The Moment: You’ve thought up a concept for a new blog, you’ve built your site with WordPress, you’ve even followed the latest design trends to make certain that everything looks fantastic.
The Problem: Now you have to start writing blog posts, but you aren’t sure how to generate written content that’s powerful and will draw attention to your site.
The Solution: Follow these strategies. They’ll get you in the right headspace to produce quality content and the know-how you’ll need to keep generating content for a long time coming.
Part One: Getting Ready To Write
Just as important as actually writing your post is the way you prepare to write your post. Your computer needs the right tools, you need to set up in the most conducive environment for work, and you’ll need to focus your efforts to get results.
Let’s begin with software. There are tons of word processors out there, but, since you’re going to be writing content for the web, it’s advisable that you use a program that lets you write directly in markdown. The following are but a few of the options available to you:
- Markdown Pad 2
Next, you need to decide on your workspace. You need to be comfortable to get inspired; there are likely just as many approaches to achieving this goal as there are writers in the world. We’ll cover a few of the most common setups you might want to give a try.
One is the traditional office setup. Computer at the desk, quiet mood music in the background, and the door shut to block out distraction from the pets and family members. If you aren’t the type that can think at a desk, though, you might try setting up on the couch with your laptop, or take a trip to the coffee shop and find a quiet booth. Wherever you decide to work, you should feel at peace and be able to think—that is the overarching goal.
If you want to get creative, you might try consulting the internet for inspiration. There are plenty of writers out there who share their setups, and you can easily take a tip or two from them about where, when, and how you should find your perfect workstation.
Part Two: Selecting A Post Style/Topic
It’s your blog. You can write about anything you want, right? Unfortunately, that level of freedom can paralyze neophytes into not choosing anything at all. They’ll stare at a blank page for hours, racking their brain, asking the same question over and over, “what should I write?” No need to despair. It’s just time to do a small amount of brainstorming.
If you’ve got a blog with a similar theme to some other sites out there, the first thing you’ll need to see what your competitors are up to. Not only to gain inspiration, however. You’ll also want to make certain that you’re not writing the exact same things that they are. For example’s sake, let’s say you’ve started a blog about power tools, and Tool Nerds just put out a post on using a multimeter to test a car battery. They’ve beaten you to the punch on that particular topic. You’ll want to avoid that one and come up with something else tool related that’s providing value to your potential reader.
What to do instead? You’ll want to employ a two-fold approach. First, decide what kind of post you’ll be doing, then create a mind map (where applicable) to help you reach a specific topic. Blog posts can take on many forms, but when you’re just getting familiarized with writing them, you’ll generally want to stick to one of six things: News Analysis, Lists, Q&A, Stories, Reviews, How-To’s/Tips.
1. News Analysis
News Analysis posts operate off a simple concept (probably why they’re one of the most popular kinds of posts to write). Something in the news that’s related to the topic of your blog is increasing in popularity. Instead of rehashing the details of the story, though, you use your expert knowledge to provide insights about the news event. You might talk about the reasons why you believed it occurred, future ramifications, or tie the story back to your blog in some other way.
Just remember that you’ll need to be quick to capitalize on the story at the height of its popularity. Make sure you’re keeping up-date on the latest developments in your industry and do your keyword research to help predict what people want to hear about.
2: List Posts
Lists are another popular kind of post. You know the type, “Top 7 WordPress Plugins to Improve/Enhanced Your Clients”, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About X,” or “15 Reasons Why Y Is The Best/Worst Thing Ever.” These posts are sometimes seen as formulaic, but they’re great for breaking content into digestible bits that time-strapped readers are more likely to consume.
These posts are also fun for readers to share, so if you’re trying to do some short term audience boosting, this is one approach that will work well for propagating your content across social media. When selecting a topic and formulating your list structure, remember to use a catchy title, keep your entries concise, use lots of links, and keep the tone of the post fun.
3. Question & Answer Posts
Instead of spending a bunch of time thinking up a topic, you can solicit your audience for ideas. This works best when you already have a growing following on your blog, but you can still pull it off if you have a solid social media presence even if your blog is still getting its legs.
Again, the concept is simple. You have your audience pose you a question, then you answer it, long form, on your blog. Sometimes you might even get more questions than you bargained for, in which case, keep them on file just in case you’re hungry for ideas down the road.
You can also try switching the Q&A format up by posing a question to your audience instead of the other way around. You can make note of how your audience responds, then select some of the best answers you receive and go in-depth. Talk about how you might agree/disagree with a specific take your audience provides and offer friendly counterpoints to some of their arguments. Just be careful not to start a comment war by asking a question that’s too emotionally charged.
Here you can relate a personal story to engage your audience or to explore a specific concept. Stories can be a great way to illustrate what to do/what not to do in a certain situation, highlight a time you made a mistake and what you’d have done differently, or showcase something you did right and why it worked.
The most important thing you’ll have to remember with relaying stories on your blog is that, even more so than any other kind of post, they have to be interesting. Audiences will click away from a boring story in a heartbeat, so make sure to hook them within that first paragraph.
These are practical kinds of posts where you take a product, service, piece of media, or just about anything else you can think of and give your honest opinions on it. You can talk openly about what you like, don’t like, would improve, etc.
One of the tricks to successful reviews is finding a voice and providing information that is accurate/useful. Most individuals tend to trust reviewers whose opinions and outlooks generally line up with their own. By developing a consistent voice, you’ll build that connection with your core audience and have them coming back for more content.
6: How-To/Tip Posts
Much like this post itself, How-To Posts, Tip Posts, and Guides are meant to provide readers with information on getting things accomplished. Inject your insights, experience, and a bit of humor to explain to your audience how they can reach their goals, whatever those might be.
A Word On Mind Mapping
After selecting how you want to style your blog post, you’ll need to narrow down a specific topic. For News Analysis, this might be as simple as reading the papers and following what’s going on in the world. For the other kinds of posts, though, you might need to employ a bit of additional thought to generate a good topic.
Mind mapping is one of a blogger’s best friends in this situation. Just grab some paper, start thinking about possible topics, then let your thoughts flow. Ask yourself questions to help prompt more ideas. Keep branching out as those questions/answers become more narrow, and in the end, you should be able to come up with your fair share of blog titles and topics to write about.
Part Three: Getting Down To Business
With your writing space set and your topic decided, you’re ready to tackle the (sometimes) arduous task of writing your post. It might feel intimidating staring at a blank page, wondering how you’re going to fill it up with meaningful words. Thankfully, even this step has some basic rules you can follow to make the job easier. Your post will need a few rudimentary elements to bring it all together: a title, an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Remember that your title should entice readers to click on your post. You can generate the appropriate level of interest by using the title to pose a question, making the title personal, using emotional “power words,” being humorous, making outlandish claims, or even just stirring up controversy. Whichever approach you take, remember to follow that title up with a strong introductory paragraph.
Your intro should grab readers and pull them into the article. Whatever you do, don’t make it boring. Be bold, be daring, and be interesting. You could start off by posing a question, quote a popular saying that applies to the broader concept of the post, throw out some statistics, or start with an emotional tale.
Then you can get to the meat of your blog post. Remember to organize your points in a way that is rational and have your information flow in an orderly fashion. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short when you can. When stating factual claims, try to back them up with a citation. If you have one, and remember to do your research. You should try to see a topic from as many angles as you can manage. If you’re putting forth an argument, especially a controversial one, be prepared to understand and refute claims from the other side of that argument.
In conclusion, you can summarize the main points of your post. If so you choose, but there are other ways to tackle this section. You could make the conclusion a call to action, something to persuade readers to engage in a specific task. You might also use your conclusion to offer advice or suggestions on further reading. Experiment with different approaches to determine which will work best with your audience.
Once you’ve got your post written, remember to proofread it and correct any errors you find. With that finished, you’re ready to post it, promote it, then move on to your next powerful blog entry.
And with that, you now have the foundation for writing a stellar blog post that will captivate your readers. Try a variety of the approaches we covered to find which mesh best with your personal style. Gain inspiration and ideas by reading the work of other bloggers that you find interesting, and remember that it will take some time to develop your skills as a blogger. With consistent work and continued effort towards improvement, though, you’ll be churning out your own quality blog posts like butter in no time.