The time has come. It’s decided. You’re ready to dip your toes into the world of blogging. As you may have heard, blogging is an excellent tool for enhancing your marketing strategy and reaching your target audience. After all, content is king, and there’s no better way to increase your organic traffic than with quality blog posts. But, where do you start? Don’t worry. Putting your thoughts into the written word isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds. Really. Once you’ve got the hang of it, writing a blog is a piece of cake.
Are you ready to get started? We’ve put together a step by step guide to help you prepare, plan and write your first awe-inspiring blog post.
How to write a blog post in 6 steps
Step 1: The planning stage
Remember when we said writing a blog was a piece of cake? Well, we were thinking along the lines of a Black Forest, rather than your average vanilla sponge. The process is made up of different components. If you thought you were going to pick up a pen and let the words flow, think again. A great blog post requires some forethought – planning is critical. Every post you write and publish should have a purpose. Your audience will only keep reading if the content is relevant. That’s why a content strategy should be your first step.
Plan your focus, brainstorm topics, and choose themes that are both informative and aligned with your brand. Once you’ve settled on your first topic, you’re ready for the next step.
Step 2: Do your keyword research
Nope, that step is not writing, not yet. (Did we mention the blog writing process is more of a marathon than a sprint? Best give yourself a couple of hours.) Before you start writing a blog post, you should have a keyword in mind.
What’s a keyword? Good question! A keyword is a word or phrase users type into their search engine when browsing the web. A good keyword is the cornerstone of your SEO (search engine optimisation). It’s vital to choose a keyword that people are searching for that’s relevant to your topic. Tools such a Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest will help you narrow down the search for the optimum keyword or key-phrase.
Don’t duplicate keywords across your website and in your blog posts – you’ll only be competing with yourself. Give each post its own focus keyword.
Step 3: Write a catchy headline
We’re almost at that writing part. You’ve got your topic, got your keyword, and now you need a headline. An epic blog post is nothing without a catchy headline. Seriously. The attention span of the average reader is notoriously short. If you can’t pique their interest in the first few seconds, they’re onto the next article faster than an avo over-ripens. A compelling headline draws your reader in and gets you the all-important first step – the click.
It’s best not to finalise your headline too soon. Whether you choose to write your headline first or perfect it at the end, you should craft a handful of alternatives before settling on the final product. You want to both resonate with your audience and reel them in.
Step 4: Prepare your outline
You’re one step away from writing a blog post. All that’s left to do now is prepare your outline and put in the groundwork. This is the skeleton of your article and a useful starting point. Not only does this help you clarify your idea and give your blog post structure, but it will keep you from going off topic too. Start with the basic introduction, body and conclusion and then flesh that out further into points you want to cover.
You’ll also want to use this stage to dig a little deeper into your topic. Regardless of how much you think you know, research is essential. The only way to keep your audience engaged is by presenting content that provides value. You want to be a credible source of information to keep them coming back for more.
Step 5: Put pen to paper
The time has come! You’ve done your research, mapped out your outline, you’re ready to let your fingers loose on the keyboard. Writing a blog post in one session is the best way to keep your thoughts flowing. When writing, avoid laying down one big block of text. Break your blog post into sections and paragraphs to make the content easier to read. And don’t forget your subheadings, you can plot these during the outline stage.
You haven’t forgotten about your keyword, have you? Try to include your focus word or phrase in a couple of your headings and throughout your post. But beware, it’s a fine line between underusing your keyword and saturating your text. Littering your blog post with a keyword will impact your rating negatively. If you keep your keyword density to between 5% and 10%, you should be okay. Also, avoid forcing the use of your keyword, allow it to occur naturally throughout your content.
Step 6: Edit and proofread
We know. You’re itching to publish your post. But whatever you do, do not hit “Publish” the moment you finish writing. Always edit your work first. Once you’ve finished writing a blog post, walk away, take a break, grab a cup of coffee. And then come back with a fresh pair of eyes and assess your handiwork. Read through your blog post, make sure it flows and eliminate any repetition. Once you’re satisfied, give your copy a final proofread (there’s nothing more embarrassing than a typo). Double check you’ve fine-tuned your blog post to perfection and make sure you’ve concluded with a strong call to action.
Finally, the time to publish your blog post has come. Hooray! Give yourself a high-five and turn your sights to the next one. ✋
Do you want to up your content marketing game, but don’t feel confident writing a blog? Brand Candy has got you covered. Give us a call and let us take your digital marketing to all new heights.