We have recently published an article on why you should be blogging. We also published an article in which we discussed the reasons why people are shying away from writing blog articles. We also have an article on Beating Writer’s block. In this article we will have a look at how to write blog posts.
As mentioned in the previous articles, writing blog articles / posts regarding your business and its products and services is vitally important to build and promote your brand, its authority and to give your clients and potential clients valuable information. It is not possible to add all this information on your webpages. Blogs are therefore important and useful tools available to business owners.
How to write Blog posts.
To get started we need to plan how to write blog posts. To do this, we suggest that the following steps be followed during the planning process:
- Selecting a topic
- Researching the topic
- Selecting a writing style
- Planning the layout (outline, introduction, sourcing images, meta description and including a call to action)
- Editing the article
Selecting a blog topic:
Although this may seem straight forward it may sometimes be difficult to come up with a topic for a blog post. Although you know your business inside out, it may not always be clear which topic will actually add value to your website and give your clients and potential clients good and relevant reading material. In a previous article we have shared 21 blogging ideas to promote your business. You can also have a look at this article which we have published earlier.
When it comes to selecting a topic to blog about it may be good practise to consider those questions you get asked the most, by your clients. If your product or service is of a technical nature you can make it easier to understand using layman terms. You can also look at the blog articles written by competitors to see which topics are covered and the amount of comments such blog articles solicit. Many comments on blog posts are good indicators that it is an active topic which may serve you well in online searches.
Researching a blog topic:
You may know your product and / or service very well and from the top of your head. Researching the topic nevertheless remains an extremely important factor. With research you will be able to find other people’s viewpoints on the topic which may augment your understanding, or provide you with an opportunity to share your opposing view. It is also always a good idea to research key search words or phrases. If you have a Google Adwords account, you will already be familiar with Google’s Keyword Planner. It will show you the most used search words and phrases as well as alternatives on any given topic. By using this you will be able to see which topics are trending and well worth a blog post or two.
By utilising proper research, you will be able to write highly relevant content and ensure that your blog posts are easier to find than another blog article covering obscure topics.
Selecting a writing style:
As individuals we have different communication styles. Those styles are also reflected in our written communication. Since there is no definitive style that is agreed upon, the topic we blog about will set the standard. Sometimes it may be a light-hearted discussion with your tongue in your cheek whilst a more serious topic will require a more formal approach. Irrespective of the tone of your article, it is good protocol to follow the following guidelines:
- Always put the reader first.
- Keep your thoughts organised.
- Use short paragraphs
- Use short sentences
- Use simple words unless you are writing an academic article for a specific academic audience.
- Be specific and avoid vague statements.
- Write in a conversational style.
- Let the message be clear.
Planning the blog layout:
It is good practise to outline your article / post before you start writing it. It may be a good idea to do this whilst you are researching the topic. Normally a layout will include an introduction (which may include a question or a problem statement), a body and a resolution / solution). When planning the layout, it is also important to identify the keywords in your article and to use them to draft a meta description. A meta description is simply a description of your blog post which allows for proper search engine indexing. We will consider this in a future blog post.
Including relevant quality images or infographics are vital components to a successful blog article. It is not only visually pleasing, it can be used to reinforce your message and to draw your audience’s attention to important content. There are many resources for free images available on the internet.
Here is a list of the resources we often use:
There are more websites with free images. The above websites however have the largest collections of free images and illustrations. When you want to use a Google image, please be sure to click the Tools button and navigate to usage rights where you need to select “Labeled for reuse”.
Lastly it may be a good option to add a “call to action” at the end of your blog article. This may be a request to your audience to leave a comment or ask any questions they may have. It can also be used as an opportunity to encourage the reader to visit specific pages on your website.
Editing the blog post:
This step is extremely important, and it will always assist you prior to publishing the post. How many times have you sent an email only to see a mistake immediately after clicking the send button? The same applies to blog posts. I have made this mistake and I am sure others have as well.
If your post contains spelling mistakes, typo’s or grammatical errors it will not sit well with your audience. Even if your content is factually correct and ground breaking it will immediately lose any credibility if the mentioned mistakes are not corrected.
We advise that you give your draft post to a person with the necessary skills to edit your post to make sure that your final product is of a high quality.
Publishing your blog post:
This the most exciting part of the process. It is also a very important part of the process as the timing of the posting is crucial for success. You will agree that there are many blog posts that are posted every day. Stats show us that there are almost 2 million posts published every day.
If you want to give your post the best chance to be viewed by your intended audience it may be good to choose the time of publishing carefully to ensure that it is done whilst the biggest part of your audience is active on the internet. It may also be a good thing to consider using an automated publishing platform such as Crowdfire. It will see to it that your post is, in addition to it being published on your blog, also published on all the main social media platforms at the right time and frequency and that is posted to the relevant audience for maximum exposure.
It is clear that proper planning needs to go into writing and publishing a blog post. In our next post, we will consider the important factors that need to be considered and implemented when preparing your blog post for maximum Search Engine Optimisation.
If you have any inputs, or would like to share the steps that you follow in writing your blog posts, you are very welcome to share it here.