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What makes a blog successful? Is it the number of regular readers? Comments? Page views? How many people transition from readers into buyers?

And how can you set your blog up for success from the very first post?

I’ve known I wanted to start this blog for a while — but like most people, when I opened up a new post in wordpress, my first for this blog, I immediately got writer’s block.

What should I write in a first blog post?

I did what I always do when I’m stuck. I began looking for a good example.

I went to 5 of the most popular marketing blogs that I know of and travelled back through time to see what they chose to write about on day 1. Here, in no particular order, is what I found.

1. Jon Morrow at Boost Blog Traffic

If anyone knows what he’s doing about when it comes to blogging, it’s Jon Morrow. Jon is associate editor at Copyblogger, and then used what he learned there to launch his own site, Boost Blog Traffic.

First post at Boost Blog Traffic: The 7 Dumbest Mistakes You Can Make When Launching a New Blog

Takeaway: Start at the beginning. Your first post should be relevant to what you plan to cover, but in a non-specific way. It’s okay to be a bit general, and build a base that you can link back to in the future.

In this post Jon points out common misconceptions, like “tell a story,” and establishes his expertise (how to build a good blog) and what the blog will cover going forward—how to be a better blogger.

2. Brian Clark at Copyblogger

Brian Clark, founder & CEO at Copyblogger, perhaps one of the best known content marketing blogs out there (heck—one of the best marketing blogs out there). And, like every blog, it started with one post.

First post at Copyblogger: SOLD

Takeaway: You can include a strong Call to Action (CTA) even in your very first post. Copyblogger encouraged readers to subscribe to their content right from the start. Of course, that requires having a goal for your blog, but without having a goal there’s no real point to writing that first post anyway.

In this post Brian points out that while no one likes to be sold, most of us actually quite enjoy the process of buying.

3. Derek Halpern at Social Triggers

After building several successful websites in various niches (entertainment, fashion, etc.), Derek refocused on what he loves most—building and marketing Businesses—and launched Social Triggers.

First post at Social Triggers: Social Media Marketers’ Best Kept Secret: Mirror Neurons

Takeaway: Walk the walk. One of the things Derek has done right, starting with this very first blog post, is implement the very things he recommends.

In this first post, he explains how our brains fail to differentiate between what we see and what we experience—why you flinch when you see someone get kicked between the legs, for example (which is how he starts the post off). Then he explains how you can use this tactic in your content to better influence others, all while being pretty darn convincing himself.

4. Dharmesh Shah at Hubspot

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Hubspot, as well as co-author of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs, Dharmesh is easily one of the world’s leading experts in this field.

First post at Hubspot: Surviving and Succeeding in a Web 2.0 World

Takeaway: Make it clear why readers need you and what they have to gain by coming back. Written all the way back in 2006, this first blog post demonstrates why readers need Hubspot’s blog—mainly, that the web has fundamentally changed the way we all do business.

My favorite line? “Done correctly, your website should be your most effective salesperson.” Even though it’s been 8 years since this post was written, so many parts of this post still ring true and Hubspot’s blog continues to cover the changes that businesses need to know about when it comes to the web.

5. Jenny Lawson at The Bloggess

Okay, so Jenny isn’t technically a marketing blogger, but she is a writer and she’s hilarious. If you haven’t heard of her, you *may* be living under a rock. Jenny wrote for the Houston Chronicle, but needed an uncensored space to say the f-word and talk about ninjas, so she started her own blog, The Bloggess (like Mother Theresa, only better). Her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, debuted at #1 on the NYT best-seller list and she’s easily one of the funniest writers I’ve ever read.

First post at The Bloggess: Fucking Shit We’re in Business (NWFW?)

Takeaway: Know your tone and write in a voice that’s true to your brand. This first post is all of 14 words, but it perfectly conveys the tone that Jenny writes in—a tone and voice that is sarcastic, full of curse words, and hilariously funny in a I-can’t-believe-I’m-laughing-at-that kind of way.

Criteria For A Good First Blog Post

So, to compile all of those into a shorter, easier to reference list:

  1. Start at the Beginning.
  2. Include a CTA based on your goals for the blog.
  3. Walk the walk—make sure you take the advice you share on your blog.
  4. Explain why readers need you and why they should come back.
  5. Know your tone and write in a way that’s true to your brand.

I’d like to think my first blog post, How to Choose Content Marketing Goals—And Get Real Results, accomplished all of those. Did your first post?

Feel free to share a link to your first post ever in the comments (or any insights you think are important to consider that I didn’t include).