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How to Write Bloody Brilliant Blog Posts in 27 Simple Steps

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Stephanie Williams

Content Team Manager

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.

Da Vinci’s Last Supper probably took a while, after all.
 

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

 

Research

Step 1 – Develop personas for your content

Your brand will have more than one different target market.
 

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

 
Each of your target markets will have problems and issues that are specific to them. Put yourself in their shoes.
 

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

 
Hopefully, this bit should be easy. Once you know what your personas struggle with online, you can brainstorm ideas to help them out.
 
Problem-solving content can manifest itself in a variety of ways. You could:
 
  • Help them to improve relationships and behaviours
  • Choose between specific products
  • Make them better at their job
  • Teach them about relevant things
  • Entertain them
Creating helpful content like this will make your brand appear more relevant and more authoritative.
 

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

 
It’s also important to take a look at what else is out there online. If you’ve identified a niche with no direct competitors – great. If not, consider how your competitors are presenting their information.
 
How can you write your blog in a way that trumps what they’re doing? How can you make yours stand out?
 

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.

 
Google’s Keyword Planner (once Keyword Tool) is a great way to find the lucrative terms that could give your blog a better chance of standing out in the search results. It’s pretty easy to use, once you’ve got used to it, and can offer some genuinely interesting insights into what you should be including in your blog.
 

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

 
Keywords are important, but they’re not the be all and end all. After all, Google has said that it receives 500m queries every day that have never been searched before – that’s 15% of all submissions.
 
You’ve just got to make sure it’s worth reading. Which leads us nicely onto….
 

Writing

Step 9 – Get your titles right

 
It’s essential to get your blog title right. Don’t just believe me. These are the words of advertising supremo David Ogilvy:
 
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar” 
 
There are a number of ways to do interesting titles, which will vary depending on your target audience and how they consume your content.
 
  • 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
Don’t be too long
Recent design changes to Google’s search results mean that titles over a rough length will get truncated. A study by Moz showed that the breaking point is around 55 characters.
 
However, search results now have a newspaper-style space limit rather than a character limit, so you can have higher-character titles than 55. It depends on the letters you’re using. Titles with plenty of capitals and wide letters like W, M and G will need to be briefer than those with lower case letters like l, i and s.
 
To check that your blog title will fit in Google’s search results, try Moz’s title tag preview tool.
 

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Step 10 – Write your title again

 
Write another title. Whatever you came up with, you can do better.
 

Step 11 – And again

 
Write another one.
 
Stuck for ideas? Try Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Simply enter your subject and it’ll show you some of your options – some serious, some not – while explaining exactly why they’re so intoxicating.
 

Step 12 – …And again

 
…and even more if you want. The point is, the more titles you write, the more chance you have of writing something interesting, innovative and, ultimately, successful.
 

Step 13 – Perfect your tone

 
Just as you’re writing a blog that appeals to the specific problems of your chosen persona, you need to write in a style that appeals to them too.
 
Every person has different values. Think about what’s important to your targeted persona.
This diagram from Schwartz’ 1992 Universals in the Content and Structure of Values is a great way to understand what’s important to the specific people you’re writing for. As well as helping you to understand which feelings you should be evoking with your syntax, Schwartz’ also helps you to understand what you definitely shouldn’t.
 

Step 14 – Give it a juicy meta description

 
If you’re working in a congested market, the right meta description can make all the difference.
 
Ensure your description isn’t any more than 150 characters and piques the reader’s interest. Use your characters to tell users what they can expect to find on your blog and how it will help them.
 

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
 
In simple terms, the more words a blog post has, the more chance it has of ranking for different search terms – purely for the amount of extra keywords that are naturally included in the piece.
 
A study by SerpIQ showed that the average content length corresponded with a page’s search ranking. Pages that could be found in 10th place on Google had, on average, 400 words less.
 
As the analysis is quite vague, it’s worth taking it with a pinch of salt – and the words included sidebar text as well as site content, so the numbers are slightly north of where they should be – but it shows that Google values detailed, wordy content.
 
It’s not just Google that loves in-depth blogs: readers do too. Another Moz study showed that the amount of links its blog received corresponded directly with its word count.

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.

Online users are a savvy, demanding bunch – if you’re not giving them interesting, relevant or well-written content then they’ll either skim over it or leave.
 

Step 17 – Give it a call to action

 
Just as every blog needs to be written in line with the target persona, you need to be aware of how you want them to react to your content.
 

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.

However, if you’d written a blog that was quite far down the ‘buying funnel’ (for instance, a blog that compared two specific sofas) you might find that it’s wiser to usher them onto transactional web pages where they can research products and prices.
 

Aesthetics

Step 19 – Format it

 
Did you know that 65% of people learn visually? What’s more, because blogs and onsite content are visual learning resources, it’s likely that an even higher proportion of your online audience will learn visually.
 
So you need to suit them. Make your blog really easy to read:
  • Include plenty of white space
  • Use bullet points, bolded and italicised text
  • Use paragraphs liberally
 

Step 20 – Perfect your H1s, H2s, H3s

 
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As you can see from this page, headings are a great way to break text up and make a web page more pleasing to the eye.
 
As well as the aesthetic benefits of using headers, they also play a key role in attracting organic traffic. H1s, H2s and H3s are among the first things that Google spiders recognise when analysing a page. So if you can do so naturally, incorporate search terms into your headers.

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
Put simply, pictures make pages look good.
 

Step 22 – …Or social content

 
It can be just as valuable to complement your blog with aesthetically pleasing, relevant social content. Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest all allow you to easily embed their content into your blogs.
 
Using tweets, posts and pins can be more illustrative, insightful and engaging than regular images – while they sidestep many taxing copyright issues and can make a brand appear more progressive and social savvy.

Step 23 – …Or videos

 
The same goes for YouTube videos, which are incredibly easy to embed into blogs. Videos look good and can illustrate your content in a way that images can’t – while they can improve your chances of ranking well for specific keywords.
 

Step 24 – Proof, proof, proof

 
Nothing looks worse than a poorly-proofed piece. Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and incorrect statements can hamper a blog’s effectiveness and damage a brand.
 
A second (and third) pair of eyes is always essential to check a blog before it goes live.
 

Post-script

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.
 
You can’t just post a blog and hope it goes viral. Even the best content needs a push to give people the best possible chance of seeing it.
 

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?

 
Over the long term, if your blog is bringing in substantial traffic, it makes sense to keep it up to date. Keep on top of any relevant changes in the industry and use it to link to newer blogs.
 

Step 27 – Start again

 
Go back to the top. Write another blog.

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By

Stephanie Williams

Content Team Manager

After impressing Liberty on a work experience placement during her final year of university back in 2013, Steph was offered a role as a Junior Copywriter and joined the team after graduation. Since then, her hard work has seen her promoted multiple times to her current position leading the content team. She has a degree…

See more written by this author: Stephanie Williams

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