If you want learn to write a great blog post, you’ve come to the right place.
You may have realized that the less you put into your writing, the less people read it. There are literally millions of blog posts out there, so you have a lot of competition, and you have to be good to rise above it.
You may have written OK blog posts in the past, but if you follow the 10 tips in this article, you’ll be able to write excellent blog posts.
And then you’ll get more social shares, links to your website, website traffic- and your business will grow.
Blogging can be a very powerful way to get attention, website traffic and, ultimately, sales.
- Blogging is popular. In 2017, 66% of marketers reported using blogs in their social media content (source). One of the reasons blogs are so popular is because they’re so effective at getting you the online marketing results you need.
- Blogging drives more traffic. Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages (source). When you have more pages, you get more traffic and Google may view your site as a bigger authority.
- Blogging gets customers to contact you. B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads (customer contacts through their website) than those that do not (source).
- Blogging helps ensure the business goes to your company- not the competition. 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (source), so even if sales is your goal, you need to hook customers before they decide which company’s sales reps to talk to, and blog posts do a great job of that.
So, you know you need to blog…
But how do you do it effectively? Here are the 10 blogging tips we’ll cover:
- Minimize Interruptions
- Start With a Good Blog Post Idea
- Research Your Topic
- Create a Blog Post Title Concept
- Outline Your Major Points
- Write Some Stuff
- Make The Post Look Good
- Write Your Intro and Conclusion
- Leverage Copywriting
Let’s get into it!
Minimize Interruptions So You Can Get Your Writing Done
Writing requires focus.
Photo credit: Writix
Because when you’re interrupted, you lose your place and the context of what you were doing- so it’s important to have stretches of time where you can focus 100% on the writing.
One solution is the Pomodoro technique, which basically has you write for 25 minutes at a time. And then take a break. There are free Pomodoro timers online that you can Google.
It’s also a good idea to schedule time to write. I block out a couple hours every morning that could be used for writing. Write at the time of day that’s best for you.
But the critical thing is:
- Don’t let people interrupt you. Close the door, tell them stay away. If necessary, explain to them why blogging and this uninterrupted time is so important to your company’s success.
- Don’t let pets interrupt you.
- Don’t let kids interrupt you. Don’t neglect your kids, but either give them an activity or do it while they nap, etc.
- Don’t let your phone interrupt you. Put it on airplane mode. Do Not Disturb doesn’t always work.
- Don’t let your email interrupt. Close it. It should be sufficient to check email several times a day.
- Don’t let fake emergencies interrupt you. If you are not an ER doc or fireperson, or EMT, then you’re not in the emergency business. Sometimes we can get hooked on the adrenaline experience- it feels so good to solve an urgent problem- but this keeps us from getting into the kind of mental/emotional state that allows you to build your business.
- Don’t let social media interrupt. If you’re addicted to it, control yourself! :-)
Your habits, routine, or the way you’ve taught people to treat you can get in the way, and may require a change.
Control your schedule, your time and your focus, and you’ll get more done.
Leverage Copywriting in your blog writing
Copywriting, in marketing, means writing copy (words) that get people to do stuff.
We’re going to include copywriting in our processes of getting an idea, creating the title concept and writing the post. So I’ll talk about it more in some of the other tips, but first we need to talk about the basics.
The most important principle of copywriting is that your audience/customer has problems and needs solutions.
If you don’t understand those two things about your customer, you’ll never get great results with writing, marketing or selling.
- External Obstacles like a car not working, a lack of revenue or needing new technology
- Internal Obstacles like stress, fear, mental ruts and misconceptions
- Pleasure and positive feelings
- Goals, dreams and desires, whether internal or external
- Benefits, which includes anything good that people will get out of your writing, products or services
The reason human beings do anything is to get away from pains and problems and to move toward pleasure, goals and dreams.
If you know those two things, you can get people to do stuff.
You need to know what those things are for your customers so that you can influence them.
Start With A Good Blog Post Idea
Where do ideas come from? Nobody knows.
So if you don’t have one, you may need some stimulation before inspiration strikes.
And that includes:
- Thinking about your customers, their problems and what they want.
- Searching Google and social media for other people’s blog posts.
- Looking at the Google Keyword Planner (we’ll cover that in the next step) for what people are searching for related to your general topic.
- Walking or driving.
- Talking to other people about your topic.
Once you have an idea, you’re good- we’ll refine it next.
Research Your Topic to Ensure You Get Traffic
This stage is critical because if you don’t look at what people really want, they may not want what you create.
You need to make sure that your topic or angle on your topic is in-demand.
The way to do that is:
- Go to Ads.Google.com and use the Keyword Planner to find monthly search volume for your topic.
- Type phrases into the YouTube search box and see which searches come up first.
- Use Buzzsumo to research which articles on that topic have gotten the most social shares, and also to analyze the niche itself.
- Look at your website analytics on past posts and see which ones have done the best.
All this data will tell you the top keyword for your blog post.
And that keyword is where we’ll start with the blog post title.
Create a Title Concept That People Will Care About
The blog post title is the first thing people see, and it makes them either decide to click or not. It influences whether they share your post.
The title can also help structure your writing.
If we have a blog post keyword like “how to write a blog” or “blogging tips” then we can start with that, but we need to add some copywriting.
A blog post title is going to be a lot more compelling if it includes a pain/problem/obstacle or benefit/goal/solution.
People need to know why they should read it. What’s in it for them?
The other aspect of title creation is deciding what kind of post it is:
- List post (5 things, 10 things, etc. e.g. Five Types of Lists Posts)
- Why post: has “why” in the title- e.g. Why You Should Blog More. We could write a “why” list post like 10 Reasons You Should Blog More.
- What post: has “what” in the title, e.g. What You Should Blog About.
- How-to post: how to solve a problem or reach a goal, e.g. How to Write a How-to Post.
Deciding one of these four options will make writing the outline easier, and writing the outline makes writing the post easier.
I personally prefer list posts, because all the data I’ve analyzed says that they’re the most popular and most shared.
Although there are exceptions, in general, the most popular list-posts are 10 things and 5 things is not far behind. But 5 things can be easier to write if you know enough to go into depth. Just keep in mind that you need to write 1000-3000 words overall.
Outline Your Major Points First, to Avoid Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is one of the biggest problems you can have with writing a blog post.
There are many reasons for writer’s block, but many of them go away when you know your topic and have an outline.
Your outline becomes your to-do list for writing the article.
It’s easier to write when you already have an outline. And it’s easier to outline before you get into the details of actual writing.
Just start writing some general points you want to make.
If you’re doing a list post, do you have 5 or 10 points? You may need to combine or separate ideas to get to 5 or 10.
Write Some Stuff
Now go back to any point in your outline and start writing.
- What’s this point about?
- Why is it important?
- What’s your opinion about it?
- Do you have any stats or references on it?
- How is this going to help them?
If you have trouble writing it, try voice dictation- Google Docs has a free, built-in voice-to-text feature.
It’s not perfect, but it might be worth it to you to edit the mistakes if this is the only way for you to get your ideas out.
Make The Post Look Good So People Actually Read It
When people first see your post, it better look good. Does it look credible and appealing?
Does it look readable? You can edit for readability, but making it look readable is a visual kind of edit.
You can’t have too many large paragraphs or they’ll scare people away. It just looks like too much work.
It’s ok to have a single sentence in a paragraph.
It’s possible much of what you learned about writing in school will not help you get the average person to read more. Because so many people don’t like reading. And because many English teachers believe in rigid rules that don’t always create the most readable text. Free yourself from your English teacher. It’s our language. We can do what we want with it. Learn the rules well enough that you know when to break them.
All of this visual stuff is about making it easier for the reader:
- Start with an image that represents your topic or your opinion on it. Blog articles with images get 94% more views (source).
- Vary your paragraph sizes
- Keep whitespace- don’t fill everything up with text.
- Add bolded subheads so people can orient themselves, skim and choose what to read. 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts (source).
- Use bullets or numbered lists whenever possible to break up the monotony and make them easier to list. Whenever you find yourself writing a sentence with at least 3 things in it, you might consider bulleting.
- Add an image for each major section of your blog post- if it’s a list post, a 5 things post has 5 images for those 5 things.
- Find images that are high quality and/or funny. Attention-grabbing images help keep people on your site. Just having one blah stock photo as the only image in your blog post is not going to impress anybody.
If you do these things, your blog post will look interesting and professional.
Write an Effective Intro and a Motivating Conclusion
A good intro bridges the reader from the blog post title to the rest of the content.
An intro should answer the questions:
- Why should I read this (what’s the benefit or what problem will it solve)
- Am I in the right place? do I want to be here?
- What is this article gonna talk about
- Should I trust this article- stats well known third parties-
Good conclusions are more important than you may think- they can:
- Create a feeling of closure and satisfaction
- They can get people to take action- whether it’s to use the info you presented or to subscribe or contract you or something meaningful to your business.
- People remember the beginnings and endings of things more than the middle
- Leave people with a good feeling
The intro and conclusion are like a greeting and a goodbye when you visit a good friend. If you neglect them, your post will have less impact.
Edit Your Blog Post
Editing is about fixing errors but also flow and appearance.
Keep in mind the visual tips above, and read your post out loud to see if there are any hidden mistakes or awkward phrasing.
Your written word will probably never sound exactly like you speak, but the closer you can get it, the better.
Keep previewing the blog post and trying to look at it from your audience’s perspective.
- What’s missing?
- What’s weird?
- Where in the article does your mind drift and you yourself don’t want to read it? Why is that? Fix it.
- Do you need to make some parts more positive?
- Is there enough tie in to the pain points and benefits of what you’re talking about?
WordPress may tell me I have about 10 revisions already by the time I finish the first draft, and my final drafts may have 30 revisions total.
You don’t have to be as OCD as I can be about editing for flow and appearance, but if you do want to, we’re taking about dozens of revisions.
You know you need to be done when:
- You keep changing one word back and forth and can’t decide.
- Your dog really needs bacon right now.
- Your eyes are bleeding.
DaVinci said that “art is never finished, only abandoned.”
You’ll reach a point where it’s good enough, and that’s the time to publish and move on.
After all, you want to write at least a blog post a week and you have other things to do, right?
All you need to do now is… write!
Get to it!
Brian Carter is a popular business expert and keynote speaker with Fortune 500 clients like NBC, Microsoft and Humana as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways with the comedic flair of his stand up comedy background. His agency, The Brian Carter Group, creates marketing that excites customers and increases brand visibility, sales and loyalty. Brian is a bestselling author you’ve probably seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.