You may have just started your own blog (congratulations!) and you need to start building content, or you might be a regular blogger who needs some direction. Either way – this simple 10 step guide will provide structure to your system, making the process easy to follow and encourage you to post good value, post more often and reap the rewards of your efforts.
Blogging is a proven way to promote brand, boost SEO, increase site traffic and improve turnover. So whether you want to make money or just share your ideas – blogging certainly is a great way to go about it.
Here are 10 easy steps you can follow to create great content:
Step 1: Generate Ideas
Coming up with appealing ideas is most often where people have the most difficulty. To overcome this “blog-writer’s block” it’s vital to set aside time for creative thinking (on top of your writing time).
To get the creative juices flowing start brainstorming with the following:
- What are your goals?
- What is your niche?
- Who are your target audiences and what topics might offer them value?
The Hybis blog targets small business owners with a focus on adding value to help them achieve better results from their websites. That mission shapes our content and gives us direction keeping it in mind every time we generate post ideas.
Once you’ve come up with some ideas, start searching for information everywhere you go. Talk to family and friends, look up what’s been done on the internet already and start dumping all of your ideas into a single place where it can be accessed once you sit down for the actual writing.
Step 2: Create an Outline
When it’s time to write, refer back to your stash of ideas and choose the topic you feel most passionate about – especially when it’s your first blog. A topic that is so interesting to you that you’ll be able to write conclusively and authoritatively about it from start to finish. You don’t want to lose steam at the quarter line mark on something that bores you to death.
Build your story idea with a list of sub-points and organize supplemental information accordingly.
There are apps available for easy outlining, or you can follow the following simple pattern:
- Section #1
- Main point
- Additional information
- Section #2
- Main point
- Additional information
Arranging your information in segments helps you visualize the article and will make the whole task a lot easier.
Step 3: Start Writing
Once you’ve established your thoughts, start writing without giving in to the temptation to edit as you go along. Perfecting your draft takes place later, so for now, just put pen to paper so-to-speak. Attempt to use your own voice, establishing your unique style while constantly keeping your audience in mind. If you have trouble putting down the words, set aside a specific time each day to write without distractions. Keep the keys clacking and don’t stop until the time you’ve set aside is up.
Your post should ideally be at least 1,500 words long to make a bigger impact for SEO (which we’ll get to in a moment). Don’t worry though — not every one of your posts needs to be a 2,000 word “pillar”. If you can only write 500 words about a certain topic, then write only 500 words about the topic. Don’t make your article any longer than it needs to be as you risk losing the attention of your readers. It’s important to know that the more you write the better and faster you get at it.
Step 4: Keyword Planning
A very important step in writing a great blog, is keyword planning. It takes time and a lot of effort to write original content so it’s important to do it properly and with the vision of being found by search engines. Step 8 refers to SEO but before finalising writing your article you should identify which search keywords are relevant to promoting your product or service.
At Hybis our approach to writing content is to try and give the content longevity meaning that it will eventually drive organic traffic.
Keep in mind that a keyword doesn’t necessarily mean just one word. A keyword is essentially any word or phrase you use when searching with a search engine. For example, “write seo optimized content” is a keyword. You only need to pick a handful of keywords to focus your article on as too many different keywords will dilute the article and it will end up not being targeted enough.
If you work out after writing your article that you don’t have any valuable keywords in the content, you may need to go back and revise…or potentially start over.
For keyword planning, you can use the likes of Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to get an idea of what people are searching for.
Step 5: Edit Grammar and Content
The ease of blogging allows for content to be accessed and shared at the touch of a button, but you’ll lose credibility (and page views) if you don’t give your full attention to this step. Because digital consumers are surfing between their social media connections, they need a hook or a compelling reason to stay with your post. Apart from interesting information, good writing should be that good reason.
Concern yourself with both grammar and content when editing your work.
- Eliminate needless information and repetitive wordiness.
- Check your punctuation and spelling.
- Make sure your sources are reliable and properly referenced.
- Consider having an editing checklist handy so you don’t miss any little details.
When you’ve finished sweeping over your whole piece once, step away from your PC and take a break. You’ll have fresh eyes to see any additional mistakes when you revisit later for that final guise at your masterpiece.
Step 6: Craft Your Headline
If you haven’t already got it sorted – now is the time to seriously think about your headline. Don’t underestimate your title’s importance: It is more than just a catchy phrase to grab readers’ attention. It’s a critical part of getting your content seen by search engines. Plus, your headline is setting readers’ expectations for what they’ll get within your post.
Refer back to your keywords – your most important one should appear in your blog title.
It’s okay if your headline isn’t set in stone at the start of your writing; you can use a working title and adjust it as your post becomes concluded. Also remember to avoid the trend of using clickbait tactics to draw readers in. This means your headline should not mislead users into clicking only to find something different to what they were expecting. Their disappointment will not reflect well on you or your brand. This also won’t help your search engine rankings as users will quickly click away from your article which is an indication that your content lacks quality. Instead, focus on staying accurate and using your keywords to optimize your title for search engines and social media.
Step 7: Add Graphics
Images are most often what attract readers in the first place giving them a little taste of what to expect in your article. Take this step seriously because visuals can make or break a blog post.
If you’re using online photos, make sure you understand any attached copyright laws, including proper attribution and credits.
Consider buying stock images from sites like iStock or Shutterstock, or visit websites that offer royalty-free images. Alternatively you can custom design your own images using free design software like Canva. These will also give you access to the correct image sizes for blogs and other social media platforms aiding in presenting your post images at their best when shared.
Step 8: Optimize for SEO
Truth be told, there really isn’t much point writing an awesome blog post if no one is ever going to find it. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in; an important step in optimizing your article for discovery in search engines, which involves strategic use of keywords, URLs, titles, and templates, and meeting readability standards.
Another important tip people often don’t think about is making sure you have labelled your image file appropriately when you upload your image for your blog post. Search engines look at file names and having image.jpg will not help your article being found.
If you are new to SEO, or would like to polish up your knowledge, we recommend reading this Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is an in-depth tutorial on how search engines work.
Step 9: Publish & Share
Before you hit that publish button, remember: it’s crucial to commit to a regular, consistent publishing schedule – whether it be once a day, twice a week or twice month. Set your goals and deadlines in advance and stay organized and disciplined to manage your readers’ expectations.
Now once you’ve established and organized your schedule – hit that publish button and exhale. From here it’s time to share your work and invite consumers to engage.
Here are some ideas to get you started on optimizing your content for social media:
- Share your post on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
- Tag influencers and use hashtags to get your content in front of possible readers.
- Encourage user-generated content from your followers.
- Invest in sponsored Social Media Marketing.
- Utilize analytics to track your success.
- Read up on techniques that may improve your social media presence.
- Once you’ve built a list of email followers through your site, you can connect them to your content through email marketing.
Step 10: Repeat
Unfortunately, the “blog when you have something to say” approach just doesn’t work. If you really want to build a community out of your traffic, then you need to be regularly adding fresh content to your blog. So in keeping with your schedule, build a routine and repeat these steps. Blog consistently, and you’ll reap the rewards.