Content | September 19, 2014
How to Write Bloody Brilliant Blog Posts in 27 Simple Steps
The best content appears effortless. But scribing something that’s engaging and interesting isn’t a walk in the park. You need to put the hours in creating your masterpiece.
But it is possible. I’ve condensed the blogging process into 27 simple steps – and split it into 4 stages:
- Research – developing personas, researching competitors, finding keywords
- Writing – titles, tone, meta information and word counts
- Aesthetics – formatting, images, social and proofing
- Post-script – sharing, analysing…and starting again
Step 1 – Develop personas for your content
Consider the different types of people who use your business and consume your products.
What are they like? What age are they? What do they do professionally? How do they consume content online?
Step 2 – Think about your persona’s problems
What information are they looking for online? What are the issues that are preventing them from buying your products? What don’t they understand about your industry? What problems do people discuss with you in ‘real life’?
Step 3 – Consider how you can help them
- Help them to improve relationships and behaviours
- Choose between specific products
- Make them better at their job
- Teach them about relevant things
- Entertain them
Step 4 – Do your research
You can spot a badly-researched article a mile off. You want your content to be the definitive resource on this chosen subject, so it needs to be meticulously examined – bursting with facts and stats.
When you write The Perfect Blog, the bulk of your hours won’t be spent on perfecting the prose, they’ll be clocked up investigating your chosen subject.
Search online around your chosen subject. Download podcasts or watch YouTube videos to learn more. Heck, you could even pick up the phone and speak to a real person.
Step 5 – Check out your competitors
Step 6 – Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to find search terms
Blogging without thinking about keywords is a little like running a race with one leg. With a little luck you’ll get to where you want to be, but you’ll find it a lot easier with the right technique.
Identifying the right keywords – and weaving them into your blog – should increase the amount of attention your article enjoys.
Step 7 – Seek out the longtail
Keyword Planner is an excellent tool that can really inform your research process. However, many find it somewhat limited in scope and also find that it doesn’t highlight more in-depth ‘longtail’ searches of four words and more.
What’s more, if you’re operating in a competitive industry, you just know that your rivals will be looking at the same data.
There are many ways to find niche search terms to gain an advantage:
- Search on relevant forums – if people are asking others on Quora, Yahoo! Answers and discussion boards, you know they’re asking Google too
- Use autosuggest – post a keyword about your blog topic into Google and its autosuggest feature will show you other relevant searches
- Use ubersuggest.org – this simple tool crawls autosuggest data to find related searches around your keyword
- Search on Google Trends – for search terms before they get popular
Step 8 – Just make sure it’s interesting
Step 9 – Get your titles right
- 14 Reasons to Love…. Love it or hate it, the soaring success of Buzzfeed has proven that people adore lists
- Kanye West’s Guide to…. Grab a reader’s attention by relating your (potentially dry) subject to celebrities, TV shows or on-trend fashions
- The Most Brilliant… Interesting adjectives make a blog stand out in search results and web pages
- How (and Why) You Should… Trigger words – while they can also correspond directly to long tail search queries
- How You Will Gain With… Promises convey authority and can invoke trust
- Keywords… The title is the first place Google spiders look when crawling a page. So if you can include relevant keywords naturally in a piece, do it
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Step 10 – Write your title again
Step 11 – And again
Step 12 – …And again
Step 13 – Perfect your tone
Step 14 – Give it a juicy meta description
Step 15 – Get your length right
The perfect length of a blog is a much-discussed topic. And in truth, how long your blogs need to be depends on just two simple criteria:
- How much you’ve got to say
- How much your persona wants to read
Again, this study does have its limitations – namely that Moz’s personas are likely to be the types that appreciate wordy, detailed content – but it does confirm the importance of going into detail.
Step 16 – Remember: Waffles are amazing, waffle is awful
One thing that’s true is that ‘fluffy’ blogs, with word counts filled out to manipulate search rankings, simply aren’t worth it.
Step 17 – Give it a call to action
At the end of your blog, you need the perfect call to action to keep readers on your site and keep them interacting with your brand. You could:
- Ask them questions they could answer in comments below the fold
- Guide them to your social channels
- Get them sharing the content
- Invite them to learn more about related topics
- Offer ways for them to speak to a real-life brand representative
- Take them to sales pages
Step 18 – Be aware of buying journeys
The wrong call to action can turn a reader off.
For instance, if you were a homewares specialist telling readers about the season’s latest trends, you should know that most readers won’t be in a position where they’re comfortable to shell out hundreds of pounds on a sofa yet. A more suitable call to action could be to send them onto your blog for further interior advice.
Step 19 – Format it
- Include plenty of white space
- Use bullet points, bolded and italicised text
- Use paragraphs liberally
Step 20 – Perfect your H1s, H2s, H3s
Step 21 – Use inviting images
It’s true what they say: a picture paints a thousand words. The right images on your blog can do a number of things:
- Illustrate a metaphor you’re making
- Surprise the reader
- Evoke positive emotions
- Draw the reader in
- Complement the general feeling in your blog
- Lighten the mood
Step 22 – …Or social content
Step 23 – …Or videos
Step 24 – Proof, proof, proof
Step 25 – Share it
So you’ve published your pride and joy. Now you need to share it:
- Show it off on (relevant) social networks – hashtag it on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr to have the best chance of getting found
- Search around query-related sites such as Quora and Yahoo! Answers – and post your content in comments boxes
- Find relevant topics in Reddit and other relevant forums – help people out with your expertise
- Talk to others online – offer your unique point of view in the comments section of popular blogs.
Step 26 – Think about the analytics
A few weeks after you’ve uploaded your piece, it’s important to see how it’s faring.
Is it ranking for any specific search terms you’d like? What kind of traffic is it generating? Is it converting visitors? Does the bounce rate suggest it’s doing what it intended? Is there anything you could change about it to make it more successful?