A good introduction hooks a reader's interest. The content of a blog post keeps them interested as you present the information or entertainment they came for. Most bloggers are focusing very much on these two specific parts of the whole, and they are leaving one out: the conclusion. Since it is ending the blog post, it is easy to discount how important that conclusion really is.
When you are trying to create the ultimate content, it is crucial that you get the sign off right. It might not be what is keeping the reader engrossed, but it may very well be the line that gets them to subscribe to your blog, share your content, or leave a comment.
If you want to take your blog posts to the final (and ultimate) level, it is time to invest a bit of energy into the ending, as well as the beginning. Here are some simple tips you can implement now.
Write the Conclusion First
Quite often you will spend a lot of time on your blog post, and so when it comes to the conclusion you are so burnt out that you just want to end it. Or you have a specific word count you are aiming for, such as to fit the guidelines of a guest post, and you don't have the room to say more than the bare minimum.
Writing the conclusion first avoids both of these issues. It also keeps you focused from beginning to end, as you already have your final notes completed. You have to follow through with the content to make sure those last thoughts cover what you had to say.
Think Back To Middle School
Remember in the seventh grade when you learned how to properly format, write and polish an essay? The overall idea is the same, even if the method has slightly changed. Sure, we use headers and short paragraphs now, and we make more points than in a traditional essay. But it teaches you two important skills: how to begin and how to end with your points in mind.
If you are having trouble thinking of a creative conclusion, summarize what has been said above. Make your points once again to keep it fresh in the reader's mind.
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Call Them to Act
Whether your conclusions are thorough or succinct, they should always contain a call to action. This is a prompt for people to share, comment, and subscribe. It can also contain other posts you have written for your blog, though these will likely be linked through the post itself.
Some sites, such as Cracked, will have a separate section under the CTA and writer's profile pointing out related pieces written by that author. Then, there will be a rotating auto-suggestion tool that directs people from other posts.
Take into account what kind of CTA's you have through your post and site, and then include one that covers the rest in the conclusion itself.
Talk, Don't Show
There are an alarming number of blogs lately that are putting images into their conclusions. I don't mean writer bio shots, but actual photos in place of conclusions. It is a trend that seems to have started with teen and fashion style blogs, where the blogger will show a post of them flipping a piece sign or doing something cute or funny as a sign off.
While this may be fine for more casual blogs, it isn't acceptable for one that is being monetized or professional in nature. It limits your punch, and gives it a lazy look that will undermine your authority.
Hype up Your Next Post
A conclusion is a great place to get your readers hungry for your next post. Tell them what is coming next, and why they should check it out. Give them a couple promises so they are looking forward to it. If you are writing a series, let them know what will be covered in the next installment.
Here is where the gift of writing teasers can really come in handy. For example:
"Next week, I will be speaking to [Insert Marketing Expert], who will be sharing his number one tip for doubling your traffic in a month."
How can anyone say no to reading that?
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Mention Related Products
You have just spent your post showing people that you really know your stuff. Now it is time to really drive that point home by directing them to the awesome products or services that you have available to them.
Whether it is an eBook, a webinar series, or an actual tangible product line, sell it there. Point out how they can benefit by using that product, in order to find out more or get better results than the more limited blog post.
Urge People to Leave Their Comments
You want others to give you their opinion, and the good news is that those on the Internet are always eager to do so. All they need is a little bit of prompting. Tell them you want to hear from them, or even ask an insightful or engaging question that could spark a dialogue in the comment section.
Some bloggers even get a little controversial with this bit, so they can set off a debate. When people are riled up or emotionally charged, they are more likely to vent their spleen and let you know what they think. They are also likely to share the original post, but that is a whole other topic. GetResponse blog posts always have a great call-to-action to comment in the conclusion:
Come up with Pre-Defined Template
Get productive here: If you write a lot, your conclusions become part of your style. You know what engages your readers and what keeps them on your site.
Conclusion templates will be different based on your article format. This site categorizes blog articles into various types: Educational, newsworthy, controversial, expert interviews, personal, etc. Obviously, all of these article types will need a different conclusion format (based on reader intent and your own goal writing any).
Conclusion (See What I Did There?)
Having a well-established, thoughtful conclusion that incorporates several carefully employed promotion tactics is an important part of writing a complete post. If you aren't spending just as much time on ending your piece as you are beginning it, you are missing out on an opportunity to get more from your content.
How could I have finished this blog post better? Go to the comments, and tell me what I did wrong, and how you would have done it more right.