The real key to writing a great blog post starts and ends with your ideal customer.
You need to be 100% focussed on them - what they are looking for, what they need to solve their problem and and have understanding of the language and style that appeals to them.
That said - there are some key structural steps that any blog post needs to include to really make them stand out in a sea of content.
Step 1 Plan your topic idea.
This really is something that you could be planning for a long time and ideas for blogs come from all sorts of sources. Thinks like listening to your customers, identifying items that they struggle with or need help with, understanding what they need to know to make things easier for them, those ideas that come to you in the shower, at 3 in the morning.
Keep a notepad handy ( or your phone ) to jot down when these ideas come to you so that you have a ready SWIPE file will all you ideas in one place.
Step 2 Block out time to do the writing.
Serious time, like half a day, a day or 2 days depending on how many posts you want to write. Yes I did say posts - as you want to batch up this process and do alot of them all at once.
By booking in a time in your calendar to research and write your posts, you will mentally give yourself the nod that this is a serious part of your business - just like all other parts of your business. You will find that this process of ‘batching’ will contribute to a higher quality of writing as your brain will get in the zone and without even really noticing it, you will be churning out better blog posts. You will just get in the zone.
Trust me - this totally works.
Step 3 Layout your structure
Remember back to school? ( For some of us that may be a little harder than for others!)
When we are taught how to write an essay we use this method.
- Intro - state and answer your question with a brief overview of what you will be talking about
- Para 1 - point 1
- Para 2 - point 2
- Para 3 - point 3
- Conclusion - wrap up the essay.
Your blog post should follow a similar structure, in that you should list out in bullet points what you want to cover off before your start. Some people are just gifted and they can bang out a blog post in no time flat - but for most of us, we need to apply a structure to write something of value.
So thinking about the essay guideline above, you may have more than 3 points, you may have less, but plan out what you want to cover off. The really key point though is to make sure you make the case for your blog post in your first paragraph. The case I am referring too is that you outline what problem you are solving for your customer or what question you are answering or what tip you are explaining that will benefit them. You then round out/summarise your points at the end.
Always focus on who you are directing your post too. In this way, you can worry about addressing what you really know - your customer and not compare your blog posts to the world's best writers. The world’s best writers are not writing blogs for your customers - you are.
Step 4 Craft a catchy title and find a magnetic image
Creating a blog post idea is not the same as creating a catchy title. Even if you are blogging within a business that is, shall we say a little dry, you need to be enthusiastic about your subject matter and bring that enthusiasm to your post and title.
The title is what is going to get them in - so don’t be BORING!
Workshop this a bit with your team or partner. The first title you come up with may not be the best.
Included with this title selection, I am suggesting that you find a great magnetic image to also drag people into reading your post. I find that the process of finding my image can help me craft my title and vice versa. The point is, your image doesn’t have to be exactly about the post - but more about the feeling you want people to have when they read the title, or the feeling they have when thinking about the nature of the problem. We want people to connect with that image so that they read you post. So this image choice is really important.
Step 5 Proofread your work
Fix up grammar and spelling. Nothing detracts from a potentially great blog post than sloppy spelling errors or grammar issues.
Then read it out loud slowly - what you actually wrote - not what you think you wrote.
Make sense? No? Then fix this up
I am sure you will immediately pick up issues. It is very common when writing to miss words, miss meanings and often it is only when we read things out loud that we pick up these syntax errors.
Bonus point Include a bonus call to action or extra point.
See what I did there?
Make sure that you invite conversation with your post, a call to action to send people somewhere else in your website or just a bonus piece of information that throws that number out.
5 steps to creating a great blog post? Guess what you just got 6. I know I am so generous!
I am a big believer that anyone can blog. But not everyone can blog well.
Following these 5 (+1) steps above will set up for creating a great blog that your ideal client will love to read. Remember, you have information that they really need to know - so share widely, generously and freely of your knowledge.
Got a blogging question? Pop them into the comments and I will happily share what I know about creating great blog posts.