So far, you’ve set up the blog and learnt how to use color and fonts, and you are ready to go. Your blog framework is complete. Now we need to work on blog writing.
Now comes the moment of truth. You must learn how to write blog content. In the blogging world, any useful information that you share with readers is called “content.” Your content must be something valuable that people will want to interact with and come back for more.
Your next step is to determine what content to make for your new blog and the best practices to follow. It’s time to decide if your blog will be composed of words, photos, graphics, audio, video, etc.
1. Blog Writing - Three things your content should do
Your content will be the bait that draws your online crowd. Truthfully, few will come just to see your new site. Without great blog writing, even the most well-designed, tightly-structured blogs will ultimately fail.
- Your content should speak to a specific audience and provide value to them in a significant way. If this sounds suspiciously like our Commandments, you are correct. Drill the idea into your mind and never forget it: It’s not about you; it’s about them.
- Your content should be easily accessible and attractively presented. Your presentation must equal the quality of your content. Don’t cut corners on low-quality graphics or designs. Everything about your blog must attract your visitors and encourage them to interact with your content.
- Your content may be commercially purposed, but should never be commercially focused. Never greet your visitors with pop-up ads and giant banner ads. Greet them with content and reasons to engage with that content. Let them know you are there to help them, not to use them.
As a blog owner, you might get overwhelmed by all of the available types of content and the ways that you can deliver it to your readers. You have to remember that the content delivery method is less important than the actual content and its quality.
Wondering how you can create quality content? It’s simple.
Here is a simple 3-step approach to making great content of any type:
- Point – State your main idea and point you are covering.
- Prove – Give an example of the idea you are covering.
- Perform – Give a simple way to execute the idea.
There are two blocks you need to worry about, pre-launch and post-launch contents:
Before you start writing your day-to-day blog posts, you will want to make sure that static pages (such as About us, Contact, etc.) and other parts of your blog (Sidebar, Footer, etc.) are filled with suitable information. Let’s explore each of those content areas:
- Homepage – This depends on what type of blog layout you choose. As I described above, when customizing your blog you can choose to display the homepage of your blog as a static page. In that case you will have to prepare content for it.
- About us – The most traditional page on any blog is the About Us page. This page tells new visitors to your blog what it is all about, who you are and why you run a blog about your niche topic.
- Contact – This page allows visitors to your blog to communicate with you. It can be a straightforward page with your email address plus your social network links, or you can use a simple contact form that visitors can use to communicate with you.
- Posts – A blog post is an entry (article) that you write on a blog. It can include content in the form of text, photos, infographics, or videos.
- Pages – A blog page provides static content or information to the readers. Standard pages that bloggers use include: Products, Services and Resources. A blog page also can be a cornerstone (or evergreen) content with information that continues to be relevant to its readers. For example, this guide you are reading right now.
Note: When you publish any blog post or page, you will need to add SEO (Search Engine Optimization) meta tags on them. These are SEO title and SEO description tags of each page (not seen on the actual page, but you need to have it ready). This will help search engines to identify what the content is about and include it into search engine results.
Content is not limited to written material. Other types of material are easily overlooked! It is often best to utilize numerous forms of content and give your audience more than one way to obtain knowledge from your blog.
To produce quality content, you will have to use originality and imagination. You will also learn that some content performs better than others on your blog. You should start creating content that you feel comfortable with, that is right for your readers, and for your blog.
2. Choose a Topic That Interests YOU
There’s an old maxim that states, “No fun for the writer, no fun for the reader.” No matter what industry you’re working in, as a blogger, you should live and die by this statement.
Before you do any of the following steps, be sure to pick a topic that actually interests you. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – will kill a blog post more effectively than a lack of enthusiasm from the writer. You can tell when a writer is bored by their subject, and it’s so cringe-worthy it’s a little embarrassing.
3. Write an Outline For Your Post
Great blog posts don’t just happen. Even the best bloggers need a rough idea to keep them on-track. This is where outlines come in.
An outline doesn’t need to be lengthy, or even detailed – it’s just a rough guide to make sure you don’t ramble on and on about something tangential to your topic.
The purpose of this outline is to make sure I know what I plan to cover, in what order the various sections will appear, and some bare-bones details of what each section will include.
Outlines keep you honest. They stop you from indulging in poorly thought-out metaphors about driving and keep you focused on the overall structure of your post. Sometimes I’ll write a more thorough outline (and sometimes I won’t bother with one at all), but most of the time, something like the outline above is perfectly acceptable.
Whether you write your outline in your word processor, on a piece of paper, or even scribbled on a bar napkin, do whatever works for you to keep you focused.
4. Do Your Research
One of the biggest secrets professional bloggers (myself included) don’t want you to know is that we don’t actually know everything. Truth be told, sometimes we don’t know anything about a topic before we sit down to write about it.
5. Check Your Facts
All it takes to tank your credibility is one glaring error. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s crucial to avoid gaffes like this. If you’re just starting out, your credibility and authority will take a major hit if you publish inaccurate information, and even if you have a blog with millions of loyal readers, your regulars will be all too eager to jump all over your mistake – just take a look in the comment sections of publications such as Wired or TechCrunch to see how quickly this can happen.
6. Writing a Great Headline
Out of all the folks who read your headline, only 20% will read the article copy. Whether it’s for email subject lines, blog posts, ebooks, or webinars, you need a powerful, sexy headline to make readers swoon.
Modern online article headlines are tricky – they need to be SEO keyword friendly, but also should be unique and creative. The end result needs to be super clickable, irresistible headlines.
If you’re like me, your eyeballs encounter nearly a hundred headlines before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee. What makes you read one story over another? It’s all about the headline – that magical string of words that allures and excites.
7. Use Images Effectively
Writing for the web is an entirely different animal than writing for print. Oftentimes, people simply don’t have the time, will, or ability to focus on lengthy blog posts without some visual stimulation. Even a well-formatted blog post consisting solely of text is likely to send your reader screaming back to Reddit or Twitter within minutes, which is why it’s so important to include images in your posts.
- Images Help Your Blog Post Flow More Effectively;
- Images Make Great Visual Punchlines;
- Images Make Complex Topics More Easily Understandable
8. Avoid Repetition
Few things are more jarring to read than repetition of certain words or phrases. Once you’re done with the first draft of your blog post, read through it and check for words that can be replaced to avoid repeating yourself.
9. Read Your Post Aloud to Check Flow
10. Have Someone Else Read Your Work
11. Keep Sentences Short and Paragraphs Shorter
12. Accept That Your Blog Post Will Never Be Perfect
13. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Cuts or Adapt on the Fly
You may have forgotten, but I originally included a section in the example outline for this post that dealt with optimizing blog posts for SEO. I fully intended to write this section, but when I looked at how my first draft was shaping up, I realized this was too substantial a topic to tackle in an already lengthy post. As a result, I made the decision to cut this section from the post altogether. I purposefully left the outline intact to demonstrate that you shouldn’t be afraid to make editorial decisions like this.