I have a confession to make. I used to hate, hate, hate writing blog posts. It was once one of my most dreaded tasks. Blogging is an important part of marketing these days, so I had to find a way to make it a lot more fun and pleasant. That involved creating a formula to follow every time. This formula has made it so much easier to sit down and write that I no longer experience the blank screen terror sessions that used to freak me out so much. I actually like blogging now!
So I’m going to share my formula with you. Who knows? You may even end up enjoying the process, too.
How To Write A Blog Post In 10 Simple Steps
Step 1: Choose Your Topic
Brainstorm your way to an editorial calendar, so you have multiple ideas at your fingertips, and schedule a date for each idea. This calendar not only helps to keep you accountable, but it provides a place for you to brain dump ideas. If you’re like most people, you probably struggle to come up with compelling topics. Go here for some help:
Once you’ve set a schedule, don’t be afraid to change your mind. If something comes up that you just are dying to write about, and if it makes sense for your audience, do it! You can always move the post you had scheduled to another time.
Step 2: Decide The Purpose Of Your Post
Why are you writing it? Is it helpful? Informative? Controversial? Entertaining? Are you trying to prove a point or share some thoughts?
Step 3: Determine The Tone Of Your Post
How do you want to engage your audience? With humor? Straight-forward facts? A nuanced discourse? Always keep your audience in mind. What approach will best reach most of them?
Step 4: Free Write
At this stage, just let your thoughts flow and get them down on “paper.” I actually use a notebook and a pencil and some writers suggest that you don’t even lift the pencil (or pen) from the paper. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or even the form of your post (i.e. a list, an infographic, a straight essay, etc.). Just write.
Step 5: Do Your Research
Some blog topics require a bit (or a lot) of research. It’s helpful to read what other writers have to say about your topic, or you may need stats to prove your point. Google puts the world at your fingertips, so use it! If you end up quoting another writer or if you use stats from a different website, give credit where credit is due with a link either in the body of your post or at the end.
Take A Break. Go get a cup of coffee, or (if you work at home) throw in a load of laundry.
Step 6: Write Your First Draft
If you’re lucky you will be able to use a lot of what is in your free writing. But at this stage, pretend you are working on your final draft. Use the active, not the passive, voice; keep your sentences clear, avoid run-ons, and break new thoughts into paragraphs.
(Tip: Do not type directly into your blog software. Use a Word document or something similar. It’s way harder to correct mistakes in your blog than on a document.)
Step 7: Decide On Form
Read through your Frist Draft and decide which format your blog will be in. Is it appropriate for a list? Does it lend itself or an inforgraphic? Do you need more charts or other graphics to prove your point? I have discovered that when I make this decision at this stage, my blog posts make more sense.
(A note about lists: Bloggers love lists because they are easy for people to scan. But not all blogs are should to be in a list format. For example, if I had turned this blog into a list, there would be 15 steps! 15 steps to writing a blog post? Blech!
Step 8: Create Your Headline
It’s the subject line when your blog is emailed, it’s the text in tweets, it appears on Facebook posts, etc. Developing a great headline is as important as creating the content.
Step 9: Find The Perfect Image
The human brain processes pictures much faster than it processes text. So an image will help your readers more quickly understand what your post is about. Choose one that is completely relevant to your content and if you don’t want to pay for usage, make sure it’s licensed for free commercial use.
Take a Break! Another cup of coffee? Or take a walk around the block or do something else on your list.
OK, now’s the time to for your final draft. You have decided on your format, your headline, and you have a pretty good working draft that you can now polish.
Step 10: Proof Your Post
I live in fear of publishing typos and incorrect information in my blog, so I tend proofread like a demon.
Read through your post and look for inconsistencies in tone. Make sure you’ve made your point. Check for typos. Is the structure correct? Do you have an intro paragraph and a concluding paragraph? Have you included links to your sources and stats?
Tip On Proofing: Use spellcheck, for sure, but don’t depend on it entirely. Spellcheck can bite you! Watch out for some of the most commonly made errors (I see these all the time, even on very successful blogs) such as “their” instead of “there” or “bog” instead of “blog.”
Now, here’s a trick: start at the end of your post and read towards the top…one sentence at a time. Proofing this way usually helps to find those (embarrassing) mistakes, such as leaving a word out. If you have a friend or colleague who can take a look, that’s great, too. Also, try reading it out loud, slowly and clearly. You’ll hear a lot.
If you don’t have to publish your post immediately, save the final proofing for the next morning. Now this is my special tool, so don’t skip it: Read your blog post aloud. You’ll be amazed at how many typos you find that way. But resist the urge to rewrite the entire post…you have other things to do!
Use short paragraphs (no more than 3-4 sentences per).
Do not double-space after periods.
Need help with topics, headlines or finding great photos? Here you go:
15 Easy Ways To Come Up With Blog Topics
Use These Magic Words For Irresistible Blog Headlines
A Huge List Of Places To Get Free Photos For Your Blog