So, you probably know you need to start blogging to grow your business, but you are not sure how to. You probably already know how important the process of blogging is to the success of your marketing efforts. And you understand how important it is to learn how to effectively start and manage a blog in a way that supports your business because, without a blog, you’ll find yourself losing out on its search engine optimization benefits, lead generating traffic and so on.
However, like many bloggers out there, there’s a good chance you might not have a writing or communications-related degree. And while writing any content is mostly creative, having a process to follow helps you not to miss important steps in writing a blog for your business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to write a fantastic blog post – you just need the right process!
In this post, we’ll outline the steps we follow when we write a blog post. These steps can serve as both inspiration and a checklist to help you streamline the content creation process.
So, if you are ready? Let’s get started.
Step 1: Pick the right content topic
You should choose a topic that interests you. After all, if you find that topic boring, it would be challenging to write something appealing about something that puts you to sleep. This content should also be relevant to your audience, if not, why would they bother to read it. Therefore, you must have a very clear understanding of your audience’s interest. Ask yourself questions like; What do they want? What problems do they have that you want to provide a solution? In a Venn diagram, your ideal content is the intersection between what your business wants to talk about and what your audience wants to hear about. i.e. content that is relevant to buyer and consumer
Step 2: Start with a working title
There is a very good chance that the working title may not end up being the final title; however, it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific rather than a going off on a tangent or worse getting overwhelmed with the subject. A working title can help you be specific and guide your blog post before you start writing.
Step 3: Create an outline
The outline doesn’t need to belong or even detailed – it’s just a rough guide to ramble on about something that is a far away from your topic. The truth is blog posts can sometimes have too much information — for the audience and the writer. The outline in form sections, lists, tips — whatever’s most appropriate – helps to stay organized so that readers are intimidated by the length of content. Moreover, an outline ensures that your content covers all the important and relevant point in a logical order.
Step 4: Do some research
No one knows everything, including professional bloggers, after all, learning is a lifelong process. So, spend some time doing research on your chosen topic and fact-checking so that your blog post isn’t full of nonsense and misinformation. Spending some time on research will keep you in check and maintain balance, so your blog post isn’t misconstrued and despised.
Step 5: Write a captivating introduction
The introduction part of your blog post creates a lasting impression on your reader. If you lose the reader in the first few sentences, they’ll stop reading almost immediately. Find a way to grip your reader with an interesting fact or statistic in the first few lines.
Step 6: Start writing
This is usually the hardest part. Everyone has a different approach to writing. Some people can write an entire draft in a single sitting, while others write intermittently till they arrive at a point in which they are satisfied with their content. There is no right or wrong answer here – only what works for you and your business. Typically, the more times you revisit what you have written, there is a temptation to add a little here and there, and before you know it, you are gone off the outlined plan and topic. It may be better to write as much as you can at a go even if you have to revisit your draft over three or four sessions. However, like most things in life, writing easier the more you do it. At first, it may seem overwhelming and challenging but keep at it. You’ll become a master blogger soon!
With this in mind, here are a few tips that work for us when writing a blog post:
- Don’t worry about editing while writing the first draft. There’s always time to edit and make corrections afterwards. The most important thing is to get all ideas out and within reach.
- It’s better to write too much, rather than too little. It’s always easier to shorten and summarise a post. But trying to lengthen a post after it has been completely written can be hellish and result in unnecessary fluff”.
If you’re having trouble putting sentences together, you are not alone. Finding your “flow“ can be a bit difficult for some people. Luckily, many tools can help you improve your writing skills. For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post by HubSpot.
Step 7: Proofread and edit your post
This isn’t an easy task, but it’s worthwhile, the editing part of a post is the most important, as it requires careful checking not overlooking. Writing a blog post is hard. And the editing part is not easy too. It’s more than just fixing grammatical errors. Its also about fixing your content as a whole, sacrificing words and sections of your post for the sake of cohesion. While checking your spelling, grammar and sentence structure are a given; there are other self-editing tips we’ll like to share with you so that your blog post is as good as it can be.
- Avoid repetition.
Once you are finished with the first draft of a post, read through it and check for any words or sentences that can be replaced to avoid repeating yourself.
- Read your post to check the flow
If a piece reads awkward and strange out loud, it will probably read awkward and strange in your reader’s mind. It might seem a bit weird but force yourself to read your post aloud to check for wordy bottlenecks or contrived sentences
- Have someone else read your work
This particularly important if you are inexperienced at blogging. There are several mistakes beginners often make and having someone else read your post could ensure you don’t publish these errors. (See 10 Blogging Mistakes Beginners Often Make). Asking a friend or work colleague to check your work doesn’t make you weak or a failure. It proves your commitment to becoming better at your craft. Ideally, you should ask someone with some editing experience to proof your work and also check if it flows and makes sense structurally.
- Keep sentences short and shorter paragraph
Your sentences should be as short as they possibly can. They are easier to read, making your audience’s job much easier. Shorter sentences also reduce the chance of going off on irrelevant tangents. Paragraphs should also not be too long. The shorter the paragraph, the more likely it is for your readers are to keep reading.
Step 8: Add and edit visual elements of your post
No one likes a boring blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a good post but also the organizing and formatting of the post. Pick a visually appealing and pertinent image for your blog post. Images are featuring more prominently on social networks, and therefore images play a massive role in the success of your blog. Also, in a well-formatted and visually-appealing blog post, your headers and sub-headers are used to break up large chunks of written texts but ensure.
Step 9: Add CTA (Call to action)
At the end of every post always insert your CTA, this indicates what you want your reader to do next – subscribe to your blog, download an eBook or even read a related article. With your CTA, you can offer more value to your readers by offering similar content to the subject of your post or generate leads for your business products and services by attaching a link to a form.
Step 10: Optimise for On-page SEO
Once you are done writing and including your CTAs, go over your post and search engine optimize it. Search Engine Optimization is not only about keywords, so don’t obsess about how many times you put your keywords in your post. It is more important to preserve your reader’s experience instead of cramming your post with keywords. Here are some other SEO tips you should review on your blog post.
- Meta Description
These are the descriptions below the page title on search results pages. These pages provide searchers with a summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters in length. While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they give searchers a preview of what they’ll get from reading the post and help improve your clickthrough rate from search.
- Page Title and Headers
Most blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords and phrases your target audience is interested in.
If there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in the search engine results.
- Anchor Text
Anchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site because search engines consider that when ranking your page for certain keywords. It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking pages that you want to rank for a specific keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page — and that ain’t small potatoes.
- Mobile Optimization
With mobile devices accounting for nearly two-of-three minutes spent online, having a website with a responsive design is critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points
Step 11: Finalise on a catchy title
This is the time to trim your working titles. Make it accurate, clear and attractive. Develop a title that befits the write-up. Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider: If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).
Step 12: Do a final review
After you finish writing, go back and check your post. Edit the post one final time with all of the selected images included.
Step 13: You’ve got this. Publish!
Ready to blog?
Blogging can help you build brand awareness, become a thought-leader and expert in your industry, attract qualified leads, and boost conversions. Follow the steps and tips we covered above to begin publishing and enhancing your blog today.
Finally, blogging is one of those things that seem easy until you have to do it. Fortunately, it gets a lot easier, and with time and practice, you’ll be a blogging pro in no time. At first, it may seem time consuming and exhausting, and you may feel like it is easier just to put something shabbily and quickly together and publish. But you are better off spending the time to write two solid blogs a month rather than ten shabby articles. It is better for your business and better for the internet too (we don’t need any more rubbish online).
Now take up your laptop, go forth, and blog like a badass.