How would you feel if you knew a fool-proof way to write blog posts that would present you as an authority in your field?
Blog writing today is a very different animal but I’m about to show you in simple steps how you can master it like a pro.
People are naturally drawn to great writing. If your write up is really good, your readers will link back to it or share it even without being asked.
I have studied great blog posts that earned reputable backlinks from authority blog sites like Copyblogger, NeilPatel, etc. and have discovered a pattern.
They all create value!
Creating value is not just about creating the “how to” posts. While that is also valuable, you could also write on things like – breaking down a complex idea they’ve been finding difficult to grasp or showing them something new or opening their mind to a new perspective at solving a problem.
While creating a valuable blog post, also make sure that your content follows a pattern that makes reading blog posts easy.
I will be breaking this pattern down in 15 steps.
Step 1-5 shows you what you must do BEFORE you start writing the blog post.
Step 6-13 gives you the STRUCTURE you need to follow to write a great blog post
Step 14-15 shows you what to do after writing your blog post
Step #1: Set Your Goals
What goal would you want to achieve with that blog post? This is the first undeniable step in blog writing. Failing in this step will jeopardize your whole write-up.
If you write just for the love of writing without having a particular goal in mind, you will end up wasting your energy and achieving nothing.
So make sure you set a goal for your blog post right from the start. And make sure your write up achieves that goal.
Have a content strategy to make sure every of your blog posts resonate with your brand and achieves your goal.
Step #2: Know Your Audience
Who do you want to write for? Blog writing today requires that you have a clear answer to that question.
You need to discover who your audience is. What are their interests? What are their problems? What kind of content will they like to read about?
You need to write with your audience in mind. Don’t just write because you want to share the ideas in your head. That is self centered. Self centered blogs posts don’t do so well. So make sure you know your audience.
Here’s what you can do to know your audience better
Hang out where your audience likes to hang out such as forums and social media. This will give you the opportunity to interact with them and see what they are interested in.
You can even provide the answer to their questions directly or share useful resources with them.
My 2 favorite places to hang out are:
Quora: Join spaces related to your topic and see the questions raised by your potential audience. You can even type in the keyword you want to write about plus Quora. Example: yourkeyword+quora.
If you are lost as to the keyword your audience is interested in, use the tool AnswerThePublic to generate all real time searches by your audience.
Reddit: Reddit is another place to check out what your potential audience could be interested in. Follow the same search pattern – yourkeyword+reddit to see related threads. Also, join sub-reddits to see current real time interactions among your potential audience.
Step #3: Keyword Research
So you’ve set a goal for your blog post, and you now understand your audience.
You should get to know the exact words your audience uses to search for your topic.
That’s where keyword research comes in.
Keyword research helps you achieve two things.
- It helps you know your audience
- It helps your SEO
Since we have already talked about the first part in step #2, I will focus on how keyword research helps your SEO.
If you are familiar with SEO, you will know that keyword research is the root of SEO. You get to know the exact words your audience is using and the number of times your audience searches for those words on search engines.
Some advanced keyword research tools even show you how difficult or easy it is to rank for a given keyword and the statistics of websites that are already ranking for the keyword.
There are tons of keyword research tools out there but here are my blog writing favorites:
Google’s free keyword planner will generate for you:
- the number of times such searches have been made every month for the past one year in a given location.
- You can choose the location(s) you want or perform a worldwide search.
It’s a handy tool for beginner bloggers on a budget and will give you the basic keyword insight to know what your audience is interested in which is very important in blog writing.
Neilpatel’s free keyword research tool helps you:
- Know the number of searches for a keyword in one specific location.
- Get related keyword ideas
- Get the SEO difficulty level
- Get the sites already ranking for the keyword
It is an easy to use tool and offers much more than Google’s Keyword Planner. The only feature I wish they add is performing worldwide search of a given keyword. Currently, it only shows the number of searches for a keyword in a specific location. Check out NeilPatel Keyword Research Tool.
This is a powerful keyword research tool that shows you:
- The number of searches per month in a specific location or worldwide.
- It even has the option of searching for the keyword in other languages apart from English which is great if you want to reach out to non English countries
- It shows you the competition level for the keyword
- It shows the websites already ranking for the keyword
- And many other features.
Jaaxy is probably the easiest to understand for beginners. It offers:
- The number of searches for a keyword in Google per month
- The number of competing websites that are already ranking for that keyword
- The Keyword Quality Indicator shows you how the quality of the keyword is.
- The competition score of the keyword
- Brainstormed related keyword ideas
- And many other features.
There are tons of keyword research tools out there. But these ones are the ones I’ve stuck to.
Step #4: Get Specialized Knowledge
There is no shortcut to this step in blog writing.
You MUST study and research on the topic you want to write about until you feel it, internalize it and make it your own.
How will you achieve that?
No matter how busy your schedule is, make out time to:
- Read books on the subject.
- Take courses where possible.
- Hang out with people in the field via workshops
- Participate in webinars
- Listen to podcasts
- Do pretty much anything that adds to your knowledge on that specific topic
The more you know, the more value you will be able to give to your audience.
Step #5: Research Your Competition
Before you start, check out what has been written on that topic already. Analyse them to see how you can improve on it.
You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to check out the blog posts that are going viral on social media for the keyword you want to rank for. Study how they present their content and try to do more.
Making your blog content simpler, more informative, more entertaining or giving it your own angle, can give you a winning edge over your competition.
Also, analyse the top 5 performing posts for the keyword you want to rank for and get the average word count. Then write 500-1000 words more than theirs. These extra words, of course, has to be value packed!
By following steps 1 – 5, you are ready to start writing.
Step 6 – 13 will focus on the structure of a winning blog post. Within those steps, you will learn a winning pattern many big time bloggers follow to turn out great blog posts.
Step #6: Write Compelling Headline
Every professional blog writer puts in a lot of effort crafting his headline because he knows that a powerful headline can increase the chances of his blog post being read.
You can craft your headline before or after writing your post depending on how you want it.
There are certain types of headline that has been proven to do better than others. Here are some tips to look out for when crafting your headline.
- Be clear: Let the reader know exactly what he is going to gain from your post.
- Be specific: Using numbers has been proven to do well in headlines. For instance, 77% of office workers won’t share this with their employer OR 17 steps to becoming an online millionaire.
- Use odd numbers: While using numbers, always go for the odd numbers. They have been proven to do better than even numbers.
- Curiosity: Let your headline elicit an element of curiosity. So while you want to be clear on exactly what your reader should expect. Reserve some stew to make them a lil bit curious.
This article by Jackline Kalyonge also sheds some light on headlines that perform better.
Tools to help you craft a better headline
I’m not a fan of automated tools but if you need a quick help with crafting a good headline then you can check out these 5 headline tools.
The first 3 are headline generators while the last two are headline analyzers.
What’s the difference?
Headline generators simply generate headline ideas or topics using the keyword you enter.
Headline analyzers simply analyze a headline to check if it has the necessary ingredient of a winner headline.
You can use a headline generator to generate headline topics and then use the headline analyzer to analyze its potential.
- TheMoth Headline Generator: This is a free tool to help you generate relevant headlines for your blog. You can feel free to tweak the suggested headlines as you like.
- SeoPressor: This is also a free headline generator for your blog content. Once you put in your keyword, it brings up various potential headlines you can choose from.
- Hubspot: This is a freemium headline generator. You get free five headline topics. To unlock more than 5 headlines, they require you to upgrade.
- Sharethrough Headline Analyzer: This is a free tool that analyzes your headline’s engagement and impression rate. Where your headline score is below average. It offers you helpful suggestions on how to improve it.
- AMI Emotional Headline Analyzer: This is also a free headline analyzer you can take advantage of to analyze the emotional appeal of your headline to your audience.
Step #7: Use Images
Use a good image immediately after your headline to make your readers have a visual feel of what your content is about. That is why you don’t want to use an image you just got from a royalty-free image website. You need to edit it to match your content unless the image on its own has the quality to do this job.
For instance, check out the image i used in the beginning of this blog as against an ordinary image.
Secondly, use images in long blog posts to break up large chunks of text, make your readers have a visual feel of what you are telling them and to explain complex topics.
This makes your long posts more comprehensible and less boring.
In choosing an image for your blog
- Choose a high quality image
- Do some editing to make it resonate with your blog content.
- Make sure it is in the right size. Don’t use overly large sized images.
- Compress the size to ensure faster load time.
Tools you can use for getting and editing your images.
You can get high quality images on the following websites:
While you can, do not use these images exactly the way you get them. Tweak them a little to suit your blog content and theme with these image editing tools.
- Canva: A freemium online based image editing tool. It’s very easy to use in creating amazing images.
- Snappa: A freemium online based image editing tool. Very simple with great templates.
Step #8: Use a Hook
A hook is a sentence that immediately grabs the reader’s interest. It’s job is to make the reader to become interested in reading further. You can also call it an intro.
It can come in the following forms:
- Questions: Questions seem to work well as it makes the reader subconsciously want to find the answer within the write up. That makes the reader want to read further.
- Quote: A well crafted quote can motivate the reader to keep reading and also have a lasting impact on the reader.
- Statistic: You can give an interesting statistic from a remarkable source to get the interest of the reader.
- Story: People love stories. Starting with one can draw them into reading further.
So which of them did I use in this post? Can you remember?
Step #9: Body
This is where you provide the real value. Whatever it is you promised in your headline, or your intro, this is where you fulfill it.
This is where you exhibit your knowledge and prove to the reader that you are out to give them the best.
Use all the ideas you got from your keyword research and from researching what the top performing posts of your competitors. Combine it with the specialized knowledge you have gathered about the topic and get to work.
Use images where necessary within your body to explain complex topic. Include quotes, charts and statistics where necessary to prove your points.
Make sure the message the blog post is supposed to pass to your readers is clear. And clean. By clean I mean, it should look read-friendly with no grammatical errors.
Write in the active voice and use enough transition words to make sure your content is as lively as it can be!
Step #10: Use sub-headlines to break up major points
Use sub-headlines to break up your points. Sub-headings help your reader to capture the points even without reading the whole content.
No one wants to read a whole lot of paragraphs with no sub-heading. That will be boring and more difficult to digest than when you use sub-heads.
Your content can contain nested sub-headings.
Make sure you use the appropriate heading tag (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6) to organize your content.
Aside making your readers understand your content better and making it look neat, it also helps search engines understand your content.
Step #11: Summarize the main points
Not very necessary but good practice to have a summary of your main points especially after a really long post. You can use it as an opportunity to show the reader what he has gained so far by reading the content.
By so doing, those of them who scanned through your content can be sure they didn’t miss a major point.
Step #12: Call to action.
What action do you want your readers to take after reading your post?
This is where you ask for it.
It could be to subscribe to your email list, to take a course, to buy a product or even to leave a comment back. Whatever it is you want from your reader, make sure to ask clearly for it.
Step #13: Direct them on what next to do.
Don’t leave your reader hanging, wondering where to go from there.
Direct them on what to do or where to go next.
It’s best to put a related blog post you feel might interest them so they can go ahead to read it.
Or you can give them the opportunity to share it with their network using social sharing plugins.
This is an extensive blog writing guide to enhance your blog writing skill and help you craft blog posts that will always boost reader engagement and position you as a pro in your industry.
Apply the 14 steps given and you will always have a masterpiece in your hands.