Writing better blog articles means more traffic which tends to mean more sales or more deals. You should be able to look back a year from now and see a marked improvement in your writing, especially if you’re new to blogging.
Out of the hundreds of steps in the blogging world that you can implement to write a better blog post, these are the top 10 that I use.
1) Get out of your own way and write
Get started writing. Don’t overthink it and don’t try to chase perfection. Even if you’re not getting the phrases right, keep writing. Even as you’re researching, keeping adding content to your post, but in your own words. Let it flow.
When trying to write better blog posts, people tend to get caught up with trying to make their posts perfect from the get-go and this can cause them to go for long periods without writing/ posting because they want their posts to be perfect. Don’t get paralyzed by the anxiety of trying to write the best blog post.
If you’re aiming for 1,000 words, then write 1,000 plus words, shooting for at least 1,200 words and then edit the document. As you’re editing, make sure that it now sounds the way that you want it to sound and it doesn’t have any fluff. Once you’ve edited it and you’re happy with the phrasing and flow, start to cut out words to get it to 1,000 words.
Remove any unnecessary bits so that the blog post is tight and packed with quality content.
2) Write an outline i.e. plan the blog post
I covered this in my previous post on how to write your first blog post. Before you write the article, brainstorm and jot down the main points that you want the blog post to cover or what tone/ feel you want the blog to have.
A great way to draw readers in is to tell a story that’s relatable or funny. But consider your target audience and the topic you’re writing on. Humor used inappropriately can cost you some readers. Somber tones are good for academic articles such as medical journals.
As you’re writing keep the customer profile in mind and find out what pain points they may have on this topic. You can even go a step further and post questions as part of your research on Facebook groups, Quora or Reddit.
Based on the number of words you plan to write, if you’re writing a listicle, you’ll be able to calculate how many subheadings you should have. A 1000 word blog post would optimally have about 5 subheadings. Once you know how many subheadings your blog post will have then you can target a specific number of words beneath each subheading. Minus the intro and the conclusion, you’ll probably write about 180 words per subheading. You don’t have to stick to that number of words per subheading. It’s more important to post an article with good flow.
If you’re writing a 10 point listicle then write the main heading and each of the 10 subheadings. This makes it so much easier for you because now you know what you have to write on and you’re just filling in under each title.
If you’re writing a fictional or creative non-fiction story then write a summary of what the story is about. Write down the characters, their personalities and their roles in the story.
I go as far as picturing what images would work best with the blog post and I can even write down searchable names for them so that when I’m done writing, I look for them and include them as part of the article.
Writing better blog content requires a lot of reading especially for topics that you have no knowledge on. I may first spend my first couple of hours/ day reading on the chosen topic. If you’ll take a look at my laptop while I’m writing an article, I have so many tabs open concerning the topic that I’m writing on because I’m trying to gather information and make sure that what I’m writing is accurate and valuable to the reader.
I had a client that once asked me to write on quartz countertops and he gave me a bunch of long tail keywords that were difficult to include in the article. I knew nothing about quartz countertops. In fact, I had never even heard of them.
I spent my first day reading and picking blocks of info from different sites, that I thought was relevant, and pasting it in a Word document. The next day, I was able to start writing on the topic and now I can help you decide when choosing between marble, granite and quartz countertops.
4) Write catchy titles
Catchy titles are what make your readers click on your link and open your blog posts. Let’s look at an example of a good headline.
“A Little Mistake That Cost a Farmer $3,000 a Year”
If I was a farmer, I would quickly click on this blog post to find out what that mistake was and how to avoid doing the same. But if the post had been Farming mistakes not to make, it would have less appeal and your target market readers may not click it.
Think of a headline like the packaging for an item. Most of us, before we know that a particular brand is great, we choose items based on the packaging. It’s also like a date. You will probably choose to meet someone from an online dating site based heavily on their looks. Their character and conversation skills will determine whether there’ll be subsequent dates. Your title works the same way; it attracts your customer and your content keeps the reader hooked.
Research on what your target readers are looking for concerning that topic, the phrases that they’re keying in in their search and use this input to come up with a catchy headline.
5) Use Long-tail keywords
I covered keywords in this post and my stand on them. Once you’ve mastered keywords, I would advise you to learn to incorporate long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases of about three words or more. They are more specific than keywords because they are derived from phrases readers use when searching to buy something such as where to buy thin strap swimming costumes below $40 in Austin, Texas.
Because of their specificity, they tend to have less competition than single keywords and convert more readers to buyers. You can have multiple long tail keywords but they all have to center around one topic which is thin strap swimming costumes in this case.
6) Include images
I love reading a blog post with images. Don’t you? It makes the article easier to read and it can also emphasize the message in the title when a reader comes across your post online. Your featured image can help convince the reader to click on the blog post link.
Images can also be used to drive a point home such as graphs. They’re also great for comic relief, especially GIFs and memes. Pixabay.com and pexels.com are great sources for free pictures.
7) Make sure your post can convert to sales
If you’re selling something like a course in your blog post, make sure that your article is providing a solution for a pain point that your reader is experiencing. You might be trying to get them to order healthy meals from your business.
In your post, educate them on the type of the nutrition they need in order to achieve their fitness goals, explain they type of meals you make and how good they taste, let them know that they get increasing discounts the more orders they make. Include testimonials of people that ate your meals and followed your meal plans and by doing so, were able to achieve their fitness goals. Make the reader feel like they’ll miss out if they don’t buy your meals.
Do not write on things that have nothing to do with the title. Do not mislead readers. Give them what they came for. And make sure that your post has a call to action several times with a link or button where they can easily and quickly make the purchase. The purchase button should be easy to spot.
Give an offer with a deadline and tell readers that once they miss the deadline, the price may double. Even if you don’t have an offer, setting a deadline or a limited number of items for sale will create an urgency to purchase.
8) Revise the article
Once you’re done writing the article, if the blog post is for a client, make sure that you’ve incorporated their requests such as types of keywords. Check keyword density, improve titles, correct spelling mistakes, remove fluff and get the phrasing correct.
Take a break and then make the final revision. Have you ever made something and then you kept trying to perfect it at that moment and just made it worse? I remember in school during art class, I would keep trying to perfect a sketch and what had started out well ended up looking like garbage. In fact, at that moment, it was almost as if I couldn’t see the sketch clearly.
Whenever I would take a break and come back, I would realize that it needed very little touch up or none at all.
The same goes for revising your articles. Take some time off from reading and editing your post. When you come back, your mind will be clearer and you’ll be able to revise quicker and catch the spelling mistakes. This way, most of your final posts will have none to very few mistakes. Always aim to deliver or publish error free content. It makes you look professional and the client will want to continue hiring you because they don’t need to go through your work.
Mistakes can also put readers off from your writing so make sure your final drafts are error free.
9) Have the right attitude
I read Walter Akolo’s newsletters, I follow his blog, and I follow him on social media. He posts a lot of testimonials from his writing students. This is a small section from an email that one of his students sent him that she allowed him to use in a newsletter:
‘So the client said, we wanted a native speaker …” “…but we like your profile so we will give you a try.” Deep down I was like, “I haven’t even impressed you guys. Wait and see.”
The job was fixed. $20 dollars for 1000 words. They (it’s a whole lot of editors who have to go through work before approving anything) tell me, “We will pay $15.” I said to myself, “Okay, but I will write an article so damn good, you will give me my $5 dollars back.
I couldn’t wait to hear from them. So I submit and wait. I wanted them to know there are experts in Kenya too, in Africa. How dare they cut $5 just because…
And sure the response came, “The article was very well written! We will be sending you more work. We will also pay the $5 dollars like earlier indicated.” I’m still working with them. I’m still in the oven as I’m still honing IT writing, am sharpening my axe. I also have several other clients like you’ll see on my profile.’
Her whole email had so much oomph and zeal that it was infectious and I read it with a smile and at times I burst into laughter. This is the kind of attitude you need when you’re writing. You need to believe that you can write good articles. Write to impress. Wow not only the reader but yourself as well.
10) Keep reading
If you want to hone your craft, you need to make a habit of reading a lot. Register for newsletters, do courses on writing, blogging, SEO, copywriting, etc, and you should have a couple of blogs that you follow to improve your writing.
Not only should you read on writing better blog content but you should also read on the topics that you write on. Become a guru on these topics and read in depth. If you’re writing fitness articles, don’t just read about workouts. Read on nutrition, supplements, read about popular figures in the field.
Reading will make you more knowledgeable and your readers will feel this in your writing. It will also make it easier for you to write since you’ll have accumulated a lot of information and will have to do less research whenever you need to write a blog post.
Knowledge is power – if you use it
Knowing how to write better blog posts and actually writing them are two different things. Put the steps into use and you’ll be reaping from the changes within less than two months of consistent blog posting.