This is a trick that many writers learn in workshops. If a piece reads awkwardly out loud, it will probably read awkwardly 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. Find yourself struggling with the flow of a sentence? Rework it until it rolls off your tongue.
How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps
Writing a blog post is a little like driving; you can study the highway code (or read articles telling you how to write a blog post) for months, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing like getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road. Or something.
Now that I’m done thoroughly mangling that vague metaphor, let’s get down to business. You know you need to start blogging to grow your business, but you don’t know how. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a great blog post in five simple steps that people will actually want to read. Ready? Let’s get started.
How to Write a Blog Post in Five Easy Steps [Summary]:
How to Write a Blog Post, Step 1: Planning
First, a disclaimer – the entire process of writing a blog post often takes more than a couple of hours, even if you can type eighty words per minute and your writing skills are sharp. From the seed of the idea to finally hitting “Publish,” you might spend several days or maybe even a week “writing” a blog post, but it’s important to spend those vital hours planning your post and even thinking about your post (yes, thinking counts as working if you’re a blogger) before you actually write it.
Long before you sit down to put digital pen to paper, you need to make sure you have everything you need to sit down and write. Many new bloggers overlook the planning process, and while you might be able to get away with skipping the planning stage, doing your homework will actually save you time further down the road and help you develop good blogging habits.
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Choose a Topic That Interests YOU
Before you do any of the following steps, be sure to pick a topic that actually interests you. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – will kill a blog post more effectively than a lack of enthusiasm from the writer. You can tell when a writer is bored by their subject, and it’s so cringe-worthy it’s a little embarrassing.
I can hear your objections already. “But Dan, I have to blog for a cardboard box manufacturing company.” I feel your pain, I really do. During the course of my career, I’ve written content for dozens of clients in some less-than-thrilling industries (such as financial regulatory compliance and corporate housing), but the hallmark of a professional blogger is the ability to write well about any topic, no matter how dry it may be. Blogging is a lot easier, however, if you can muster at least a little enthusiasm for the topic at hand.
You also need to be able to accept that not every post is going to get your motor running. Some posts will feel like a chore, but if you have editorial control over what you write about, then choose topics you’d want to read – even if they relate to niche industries. The more excited you can be about your topic, the more excited your readers will be when they’re reading it.
Write an Outline For Your Post
Outlines keep you honest. They stop you from indulging in poorly thought-out metaphors about driving and keep you focused on the overall structure of your post. Sometimes I’ll write a more thorough outline (and sometimes I won’t bother with one at all), but most of the time, something like the outline above is perfectly acceptable.
Do Your Research
One of the biggest secrets professional bloggers (myself included) don’t want you to know is that we don’t actually know everything. Truth be told, sometimes we don’t know anything about a topic before we sit down to write about it.
This doesn’t mean that all bloggers are insincere fakers. On the contrary, many bloggers’ natural curiosity is what makes them great at what they do. If you blog for a living, you have to be comfortable jumping from one topic to the next, even if you don’t know anything about it. What allows us to do this, and to write authoritatively about subject areas that are new to us, is knowing how to properly research a blog post.
It almost goes without saying, but relying solely on Wikipedia as a primary source is almost always a bad idea. Yes, Wikipedia does have thousands of excellently researched articles, but it’s not infallible, and erroneous facts do make their way into articles without site editors noticing. Plus, every verifiable fact on the site is cited from links elsewhere on the web, so why cite the middleman?
If you’re relying on third-party information to write your blog post, choose authoritative sources. Official associations, government websites, heavily cited research papers, and preeminent industry experts are all good examples. Nobody is right all the time, though, so approach every source with a the practiced skepticism of a journalist and question everything until you’re positive your information is solid.
Check Your Facts
A few years ago, I edited a piece written by a colleague focusing on the highlights of a major technology conference. The writer, under a seriously tight deadline, had done a bang-up job of writing great copy in virtually no time, but he failed to properly check his facts. He cited an article from Forbes in which the writer claimed Steve Jobs was using PowerPoint on stage – something that never happened. It was lazy journalism on the part of the Forbes writer, and an easy mistake to make on my colleague’s part, but the result was the same; one poorly researched article directly impacted another because both writers failed to do their due diligence.
Blog Ideas to Scare Away That Tormenting Blinking Cursor.
This list will be sure to fill your content calendar. Remember, these are just blog ideas, and if inspiration pulls you in another direction, follow it. There are different categories with tons of ideas, so you can choose your own adventure.
1. How’d you get started in your career? How’d you get to where you are today?
Answering this question is a great way for your followers to catch up on your journey. Share everything with them. You might just touch someone’s life and nudge them in a direction toward achieving their goals.
2. List and embed videos that deal with your niche.
For example, if you were a blogger, you could put together a list of 20 actionable videos on how to be a more amazing blogger. Think of useful and helpful videos that will make your readers better at what they do.
3. Compile a good list of posts and links that are focused on one topic.
4. What marketing tips didn’t work for you?
5. Write out a list of FAQs.
Are you asked tons of questions? If so, write them down and answer them. If you haven’t been asked any questions, think up the things that people would probably ask about your product or service. What things could be an issue that people might need more clarity on?
6. Take an unrelated topic and tie it to your field.
Take something that has nothing to do with your career and turn it into something that has something to do with your career. I once wrote a guest post where I wrote about being in a complicated relationship with my characters (I write fiction in addition to blogging). I basically compared writing characters to complicated relationships/friendships. It was super fun to write. Think about how you can apply this to your own writing.
7. Pitch an influencer to guest post on their blog.
8. What sets your blog/business apart from your competitors?
Sometimes, it can be scary when your competitors’ websites look way more amazing than your own. Maybe they are better at social media than you. Maybe they have a bigger team than you, which makes it easier to create more or do more.
9. What is the most creative way someone has used your product?
Working at CoSchedule, I’ve actually met some people online who have told me they’ve used our Headline Analyzer Studio to write titles and chapter names for their books. I’d say that’s a pretty creative way to use the tool, so it’s a blog idea that could help others. Do you have a product? If so, what is a creative way people have used it?
10. Profile a few readers and/or customers.
11. How do you use social media for growing traffic and sales?
12. Create an ultimate guide.
13. What is the best part of what you do?
14. Do a Q&A interview with your team.
15. Recently hire new employees? How’d you come to the decision to hire them?
16. Write a manifesto.
A manifesto is a great way to condense your message into a short, all-encompassing format. If you’ve written it well, they will get a fuller understanding of your core message, which you may have been trying to communicate for years.
Types of blog posts
Also known as a “listicle,” a portmanteau of list and article, a list-based blog post is one that’s organized as a list of related entries. This could be a list of products, historical events, quotes, images, or unusual and intriguing facts, the kind of listicle Cracked.com made famous. You’ll find list-based posts on lots of blogs, like BuzzFeed , Bored Panda , and right here on the Grammarly blog.
A news article blog post links to a trending news article and provides the blogger’s thoughts on that news article. It isn’t just a repost of the news article; it includes insights that build upon, speculate about, agree, or disagree with the information covered in the news article.
In this kind of post, the blogger introduces a person they’ve interviewed and provides some background information about the interviewee and their work. Following this is a transcript of the interview, sometimes interspersed with additional information written by the blogger. You can find interviews on many different blogs, such as Rotten Tomatoes’ blog .
In a review post, the blogger reviews a movie, video game, TV show, book, product . . . anything, really. What’s Good at Trader Joes? is a well-known example of a blog that focuses on product review posts. A review post can focus on one product or piece of media or it can be structured like a list-based post. You can find examples of the latter on 99designs , where they often review design software and website platforms.
A personal blog post, like a personal essay , is where the author discusses their personal experiences, thoughts, and/or opinions. Usually, you’ll find these kinds of posts on personal blogs rather than corporate or professional blogs. However, a blogger who usually publishes other kinds of blog posts might publish personal blog posts from time to time to build a more personal connection with readers.
An explainer blog post is similar to a how-to blog post in that it provides a thorough, objective explanation of its topic. The difference is that this kind of blog post isn’t necessarily presented in a linear, step-by-step format and doesn’t necessarily explain how to complete a task.
This type of blog post might explain the social and economic trends that led to a specific historical event or the basics of a given topic. Coinbase’s blog contains lots of explainer posts, such as a piece on how to keep your cryptocurrency secure.
As the name implies, an image-based blog post is a post that focuses on images. The post could be an infographic or it could be a post consisting of multiple images. No matter which it is, it contains at least some copy to give the reader some context for the images—that’s what makes it a blog post and not an image gallery.
Practice a few types of posts.
Ok so you’ve read through this post and have been thinking through potential blog topics, but you just can’t seem to make that final decision. Whatever you do, don’t start multiple blogs at the same time! The early stages of a blog is a time of relentless focus. It’s all out hustle to gain that early momentum.
If you’re struggling to make that final decision, try writing a few test posts on your potential topics. Take potential topic #1 and brainstorm fifty post ideas. Pick three of those post ideas and write an actual article. Don’t publish the post yet, but go through the process of writing the type of article you would like to publish. Then, list out fifty potential post ideas for topic #2, pick three of those ideas and write the articles. Same as before.