Moving right along with the How to Blog series, the next on our list is how to write a GREAT blog post. That’s right, we’re not talking an average, or even a good blog post, but how to write a GREAT blog post. The blog posts that people come back to again and again because it’s filled with such great info. I’m going to walk you through the steps on how to do this, and also give you some tips on why some of my content has been successful, while others were just mediocre.
Blogging doesn’t have to be a guessing game, sometimes you have no clue why something does well, but I promise there is a pattern. This pattern is what I’m going to try and teach you.
But first like any creative field, where we really need to start is in the brainstorming phase. This is perfect for people who are just starting out, however I practice this exercise just about every month.
8 Sneaky Tips on How to Write a GREAT Blog Post, Every Time
Brainstorming and properly planning your blog posts is key! It will help you on the path to success (& also staying sane and organized). As I said before, I do this just about every month so I always know what I need to write, and I’m not scrambling at the last minute trying to publish a new blog post.
If you are completely new to blogging and aren’t even sure what to write about, this will help you immensely! Let your creativity go wild and write down all of the things you are interested in. While passion is key, this blog post is the best I have found on how to choose a niche, and which niche is likely to be more successful.
Side note: Although it’s possible to have success in any niche – certain niches are definitely easier.
I encourage you to write down 15-20 blog post ideas first before you even start writing. Lay out all of your blog post ideas and see if they have any commonalities. Then think of how you can categorize your ideas.
For example, with my blog I have two main categories, faith posts and travel posts. I then categorize my posts down even further into subcategories.
For example, my faith posts will have posts about prayer, Bible study, Bible verses, drawing closer to God, relationship advice, etc.
My travel posts will have posts about a specific destination, tips on how to save money, how to travel cheaper, how to pack, photography tips, etc.
You’ll find you can also put different blog post ideas together into a series because they relate to each other. For instance, right now I am writing a prayer series. For this I pre-planned and thought through all of the topics I wanted to discuss before I even started writing.
Below is the prayer series, and you can see how they relate to each other:
2. Have an Editorial Calendar
Having an editorial calendar is so incredibly helpful. Once you have your blog post ideas, look at your calendar and decide when you will be posting them. When I first started my blog, I posted 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and it was a TON of effort to keep up with that schedule. But that’s why the calendar is important. You’ll know when you’re running out of content and need to keep writing to keep up with the calendar you’ve put in place.
Now that I have 100+ blog posts on my website, I slowed down and only post once a week (except lately I’ve been posting a lot more). I did this so I could focus on other aspects of my blog such as Pinterest, SEO, email marketing, affiliate marketing, etc. which we will discuss more later in the series. Promise.
I try to stay at least a month ahead of the game. I always have the next month’s blog posts planned out – with at least the next few week’s blog posts written, scheduled, and ready to go.
3. Your Writing Voice
Trying to determine your own unique writing voice is something that just simply takes time and practice. Blogging is super cool because you can forget everything you learned in school about how to write properly. While following the basic rules of writing is important, you also have the freedom to just write any way you feel like. You have the freedom to truly be you.
Are you funny?
Are you super sarcastic?
Do you write with a flowy poetic feel?
As you begin writing, you will discover your style – and what feels true to you.
From day one I knew I wanted to write as if I were sitting down for coffee with a best friend. This is likely where you will fall as well. I wanted to feel relatable and personable, but also provide solid tips and advice. You can go to Lonely Planet and get tips on what to do in New Orleans, so why do you decide to read a blog post instead? For most of us it’s because we want the honest opinion of someone who’s been there. What’s even better is if it’s a blogger we already know and who’s opinion we can trust.
4. Blog Post Length
You’re going to get differing opinions as to how long a blog post should be, but I feel that 1200 words is the perfect benchmark. I definitely have blog posts that are shorter, and also have some that are WAY longer. This blog post for example is over 2,000 words. But 1200 words is still what I like to aim for.
With 1200 words you can provide an adequate amount of content around one topic, without it being too long. If you find your post only has 500 words, then maybe think about what you can add to it to beef it up. Can you give more details? Can you provide even more information?
The opposite is true if a post is too long. Maybe consider breaking your post into a series, or consider how you can divide this one giant post into two different posts.
5. It’s Not About You, Not Even a Little Bit
This is the single biggest piece of advice I could give any new blogger. Actually, this is the single biggest piece of advice I could give any blogger period. But, what do I mean it’s not about you?
I mean that when a reader stumbles upon your blog post, they aren’t reading it because they are interested in you. I am sorry, but they’re reading it because they want to know how your blog post can help them.
Once you understand this, it changes everything. You need to constantly be thinking about what value you are providing the reader. Which brings me to my next point…
6. Provide Something of Value, Your Reader NEEDS a Takeaway
There NEEDS to be a takeaway for your reader in every blog post.
One of the first blog posts I ever wrote was titled “Leaps of Faith”. This blog post got zero views and I couldn’t understand why. I thought it was a good blog post. Well, I was wrong.
The blog post was fine except there wasn’t a takeaway for the reader. What incentive would a reader have to click on this post? What kinds of leaps of faith am I talking about? What is the reader gaining by reading this post? What problem am I solving for them? And why should they care about the leaps of faith I’ve taken in my life? After all, they have no clue who I am.
The biggest blogging secret I can give you is that each and every post you write needs to solve a problem for your reader. Before your reader even clicks on your post, they need to know exactly what they’re getting from the post.
Trying to solve a problem doesn’t have to be as intimating as it sounds. There are some blog posts that I write that are purely inspirational. For these, the problem I am solving is motivating you to take action.
Try and write so that the readers know exactly what they are gaining from your blog post. Do not to be vague.
Below are examples of blog posts that do well.
- List Posts – 10 (Awesome!) Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii
- How-To Posts – How to Create the Perfect Flat Lay
- Step-by-Step Guides – The Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Blog
- The Ultimate Guide to – The Ultimate Guide to the Grand Canyon
7. Create an Outline
When writing a blog post, you do have a lot of free range, however you need to stick to some sort of outline. This will sound familiar to what you’ve learned in school. There needs to be three main parts to your blog post; a beginning, middle, and end.
A general outline I like to stick to is:
- Point #1
- Point #2
- Point #3
- Conclusion – wrap it all up
No one wants to read a blog post that’s just one giant blob of words. You need to break up your post with points, or the major ideas, that support your post. Keep your paragraphs to only a few sentences for easy reading, and break up your ideas with some images as well. All of these together enhance the reader experience.
8. Titles are Everything
Ever heard of the word “click bait”? Click bait is a title whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link. Click bait is exactly what you need to create with your titles.
You need to think of titles that spike people’s interest. People are being bombarded all day long with flashy news headlines, advertisements, and other websites that are all fighting for your attention. So why should someone take time out of their day to read your blog post? You need to incentivize them.
You need to write a title that screams, click me! You’ve probably stumbled upon titles like this, “The 7 Foods You Need to Stop Eating Right Now”. Immediately this title has peaked your interest. Now you have to know, what are those 7 foods? Why do I need to stop eating them?
A blog post that does super well for me is titled, “The 5 Foods You Must Try in Kauai”. It does well because I have peaked people’s curiosity. They now wanna know what those 5 foods are. If I had titled it “The 5 Best Foods in Kauai” it wouldn’t have had the same appeal.
Another example is a faith post I wrote called, “The 4 Foundations of Prayer that Completely Changed My Prayer Life”. I thought it was a pretty good title, and the post did well after publishing. However, one day I decided to change the title to “The 4 Prayer Tips I Wish My Pastor Had Told Me”. BOOM. That post immediately began to take off.
Click bait my friends, it’s all click bait.
Just make sure that after you’ve hooked your readers, you deliver on the goods. No one likes to click on an interesting title to discover the blog post is completely useless. That’s called bait and switch. Doing this will guarantee your readers don’t come back. And that’s a big no no. We want our readers coming back again and again.
Lastly, the best blog post titles are the ones that use power words. Power words are words that do a number of things, but mostly they invoke emotion or trigger curiosity. Here’s my favorite blog post on this topic that I personally return to again and again.
Another popular post of mine is “18 (Awesome!) Things to do in Portland, Maine”. I could have titled it, “How to Spend a Weekend in Portland, Maine” but I doubt it would have done as well. The title I chose is a list post (which historically tends to do well) and I have also used the power word “awesome”. Another post that does well is “8 Handy Tips for Visiting Lake Louise”. I originally titled it “8 Tips for Visiting Lake Louise”, but then added the power word “handy” to spice it up a bit.
When it comes to titles, never feel stuck with what you have. You can always change them at any time. If it’s not working, change it to something else.
However often times, I don’t change my actual blog post title. Instead I change the title on my pin image in Pinterest. Which leads me to my next point in our blog series, you need to learn how to gain some awesome blog traffic and pageviews.
If you are ready, let’s move on to the next section how to grow your blog by using Pinterest.
Did you miss anything? Read more:
- Are you Feeling Called to Blog? (read the intro to this series!)
- How to Start a Blog: The Ridiculously Easy Step-by-Step Guide
- The Blogging Essentials: The 5 Things Your Blog NEEDS to Have
- How to Increase Your Blog Traffic with Pinterest
- How to Get More Blog Traffic – Let’s Get You Some Pageviews!
- How to Make Money Blogging for Beginners
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What are your tips on how to write a blog post? Love to know below!