Social Media Ideas and Inspiration

How to write a blog post – a step by step guide

There’s a disclaimer here, and it’s a big one, and that is that there is no right or wrong way to write a blog post.  It’s all about what works for you and your audience.  However, when people are new to blogging or they’re just writing occasional guest posts, it can be very helpful to offer some form of guidance and structure which is what I’ve attempted to do here.  They aren’t rules to live by, just ideas to help you gently on your way to blogging nirvana.

Decide what you’re going to write about

Obviously you can’t just sit down and write if you don’t know what the topic of your post is going to be.  It’s well worth giving this some careful consideration as sometimes a germ of an idea that seems brilliant and has you tapping away for the first few lines, soon runs out of steam.  Make sure that you will have plenty to say and take a moment to consider how the post will be received by your audience.

Think up a title that clearly conveys the post’s topic

Blog posts are fantastically sharable, especially if they’re well written and relevant and even more so if they have a clear and concise title.  It can be tempting to try and go for something clever, witty or funny, and sometimes this works.  But on the whole, a simple straight forward ‘Ronseal’ (does what it says on the tin) title is the very best approach of all.  That way people reading busy timelines or activity streams can quickly ascertain whether your content is likely to be relevant to their network.

Create a series of subheadings to break your post down

When I’m blogging I create all of the subheadings for my post right at the start.  I think this might be one of the more curious habits I’ve adopted.  I’ve not met anyone else who does it (perhaps you’ll be the first?) but I consider this the skeleton for my blog post and I feel strongly that the subheadings should clearly indicate exactly what the content is about.  This has the double benefit of quickly helping a potential reader identify whether the post is helpful, and enabling them to jump to the most relevant parts and it also tends to result in keyword rich titles which are great for SEO if that floats your boat.  I tend to use between 4 and 10 subheadings

Add flesh to the bones

Write a brief introduction to lead the reader in to your post, but make sure you get to the main event quickly.  A pet hate of mine is a post called ’10 ways to teach your grandmother to suck eggs’ which doesn’t get on to the actual egg sucking until about paragraph nine.  By which time I’ve lost the will to live.  Then it’s just a case of writing a paragraph or so to expand upon each of the sub-headings you wrote earlier and writing a short conclusion at the end.

Spend five minutes proofing and editing

As I wrote recently, I’m a firm believer that the five minutes you spend proofing and editing your post are five of the most valuable minutes you spend at all.  This helps you avoid silly mistakes which are irritating and amateurish.

Think about Links

Consider whether you can link your content to other posts in your blog, other people’s blog contents or other external websites.  This can enrich post for your readers who will have clear guidance on places to go for additional information.  You can either do this by embedding hyperlinks, or providing a list of useful links at the end of the post, or both.

Consider including images or video

Are you able to make your post more visually appealing by including images or adding video?  This will both make your post more attractive and eye catching to

potential readers and will also make your post easy to share via more visual social media such as Facebook (which will adopt your image as a thumbnail), Pinterest or Tumblr.

Credit contributors

It’s not cool to steal people’s ideas, but it’s fine to share.  Share and give credit where credit is due and all will be well with the world.

Re-read and pare down

Once you think you’re done, re-read your post.  Make sure it makes sense, flows appropriately and is relevant and interesting to your audience ask yourself… would YOU read it?  I choose to pare down my posts at this point too, usually removing at least a paragraph or two which I don’t feel are adding significant value.  I usually recommend a final length of between 400 and 1000 words.  I think this is long enough to convey useful content, but no so long as to be off-putting.

And there you go…

See, simple really.  Writing a blog post can seem a daunting task if it’s new to you and you’re not sure how to approach it, but taking a systematic approach can be a great way to get started.  But be sure to remember, the rules are there to be broken.  So have some fun!

Best wishes, and happy blogging,

Pooky x

p.s. If you liked this, you might like 10 tips for getting started with blogging

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