You don’t have to be a great writer to write an amazing blog post. Even better, you don’t have to sweat over your posts for hours either. You can start writing shareworthy blog posts quickly and easily using just four simple steps.
1. Establish Goals for Your Blog Post
Before you start creating a blog post, you need to take a little time to get crystal-clear on why you’re writing the post, who you’re writing the post for, and what you want to accomplish. This will ensure that every post you write aligns well with your overall blog content strategy and contributes to the objectives outlined in your blog business plan.
Why Are You Writing This Blog Post?
One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is having a haphazard collection of blog posts on their sites, which only confuses blog visitors. Having a cohesive blog content strategy is the best way to serve your audience more fully and make more money as a blogger.
Most blogs offer a variety of blog formats focusing on a number of different objectives. Here are some top reasons for writing a new blog post:
- Entertain, education, or inform
- Establish your authority or expertise in a subject area
- Enhance your brand’s reputation
- Deepen your relationship with readers
- Direct your readers to take a specific action, such as sign up for a course or download a lead magnet
- Sell a product or service
Every blog post you write must serve your readers in some way. For optimal blogging success, it’s important to clarify your “why” before you begin writing.
Who Are You Writing This Blog Post For?
When you selected your blogging niche, you chose the primary audience for your blog. Some posts on your blog will be directed at your full audience, while others may be directed to subsets of that main audience.
For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger, you may choose to cover multiple categories on your blog, such as home life, fashion, and fitness. Some of your audience may be more interested in fitness while others are more interested in your posts about home life or fashion.
Your ideal audience for a blog post may vary according to where people are in relation to the subject you’re addressing. For example, some folks will be beginners who know little about what you’re discussing while others will know a lot more and expect more from your post content. If you’re writing about something related to a product or service, you’ll likely find both information gatherers as well as people who are on the cusp of making a purchase decision.
Every time you choose to add a blog post to your site, you need to determine what segment of your audience will be most interested in the topic. You’ll also want to clarify what their expectations might be for that post and develop your article keeping those readers’ wants and needs foremost in your mind.
Create Reader Personas to Help Better Target Your Posts
You may find it helpful to create one or more customer personas for your blog—which is a fictionalized representation of your target audience. Personas of typical audience members can help you better connect to the readers you’re targeting in each blog post.
How Does This Blog Post Fit into Your Overall Content Strategy?
An important decision you’ll make as a blogger is figuring out whether to write a blog post in the first place. Every piece of content on your site should fit into your overall blog content strategy—which considers why your blog exists and what you ultimately hope to accomplish through your blog.
Think of your blog as a jigsaw puzzle. When you’re missing pieces, the puzzle doesn’t work—nobody likes holes in puzzles. When you have extra pieces, they go to waste. Make sure that every single post you create is an essential “piece of the puzzle” that contributes to supporting the overall purpose of your blog.
2. Develop a Writing Plan for Your Blog Post
Once you’re clear on your goals, it’s time to create a blog post plan. A little work done at this stage makes for much stronger blog content.
Establish a Keyword Strategy
If you hope to rank higher on Google, then you need to create a keyword strategy for every blog post. In search terms, a keyword is a single word or group of words that represent the main concepts you plan to address in your blog post.
You want to select keywords to target that people are actually typing into the Google search bar. Ideally, you want to select keywords with high volume—meaning lots of people are using the keyword in searches—that have relatively low competition.
To be successful, every blogger needs to have a basic command of keyword research. Thankfully, there are a number of tools on the market—including ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Alexa—that make finding keywords relatively easy.
Research Content for Your Blog Post
Once you’ve decided to move forward with a blog post and selected the keywords you intend to target, it’s time to research content for your post. The type of post you create will determine how much research you need to do. For example, if you’re developing an opinion piece, you may have little to no research to conduct. If you’re developing an in-depth technical buyer’s guide, you may be in for hours of research.
I always begin my blog post research by looking at what others are doing. I simply type in my keywords for my new post into Google and read through the top-ranking articles that I know my post will compete against. I look for both topic trends and opportunities to create something even better than what already exists.
Decide Which Blog Post Format to Use
There are several different types of blog post formats that are all very effective. Here are a few of the most popular formats for blog posts:
- How-to posts
- List posts (also known as listicles)
- Case studies
- This vs that posts
- Expert round-ups (which feature multiple experts)
- Best-of posts
- Ultimate guides
- Controversial viewpoint posts
How-to and list posts are the most popular and tend to have high share rates. The most successful bloggers typically vary the type of formats they use on their blogs.
Create an Outline for Your Blog Post
Outlines are the secret to writing blog posts faster. When you take the time to outline what you want to talk about in your post, and how that conversation will flow, you can easily cut your writing time in half.
If you’ve already done your keyword and topic research, you can write an outline for a blog post in 10 minutes or less. Simply do a brainstorm of the main points you want to include in your post and organize your thoughts in order of priority.
Outline Example for a How-To Post:
Title: How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers
- Choose the Type of Tomato You Want to Grow
- Starting from Seed vs a Seedling
- Find the Right Container
- Ideal Container Size
- Types of Containers
- Drainage Considerations
- Planting Instructions
- Soil Preparation
- Root Protection
- How to Take Care of Your Plants
- How to Feed, Water, and Nurture Your Plants
- How to Protect Your Plants from Insects and Pests
- Supports that Prevent Damage as Your Plants Grow
Some people prefer to create highly-detailed outlines while others favor simple, bare-bones outlines. The level of detail you choose to include on your outlines is totally up to you.
3. Write Your Blog Post
You’ve identified your goals and created a content plan for your post. Now it’s time to start writing, which will be a lot easier since you’re prepared for the task.
Create Your Post in an Environment Conducive to Writing
The amount of time you’ll actually need to write a blog post varies; some posts can be written in 30 minutes, while complex, lengthy posts may take several days. My advice is to block out a minimum of 30 minutes—60 is better—for each writing session, preferably in an environment with minimal distractions.
Write an Irresistible Title
You want to write amazing blog titles that command attention and offer a clear value to your reader. The quality of your title will determine how many people actually read your post; people simply won’t click on titles that don’t interest them.
The best way to create great blog titles is to come up with several title ideas. I recommend generating five to 10 titles for every blog post and then using a blog title generator like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to help you formulate the best title for each post. I also recommend testing blog titles, particularly if you find post click-throughs or readership seems low.
Google will display up to 70 characters for a title in its search results. Both short and long titles can work well, so vary your strategy and let your audience tell you which they like best by what they actually read.
Write a Strong Blog Post Introduction
The role of the title is to get people to start reading your blog post. The role of your introduction is to ensure people keep reading the post.
Here are my top tips for writing powerful, engaging blog post introductions:
- Keep your first sentence short: The easier your post is for your visitor to read, the more likely they’ll keep reading. This is especially important in your first sentence.
- Use the word “you:” Speak directly to each reader one-on-one using the word “you” to make a personal connection.
- Be relatable: If your readers see themselves and relate to the ideas you include in your introduction, they’ll keep reading.
- Clarify what the post is about: Your blog audience wants to understand what they’re reading—so never sacrifice clarity for cleverness.
- Include key benefits: Don’t just discuss what your audience is about to read, tell them how they’ll benefit from reading the blog post.
- When possible, throw in a few facts or stats: People love hard numbers and facts—particularly when those stats are surprising.
- Inject energy into your intros: Dull, boring language is unlikely to win anyone over, so demonstrate some emotion in your introduction.
- Include a bit of intrigue: A compelling teaser or cliffhanger that promises more will be revealed in the post can nudge your reader to keep reading.
Your introduction can be a few short sentences or a handful of short paragraphs. In reality, you won’t be able to incorporate all the above tips into every introduction, but keep this list handy anyway as your go-to guide for getting each blog post off to a great start.
Write Your Blog Post
You now have everything you need to start writing the meat of your blog post. As you write, remember to keep your readers’ needs and interests in mind. Talk directly to each reader and continue to relate to your audience on a personal level.
Don’t forget that people often read blogs on mobile devices; small screens and heavy text blocks are a bad combination. How you structure your posts will impact your readers’ experience. Also, many will only scan your posts and you want to ensure they receive value from the time they do spend on your blog.
Here are a few things you can do to make your blog posts reader-friendly for everyone:
- Feature essential content in headlines and subheads.
- Limit paragraphs to 80 words or less.
- Use bullets and numbered lists when appropriate.
- Limit sentences to 30 words or less and alternate short and long sentences within paragraphs.
- Use images generously; they often communicate better and more quickly than heavy text.
- Break up large text blocks with appropriate headlines and subheads.
- Use colored text sparingly and only to draw the eye to content you want to stand out.
- Write like you talk; conversational language is much easier to read.
- Write in active voice rather than passive voice.
What’s the Ideal Length for a Blog Post?
I wish I could report that an ideal blog post length exists, as I know that would make your life easier and that’s my top goal here. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an ideal length.
According to marketing giant HubSpot, the best blog post length for search engine optimization (SEO) is 2,100 to 2,400 words. A study by Backlinko found that articles that achieve first page rankings on Google average 1,447 words.
If you hope to rank on Google, your blog post should be a minimum of 300 words. To improve your odds of ranking higher on Google, I suggest you aim for somewhere between 1,400 to 2,400 words on your posts. That being said, every topic is different and you must decide what seems best on a post-by-post basis.
Add Clear Calls to Actions (CTAs) to Your Blog Posts
When you established your blog post goals, you decided what you wanted your readers to do during or after they’ve read your post. You can’t afford to be subtle when it comes to asking your audience to do something. If you want your readers to take a specific action, you must tell them what it is and make it easy for them to take that action.
Include a Strong Summary on Your Blog Posts
Your blog post summary is a recap of the key takeaways from the post. If your audience only reads your summary, they should glean the main points of what was just discussed. This helps cement the learning into your readers’ minds so they can recall both the content and the value that your blog delivers. It’s your last chance to make a great impression on your blog audience.
4. Polish Your Blog Post Before You Publish It
You may be tempted to publish your post as soon as it’s written, but I urge you to conduct a thorough edit and proof before you hit the publish button. This can help you avoid some embarrassing mistakes and improve the overall experience for your readers.
Review Your Post to Ensure You’ve Delivered What You Promised
Have you ever clicked on a headline only to find that what you’re reading doesn’t deliver on what was promised? How’d that make you feel? I know it ticks me off.
If you hope to make money blogging, you need to build a strong reputation for integrity and helpfulness. That’s why it’s important to fulfill the promises that you set forth in your title and your blog post introduction.
Delivering on what you promise is key to building your credibility and trustworthiness. Before you hit publish, review your post to ensure that did indeed give you readers what you said you’d give them.
Add Links to Other Content
There are two reasons to add links to other content on your site—also known as internal links. The first is that it shows your blog visitors how much content you have on the subject areas they’re interested in. This can keep them engaged on your blog longer. The second reason to add internal links to every post is that it’s a signal to Google that you have deep knowledge in certain areas, which may in turn help you rank higher in search results.
When appropriate, you’ll also want to link out to other external websites as well. Linking to authoritative .edu and .gov sites is particularly helpful as it aids in bolstering your site’s credibility.
Edit & Proofread Every Blog Post
Editing is the process whereby you make your writing better. Editing involves reviewing your writing for clarity, precision, and flow. Proofreading is the process of making sure your writing is accurate and free of misspellings and grammatical errors.
Because you’ve grown so close to your new blog post at this point, you are the worst person to edit and proofread your blog posts. Your familiarity with your work makes it extremely difficult to find errors and writing issues that would stand out to someone reading your posts through fresh eyes.
If your budget allows, I wholeheartedly recommend outsourcing blog editing and proofreading to a qualified professional. You can find freelance editors and proofreaders on Fiverr.com starting at only $5 per project.
If you’re on a shoestring budget and can’t afford to outsource editing and proofreading, I recommend using a grammar tool like Grammarly to review your blog posts for both tone and accuracy. It’s also a good idea to wait at least 24 hours between writing a post and attempting to edit and proofread it.
Add Visuals to Accentuate Important Concepts
You may have added some visuals to your post as you were writing. Before you publish your post, though, review it one last time to see if there’s anything else you could add to improve the reader experience. Adding images to your posts can improve reader recall by up to 65%. You’ll also earn 94% more page views for your articles by including relevant images.
If you need a little help creating custom images for your blog posts, I recommend subscribing to PicMonkey. This easy-to-use image creation and editing tool lets you produce professional-caliber visuals that wow your readers.
PicMonkey comes with hundreds of image templates, fonts, filters, automatic effects, and modern design elements. The PicMonkey pro plan includes access to millions of images from iStock by Getty. Your PicMonkey subscription also features amazing tutorials so even a graphically challenged person like me can produce amazing custom images. I’ve been using PicMonkey for my blog for about five years now and I love it.
Writing great blog posts isn’t difficult if you follow the four-step process outlined here. Set clear goals for every post and plan your content before you begin writing. Then, keep your audience’s needs and the reading experience foremost in mind as you develop amazing content that wows.
The final step to writing a blog post is spending a little time polishing the post with a round of editing and proofreading and a final glance over to see if it reads and looks amazing. You’re then ready to hit publish and move on to creating your next post.