If you want to build a successful blog, it all goes back to one key thing… Writing blog posts that are filled with incredible content. After all, the whole point of blogging is to publish incredible written and visual posts on your site. You wouldn’t be a blogger if you didn’t do those things!
But the reality is, many people simply don’t know how the steps to writing blog posts that actually get read. Creating content can be an intimidating task, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of writing amazing content for your blog.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Get Read
If you’re ready to start writing blog posts that are high-quality and keep your readers interested from the first word to the last, follow the steps in this guide each time you begin writing. Not only will it make the content creation process easier for you to stick to, but it will also help you see amazing results with your blog content.
1. Get to Know What Your Audience Wants
The first step to writing blog posts is pretty straight-forward: get to know your audience and what they want. When you know what your audience is interested in seeing, you’re then able to create the content they’re most interested in. This is going to get them to click through to your website and will keep them intrigued throughout the post. If your audience’t isn’t interested in the topic you’ve chosen, they aren’t going to bother reading it.
In order to figure out what your audience truly wants, you’re going to have to put in a little work. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can go about this. You can make note of any questions you’re asked or suggestions that have been made via email or in the comments section on your blog. Another option is to figure out where your audience is spending their time online and tuning into their conversations. What are they saying on social media about the topics you cover? How can you help them with their struggles?
One of my favorite ways to learn more about your audience is through a reader survey. This will allow you to directly ask your audience any questions you want answers to. It’s a simple, straight-forward way to get to know them better. Once you know what they need help with and what they’d like to see on your blog, you can create that content.
2. Brainstorm Content Ideas
Once you have some idea of what your audience is interested in seeing, begin brainstorming content ideas. You can draw inspiration from a variety of sources. In fact, I previously published a piece all about coming up with blog post ideas. Be sure to check it out for some helpful advice!
Personally, I like to keep a running list of any content ideas I come up with. They’re all stored in one place: inside Evernote. I have one note where I keep all of my ideas, which are divided up by category. This allows me to easily see which ideas still need to be written. Plus, it ensures I always have a bank of ideas at the ready when I need them.
Above: Snapshot of the Moz Keyword Explorer
3. Conduct Keyword Research
When it comes to writing blog posts, you absolutely need to optimize your content if you want it to be read. If you don’t take the time to do a little SEO magic, your blog posts aren’t going to rank well in search engine results. This means that you’re going to have a tough time seeing organic traffic coming your way. And if you publish an incredible piece of content, you want people to see it, right?
In order to gain more traction on the posts you publish, you need to begin by doing keyword research. To do this, take one of the content ideas you have and jot down potential long-tail keywords for that post. Then, use a keyword research tool to search those keywords and find out which one is going to be your best bet. You can use a tool such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz. For many content creators, they don’t rely on just one tool. Instead, they choose to use a few for optimal results.
Ideally, you want to choose a keyword that has a high search volume, but low competition. This means that plenty of people are searching for that string of keywords, but not many people are writing about it. It gives you a better chance of standing out and ranking highly.
4. Perform Any Necessary Content Research
Sometimes a blog post is going to require you to put in some research! You may need to link to another source or two in order to back up points you’ve made. Or perhaps you need to learn a little more about a subject before writing an in-depth blog post on it. Either way, research is often necessary, but it’s not always the most exciting step in writing blog posts.
There are a few key tips for conducting research that you should keep in mind:
- Gather your information from reputable sources only. You don’t want to link to a sketchy website that can’t verify facts. Instead, it helps to know the influential sites in your industry and start conducting research there. Those sites will become your go-to in the future.
- Venture beyond the usual search engines. Instead of just relying on Google to do your research, you can try other sources like social media. Many social media platforms have become powerful search engines of their own, like Pinterest. Don’t be afraid to search those platforms for information. You just need to make sure that your information always comes from a reputable source.
- Tweak search queries for the best results. Don’t just search one string of keywords and call it a day. Tweak your search queries because it can pull up a wealth of knowledge that you might not have discovered otherwise.
5. Create an Outline of Your Post
This next step is a bit of a controversial one when it comes to writing blog posts. There are a lot of people I’ve spoken to who don’t take the time to outline their content before writing it. And that’s totally okay! For me though, I prefer to outline my posts because I find it makes the writing process much easier.
To do this effectively, start by jotting down all the key points you want to make in your blog post. Then, begin elaborating on each of those main points. This is your opportunity to expand on your ideas and also record any research you want to link to. Throughout the process, keep in mind any questions that may come up for your reader. You want to address those in the blog post you write. The outlining process doesn’t have to be perfect. You should just focus on getting all of your ideas out onto paper (or your laptop screen).
6. Start Writing Your Post
Now comes the fun part because it’s time to start writing your post! (Or the hard part if you find that writing isn’t your strong suit.) The best thing you can do is to place yourself in an environment that’s conducive to writing. This is going to be different for all of us. You may enjoy sitting outside and listening to the sounds of nature while you write. For others, they might prefer to stay inside at their desk with minimal noise. Do whatever works for you and just let the words flow.
When writing your content, keep these tips in mind:
- Create a headline that’s both catchy and accurate. You should never mislead your audience with a clickbait headline. If you want help writing a great headline, check out CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
- Make sure your introduction is captivating. If the intro fails to hold your audience’s attention, they’ll click off your page without reading the entire thing. You see, it’s been said that 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will stick around and read the whole post. Your introduction is your chance to hook them.
- Format the post for readability. Make sure you add headings and subheadings, as well as numbered lists and bullet points where appropriate. This makes your blog post scannable and looks less overwhelming than one big block of text.
- Add images for some visual interest. You’ll want to include a featured image for your blog post, but you should also consider adding more images based on the length of your post. Try adding an image for every so often to break up text and to add a visual for your audience to see.
- Close your blog post with a call to action (CTA). Once someone has finished reading your blog post, you need to hit them with your CTA. After all, you don’t want them to leave your page without taking action! Your CTA could be a request to join your email list, promotion for your products or services, or even asking them to leave a comment.
7. Edit Your Post
Next, it’s time to edit your blog post. You don’t want to press publish on something without giving it a read-through to check for any errors. The best way to do this is to walk away from your post for a bit after you’re done writing. This will allow you to return to the post with fresh eyes and you’ll be more inclined to spot mistakes and make adjustments in your writing.
If you can, let your blog post sit overnight before editing. If you don’t have that much time on your hands, walk away from the post for an hour at the very least. It’ll be helpful when you’re reviewing everything you’ve written.
To ensure you’re effectively editing your post, here are some helpful tips:
- Check for misspellings and any other typos. When it comes to spelling, you shouldn’t rely just on your spell check because it can miss things too. Keep an eye out for any mistakes you’ve made and make sure you correct them.
- Make sure all of your links are actually working. There’s nothing more frustrating than a link that leads to a dead end. Double-check that all of your links are accurate before publishing your post. It’s also a good idea to have each link open in a new window so people don’t navigate away from your site.
- Add links to other related blog posts you’ve already published. This is a great way to keep people on your site, as you send them deeper into your blog’s archives.
- Preview the post to review formatting. Don’t publish your post without first previewing how it’s going to look on your site. This is your chance to make sure the formatting adjustments you’ve made actually look the way it’s supposed to.
- Don’t stress over making it perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist, so don’t obsess over it. Instead, focus on creating the best post you can and unleashing it on the world.
Above: A Yoast analysis for this very blog post
8. Optimize Your Post for SEO
This step could really come before or after editing, depending on your preference. No matter when you choose to do this task, optimization is one thing that absolutely needs to happen. There’s no point in writing great content if you aren’t making it easy for people to discover it. Doing a little SEO (search engine optimization) is going to help your content rank higher in search results, making it easier for your audience to find.
SEO all starts with our previous step of keyword research. You need to use the optimal keyword so you stand a better chance at ranking. However, your optimization tasks don’t stop there! You’ll want to incorporate your chosen keyword throughout your blog post. Although keyword density isn’t as crucial as it once was, it still needs to be found in the following: page title, URL, at least one header, meta description, and sprinkled throughout the post content.
If you’re on WordPress, I’ve found the Yoast plugin makes SEO so much easier to manage. You can input your keyword and it’ll grade your post and let you know exactly what you need to fix in order to get that green light to appear. Not only is it a fun plugin to use, but it’s perfect for anyone who is just getting started with SEO tactics. Writing blog posts is even easier with Yoast thanks to the readability score it gives you as well.
9. Finally, Hit Publish!
Once you’ve finished writing and editing your post, it’s time to hit publish. I know this can sometimes be a nerve-wracking thing for people who have a fear of putting themselves out there, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Push that “publish” button with excitement and be proud of the work you’ve created. After all, you put the time and effort into writing blog posts and it deserves to be shared.
Once your post is out there, promote it by doing the following:
- Spread the word on all your social media platforms. Make sure you share the link on any platforms you’re actively using, such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Let everyone know about this awesome new post of yours!
- Tell your email subscribers all about your new post. Telling your subscribers about a new post is a simple, but effective, way to drive traffic back to your site.