky.

(As the saying goes: even a blind pig finds a truffle once in a while.)

But to build a popular blog, occasional – inexplicable – success is not good enough.

You need to write posts that are consistently popular. You need to develop your writing to the point where failure (not success) is the unusual, unfathomable event.

Because that’s how you build momentum. That’s how you grow an audience. That’s how you get traffic.

But now you have a compass for popularity. A simple question.

Will your post change the reader?

So to get started, think:

What change do your readers need most?

What change do they need right now?

Got an answer? Good.

Then it’s time to start writing.

About the Author:Β Glen LongΒ is the Managing Editor of Boost Blog Traffic. If you liked this post you might also like his 20 Rules for Writing So Crystal Clear Even Your Dumbest Relative Will Understand. You can find him on Google+ and (occasionally) Twitter.


  1. Amal
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:12:11

    Hey Glen,
    Now that’s what I call a “Well written post!”
    I really loved the part 4, The Hand-Holder. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:07:25

      Hey Amal,

      Thanks for the compliment. Glad you like the “Hand-Holder”. πŸ™‚ My hope is that everyone takes at least one of these away with them to apply to their writing.



      • Amal
        Jul 12, 2014 @ 22:14:32

        Hi Glen,
        I’m pretty sure that all of them who have been into this post will be thinking about this when they write their next post.

        Once again thanks for writing this awesome piece πŸ™‚

        Have a nice day. Cheers!

  2. Patrick Icasas
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:12:13

    Excellent post, Glen! I’m about to start up a new inspirational blog of my own, and this article is definitely going to be my go-to reference when creating my editorial calendar. Thank you so much for writing it!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:08:41

      Many thanks Patrick!

      Good luck with your blog – the world needs more inspiration!

      Glad to have been able to help with your editorial calendar. πŸ™‚



  3. Rob McNelis
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:18:47

    Great detailed explanation! I basically do the same thing. I’ll add a little summary of actionable steps if anyone wants them. πŸ™‚

    1. Search buzzsumo for the best performing content in your niche.

    2. Take one of the articles and offer a different perspective with facts to back it up. (Be controversial, but helpful)

    3. Provide “hand holding” and actionable steps in your article.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:10:16

      Hi Rob,

      Love your 3-point strategy! I’ve only recently been introduced to Buzzsumo but it does look like a great tool. Need to dig into it a little more…

      Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.



    • Abu Zafor
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 15:14:38

      Hi Rob, buzzsumo was new to me and after take a test at buzzsumo, All I can say it’s a great search engine to find great content on the web. It helps me to find the next article ideas for my blog. Thanks…..

  4. Kevin
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:18:56

    Glen, this is trully awesome material.

    The “wake-up call” type post is a very difficult one to pull effectively in my experience, though. My last article can be categorized as one of these and I really wish I read this article before I hit publish.

    Because as you so elegantly put it: “The problem is that nobody – not even the A-List Bloggers – knows how a post will be received until they click publish.”

    True words.


    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:11:47

      Good of you to say so Kevin. πŸ™‚

      Yes there’s always a degree of nervousness when clicking publish. Even when you know what it likely to work. I had the same little ripple of fear before clicking publish on this one.

      Glad you liked it though.



    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:19:13

    I love the step-by-step approach here, Glenn – practical and a good read.

    The kind of endings I find have the most impact (for me as a reader) is when they loop back to the beginning. I’ve noticed it a lot in comedy shows too – the majority of the scenes start and end with a line that are connected.

    I try and do that with my posts. Makes them more entertaining !

    – Razwana

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:13:33

      Hi Razwana,

      Yes the callback is a great device – in comedy and in blogging. (Random aside – I used to be a professional comedy writer!) I often say the closing should “echo” the opening and indeed the headline.

      Thanks for stopping by!



  6. Elke Feuer
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:19:59

    WOW! Wish I could download this stuff into my brain. Just what I needed to shake up my editorial calendar for the rest of the year. Thanks!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:14:47

      Hi Elke,

      The cerebral implant version of this post does cost a little extra I’m afraid. But on the plus side the online version doesn’t require surgery. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your comment.


  7. Stephen Irvine
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:20:21

    Great post Glen, def bookmarked for future use. Thanks

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:17:05

      Honored to be on your bookmark bar Stephen. Thanks for dropping by!



  8. Chaim
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:21:14

    Glen – that is a very though-provoking Blog!
    Deserves reading it over and over – and letting it make a change in US, the veritable readers of it!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:17:23

      Thanks Chaim!

  9. Faigie
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:25:39

    Great ideas. I wonder if the ideas can be at all transferable to a children’s art blog

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:19:59

      Hi Faigie,

      I’m sure they would transfer. I assume the blog is aimed at parents not children?

      How about a Catalyst post for parents who know they should work on fun art projects with their kids but never seem to get around to it?



  10. Adam Brooks
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:33:08

    Thanks Glen, for a very well timed and helpful article. I read this whilst worrying about today’s (and my 6th ever) blog post.

    Sounds like serendipity. What are the chances?

    For me, the most useful part was the 6 different ideas and their respective goals. It strikes me that it’s an awful lot easier to meet an audience’s needs when you understand where they are in their respective journeys.

    This might even help me work out who my audience actually is.

    To paraphrase: printed for truth.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:22:11

      Hi Adam,

      First of all – good luck with post No. 6. Hope I’ve given you some ideas!

      Second of all – yes, pinning down your audience is absolutely essential. I find it useful to ask “what’s the one thing they deeply want – and why would they come to your blog to get it?”



  11. Mi Muba
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:35:24

    Hey Glen
    This post is the case study of all you said between the lines in this post. πŸ™‚
    A post that can change the readers can never ever be just another post.
    Nor it can be an inspiration of another post.
    Nor it is a shadow of another idea.
    It is the exact extraction of your previous experience, hard work, studies and observation.
    You toil day and night to benefit your readers then you conceive a brilliant idea. Unfortunately many contents visualizers end their conceiving journey soon after they get an idea.
    Though the main challenge starts from there. You have to put the idea into a comprehensible format.
    You need to put it into easy to understand format to communicate the gist of the idea with detailed tutorial to benefit your readers maximum.
    Once again a big bravo to you for writing this unforgettable post for me for sure and for others most probably. πŸ™‚

  12. Lisa @ How To Be Supermom
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:41:03

    Brilliant, Glen! I’m bookmarking this to use as a blueprint — I’m going to set a goal of writing all of these posts for my own blog. πŸ˜‰ And I think you just got me unstuck from the block I was having on the guest post I’m working on. I wasn’t sure which of these it should be, so I was trying to make it too much. I’m going to pick one and revise!

    Which type do you consider THIS post? I think it’s a horizon-opening post. It’s certainly opened MY horizons, because I’ve never thought of posts in these kinds of categories before and I love it! It’s a totally different approach. Will definitely be sharing this as a resource.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:25:33

      Hi Lisa,

      Glad to have helped you get unstuck.

      I knew someone would ask me what sort of post this is – well done for getting in first!

      I’d intended it to be a Lifelife – for people who know they have a problem writing popular posts. But yes I guess it could be a Horizon-Expander too! πŸ™‚

      Good to see you here again. Thanks for showing up.



  13. Ash
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:42:06

    Excellent post Glenn. You hit it out of the park!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:25:58

      Many thanks Ash! πŸ™‚

  14. Amandah
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:44:21

    Great post!

    I’ve been in a funk lately and haven’t felt like writing for my blogs or even guest blogging. I’ll use this post as the “catalyst” to help me get excited, again, to write for my blogs and other blogs. I’m getting tired of writing the ‘same old, same old’ posts. I’m also thinking I may need to shift the ‘voice and tone’ of my blog and posts. Hmm…

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:27:44

      Hi Amandah,

      Great to see you here! Glad you enjoyed the post. Sorry to hear you’ve been in the blogging doldrums but hope this post might help coax you out.

      Do keep writing. πŸ™‚



      • Amandah
        Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:32:21

        Thanks Glen!

        Your post (thanks for the examples) was just what I needed! I’m outlining and developing a post for The Huffington Post. I feel energized. πŸ™‚

      • Glen Long
        Jul 13, 2014 @ 16:50:52

        Great to hear Amandah. Good luck with that post. πŸ™‚

  15. Kevin Duncan
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:45:36


    Great tips, as always. A quick browse of my past blog posts, and I can see numerous examples where I should have implemented the steps you describe. I’m getting better, but still have room for improvement!

    I’m going to share this on G+ right now…

    Thanks again.

    – Kevin Duncan

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:34:45

      Hi Kevin,

      Comparing your old posts with these templates to see how they might be improved is a great exercise. Like it!

      Thanks (in advance) for the G+ share. πŸ™‚



  16. Lakshman Teja
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:50:56

    Awesome and well written post. Thanks a lot for the post πŸ™‚

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:35:09

      Thanks Lakshman!

  17. Cynthia Lindeman
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 10:03:43

    Holy smokes Glen!! I know I’m being completely narcissistic but I feel like you wrote this post just for me . . . to use very soon πŸ™‚ But seriously, this is a great schema to approach blogging. I like it because you can actually apply it to print as well. Articles for magazines, etc. Basically any short piece. I can’t say I would always follow the schema on my own blog BUT I will certainly reference it whenever I write for another blog or write a magazine article.


    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:39:21

      Wow – thanks Cynthia!

      Glad you think it might work for print too (my brain’s so programmed to think about digital it didn’t even occur to me…)

      Like all models it’s for the reader to decide when it’s best applied, but if you feel you now have an extra tool in your writer’s toolbag then I’m a happy blogger.



  18. Sonia Thompson
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 10:04:42

    Hey Glen – such a strong reminder of how strategic we need to be with planning and writing content for our blogs. It can be very easy to get caught up in writing about “topics.” But it’s much more beneficial to both our readers and us when we spend more time in advance planning out our goals for the post as it relates to our readers, and then writing.

    Thanks for elevating my thinking (yet again)! πŸ™‚

    And always great to read from you!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:39:59

      Aw – thanks Sonia. Appreciate the feedback. Great to hear from you too. πŸ™‚

  19. Peggy Nolan
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 10:12:57


    This is pure gold, pure awesomeness! Thank you!


    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:40:37

      Thank you Peggy! I’m blushing just a little. πŸ™‚

  20. Marina Klima
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:02:38

    This is a great post. I have a question, though. I am not sure that this strategy applied to ALL the posts. For example, if I am writing about my tips on how to set up a great modern dining room, don’t you think that if I stick to the above, it will make it way too complicated for the reader? Too epic?

  21. Devi
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:07:25

    Glen, this is a fantastic post. One of the best on the site, and that is tough competition. As well as being clear and insightful, most importantly it gives me the way to implement it right away and again and again. Not only am I bookmarking it, but printing it and keeping it with my Headline Hacks ‘bible’.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:42:02

      High praise indeed Devi – thank you! I’ll mention it to Jon in my next pay review. πŸ˜‰

  22. Daryl
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:09:39

    Hey Glenn,

    This is absolutely brilliant! Boiling down a rather complicated process of the psychology of reader motivation into six easy to follow steps is pretty difficult but you’ve managed to nail it. Pretty useful for bloggers/writers like myself whenever trying to structure our content. Going to have to bookmark this post for review whenever I’m writing new blog posts now!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:44:18

      Thanks Daryl. I’m very pleased you liked it and it’s good of you to take the time to tell me.

      I hadn’t really thought about it from a psychology perspective but you’re right, that’s absolutely what it boils down to.

      Happy to have earned a bookmark. πŸ™‚



  23. DOK Simon [Blogging Engage]
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:10:23

    Hello Glen !!
    It is a wonderful post you have written and shared with us, Knowledge is power… Thanks for sharing !!

    DOK Simon

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:45:17

      And with great power comes great responsibility! Use it for good. πŸ˜‰

  24. Monty @ The Financial Freedom Blog
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:32:07

    Great post Glen!

    Question: Do you see better click rates on blog posts phrased “negatively”? For example, instead of “5 thing you need to do to…” it would be worded “5 things you need to stop doing to…” I read awhile back that posts titled this way generally have better click rates. I tried it on one of my blog posts and sure enough, that post has had much better click activity. Appreciate your input.


    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:59:04

      Hi Monty,

      Jon could probably give a more definitive answer – he’s the headline master – but I think you can have a greater impact on click rates by using more emotional language rather than worrying about negative vs positive phrasing.

      So instead of “5 things you need to stop doing to…” you could have “5 dumb mistakes that are killing your…”

      Instead of “5 things you need to do…” you could have “are you ignoring these 5 essential…”

      Whether you’re using negative or positive language it really comes down to how much the reader cares about the main topic of your headline.

      But I guess all other things being equal headlines that play to fears tend to do better.

      I hope that helps!



      • Monty @ The Financial Freedom Blog
        Jul 10, 2014 @ 14:42:48

        Thanks Glen. You said that better than I did – “playing into fears” is exactly what I was referring to. Great point about the emotional language. I used that technique in one of my previous post titles – “Are You Stealing From Your Best Friend?”


  25. Mary Davis
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:37:47

    This was very helpful. I’m putting the components of my site and blog in place and you offer some great techniques! I’ve been a journalist, writer, communications professional for years and yet stepping out into the blogosphere has proven daunting, I must say. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:01:22

      Hi Mary,

      Very happy to hear you found it helpful. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of experience so if I’ve taught you something new then that’s very satisfying.

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.



  26. Renata
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 11:57:22

    Such great content! Thank you. Right now I’m creating 6 titles using each of these approaches. Let’s see wich one goes better πŸ˜€

    • Glen Long
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:02:30

      Hi Renata,

      Great to hear you’re putting it to practical use already. And that’s a good idea for a follow-up post – how to write a headline for each type! πŸ™‚



      • Renata
        Jul 10, 2014 @ 13:20:49

        That really is a good follow-up post! hahaha, glad I could be inspiration πŸ™‚

  27. Karen MartΓ­nez P.
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:16:42

    Awesome, Glen! You collected a great list.

    #4 The Catalyst is usually my favorite kind of blog post.

    Which type of post would you say is the most effective for your audience?

    • Glen Long
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:04:25

      Thanks Karen!

      I think the best type depends on your audience and also to some extent your topic. If your readers are mostly beginners, you’re going to be writing a lot of Hand-Holder posts. If your topic is about making big changes (changing jobs, losing weight, etc.) I’m guessing you’ll probably write more Catalyst posts.



  28. Jack
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:24:34

    Glen – your post changed me. πŸ™‚ I’ve been on again off again with my blogging lately and see this post as chock-full of ways to get on (and stay on), with content organized to change my readers and make an impact. Thanks for the boost!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:06:24

      Hey Jack. Glad to have given you a boost! (It’s in the blog name so we really ought to be able to do that once in a while, right?)

      Hope your blogging is more “on” than “off” as a result. πŸ™‚



  29. Kulwant Nagi
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:39:53

    I am speechless after going through this article.

    I am going to read it for atleast 10 days regularly to get most out of it and to consume it completely.

    I landed on one article “Need Some Motivation Right Now? Read This IMMEDIATELY” from this post and it was again an EPIC piece of content.

    Glen, do you offer any professional course where I can learn more from you? πŸ™‚

    In short – You nailed it today.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:08:44

      Thanks Kulwant! Wow – I’m very happy you found it so valuable. It’s also great to be able to highlight content that you haven’t come across before. Yes that other post is pretty epic. πŸ™‚

  30. Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:41:35

    Well, I was loving how concrete this post was…even before I noticed 2 of the examples are from my own site!

    Glad to hear I’m getting some stuff right. πŸ˜‰

    Wonderfully instructive post — nice job, Glen.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:11:21

      Thanks Carol. Delighted that you stopped by and I’m really pleased you enjoyed my post. Glad you thought it was concrete too. That’s something I always aim for but it can be tricky with more conceptual posts like this. Oh, and of course I linked to your site – it’s great content! πŸ™‚

  31. Dave Nordella
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 14:28:32

    Another Glen Long classic! This post is filled with constructive advice, which is clearly stated without wasting a word. You are a fantastic instructor, Glen.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:12:03

      Thanks Dave! Appreciate the ongoing support. πŸ™‚

  32. Kathy
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 17:05:15

    Hi Glen –
    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for writing this article!! Hands-down the most helpful thing I have ever read on how to create and structure blog posts for maximum impact. It’s like you unlocked a secret vault. YES!! Really appreciate your explanations and how you broke down the process AND that you linked to a variety of examples – this is how I learn best.
    Awesome work – thanks again!

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:01:52

      Hi Kathy,

      Glad you liked the examples! Finding them was a bit of a back-and-forth process – a few inspired the various post types and once I’d got the types I then had to go back to search for more examples.

      Thanks for letting me know if was helpful. πŸ™‚



  33. Joe Arak
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 19:34:59

    Thanks, Glen! Interesting and masterfully done. This is truly helpful and on a par with some of His Awesomeness’ best pieces. (That’s what I understand Jon insists you guys call him, right?).

    I don’t know who you were writing comedy for, but really, in terms of the penetrating and clever insights, I’d say it’s resonant with Eddie Izzard’s stuff.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:08:55

      Hi Joe,

      Thank you – we all aspire to write like Jon! I was writing for the BBC, mainly online but the odd bit of radio too. I’m a big Eddie Izzard fan though – seen him live a number of times.

      Thanks for your comments.



      P.S. Jon doesn’t actually insist upon the Royal Awesomeness title, but if you forget to say it he does get a bit grumpy… πŸ˜‰

  34. Wenda McMahan
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 00:08:30

    Truly valuable, genius post, Glen. Perfectly punctuated with well-chosen examples. This one was out of the ballpark! Thanks, Wenda

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:08:15

      Many thanks Wenda! So glad you found it valuable. πŸ™‚

  35. Alexander
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 01:54:49

    This is a wonderful, helpful post, my favourite so far. Probably the most useful for my writing. Thanks so much! I guess, this would fall under categoy 5.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:10:50

      Hi Alexander. Delighted to have written one of your favorite posts! There’s some debate as to what time of post this is, but I’d say it’s mostly Lifeline, with a little Horizon-Expander. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for dropping by. Cheers, Glen.

  36. Bryan Collins
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 05:58:04

    Great post Glen.

    I’m surprised you guys give this away for free.

    I’m writing a blog post about the power of free writing. I’m going to rewrite it as a Lifeline post.

    Is it fair to say your post is a Horizon-Expander ?

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:13:20

      Thanks Bryan. That’s got to be the ultimate compliment online – that’s we’re giving away stuff that people would pay for. So thank you! Glad to have been helpful. I reckon this one is mostly Lifeline, with a little Horizon-Expander. πŸ™‚



  37. Lisa
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 07:14:47

    Glen, great post! It is hard sometimes to know how easy to make things – sometimes I think my readers alreaady know that but when I do the post many comment they never heard of that before. So I’d add never assume what your readers know. That always amazes me. I must remember to make posts create change in readers or the want to create change. I never looked at it like that before – thank you.
    I love how you give us the detailed steps to do these types of posts along the way too. That makes me feel I can do it too and inspires me.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:17:02

      Thanks Lisa! Yes I think sometimes you have to consciously write for different parts of your audience. A Hand-Holder post is great for your newest readers but may be too basic for your more experienced readers. As long as you’re publishing a mix of content, you should be able to keep everyone happy. πŸ™‚ Cheers, Glen.

  38. Susan Suehr
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 13:47:16

    Thanks for giving some structure and strategy for different types of posts.
    Your point about actually changing the reader is very important. It helps keep us on track with making it all about them. It can be so easy to get caught up in being about us when we try to give examples and connect with the reader. That real connection is about getting them to have new beliefs that actually change them.
    This post is going to be very helpful for me not only with my own blog, but guest blogging as well.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:20:43

      Hi Susan. Good to see you here. Yes, I think one of the most important lessons in blogging is to learn to shift the focus from the writer to the reader. We might want more traffic, but to get it we need to think about what change our audience wants. Anyway, here’s to continued success with your guest blogging! Cheers, Glen.

  39. Erika
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 14:17:52

    Very concise, well-structured, practical article. Thanks for the reminder about not being judgmental, I sometimes lapse on that one. It’s good to remember being in the place of overwhelm or cluelessness in order to relate better. Thanks.

  40. Mike Good
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 19:53:26

    I’m amazed when I find something of this quality for free. Now, I have to check out your other stuff. Thanks.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:36:35

      Thanks Mike. Appreciate the comment. πŸ™‚

  41. Chloe
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 21:10:07

    I’m loving this post. Not too sure about some of the examples you linked to though. “18 Good Reasons You’re Still Unemployed” is a terrible article imo.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:42:40

      Thanks Chloe. I guess I was trying to show what makes a post popular. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great post by other measures. But that post you mention has over 500 comments. Of course that’s just one measure of popularity and many people didn’t actually “like” it, but most bloggers would love that level of debate around their writing. Great and popular are two different things. As our culture regularly proves! πŸ™‚

  42. maxwell ivey
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 21:28:52

    Hi Glen; I was surprised by your list of six blog types. I expected answers like the list post or the contrary viewpoint post, etc. I was also impressed by how you wrote such a thorough post with complete descriptions as to what goes into each post and how along with links to posts that serve as practical examples. And as a blind computer user I am happy that the site and the posts were easy to read through with my screen reader. thanks for helping us be more successful bloggers. Take care, Max

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:45:45

      Hi Maxwell. Yes I tried to take a slightly different approach with this post – glad it worked for you. It’s also great to hear that the content works well with a screen reader. We do try to make sure that’s the case with most of our content but it’s good to have it confirmed. To your continued success Maxwell! Cheers, Glen.

  43. Don
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 22:16:11

    Another article to rav even the super pro blogger’s writing engine. I can’t help but comment my sincere appreciation.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:46:34

      Hey thanks Don. Glad to be able to teach even the pros a little something new. Appreciate your comment. Cheers, Glen.

  44. Krishnaputra Nivedat
    Jul 12, 2014 @ 01:20:57

    How did you set up your email newsletter with Infusionsoft?

    • Glen Long
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 06:54:08

      Hi Krishnaputra,

      This is a little off-topic but I’m happy to answer! πŸ™‚

      We manually create a new email broadcast for each new post within Infusionsoft so that we can include some extra copy in the email to “sell” the idea of the post. In other words, we haven’t configured Infusionsoft to automatically send out our latest posts the way many other bloggers do it because we get better results with a custom email.

      I hope that helps!



      • Krishnaputra Nivedat
        Jul 12, 2014 @ 07:36:40

        Thanks a lot for replying! I subscribe to many blogs, but the only email that interests me is the one from BBT. Sprry for the off-topic comment! πŸ™‚

      • Glen Long
        Jul 13, 2014 @ 16:49:08

        Hey Krishnaputra. Happy to help and very pleased that you look forward to our emails. All the best, Glen.

  45. Alvin Chadwick
    Jul 12, 2014 @ 17:11:30

    Hey Glen, great advice, and personally, I enjoy writing articles that use The Wake Up Call.

    • Glen Long
      Jul 13, 2014 @ 16:42:54

      Hi Alvin. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for letting us know your favorite. The Wake Up Call is certainly a powerful post and fun to write. πŸ™‚



    • Alexander
      Jul 16, 2014 @ 08:14:24

      Hi Alvin, yes, you have some good ones there.

      For a while, I THOUGHT I was writing wake-up-calls, too, but I focused too much on the uneffectiveness of approaches without making clear which new ones are needed and why.

  46. Liz
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 03:50:48

    Thanks Glen, I love that this post has substance; it will have me returning to re-read and suck as much info out of it as possible! Traffic-building is a bit of a daunting subject for me as a new blogger, and you have definitely given me food for thought. Now to work out how to apply this to my personal style…

    • Glen Long
      Jul 13, 2014 @ 16:47:36

      Hi Liz. Don’t worry – traffic building is sometimes daunting even for the more seasoned bloggers! Glad you felt the post had some substance. Definitely taking that as a compliment. πŸ™‚ Best of luck with your blog and I hope we can continue to give you some useful ideas. Cheers, Glen.

  47. Oliver Hammerschmidt
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 03:32:46

    thank you for this very detailed description! I read the blog long time!

  48. Jack Price
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 08:44:13

    Great job, Glen. This is almost as helpful as Jon’s Headline Hacks e-book.

    … almost πŸ˜‰

  49. Tam Francis
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 20:24:42

    This seems like a great advice for business blogs, but what about entertainmentish blogs which include short stories, anecdotes and subculture topics. I have a novel I am trying to create a following for and my blog posts relate to topics in the novel. I know your tips are rock solid and right on, but I’m struggling with how to apply them to my template: The Girl in The Jitterbug Dress, 1940s lifestyle, writing, swing dancing, etc.


  50. Alexander
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 03:36:05

    I discovered your blog around October last year, and it did turn my life upside down, at least as a writer.

    I have created 2 professional blogs for my 2 lines of work since, and there is some small, steady growth in traffic since I have been applying your ideas.

    Yet there is an old blog about my former line of work, and I was wondering why nobody ever went there.

    After this post, I know.

    That blog is so LAME, it makes me want to sob uncontrollably.

    Since I want to reanimate that field of work, it is time for a serious makeover.

  51. Ryan Biddulph
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 06:58:02

    Hi Glen,

    Sensational post.

    I love the horizon expander idea. No better way to change folks than by inspiring them to see things differently, or to see a new reality, or new dream they hadn’t thought of dreaming before.

    I started a new blog last week, all about blogging from paradise. I’m typing these words from Fiji. Some folks think this life is impossible, that it’s for lucky, or gifted people, but I intend to show every few days that most folks who have drive and a willingness to push themselves outside of their comfort zone can create this type of life, of island hopping, through smart blogging.

    Your post vibes with me because posting to change folks, to help them see things from a different perspective, and to inspire them to act on their new perspective, is what helps to drive me. Knowing that you’re making a difference is the most rewarding idea imaginable to me and I know Glen that you’re making a difference publishing uber comprehensive, helpful posts like these.

    That’s why we’re blogging really. We can make money and draw in readers and do that other neat stuff by making a difference, based on waking people up and helping them change the areas of heir life that they desire to change….we just give the nudge or light the spark which puts the change into motion.

    First time visit – at least I thing so πŸ˜‰ – and totally digging it here already.

    I’ll be back each time you publish sharing my thoughts.

    Thanks so much for the insightful share.



  52. Kay Fudala
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 13:44:41

    Hey Glen, Love this totally tweet worthy post! A fresh way of looking at core posts we should all be writing. I loved them all and the fact that you included links to examples. My favorite is the Horizon Expander, which I have been trying to do without sounding all preachy.

  53. Wanda Smith
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 12:52:30

    You totally nailed this post, Glen! Tons of invaluable info here. Thanks so much for sharing!

  54. Fiona Scott
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 15:12:10

    Thanks Glen – your post changed this reader. Love the simplicity in there’s only 6 types of posts (a well know marketer came up with a myriad of blog post categories recently which was quite overwhelming). Also love loads of real world examples (as another lady mentioned above) – add a load of ‘how to’ guidance for me. Thanks again.

  55. Hayley
    Jul 21, 2014 @ 10:26:57

    Thanks Glen, this is a really useful post for a blogging novice like myself! I wrote my first ever blog the other day, purely from the heart but was wondering where to go next so this will help loads!

    I run a retail business called You are Smashing, we sell uniquely designed gifts and home accessories. I mainly want my blogs to be about the brand meaning, and what it means to be ‘smashing’ to help people to engage with the brand. My business is of course about selling, but it is the idea of You are Smashing and sharing this with the World that really gets me excited. My dream is to create a movement if you like of saying ‘you are smashing’! : ) So I thought using my blog would be the best place to start as it provides me with space to really delve into ideas. What do you think of this as an approach, with my blog sitting on a retail website? In time, I will also include blogs on events we have done, bespoke projects etc..but I want the blog content to be deeper than this.

    I was reading through your 6 types of blog and was not really sure where to start with my next post? I want it to be about building a dialogue rather than direct selling.. Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Hayley.

  56. Ram Kr Shukla
    Jul 22, 2014 @ 01:34:48

    Awesome post Glen.
    I spend lots of time reading blogs and articles but what to keep in the blog are rare to find. Love your approach & appreciate your effort

  57. Alexander
    Jul 22, 2014 @ 08:51:10

    Finally did the first step of CPR for my old, super-lame blog, applying what I learned here.

    My first deep surgery went into an article on storytelling in the offline world.

    In another post, Jon cautioned bloggers not to tell stories, but here I respectfully disagree with Thy Imperial Wonderness. In the offline world stories can be useful, especially the ones that allow you to brag without bragging.

    What have I learned and used:

    1. Long Content
    From a wishy-washy appr. 700 words (“Stories are effective. Go tell some. Good luck.”) I worked it into 2,468 words of a crisp instruction manual on storytelling, which categories of stories are useful, how to tell them and what to watch out for, very much like this post. My longest post so far.

    2. Write from Authority
    Well, simply working a good 12 hours on over 2,000 words, doing research, making connections, I gain an ounce of authority. Also, I give an instruction manual, not a foggy opinion.

    3. Headline and Sub-Headers
    As I mentioned elsewhere, in Germany we don’t like it so thick on the hype (Schtonk – reference to Charlie Chaplin), but I think I found a motivating header that invites people and sub-headers that keep the scanners interested.

    4. Take Time
    I took a good 12 hours to hammer out and refine this one. Maybe it should have been more, but it sure exceeds the 2 hours I used to put in before. And I have too many ideas waiting that were inspired by BBT to hold my horses now.

    This one feels pretty good.

    I do not think that anyone here bothers to read German, also I do not know if your Netiquette allows to post links here. So you just take my word for it.

    Thanks so much again

  58. Lisa
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 23:47:02

    I found this post extremely helpful! I’m a new blogger and have been trying to refine my content in conjunction with growing my traffic. I think these structures are going to play a big part in how I write a number of my posts.

  59. OwnStLucia St Lucia property website
    Jul 31, 2014 @ 21:17:09

    I’ve read many articles about blogging and content creation. But this is by far the most powerful blog post I’ve ever read. After reading this article I launch into writing my next blog post. It seemed almost effortless, and throughout the process I felt like I was reach out to my audience in a voice that resonates, and with content that not only provides value but also flows naturally. And though I still have some way to go in reaching my content creation goals, I know that just by reading your article I’ve made tons of progress. Thanks for taking time out to make and share this awesome content, Glenn! And just to express my full gratitude I’ll pay it back with more than just a tweet.

  60. Pooja
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 04:41:30

    Loved this one Glen! I’m a total geek girl so #5 Strategy is my favourite closely followed by #6 Horizon-Expander.

    Thank you for these gems!


  61. Nicole Pieri
    Dec 17, 2014 @ 19:56:30

    Hi Glen,

    I just wanted you to know that this is the fourth time I’ve come back to this post while creating pitches. It’s given me a structure for creating post outlines, and it’s helped me pare down the main idea before trying to wrangle a full post out of a post-it note. Thanks for the great article πŸ™‚

  62. Krithika Rangarajan
    Jan 01, 2015 @ 17:37:44

    Hey Glen

    Tell me, what are the rest of us mere mortals supposed to blog about if you hit ALL the bases with ONE BRILLIANT post? *sigh* πŸ˜‰

    Man, you deserve a big hug for this one!

    Thank you so much

  63. Anthony
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 14:38:27


    Do you find there are situations where writing a post other than the 6 described here would be more effective? If so, when?