A blank piece of paper. Standing between you and sharing your latest wisdom with your waiting audience.
You know they’ll love it when it’s written down. They will shower you with love, money and devotion even before they have finished reading. And yet. The piece of paper remains blank.
How do you structure your writing and use a formula that will enable you to write a better blog post every time? Can you become more productive and write down your valuable thoughts more effectively and in a shorter time?
In this article I will show you how to quickly and easily structure your posts using a simple process and template. Following the template will prompt you to write more quickly and ensure you tailor your writing to your audience.
This way you need never fear the blank piece of paper again.
Align your subject matter with your strategy
Rather than writing each blog post in isolation, everything you produce for a site should be a part of a wider effort and should align with your content strategy.
Having an articulated strategy will ensure that all your blog posts work hard for you in the context of what you are trying to achieve. This makes it easier to focus on what you are trying to say in your overall story, and allows you to slot in posts that contribute to that story.
Fit your topic into your site structure
With your blogging aligned to your strategy, organising your content into topics makes more sense, and leads to a more coherent structure for your site.
This will give you more focused posts that work hard for you in getting your messages across.
By structuring your site and your topics and looking for gaps, you can easily identify subjects that will give your audience exactly what they are looking for.
Speak directly to your audience
Effective keyword research will guide your selection of topics and subjects, and help you target your audience more directly.
When you are writing use your audience’s language, speak directly to them, avoid jargon and talk about how you can solve their problem or fix their issues. Be sure to add as much value as you can to make people keep reading, and then add some more.
Write a compelling headline
The job of your headline is to pull people into the post – so it needs to be quality, to reflect the audience needs, to signal value in the article and to be clear about what it does for the reader.
How-to posts like this one, list posts, opinion pieces should all have a clear, keyword-focused headline – this is the hardest-working part of your post and you need to get this right.
Start with a working headline that includes your chosen keyword, and then hone it to work for the article you write. You may find it easier to come back to this at the end of your post and refine it once you are finished with the content.
Tools like coschedule’s headline analyzer can help, although I would say you still need to use your own judgement and audience knowledge before you make a final choice.
Keep your reader’s interest with a great introduction
Once you have set your title and have enticed readers into the article, you need to come up with an introduction that will lead people in to the meat of your article. This is where an anecdote or a story, a flash of personality, can catch the audience’s interest and move them on to want to read the rest.
Your introduction should include:
- What the post is about
- What issue the post will fix
- How the post will fix the issue
Make sure the introduction catches the attention that you set up with your headline, and be sure to get to the point.
Organise the post into logical sections
Follow the plan you have set out in your introduction, break up your post with logical headings and keep sentences and paragraphs short.
Use an active rather than a passive voice to show action and enhance the post’s usefulness.Lists, quotes, bold text for emphasis and italics will all help to break up the text and keep the reader focused on your message. Click To Tweet
Images and click to tweet boxes will also break up the text and keep your audience reading.
End with a strong conclusion. Include a call to action
Summarise what you have covered in the post, just to make sure your points sink in. Keep one great fact or offer back to the conclusion, and make sure to include the main role of the conclusion, which should be a strong call to action.
If you have an email list you want people to sign up to, ask them to do that here. Do you want to ask for comments, or signpost people to another relevant article? Do that here. Promote any current offers you have here.Don't overwhelm the reader - limit yourself to one strong call to action and make it as easy as possible for your reader to take that action. Click To Tweet
Make the conclusion work hard, people who are still reading at this point may well be ready to take your next step, if you clearly signal what you want that to be.
Finished? No. Re-read, edit, check
This is the bit some people find tricky. Even the best editors may struggle to edit their own work and may miss typos, dead ends, poor grammar – areas where the post can be improved.
At the very least, have a break, a cup of tea or dog walk then come back fresh to the draft article and see what you can do to make it better.
Reading the article aloud to yourself might help, as you can see if the flow works. If you are unsure about spelling or grammar, use tools like grammarly or hemingway to keep you honest, and make sure your copy is as clean as it can be.
Get a second opinion
If you can ask a trusted someone to read through your article and make constructive comments, that would be great.
You could swap services with another blogger, or employ the services of an editor or proofreader who would tighten up your post for you and keep you on track.
Add an attention-grabbing image with credit
Images will draw attention and keep the reader’s interest, helping to break up the text. In keeping with shorter sentences and paragraphs, adding an image allows a reader to scan and get the sense of the article without feeling overwhelmed by too many words.
There are many image sources on the web, choose your images well and make sure you don’t use without permission or acknowledgement. Sites like unsplash, picjumbo and pexels allow you to use images without a fee.
Sites like shutterstock and istock offer photos that may not be as widely used but may be still be affordable. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try this guide to further sites and the pros and cons of using stock photography from Jann Chambers.
Publish and promote
Once you are happy with your post and you have gone through the process outlined above, it is time to promote it, as I outlined in an earlier post on foolproof tactics to get your new blog posts found.
Make sure that you schedule enough time to do this, after having spent the time to create such a great piece of content you need to make sure you make it visible to your target audience. Remember this is not a one-off activity.If you are consistently creating valuable content you can continue to promote it throughout its lifecycle, not just at the point of creation. Click To Tweet
Write a better blog post with this free template
Following a process makes you more productive; starting with a template and a structure in mind saves your mind and your paper being blank. You can use this write a better blog post template (.pdf) as a starting point and adjust it for specific types of blog post that fall into different categories – the list post, the how-to post, the thought leadership post, and so on.
I would love to show you how I can help you improve your content and get better results for your business.If you would like blog posts written for you, support with content strategy, creation or promotion, then get in touch today via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01491 614404.