A blog post is a great way to connect with your target audience, helping with engagement and it also helps to set you up as an expert in your field.
Your blog post is basically an article, or piece of news, maybe a guide or ‘how to…do something’. It covers a specific topic or can address a particular problem that your audience is encountering, that you solve. Generally, blog posts range from 600 – 2000 words and contain images, videos, or infographics.
Importantly, blog posts are great for driving traffic to your website. There are millions of blogs out there on every subject you can think of, so it’s important to make yours as engaging as possible.
Where do I start?
The first task is to have a brainstorming session to generate ideas for your posts. Coming up with ideas can be a daunting task, and it’s often the most difficult part of blog writing, but once you get your ideas, you’ll be away!
I use my blog to start a theme, which I then run through all my social media posts, repurposing part of my blogs to make other content. So, how do I find things to write about?
I know my target audience and my ideal client, so I look at the problems they might be facing with their small businesses. I belong to several groups on Facebook and follow lots of small businesses on my Instagram account, so I can see if there are questions being asked about my specific niche. Then I try to address those issues in a blog post.
I also use Pinterest to look for ideas; Quora is a Q&A platform, where you can search for questions being asked in your niche and Reddit is a good source of content ideas – you just put your subject in the search bar and ideas for content will come up. There are loads of tools out there to help you…and don’t forget to ask your customers or audience what they’d be interested in seeing.
Once you have your topic, the next decision to make is what kind of post are you going to do? You could do:
- A ‘how to’ post
- A ‘what is…’ post
- An ultimate guide
- Tips and hints
- A list-based post
- A post about something personal that’s happened in your life
It really depends on your niche. If you’re a travel blogger, for example, you’ll be writing about places you’ve been, how you get there, what your experiences were like and giving lots of advice about travelling in general.
This would be a different kind of blog than someone like me, who writes about marketing and helping small businesses. My posts tend to be educational, ‘how to’ (like this one!) or addressing things I know that my audience struggle with.
Create an outline of your post.
Now you have your idea and you have decided on what kind of post you’re going to do, create an outline. Do plenty of research on your subject and make notes, then you can put everything into some sort of order. A quite simple order for a post would be:
- Your introduction – include the title of your post here and a few keywords.
- The main point of your post, what you are hoping to achieve, or what you are hoping your audience will achieve and what they’re going to get out of your post.
- Additional information – this can be bullet points, infographics, graphs, or videos/images to illustrate your points. This is where you get down to the nitty gritty.
- Conclusion – reiterate the point of the blog post, and include a call to action, so your audience know what to do next. This could be ‘Follow my blog for more tips’; you could include a link to another page on your website; you could point your audience to your social media pages, so they can check them out. Or you can ask a question to encourage commenting on your blog post.
Now, onto the writing
Make sure you understand your audience – what do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? Creating a buyer persona can help with this, so you know your audience’s likes and dislikes.
Then, just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get all your ideas down – write freely. Use your own voice and don’t try to be clever or write like a car manual! Just be yourself and your personality will come over to your audience.
Try and set aside 30 minutes a day to get yourself into the habit of writing and it will soon become second nature.
Once you’ve finished your blog:
- go back over it and tweak it, so that it reads in order. Don’t forget to edit the grammar and spelling and check for typos. Sometimes the spelling of a word is right, but predictive text has changed it to something completely different to the word you wanted, so it doesn’t make sense.
- Read it aloud, as sometimes what you read and what you hear when you read it are completely different!
- If you’ve mentioned stats, ensure you include a link to the source of your information.
- If you mention another business, include a link to their website
- If the topic you’re writing about links to a previous blog article you’ve written, put a link to the previous article – this keeps your audience looking on your website
- Then step away from your article – leave it for a day, or at least a couple of hours, then go back and re-read it with fresh eyes. This will help you pick up any errors and gives your brain time to process what you’ve written about, which might result in you wanting to add something.
Write your headline
I always write my headline last – I know the subject of the blog post and use that as a headline to start with. Then, once I’ve read the post through, I think of a catchy headline. For this post, I’ve literally used ‘How to write a blog post’, because I want you to know immediately what the post is about – it’s educational and informational, so I feel it just needs to say what it does on the tin!
Don’t be too clever or obscure with your headline writing, as you have very little time to capture your audience’s attention, so make it short and snappy and understandable.
I’ve written a previous blog about writing emotional headlines, which might help.
Images help to break up the text, so incorporate a few images into your blog post.
Writing a blog post and publishing it on your website is great, but without SEO (search engine optimization), it won’t be found…unless you have a big following on your blog…and even then, you want to be finding new people to read it too.
Quite simply, SEO is about a strategic use of keywords, headline, sub headlines, URL and ensuring that your post is readable and easy to understand. You can use plugins, such as Yoast, which help enormously with your SEO, giving suggestions and correcting what you’ve done. SEO is a whole other subject, but it’s worth googling it to find out more.
Neil Patel is an absolute SEO guru – he has a great website, with easy-to-understand videos and blog content. He writes about all things marketing, so check out his website. I’ve learned so much from him!
Hit the publish button
Finally, once you’re happy with everything, hit that publish button and your blog post is ready to share with the world. Don’t just hit publish and run – you need to now do some work to get your blog in front of your target audience.
- Share your post on all your social media sites, making sure you change the wording slightly for each platform.
- Share in business groups when they have a ‘share your business’ day. There are several blogging groups too, which you can join and share your posts.
- Tag influencers and use hashtags to get your content in front of your audience.
- If you send out regular emails to subscribers, or send out a newsletter, include a link to your blog, with a sentence or two about it.
- Look on one of the Q&A sites and if your blog answers someone’s question, answer their question and link them to your blog for further information
- Use analytics to track the performance of your blog
After that, it’s just a case of creating consistent content – be that once a month or once a week – whatever you choose, try and be consistent with that timing. Your blog will start to attract an audience and will start to establish you as an expert in your field.
So, set aside time each week or month to brainstorm ideas and work on your blog. I always carry a notebook with me, (but I am a stationery geek!). I often think of ideas when I’m out, so I can make notes about ideas, no matter where I am.
If you have any questions, please feel free to put them in the comments. If you want to have a blog, but simply don’t have time to do it yourself, please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy writing and blogging!