It’s one thing to write an article, but it’s another thing entirely to write a flawless blog post. Whether you’re looking for website traffic or diving further toward a lead generation goal, you need your blog article to hook and keep your audience’s attention. You want them to complete the action you’re aiming for, and the only true way to accomplish this is to create flawless blog posts.
You’ll find that writing a blog article is not an easy process unless you take the time to master these 15 steps. Only then will you have the expertise you need to create articles that bring results.
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1) Research your target audience
Before you even start with topics, headlines and drafts, you need to know what your audience wants to see from you. When you research what your audience is looking for, such as their pain points and needs, you’ll know how to proceed with targeted content creation. You’ll have the resources you need to create a flawless blog post that people will want to read and share.
2) Generate overall topic
Your next step is to find the general, overall topic you’ll be focusing on in your blog article. This will not be your actual topic with which you create your headline. Instead, this is the step you take to understand the category your article will fit in. For example, this blog article falls under the overall topic of blogging tips. I don’t create an article out of that category but rather use it to direct me towards my final, specific topic.
3) Narrow it down
Once you know your article’s category, such as blogging tips, you need to narrow it down to a more specific topic related to it. This is the step when you decide what it is about blogging tips you want to discuss in your blog article. It might help for you to do keyword research and use what you find to decide on your topic. Following my example, I decided on “creating a flawless blog post” as my narrowed-down topic, which still falls under my overall category of blogging tips.
4) Choose a blog article format
When you think you’re ready to start writing, think again. You still need to make some important decisions before you start writing a draft. In this step, you need to decide the format you’ll follow for your blog post. You can go with a list format, such as I did with this article. You can decide on a how-to, instructional article. There are many options to choose from, and you can decide on the best one based on what your topic is about.
5) Research the topic
You can’t start writing if you don’t know what you’re writing about. That’s why you have this research-based step. Use this time to research and collect information you’ll want to include in your article. This is a great time to find internal and external links you’ll want to add within your content. Also, take advantage of this step to improve your own knowledge of the topic so that you can write more persuasively and sound educated.
6) Create a catchy headline
Some sources say you should save the headline for last while others say it should come first. It’s better to do this now because it’ll help you stay focused on the article’s topic. When you wait to create your headline, you can often drift away from the specific topic you had decided upon. Use the early stages of content creation to set things up so that when you start writing, you have the guidance you need to get the article done correctly and accurately.
7) Write an outline
Now that you have what you need to start working on your article itself, you can start creating your initial draft outline. It’s here when you want to get as specific as possible about what your headings and subheadings will be. Include the general ideas of what will fall under each one, and add the links you’ll want included in each section. Make it very easy for you to flesh out this outline in the next step.
8) Write the first draft
Congrats! It’s time to start writing your article, using the outline you created earlier. With the outline, you shouldn’t have trouble creating a draft in little to no time. Your draft doesn’t and shouldn’t be perfect and final. It’s your messy copy that you can adjust and play with in later stages. It’s your first attempt, but it’s not your last one. Simply use this time to flesh out your outline enough to see what your article will look like structurally once complete.
9) Optimize for SEO
When you have a draft completed, you should check and improve it for SEO. Add your targeted keyword where appropriate without forcing it in places where it doesn’t belong. You still want to sound human first and foremost before trying to rank higher. Along with keywords, you want to check your article’s links and structure. Your links should be selected carefully because you want them to link to a legitimate, influential site. Your article should provide quality information throughout. Google is looking for content that helps other people, not overly promotional, low-quality content.
10) Add multimedia
People don’t like to see block text the whole way through your article. Instead, make sure you’re adding images, infographics, and any other multimedia that can help your readers digest your information faster. This will also help with SEO when you properly add alt text with your keyword. People are steering away from reading and are looking for other ways to get information, so be sure you’re helping them get what they want.
11) Add a CTA
Every single one of your blog articles should have a call-to-action that gets your readers to convert and / or take another action. Sometimes, this could be a subscription form. Sometimes, it could be a link to a landing page for downloading an eBook. It all depends on what your article is about. Your CTA should always be relevant to the content they just read. If it’s too random, you’re not likely to see as high of a conversion rate. Make sure your CTA is something that can help your reader further, and you’ll see that they’re going to act on it more often.
No matter how well you think you write, you always need to proofread your content. Even when you have autocorrect and spell-check helping you out, you’re almost guaranteed going to find errors in your grammar and even your content itself. You may find you used your instead of you’re, or you included data in the wrong place. Use this time to check every aspect of your draft.
13) Send it out for review
You may think you’re great at proofreading and editing your content, but don’t neglect this stage. When you send your draft out for other people to review, you get fresh eyes looking at your work. This can be significantly beneficial because they can take your readers’ point of view. They can tell you whether your content makes sense or if they see an error. This is a great step if you want your article to truly be ready for publishing.
14) Make final adjustments
Once you get critiques of your draft from others, it’s time to take their advice and apply it. Use what they said to make your draft even better. They may have made edits within the draft, such as fixing a grammar mistake, or they may have suggested an overall change. It’s important that you take these edits seriously, and incorporate them as much as possible in your draft.
15) Format for publishing
You’re now ready to take your final draft and prepare it for publishing. This means you need to add it to your blog dashboard. Whether you’re using WordPress, HubSpot, or another program, you’ll want to make sure everything is formatted correctly before you hit publish. Make sure your headings are right and that your images have proper alt text. Only when your article looks accurate in preview mode should you schedule or hit publish.
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You now know the steps to creating a flawless blog post. Are you ready to apply these steps to your own content creation? Or do you have suggestions for how this list could be better?
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