Far Too Many Blog Posts Open With A Bang Yet Close With A Whimper
So you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect title that readers are powerless to resist.
You’ve crafted the perfect opening line to entice readers in and ensure that they keep reading.
And because you’ve followed our blogging checklist to the letter, your content is enthralling and your readers are hooked.
You’re blogging good!
But then you hit a brick wall.
Having strutted your funky stuff as the redoubtable thought leader that you are… you aren’t quite sure how to close your blog post without sounding like a wally.
So you want to know how to close a blog post?
The way I see it, you’ve got three choices.
1) Close With A Call to Action
But not a sales pitch. Nobody wants a sales pitch.
Ask yourself – why did you write that blog post in the first place?
Was it to promote one of your products or services? To report on an exciting new development in your company? To offer your two cents on an emerging trend in your industry?
Or did you just want to get something off your chest?
In any case, you wrote your blog for a reason – even if that reason was simply to be heard.
So why not close your blog post by gently encouraging your readers to take the action you want them to take?
If you’re blogging to promote a specific product or service, this should be easy. Just direct your readers to a page on your site where they can learn more, or make a purchase. If you offer a free quote or a free trial, even better. Use the closing paragraphs of your blog to let your readers know how to sign up.
But perhaps the most effective call to action is that which encourages your readers to keep reading. A good call to action at the end of your blog post can transform a one-time reader into a regular reader.
Have you got a newsletter, or a mailing list? If not, why not? But if so, close your blogs with a simple prompt to sign-up: “Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!”
Are there additional posts on your blog that discuss the issue in more depth? Then close your blog by linking to them!
Or perhaps you wish to kick off a conversation. Want more comments on your blog? Then why not ask for some? That’s how I intend to close this blog post. You’ll see.
2) Close With Conclusions & Recommendations
Many bloggers like to take the academic approach when closing their blog posts.
They let things come full circle. They remind their readers of their opening statements, and explain how all that followed supports their stance. They might also include a final thought, or even a challenge.
If the blog was a how-to guide, as many blogs are, they might list some key takeaways or recommendations.
This is the approach my esteemed colleague Rainu took in her recent mobile app advertising post. Through listing some key takeaways, she gave anyone reading a number of clear, actionable steps that could be taken in order to get the ball rolling on their own mobile app advertising endeavours.
If done correctly, this approach can elegantly wrap your blog post up in a neat little bow. It can bring a satisfying sense of closure while helping those who need your advice to carry out your advice.
But if done incorrectly, well. This approach can come across as looking quite naff.
My personal tutor at university once compared academic essays to trains. The introduction, he said, is the engine, driving the action. Each subsequent paragraph is a passenger carriage, filled with interesting people all headed to the same destination. He likened the conclusion to one of those ol’ railroad carriages with a platform and a handrail. He said you should treat your conclusion like you’re stood on that platform, reflecting on where you’ve been while also pointing to the stars, as if to say that there’s a whole world out there, and we’ve only just begun.
Yeah. And while that advice, doled out every year, doubtlessly resulted in some beautifully-structured academic essays, a blog post is not an academic essay.
And that’s why you read so many blog posts about the best grouting pens that end like this: “So in conclusion, there’s a lot of grouting pens out there, with options to suit every budget.”
OK? Did that really need saying? Was that a point that really needed to be made? Was that precise point not made patently obvious by the preceding 1,000 words?
So what do you say when there’s nothing left to say?
3) Do Nothing
Seriously. Sometimes your best bet is to just stop writing.
You’ve made your point, so why bother saying anything else?
You won’t leave your readers hanging. This isn’t an academic essay, remember. Nor is it a short story, or a piece of investigative journalism.
It’s a blog post. So long as your content is valuable and useful, nobody’s going to complain if you come to an abrupt halt having made your final point.
Indeed, they might even praise you for being so succinct.
But again, this approach won’t work for everyone. It works for us, because we blog using WordPress. Thanks to the template we use, every single blog we write ends with:
- A call to action – “Enjoy this post? Sign up for weekly updates direct to your inbox.”
- Invites to connect & share – You can click the author’s photo to view more posts by them, and connect with them directly on various social media platforms. You can also share the post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
- Further reading – We link to three further posts, either from our blog or from the wider web, that explore the topic in greater depth.
- An invite to leave a comment
- A prompt to get in touch – At the foot of every page is our contact form, our contact details, and a means of subscribing to our newsletters.
So if you’re still not sure how to close your blogs, why not ask your web developer to add a similar template to your site?
That way, no matter how you choose to conclude your posts, readers will always be encouraged to keep reading, or to take further action.
So. What did I miss? How else might you close your blog posts without looking like a wally?
Share your tips in the comments below!