Panic, give up, not try?
Absolutely not, you simply need to put some thought into it.
First of all we can all write we just need to make the most of what we've got to work with. Not all of us have college degrees, majors in journalism or even have a clue on how to write a book, let alone a blog post.
If you need some proof you can simply contact my old high school composition teacher and he'll tell you just how -NOT- awesome I was in high school at writing. Heck, I don't even consider myself good/great at it now.
But, that doesn't stop the material from being great stuff to ingest for my readers and students.
So if you're questioning yourself; fear not, I have a simply solution for writing a great blog post and you won't need any of the stuff mentioned above except for your brain and the ability to type.
As you know this topic has been on my mind alot recently as I discussed writing good content here, mentioned writing good content to show you are an expert here and now I'm putting together this nearly 1900 word blog post on it now. Do you think I am trying to give you a message? Your audience will love it and the search engines will too.
Let's get started.
Step 1: Research Your Posting Topic
You'll want to research your topic and know what you're writing about when you get started. Make sure to only use trusted sources when researching your material for the best results. Places like Wikipedia and Wiki How are generally good, but do not rule out checking into your local library (Huh!? Those still exist eh?)
If it's already a subject you know a great deal about; you may not need to do any additional research. Just make sure the information you decide to share is up-to-date.
Check to see what your peers in the industry are doing as well. If someone has already written about your subject check to see what pieces of information they left out or could be improved upon. Do not copy their ideas or write something so similar that it's pointless, but, always think; improvement.
Step 2: Create An Outline Before Writing Your Post
Do you remember way back in school when teachers would make us write those insanely boring outlines before writing our research papers? It turns out doing that is actually helpful (who knew) when writing a good blog post too!
If you have notes or just have things stored up in your brain; create an outline with the information before writing. Use Microsoft Word, Notepad, Open Office (free), Sky Drive (free) or Google Drive (free) to create it with.
Here's a partial example of minefor this post you're reading:
Notice I simply bold the section headers and in this case I use them as steps. You do not have to use them as steps though. You could just use them as new paragraphs or simply new sentences instead.
Save all your links in your outline as well. This way you can simply insert them in your post with ease. Trust me doing it this way will save you time when you're constructing your blog post. This will help you also hold your train of thought while you turn your outline into the real blog post.
Step 3: Use Images (Gather Now)
I love images. It turns out most readers love images too. We love image charts, example pictures and even sometimes just stock shots to help break up the post into more digestible pieces.
Images also create shareable content for media. This means you can share your images all over Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter or any other social media platform. That means extra traffic from your followers/fans/friends with little to no added effort.
I prefer to collect my images while I am working on the outline. This is because I typically have an image idea to match the writing while I am working on the outline. If you are using Google Drive or Sky Drive just save the images there for when you're done with the post or simply save them to a folder on your hard drive.
Use Snag It, Windows Snipping Tool or something like Pixlr to illustrate your images if needed. I prefer Snag It since I own it, but if you don't want to spend the money on it, Pixlr will do. If you need stock photos Fotolia or iStock Photo will do what you need.
Step 4: Create Your Blog Post From The Outline
Now you're going to take your outline and images and write a good blog post at your blog.
First, use your bolded bullet points as section headers, new paragraphs or page break points. These should be your main topics. The additional bullets should be new sentences under your bolded bullet points.
You'll notice above that one of my bolded bullet points is "Create Your Blog Post From The Outline." I took that directly from my outline, bolded it and all the additional sentences are structured rom the supporting bullets (woot-woot!).
Write your post in one of the places I mentioned in step 2 before you copy and paste it into your blog. This will give you a closer eye on your spelling and grammar checks (if you're anything like me you'll need them).
Make sure to space your paragraphs out. I use a rule that keeps me to mostly 3 sentences per paragraph. Yes, I know it's not proper but, it makes the text easier to read for the reader. Look, you're not writing a medical journal here, grammar and spelling are important but spacing and perfect paragraph structure is not as-much-so.
If you have too many sentences in your paragraphs it makes it harder for your readers to read (especially on mobile devices). Having giant chunks of text will cause people to lose their place or simply quit reading.
Spell Checking and Grammar
I hate bringing this up because, again, my grammar and spelling are not the best and this leaves me open for some awesome comments below. However, even if you're unlike me and need no help on your grammar and spelling, it's good to limit mistakes as much as possible. Use the spell check button for prevention purposes.
Re-Read Your Post Before Publishing
Want to make sure your post becomes good or even great? Re-read it first before hitting that publish button. Make sure it sounds good and isn't tough to read. I went back through some of my old work and cringed because it was so hard to read.
Make sure you also reference your own work in your posts. If you have additional posts that you have written that will help your audience or supplement their learning, link to it in your posts. Not only will this help keep people on your site longer, it will show you're an expert in your topic.
If you want to share something else with someone that will help them or entertain them and you don't have anything written on that subject yourself, don't be afraid to link to it. I used to believe this was a good way to get people to leave your site but over the last couple of years I realized that sharing is much better and you'll make your audience happier at the same time.
The Blog Post Title
Create your blog post last. While you can simply use the keyword phrase you want to rank for as the title I personally like turning it into more of a headline that people want to read.
Let me give you an example. Instead of just titling this post "How To Write A Good Blog Post" I decided to turn it into "How To Write A Good Blog Post With These 5 Simple Tips."
I did this for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that it just made more sense. I looked and saw I had 5 easy to follow tips or steps. This seems more exact and targeted as if to say; "Hey, I'm going to teach you this easily and in a short period of time!"
If you have your post finished but you're struggling to give it a cool headline visit the fine marketers over at The Fool. They are in the stock market business but they are masters at creating eye catching headlines. Just take a peek at a few of theirs and your head will be swimming with ideas afterwards.
I also think the team over at Gawker does a great job with headlines.
Also you're not taking away from your keywords in your title by adding to it (see my tips for easy keyword research here).
Second, it stands out over all the other sites out there who mention the same topic. Anyway can use the same exact keyword phrase as you in the title but chances are slim, possible, but slim that they'll use he exact same additions you add to your title.
Video, just like images are a great way to break up a post and add a different shareable media element for your audience. This will likely help hold your audience’s attention longer which in turn could get them to see your ads more.
All you need to do is shoot a video with your video recorder and put it on YouTube. From YouTube you can easily embed your video on your website. This will not only save you on bandwidth (cost=$0) but will also get you traffic from the Video sites themselves. See how Justin Lewis and I are using video from our Podcast/Videocasts here.
Hate being on video? Do simple screen recording using Power Point and record the screen with Camtasia or Jing (free – in 5 minute clips) instead. Then upload them to YouTube and embed as described previously.
Video can also be shared just like images all over the place, including every social bookmarking site and even Pinterest (yep, not just images there).
In conclusion start making your posts good and not just good, great. By simply changing what you do a little bit each time you’ll grow, your posts will get better and your audience will connect with you more.
I challenge you to try the above outline method today and see how you feel when you’re done. At first you might think it’s going to take more time, but, when you work from your outline it goes much faster than you think.
Final Recap Of The Above Method
- Research your topic
- Create an outline/include any links
- Gather your images
- Write the post based off the outline
- Optionally create and add a video
I’ll leave you with this. Would you rather put up a 300 word article that gets you 1 sale per month or a 1000 or more word beautifully crafted unique post that you won’t find anywhere else; that also brings you a lifetime of sales?
As I grow in this business it’s clear to me and the choice isn’t even close.
What methods are you using for your post crafting? Doing something you like better? Questions? Comments? Like the idea? Tell me.
Here is the video format where I talk about the topics in this post:
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