Writing Great Blog Posts – A Step By Step Guide
Blogging and content creation is the new way to create success for your marketing.
No doubt you have heard that if you are not creating content, your site won’t rank in search engines, your customers and leads will lose interest and trust in you, you will miss out on valuable extra website pages to have calls to action on and you will not have anything to share on social media to promote your business.
So, how come so many website owners shy away from writing blogs on their websites?
Some of the most popular excuses I have heard over time are about the actual process of creating blog posts on a consistent basis. These include ideas like “I don’t like writing”, “I can’t put together the words easily” and the old favourite “I don’t have time to do it”. It is a given that not many people actually like writing business blog posts, but the benefits for your business are far greater than the small amount of pain in creating them.
No More Excuses
It’s time to put away those excuses and start spending a little time doing this as it is definitely worthwhile for your business. It really is not as hard as what you may think, and with a little time and practice you can be churning out great blog posts easily and often. You only need to know about the subject you will be writing about, and since you are an expert in that field you already have the knowledge to do it.
It’s as simple as…
Many people over think things when it comes to creating a good post that is relevant and on topic, but really there are only a few steps to take to get you creating readable content that appeals to your site visitors.
Appealing to your audience.
Understanding who your target audience is helps you to write articles that are not only relevant to them, but will help build your trust and authority in their eyes. This is where creating an ideal audience profile will help you to learn what they want to know about and what will resonate with them. You can then consider what you know about them when coming up with ideas for your blog content and write accordingly.
For instance, if you are a plumber and your target audience is home owners, you could write some basic “how to” articles on how to change tap washers or how to replace a shower head. These will not only provide your reader with some commonplace help, but also keep you in their mind when they need more complex projects done.
You can read more about this at our post Finding Your Ideal Audience.
Finding your post topic
You need to come up with a topic for your post. This should be something that you already know will help and interest your ideal audience in some way. Spend some time looking at what questions are being asked by your potential readers and you will be able to craft a topic around their needs.
Start by asking yourself these questions based on what you know about your audience:
- What are they looking for information on?
- What problems do they ask about elsewhere?
- What do they interact with most on social media and in forums?
- Do they need instructions, information or ideas?
These are all starting points in working out what topic you can cover in your blog post that is actually something your audience wants to read. There is really no point spending your time and effort writing posts on topics that are not applicable to your target market so use whatever resources you can to find out what they like and need.
Work out your post type
In this part, you need to think about the type of post you want to create. This has two areas you need to think about, one is the post style and the other is the post format.
By the post style, we mean in which way will the information be written. Will it be a step-by-step tutorial like How To Write Content For Your Website, a numbered list post such as 7 Surefire Ways To Increase Your Traffic or a “traditional” informational post as in What Is A Call To Action. Each of these post styles have their own merit but you need to choose which style will suit your topic and audience best.
The post format is about how you will present the information you are giving. Will you use plain text, a video, an info-graphic, a podcast or a combination of a couple of different styles. Different people respond and learn with different mediums so sometimes it is worthwhile mixing up the format of the posts you are writing to see what resonates more with your followers. For instance, in a tutorial style post you could create a video showing the steps along with text style step-by-step instructions on the same post.
Writing (or recording) your post.
Time to get onto the actual content part of your post. This is comprised of a number of steps which will help the creation process and speed up production of your post. The same steps can be used to create a script for recording an audio or video based post or an outline for an info-graphic or slideshow.
Bullet List Your Sub Headings: An effective post is made readable by having sub headings at relevant points throughout the content. This helps readers find things that are relevant to their own needs and breaks up long areas of text into more manageable ones. The easiest way to create your sub headings is to have a series of bullet points on the key points of your post. As an example, for this post I came up with the following points:
- Post introduction
- Appealing to your audience
- Finding your post topic
- Working out your post type
- Writing (or recording) your post
- Bullet listing sub headings
- Creating section summaries
- Fleshing out the post sections
- Editing the full sections
- Putting it all together
- Summary and final words
As you can see when you read this post, all these points have been used as subheadings throughout the content which gives it structure. Doing this can also help you to avoid missing important information that ties in with what your post is about as it gives you a checklist to work off.
Creating Section Summaries: Now that you have your sub headings, it is time to add a short summary to each with the key area of information that it relates to. This doesn’t need to be in-depth as you will be expanding on it in the next step, but it needs to have enough information in it so you know when you get to fleshing it out what is needed.
I find the best way I write is to complete the post in sections rather than as a whole, so you need to address all of the points you want to make within the section in a way that jogs your memory when you come back to it. If you do not create a summary that covers this then you could possibly go off track in the section.
I also use this step to decide if I am going to use any images or bullet lists in the particular section so I know what I need to create.
For instance for this section of this post, I created the following summary: Explain how to create a section summary that has enough info to work on later. No bullets or images needed.
Fleshing Out The Post Sections: Now we need to expand upon the summaries we created for each of our sub headings. This is where we start to elaborate on the specific topic we are covering in the section and add value and our voice to it.
Start by addressing the key section points from your summary and go more in-depth with them, give examples if possible and write in your own voice. Cover the points thoroughly without worrying about how long it ends up being as you will edit it later. Be creative in the way you add your voice to this and write the information in a way your audience will follow clearly.
As you flesh out these sections, be mindful of the overall objective of the post and stay consistent to the topics at hand. You can add your bullet points and images at this stage to make sure it looks OK and is readable and harmonic.
Editing The Full Sections: You may think this is a little strange, but the best thing you can do now is to save your post as a draft and walk away for a while. This can be for a couple of hours, overnight or even a day or two. This will allow time for your brain to relax and think about what you have written before you begin the editing process.
Once you come back to your post, read it through in it’s entirety. This will give you an idea on how well all your different sections flow and hopefully you will see any glaring problems. Take notes on what needs fixing and what works well and then get down to the editing part.
If you have seen any really obvious issues with the post, then this is the time to fix them. Work on making sure everything flows together in an informative way and rewrite any parts that do not. If possible, print your post out and proof read it the old fashioned way, with a red pen. Whilst you want to make sure you use your own voice, make sure you have not used terms that your audience will not understand and simplify as much as possible without losing the context.
Go through each section and check for spelling mistakes, both using a spell checker and by reading it yourself. If you can, get someone else to proof read it too and ask them to critique it. This is a great way to find areas that may have sounded alright to you, but may confuse your reader.
Putting it all together
Once the post content has been checked and edited, the final step is to come up with the post title. Though some writers do this at the outset, I find it is better to create the title after your post has been finished so you can write it in a clear, interest driven, enticing way. Work out what the overall benefit of your post is to the viewer and form your title around that.
This post had a variety of different options for the title, such as “Writing Successful Blog Posts” and How To Create Exceptional Content For Your Blog”, however after much thought I decided that “Writing Great Blog Posts – A Step By Step Guide” was the best option.
To finalise the post, add and align all the images you want on it, add any internal hyperlinks and create a really good introduction and final word.
After following these steps you should have an informative, well written and relevant post that will appeal to your audience. It is now time to publish your post and share it with the world.
A Quick Summary and some Final Words
Congratulations, if you got this far you have found out my way of creating blog posts. You now have a step by step method to start writing content on your website that helps and engages your viewers and also brings authority and trust into your business.
Here is a quick recap:
- Understand what your audience wants to read
- Work out a topic that they want help with
- Decide on the best style and format to deliver the information to them
- Write your post using 4 steps
- Create sub heading bullet point
- Come up with summaries for each sub section
- Flesh out the sections with more information
- Edit the full sections
- Put it all together, create a title, add any media and then publish your post.
The whole process may seem to be quite time consuming and long at first look, but when you break it down into the core components it gives you a logical and easy way to consistently create great content.
This system can be used to create regular and consistent blog posts as often as you need to. If you wanted to create a post every day, you would start by doing the first 3 steps to writing your actual post on the first day, the second day you would create a new post with the first 3 steps, then edit and finalise the one from the previous day. As you get more practised in doing this, you will find it will become faster to produce your posts so you can build up a stockpile to work with.
I hope you found this to be informative and helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts and tips on your own process of writing your blog content in the comments below. If you would like help with getting your business to be more effective online, please see our Business Consultation Package for more details.