12 Simple Steps for How to Write a Blog Post Like a Pro

How to Write a Blog Post

So you want to know how to write a blog post but you don’t know where to start? Maybe you have a great idea but you’re finding it difficult to put pen to paper!

Don’t worry you’re not alone! This is something a lot of bloggers go through. It takes time to find your groove, especially when you are new to blogging or writing in general.

How to Write a Blog Post Like a Pro

If you’re stuck and you are looking for help on how to get started writing a professional blog post then you have come to the right place. In the following post I’ll share with you the 12 simple steps I use for crafting and writing my blog posts. In-fact I followed these steps when writing this one!

Step 1: Decide on a Topic for your Blog Post

Pick a TopicThe first thing that usually comes to our mind when we want to write a blog post is the topic. Choosing the topic is usually the easiest part when it comes to blogging. However picking the right topic is not the same. There are usually two types of topics people choose to write about.

The first is a topic which is situated in a highly profitable niche. The driving force behind this choice is financial. They want to write in a topic that has many potential readers and buyers. This type of topic is not recommended for newbie bloggers.

The second way of choosing a topic is to pick something you are passionate about and have a genuine interest in. This is the best way for people new to blogging to start. Its important to choose a topic you are familiar with. It will make your writing much easier. You don’t need to be an expert in a topic to be able to write a quality post. You just need a little knowledge which is slightly more than basic.

Topics are a great place to start but they tend to be very ‘big picture’ and broad by nature. What we need to do is narrow the scope of a topic down into sub-topics or sub-niche. For example lets take ‘Basketball’ as the topic. Basketball could have sub-topics of ‘Basketball Uniforms’, ‘Basketball Teams’ or ‘Basketball Shooting’. Another example topic could be ‘Board Games’. This could have the sub-topics of ‘Monopoly’, ‘Chess’ or ‘Checkers’. If we wanted we could drill down further such as Board Games > Monopoly > Monopoly Star Wars Edition.

By narrowing our topic down into a more specific niche we will be able to write for a more specific audience. The more specific the audience we can write for the more chance we have of engaging with them.

Step 2: Understand Your Audience

Understanding your audience is vital. You need to understand your audience so you can create awesome content just for them. Writing for your audience will allow you to capture and keep their attention.
 
There are many ways you can start to understand your audience – you want to find out what makes them tick. Here are a few things you can do to help you get to know them better.
 

Think about your ideal reader, describe them and put yourself in their shoes.

For example, are they collage students or someone who is already working? Are they new parents? Are they computer literate? Think to yourself if you have anything in common with them. Write down your description to get a better picture of who your audience really are.

Interview people. This is a great way to get to know your audience.

If you have an existing user base start with them. You can use surveys and polls to help you get the data you need. When interviewing people take the opportunity to gather as much data as possible. Gathering data such as their age, gender, occupations and interests etc… can give great insights.

Check out forums related to your niche.

See what questions users are asking or what problems they may be facing. If people are openly stating they have an issue and are asking for help you step in and provide it for them. If its an open forum you can always contact them back to get more information if you wanted. Doing this can also give you ideas for other posts.

Read your blog comments.

If you have an existing blog make sure you are keeping an eye on any comments or questions they maybe leaving. Comments and questions on your blog is valuable feedback direct from your audience. Remember to always reply to any questions or comments which are left. Readers love feedback from authors. Giving feedback and encouraging your readers to be social will make your blog a lot more sticky.
 
The goal of understanding your audience is to allow you to create a bond with them. If you can form a connection with them they will trust you and your writing. They are much more likely to become regular readers.

Step 3: Create a Working Title

Now you have a topic (preferably a sub-topic) in mind you can create a working title for your post. A working title is a guideline title which you will use to help flesh out the different sections you want to cover. If we take ‘Basketball Shooting’ as the topic for example. Your working title maybe “improve your shooting skills quickly” or “get better at free throws”.
 
A working title is not the final title. We will decide the final title later on but the working title will give an overall idea of what the post is about.

Step 4: Arrange the Content

We nearly have all the key ingredients now to start writing our post. The last part we need to decide on is how to arrange the content. We want to break the post into different headings and sub-headings (where necessary). There are two reasons for this.

Firstly when we split content into headings its much easier for the reader to read. They can clearly see what the post has to offer and seeing captivating headings throughout the post will help to keep them engaged and reading.

Secondly, and more importantly for us right now. Splitting the post up into sections will allow us to create a structure to our post. It will make it much easier to see the skeleton of the post even without writing any content.

Splitting the content into sections and headings allows us to check the post makes sense and will have a logical flow when reading it. We do all of this without even writing a single paragraph!

When you are creating your headings you should add notes or bullet points about the items you want to talk about in that section. Usually when you start a new post you’ll have a lot of ideas in mind. Writing them down now even in bullet point form will be valuable later – trust me.

Step 5: Write Your Intro

Every post should start with a captivating introduction. A blog post introduction is one of the most important elements on the page. Its what will grab your audiences attention and keep them reading.
 
Humans have a very short attention span! If you can’t grab their attention within the first few lines or paragraph, you’re in trouble. They probably won’t stick around to read the rest of your post – no matter how great or valuable it may actually be.
 
Make your introduction welcoming to your reader and try to connect with them. One way of doing this is by talking to them directly are you suffering from…, do you want to be able to…“. If they feel this post is about them (or people in the same or similar situation to them) they will want to know more. Talking about yourself is another way to help to connect with your audience. State something you have in common with them do you have crazy kids like me?“.
 
Your introduction should tell the reader how you are going to solve the problems they have. It should tell them how you will make their life better. Remember you have already decided on your target audience so your introduction can be specific. Craft it with your target audience in mine.
 
An introduction should entice the reader to continue to read your post. Just remember whatever you promise make sure you can deliver. If at the end of the post the reader does not end up getting what you promised in your introduction they will feel cheated and most likely will not come back!

Step 6: The First Draft

Creative WritingCongratulations you are half way there and you’ve accomplished a lot already. Now its time to add the meat to your post. You have your topic, audience, headings and introduction sorted. Now its time to expand those notes and points you created earlier into compelling content.

This first draft does not need to be perfect by no means. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar at the moment, just focus on getting text onto screen. You will find that having the post split into predefined headings its now much easier to manage. Its most defiantly not as daunting as looking at a blank screen with a blinking cursor!

Keep your text relevant to each of the headings you have created. Don’t let yourself get too off topic. Your readers will move from section to section and when they do each section needs to meet their needs and keep them interested.

The aim when you are writing is to find your flow, this can be easier said than done. If you are having trouble getting a flow going don’t worry! There are a lot of tools out there to help in such a situation.

I recommend trying to eliminate as many distractions as possible when writing your first draft. When I write I turn off the TV and close my email and notifications for social media accounts. I aim to keep my focus on my writing for as long as possible without being distracted. This allows me to get a lot more writing done in a much shorter time.

Your content should be informative to the reader. If you can back up your writing with data and statistics (depending on your topic of course) this tends to be held in high regard. It shows a level of understanding and authority. If using material or data from external sources make sure you always give credit.

The most important part about your content is to make sure you’re always answering the needs of your audience.

Step 7: Review

Review Your WorkOnce your draft is complete its time to review. This is where the real magic happens for me!

However before you do your review I suggest you take a break for an hour or longer if you’re not working to a deadline. Taking a break from your writing will allow your mind to relax and give you time to refocus your thoughts. You will find this useful during the review process. With a fresh mind you may find you can come up with even more or better content. A fresh mind will also help you spot little mistakes which may go unnoticed otherwise.

During the review process you will read your post from top to bottom. Try not to stop, you want to make sure your post has a natural flow when being read. Make some quick notes as you go if there are things you want to change later on but don’t stop to rewrite full sections just yet.

When reviewing your post keep your audience in mind. Most importantly make sure your writing is getting your point across. Are you really giving them what you promised from your introduction or headings? Make sure your points are clear and don’t come across confusing. Don’t over complicate things. If you can get your point across in 5 words the don’t use 10!

If you’re not answering your audiences needs then you need to go back and really look at the content under each heading. You may also need to review your headings to make sure they really are relevant. The aim of your post is to answer your readers question, or solve their problem. Remember don’t promise them something and not deliver it.

I usually do two post reviews. The first being a full read through where I make small notes as I go. The second is where I expand on those notes and do my full rewrites where necessary. If you start to rewrite sections on your first review you can tend to run into issues. Its best to read the post in its entirety first as it makes editing it much easier. This is why we do a full post read through first and just make some notes.

Step 8: Tidy Up

This step is all about making sure the wiring fundamentals are all in order. Check your entire post for spelling and grammar mistakes. If you’re not the best when it comes to spelling or grammar don’t worry as there are plenty of tools out there to help you.

I recommend using Grammarly. This is a browser extension which is available on Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It checks your spelling and grammar as you type and makes auto-suggestions to fix any mistakes. If you don’t want to install an extension then you can check out online-spellchecker.com for checking your spelling and grammar.

Step 9: Optimize for On-page SEO

On-page SEOIts time to start thinking about how people are going to find your post. We do this by performing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is split into two parts, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Today we will look at on-page SEO.
 
On-page SEO focuses on optimizing the content on individual pages to make it rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). We need to look at the overall structure of the post, the content, keywords and even the coding of your website HTML. All these factors play an important part of your on-page SEO strategy.
 
As apposed to off-page SEO which focuses on elements external to your website, backlinks for example, which are usually out of our control. On-page SEO deals with all the elements that we can control so its important to get it correct to allow us to rank higher in the SERPs.
 
To keep things simple for now I will focus on 3 main factors you should be considering for on-page SEO.

High quality content

Luckily for us we are learning how to write high quality original content right now. Content which is not original runs the risk of being flagged as duplicate content. Search engines will penalize your website for this.

Another important reason for original content is because its more engaging to your readers and will keep them on your site longer.

Include your keywords in your title and introduction

Your keyword should appear as soon as possible in your content, preferably within the first 50 words. Keywords play in important role in on-page SEO, just be careful about keyword stuffing. Don’t forget your post can contain several keywords that you are targeting, not just one.

When adding keywords to your post make sure your post still reads well and makes sense. Don’t force keywords in where they don’t belong just so you can have them within the first 50 words. Try and write your content around your keywords to they fit in naturally.

Page speed and user experience

Make sure your website is optimized for speed and is user friendly. In November 2016 it was reported by StatCounter that for the first time worldwide mobile internet traffic was greater than that of desktop. In the modern mobile world it’s important that your website is lightning fast and mobile responsive – this last part is an absolute must.

Step 10: Choose a Featured Image

Besides your title and content another very important element of a successful post is the featured image. The featured image is the image that appears at the top of your post and on your post listing pages. Its also important to remember that the featured image is what will be posted on social media when your post is promoted or shared.

You should use the featured image as a way to grab your readers attention. I mentioned previously we are visual creatures. An image which is bold, catchy or unusual will defiantly grab peoples attention.

If you are not the arty type don’t worry. There are lots of places to source great looking royalty free images which you can use for your featured image.

One of my favorite tools to use is for creating featured images is Snappa.

Step 11: Add a Call-to-action (CTA)

Call-to-ActionThe last part of your blog post is a call-to-action for the reader – what should the reader do next. By now the reader should be feeling happy having read your post and had their problems solved! Its now time to get something in return for your hard work by presenting them with a CTA.
 
Your CTA can be anything but you need to have one. A CTA could be something as simple as getting them to share this post on their social media accounts. It could be commenting in the post comments section or getting them to sign up to your newsletter.
 
CTA’s are an important part of blogging and are something new bloggers often overlook. Building a blog is difficult, it takes time and a lot of effort. You need to take every opportunity you can to make each one of your readers count. Of course don’t be pushy about it!

Step 12: Review the Title

The last step it to polish up your blog title. You have done a lot of writing by now and will have a lot of content in your post. Its now time to give it a fitting title.

You title is an important part of your post not just for your readers but for your promotion and SEO. The post title should contain your SEO keywords. Preferably as close to the beginning of the title as possible. As mentioned above, when dealing with keywords you still need to make sure your sentence (title) makes sense when read.

Post titles will be shown on the SERPs and will be the heading of the post when published to social media sites. The title should grab a readers attention. It should represent clearly what the post is offering. When someone sees your post listed on a search results page we want to make sure it shows the reader whats behind the link and that its relevant to them.

Once you have finalized your title the last touch is to make sure your post URL matches. Take a look at the title of this post and it’s URL.

Conclusion

Congratulations, you have made it through my 12 step blog writing process. I know there is a lot of content here to take in but trust me when I tell you once you have used this process a few times it will become second nature. You will be knocking out quality posts on a regular basis.

Before I wrap things up though I wanted to leave you with a bonus tip – I guess you could say I found my writing flow!

Bonus Tip

When writing a blog post you should be talking to the reader and not at them. Let your words flow naturally and connect with them on a personal level, let your personality show. If you can achieve this in your writing you will gain a lot more readers much more quickly.

Adding graphics will make your post a lot more appealing. I mentioned above some website where you can get some royalty free stock images. Below are some additional tool which can help you add great looking graphics to your post with ease.


If you liked this post don't forget to share and leave a comment in the comments section below.

Happy Blogging - Mathew

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