Blogging - 9 Steps To Planning And Writing Great Blog Posts

Blogging has become a very important part of any marketing strategy, yet it's one of the things that most small business owners feel less comfortable about doing. Sure, you can probably have a blog post written for you by an experienced freelancer, although what if you could (relatively) quickly and easily do the job yourself? That way, your guaranteed to end up with an original post and one that allows your own character to shine through.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to put together a guide that will hopefully help you plan and write great blog posts for your business.

Blogging - 7 Steps To Planning And Writing Great Blog Posts

1) Decide On A Writing/Posting Schedule

The first thing you will want to do - and granted this applies more to your overall strategy - is to decide on a writing and posting schedule. Here are some things you might want to think about here:

  • How much time do you have to spend researching and writing posts?
  • How much quality content can you create on a regular basis? Is it daily, or would weekly be more realistic?
  • Can you outsource this activity? 
  • How often do your competitors publish blog posts?

Also, for more tips on setting up a blog and keeping it running, please see this post. Then, when you are ready to write your individual posts, you could follow these guidelines - hopefully they'll make it easy for you to get started with writing great blog posts. 

2) Decide Which Topic You Want To Write About And What You Want To Say About It

I hope I'm not over-stating the obvious by saying that the first thing you would want to do is decide which topic you want to write about. I don't just mean that you'll decide you want to write about 'lead generation', for example - I mean that you want to decide what you are going to say about this particular topic too. Another way you can think about this is that you want to have your own slant - or 'angle' - on whatever topic you are writing about.

An example can be taken from this blog. The last post I wrote was about the Hinge Online Marketing Study. Although this was my topic, my 'angle' was whether or not the study was relevant to small businesses given that the sample was taken from businesses with over 300 employees.

If you take the time to think of a good slant - in essence, putting forward your own voice - you'll give both readers and search engines a good reason to see your content as something better than the same old carbon copy material that seems to be plastered all over the web now.

3) Put Together A Few Rough Working Titles

After you've got your topic and angle sorted, you'll want to put together a rough working title. At this stage, you more or less just want to brain storm a few titles that could work for your post. I always try and get around a dozen together - I find that thinking about this step as much as is reasonably possible really helps out further down the line.

When you have done this, move on for a bit and let the titles rattle around in your head for a while.

4) Have A Look At Google Keyword Tool For Search Terms To Include In Your Text And Title

This is something that I find very useful. It's not anything to do with creating content or really, it's more about just making sure that you have popular/relevant search terms present in the text of your blog post. It's not that you want to cram your text full of these terms and it's definitely not the case that you want to write only for search engines. However, it definitely can't hurt to give your posts the best chance of picking up as much search traffic as possible. Just don't overdo it, nor should you repeat the same phrase too often.

5) Write Out Four Or Five Subheadings And Then Fill Them In With Your Text

For me, this makes the biggest difference in terms of being able to efficiently write blog posts and articles. The way I do it is to think about how I want the 'story' of the post to flow, from the beginning through to the end. Then, I break it up into sections, each with their own headings. You can see what I mean by looking at this blog post - the main body is broken up into 7 sections, each with their own heading.

Once you have these headings in place, you simply go back and add your copy under each heading. I think this works so well because it makes it seem like you are writing a lot of smaller pieces rather than one long one, which can be quite daunting at times.

6) Write Out A Summary/Ending

Once you have written up the content for your headings, you then move onto writing up a summary for your blog post. Usually, this is a quick recap of your topic, your 'angle' and the main points/steps/headings of your article. This is particularly useful for longer posts, although I think this step works well in posts that are of a medium length too. Obviously, if your post is only 400 or 500 words, then you probably won't need to complete this step.

7) Find An Image To Add To Your Post

Now that you have the first draft of your main body together, take a break from the actual text and go have a look for an image to use on your post. You could use an image you have taken yourself, or you could use a third party provider such as iStockPhoto or one of the many free versions that are available. Just be sure to make sure that the license allows you to use the photo as you like - sometimes there are special conditions attached to particular photos (even from free sites), so it's best to be sure.

8) Go Back And Choose A Final Title

At this stage, you have the main body of your text together, as well as a few rough titles and your post image. Now, you want to go back and review your titles and choose the best one to act as your main title. It may also be that as you have finished your draft, you think of a completely new title that is more relevant than the ones you had thought of previously. It's also a good idea to work in some of the keyword research that you did earlier - titles are a huge part of helping to achieve great rankings. As well as this, you want to make sure that your title reads well and that it is going to be engaging and interesting to your intended audience.

9) Proof-Read, Publish And Promote

After you have all of the above ready, the last thing you need to do is proof-read your post - making sure that there are no silly errors - before publishing to your blog and social networks. I'm going to write a separate post on sharing and publicising your posts and blog, so stay tuned for that - I'll hopefully have it written up in September.

In Sum

Hopefully this post has helped you understand how you can go about creating great blog posts for your business or personal blog. By following these simple steps, you'll definitely be off on the right track at least:

  1. Decide on your writing and posting schedule
  2. Decide what your topic is and what your 'angle' is
  3. Put together a few rough working titles
  4. Have a look at popular search terms to include in your title and main body
  5. Think about how you want your 'story' to flow and then break your post up into smaller sections with their own headings. Then write up your content for each section
  6. Write up a summary/ending for your blog post
  7. Find an image to use in your article
  8. Go back and choose a final title
  9. Finally, proof-read, publish and promote!

Thanks again for reading!

By Alan MacDougall

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The Revenue Builder Blog is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.