Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about how to write a blog post.
I’ve written a few posts about blogging, but it was recently brought to my attention that I have not yet covered the most basic of blogging topics: how to write a blog post. How do you take an idea and turn it into a fully formed, ready-to-publish blog post? Here are my tips:
Start With an Idea
Obviously you need to start with an idea. If you’re stumped, try these tips.
I also find it easy to come up with blog post topics when you keep up to date with your industry. For example, I came up with the idea for this post after listening to a podcast episode that talked about blogging strategies.
If all else fails, consult Twitter or your favorite social media. Conduct a search of your industry and see what kinds of things come up that you haven’t yet covered on your blog.
Depending on the idea, you might want to do some research before you get started. You might be able to rattle off pro tips without having to consult any other sources, but I think it’s always a good idea to see what other people are saying. It can help you think of things you might have missed, while also making sure you’re offering a unique point of view and you’re not just saying the same things everyone else is saying.
You should also make sure it’s not a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam. If there are already a ton of blog posts about it, that shows that the internet is already saturated with that particular topic, which also means that ranking for it is going to be really hard.
When writing the first draft, it’s important not to worry about anything else while you’re writing. A common piece of writing advice is to not edit while you’re writing, and that goes for blog posts as much as novels and short stories. When you’re first getting the idea down “on paper” it’s important to just get it out. If writing doesn’t come easily to you, try talking about the subject out loud. You can try to write while you talk, or record whatever it is you say, then transcribe that recording and use that as your rough draft. From there you can tweak and rearrange it until it makes sense as a blog post.
Leave It Alone
The most important part of the editing process is to leave the rough draft alone for at least 24 hours (the longer, the better) before coming back to edit it. Once you’ve done your first round of editing, then you can start worrying about SEO – add in the appropriate keywords, subtitles, make sure it’s the right length, etc.
Depending on how you work, you might actually want to research the keywords before you start writing. Sometimes it can help give you an idea of the direction you want the blog post to go in, but if it’s just going to confuse you and cloud your mind with so many distractions that it makes it hard for you to focus on the task of writing the first draft, then leave them until the end.
When you first come back to the material, you should just edit it to make sure it makes sense and flows well. Then add in the SEO components before going through it all one more time to make sure it still makes sense. Ideally, you should have an editor look over the content to make sure it still makes sense, is grammatically correct, and doesn’t contain any typos before you go ahead and publish. If you’re still growing and can’t yet afford an editor, I recommend reading your writing out loud – even if it’s just to your dog/cat/fish. Switching fonts is also a great way to help you see mistakes you missed the first time around.
Divide and Conquer
Make sure to break up your content into sections with a subheading for each section. This boosts your SEO and also makes the content easier for your audience to skim. That might sound like a bad thing (you spent all this time on writing great content and they’re not even going to read the whole thing?) but it’s exactly what most people want. They might not need all the tips you provide, so they’ll just look over the content briefly to find what they’re looking for, and if you can make it easy for them to find whatever that is, you have a better chance of holding their attention and getting them to take the next steps.
I always write the headline first, but I usually end up changing it before I publish the blog post. Sometimes having written out the full blog post gives me a better sense of the message of the post and makes me realize that my original headline isn’t quite how I want to advertise that post. I’ve also found this headline analyzer to be immensely helpful in coming up with headlines that are more eye catching and SEO friendly.
Last, but not least, I add images. Unless I’m using them to demonstrate something in the blog post, I save the images for last. As mentioned above, I usually have to have the blog post pretty well finished before I feel confident that I know what I’m really trying to say in it, and therefore how I want to advertise it through my headline and images. If you’re not a photographer, but you don’t want to get sued for using someone else’s image, I have some tips to help you out with that.
Anything else? If you can think of any tips I missed, feel free to let me know.
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