Does the idea of writing a blog post seem overwhelming? For many without any writing experience, it can seem almost impossible. It’s really not as difficult as it seems if you follow a few simple steps.
Plus, blogging is a great way to build yourself and your business up as an authority figure in your industry. With that authority can come big content marketing benefits. Don’t let the idea that blogging is difficult stop you. It’s actually a lot easier than it may seem.
1. Pick Your Topic
The first step to a great post is picking a topic to write about. The topic is closely tied to the headline, so this is also a great time to choose your headline (or title) too.
Both are critical to a successful blog post. So, where do you start?
Write About Something People Want to Read
The topic needs to be something people want to read about. Don’t write about something boring. Many gifted writers can make dry topics engaging. But if you’re new to writing, you don’t want to handicap yourself from the start with a tough topic.
When picking a topic, pretend like you need to sell people on the idea of reading your post based only on the topic. It’s a lot like pitching a press release to a journalist.
- Does anyone care about this? Why do they care?
- What’s in it for the reader? Will they be entertained and/or learn anything?
- Is this a new idea? If not, what’s the unique angle that will engage a reader?
The topic is not only important to keep the reader engaged while reading. It will also determine the sort of headline you can create for your blog post. And the headline is super important.
The headline is going to appear prominently on search engine result pages (SERPs). The same is true when it’s shared on social media. If you want people to click through to your actual post, you’ll want a killer headline.
A post on Copyblogger says 80% of people will read your blog post headline, but only 20% will read the text of the blog post. On mobile devices, Caphyon found that the first three results on Google had click-through rates in January of 23%, 14%, and 10%.
Those numbers are just averages. Your click-through rate is going to depend on your headline. This is why it’s critical to come up with an engaging topic with a headline that will really pop.
At this point, you might be thinking, great, it sounds like it’s even more impossible to write a great blog post. I still need to figure out how to write a killer blog post, but before I even get started with that, I need to somehow find a unicorn topic.
And it’s true. It’s not necessarily going to be easy. But, we’re now going to breakdown how anyone can find their unicorn topics.
Write About Something You Know About
It is infinitely easier to write about something you already know about. This is especially true if you are just getting started with writing blog posts. Pick a topic you are intimately knowledgeable about.
The place to get started and get some practice is with topics you already know. You’re already an expert and maybe even an authority figure in these topics. This will make your writing more naturally authentic. The reader will notice this.
By writing about a topic you know, it will also reduce the number of hurdles to actually getting started with the writing portion of creating a blog post.
An adept writer could probably write about anything. They’d do research, they’d plan and prepare, and then they’d write a killer piece. But that is not a great strategy if you’re just getting started.
You’re going to need to write several blog posts before you really get into a rhythm. The last thing you need is extra steps before each blog post. This will slow you down in getting the needed experience in writing. It may even lead you to become more disillusioned in the process.
Once you feel comfortable writing about stuff you already know, you can experiment with topics that require more research and planning. For now, avoid topics that you are not already an expert in.
If you think you’re not enough of an expert at anything, you’re wrong! Everyone’s an expert at something. We all have a life story. We all have experiences. You can find expertise somewhere within your story as a person.
Still unable to find an expertise to focus on? Consider these areas of your life:
- Your profession. Even if you’re a fast food crew member or a sanitation worker, you still have stories and expertise. A fast food crew member might write a blog post on “Top 7 Secret Menu Hacks.” The sanitation worker might write, “What I Learned About Springfield Collecting Their Trash.”
- Your family. If you have children, you have firsthand knowledge about raising children. If you care for an elderly parent, you also have caregiving expertise. Don’t forget your pets either. Also, consider the experiences your family has had together. You could write about family-friendly vacation destinations. Or romantic getaways, or even single-friendly trip ideas.
- Your life story. Everyone has a history. How did you get here? What life events had the biggest impact on you? This gives you a unique angle on any topic. You can become an expert on many topics by combining your experience with a relevant topic. For example, “What Being a Soldier Taught Me About Leadership in Business.”
- Your business story. Like every person, every business has a story. What are your business’ mission and vision? Why did you get into the industry you are in? What is the origin story for your business? Your customers want to know why you do what you do. A blog post can help you share this information.
Sharing your stories can be very powerful. Don’t be afraid that others won’t relate to you or that your experiences are too unique.
As one of our founders, Mirela Setkic, often eloquently explains: we all share 99.5% of the same DNA. So we are all actually very similar. Even so, sharing that extra 0.5% that differentiates us is actually how we form an even stronger bond.
Write About Something You Care About
You don’t get a unique topic by just picking something you know about. There is one more ingredient you can’t leave out: passion. You need to pick a topic that you know about and that you care about.
When you are passionate about a topic, your enthusiasm and curiosity naturally shine in your writing. Writing about your passion will hopefully trigger that same excitement you feel when normally engaging in that activity.
For example, let’s say you love attending music festivals. You could write a blog post “Top 11 Can’t-miss Music Festivals of 2019.” While writing that post, you can relive your experience attending those festivals in earlier years. Or maybe it’ll trigger your anticipation of going this year.
That is the sort of secret ingredient that no mastery of writing can match. Just as method actors spend months or years immersing themselves in a character attempting to gain a deeper emotional understanding of the character.
BBC reports that some writers are now engaging in a similar method of writing. In that BBC article, one writer, Prof. Churchwell, says, “I did nothing but read about 1922 for five years – I felt I was imaginatively living in that world. You do become naturally obsessed.”
Others argue method acting and writing are unneeded. Either way, you don’t need to worry about engaging in these sorts of preparation or research. You already know the topic firsthand.
If you do want to learn more and do some research, you’ll likely already know where to go. You may even enjoy the research and preparation because you are learning more about something you are passionate about.
That is the crux of writing about something you are passionate about. You are also probably passionate about learning from others and teaching others about that topic.
Combine that with something you have experience in and that interests others. Now, you’ve got your unicorn topic.
2. Write Your Headline (or a Working Title)
As we mentioned earlier, your headline is critical to converting surfers into readers. This is closely related to your topic. We’ll just go over a few important basics on transforming a topic idea into an attention-grabbing headline.
Grab People’s Attention
Just like with your title, you need to come up with something interesting. If you’re writing a post about your killer chicken noodle soup recipe, you don’t want a headline of “Chicken Soup Recipe.” That isn’t going to stand out.
Everyone already knows what’s in chicken noodle soup, you need to convey why yours deserves to be read. This might include some combination of your unique angle, experience, and passion.
- “How an Unknown Chef’s Recipe Has Revolutionized Chicken Noodle Soup”
- “Top 7 Celebrity Chef Recipes for Tasty Chicken Noodle Soup”
- “Ancient Chicken Soup Recipe Reveals Long Forgotten Must Use Umami Ingredient”
- “This Vegan Chick’n Soup Recipe Wins Taste Contest; Beats 11 Meat-based Recipes”
- “This One Weird Trick Cures Cancer With Chicken Soup”
The Fine Line of Clickbait
While you want to grab people’s attention, you don’t necessarily want to go overboard with outlandish claims. There are two reasons clickbait can get you in trouble:
- Endless bombardment of years of crazy headlines have people on guard for clickbait.
- If the blog post doesn’t meet the expectations set by your headline, readers will bounce — leave your site.
Take our example of this headline: “This One Weird Trick Cures Cancer With Chicken Soup.” Most people know about the this one weird trick trick by now. The trick isn’t that weird, never matches the picture, doesn’t apply to most people, and/or is an outright lie.
Unless your trick really is weird and really cures cancer, don’t use this type of headline. Better yet, don’t do it anyways. People won’t believe your headline. Use something else that is creative and engaging.
Take one of our other chicken soup example headlines: “Ancient Chicken Soup Recipe Reveals Long Forgotten Must Use Umami Ingredient.” Your blog post better include an interview with an archaeologist explaining the discovery of this ancient recipe. Hopefully, you or a chef is also explaining what this umami ingredient is and how to use it in a chicken noodle soup recipe.
Your blog post better not ignore the ancient discovery. It can’t just be another basic recipe like: chicken, egg noodles, broth, and vegetables. Your headline was just a lie then, and you’ve crossed the clickbait line. Your readers will bounce and likely have a bad taste in their mouth about your brand (and your soup).
If you’re struggling to write a killer headline, just use your best option for now. Call it a working title, and that way you don’t have to commit to it mentally. You can always revisit further crafting the headline after you finish writing.
3. Research Your Topic (Optional)
If you’re already an expert and passionate about your topic, you may or may not need to do research. If you really want to write an exceptional blog post, you’ll probably want to do some research.
That being said, procrastination and over complication, are two of the main reasons a lot of blog posts never get written. If your serious about getting your blog post written, carefully consider your style of working.
If you’re just trying to build up practice writing and you’re already fairly knowledgeable about the topic, skip research. If you’re going to use research as a never-ending rabbit trail to procrastinate or not write, skip research.
If you’re fairly disciplined or after you’ve got some writing practice under your belt, definitely do some research before you start actually writing. Even then, be sure you aren’t using research as a reason to delay the writing phase.
If you decide to engage in research, the actual work you’ll need to do is beyond the scope of this post. Obvious places to get started are searching Google and reading Wikipedia. If you’re going even deeper, you may want to read some academic sources. Two places to get started with this are Google Scholar and JSTOR.
Once you’re done researching, make sure you get started with writing!
4. Write Your Actual Post
There are a lot of ways to write the actual post. The most important part of every method is getting started. Avoid overthinking things.
There are three methods that work really well to get started. They don’t all work for everyone, but at least one will work for you.
Here they are in order of most to least structured:
- Create a hierarchical outline with main points and sub-items for each point.
- Write all of your subheadings (or main points).
- Think about the topic for a few minutes and just start free writing.
Which method you use will depend a lot on how much structure you like when writing. If you’re not sure, try each one on three separate blog posts. You’ll quickly learn which one works the best for you.
One last thing before you get started. Decide on a rough length and word count for your blog post. This will help you visualize how much content you need to create.
Not sure about an ideal word count? The absolute minimum is 500 words. Ideally, you want at least 1,500 – 2,000 words. And if search engine optimization (SEO) is your goal, at least 2,000 words is actually ideal.
Option 1 – A Hierarchical Outline
This is very similar to how a lot of people learn to write papers in school. You have an introduction, where you introduce usually three points. Then you have the three points, each with more information under each. Finally, you have a conclusion, where you recap the three points.
In a blog post outline, you can have as many main points as you want. And subpoints can have further subpoints. It depends a lot of the depth of your topic and how long you want your blog post to be.
Don’t worry too much about getting everything in your outline. You can always add or subtract items, even as you’re writing. Just get the gist of ideas in your head onto your computer or on paper.
Option 2 – Subheadings Only
If you find the idea of a hierarchical outline overwhelming or overly rigid, just write the main headings. In this blog post that would be: Pick Your Topic, Write Your Headline, Research Your Topic, Write Your Actual Post, Review Your Post, and Publish & Promote Your Post.
Once you have your subheadings, that’s it. You can start writing.
Option 3 – Start Free Writing
If even the idea of subheadings gives you pause, there is still a surefire method to a great blog post. Think about your topic for a few minutes and just start writing. Once you start writing, do not think too much. Just free write for a set period of time, anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes.
It is absolutely critical that you do not stop writing. You are prohibited from reading what you wrote, deleting anything you wrote, or otherwise stopping. You must write about your topic nonstop for the allocated time.
Do not worry if you go off on tangents, or even if you go totally off topic. None of that is important right now. Do not stop.
When your set time is completed, do a word count and see how many words you wrote. Are you above your desired word count? If you are not, you need to engage in more sessions of nonstop free writing, until you are above that word count.
Once you’ve reached your word count, you’re almost done writing. Read what you wrote, and see if it mostly makes sense. Do you generally understand what it says? Do you think you have some good points in there?
If not, you may want to do some more free writing, until you have something relatively intelligible with at least a few good points. If you’re still having trouble, take a break, do more mental brainstorming on the topic, or even engage in some light research. When you have a fresh perspective, try it again.
Now, you’re done writing! Proofreading, editing, and review might take a little bit longer than if you had used option 1 or 2, but the hard work is done.
Do you still hate the idea of writing any text? Does the idea of writing make you forget everything you know? Get a voice recorder, or use your phone, and record yourself speaking your ideas on the topic.
You can then use a service like Rev to transcribe your recording into text. Once you have that transcription text, you can follow the remainder of this post to edit that into your great blog post!
Write the Actual Content
If you used option 1 or 2 to get started, you still have some writing to do. Use the same method as option 3, except in chunks instead of free writing the entire blog post.
It is very important to remember in this step that you are just getting your ideas down onto a computer or paper. The goal is not to produce something that is 100% logically sound and readable by others. There should be mistakes.
Take each point from your outline or subheading and free write for a shorter period of time. Depending on your ideal word count and how many points you have, you’ll need to do some basic math. Take the total number of words, and divide by the number of points you have.
Once you have words per main point, you can estimate the number of minutes to free write. If you need a guide, it should be 500–4,000 words per hour. You can fine tune this after you know how fast you personally write by checking the word count of what you wrote.
Some points may have more words than others. Don’t get too strict about any of the calculations. The goal is really just to write quickly enough that you don’t think too much about what you just wrote. Do not delete or edit anything you wrote!
Once you finish each bullet point or subheading, you are done!
Edit the Content
Since you were free writing, you should have a fair number of mistakes in your writing. This is where you’ll clean all of those up and make sure what you wrote is readable to others.
Pass 1 – Look at Your Ordering and Structure
Read everything you wrote. While you are reading, think about the order and structure of your points. Would certain things sound better earlier or later in the post? Maybe you wrote about the same thing in two different places.
You’ll want to move things around, so there is a more solid structure to your post. If certain points depend on other points being made first, make sure they are in the correct order.
If you’ve repeated yourself, you can delete things that are repetitive. You may find things you think are good but maybe too tangential or off-topic. Don’t delete them. Instead, put them somewhere else. You might change your mind, or they might be perfect for another blog post.
Pass 2 – Add and Edit Subheadings and Paragraphs
Read everything again, this time with an eye for dividing or combining things into paragraphs. Try and make each paragraph contain one small idea. The current trend is for relatively short paragraphs in blog posts.
This makes your post more accessible to the largest audience. It’s also more readable on mobile.
If you have several paragraphs that fit into a larger point, you’ll want to put them all within a subheading. Likewise, if you find several subheadings that all fit together, they need to be under a bigger subheading. The topmost subheadings should align with your original outline or subheadings if you created one of those.
Pass 3 – Make it Readable
Read it one more time. Your structure should be good now. All that’s left is to ensure all of your ideas will make sense to readers.
Read your entire post one more time. Try to correct any incomplete sentences, incorrect grammar and spelling mistakes. A tool like Grammarly can help with this process.
You’ll also want to be on alert for awkward phrases, acronyms, and other jargon. Rephrase or define all of these, so a layperson will understand them all. Keep it simple and easy to read.
Look for places you could add graphics, lists, or other visual elements too. This is especially true if you have a lot of text under a certain subheading. Make important phrases bold. Use italics and underlined when appropriate. Endless paragraphs without any visual cues or breaks will cause certain readers to get frustrated.
Check Your Introduction and Closing
The first and lasts paragraphs are very important. You’ll want to double check that they are as great as they could be.
Your introduction needs to contain a hook. The hook is what grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to actually read the post. It’s kind of like the second headline. The headline got them to the page; the hook will keep them on the page.
The closing should distill the essence of the post. It’s where you can make your case to the reader. What do you want the reader to do next? This could be actionable next steps or further reading for the reader.
You can also consider carefully using the closing to soft pitch something else. Do you have a product or service that solves the problem discussed in the post? Now would be the time to bring that up, if you haven’t already.
Whatever you do, don’t go too far pitching products or services within the blog post content. This can draw the reliability and authority of the entire post into question.
If possible, for most businesses, it’s best to keep these items somewhat separate from the content. This means above the post, below the post, in the sidebar, or other pages on your website. Readers will engage with those call-to-actions as you build trust with your amazing content.
Your Done Editing
For now at least, you’re done editing! You should probably take a break and come back to review it once more after your mind has had some time to process what you’ve written. You’ll also have a fresh perspective.
What if you don’t find many mistakes while editing? If you aren’t adding, deleting and rearranging things during editing, you may have spent too much time on the previous step getting your ideas down. With your next blog post, you might try writing a little faster and compare the results.
5. Review Your Post
This is the final step before publishing your content. You need to make sure it’s ready for the world. There are a few important aspects to avoid unnecessarily making yourself look bad.
First, give your entire blog post one last read yourself. With a fresh perspective, you may find errors and other things that you can improve. If you didn’t use Grammarly, or another similar tool earlier, at least run some sort of spell check.
Next, find at least one other person who you trust to review your work. They should be reviewing for typos, grammatical errors, legibility and persuasiveness. Ideally, you’d get two or three people to review it, especially if you don’t know someone you trust to handle all of those fronts.
Even if you think you did an amazing job, you still need feedback. It is impossible to find all of your own errors. Even major books that are published have errors, and they normally hire professional editors. It’s better that a trusted friend or colleague spots your errors before you hit the publish button.
6. Publish & Promote Your Post
You’ve written your first great blog post. Good job! Fear might set in, and you might have second thoughts and consider not publishing. Resist that urge, you’ve done all the hard work. Don’t let it go to waste. Publish your post and share it as quickly as possible. Don’t look back.
Publishing Your Blog Post
Publishing should be easy if you already have a website for your business with a blog setup. Most content management platforms (CMSs) make it fairly straightforward to publish a blog post.
If you’re using WordPress, which is by far the most popular CMS, you can read their support article with a video on how to add a post. If you’re using another CMS or website setup, you’ll need to refer to their support documentation or contact them directly.
Once you’ve published the post, you’ll want to make sure to note the permalink for your post. This is the URL that people use to access your post. It is displayed in the backend of your CMS. You can also see it when viewing your blog post in a browser.
For example, this post’s permalink is: https://www.kapokmarketing.com/how-anyone-can-write-a-great-blog-post. You should see this URL towards the top of your screen.
Promoting Your Blog Post
Now, it’s time to get some readers for your blog post. Hopefully, some positive feedback will encourage you to continue writing more blog posts.
The first and easiest way to get exposure is to share your blog post on your own social media. This could be your personal accounts or your brand’s accounts. Share on as many accounts and platforms as you have that make sense.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the three most popular places to share blog posts. Pinterest is also a very underrated platform that you should use if your blog post includes an infographic, informative diagram, or breathtaking picture.
There are plenty of other ways to get more traffic to your blog post. You can run ads directly to your post, either on social media platforms or with Google Ads. Only do this, if it’s part of a larger branding play or you have a funnel in place on your site to generate a positive ROI.
Most of the other methods involve building your brand and getting more organic traffic either from social media or search engines. One of the biggest search victories for content is appearing in Google’s featured snippet.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Keep writing more blog posts on your site! Consistency is important for keeping readers interested and improving your SEO to attract new organic readers.
- Try to partner with other blogs or businesses. Cross-promote content on social media and by linking to each other’s content. This also helps with SEO.
- Reuse and repurpose the content in your blog posts. Create videos, social media posts, podcast episodes, or any other marketing collateral to build your brand. Link back to your blog post when it makes sense.
Anyone Can Write a Great Blog Post
It may seem overwhelming at first, but truly anyone can write a great blog post. You just need to be committed and interested in doing it. Once you get started, your business will be well on its way to reaping the benefits of content marketing.
Everyone has something they are interested in and passionate about. Those things are ideal candidates for topics to start your path to blogging expert. You don’t need to be a digital marketing guru, you just need to get started writing.
The best part is once you get started, it will continue to get easier and easier. It doesn’t take very many blog posts to build up the needed skills to write engaging and informative content that will build the authority of you and your brand.
With that authority, the sky’s the limit for your business. Once readers trust you as an information source, you’ve proven you can help them. You’ve further developed your brand perception with these people.
It will be far easier to introduce them to other products or services that cost money. Of course, that trust can also quickly be lost if you start selling snake oil.
Don’t let the idea that you are not a writer or not experienced enough to write blog posts dissuade you from trying. It can really help you and your business. You just need to get started!
Do you have a story about blogging? Maybe you tried to start a blog previously and had an unexpected success or failure? Or maybe you followed the advice in this post and published your first post? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experience and see your content.