Once you have everything you need as the foundation for your blog, such as your Choosing blog platform, blog design, as well as Leverage bloggers, it’s now time to write your first blog post. This can be tough, but if you follow a series of steps, it can make it a little bit easier. So,
Step 1: This is where you Ideate, this is where you come up with the ideas for your various blog posts. Here are some ways to get started as you start thinking about your ideas. Consider Industry trends, what’s hot right now within your own industry, what are people talking about? What about Non-industry trends? These could be trends that are happening out there in the world that might not necessarily be related to your industry, but that you can take and alter for the purposes of your blog.
What are your Company priorities, what are the big messages that you’re trying to put forth as a company? What are your various personas, who are you writing for, and how many personas do you have for your blog? Take a look at Competitor content to see what they might be writing about. Most likely, you’re going to have some SEO, some Search Engine Optimization priorities, These are keywords that you’re trying to rank for in Google, that you want to continue to write blog posts about over time. Write about Common questions that your sales teams or your customer service teams are reporting that your customers and prospects are asking.
And belong to LinkedIn groups and ask them what they’d like to see blog posts about, or see what people are talking about within those groups.
So, Step 2 is to Create your Outline. This might be a step that you could be able to skip if you are a more seasoned blog writer. But I do want to add it in here because if you are more of a beginner, you might want to create an outline. So, the way to create an outline for your blog is to basically, Outline your main sections. Make sure that you Craft your main thesis, so, What is the point that you’re trying to put forth within your blog? I find that this is actually one of the most difficult areas of blog writing.
I’ll get a ton of blogs, both internal and external guest blogs, that don’t actually have a thesis, and as I read through the blog, I ask myself, What is the point of this blog? You want to make sure that the point is extremely clear to your reader, and then, Determine your supporting content. What are you going to say throughout your blog that will really support that main thesis that you’ve crafted?
So, Step number 3: Create Your Post Title. You might do this first or you might do this the last thing. Personally, I like to create a Post Title towards the end, but I know a lot of my peers like to do it in the beginning.
Your Post Title for a blog has to be something that really draws the reader in, and that gets them to read the post. So, you want to write something that’s interesting, that’s engaging, that asks a question. So, listed here are various different techniques that you can use within your titling convention. Consider titles that start with How To…, Secrets of…, Why Your…, How Much Does…, The Worst…, The Truth About…, or Top 10…, these are all different ways to draw your reader in, your title is arguably one of the most important aspects of your blog.
So, on the top we have an example from the Marketo blog, a title that reads: “Shoot for the Stars! 4 ways to Bring It with Your Marketing Automation Platform” So, this blog not only has an exclamation as the opening point, but it also uses “4 Ways” as a way to draw the reader in and to get them interested in the blog that you’re writing.
Step number 4: Write Your First Paragraph. So, your first paragraph is really a way to draw the reader in to get them to read your blog in its entirety.
You might want to ask a question at the beginning of your first paragraph, or state something controversially, then. Consider discussing a pain point or noting a fact. Another way to get going is to tell a story. You can tell a story about your own personal experience, a friend’s experience, your company experience. As an example, take a look at a blog post that was created by Ann Hanley, a Content Marketing thought leader.
Her title is: “50 Shades of Mediocrity: Does Content Have to be Good, or Just Good Enough?” In her opening paragraph is, “When a franchise like 50 Shades of Grey enjoys crazy success, is it a signal that content doesn’t have to be good to be crazy-successful?” So, the opening line of her first paragraph not only notes something that was popular at the time but also discusses something controversial.
It states that she feels that 50 Shades of Grey was not great content, and then, Does content even have to be great to be successful? So, by doing something like that, you really draw a reader in and get them to be interested in reading the rest of your post to answer that question. And, a reader often takes time to formulate their own opinion, which really lends itself to social sharing, or engagement towards the end of the post.
Step number 5: Make Your Post Scannable. I can’t say enough how important it is for your post to be scannable.
With blogs, even though they’re short content, your audience most likely won’t read the whole thing. People are extremely adept at scanning, these days, and by making your blog post easily scannable, you make it easier for your audience to finish your post. So, your blog should be easy to read. They should include headings, bullets, or numbered lists, to break them up. The example on the top-right is from a news website. In their blog post, they’re using a numbered list as different headings to break up the text. This makes it much easier to get through.
Step number 6: Add a Conclusion.
It’s hard to conclude a post, but by adding something that invites the reader to interact, you can start getting some engagement at the bottom of your post, and a conversation going. So, a great way to conclude your blog is to invite that interaction, ask readers to comment, ask readers a question, or, point to another resource. So, on the right-hand side, we have an example of a commenting thread on a blog. By asking the readers to comment, they will often interact with your blog and provide their own commentary and then ask questions, which is really, in the end, what you want.
And, Step number 7: Edit, edit, and edit some more! Editing your blog post is incredibly important to maintain quality standards for your entire blog, and to make sure you’re not putting out there any silly errors. Remember that your blog is really a reflection of your company. So, Review your blog post at least two times, Ask a peer to review your blog post. It’s one thing to go over your post yourself, but it’s quite another to have an extra set of eyes. Consider putting it through an online grammar tool.
This is something that I’ve seen a lot of my peers do, there are many online grammar tools that you can actually just upload a blog to, and it’ll tell you if there are any grammar mistakes. And also make sure you check for spelling mistakes. This seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually seen spelling mistakes on blogs, with or without spell check. So, just make sure you’re going through each post and looking for any grammar or spelling mistakes that might be apparent. Writing a blog post can be tough, but if you follow these steps, you can get started creating great content for your blog.