Blogging can be tough. But don’t worry, we’ll explain how to write a good blog post that customers want to read.
We’ve put together tips and a solid checklist of “Dos” and “Don’ts” to make your blogging life easier, your blog posts better, and your customers happier. Let’s get started.
Blog Ideas and Goal Setting.
Start thinking about each blog idea in terms of four categories, which can help dictate the direction of your blog and exactly who you’re writing to:
Topic / Purpose / Audience / Stage in Buyer’s Journey
So now, jot down lists in each of these four categories of people you’d like to generate for and who you’d like to make up your readership.
Where to get ideas for topics? Poll customers or potential customers about their difficulties or topics of interest, frequently asked questions, profiles on employees or customer success stories, etc. If you already have a blog, have a staff member audit what you’ve already written about.
I took a few minutes (seriously, didn’t take long) and brainstormed some ideas in each category.
Ideas for stickers
Best uses for stickers
To educate about sticker generation
Interest piece; to bring people to the site
Encourage more uncommon uses of stickers
Inform visitor of special aspects of sticker generation process
Broader audience, general interest
Sticker artists and concept folks looking for jobs
Stage in Buyer’s Journey
Casual visitor, not necessarily aware of interest in product
Information gathering phase, would like to buy but just starting to research
Comparative phase, comparing prices and features
Ready to pull the trigger and buy
Then, when you’re ready to start crafting posts, all you have to do to start is to choose one from each of these categories and build a post based on those requirements. You gotta start somewhere, right?
Now, Make Some Goals.
Now that you’ve got a feel for what you’re an expert on and what sorts of folks you’re writing for, make some goals.
Some good ideas for goals include but are certainly not limited to: understanding who you’d like your readership to be, blogging at least once a week, getting every person in your organization to contribute one post per month, figuring out a distinct voice after the first couple of months, set aside a dedicated block of time for blogging every week, etc… I think you get the idea.
But whatever you do…
ABSOLUTELY DO NOT:
- Make a goal to write a blog post every day
- Focus goals on traffic
- Expect to see results in the first couple of weeks
INSTEAD, DEFINITELY DO:
- Make realistic goals about how much time you can dedicate to blogging per week. At the very least, set aside one hour per week and tackle all tasks related to blogging during that time. Formalize it and put a recurring time block on your calendar. Consistency is key.
- Focus on your subscribers. This is far more important than fixating on traffic numbers. Aim your efforts at appealing to those who explicitly expressed interest in your blog, rather than quick-bouncing traffic or the very casual visitor.
- Sometimes it takes months for search engines (and people in general!) to notice you and your blogging efforts. At the end of the day, this is an investment. Be patient and just keep posting.
One More Thing. Get Used to an Editorial Calendar Running Your Blogging Life.
Download this editorial calendar (or any similar one). (Right now!)
Use it. Stick to it. Swear by it. Editorial calendars are essential for keeping you on track.
If you need more reasons to adhere to an editorial calendar, check out these four powerful reasons, or let the words of Sir Winston Churchill himself inspire you.
As for how to actually create a post, read on…
How to Write Blog Posts.
Don’t complicate it.
A blog isn’t a research paper. A blog isn’t a dissertation. It’s just a blog.
When your weekly blogging time block alert comes up, it’s go time. Put your best foot forward and crank it out.
Now, Let’s Dissect a Blog Post.
1. Do NOT start with a title. That’s a few steps down.
Plop in a working title and move on.
2. Use one of your blog ideas. Write as much as you can. Make it intelligible later.
Keep a running list of topic ideas (you may have started one when I talked about the four categories of every post). When you have a ready list of topics to pull from, the creation process won’t feel so daunting.
If you haven’t started one yet, it’s never too late for you! Start one right now. Yes, right now. I’ll wait. Open a document, type ‘Blog Ideas’ and start making a list. Come up with 15 to start.
If you’re still running low on blog ideas, consult these sources. They’ve got PLENTY if you still need inspiration.
More sources for blog ideas:
The Ultimate List of 95 Blog Post Ideas for Creating Craveable Content to Share on Social – [via Buffer]
8 Blog Topic Generators for Blog Post Idea Inspiration – [via WordStream]
How to Generate 3,640 Blog Post Ideas in 12 Months – [via SEOCopywriting.com]
Or, if you need a more structured approach on how to actually go about writing good blog posts, consult these.
More ammo and step-by-step for writing posts:
How to Write an Introduction – [via HubSpot]
How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in Five Steps – [via WordStream]
How to Write a Blog Post: A Simple Formula – [via HubSpot]
How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post – [via HubSpot]
3. When you’ve got your idea and have mostly written it, focus next on the headline.
Think of this as more of a process, rather than a single stroke of brilliance.
Fact: Eight people in ten will read your headline. Only two of those eight will continue reading the post.
This should go without saying, but… the headline has to be really friggin’ strong.
Use Upworthy as a guide:
Once you’ve written a headline that you feel great about, use a headline analyzer to help you assess its effectiveness, taking into account SEO factors, headline best practices, as well as readability and many other factors.
Point being: go for punchy, precise, and pleasing. Punchy to grab people, precise as-in true to the contents of the article, and pleasing in terms of positive things people can do. Negative headlines turn people off.
Images. Let’s Get Visual.
Because a picture is worth a thousand words (and because our brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than text), its selection can actually make or break a post.
- Selecting or crafting an image? Head here for a Buffer crash course in how to choose the right stock photo.
- Copyrights. To avoid sticky legal situations, you need to either take photos yourself or ensure that the photos you use are copyright-free or alterable before you use them. If you don’t have a budget for pictures just yet, we’ve got you covered. Here are some good places to get copyright-free images.
- For our more advanced readers, head here for the 15 best blogging tools for starting a business blog and here for 8 ways to enhance your posts through visuals besides just images. Canva is a killer, free resource to help get your designer legs under you.
Hopefully this post gave you the motivation, ammunition, and confidence to start your own blog. True, there’s no shortage of things to remember, but you can be sure that taking any action is better than doing nothing.
With that, take these steps, print them out, laminate them, make a Pinterest paper pinata with them, whatever makes you happy. But use these blogging powers for good and get posting!