Well, that’s the first part done.
You clicked to read the blog, so my title worked – wooo!
This might seem like an odd way to start a blog about blog writing, but it’ll make more sense when you get to tip #4, don’t worry.
Blog writing can seem like a daunting task at first. Writing 800–1,000 words sounds scary if you’re not a confident writer. Especially when you have things like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to think about.
But fear not, I’ve put together some of the best tips and advice I can give for anyone looking to write a blog article. Just follow these steps and you’ll be writing like a New York Times columnist in no time.
1. Pick a topic and unique angle
A blog article is often facts and opinions on a certain topic or subject area written down on someone’s website. Before you do any writing, research or editing, you’ll need to choose a topic.
When it comes to choosing a topic, try to choose something that is relevant to current events or popular in your sector. Or pick something that’s been written about before that you have a totally different viewpoint on.
Whatever you choose, you need to make it interesting to your target audience or else they simply won’t bother to read it, and all your hard work will be for nothing.
You’ll also need to think of how you can put a fun twist on your subject matter. How can you make it compelling, relevant to current affairs, comedic even? You’ll need to think outside the box and approach your subject differently from others if you want to win people’s attention.
2. Do your research
Research is everything when you’re writing a blog article.
For this article, I already had most of the information in my head. So it was just a case of extracting it. However, to boost credibility and give deeper insights, I turned to HubSpot for some of their stats and research on blog writing to help.
3. Open with a bang (but come back to this later)
When it comes to your first few sentences, you need to grab the reader’s attention right out the gate.
I strongly believe writer's block comes from people thinking they have to start perfectly. My advice? Just start writing. The first thing that comes to your mind on the topic, write it down. Then the next, then the next. Once you’ve found your flow, start editing and filling out your article. The important thing is to make a start, even if it doesn’t make sense as an introduction to the article.
I always leave the first paragraph right until the end because it’s much easier to introduce something once you know exactly what it is you’re introducing. It takes the pressure off starting the piece, too.
4. Structure your blog before you start typing
Although you can bounce around the article however you please, it’s important to create a rough guide for what you want to cover in your blog. In this instance, I came up with the 10 tips I wanted to communicate, then expanded on each of them as I went on. It’s not always possible to have the whole article mapped out, but where you can – it’s good to have some idea of how the article ties together.
If you’re taking the reader on a journey (more on this next), you’ll want to know how that journey starts, what goes on in the middle, and how you round up to give them the feeling/insight/learning you wanted in your blog.
A poorly structured blog can be sniffed out from a mile off, and while your headline might get people to give your blog a try, if your blog doesn’t flow nicely – you’ll lose them just as quickly.
5. Take the reader on a journey
Humans today don’t have very long attention spans and reading is no exception. Unless, of course, we’re reading something interesting. It’s your job when writing blog articles to make them as exciting as possible, no matter what the topic may be.
And by ‘exciting’ I don’t mean every sentence should end with exclamation points and cheesy cliffhangers. Tell a story. Take the reader on a journey. Keep them guessing, teach them something new they can bring up in conversation or write a social media post about. If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. So don’t half-ass it, your reader will know (and likely won’t be your reader for much longer).
This is where tip #5 comes in. The more consideration you give to the structure of your blog, the more it will flow and the easier it will be to tie each point to the next.
6. Keep the skimmers (and web crawlers) happy
There’s two types of people in this world:
1) People who read everything, and
2) People who don’t
The thing is, people who don’t read anything still need information, but instead of sitting down for 20 minutes to digest everything at a steady pace, they turn to the trusty trick of skim-reading.
Your blog should deliver on the promise made in your title for both parties. It needs to cover every point in-depth for the start-to-finish readers but be easy to skim and pull out the key bits of information for people in a hurry.
To make your blog skim-friendly, make the subheadings direct, clear and bigger than the main body copy of your article. Then, go back through and bold or underline any key points that help deliver on your promise.
Headers also help Google’s web crawlers understand your blog post.
You can think of crawlers in the same way you do skim-readers. They want an overview of what your article will cover, that’s your top headline (H1). Then your subheadlines (known H2s, H3s, H4s and so on) break down the subtopics within the article.
It’s important that your subheaders reflect the content in the body and include high-intent keywords – meaning ones that your target audience is using. When you get this right, you have a much higher chance of ranking on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
7. Link to other high-authority websites
As you flesh out your blog post, don’t be afraid to link externally.
Not only does linking to external websites give other sources for readers to look through, but it also shows search engines that you’ve done your research.
Nothing strengthens a blog post like research-backed statistics from influential websites. It’ll help build trust with your readers, too.
8. Make it long but easy to digest
Search engines like Google prefer longer, in-depth blog posts.
The more content on the page, the more clues search engines have to figure out what your blog is about. Internal research from HubSpot found the ideal length is between 2,100 and 2,400 words.
Sure, longer blog posts could overwhelm your readers, but if you’ve followed tip #6 correctly, it should be broken up nicely. Making it easy for your readers to digest.
9. Link to other blogs on your site
Linking to other pages or blog posts on your website helps search engines create an accurate sitemap and helps your audience discover more of your content.
Internal links to other valuable content also keeps readers on your site longer, meaning less of a bounce rate and more opportunities for conversion.
When linking to any pages on your website, use natural language for your anchor text. Avoid using spammy or generic calls to action and strive for more descriptive keywords that speak to what action they’re going to take, like "Download your free SEO guide."
10. Name the movie last
I’m not a movie director, but if I was to make a movie (which would be awesome), I know without a shadow of a doubt I’d give my movie a name after I’d written the script. It just makes sense. Writing a title before you’ve given your article any substance is nearly impossible, so take the pressure off and leave naming your article until the end.
Blog titles have one job and one job only: make people click on the link to read what’s inside. Once you’re happy with the contents of your blog, think about an interesting way to present your piece.
Ask yourself: What interesting insights are inside? Can I make a bold promise that this blog delivers on? How can I make it relevant to current affairs or trends?
That’s what I did with the title of this blog. I could have gone with a generic ‘10 Tips for Writing Blogs’ but that’s been done a thousand times over. It’s not bad, but it’s not great, either. It needs a compelling hook if it’s going to persuade anyone to want to read on.
After 10 or so minutes of brainstorming, I finally landed on:
‘An Unapologetically Slick Guide to Writing The Perfect Blog (11-Tip Checklist)’.
Interesting and thought-provoking? Check.
Creates a curiosity gap? Check.
Uses buzzwords throughout? Check.
Makes a bold promise? Check.
Once I knew the tone and angle of the blog, I had more ideas for the title and voila, I came up with this beauty.
Oh, and if you’re unsure whether this is a good title, remember, it made you click, so I must be doing something right 😉
11. Have a compelling call-to-action
Whatever your blog is trying to do – educate on a topic, promote your services, raise awareness for a cause – it’s important that you ask the reader to take some form of action at the end.
Exactly what this action is will differ depending on your topic and approach, but if someone has stayed with you for 5 or so minutes, you’d be a fool not to make the most of the trust and rapport you’ve built with them.
You might ask them to book a call with your team or refer them to similar blogs. You could show them what other services you offer or follow you on LinkedIn. Whatever feels natural and makes sense as a next step at the end of the blog, ask the reader to do it. Otherwise you’re wasting the attention of a potential follower or customer, which was the goal of the blog in the first place.
So there you have it, An Unapologetically Slick Guide to Writing the Perfect Blog.
Sure, there’s plenty of other things that go into writing a solid blog article, I could probably write for hours on the topic. But if you nail each of these points and use them as a reference any time you come to write a new piece, I promise you can’t go far wrong.
If you stayed with me this long, you’re either seriously bored or keen to learn about writing a good blog post. So before you go, bookmark this article and come back to it whenever you go to write a blog.
And if you’re interested in seeing how we help create brands of the future, get in touch with the team today.