How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

This is a step-by-step guide on how to write effective blog posts for your audience and customers. 

In it, we will cover everything you need to know to write powerful blog posts in record time. 

In fact, I am going to give you the specific formula that you can use to craft compelling, persuasive, and share-worthy blog posts for your own blog.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’re going to cover:

  1. Planning your blog post
  2. Conducting research from reliable sources
  3. Creating an effective content outline 
  4. The five steps to writing great content
  5. Proofreading and editing your post
  6. Optimizing your blog post for readers and SEO

…and much more.

I’ll also provide you with additional tips and tricks to help you craft high-quality content that is persuasive and engaging, even if this is your first time blogging. 

Ready? Let’s dive right in. 

How to write a blog post 11 steps

I’ll start with an important question:

How Is This Guide Different?

There are many online tutorials that are designed to teach you how to write good blog posts. They show you all the mechanics of blogging, what you need to do, and what you shouldn’t do. 

By reading through these tutorials, you can learn how to write a perfectly serviceable post for your blog. 

In fact, you might even be able to write a piece that earns you a few adoring fans. 

But, if you’re someone who dreams bigger and wants to know how to craft the perfect blog post to cut through the noise and win legions of fans, you need something that is a lot better than those run-of-the-mill tutorials.

You need the ultimate guide.

This is the ultimate step-by-step guide where I share tips that are used by many professional freelance writers who are well known for creating spellbinding blog posts that attract the attention of thousands of people. 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

You will also learn the best ways to polish and refine your posts once you’re done writing them.

The secrets you will learn in this post are ones that many bloggers across the world would eagerly part with real money to learn. 

The best part? It won’t cost you anything (apart from a few minutes’ time investment).

I’ll start right at the very beginning: 

What Makes a Great Blog Post?

To write a great blog post, you first need to know exactly what a blog post is and the purpose it serves.

A blog post is a piece of content that allows you to publish your thoughts, insights, and stories about any topic. 

People and businesses from all walks of life run blogs to share industry findings, product information, analysis, criticisms, instructions, and more. 

Blog posts offer a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Boosting website traffic and attracting qualified leads
  • Increasing brand awareness and consumer trust
  • Boosting your business’s credibility
  • Increasing your conversions and revenue
  • Establishing you as a thought leader in your industry

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

(Image Source: Hubspot.com)

These are just some of the advantages that come with publishing well-crafted posts on your blog. 

But, keep in mind that only well-researched and well-written posts will net you these types of benefits. 

If you’re blogging for the sake of publishing whatever pops into your head, or if you don’t have any process in place for creating engaging and persuasive posts, you’ll find it hard to get good results from your efforts.

The good news is that if you follow all the steps covered in this post, you can begin enhancing your own blog as soon as today!

What Makes a Good Blog Post?

A good blog post needs to be interesting and educational. It must be packed full of valuable information that is organized in a logical and easy-to-follow structure. 

Your blog post should also answer a question that your reader has, or help them resolve challenges that they are experiencing. 

You need to be able to do all of this interestingly and engagingly. You can write the most informative post ever written on a subject, but if it’s dry, hard to read, and void of any personality, you’re going to have a hard time keeping the reader on the page.

Before you start writing your post, you need to ask yourself things such as:

  • Why would someone want to read this whole blog post? 
  • What would make the reader want to come back for more?

It’s not enough to be able to answer their questions. You also have to provide them with actionable solutions while keeping them engaged. 

For example, you need an introduction that will hook the reader and entice them to keep reading your post. Without that, many readers will bounce right back to the search results page, which will hurt your article’s ability to rank at the top of Google.

You also need to use examples that will keep readers interested in whatever you have to say.

We’ll touch a little more on that in later sections. Right now, let’s get started with the seven key steps to writing a great blog post.

How to Write a Blog Post: 7 Essential Steps

Writing an awesome blog post involves the following steps:

  1. Planning your blog post
  2. Doing the research
  3. Creating an outline
  4. The actual writing
  5. Editing and proofreading
  6. Optimizing your post for readers
  7. Optimizing for search engines

Step #1: Plan Your Blog Post

This is the planning phase, where you lay the foundation for writing a great blog post. 

This stage is critical – particularly if you don’t want to fall prey to procrastination. 

The foundation phase involves ideation, which is the bedrock that your post will be built on. 

If you’re going to write an awesome blog post, you first need to choose a topic that your audience will find interesting. 

I’m assuming that you already know the popular topics with your audience, but if you don’t, this section will help you come up with topics that will resonate the most with your readers.

Start by Getting to Know Your Audience

Who are you writing this blog post for? You need to figure that out before you even think about writing it.

Here are a few questions to help you figure out who your target audience is and the type of content they want to read about:

  • Who is going to read your post? Get granular with the answers – come up with an average age, gender, occupation, etc. This will help you define your target audience.
  • What kind of information is your target reader searching for? Do they want step-by-step guides on how to perform tasks within your industry? Are they looking for high-level thought pieces on where your industry is heading? Consider this before you begin.
  • What are their major pain points? If there are certain problems that many people in your industry struggle with, writing a helpful blog post about those problems will likely be well-received.

If you’re not sure exactly who you are writing your blog post for, this is the first step you need to focus on. 

You should not try to guess what your audience wants or needs, but rather make a data-driven decision by doing the necessary research to find out which topic is unlikely to generate interest with them. 

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry – it really isn’t.

First, create a master spreadsheet that you will use as your idea bank. 

Now do some research to find lots of ideas to fill out your spreadsheet.

Here are a few easy ways to discover what it is your audience is talking about, and the questions they are looking for answers to:

Use Quora: Quora and other forums are great resources to help you find out what questions the people in your industry are asking. Simply search for relevant keywords associated with your niche.

Use Twitter’s Advanced Search: Type in your keyword, and then select “questions” as your filter. This will show you all the different questions that people in your industry ask on the social platform.

Use SEMRush: This is a paid tool that works extremely well in helping you spy on your business’ competitors (and it lets you steal some of their best ideas).

Use KeywordTool.io: Use this free resource to see the most popular keywords that are being searched by users within your industry.

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Other places to find what your audience is talking about or asking include:

  • Facebook groups
  • Niche forums 
  • Amazon book reviews (particularly the negative ones)
  • The comments section of popular blogs in your industry

Basically, anywhere your readers are online, you’re sure to find a long list of topics that they are discussing. As you’re getting to know your audience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which topics do they discuss the most?
  • What questions are they asking?
  • What do they generally need help with? 
  • What kind of objections do they commonly have?

Make a note of all these topics and any other ideas they help you generate.

By the end of this exercise, you should have an arsenal of data that you can transform into tons of custom blog topics. 

Once you’ve built an idea bank, it’s time to identify the topic of your blog post. Simply pick one from the list that interests you the most. 

For instance, your chosen topic might be “writing a blog post.” It doesn’t have to be super-specific. At this point, all you need is a general idea of what you’ll be writing about. 

And now that you have your topic, the next step is to decide on the type of post you’re going to write.

Decide on the Type of Post You Will Write

There are many different types of posts that you can write for your blog. 

Here are some of the most popular blog formats:

The list-based blog post: This type of post has content in a list format: “10 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Post”

The how-to blog post: This blog post shows readers how to do something: “How to Write an Awesome Introduction”

The pillar page blog post: This is a big, meaty blog post filled with useful, actionable, and engaging content: “How to Write a Blog Post: The Complete Guide for 2020”

The ‘what is’ blog post: This type of post answers a question or concern that readers have: “What Mobile-First Website Design?”

The infographic blog post: Infographic blog posts don’t have a lot of written content, but they do work very well to drive traffic to your site: “Infographic: 10 Mesmerizing WordPress Statistics”

The newsjacking blog post: This is a timely post designed to arrest your readers’ attention. It basically involves using the life of any current news story to help boost your blog.

Of course, there are many other types of posts you can choose from. And you’ll discover more and more of them as you grow as a blogger.

Each of these types of posts serves a different purpose in helping you catch the attention of your target audience and customers. 

Once you’ve chosen one to start with, it’s time to pick a title for your blog post.

Come Up With a Working Title

Now that you have the topic of your post and know what type of post you are going to be writing, it’s time to come up with a working title. 

In fact, it’s a good idea to come up with a few different working titles. The different iterations of approaching the topic will help you focus your writing. 

For instance, say you have a blog about home renovations. You may decide to narrow the topic of your first blog post to:

  • Tools for fixing blocked gutters; or
  • Common causes of blocked gutters; or even 
  • How to fix blocked gutters. 

Your final title may well be very different from any of these, but having a working title like the ones above will guide your blog post so you can begin writing. 

Step #2: Do Your Research

The process of researching your blog post can be simple or complex, depending on the type of post you’re writing. 

Search Google for different articles on your topic. Choose the top-ranking ones and read through them to find interesting points and ideas for your own post. 

As you read and the other your research, make a note of the ideas that you get. Don’t copy anyone’s work, but use the information you find to inform your own post.

Fill out your research document with as much helpful information as you can.

Your reading should be the input and writing of your output. 

The goal here is to produce a value-packed, data-driven blog post. 

Neil Patel, one of the most well-known bloggers in the digital marketing sphere, has an interesting approach to writing blog posts. 

He says that a blog post is like carving a sculpture. 

All you need to do is chisel away all the unnecessary material in your research document to give life to your blog post.

When gathering your data, always make sure that you use reliable sources. Here are some of the most commonly used types of supporting data and information sources:

Reliable Sources of Information

  1. Images and infographics:
  • Google Image Search
  • Pinterest.com
  • Visual.ly
  • Daily infographic.com
  • Coolinfographics.com
  1. Videos:
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Google Video Search
  1. Statistics and Facts:
  • FactBrowser.com
  • FactMonster.com
  • StatisticBrain.com
  • Google Search
  1. Scientific Studies
  • ScienceDirect.com
  • ScienceResearch.com
  • Google Scholar
  1. Presentations: 
  • Prezi.com
  • SlideShare.net
  • PPTSearchEngine.net

Once you’ve done your research, it’s always best to let it sit for a while. 

Most professional writers find that their ideas become more refined if left to marinate overnight. 

They gain more clarity on the topic, and the direction of their blog post becomes concrete in their mind.

Step #3: Create an Outline for Your Blog Post

Your next step is to create an outline to make it easier for you to write your blog post. 

You already have your ideas down. Now it’s time to arrange them in some type of structure.

Fleshing out your outline before you move on to writing the main content will help you nail your points down. 

At this stage, you don’t have to worry about things being super clear or concrete. Just think of the outline as a sort of “base” for your post.

How to Create a Blog Post Outline

The process involves planning out the broad topic that you want to cover, and then adding in the subtopics for the different sections. 

Each section should have a name or title. Keep things simple. The clearer your outline is, the better your blog post will flow. 

Creating an outline doesn’t have to be a complex process. In fact, the more simplified your outline is, the more conviction your blog post will have. 

Here is an example of what the outline for your blog post might look like:

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Your outline will help create an effective visual hierarchy of importance. 

Headers, of course, are at the top, and they’re only used once in each post. Next, are subheaders, which are ranked higher in importance than sub-sub-headers. 

By creating and following a clear outline like this one, you’re giving your post a great “bone structure.” 

This, in turn, will allow you to infuse the blog post with solid information, creative style, and compelling resources.

The important thing here is to ensure that the content is properly organized so that your readers flow effortlessly from one section to the next without getting confused or disoriented as to how they got there. 

So basically:

  • You take one big topic and break it up into different sections.
  • Each of the sections is separated into sub-sections and sub-sub-sections.
  • You then go into deeper detail within these sub-sections, thereby making the content a lot easier to read.

And that’s your outline done!

Is an Outline Really Necessary? 

Many people often wonder if taking the time to write a post outline is really worth it. 

The answer to that is a resounding YES. 

Here are some reasons why: 

An outline can make writing easier for new bloggers.

For many new bloggers, writing an article can be a daunting prospect. They sit down to write and find that the words simply won’t come. 

They struggle to come up with something to say from the very beginning, and at times like these, having a structure like the one above will go a long way toward getting rid of writing blocks.

An outline makes it easy to arrange large amounts of information.

Depending on the size of your blog post, you may find that you are faced with an inordinate amount of information. 

By organizing everything into a clear outline, you make it so that readers are not intimidated by the article’s length. 

This type of organization can take different forms, such as sections, tips, lists, etc. 

You will have to decide what is most appropriate depending on the type of post that you are writing – but it all comes together in the outline. 

Start Writing Your Post

The following steps involve the actual writing of the content. 

Now that you have your outline ready, it’s time to fill in the blanks. 

Your outline will be your guide as it has all the main points of your article. All you have to do now is fill in the details. 

As you follow the steps, first, write about the information you already know. Then, if you need to conduct additional research to get more information, images, quotes, examples, and other data to back up the points you made. 

Remember to provide proper attribution whenever you incorporate external sources. 

If you find yourself having trouble putting sentences together, you are not alone. A lot of bloggers find it challenging to find their “flow.” 

Luckily, there are a lot of tools that you can use to help you not only improve your writing but also write your blog posts faster.

Here are some of the tools you can use:

Power Thesaurus: If you’re stuck on a word, this crowdsourced tool will provide you with a variety of alternative word options from a worldwide community of writers.

ZenPen: If you are having trouble maintaining your focus, check out ZenPen, a distraction-free writing tool that creates a minimalist “writing zone” to help you write faster.

Cliché Finder: If you’re worried your writing might come off a bit cheesy, then use this handy tool to identify any instances where you could be a little more specific.

This post is chock-full of exceptional writing advice and goes into a lot more detail on more tools that you can use to improve your writing skills. 

Now that you’ve got your tools all lined up, here are the steps to follow when writing your main content: 

Step #4: Craft a Heavy-Hitting Headline

Do you see the evolution from the topic, to the working title, and then to the final title

Your working title doesn’t have to be a final title (it can be – if it’s good enough). Its main purpose is to provide you with enough information to focus your blog post in a more specific way than the generic, overwhelming topic. 

Now is the time to come up with a heavy-hitting hook that will draw readers and make them want to read your blog post. 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Humans are shallow (sorry, but it’s true). We tend to judge books by their covers – and blog posts by their titles. 

This is why it’s crucial for your article’s success that you have a headline that will make people want to click on and read your post. 

Both people and search engines love a strong headline. 

The more people you compel to read your post, the higher Google will rank it in the search results. 

Just keep in mind the following best practices when crafting great headlines:

Be as specific as possible: 

Avoid lackluster and ambiguous words, such as “great,” “awesome,” and “amazing.” But do use numbers in your headlines, readers love that. 

For example: “3 Proven Ways to Grow Your Business by 306% in 30 Days”

Tease, but don’t reveal the total solution: 

No one will need to continue reading your post if you reveal everything within the headline. 

But remember, there’s a fine line between a headline infused with curiosity and desperate clickbait.

Put your main keywords near the front:

This is beneficial for both SEO and discoverability. 

For instance, if your main keyword is “cats,” then a headline like, “Cats: A Complete A-Z Guide” would most likely perform better than “An A-Z Guide to Cats.” 

Keep your headline short:

Your blog post headlines should be under 65 characters. 

Search engines tend to truncate headlines if they are too long. This adds the dreaded “…” to the end of the headline in the search results. 

Deliver a concise headline so you can get your full message across to searchers.

Use brackets [ ] in your headline:

Call out important content formats, such as infographics, videos, Slideshare, or any other cool piece of content that you have embedded in your post. 

Make sure all your readers know about it by using brackets [ ] to highlight content in your headlines. 

Here are some examples:

  • How to Optimize Your Blog Post for Search [Checklist]
  • How Many Keywords Should You Use in Your Blog Posts? [FAQs] 
  • [Infographic] The 5 Essential Elements of a Great Blog Post

Invoke emotional response: 

Your headline needs to appeal to the senses and invoke emotional responses if you want people to read your article. 

Harvard studies show that people make decisions based on emotions. Only later, the appeal to logic to justify the decisions they made.

You can use a tool like an EMV headline analyzer to help you find your headline’s emotional marketing value. 

Another helpful tool is IsItWP’s headline analyzer, which provides tips on ways to improve your headlines.

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Here are some examples of great headline formulas that have been shown to work effectively in all industries. 

Use them to get your inspirational juices flowing:

  • Formula: [Number] of Ways To [Desired Outcome]
  • “17 Ways to Rank on Google’s First Page”

The Breaking News Headline

  • Formula: [Story] + [Effect]
  • “New Amazon Commission Cuts Deal Affiliates a Heavy Blow”

The Burning Question Headline

  • Formula: [Pose a Provocative Question]
  • “Is Blogging Still Worth It in Today’s Content-Saturated World?”

The How-To Headline

  • Formula: How To [Method] To [Get Desired Outcome] In [Timeframe]
  • “How to Use Emotion to Double Your Blog Traffic in Just 7 Days”

The Fun Juxtaposition Headline

  • Formula: [Present Two Conflicting Positions or Ideas]
  • “How to Be Profitable in a World of Losing Stock Traders”

The Ultimate Guide Headline

  • Formula: The [Complete or Ultimate] Guide To [Specific Transformation]
  • “The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Marketing”

The ‘Evil Villain’ Headline

  • Formula: [Evil Villain] That [Specific Misdeed]
  • “The 3 Types of Digital Marketing Agencies That Are Robbing You Blind”

The Name Dropper Headline

  • Formula: [Famous Person] [Advice, Tips, Method] For [Getting the Desired Result]
  • “JK Rowling’s 10 Tips for Becoming a Spectacularly Good Writer”

Address Resident Emotions Headline

  • Formula: [Appeal to a Fear or Any Other Strong Emotion]
  • “An Open Letter to Bloggers Struggling to Build an Audience”

Leading With ‘Why’ Headline

  • Formula: [Why] [Specific Thing] [Outcome/Adjective]
  • “Why Being a Well-Rounded Employee Is Overrated”

The Mistakes/Warnings Headline

  • Formula: [Number] Mistakes People Make [Specific Action]
  • “12 Fatal Social Media Marketing Mistakes”

When writing headlines for your blog posts, there are two main approaches that you can take: 

You can either come up with the final headline prior to writing the actual post and then use the headline to help you structure your outline;

You can also craft the blog post first (using the working title) and then see which title works best once you’re done.

Personally, I do not stick to a rigid strategy when creating my headlines. 

Sometimes I come up with a great headline right at the beginning and then stick with it. For other posts, it takes a lot more work to come up with the ideal headline. 

I know it seems like we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the subject of headlines. 

And the process of coming up with great post headlines may seem like hard work at first, but, with practice, it will become second nature. 

Before long, you will be able to quickly craft headlines that grab your audience’s attention and compel them to click through and read the rest of your blog post.

Step #5: Write a Magnetic Opening

Provided your readers stick around to see what your blog post headline is all about (which they will if you followed the tips and formulas outlined above), you’ll need to entice them to keep reading with an inviting, entertaining, and compelling lede that is full of promise. 

Your introduction needs to be captivating and compelling. 

But even more than that, it needs to satisfy user intent. 

Otherwise, it won’t matter how eloquent your words are or how powerful your prose – readers will click back if they feel that your post isn’t exactly what they are looking for. 

So, what is user intent

User intent is the purpose behind the search. 

If someone Google’s “how to lose belly fat,” they expect to find articles within the search results that will help them to lose weight. 

If they click on a headline that reads “5 simple tips to lose belly fat fast”, and the article begins with a story about something totally unrelated, like a Chuck Norris anecdote, or something, there is a very good chance that they will leave.

They will quickly click the back button and never read any more of your post – which is actually filled with fat loss wisdom. 

When those visitors leave, they are essentially telling Google that your post wasn’t relevant to their search.

This will result in the search engine lowering your post’s rank in the results pages.

So, how do you write a great introduction that will serve as an effective gateway to the rest of your blog post?

Follow the rules below to help you write hypnotic blog post openings:

Grab the reader’s attention: 

You can do this in a number of ways, such as telling a joke, story, being empathetic, or gripping the reader with interesting facts or statistics. 

Just ensure that you stay relevant to the main purpose of the post. 

Establish what the post will cover:

Make sure you clearly explain the purpose of the post and how it’s going to address the reader’s problem or answer their question. 

This will give the readers a good reason to carry on reading, and it offers a connection to how you’re going to help them improve that particular aspect of their lives. 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Keep the first sentence short and snappy:

Studies have shown that short sentences increase content readability by up to 58%. With increased readability comes longer dwell times – and this translates to higher rankings in Google.

Restate the problem that the reader is experiencing: 

Show the reader that you understand exactly what they are struggling with to clarify that you can provide the solutions.

Use mini-stories and personal anecdotes:

These can work wonders to boost your authenticity and credibility factors. Humans are storytellers by nature, and there’s nothing like a good story to keep readers engaged.

Make your promise clear to your readers: 

Use emotive language to make it clear to readers how you’re going to help solve their problems. 

Include power words in your introduction, such as heartwarming, huge, intense, funniest, gargantuan, etc. to create an emotionally gripping narrative.

Here are a few more examples of power words you can use in your introduction: 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

(Image Source: Sumo.com)

Here are some powerful lead formulas that you can use to help you write outstanding intros: 

  1. The Impending Danger Lead: Introduce an evil villain and use emotion to grip the readers and hold their attention.
  2. The Quote Lead: Use a quote from a recognizable author or influencer within your niche. Make sure it’s relevant to your topic. 
  3. The Counterintuitive Lead: In your opening paragraph, present a solution that goes against the grain.
  4. The Shock Value Lead: Use an unexpected fact or a jaw-dropping statistic in your lead paragraph to get readers hooked.
  5. Pop Quiz Lead: Provide a list of choices and set it up so there can only be a couple of outcomes.
  6. The Empath Lead: Focus on letting readers know that they are not alone. You understand exactly how they feel because you have been in their shoes.
  7. The Storytelling Lead: Draw readers in with an intriguing tale. This could be a true story or a metaphorical one. It doesn’t matter, so long as it is relevant to your topic. 
  8. The “Call Out” Lead: If your readers have bad habits that keep them from achieving their goals, then don’t be afraid to call them out. 
  9. The “Get Right To It” Lead: This type of lead is a no-fluff, “I’m not going to waste your time”-type of lead where you establish your article’s premise right away. 

It doesn’t really matter which of these you choose to start with. It can be a quote, question, a bold, audacious statement, or whatever else makes sense for your blog post. 

But whatever you choose, make it count because if you don’t hook your readers and reel them in immediately, you will lose them – most likely forever. 

Step #6: Pack Value in the Body of Your Content

Naturally, this part is where you will want to invest the majority of your time. The body of your blog post is the meat of the article. 

This is what will back up your post’s main topic or argument. It’s important to get this part right; otherwise, you’re going to be all over the place and leave readers confused. 

Not all posts will neatly fit into numbered processes or three-point arguments. 

You need to consider exactly what you want to say and how you’re going to say it in a way that your audience will understand it clearly. 

One of the best ways to organize the body of your content is to use a bullet list. You can then write the body using the bullet points as the main sections. 

If you completed your article outline correctly, this part should already be done, and you’ll just be filling in the blanks. 

Simply turn the bullet points into subheadings and fill in all the information to back up your argument. 

Think of your blog post as the road, and these bullet points will be the street signs that lead your readers all the way to the end.

Here are some quick tips to help you write dynamic body content:

Be Ridiculously Generous

A lot of bloggers worry that they give too much away within their blog posts. 

After all, the end goal is to get readers to buy their products or sign up for paid coaching calls, and so on. 

They tend to hold back, their advice barely skimming the surface. 

But, the fact is, if you are not generous with readers in your blog posts, chances are they will not receive a good impression of your paid coaching or products. 

So don’t hold back. Help them to fully work through their problems. Give them powerful advice and complete solutions within your content. 

If you wow them with your generosity, you make it more likely that they will stick around, become loyal readers – and ultimately, paying customers.

This post you’re reading is a good example of what I’m talking about. At 10,000 words, this is basically a textbook on how to write blog posts! 

It’s a value-packed resource that readers will want to bookmark and come back to again and again. 

Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t still be insanely generous with a thoughtful 1,000-word post, because you absolutely can.

Provide Actionable Advice

Make sure that your readers can easily implement the solutions you provide. 

They should be able to see an immediate result or benefit from the advice you’re giving them. 

This will greatly amplify the perceived value of your content and keep your readers coming back for more.

Hit the Right Emotional Buttons

Emotion is important when writing blog posts, and you need to learn how to hit the right emotional hot buttons. 

However, you should balance it up with ration because readers also need logic. This is particularly true if you promise them a sensational benefit or result.

Infuse Your Writing With Your Personality

Don’t be afraid to show your personality. If this is your first time writing a blog post, you may not be sure exactly what type of writing voice you should use. 

Just try to be yourself and write in a conversational tone – as if you’re advising a good friend.

Your unique writing voice may take some time to develop, but luckily, they are some things you can do to make the process go faster:

  1. Find Your Personality Power Words

Think of two words to describe your personality. Now brainstorm words or phrases that are associated or synonymous with these two words. 

Use these as your ‘personality power words’ and keep them in mind when you’re writing.

  1. Create an Imaginary Reader

Something else you can do to accelerate the process of developing your unique writing voice is to create an imaginary reader. 

Give them a name, and then write as if you are having a conversation with just that one person.

If you have already created buyer personas or customer avatars for your blog, simply pick one and address them in your writing. 

Bonus Tip: Yet another great way to help you.writing in your own unique voice is to use a voice to text tool like Dragon Naturally Speaking. 

With this software, you don’t need to physically type out your blog posts. Simply dictate your post, and it will spell out your words with remarkable accuracy and speed.

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

End Your Main Content Powerfully

In the same way that you want your introduction and conclusion to grab readers, you also want the main content body to begin and end powerfully. 

Of course, your entire post should contain great content. 

But, say you’re offering seven ways to get a specific result, you might want to use the absolute best tips at the start and the end of your post. 

The first one will serve to capture the attention of your readers, and the last one will leave them with a feeling of satisfaction. 

If, on the other hand, your tips successively decline in value, readers might feel like your blog post is deflating. 

You can be sure that their excitement will deflate along with it. 

What you want is for readers to be left feeling pumped when they arrive at the end of your post.

Step #7: Write a Solid Close

As you grow your writing skills, you will subconsciously develop your own mental protocol for closing your posts. 

Some writers like to end with a positive outlook and inspire their readers to action. 

Others like to ask questions at the conclusion. 

Yet others prefer to share a bonus tip as their final interaction. 

It doesn’t matter how you decide to end your posts, as long as you end strong.

Here are some techniques to help you close effectively:

Use Urgency to Give Your Readers a Reason to Act

Highlight the big benefit or your ultimate promise. 

Remind them what they stand to gain if they take immediate action on your advice.

Reemphasize the Main Message of Your Blog Post

Whatever you used in your lead, make sure you close with it. 

For instance, if you shared a funny story or anecdote, make sure you mention that again in your close. 

If you led with a particular emotion – maybe you talked about the specific problem the reader is having – make sure you talk about that again in your close.

Be Motivational and Inspirational

When it comes to getting people to take action, positivity and optimism trump fear every time. 

So be inspiring, be your reader’s cheerleader, and show them that you believe in them.

Use a Conversation Activator at the End

Ask a question that gives your readers a nudge and encourages them to engage and leave a comment on your blog post.

Step #8: Add a Clear Call to Action

Any reader that makes it to the end of your blog post is primed. They wouldn’t have stayed that long if they didn’t like your content. 

They like you, and they trust you. Now is the time to tell them what to do next. 

This is an opportunity you should never waste. Insert a clear call to action to the end of every blog post you write. 

Make sure your call to action stands out and is easily distinguishable. 

What is it that you want your readers to do? 

  • Leave a comment?
  • Read another post on your blog?
  • Purchase your product? 
  • Share your post on social media? 
  • Follow you on Twitter?
  • Sign up for your blog newsletter?

Make it VERY CLEAR what you would like them to do. 

If your content is great, most readers will be happy to share it or leave a comment. 

If you have an awesome product with a clear benefit to them, most readers will be eager to purchase it. 

But, to get them to do any of that, you will need to ASK.

Step #9: Proofread and Edit Your Blog Post

Your next step is to edit, proof, and correct any grammar or spelling mistakes in your post. 

Editing your blog post is essential because if your content doesn’t provide the searcher with a smooth reading experience, they will lose attention very quickly and bail. 

Errors in grammar are one of the fastest ways to kill a blogger’s credibility – and traffic. So you will need to revise your content carefully, and repeat as needed. 

Once you put in your draft, take the time to look it over, and start with fixing any glaring mistakes. 

For instance, it may become clear that section “C” should come before section “B,” and if that is the case, go ahead and rearrange the sections so that they make more sense. 

Also, fix any awkward sentence construction and incorrect grammar as you go along. 

Listed below are just a few examples of the most common mistakes people make when writing:

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Blogging and Writing Web Copy

  1. You’re vs. Your
  2. There vs. Their
  3. Its vs. It’s
  4. Effect vs. Affect
  5. The Dangling Participle

Even I sometimes have to stop and mentally sort some of these out to get them right.

Although a run-on sentence or a stray comma typically won’t have a dramatic consequence, some errors will simply make you look dumb, such as this dangling participle example from SmartBlogger. 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Once you’ve given your draft a once-over, the real editing work begins!

When editing your blog post, you have three options available to you:

Option 1: Do-It-Yourself

If you’re editing your post yourself, it’s a good idea to take a break and step away from the article and then come back to it after a day or so with fresh eyes.

One of the best ways to self edit your blog post is to read it out loud. Doing this will help you see if your writing flows well. 

This is a trick that many writers are taught in workshops. Basically, it means that if a piece sounds awkward when you read it out loud, it’s probably going to sound awkward in your reader’s mind. 

Reading the post aloud will also help you catch most of the issues that I’ve listed above. 

In particular, it will help you catch things like:  

  • Run-on sentences
  • Choppy rhythm
  • Contrived sentences
  • Wordy bottlenecks
  • Industry jargon
  • … and much more.

So, check for these things as you read, and if you find yourself having trouble with the flow of a particular sentence, simply re-work it until it sounds right.

Option 2: Ask a Colleague or Friend

Your second option is to have someone else read your post and provide you with feedback.

This is something you might consider if you’re new to blogging and haven’t yet acquired the necessary skills to edit your own writing. 

Asking someone else to check your work is not an admission of weakness, but it shows a commitment to making your writing as strong as possible. 

It’s great if you have someone with editing experience that can proofread your work. Go ahead and show them your draft. 

If not, simply ask a colleague or friend to look your piece over. They don’t necessarily have to have experience with the subject – the important thing here is that you get an impartial set of eyes to look at your work. 

A third-party is more likely to spot poor flow and logical loopholes that you may not be able to notice on your own. 

Also, they will be able to tell you if you used a lot of industry jargon or complex words that make your post hard to understand.

Here are some things that you might ask them to share their thoughts on: 

  • Does your piece flow well?
  • Does it make sense structurally? 
  • Did you manage to put your points across well?
  • Is your position on a controversial topic clear?
  • Does the article prompt the reader to challenge any existing beliefs?
  • Is the advice you are offering valid and worth following?

Option 3: Use Tools to Help You

There is a quick way to edit your work using tools like Hemingway and Grammarly, which allow you to check your writing for mistakes. 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Just remember, save the editing for after you’ve written your post. Don’t edit yourself as you write as that only slows you down.

In fact, if you’re using this type of software, you may want to turn it off while you’re writing to avoid distractions. 

Editing tools will help you simplify big words or industry jargon, so your writing is easier to consume. 

They will help you write as if you’re speaking to a friend. For instance, instead of saying a word like “feasibility,” the tool might suggest using “chance” in its place.  

In addition to correcting spelling and grammar mistakes, you will also be able to analyze your content to see if your readers will be able to easily understand it. 

Tips to Keep in Mind When Editing

Avoid Repetition

As you are editing, make sure to avoid repetition, saying the same words again and again. 

There are a few things that are more jarring to readers than the repetition of words and phrases. 

As you’re reading through your blog post draft, look for words or phrases that can be replaced with synonyms.

Get Rid of Crutch Words

All writers have “crutch” words or phrases. These are words that no matter how hard they might try, writers simply can’t help, including them in their work. 

Mine is the word “that.” 

Find out what yours is and be vigilant to ensure that it does not appear in your content more often than it should.

If It Doesn’t Sound Great, Cut It!

Writing a blog post is hard. But editing it is even harder. 

A lot of new writers mistakenly assume that the process of editing simply involves fixing a few grammatical errors or striking through sentences and words that don’t work. 

Yes, grammar and sentence structure are both extremely important, but editing involves so much more. 

It’s about seeing your written piece as a whole and making it cohesive – even if it means sacrificing a lot of words that you took hours to write.

So, if something needs to be cut out or adapted at the last minute, do it. 

And Don’t Worry About Being Perfect

It’s important to take the time to ensure that you put out only your best work. Whatever you publish in your blog, you should be proud to have your name on it. 

But don’t let that stop you from moving on to the next step. Your work doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. If you’re 80% happy with your post, it’s good enough.

On to the next step!

Step #10: Optimize Your Post for Readers

Your blog post is written and edited. It’s time to optimize it so that you give your audience the absolute best reading experience. 

The better optimized your post is, the more engagement and social shares you will get. 

How do you optimize your post for readers? 

By making it as visually appealing as possible. 

Visual presentation matters. As humans, our brains process written information visually and spatially, not just textually. 

No one likes to read an unattractive blog post, no matter how grammatically correct it is. 

Even if you write the best, most fascinating content on the web, your readers will think it’s boring if you don’t break it up into easily digestible chunks. 

That’s why it’s vital to make your post look great by using a variety of formatting techniques and incorporating different types of visual media.

Here’s an example of what NOT to do: 

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Now, let’s talk about what you should do: 

Add eye-catching visuals to make your content flow better, so it’s as easy as possible for readers to digest.

The right formatting will also help make your post more engaging. Readers will find themselves being effortlessly transported from one point to another, all the way to the end of your post. 

So if your post looks like a giant wall of text right now, use the following tips to break the content up, make it look great, and improve its flow.

Use Headers and Subheaders

This is the first step in breaking up large blocks of text. 

If you did your content outline correctly, this is already taken care of in your post. You have your headers and subheaders perfectly organized to guide readers through your content.

Now you can take the time to make sure that everything is formatted well and styled consistently. 

Increase Your Font Size and Spacing

Doing this will help make your post a lot easier to read. 

Pick a simple, readable font type, like times, Ariel, or Georgia. If you are using 11 or 12 font, your text is probably already easy to read. 

If you’re using eight, nine, or 10, you should probably increase it. 

Some bloggers have also found that increasing the size of the text on their blogs also helps to increase the time readers spend on site.

Shorten Paragraphs

You need to keep your paragraphs short. Huge blocks of text tend to intimidate readers. 

Large paragraphs may be alright in other kinds of content, but blogs are different. They are designed to deliver highly-focused information in a very short space of time. 

So keep your paragraphs short and sweet, no longer than 3 or 4 sentences. Ideally, you want just two to three lines of text. 

Do your best to keep each individual idea isolated to its own short little paragraph.

Break Up Long Sentences

Keep paragraphs short and sentences even shorter. 

Readers get lost in a long sentence, and at the end of it, they find themselves panting with mental exhaustion. 

So you should try and keep your sentences as short as you can. 

As one blogger put it, reading a sentence is similar to holding your mental breath. You’ll only last so long before passing out. 

With shorter sentences, readers are taking lots of ‘breaths’ – and that helps to keep them interested.

Add Bullet Points

These days people don’t really read blog posts. They just scan them to quickly find the most important information before deciding whether to read the rest of the post or not. 

Subheadings help a lot in this regard, but bullet lists are also great for making your content easy to skim. 

So use them to highlight important points and make it easy on your readers’ eyes as they work their way down your post. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing bullet points: 

  • Express clear benefits: Your bullets should serve as mini-headlines
  • Keep bullets symmetrical: Just one or two lines for each should work 
  • Avoid clutter: Don’t include entire paragraphs within your bullets

Remember, bullets don’t have to be complete sentences. They can work like headlines, so you can make them short, specific, and punchy. 

Add Images

Images help you explain complex topics more easily. They make your blog post flow better, and they make awesome visual punchlines. 

Also, the human brain processes images much faster than text, which means that you’re likely to get more engagement by adding captivating images to your posts. 

There are plenty of places where you can find high-quality royalty-free images for your posts, including:

  • Shutterstock.com
  • Pexel.com
  • Pixabay.com
  • Unsplash.com
  • FreeImages.com
  • …and many more. 

free_images

Stock images are great when you are starting out, but they are not very personal. 

As you become more experienced in blogging, you will want to avoid using generic images and start taking your own photos or using tools like Canva to create your own unique images. 

In addition to attractive images, you can also use:

  • Screenshots
  • Graphs
  • Infographics 
  • GIFs
  • Memes

You can even use hand-drawn explanations to get the point across to your readers. Simply take a picture once you’re done, and then upload it to your blog. 

Basically, use anything you can for explaining processes or giving additional information to your readers. 

One thing to keep in mind when using screenshots is to always use a defined border around them, so they don’t look as if they’re just floating in space. 

Also, make sure you keep your image border styles consistent across all your blog posts. 

Choose a Featured Image

Choose one image that you’ll use as a featured image. It should be relevant to your post and visually appealing. 

A featured image is very important because social networks treat posts with images more prominently. 

In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images on social media gets up to 94% more views

This means that the right image will make all the difference to your success if you plan on promoting your post on social media. 

Include a Video, if Possible

If you can, embed a video in your blog post. 

This doesn’t have to be one that you made, but you can simply choose a video on YouTube that helps explain your topic and makes it easier for your readers to understand your point. 

Including a video in your post comes with a multitude of benefits, such as boosting engagement and increasing the amount of time readers spend on your page.

video_stats

(Image Source: Sikich.com

Each of the elements listed above makes your post more visually appealing. 

They also serve to help you arrange your ideas in a way that helps the reader to easily absorb the information, and keeps them connected. 

Step #11: Optimize Your Blog Post for Search 

You’ve worked hard to write, edit, and format your blog post. But, all that work will be for nothing if no one ever finds it online. 

Your final step is to optimize your post for SEO. This will help Google find it and serve it to readers searching for the solutions and answers provided in your post. 

In the blogging world, search engine optimization can be tricky. It’s important to get it right, But one thing you should never do is to put SEO over your reader’s experience. 

The goal here is for you to find the right balance. 

Below are some of the most important SEO ranking factors that you should optimize your blog post for:

Add a Proper Page Title

The majority of blogging software uses the title of your blog post is the page title. 

Your page title is the most crucial element for on-page SEO. If you followed our blog post writing formula so far, then you already have a title that naturally includes the keyword and/or phrases that your target audience will find interesting. 

If your primary keyword doesn’t naturally fit into the title, don’t stress too much about it. It’s alright to leave it out. 

The same goes for headers – if you can, include your primary and secondary keywords in the headers. 

But always remember to include keywords naturally and keep headlines short and descriptive.

Add a Proper Meta Description

The meta description is the summary that appears below the page title of your post on the search results page. 

It is an important aspect of your blog post that has an impact on the number of people that click through to read your blog post. 

It’s always a good idea to write your meta-description soon after writing your blog post. Ideally, start your meta-description with a verb, like “read,” “learn,” or “discover,” and make it 150-160 characters long.

Optimize for Focused Keywords

As previously mentioned, this isn’t something that you should obsess over. 

There isn’t a magic number to hit when it comes to including keywords. But, most bloggers recommend that you aim for roughly 2% keyword density in your posts. 

A tool like Yoast SEO will help you make your blog post keyword-friendly without impacting the reader’s experience.

How to Write a Blog Post: 11 Steps [Complete Guide for 2020]

Use Related Keyword Variations

Instead of trying to fit your main keyword into places where it doesn’t naturally belong, you can use related keywords and phrases instead. 

LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, are keywords or phrases that Google and other search engines see as semantically related to your topic. 

For instance, if you’re writing a post about stock trading, LSI keywords might include stock markets, trading strategy, swing trading, trading courses, price chart, fundamental analysis, and so on. 

These types of keywords play a very important factor in helping you improve your blog’s search engine optimization. 

For instance, let’s say that you’re writing a blog post on “how to write great blog posts.” 

Your main keyword might be “writing great posts.”

If you’re writing a short, 300-word article, then you’ll probably be able to use the keyword once or twice in a natural way. You may even add a couple of variations in there. 

But what if you’re writing a 5,000-word mega guide? 

In that case, you’ll certainly need to come up with a lot of different keywords that are related to your main one. 

Here are some examples of variations on the keyword phrase “writing great posts”: 

  • “how to write a killer post”
  • “creating great posts”
  • “crafting better posts”
  • “tips for writing persuasive content”
  • “a formula for an effective blog post”
  • “the structure of your post is important”
  • … and so on. 

The more content you’re writing, the more keyword variety you can use. 

And the more variety, the better your content will perform in the search results. 

Remember, Google doesn’t just deliver results based on exact matches to the user’s query. It also delivers results based on semantic relation. 

That’s why, for the most part, longer blog posts tend to outperform shorter ones as they allow you to leverage the power of LSI (latent semantic indexing) and longtail keywords. 

With a wider spread of keywords, you create a more effective matrix that raises your potential to rank high in search.

Embed Internal Links to Your Other Content

Yet another important SEO factor is to include links to your other content within your blog posts.

If this is your very first post, then, of course, you won’t have anything else to link to. 

Instead, you can link to valuable external resources that will provide your readers with additional information on the subject. 

For the next post that you write on your blog, make sure you link it to this one – if it’s related. 

All your blog posts should be interlinked. Otherwise, the search engines won’t be able to find them if they are just floating in a vacuum.

Choose Anchor Text Carefully

While we’re on the subject of internal linking, selecting the anchor text carefully is important. 

Anchor text refers to the words on your post that you use to link to another page. 

Choose keywords related to the page (on your site or other websites) that you want to link to. 

Search engines consider the anchor text when it comes to ranking your post for certain keywords. 

However, if you link to the same page multiple times within a single post, you only have to worry about keywords within the first link. 

This is because search engines rely more on the first link than they do on subsequent anchor text instances.

Link to Valuable External Resources

Within your blog post, you should include some links to other related websites and resources that your readers will find useful. 

This can be extremely helpful for search engine optimization – as well as for your visitors. 

Say you are writing a blog post about “How to include coffee in cooking.” You want to add a bit of information about the different types of coffee, but you don’t have anything about that on your website. 

If there’s an external resource that you can link to, it will provide additional value for your readers pertaining to the different types of coffee they can use for your recipe. 

Linking to that external page from within your blog post will help your readers find extra information. Still, you also give Google a signal that you’re linking out to other authority websites within your niche. 

This can help greatly with your rankings.

These are just some of the most important search engine optimization factors that you should pay attention to. 

For more details, you should check out other posts on our blog to help you get your on and off-page optimization on point before you hit publish.

Putting It All Together

Whenever I sit down to write a blog post, I make sure that I follow each of these 11 elements, using them as steps to help me craft great content every time. 

Here’s how I usually blog:

  • Step 1: I plan my blog post (or pick an idea from my idea bank)
  • Step 2: I do my research and check my facts
  • Step 3: I create an outline for my blog post and include as much information as possible
  • Step 4: I come up with a great title (if I don’t have one already)
  • Step 5: I write a compelling introduction to make readers eager for more
  • Step 6: I write the body of the content – taking time to include as much value as I can
  • Step 7: I write a powerful conclusion that will inspire and motivate my readers to action
  • Step 8: I add a clear call to action to the end of my post
  • Step 9: I proofread and edit my work (usually the next day when my mind is fresh)
  • Step 10: I format my post and add images, graphs, videos, etc. 
  • Step 11: I follow my checklist for optimizing the post for search engines

 

Finally, I hit publish!

When all the above steps are done, I hit the publish button secure in the knowledge that I have done everything possible to create a high-quality, well-optimized post that is likely to engage my audience and rank high in the SERPs (search engine results pages). 

You can look at some of the most popular articles on my blog to see how I structured them:

How to Write Better Blog Posts

Do You Need to Be a Good Writer to Blog?

How Many Blog Posts Should Your Site Have Before Going Live?

 

Even if you happen to be a self-proclaimed terrible writer or spent weeks trying to come up with just one post for your blog, this post will help you start producing high-quality posts for your blog on a consistent basis.

If you follow the process outlined here each time you publish on your blog, you will struggle much less to come up with amazing content. 

Although writing in this way may feel a bit stiff at first, with practice, many of these tactics will become muscle memory, and you’ll be able to complete them without even thinking about them. 

Eventually, everything will start to feel normal, and the constraints will lead to greater creativity levels.