Do you ever find yourself staring at a blank screen, unsure of how to begin your next blog post? Do you already know what you want to convey to your audience, but struggle to articulate your ideas in an organised way?
I know that feeling. I’ve been writing blog posts professionally since 2009, and, I must admit, even I feel stuck sometimes.
That’s why I created this guide. My goal is to guide you, step by step, in the creation of engaging blog posts and share with you some very valuable writing and editing tips, no matter if you’re a beginner, or you’ve been writing for years.
The first step is crucial to unlock your writing, so make sure you don’t skip it.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Before you start writing a blog post, prepare
I know it’s very tempting to start writing and unload all our ideas onto the screen, like we’re afraid we’ll forget them.
But before you even put your hands over the keyboard, there are some questions you need to answer if you want to succeed with your writing.
I always do this. I copy and paste the following questions the on top of the page, and answer them in blue. They’ll be our compass:
- What’s the objective of this article? What do you want to achieve?
- Who will read it? Who’s the audience?
- What’s the main idea you want to deliver? You can even write the title (or the first version of it)
- Why should they care?
- Think about the anecdotes you could include. Your readers love stories.
- Create a structure. Think about the sections/topics or subtitles you’d like to include.
Step 2: Create an outline
Now that we know where we want to go, it’s time to draw the map — the outline or structure of our blog post.
Below is a basic structure you can follow. Add the ideas you want to include in each section.
It should grab the reader’s attention, and be relevant to the content of the article.
This is the first thing the reader will see and it has to be enticing enough to make them continue reading the rest.
The goal is to let the readers know WHY they should read this article. This is the hook to the rest of the article. Present the pain points, set expectations, introduce a solution…
Now it’s time to develop the topic. The rhythm is vital to keep the reader engaged till the end: alternate short and long sentences, add short paragraphs, bold letters, lists, images… Below you’ll find some writing tips.
We’ll introduce some dividers to make the article visually lighter and also attract the readers’ attention. This will add visual impact and help readers ski through the article.
Why did you tell your reader this story? What’s the main idea you want them to take away?
CTA (Call To Action)
What should they do next? Click on a link? Write a comment? Share the article? Get in touch? Let them know.
Step 3. Write your blog post
And now is when the fun part begins — organising those ideas into sentences and paragraphs.
Here are some quick tips:
- Write freely, edit later: When starting your draft, focus on getting your ideas down on paper without worrying too much about perfection. Allow yourself to write freely, knowing that you can polish and refine your work during the editing phase.
- Write in a conversational tone: Make your writing relatable by adopting a conversational style that feels like you’re having a friendly chat with the reader.
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short: Avoid long, complex sentences and paragraphs. Break them up to improve readability and make your content more accessible.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists: Organise information using bullet points or numbered lists to make it easier for readers to grasp key points.
- Use bold letters: Highlight important words or phrases to draw attention to them.
- Provide valuable information: Ensure your content delivers value to your audience by providing useful tips, insights, or solutions to their problems.
- Use anecdotes and storytelling: Weave compelling narratives into your blog posts to engage readers on an emotional level. Stories can captivate attention, make information more memorable, and create a connection with your audience.
- Use metaphors and analogies: Analogies and metaphors help simplify complex ideas by comparing them to something more relatable. They can help readers grasp abstract concepts.
- Use visuals: Include relevant images, infographics, or videos to enhance your blog post and break up the text.
- Write with empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of your readers and anticipate their questions, concerns, and interests. Address their needs and provide solutions or guidance through your writing.
- Emphasise clarity over complexity: Aim for simplicity and clarity in your writing. Use plain language, avoid jargon, and explain complex concepts in a way that is easily understood by your target audience.
- Show, don’t tell: Instead of simply stating information, use vivid descriptions and sensory details to create a visual and immersive experience for your readers. Show them the details through your words.
- Incorporate data and statistics: Support your claims with credible data and statistics to add credibility and authority to your writing.
- Use strong and descriptive words: Choose vivid and specific words that paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind and evoke emotions.
- Inject humour (when appropriate): Humour can lighten the tone of your writing, make it more enjoyable, and create a memorable experience for your readers. However, be mindful of your audience and the context to ensure it aligns with your overall message.
- Infuse your writing with personality: Let your personality shine through your writing to establish a connection with your readers and make your content more memorable. Infuse your personality, opinions, and perspectives into your writing to make it distinctively yours.
- Use transitions: Smoothly transition between ideas and paragraphs using transitional phrases and words to maintain the flow of your writing.
- Be concise: Cut out unnecessary words and phrases to make your writing more concise and impactful.
- Use examples and case studies: Support your arguments with real-life examples and case studies to illustrate your points and make them more concrete.
The most important aspect of writing is to enjoy the process and to be authentic. Let your passion for the topic shine through, and your readers will connect with your content on a deeper level.
Step 4: After you write, edit
Now all your ideas are on the screen, it’s time to edit, this is a crucial part of the writing process.
After completing your draft, take a break before diving into the editing process. Distance yourself from the content for a while, so you can approach it with fresh eyes during the revision phase.
Here you have some tips on how to edit your blog post:
- Seek feedback: Share your work with trusted friends or colleagues, their perspectives can help you identify blind spots, improve your writing, and refine your ideas.
- Read aloud: Reading your work aloud can help you identify areas where the writing feels clunky or awkward. It also allows you to gauge the overall rhythm and flow of your content.
- Revise and polish: Review your draft for clarity, coherence, and flow. Cut out unnecessary words, rephrase awkward sentences, and ensure your message is effectively communicated.
- Remove unnecessary repetition: Avoid repeating the same information or ideas excessively. Review your content to eliminate redundant sentences or paragraphs that don’t contribute new insights.
- Assess logical flow and organization: Evaluate the overall structure of your blog post. Check if the content flows logically from one point to another and if the organization supports the intended message. Rearrange paragraphs or sections if necessary.
- Check for consistency: Maintain consistency in your writing style, tone, and formatting. Ensure that headings, subheadings, bullet points, and other formatting elements are uniform throughout your post.
- Eliminate wordiness: Trim down your sentences by removing redundant phrases or unnecessary modifiers. Make each word count and strive for concise, impactful writing.
- And, obviously, check grammar, spelling, and punctuation: Use proofreading tools, such as grammar checkers or spellcheckers, but don’t solely rely on them. Review your work manually for accuracy.
Remember, writing a compelling blog post is not so much about writing, but about planning and editing.
I hope this article helps you improve your writing skills and write engaging content that resonates with your audience.