Blog writing is hard. It’s a topic we’ve covered here many times before at Ascent in a number of different ways: using blogs to create authentic content, making content marketing easier, we’ve covered strategies to improve your overall content marketing strategy. But, we have yet to discuss how to create the perfect blog: a culmination of your research, writing skills, and overall knowledge on a topic. Blog writing is a process, one that can be perfected given proper time and effort. Here is the way to craft the perfect blog.
Step 1: Have a Topic
Obviously, it’s hard to write a blog without having a topic to write about. Doing proper topic research is pertinent to writing a good blog. This includes keyword research since blogs improve SEO. These topics don’t need to be isolated to just blogs. In fact, extending them to the rest of your content marketing strategy is ideal for reach and can be beneficial to your off-site SEO.
It’s also helpful to get ahead of your blog topics. Block out time to do blog topic research and schedule out topics for the next few weeks, or months if possible. This way, you’re not scrambling to get a topic every week for a last-minute, scrapped-together blog. Doing this also provides more time to integrate these ideas into your other content marketing efforts (ie, posting to social media about the same topic).
Tip: Use a content calendar to plot all of this out in a way that’s dated and easy to see. If you don’t want to build one yourself, HubSpot has some great options here that can work with Google Drive, Office, and other similar programs.
You can plan ahead and come up with topics relevant to the time of year. If you’re a small retail business, you can do a gift guide blog for the year’s holiday season based on trend research, for example.
Something to make sure of is that your topic ideas aren’t too broad or too specific. Discussing “Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out For in 2023” may be too broad and you might want to break it down into smaller sections, such as “Content Marketing Trend Projection for 2023”. This can also extend a topic and provide you with more blogs, which is always helpful. In the same vein, having an extremely narrow topic like “New Button Color on Facebook” will need to be broadened to “Design Changes Facebook is making in 2023”. When coming up with blog topics, it’s also important to consider your audience. You want to write blogs that target people at each level of the buyer’s journey.
Step 2: Research
Now that you know what your topics are for the next few weeks or months, you can begin to move into the true research phase. Especially if you’re just researching topics in your field, you’ll need to do more research into each specific blog topic. Having expertise on the topic is important, but it may not be your specialty area, so additional research is often necessary. It’s completely normal, and an important part of the process to research your blog topics. You don’t want to accidentally put out incorrect information, especially on behalf of your business or company.
As you’re researching, make sure to take a lot of notes about things that you want to focus on. You may be looking at someone else’s blog on the same topic and find something interesting that the other blogger didn’t put as much emphasis on. Follow what you find the most interesting rather than what’s talked about most in the world. The more passionate and interested you are, the better the blog will be.
Step 3: Create an Outline
Structure is extremely important when blog writing. If you’re bouncing all over the place with thoughts and just writing them as you think of them, your blog will sound disorganized and unprofessional. The best way to combat this is by creating an outline for your blog. Come up with the main points you want to make, and organize them in a way that makes your blog seamless. This may be easier for some topics than others, like a step-by-step or top ten list. But having a set structure will keep your writing on track and keep the reader from getting confused.
You can make our outline as detailed or as minimal as you want or need. If you already have an idea of the points you want to make under one of the sections, feel free to add them to make your outline even more defined. Bear this in mind as you’re making your outline: The more you do in your outline, the less you have to come up with when actually writing the blog. If you work better on the fly, you may want to have the main points specified but keep the rest vague. But if you’re a planner, you’ll likely want a more robust outline.
Tip: Build your outline for your blog post as you’re researching the topic. You’ll be able to notice big ideas quickly in your research, so you can use those as you go about your research to build your outline as you go. You can also use the outline to guide your research into the main points.
Step 4: Write the Blog
Now that you’ve done extensive research and are a bona fide expert on the topic at hand, it’s time to put your fingers to work and write something magical. Follow your outline, and write as much as you can. The best practice word count for blogs falls somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 words, which is a huge range and a lot of writing. Here are some extra tips to help you achieve that goal:
Give Your Audience a “Why”
Why should your audience read this blog? Why do they need it? Make it clear from the very beginning of your blog why the reader is here and why you’re benefitting them. If people can’t find purpose in the first few paragraphs of a blog, they’re not going to continue reading it.
Tell Some Stories
Readers love anecdotes and anecdotal evidence in blogs. Using stories from your or someone you know will hook the reader in and give you more of a narrative through which to spread your information. There’s a reason that people flock to novels: We all love a good story.
Don’t Use Jargon
Well, don’t use jargon very much. If you use niche language, you’re bound to alienate the people that you’re trying to reach. If there’s a specific word or phrase that you have to use to understand the concept, be sure to explain the term in-depth so that the reader can follow your train of thought perfectly and not leave with more questions than answers.
Create Some Whitespace
One large chunk of nothing but paragraphs feels close to reading an essay, or a research paper: not very appealing to the general public. Using a lot of Subheadings and even bullet points can do the following:
- Break up the monotony of a large chunk of text
- Allow you to stretch your idea further
- Fully utilize your outline by putting the subheadings in your blog
- Add more words to your word count
- Help your SEO
See? Way better to read than pages upon pages of text. Using bullet points also forces you to be concise with your thoughts and sentences.
With all of these tips combined, you should be able to follow your outline and create something beautiful.
Step 5: Write A Killer Title
Write a title or headline that draws the reader in. Describe what you’re discussing in your blog without making it sound boring. A title like “How to Craft the Perfect Blog” would be a great example. It describes what I’m writing about while making it sound more interesting than “tips for writing blogs” would.
Step 6: Choose an Awesome Picture
You should always have a picture to accompany your blog. People like pictures. But make it a little interesting. If you need stock photos, Pexels is a great free option with so many beautiful choices. Chances are, that’s where the photo from this blog came from.
Now that you have all the steps to write a perfect blog, you can post confidently. All of these tips are relatively easy to implement and will result in much more thought-out and professional-sounding blogs in the end. Blog writing doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems on the surface.
If you don’t want to worry about writing your own blogs, find out how Ascent can help you here!