We all want to write beautiful blog posts that people love to read as part of our marketing efforts. But for most business owners daily, or even weekly, blogging is right up there with going to the dentist.
With this step-by-step guide to blogging, we have taken the pain out of writing. Here is what you need to know to expertly and easily create a blog people love to read.
Step 1: Know your audience.
Before you ever put pen to paper so to speak you need to have a clear understanding of your target audience. You need to know what makes them tick. You need to know what their needs and wants are. You need to create buyer personas. When you understand your buyers and their interests you will then be able to come up with relevant blog topics.
Invest the time to create detailed buyer personas. Our partner Hubspot has provided some great resources to help you get started:
Step 2: Start with a topic and titles.
Obviously before you can start writing you need to pick a topic for your blog post. It is a good idea to make a quick note whenever you come across an interesting story or blog topic. Before long you will have a nice collection of blog topic ideas. Do not worry if your topics are pretty general. Use this to your advantage – play around with a variety of different working blog titles. This helps to focus your writing and creates even more blog topic ideas. A win-win.
Step 3: Write a captivating intro.
The first paragraph of a blog post should introduce what your post is about, all while captivating readers.
No pressure here, right? Hubspot to the rescue again. They have a great post about writing captivating introductions, cleverly titled, "How to Write an Introduction [Quick Tip]".
It offers great advice for how to grab the reader's attention. Remember, you want to attract the reader’s attention in the right way so that they will give your post more than a glance. You know you are offering them something beneficial; you just need to hold their interest long enough for them to see it.
Step 4: Organize your content.
You need to organize your content so that it can be broken down into easily digestible chunks. The best way to do this is to outline your post. This will help you to stay on track and properly focused. You will know which points to cover, and the best way to do it.
To make organizing even easier, you can download and use Hubspot’s free blog post templates. They are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. All you have to do is fill in the blanks.
Step 5: Now you get to write!
Now you are ready to actually write the content. Use your outline as a guide and elaborate on points as needed. Trust in your knowledge of the topic and do any additional research to gather more stats and examples to back up your points.
Also, take advantage of the many online tools available to help you with your writing. Here are a couple of our favorites:
- Power Thesaurus: This crowdsourced tool provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.
- ZenPen: A minimalist "writing zone" designed to help you get words down without having to worry with formatting right away.
Step 6: Edit/proofread your post.
You have written your blog post, hurray! But you're not done yet. Do not get in such a hurry to publish that you forget the editing process. It is a crucial part of blogging. Many small mistakes that you miss when writing are like neon signs when reading.
If editing isn’t your forte then ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copyedit and proofread your post.
Step 7: Make it pretty.
After edits are complete then you are ready to format. An ugly post is not going to get much attention from readers. So make sure your post is visually appealing. Use consistently styled headers and sub-headers to break up large blocks of text. Maintaining consistency throughout your blog posts and your website helps your brand look more professional.
Also, content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images. So make sure you choose at least one visually appealing and relevant image for your post. Play around with different types of images to see what works best for your post and which are consistent with your brand.
Step 8: Always have a call-to-action (CTA).
At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA to let the reader know what you want them to do next. It can be as simple as asking them to subscribe to your blog or to download an eBook.
Use your CTAs to offer more content that is similar to the subject of the post the reader just finished, that way the CTA is mutually beneficial to you as the marketer as well as your audience.
A good blog post delivers its message by combining words with visual interest in a well-structured format that’s easy to read. Follow the basics in this article to start writing posts that attract and hold your readers’ attention.