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There’s a big difference between learning how to write a blog post and then actually jumping in and doing it.
You can read all the advice in the world, but there’s no experience like actually writing a blog post and learning the ropes from the inside.
Here are five steps to writing a great blog post – the good news is that these steps are actionable and will help you get started right away.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
You want to plan out every blog post ahead of time. Pick your topic, write an outline, do your research and double-check facts before
you truly delve into crafting the blog post.
If you want, you can plan everything out in advance and create a content calendar. Take a week to think about what you want to post on your blog in the coming weeks and get all of your prep done at once.
When choosing a topic, pick one that’s interesting to you. You’re going to produce the best content if you actually like what it is you’re blogging about.
If you don’t enjoy the content, how can you expect your readers to? This can be tricky if you’re writing about a humdrum industry, but there’s something interesting about pretty much everything, so take some time to find what that interesting component is.
Your outline should include an introduction, which will explain what can be expected in the post; various sections with headers; a conclusion to wrap up what you just said; and a call-to-action to let your readers know what you want them to do next.
2. Write a Great Headline
Your blog post’s headline is extremely important. It needs to be concise and clear so your audience knows what they’re about to read. It has to be highly relevant to the content you’re supplying in the blog post.
It should also contain SEO toward the beginning so that search engines can find and rank your content.
While some bloggers prefer generic or broad headlines, most find that the more specific, the better.
Not only will your readers know exactly what they’re about to get, but specific keywords can do wonders for your SEO.
You don’t have to come up with your headline before you’ve written your post (although you can if you want).
A lot of writers will write their post, figure out what the main point of it is, write the headline and then tweak the content to be more in-line with the title.
You may change your process every time you sit down to write depending on how clear you are about what you want to say.
3. Write the Post
Now it’s time to actually write your blog post. You’ll want to start off with a rough draft that you’ll then go back through to edit and perfect.
Even if you think you can get your final draft down in one shot, always make sure to proofread it before publishing.
A good way to catch errors is to read your blog post out loud.
Even though you may have times when you want to leave your blog post half-finished and return to it later, it’s a good idea to get as much done in one sitting as you can.
You may think you’ll be fresh later on, but there’s nothing like delving into a topic and sticking with it until all of the content is written.
Some writers have a problem with over-revising, so if you find that you tweak your words more than necessary, give yourself a limit.
Tell yourself that you’re going to write a rough draft and then only give it two thorough edits before a final proofread.
4. Enhance Your Post
Words aren’t enough to make a blog post interesting, no matter how great a writer you are. Every blog post should have at least one main image that in some way relates to the content.
Photos throughout your blog post can also be used to help clarify the information, break up large sections of text and even inject some personality or humor into the content.
The more complex your subject matter, the more help your readers are going to need to understand it. Add graphs, charts and illustrated explanations to help further explain a complex idea.
You can also include an infographic that contains all of the information in the text of your blog post in case some readers prefer to learn visually.
Enhancing your blog post can go beyond photos, too.
Add links to other helpful articles, including some of your own, and suggest products that can help your readers achieve their goals. The more helpful you are, the more your audience will appreciate you.
5. Edit One Final Time
Even if you gave your blog post a proofread once you were done writing the text, you’ll want to preview it and make sure everything is fine before publishing.
You're not just checking for typos, but also that the spacing is right, that the photos are clear and the right size, that your links work, etc. When you’re happy with the result, click publish.
Remember that no blog post is set in stone. You can always go back in to make changes, update the headline, add more links, delete old content, etc.
You may even want to make a habit of re-reading a blog post one or two months after you publish it to see if it needs more work.
Whatever you do, don’t agonize over every single thing – blogs are a work in progress at all times.
Blogging and content are necessary parts of running and marketing a business.
Since posting new blog posts is something you’re going to want to do on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to get started as soon as possible.
You can tweak your system as you go until you come up with an efficient process that’s easy to stick to on an ongoing basis.