The Beginner’s Guide On How to Write Blogs
I’m sure you know the anxious feeling when you open up a blank page and try to figure out what you’re going to write about.
It sucks doesn’t it?
The motivation to write isn’t something that’s easy to come by, even for seasoned bloggers. But if you’re running your own business or managing a blog, you know the importance of keeping up a consistent blog schedule. So sometimes you don’t have a choice when it comes to producing content.
The question then becomes – how to write blogs effectively time and time again?
Filling your content calendar with blog post ideas is a great start, but even with topics at your fingertips the ACTUAL writing process still poses a challenge.
One thing I find extremely helpful is to use a blog post template every time I write. Literally just a bare bones structure with some helpful tips and guiding points throughout, so you’re not starting from scratch every time.
Our Blog Post Planning Template offers exactly that. It’s the same template that Toby and Adam have used personally, with high-paying clients and students for over 10 years.
So if you’re ever feeling stuck and just can’t get that next blog post written, or perhaps you’re looking for some guidance to turn your ideas into a well structured cohesive blog post of their own – This template will help.
The rest of this article will take you through, step-by-step, how to use the Blog Post Planning Template and be on your way to creating compelling content time and time again.
The template has been downloaded tens of thousands of times as a part of our 33 Web Marketing Templates, and offers a simple easy-to-use structure for how to write blogs that are compelling every time.
If you don’t have a copy you can download one below.
Table of Contents
Is Blogging Worth It?
If you’re overwhelmed with other important tasks such as meeting client deadlines, there’s a good chance blogging isn’t your top priority. But there are a multitude of reasons to blog, and many of those reasons mean better business, in general.
Here are just a few…
- Your blog talks directly to search engines. Inevitably a Google search is how most people will first discover your business, and companies that blog generate 55% more website visitors.
- Your blog helps you stand out from the competition as the expert in your field. Thought leadership is one of the top reasons companies choose to blog.
- Your blog contributes to customer retention and loyalty. Consumers choose to read between 5-10 blogs on average – if one of them is yours you have created a touch point far beyond their initial purchase.
But despite these compelling reasons, and many marketers realising they need to, blogging is far too often left on the back burner because it just becomes too hard sometimes.
Breaking Down Writer’s Block
It’s difficult to plan for the times when creativity will strike. And if you’re trying to manage your time and work to deadlines, it can be even more difficult to force yourself to type something up.
That’s why this template is so helpful for how to write blogs that are worth reading. The template breaks up your potential blog post into different sections – you don’t have to sit down and hack out an entire post in one sitting.
Instead, if you plan out how the article might look and follow this template, you’ll be better able to fill in the parts that require your creativity without burning yourself out.
Those frustrating moments when you’re sitting there staring at a blank screen will become more infrequent.
How to Use The Blog Post Planning Template
This template will help you easily plan out your next blog post, so that when it comes time to write and publish that post, you don’t have to lose sleep over getting it done.
Breaking up a blog post into manageable chunks like we do in this template, will help immensely when it comes to managing your time, instead of trying to crank out an entire post in one sitting.
1. The Headline
Take some time (anywhere from 20 – 45 minutes) to workshop several ideas for a post title. Spend time on this part, don’t just state what the topic of the article is. Remember your audience – a lot of times, they’re finding the article on social media or in your email newsletter, and the headline is perhaps the only part of the article they will see.
It doesn’t hurt to check out what your favourite bloggers are using for headlines – find their most clickable blog titles and use that as inspiration for your own titles.
And try not to overthink this step too much, the goal is to get a bunch of ideas down. Write whatever comes to your head, research a bit, then go through and edit with your audience in mind.
It’s recommended that you spend about 25% of your blogging time on this one portion, because it’s that important. Set a timer and get to it!
Here are a few examples of headlines that grab your attention and encourage you to click on the post that follows:
Including a number in the headline helps to draw in readers – people like lists, especially ones that are “top secret”. They’re easy to digest, and the title of this article tells us that one of the items in their list is an especially important one to consider.
Perhaps using more colourful language doesn’t fit your brand’s style, but the success of this headline comes from how deliberate and straightforward it is.
There’s a BIG chance you’re going to see what this article is all about, because it sparks curiosity. Vice does a great job of creating headlines that are highly clickable.
While you might have an opposing opinion, this headline just begs for readers to click through. If there’s a “right” way, you want to know what that is.
If you’re looking for some more guidance on writing compelling headlines, this article from BuzzSumo is a must read:
2. The Hook & Photo
This is your second chance to grab your reader’s attention (if they’ve read past your headline).
It should be punchy, concise, and readers should have a grasp of what you’ll be talking about in the article – and hopefully that topic is interesting enough for them to read on.
Yes, this is exactly where you want to tease the reader. So be interesting, but only give them enough information to pique their interest so that they’ll keep on reading down the page.
People also like pictures, so give them what they want. Next up is an image – try not to use stock photos, and be sure to credit the photographer if you’re using someone else’s work.
The image should be relevant to your topic, and it should interest them in some way – whether that’s a funny or sentimental photo, or something provocative.
A great example of both a hook and image are from Mark Manson’s blog – an article entitled “Stop Trying to Be Happy.” (I don’t think I have to point out how great of a headline that is, too.)
Here’s his hook:
The first couple sentences of this post are thoughtful, somewhat abrasive, and stir up enough emotion to make you want to read on. That’s a successful hook.
And then, Mark follows up the first couple of paragraphs in the article with a great image.
This is a perfect way to keep readers engaged – a majority of people will recognise this scene from Scarface, and (this is important) it’s relevant to the topic at hand.
3. The Meat of the Article (Body)
The body of your blog post should broken up into sections – so that it’s easily digestible, in pieces, and not huge blocks of text that might overwhelm a reader.
Also make sure the formatting is suitable for readers who check out your blog on a mobile device. Chances are pretty high that your audience is not only reading your post from their smartphone, but also sharing your post from a mobile device: 90% of shared links to blogs on Twitter came from mobile.
Break the body of the article up into subtopics of your main topic. If you’re writing about Game of Thrones, for instance, you wouldn’t just launch into discussing the entire series as a whole. You’d break up your article by talking about main characters or themes, or perhaps the highlight of each season.
The goal here is to make each section of the article interesting, so that you’re engaging the reader throughout the entirety of the post.
Some great tactics for making your blog posts more scannable include;
- Headlines and sub-headlines
- Line spacing and short paragraphs
- Formatting; such as bold text, italics and capital letters
- Visuals; such as graphics, photos, screenshots and embedded social media messages
Reiterate your main points so that you drive home the relevance of the topic. Essentially, you’re explaining to your readers why you just wrote the article and the tips or tactics that they’ll want to take away with them. This is a good opportunity to post results or a review of your own process/experience.
A great example of a summary is in this article on email lists by Sharon Hurley Hall…
She breaks down the results from pruning her email list, and is transparent about the traction that she saw from this strategy.
At the final stage of the blog post writing process you’ll want to jump on the opportunity to offer your readers something – a helpful template, sharing their own experience in the comments or the option to sign up for your newsletter for more updates.
Also, make sure you include your contact info or Twitter handle in the author bio, so that readers have the opportunity to continue the conversation.
Wrap & What You Should Do Next
By using a template for your blogging efforts, you’re creating a structure that you can follow every time. This takes out the guesswork for how to approach the writing process, and when it comes time to sit down and write the article, you’ll have the skeleton in place already.
To make a quick start, download the Blog Post Planning Template.
Writing certainly isn’t for the faint of heart – it requires patience and practice, and sometimes a little bit of pain.
But you set yourself up for success by using a pre-planned structure or template – even if you use just a few of the tips here, you’ll be better placed to work through the task of producing content that people actually want to read and share.
What other tips can you share when it comes to your blogging plan and process?
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