I’ve been writing blog posts now for around seven years. Although the ones I post here and write for my clients are significantly better than those I did on my blog as a 12-year-old, I like to think I’m pretty good at putting one together.
Having been blogging for so long, it’ll probably come as no surprise when I tell you that I’ve tried pretty much everything to make them as perfect as can be. But, seven years (and a few websites) later, I think I’ve finally cracked it.
Before we dive in, I wanna make sure that you understand exactly how important blog posts are. Here’s what a blog will give you:
- SEO value and a chance to rank higher for your keywords, giving you the opportunity to increase your organic traffic.
- The chance to position yourself as an expert in your industry which gives a prospective client or customer trust in that you know what you’re talking about.
- Help when building relationships and connecting with other online biz owners to give you a sense of support. Unfortunately, starting your business or blog can be lonely when you spend so many hours staring at a computer screen!
Whether you’re just starting in your blogging journey or you’re looking for a simple method that will help make your current articles much better, here are the steps that I always use to create the perfect blog post:
Researching your blog post
Create a mind map
So, now that we know exactly how important a blog is, it’s time to start planning how you’re gonna create yours.
Start by creating a list of buyer (or reader) personas that make up your audience. Are they parents with young children? Business owners with their own start-up company? Freelance bloggers looking for advice?
I’m a freelance writer so my audience generally are:
- Freelance writers and/or bloggers
Use these personas to dump onto a mind-map and use branches to think about what content they might find useful. For me, that might look something like this:
- How to find clients
- How to promote their services
- How to write a successful blog post
Whilst this structure above gives you three ideas to start with, you can break each one down even further. I.e: ‘How to find clients‘ can turn into:
- How to find clients through social media
- How to improve your portfolio to attract new clients
- How to use your blog to find freelance clients
I do this whenever I bring on a new client to get to grips with their brand. If you’re a freelancer, you can even ask the client for their input on this part.Don't forget that you should conduct keyword research on EVERY blog post you write! 💻 Click To Tweet
Conduct keyword research
Once you’ve got your mind map, it’s time to see which keywords you should be using within each blog post. This will allow you to see if the topic you’re wanting to cover has anyone searching for it.
The aim of a blog post is to answer someone’s search query. Often a question, I LOVE this quote from the Blog to Biz training series:
“If you can solve someone’s problem, they will remember you, subscribe and come back to your site”
I use Google Keyword Planner for all of my keyword research.
For my post on The Write Life that talked about evergreen content, here’s the research I did which helped me find what the post should be targeting:
As you can see, the bottom two keywords didn’t have any average monthly searches, so I didn’t bother including them in my post.However, the first three did.
The search traffic is substantial so I went with these top as keywords to target within the blog post and mentioned them throughout a variety of places (such as heading tags, image alt text and within the content itself) for maximum SEO value. Simples!
Drafting your piece
After performing keyword research and creating your mind map, you should have a good idea about the topics you wanna fill your blog with. So, pick one and let’s get cracking!
To create the structure of this perfect blog post, open up a blank Word doc and start writing some bullet points. These are almost mini-pointers about what you’re going to be talking about, so get them written down to help organise the flow of your article.
Let’s use the example of the headline we discussed: How to find freelance clients.
When putting together the structure of my blog post, I usually create bullet points for each sub-heading that I’m wanting to use; almost like a brain-dump. For this example article, I’d use the following titles as my headings:
- Why freelancers might struggle to find clients
- Finding clients through social media
- Finding clients through your blog
- Finding clients through pitching
- Finding clients through your portfolio
Then, you’ll want to go back through each of the bullet points and re-order them. Writing that flows well is key to writing the perfect blog post, so make sure that your headings are ordered in a way that makes sense.#TopTip: Always leave a day between writing & editing your blog posts to spot errors 💻 Click To Tweet
Flesh it out
Now that you’ve got the basic structure of your blog post, it’s time to start fleshing it out!
Whilst the word count tends to be a huge factor in how much detail you put into each section, try to think of each sub-heading being its’ own mini-article.
For example, sub-heading #3 on my structure is “finding clients through your blog”. If I were to write this, I’d make some notes (like the below) to brain-dump brief things that I wanna talk about:
- Post regularly
- Promote on social media
- Guest post on other sites
Link to sources
When you’re writing a blog post, the chances are, you’ll have a scour around the internet to see what other people recommend. Don’t worry, it’s not a form of copying and you can do it just to check how inline your advice is with others.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do this regularly and I use other articles to help me write my own.
When I’m drafting my blog posts, I use this structure document to paste any links of inspiration that I think I’ll need when writing. I’ll also pencil in some links that I want to link to (both inside and outside of my site) as this is also good for SEO.
Editing your blog post
The majority of the time, I end up drafting blog posts that are nowhere near ready to be published. Full with spelling mistakes, notes that only make sense to me and random text formatting, I always come back to edit them at least a day later.
This gives you time for your brain to settle and because you’ve already got notes on what you’d like to cover, coming back to it can give you a fresh perspective.
When it comes to editing, it only takes me around an hour (ish) to turn my crappy notes into something that I’d be happy to share. It’s because I’ve done all of my research and I’ve got the bare bones of what I’m wanting to write; all I need to do is fill in the gaps.
As you can see, it’s often the work that you put in before sitting down to write that has the biggest impact on your blog posts. Always remember to perform keyword research your topic thoroughly before writing it in order to make it have maximum SEO value on your site, and take the time to thoroughly draft and edit your post to spot any mistakes before it goes live.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. View my full disclosure here.