- What do you want to accomplish by writing this blog?
- Who is your audience and what will they expect to learn from you?
- What questions will your blog answer?
- What are the main points you want to get across to your reader?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions before you begin writing, the whole process will take much longer than it has to. Once you have the answers to these questions – write them down. This can be in note format, a diagram, or in paragraph form. Whatever works for you is fine. You just need to get your ideas down on paper so you have a starting point. Sometimes starting is the hardest part.
In order to write a successful blog post, you should always start by brainstorming. One way to brainstorm is by coming up with a list a list of questions that you want to answer within your blog post. You can then use the answers to those questions to help structure your blog. Try to make your questions as specific as possible, so that your answers will be simple and straight forward.
For example, if you’re writing a blog about how to write great headlines, one of your questions might be, “What is the optimal length of a great headline?” You might also ask, “What are some examples of really great headlines?” These questions will help you focus on where to direct your research, and the answers you find will become the main content of your blog.
Now that you know what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog, and what questions you want to answer for the reader, it’s time to do some research. Whether you’re writing about something you’re an expert in or something you’re less familiar with, you’re going to have to consult other sources to make your content unique and valuable. Be sure to validate your information by checking a few different sources, and always cite your sources where applicable.
3. Keyword research.
Once you feel that you’ve gathered enough information to write your blog, you’ll want to do some keyword research to determine what words and phrases people are searching for. If you don’t have the right keywords in your blog, the right audience may never find your writing, and that would defeat the purpose of putting the content out there in first place, right?
There are a lot of great tools out there for doing keyword research. Many are even free or low cost. For example, WordStream, Keyword Tool, and Google AdWords Keyword Planner are all free keyword tools that can help you with your research.
4. Create an outline.
Now that you have some great information and a few keywords you know people are searching for, you need to organize that information in a way that makes it easier to digest. You can’t just throw it at the reader all at once, or they may get overwhelmed. Creating an outline is a great way to start. Not only will it help you to organize your thoughts, but it will also help keep you focused if your blog starts drifting away from its original purpose (and it will).
Using your original list of questions and the answers you found, along with your keyword research, you can break the blog down into sections. Use your main questions as sub headers, and include a few bullet points as placeholders for the main points you want to get across in each section.
5. Fill in the blanks.
Now you can start writing (finally)! A successful blog post will include bullet points, numbered lists and bold text to keep the reader’s attention for as long as possible. Long paragraphs without breaks or text formatting may cause the reader to skim your text or ignore it all together. Another great way to break the monotony of text is to include relative images throughout the blog.
Be sure to use your main keywords in the title and/or some of the sub headers of your blog, as well as within the paragraphs and bulleted text in each section. Don’t forget to include links to other similar articles that will further educate the reader on your blog topic or a similar topic.
Don’t skip this part. Proofreading is an important part of the process, too. Reread your blog once slowly, looking closely for errors. Rearrange paragraphs if needed. Cut out the fluff. It also helps to read it aloud sometimes, so that you can find missing or incorrectly used words that you otherwise might overlook.
Now read it again, scanning one last time for any glaring mistakes. If you have someone else who can take a quick look at it as well, a second pair of eyes is always recommended. Before you hit publish or send off your blog to a client, take one last look at it to make sure the layout and formatting is consistent.
As you can see, writing a successful blog post takes some planning. If you want to consistently write great blog content, you may want to keep this checklist handy whenever you sit down to write.