[Day 4] – Put your writing skills to use – Key features of a great blog post

Updated September 16th, 2020

Today is part 2 of writing.

Yesterday was all about planning, brainstorming and creating your content strategy.

Today’s training: Turn your ideas into shareable blog posts

If you haven’t written a blog post before, you will need to become familiar with this form of writing, because it is very different from what you learned in school.

In school you learned to follow a certain academic vocabulary of sorts. Long sentences, large paragraphs and without much personality.

Blog posts are supposed to be more personal, as if you are writing to your best friend.

They have their very own format.

Blog posts:

  • Have a clear purpose
  • Use conversational tone
  • Have scannable content and is easy to read
  • Have short paragraphs
  • Have links to other helpful content
  • Have images to help tell the story

Let’s take a gander at each one in more detail.

Having a clear purpose

What is your purpose for writing this particular blog post?

What is it that your readers will get out of your article?

Are you writing a tutorial for them to learn how to be a better blogger?

Are you teaching them the best times to post on social media, or are you giving them a recipe for a bunt cake?

Knowing your purpose will help you stay on topic.

Using a conversational tone

Your readers will want to visit your blog for you and your voice. They want to hear from you as if you are speaking directly to them, not hear the voice of a robot or school professor.

When you write your blog post, act as if your friend is sitting across the table from you enjoying a nice cup of coffee.

One method that works for me, to figure out if I’m using my voice, or Harry the robot’s voice, is to read my words aloud. This shows me if it actually sounds like something I’d say.

Reading out loud will also help you find grammatical errors, simple words missing or too many added to a sentence.

Besides writing to the friend over coffee, you need to think of the person that fits your ideal reader persona.

What would you say to this specific person?

Writing for the Web

Web studies have shown that the majority of Internet readers will SKIM articles.

Readers on the Web don’t have long attentions span. Here’s a fun fact, our attention span is less than a Gold Fish, we humans have the attention span of less than 8 seconds – oh, look a squirrel!

Sorry..

Because of human’s short focus, virtually all of your readers will skim your article first. If you gain their attention, they might just scroll back to the beginning and read it.

One way to break your content up for easy skimming would be to use header tags as an outline for your content.

NOTE – WordPress uses the Header tags to serve as an indicator to the levels of importance of each section of your article.

These HTML header tags, denoted as h1, h2, h3, h4 etc., are an easy way to format your text and organize your page’s structure.

These heading tags are a form of a Hierarchy – which is the chain of command (I.E. – the way authority is organized, by the level of importance).

Important for WordPress – The H1 Tag is only to be used once in a POST, and is already used by Default as the Headline/Title of your Post – DO NOT use an H1 Tag in Your Article’s Content.

The h1 header tag will ultimately be the most responsible reason for a person to visit your article. The h2 header tag will be for subjects that are sub-sections of the h1. The h3 for sub-sections of the h2 tag and so on.

– Whether you use your own blog or a Word document to write your article – format your article with Subject Headlines to create an article storyline.

The Search-engine ranking algorithms will place some emphasis on text enclosed with-in Bold, Italic and Underlining, but Header tags will place a greater importance, not only for the reader but for the search engines – determining where pages should be ranked for those terms.

While you are breaking up your content for the skimming public, be sure to create bulleted and numbered lists to greater emphasize your information.

The whole idea is to remove the blocks of text, giving the skimmers an idea of what your content is about, then once they determine that it’s what they are looking for, make it easy for them to read.

On that note..

Create short paragraphs

You may have been taught in school to use anywhere from 3 to 5 sentences or more for each paragraph written, but to keep your article flowing and scannable, you will need to have much shorter paragraphs.

Use my emails as indicators to what I am referring to. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I use single, at the most 2 sentences per paragraph.

Has the training been fairly easy to read and absorb?

Has breaking up my content with Subheading’s allowed you to know what information is next?

Make it skim-mable and easy to read and absorb.

Use helpful links within your content for additional information

Similar to what I’ve done in my training, have external links that go to helpful information, giving the person a choice to absorb more information.

  • You can send them to articles on your site, like I’ve done with my links
  • You can send them to an article on another blogger’s site
  • You can link to resources that will help your readers with solving their problem

One practice, which is search engine optimization friendly, and will keep your readers on your site longer, is to include internal links to more of your content.

If you have information on another site you’d like to share, be sure it’s a site you can trust.

In order to stay in Google’s good graces, make sure the site you send your reader to is a trusted site, not an unreliable or spam site. Just be careful who you link to.

When you do link to another site, or your own, be sure to use what’s called ‘Anchor Text’. Instead of having the link visible, like https://joesgreenwidgets.com/widgets/458he3k, have your link look similar to the following:

Visit Joe’s Green Widgets for more information.

Of course, WordPress will make creating links like this, easy for you to do.

To avoid any link errors, open the page you want to link to and copy the URL directly from the address line in your browser.

Use of images within your content

Be sure to use high-quality images within your content.

Images will help you break up your content and make it more likable and sharable.

You will always want an image towards the top of your posts to give an idea what your content is about.

Many bloggers like to use images to help break up their content subjects. They will also use images that show information (like a screenshot of Google Analytics), or tell a story.

Here’s an article I wrote, which I believe shows great examples of image placements: 11 Proven Digital Marketing Strategies to Catapult Your Niche

This article breaks up each topic with an visual guide, making the article much more interesting to read.

Writing articles

You will need to decide where you will want to write your blog post drafts.

For me, I write all of mine within WordPress, this way I can type directly into the Edit box, then click on the preview button to see how it looks live on the Internet, without it actually being live for the public to read.

You can decide to use Word, which is a great place to write your document, using Bold, Headers, Bullet List, etc.

You can even use Google Docs and do the same.

One of the best methods to start your draft would be to create an outline. This would essentially be a map of your blog post.

To do this:

  • Figure out the headline you’d like to use and write it on the top of your page (or where it says ‘Add Title’ in WordPress).
  • Think about what you’d like to say – figure out what the point of your blog post is all about.
  • Write down any Heading and Subheadings that come to mind to break up your content into the different subjects of your article. These will be your main points.

Can you divide your subheading any further? Write down any possibilities.

Once you are done, look over your article to see if the outline tells a story using your subheadings. Is everything on topic? Does anything need to be rearranged?

Example: If you happen to have a number in your Title, similar to: ‘7 Writing Tactics That Will Engage Your Audience,’ do you actually have 7 subjects (subheadings) in your draft?

And, considering that, in this example, ‘writing tactics’ would be my main keyword phrase, is this keyword phrase listed in your outline within one of the Header tags?

If everything is good to go, it’s time to move to the, drafting of your article, phase.

Drafting your post

Now that you have an outline in place for your blog post, it’s time to move into the drafting phase.

A general outline consists of 3 sections: an introduction, the main points and the conclusion.

Here is a well written article to help you with your blog post: How to Write a Bullet-Proof Blog Post Outline in 5 Minutes

This article breaks down the outline into the main parts. It will show you a step-by-step process that this company uses to craft bulletproof, blog post outlines.

The article will also include a visual use of the Header tags.

Back to the outline..

The title will be the first thing a reader will see on your page, it’s your first impression. However, your title may have gotten their attention, now it’s up to the introduction to do its job and draw the reader in deeper.

If your introduction is weak, it will discourage your reader from continuing on any further.

You could have an amazing blog post, but if the intro doesn’t do its job, they will never find out how amazing your article is.

After a compelling introduction, it is time to work on the main points.

NOTE: If skipping the introduction is what will work for you, go for it. It might actually be easier to introduce your article once all your main points are made – your choice.

Now – for each of your sections, you will want to write down the points that your reader needs to know.

For now, consider this a draft, so just focus on getting your ideas onto the draft and go back to edit later.

When you have your main points documented on your draft, it’s time to wrap up your blog post with a conclusion. The conclusion is a brief way of tying all your content together. This is also where you will add your call-to-action.

What is it that you want your reader to do after reading your post?

Do you want to:

  1. Have your reader add a comment?
  2. Have your reader share it on social media with their friends?
  3. Have your reader sign up for your email newsletter?
  4. Have your reader check out a product?

Think about your article, then choose 1 call-to-action to include at the end of your post. Limit it to only 1 so it makes it easy for your reader to know what to do next.

Examples could be:

  • Leave a Comment – What marketing strategies have YOU discovered that helped grow your business to unprecedented profits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
  • Share my Post – If you received value from this post – please share it using the social buttons below
  • Subscribe to my List – Interested in additional marketing tips? Subscribe to get them delivered straight to your email inbox
  • Sell a Product – Much of this information was derived from Eric Worre’s book “7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional“, get your copy now! (Add a link or image with your affiliate link attached)

Edit your post

It’s break time! Once you have your draft complete, it’s time for a break.

Save your draft, then walk away and come back later. It’s time to clear your head and reinvigorate yourself.

When some time has passed and you are ready to edit your article – read your post out loud.

This way, the chances are greater at catching the errors that you’d normally miss simply by reading with your eyes.

Be sure to look for:

  • Fluff – As you read aloud, get rid of the extra, unnecessary words.
  • Areas that don’t make any sense – Do you need to clarify any of the points you made?
  • Repetition – You don’t need to repeat yourself
  • Errors – Watch for grammatical and spelling errors
  • Organization – Does your article flow like it should?

Once you’ve made all your changes, guess what time it is?

It’s time to read it out loud again.

You won’t believe how many times I’ve caught myself with additional grammatical errors, misspellings, or areas that don’t make any sense.

It’s happened on multiple occasions. Even after reading my article out loud for the 3rd or 4th time.

High-quality content is the only way to go. Continue reading it out loud until it sounds like it’s something you can be proud of to publish.

Tip: If it’s possible, have someone else read your article.

Time to make your post live for the world to see

Before your post can be seen by the public (I know, scary right?), you must publish it within your WordPress blog’s dashboard.

Here are your directions to publish your masterpiece:

  1. Log into your WordPress account (if you aren’t already there)
  2. In your WordPress dashboard, under ‘Posts’ (left side), click on ‘Add New’
  3. In your text editor (Add New Post), copy and paste your post – paste your Title where it says, Add Title
  4. Make sure your sub-headings are formatted with the H2 or H3 headings instead of just in bold
  5. Check your formatting by clicking on the ‘Preview’ button on the right-hand side
  6. When in the ‘Preview’ mode, be sure to check any links that you have in your article
  7. Go back to your Edit area and add any high-quality images you intend to use, within your article (place your cursor where you want the image, then click on the ‘Add Media’ button
  8. Be sure to set your ‘Featured Image’ (right-hand side box)
  9. Preview your finished article to ensure all images and formatting is correct
  10. If you are ready to ‘Publish’, click on the Publish button on the right-hand side
  11. If you want to publish at a later date/time, click on the ‘Edit’ link next to the ‘Publish Immediately’ words and set your date and time, then hit schedule

That’s all folks – you have now created your first masterpiece.

Additional Reading: How to Create Irresistible Magnetic Blog Posts | 10 Secrets Revealed