Today is the day! You are ready to write your first (or next) blog post. Excitedly you clench that cup of coffee, inhale deeply – and stare at a blank page.
Thirty minutes later, the excitement is gone, you clench your jaw instead of the cup and the page is still blank.
Darn! You wanna reach out and connect with your audience.
You wanna write awesome posts that your peeps love. Yet here you are and don’t know where to start.
Or even worse: You sat down enthusiastically, wrote a 4000+ EPIC post but nobody cared. Let’s fix that!
Roadmap to a Successful Online Business – Part IX | How to Write a Blog Post Your Audience Loves
Before we dive right in, let’s look at what the Solopreneur Safety Net can help you with. I’ll make it quick, I promise!
In a nutshell: If you are toying with the idea of building your own online business but are feeling totally lost and don’t know where to start – you have come to the right place! 🙂
My mission is to help you get out of that confusion and overwhelm and break things down for you, so you can follow along easily. My Roadmap to a Successful Online Business blog post series will take you through all the major steps of building your blog or online business. Download your FREE overview business guide and let’s get going!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means when you purchase something through those links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions expressed here are my own!
Without further ado, let’s look at a few things that help you write a blog post your audience truly enjoys.
The Five Steps to Writing Great Blog Posts
This might sound a little simplistic, but I think writing engaging content really comes down to five critical steps:
1. Research Your Audience
Remember that ideal customer avatar you created for your business plan? So your goal is to help that person by providing your service or product, right? To be able to do that, you need to understand that person. Let’s just call her Sally.
What does she hope to achieve in the long run? Is she trying to make a living online or just looking for a creative outlet? What resources does Sally need to get on track?
What going on in that person’s life? Is she a busy working Mum with just enough time and headspace to muster a 5min read in between taking care of everything and everyone? Does she want information or entertainment? Or maybe a bit of both?
These two questions should help you with two things: Figuring out topics that are relevant to your audience and how to present them.
2. Choose ONE Problem Your Audience Faces
I’m taking a wild guess here, but getting Sally from where she is right now to where she wants to be in the future probably requires taking more than one step. That’s where your divide & conquer Ninja tactics come in handy. You know how it’s always easier to solve someone else’s problems? Obviously, you see things much clearer as an innocent bystander who isn’t caught in the middle. *common wisdom fun fact* Therefore, it’s easier for you to dissect your reader’s bigger problem into smaller sub-problems that can be tackled one at a time.
Anywho – you pick ONE of Sally’s sub-problems and decide to help her solve it. Boom! You found yourself a topic that should excite and help your ideal reader.
If you are thinking: “Yeah, yeah, that’s all great and sounds awesome – I would love to do that. BUT I have no freaking clue what problems my ideal reader faces.” Go ask them. And LISTEN. I find Facebook groups work really well for this. Hate Facebook? Try the Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator or use keyword research and the keyword research tools of your choice to find questions people are asking about a certain topic. Buzzumo is also a great tool to identify engaging content ideas.
3. Solve That Problem
Is there anything more annoying than looking for an answer to a burning question and NOT finding what you are looking for? What a frustrating waste of time. Don’t do this to your readers. If you set out to answer one of their questions, then please do answer that question. You don’t have to know everything. That’s not the point. But at least try to be relevant and helpful.
4. Structure Your Blog Post
To prevent you from wandering from your subject or making things unnecessary difficult – structure your blog post.
You are probably aware that the heading is incredibly important. Having a boring headline is the death sentence for your blog post. Okay. Maybe that’s a tad dramatic. But you get my point. If your headline isn’t tempting anyone to click through to your post, then nobody is going to read your post. Simple as that.
So what makes a good heading? Reseach has shown that list posts and why posts (posts that answer a “why”-question) are the types of content that get shared more than others. Yes, infographics get shared most, but that’s hardly something for your heading. Still, something to keep in mind.
Why am I telling you this? Because choosing headings like “The first 5 things to do on your new WordPress blog” not only provide you with an engaging headline, they also help you structure the rest of your article AND make sure you create content that people love to share. Oh yes, let that heading work for you! 🙂
We live in a world full of distractions. If you wanna grab your reader’s attention, you have to be fast. Begin with 2-3 sentences that summarise what they will gain from reading your blog post (aka the hook). Otherwise, you might lose them to the funny cat videos on Facebook, before you even get the chance to help them out.
Now I made the mistake of thinking of the hook as a short summary of what the reader could expect from the article. Just like in the scientific publications that I used to read and write. But guess what – textbook style doesn’t work in the blogging niche. *silly me* So what could you do instead? Instead of telling your reader about the article, tell them what they will gain from reading the article. Makes sense? The What’s-In-It-For-Me is the most important information for your reader.
There are a few points to keep in mind when writing your blog post:
- Break your main content down into smaller text chunks using sub-headings. This structures your content logically as well as visually. It’s just not inviting to stare at a huge block of text. Whitespace is your friend.
- Remember to tag your subheadings H2, H3, etc. – only have ONE H1 heading (the main headline) in your text. This is important for your SEO (= search engine optimization).
- Use images. You don’t have to go overboard, but articles including a few images get 94% more views than articles without (Jeff Bullas). I guess we are all primed to prefer picture books over textbooks. When you include images, make sure they are optimized. Otherwise, huge image files will slow down your page speed, which in turn will decrease your traffic. No one waits for slow-loading websites. Also, don’t forget to add ALT-text to your images when you upload them. In case you were wondering, ALT-text is displayed when you image file can’t be rendered and it’s also what screen readers will read to the visually-impaired. Therefore, it should be relevant, to-the-point and describe what is shown on the picture.
There will be people who just skim your blog post.
Outrageous. I know. Still. Give them a short and sweet summary of the main points of your article. Who knows – maybe they’ll stop and actually start READING your article. *LOL*
Last but not least, think about including a call-to-action. What’s the next step you would love your reader to take. Check out another of your blog posts? Comment? Share? Chances are, if you don’t ask them to do it, they won’t do it. After all, they can’t read your thoughts.
5. Polish Your Blog Post
Now that you created your epic blog post, let’s make it even better by improving its SEO and making it more shareable:
- Make it easy for your reader to actually comment on your post and share it – have a comment form and social share buttons. If things are too complicated, they won’t take the time to figure it out. I know I wouldn’t.
- Proofread your post. Everybody makes mistakes. If you can’t get anyone to proofread your blog post, at least get something like the free Grammarly browser extension to help you catch spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Set a featured image.
- Add your article to one of your blog categories.
- Add relevant tags.
- Link to related content. Use internal links to your own content as well as a few external links to other high-quality, relevant content.
- Write your SEO title and Meta description. This is what will show up in the search engine results when they suggest your content to people searching for it. You can use the Yoast SEO plugin to write these.
- Check the readability of your article. Are your sentences too long? Do you use enough transition words? The Yoast SEO plugin will help you figure that out too. It really is such a helpful WordPress plugin! Even the free version is amazing.
To write helpful, engaging blog posts your audience loves, follow these proven steps:
- Research your audience to find niche-specific, relevant topics and the best way to present them.
- Choose one problem and identify topic-related keywords by asking questions and/or doing keyword research.
- Try to write a blog post that helps your ideal reader solve their problem.
- Structure your blog post to increase readability.
- Polish your blog post to optimise it for search engines and make it easy to share and comment on.
I really hope this helps you write blog posts your ideal reader loves. 🙂 Did YOU love reading this or did I miss anything you consider important? Let me know in the comments below. And if you did love this post, I’d really appreciate it if you could spread the word and share it to your favourite social media.
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XIII: 6 WORK-LIFE BALANCE TIPS FOR SOLOPRENEURS