7 Steps to Writing A Great Blog Post

Writing great content isn’t easy. Anyone who has ever tried knows this. Thankfully, however, there are techniques designed to make writing a great blog post easier. One of those this is to create a process for how you’ll do it.

great blog post

As a writer in the search marketing space, much of my time is spent crafting content designed to educate and (sometimes) entertain my audience. As the VP of Strategy at Overit, I’m also responsible for helping our team to write content to be published on various platforms.

As such, I’ve had to develop a clear and effective process to keep myself and my team on task with the content we have to write. In doing that it’s not only helped us to get content out in a timely manner, but to create content people actually want to read and share with their communities.

Turns out, the more you enjoy sharing your words, the better those words tend to be.

My process for content writing looks like this:

1. Decide On Your Topic

Start by creating a list of everything you’re passionate about or that you feel like you can write on authoritatively. As a freelancer or small business owner, your list will undoubtedly be a mix of not only your subject-matter excellence, but also topics related to business, productively tools, work/life balance, and how you manage your day.

Also think about the questions that you’re constantly answering. What are the common problems/concerns your customers come to you about? What information are you often seeking? If you can pinpoint areas related to your business where many face difficulties, you can create a great benefit to your reader by solving their problems.

Start keeping a list of potential topics to write about. My team uses Google Docs to suggest blog topic ideas, both for themselves and for other departments.

2. Outline The Post

There are two great ways to work out an outline for your blog post.

The first way is that traditional outline our teachers taught us in grade school. It involves breaking out the main points of our post and creating a list of everything you want to include, in the order you will address it. By creating a traditional outline, it helps you work out the flow of your post and organizes thoughts in a logical manner so you’re better prepared when you start writing.

The second way to outline your post is verbally. Grab a friend or a voice recorder and talk out your post and main points instead of trying to write them. Talk about your topic like you’re explaining it to a friend or a customer. For many, talking through your post is a lot more effective than trying to write about it from a blank slate. Once you record yourself, you can take the transcript and use it to build an outline.

3. Fill In The Blanks

With a workable outline for your post created, start filling in the blanks. Add supporting evidence, show research, cite sources, give examples, tell stories, and just write. Don’t worry yet about how it sounds, just get the words out and work on building your story. Focus on the ideas you want to convey, not your ability to say them intelligently. Because writing and editing are very different skills, trying to do both at the same time will hinder your process and cause you to get “stuck” rewriting and editing the same three lines.

In step 3, just focus on getting your ideas out and saying what it is you want to say.

4. Edit

With a first draft down, read your post out loud to help you spot any writing awkwardness, typos, wrong words, sentence fragments, and anything else that may be hindering the flow of your post. If you have a difficult time being able to read it, that’s a good indication a reader will have a hard time getting through it, as well. If you’re not currently in the process of reading your writing out loud, I’d encourage you to start. You’ll spot a lot more typos and awkward writing that way.

5. Work On Your Title

Writing effective blog titles is hard. You need to not only describe your post and set your reader up for what you’re about to show them, but you need to engage them and be descriptive for the search engines as you do it. To become better at writing blog titles (and writing, in general) I’d recommend following blogs like Copyblogger, which truly make crafting blog titles an art.

6. Add Images

Adding compelling images to your content will help tell your story and affect how users perceive it. If you’re going to use stock photography, you may want to re-read our post on things to avoid when using stock photography to help you focus in on the photos that will add the most to your content. Concentrate on images that will set the tone for your post and draw people in. Images of people or that use warm colors often work best.

If you don’t already have a preferred site for purchasing images, TJ McCue’s post on 50 places to find images can help you get started.

7. Share Your Post!

Now that you’ve done the work, make sure to share your post via all of your social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and wherever else you participate. While you don’t want to overload or spam people, sharing your post multiple times can help account for different time zones or preferred reading times.

Above is my process for writing blog posts that people want to read. What do you find works best for you? How have you handled the content writing process?

More in: 39 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

39 Reactions

  1. When I saw the picture with the little alarm clock, it made me think of your egg timer. How did you not mention that?

  2. I’m good.

    I’m so good at figuring out who writes posts on Small Business Trends based just on their headlines.

    Lisa.

    Headlines.

    The Franchise King®

  3. I definitely start with a title and an outline first. Once I have the outline, the post is much easier to write. Then, I just rework the headline till it’s perfect (or at least until it makes the most sense for optimization and share-ability because hey, headlines matter).

    I often find, that at least for me, finding that darn image takes the longest time. Or at least, finding the right image.

  4. Thanks for describing your process, Lisa. I follow a different path.

    An idea will come to me, often related to something I’ve encountered. I’ll write down a title, which is a summary of sorts. I’ll then jot down the ideas filling my head. If the results are worthy of publishing, I’ll find an image. The real work now starts: editing.

    Sharing a post multiple times looks like a great idea. I’ve resisted for fear of spamming.

  5. With so many articles written about ‘How to write a blog post’ over the years, the topic has been done to death. The above article is just in line with most of the others that do not give any practical inputs different from what is already available.

    Just as I felt there couldn’t be any more value add to this topic, there comes a post by Neil Patel: http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/10/29/a-simple-plan-for-writing-a-powerful-blog-post-in-less-than-2-hours/

    Read the article and you will know what I mean by practical input.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    You’ve laid out simple and easy steps for anyone to follow. I often write pillar posts (really long post) that provide a ton of value in one piece. I find that these types of posts do well for gaining traction and traffic in social media. It’s all about providing true value in a clear and concise manner.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with the community.

    Ti

  7. Great tips, thanks Lisa. I generally don’t use an outline but will try that and see how it works out.

  8. Hi, thanks immensely for the great tips. I felt like I needed some fresh insight into writing good post.
    Cheers.

  9. Outlines always trip me up, and they’re probably the most important part of the entire process! I’ve found that free writing helps me when I get stuck, too. The second a halfway decent idea pops into my head, I open a new document and just start typing anything and everything that comes to mind. Then, I go back and rearrange those thoughts into logical sections. It seems to work well.

    Also, Jon Morrow (of Copyblogger) has a guide out there called Headline Hacks, and it’s the best I’ve ever read on the subject. I’d highly recommend it to others who struggle with clickable blog post titles!

    Thanks for the tips, Lisa.

  10. Blog Posting is very popular nowadays. Outlining your blog post is one effective way in having a great content. In order to have a great blog post and as a writer you must think to write a content that will last a lifetime and a content that will be a great help to others. But your tips are very useful and can be a guide for writers. Thanks for that.

  11. “My team uses Google Docs to suggest blog topic ideas, both for themselves and for other departments.”

    I would highly recommend using Trello for ideas. We used to use Google Docs but found Trello to be much more user-friendly and easier to use for idea-generation. We split it into the categories: Brainstorming, Ideas to Use, In Development, Finalizing, and Published. You just move the cards (or posts, in this matter) around depending on what stage of development they’re in. Also, you can assign people cards so that each person clearly knows who is working on what post. Once you’ve published, you can archive a card whenever you see fit — so it never completely goes away, but it can be taken off your Trello board.

    Seriously. It revolutionized so many writing projects for me. Don’t even get me started on how it helps with writing books. ;)

  12. You can normally tell if someone hasn’t outlined their post before writing it. No matter how good the content is, it jumps around and makes for a more difficult read. It takes literally a couple of minutes to do, so there’s no excuse for not doing it. It will actually probably save time, as once you start writing the post itself you don’t need to break your momentum to think what should come next.

  13. My problem is that I am a poor writer. I like your idea of doing a first draft and the best thing to do is read your post out loud to help. I have tried that and boy do I find mistakes. However, many times I can write something with mistakes and read it aloud as if there wasn’t a mistake. I think it also helps to have someone else read what you write. We all have different perspectives on what is interesting. I think I have been out of school too long to use an outline, but it was useful when I was in school so I plan to try it out. Thanks for your help

  14. I understand what you are saying in regards to preparation however in some industry’s you just don’t get the time to review, check, re-write etc… Industry such as news.

  15. Its especially useful for student who interested to blog writing, because the blog is now a days most popular and easy to share their ideas and interaction among the different thinkers and mind set up thats why i would like to thanks to guidline us especially third world countries students those wanna change their society through cyber media and other facilities
    thanks

  16. Some great advice here, as finding something to write about is only half the battle. Making it something people will want to read by making sure things like including compelling post titles and enhancing the post with use of relevant images not only works well for people reading the blog post, but also helps with SEO.

  17. Thanks for the tips..these tips really going to help me in writing a great article !!

  18. Nice post, although personally I tend to just sit down, think for a while and then when an idea comes into my head expand on it there and then. The results of doing that can be varied but if your initial idea is of a high enough quality then you can create some exceptional articles.

  19. Thanks for the article. This is truly a great information what i’m looking for. Most of the bloggers afraid to blog because they think they aren’t good enough to write. Everyone has it’s own perspective. Good perspective is on sharing from your heart. If you have something to write, feel free to write it. And it’s okay if your opinion differs from others. Don’t be afraid to show your work to others that just isn’t brilliant from a blogger’s perspective.

  20. When I have the time to write a blog post for my blog, I go to yahoo answers and see what questions people are asking that are related to my topic. Sometimes I even take one of the questions and use it for the title of my blog post. It only makes sense to blog about something people are already interested in.

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