The ultimate checklist for knockout blog writing
Blog writing isn’t exactly rocket science, but there is a science to writing an amazing blog post, people want to share and engage with.
Do you struggle when trying to come up with ideas for writing a blog post, or maybe you think you have the perfect recipe?
Blog writing isn’t exactly rocket science, but there is a science to writing an amazing blog post people want to share and engage with.
I put together the idea of an ‘ultimate checklist’ on Tuesday afternoon, when admittedly a sunny Easter bank holiday weekend had clouded my reality (and apparently my ability to think straight too).
I was putting together an article for a client when it all got too much, and inking out my thoughts in pen and paper was the only way I could see and think clearer to make sure I wasn’t missing a trick.
The ultimate checklist for knock out blog writing. (Jazz hands)
What’s covered in the checklist?
- Know who you’re writing for
- Keyword research
- Content outline
- A working title and introduction
- Writing a story
- Optimising and formatting
- Sharing the love
Let’s get started
Know who you’re writing for
This is probably the most important part of the whole checklist.
You can’t write knock out content without an intended audience. It’s like our age old analogy of going into a bar and just standing and talking in the hopes someone will respond to you.
If you don’t know who your buyer persons are or even what they are, HubSpot can help, how do you expect people to resonate with what you are saying.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
When you’re creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better!
The details help you identify exactly who you’re writing for so you can address their needs, interests and wants.
When you come to thinking about blog writing and who you’re writing for, come back to these 3 things:
- What’s the problem your persona is facing you want to address?
- How much do they already know about the topic?
- What’s the goal of your post? To educate, inspire, motivate..or maybe to simply to entertain?
Don’t panic, this doesn’t need to be extensive.
Some basic keyword research should be done in the early stages of developing your idea.
A keyword could steer the direction of your topic or tone. Don’t waste your efforts on writing for a topic no one searches for or engages with.
I like to think of keyword planning as a tool for getting inside the minds of your prospective customers. What are they thinking about? What are they searching for online? What words do they use to describe what they’re looking for?
We use and love the following tools when keyword planning:
This tool was created by a fellow Brightonian! Besides being biased on that basis, this tool is great for searching out what people are searching for. All you have to do is tap in a couple of keywords and it will pump out a whole list of search in the form of questions people are searching for. Very clever and handy! It’s almost like using Mystic Megs magic ball.
If you don’t already use this tool, you should start. It’s a staple when looking for search volumes, costs and competitiveness on your keyword. This will tell you the gritty information like the level of competition you are up against and the cost of tackling those words.
Autocomplete. The classic google search will provide you with countless options of search queries you can use to shape your blog writing. All you need to do is start to type in some possible topics then wait for Google to automatically produce possible search endings.
You don’t need to be fancy with this.
This is for you to collect ideas and start shaping them into your fabulous blog post later on.
It’s just for you to use as a guide for writing your content. Kind of like building the structure of a tree house. You don’t just go straight in. You take your time and you make sure the foundations are right.
Create a list of a working title, the main topic and subtopics for headings. Once you’ve built the list of possible subtopics you can use this as the outline for your article in the introduction, so your readers can glance at your post and gauge what it is they will be reading about.
These subtopics are pure gold for your content strategy. Think about it, each subtopic can be take and developed into it’s very own article! Crafty, right?
You’re main article becomes your pillar page and each article and subtopic article after that can be linked to and from, creating a spiderweb of content for your readers to get caught up in! Neil Patel explains why pillar pages are so good for your SEO.
Use content you already have to get started. Want to learn how to repurpose your existing content?
We did this at the beginning of this very article.
You most likely skimmed the points discussed and made a decision there and then whether you want to read the whole post.
For extra ease for the reader, you can turn these outline points into anchor points for your article. Your reader can click on any of the points they want to read more about and be automatically taken there without having to scroll down looking for the right content.
A Working Title and Introduction
Titles are down to your own preference.
Everyone has a different strategy for coming up with a title. Some like to finalise the title before they’ve even started writing, while others like write the title once they’re done.
But what you should really be doing is creating a basic working title before you create the body of the content for you to have have a direction from the word go.
Ensure you use your keyword in the title.
Your introduction should sum up what your reader will take away or learn from the rest of the article.
Use your keyword inside the introduction (the smashing research you completed above), Google will use the first paragraph of your article when creating preview text if you haven’t optimised your meta description.
Google will always rank searches with an easy to find, relevant keyword higher up the organic search rankings.
Again, some people will choose to write the introduction last.
But to write a knock out blog you really have to leave that to the end. Don’t allow your conclusion to determine the body of your story.
Think of your introduction as a blurb on the back of a book. It draws in the reader, gives them a brief outline of the rest of the story and makes them want to read more!
Writing Your Story
I use the word ‘story’ here because that’s what every good blog post should be, a story.
You want your reader to be engaged. You want them to live what you are telling them. They shouldn’t just be words on a screen.
Creating and telling a story is waaay more interesting for you to write and inevitably more interesting for your reader to read.
When you do something you like, you typically deliver a much better outcome anyway.
If you find what you’re writing boring, it will shine through in your writing and turn people off reading your content. There’s a quote by Roald Dahl that says:
“If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams.” I think this applies to blog writing too.
Keep your buyer persona at the forefront of your mind as you write.
Too often, we use personas to choose a topic, but then forget about them as we actually write the post.
Questions to ask yourself throughout the process are:
- What questions might my persona have at this point?
- What other information might they be looking for that I haven’t included?
- Is my tone appropriate for the audience I’m writing for?
If you write with these questions always in your mind, your blog is far more likely to go down well, and you’ll probably find the writing process goes much more smoothly, too.
Optimising and Formatting for a Knockout, the Final Blow.
You have the main content written and you’re pretty darn happy with it.
Now comes the part where you optimise and format to make it a Mike Tyson knockout.
You need to set your blog post up for success. You’ve written a fabulous piece of content and now you need to optimise with your keyword of choice so that your target clients can find it.
Don’t go overboard by inserting your keyword after every other sentence in a frantic panic to have Google rank you in search.
This is called keyword stuffing and Google don’t take lightly to it.
Things to think about when formatting your blog post:
Blog articles with images get 94% more views! 94%!!! You can’t afford to not have images. Think about when you’re reading a blog post, it’s much easier to read and digest with relevant images that break up the text, right?
These make it easier for your reader to find the information they’re looking for and also help to break down the content into chunks to read and digest.
- Internal/External links
Building backlinks to other industry leaders will help build relationships and your status as a thought leader. Your internal links are great for SEO, you want to build a spiderweb of content to link people from one piece of content to the next, to keep people on your website for longer. Want to find out more about internal and external links?
- Call-to-action (CTA)
What do you want to accomplish through your post? Are you just looking for page views? Or do you want readers to sign up for your list? Visit a product page or landing page? Buy a product? Decide exactly which action (just one) you want your readers to take, and then make it really clear within your CTA. Make it compelling, make people want to click that button or link.
Lastly that brings us to..
Make it ridiculously easy for people to share your content. Your readers shouldn’t have to struggle to spread your good work.
There’s no point following these steps and writing a knockout blog post if it’s not going to be seen by the masses!
Make it easy for people to click the social media icon and share with colleagues, friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask people to share your post, what’s the worst that can happen?
Places to think about sharing your blogpost:
- LinkedIn (add it as an article and share in relevant groups)
Our posts typically hit 1,000+ reads within a week.
If we had a trumpet in the office, we would most probably be guilty of blowing it right now.
These are the steps I use to make sure I’m covering every process for writing the ultimate knockout blog post.
Blog posts are a huge part of your inbound marketing content strategy, and are important for attracting your target clients to you, in a helpful and holistic way.
Are you struggling to see any backlash from your blog posts/content?
What if we told you we can deliver measurable results from your content marketing.
Well, we can do just that.
We have our boxing gloves on, have you?