Have you ever wanted to kill the beast that is the blog machine?
If you’re a marketing or communications manager, you’re suddenly placed in the role of a managing editor, facing down an editorial calendar that hungers for content. If you’re in a staff role, you’re now a content expert and are expected to turn out scintillating blog posts.
Don't have the budget to hire a professional writer? Don't despair. You can learn how to write a high-quality blog post on your own. In this post, I’m going to show you how. When you’re done, you’ll know how to find good ideas, organize your structure, write a great beginning, middle and end, and work faster and more efficiently.
1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Coming up with ideas for content is easier if you think like your customer. Ask yourself what your customer cares about. What keeps him awake at night? What does her boss care about? What are their pain points? For every problem your customer has, what is your solution? Your answers will give you a great list of search-friendly topics to post.
2. Organize your content. Whether you write by the seat of your pants or not, you will eventually have to organize your content into a structure. It’s faster if you take the time to do it first. Make a list of your topics and then order them. Examples of structures include lists (as I’ve done here), chronologic, step by step, how-to and problem-solution. Use bullets, numbered lists, subheads or a combination of these to guide readers through your post.
3. Write a compelling introduction. Grab the reader’s attention with your first sentence. Introduce the topic right way. Show that you empathize with the reader on the problem or issue. Explain the problem in greater detail. Tell the reader how you’re going to help them fix the problem. Then transition to the body of your content.
4. Make one point. Ask yourself, what is the one thing I want my reader to learn to do or to take away from this post? Don’t try to say everything. As Matthew Arnold advised, “Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can.”
5. Keep it brief. Making one point will aid your brevity. People don’t have the time or desire to read lengthy posts online. Keeping your pieces tight will keep people reading and coming back for more.
6. End with a conclusion. When you’ve run out of things to say, summarize your point or tell the reader how they’ll benefit from taking your advice. Point to the future or to next steps.
7. Edit. Finally, make sure your piece is error-free. Poor grammar, style, punctuation and misspelling turn readers off and tarnish your reputation. Correct mistakes. Take a knife to superfluous words, phrases and sentences. If you’re unsure about your editing prowess, find someone with a good eye and ear for language and ask for help.
These seven guidelines are not the only ways to ensure the quality of your posts. But they’re a good start. Hyperlinking to other resources, sharpening your title and content for SEO, using images and ending with a call to action also will make a big difference. I’ll cover those topics in future posts. For now, following these steps will set you apart from all the other bloggers competing for attention in the blogosphere.
And they just might help you slay that blog monster.
What's your biggest problem with writing blog posts? Use the contact form to let me know or ask me a question. And if you like this post, share it on social media by clicking one of the social media buttons below.
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