In this blog post, I'll take you through every step of the blog writing process. And keep reading 'til the end because I've got a blog post template to help you write the perfect blog post.
By the time we're done, you'll be able to write an awesome blog post in under 30 minutes. Let's get started.
Writing a blog post hasn't always been easy for me.
I used to stare at the blinking cursor, paralyzed with writers' block.
It wasn't that I didn't know what to write about. I had ideas. I just didn't know how to start the blog post or how to organize my thoughts into something coherent.
Sometimes I started with a bit of data to identify the problem. Other times I just keyword-stuffed the first paragraph. And other times I just ignored the intro altogether.
It wasn't until I started using a blog post template that everything changed.
Once I began following this blog post outline, writing a blog post became a fun process, rather than something I dreaded.
Before we get started, let's get the correct writing style down for a blog post.
Everything You Were Taught Was Wrong
In school, you are taught to follow certain rules as it pertains to writing an article. But a blog is not a research paper, so those rules do not apply.
In fact, you need to throw away everything you've ever learned about how to write an article out the window.
When you write a blog post, you need to write it informally, as if you are talking to a person... because that's exactly what you're doing.
A blog post is a conversation between you and the reader.
They asked a question (via Google or Pinterest search) and you are answering their question.
Proper formatting? Forget about it. Run-on sentences? Go for it. Starting a sentence with "And"? Do it!
And that's not all. (see what I did)
Facts with references? Who cares! In a blog post, you are giving your take on how to do something.
I get that facts and data are important. But...
People don’t remember facts and figures, they remember how you made them feel.
No matter your niche, you can write in a way that takes the reader through an emotional journey.
They need to connect with you and they won't connect with you on a human level if you talk like a robot!
I started this post by sharing with you that I struggled to write blog posts when I first got started blogging. This is exactly what you need to do - in every single blog post.
Doing this allows you to build a connection and that is key to developing a further relationship with the reader.
While informal writing is best for a blog post, spelling mistakes and other grammar mistakes are not ever going to be a good look.
Even though you may find this hard to believe, I use Grammarly to help me fix my many grammatical mistakes. You can just imagine what my content would look like without it. Eek!
Understand The Reader Journey
Before we get started with the blog post template, we need to understand how the visitor got to your page and why they are there.
Here is the typical reader journey:
- They perform a Google search or Pinterest search.
- They click on the best headline (hopefully yours).
- They scan your page looking for solutions.
- They decide it's worth their time and stay to read your entire blog post.
- They're satisfied with the content and want to learn more about you, read more related content or about your products/services.
So let's hit all the right notes at every step and write a blog post with this reader journey in mind.
STEP 1: START WITH KEYWORD RESEARCH
If you write about something nobody is looking for, you will not get any traffic.
This is a common mistake I see new bloggers make all the time. Always ask yourself, why am I writing this? Who am I serving? Does my ideal reader need this?
Before I write anything, I first do keyword research. Here's how to start.
Use Google autocomplete
You can research what are the burning problems in your niche by doing a Google search and seeing what words show up on auto-complete.
When I type in "blog post" into Google, I got all these suggestions:
- blog post ideas
- blog post template
- blog post format
- blog post outline
- blog post title generator
So that tells me that people really want help on how to write a blog post. The two main things they want are ideas and a template.
This is why I wrote an article recently on how to get endless blog post ideas here. And of course, it's why I'm writing an article with a blog post template right now.
Keyword research will always point you in the right direction. This ensures you only write about topics people actually care about.
You can also do keyword research on Pinterest. When I type in "blog post" I get these suggestions:
- blog post ideas for beginners
- blog post template
- blog post design
As far as which keywords to try and target, I recommend trying to rank on Pinterest search when you're a new blogger - it's far easier than trying to get Google traffic.
I also use Quora to help me get ideas on what to write about.
A search for "blog post" yields these popular questions:
- What do I write my first blog post on?
- Where do you get blog post ideas?
- How do I write blog posts faster?
- How can I write high-quality blog posts?
Use a keyword research tool
Okay, those were all great ideas on how to get popular keyword phrases to help you decide what to write about.
But how popular are those searches and just how competitive are those keywords?
For that kind of data, you'll need a keyword research tool like Long Tail Pro.
If you don't use a keyword research tool you just won't know whether you're wasting your time or not.
With Long Tail Pro you can see how much traffic each targeted keyword gets and how difficult it is to rank for each keyword phrase.
In short, it helps you figure out the best keyword phrase to target.
This is why I'm targeting the phrase "blog post template" rather than "blog writing tips". My research showed me there is equal popularity for those terms, but far less competition for "blog post template".
You may also notice I'm finding spots to drop in my keyword phrase throughout the article, rather than just the first + last paragraph. If you want more SEO help check out my beginners guide to SEO article here.
STEP 2: WRITE AN OUTLINE
I hate the "just start writing" approach. This is what leads to writers' block.
It is so much easier to write an article when you can create a bird's eye view of your entire post first.
That's why I always recommend starting with an outline of your post first.
For this article, I listed out the main steps first. That part is simple enough.
Then, I wrote a rough draft of the entire article in about 15 minutes. It was utter nonsense, a lot of babbling and at times just straight up word vomit.
But the beauty of it is that I got through the hardest part of writing an article in just 15 minutes - thanks to starting with an outline.
After that, the rest is just fixing grammatical errors, optimizing for search, adding internal links and moving things around so it all makes sense.
STEP 3: WRITE AN AWESOME HEADLINE
My blog titles are good. I'm not bragging, I have the data to back it up.
That's because I use Thrive Headline Optimizer to help me test my headlines until it finds the best one.
It uses three engagement factors (click-through rate, time on site and scrolling depth) to deliver the best headline based on the data.
I write a bunch of different headlines and then let their testing engine do all the work. The headlines are shown to different users and when it has enough data, it picks a winner and then only shows that headline to the rest of your audience.
You might think I'm going overboard with this whole headline thing, but hear me out.
The headline is the first thing a reader sees.
Nobody will ever read your blog post if your headline isn't great. This is your first impression and you literally have about 2 seconds to catch their attention.
Typically a user will be scrolling on their smartphone and it's your job to make them stop scrolling and click on your article.
You're going to need a headline that makes them stop in their tracks.
Here is the anatomy of a great headline:
Number + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
For example: 5 Awesome Ab Exercises To Get You Ripped In Two Weeks
Let me break it down.
- Number. Choose an odd number. Listicles get clicks, so starting with a number works best. I'll choose number 17 for this example.
- Adjective. Choose an emotional adjective, such as mind-blowing, awesome, genius. I'll choose genius.
- Keyword. Use your keyword phrase in the headline. Use your 2-3 phrase in the middle of the headline. My keyword phrase is "dog training tips"
- Promise. Make a BOLD promise... then deliver! It is not click-bait if you deliver on your promise to the reader. My promise is "to turn your dog into a saint!"
My entire headline would be: 17 Genius Dog Training Tips To Turn Your Dog Into A Saint!
I could really go on and on about the headline, but I'll leave you with this: spend the time to create an awesome headline, it is SO worth it!
Let's get to the body of the blog post.
STEP 4: DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM
Each of your blog posts needs to identify and solve a problem.
That "problem" is most likely your keyword phrase. This phrase needs to be in the first paragraph of your article - preferably in the first sentence.
Search engines need to know what your article is about, so they look at the URL, the title and the first paragraph the most.
Start your blog post describing what the problem is.
If you're writing about student loan debt, write about how expensive college is and how young people are ending up with thousands of dollars in debt before they even start their adult lives.
STEP 5: WHY IT'S A PROBLEM
Okay so there's a problem, but why does it matter?
Every problem has a negative effect, right? That's why it's a problem. Go into this a bit.
Following the student loan debt example, explain why, because of this debt, millennials will never own a house and will never be able to retire early.
For this article, I could have said if you can't write a blog post fast, you will waste hours of your life staring at a blank screen. If you don't connect with your readers with your writing style you will never be able to make any money blogging. Which means you will never take that dream vacation or buy the house you've always dreamed of.
Don't save the drama for your momma, this is the time to make your topic sound so important. We're talking practically life and death important here.
If they don't see the severity of the problem, they won't keep reading.
STEP 6: HOW YOU SUFFERED
Now it's time to connect the problem, their problem, to you.
You do this by showing empathy.
Using the same student loan debt example, you can say how this debt personally affected your ability to buy a car, buy a house and even find a partner.
Add more than just facts. You need to describe how having this problem made you feel.
This is where you should add words like: hopeless, lost, depressed and broken.
The "suffering words" I used were "paralyzed with writers' block" and "dreaded".
Give them all the feels, yo!
STEP 7: YOUR LIGHTBULB MOMENT
You know how they feel because you're in the same boat. At least you were in the same boat.
Until something magical happened. Something that radically changed your life forever.
It was as if the Red Sea had parted. OMG it was like a vision you had that must have come from an angel!
This is your lightbulb or AHA! moment.
Describe how your life has changed since this revelation.
It's not just about specifically what has happened in your life, such as buying a car or a house. It's more about how this change has made you feel emotionally.
For example: this immense weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I have a new lease on life, I am no longer shackled, I feel free, I have hope for the future, I have more confidence.
For this article, I said blog writing became a fun process, rather than something I dreaded.
STEP 8: YOUR SOLUTION
This is the meat and potatoes of your article. Now it's time to deliver the goods.
You will want to be thorough and describe your solution to the problem. You need to provide real value here. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone's time!
Most of my blog content is separated into easy to follow steps, others are separated by list items.
For example, this article is 10 steps on how to write a blog post. I also have list-type articles like the best WordPress plugins for new bloggers.
This type of content is the easiest to write (because you can start with a skeleton outline) and they are easy for the reader to consume.
You can find more help on how to design your blog posts here.
I separate my content into headings (h2) and subheadings (h4) to make it easily skimmable.
I also make my paragraphs super short.
By the way, the last one was literally a 7-word paragraph... and that's perfectly okay. The goal here is to keep the reader on your page and scrolling.
STEP 9: Add Images
Text is boring. Add pictures throughout your content to break up large blocks of text.
If you're doing a how-to article show screenshots or pictures of the process.
If it isn't a how-to article, you should still add pictures to your blog posts.
Pexels has hundreds of thousands of free stock images. Use them!
Your blog post should have an image on top (also called the featured image in WordPress). This is the picture that will be used when someone shares your post on Twitter and Facebook.
Additionally, I add one image for every main subheading (h2) in the article.
Then at the end of the blog post, I add a vertical image for sharing on Pinterest.
STEP 10: YOUR CALL TO ACTION
I see so many articles that end and just... end. The next logical step for anybody reading that article would be to close the page.
I've written thousands of blog posts the last 15 years. Something I've learned is that human beings follow orders from authority figures.
This is true in real life, but also in blogs. And if you write an awesome blog post, you are the authority figure.
At that moment, the reader is so into your content they will do practically whatever you tell them to do!
And yet, time and time again, I see articles that end without giving me the next step.
Human beings are not that complicated. People want to be given direction. They want to be told what to do.
End every blog post with a call to action.
You've written great content, now it's time to make sure the reader doesn't leave! If they leave, odds are they will never see visit blog again for the rest of their life.
Your call to action will depend on what you want your reader to do.
Here are some examples of call to actions:
One more thing. Make sure to pick only one thing for your reader to do.
I've learned that if you give the reader too many options, they will do nothing!
Here are a few things I've learned about human psychology in all my years of blogging:
For social sharing icons and Pinterest hover buttons, I use the SocialWarfare WordPress plugin. With the plugin it makes it incredibly easy for your readers to share your content.
So, did you enjoy this article? If you did, share it on Facebook, post it on Twitter, join my email list and... just kidding!
Just save this on Pinterest, y'all!