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If you’re a blogger struggling to gain the traffic you want, and you’re not seeing results from all the Pinterest strategies promising to skyrocket your blog traffic, you might be wondering if it’s your writing style. You’re probably searching for ‘how to write a blog post’ or ‘blog post ideas’.
Let me clue you in: You do not need to be a professional writer to run a successful blog.
But, you do need some basic writing and grammar skills if you want to become a professional blogger.
I’m not trained or educated in writing specifically myself. I studied marketing + business at university, and the majority of my professional career has been in the marketing field.
I have always had a passion for writing, though.
It started with a fascination for classic novels like Moby Dick and Secret Garden when I was as young as 5 years old. Then, I began journaling shortly after that, then started writing short stories in junior high. By high school, I was determined to become an author.
I always hated school, but despite my hatred, I excelled at language arts. It was the only thing I was good at in school.
I wasn’t athletic at all, and was more interested in partying than homework.
But despite that, I seemed to have a natural gift for writing.
This is something I’ve excelled at, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Writing is not everyone’s strong suit, and that’s totally fine.
Are there days I wish I was better at math? Only every fucking day.
Days I wish I was better at organization and budgeting? Also, every fucking day.
If writing isn’t your strong point but you want to start a blog, don’t be discouraged.
Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. (ugh, the cliché)
But honestly, writing blog posts isn’t like writing a thesis.
Don’t get me wrong, and I am not trying to make it sound like writing a blog is easy. There is a lot that goes into writing a perfect blog post, but it’s not rocket science.
If you’re not great at writing, use this guide to help you write your best blog post yet.
I also highly recommend Grammarly and Yoast SEO to further assist you with writing blog posts. Grammarly will help you with spell check, sentence structure, grammar, etc. while Yoast will help you make sure your content is easily readable and SEO optimized.
Let’s start with the absolute basics. The guts of a blog post, so to speak:
- Amazing Title
- Intro paragraph (make sure you are using your keyword here)
- Main Image
- Main Body (broken up by subheadings)
- Pinnable Image (I like to place two pinnable images throughout my main text)
- Conclusion (with a call to action/signup)
Your blog post can have more than two images, of course. Just make sure that only the images you want your readers to be able to Pin on Pinterest are pinnable, while the other images are not. You can configure that in your Pin it buttons plugin, if you use WordPress.
You can also include forms and any other relevant add ins throughout your blog post.
So, you know the components of a great blog post. But where do you start?
These are the first steps you should take before you begin writing:
Consider Your Topic
– Is this solving a problem or helping your readers? Will it appeal to your current/target audience?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your audience. You need to know precisely who your audience is and what they want.
You need to be able to answer these questions:
What type of content will your audience benefit from?
How can you help your audience?
What kinds of problems can you solve for them?
There are so many ways to get to know your audience.
- Interact any time someone comments on your blog post
- Respond to any and all emails
- Network on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest
- Interact & Engage. Interact & Engage. Interact & Engage. Respond to comments and emails, have conversations, connect with people.
Before I start writing a blog post, I like to do what politicians call “oppo research.” Research your opponent to find out how you can beat them.
I start with Google, because Google is the powerhouse.
I switch my browser to private mode on my phone, and do a search for the topic I am planning to write about.
Switching to private mode ensures that Google is showing me unbiased results (not results based on what I’ve recently been searching for)
I also do a Pinterest search, to get an idea of how popular my blog topic is on Pinterest. Don’t be discouraged if you see a ton of other pins about the same topic. There are always going to be other bloggers writing about the same topic- your goal is to write it better, make it your own, make it appeal to YOUR audience.
The idea with ‘oppo research’ for a blogger is to find out if your goal topic is popular with search engines. You want to know if people are searching for what you want to write about, and then think of how you can add value to the information already out there.
What insight, tips or advice can you add to the already existing conversation? Even if you don’t think you have any brand new, amazing information that is different from what’s already out there- don’t give up there.
You can write articles on the same topic as other bloggers, but make them your own. No one else is you, and that is what will make your readers want to read what you have to say vs. what another blogger has to say.
Just because someone else has already written about it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Once you have a killer topic and have done your research:
If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, I highly recommend downloading my free e-book Super Simple SEO. It is packed with information on SEO for beginners, in clear and easy to understand language.
Once you’ve got a good grasp on what SEO is, you can start researching it for your blog posts.
After you have a blog post topic in mind, you need to research keywords. You need to find out exactly what people are searching for that brings up your blog post topic.
It is so incredibly important to understand consumer behavior. In short, if you’re planning on writing a blog post about ‘how single moms can make money from home’, you need to know exactly what single moms are typing into Google to bring up articles related to this.
Are they searching for ‘how to make money from home’ or ‘make money from home single moms’?
Use tools like SEMrush and Ubersuggest to fine tune your keywords. These tools will give you an inside look into what people are actually searching for, and give you suggestions for other keywords that might better suit your audience.
If you’ve used any sources to write your blog post, want to recommend a website or product to your audience, you need to make sure you are linking to them. These are called outbound links. Not only is it important to cite your sources, but outbound links help to improve your blog’s SEO, which is a win for you.
You also want to include inbound links, which direct your readers to other posts on your blog that are related to the post they’re reading.
Not everyone uses featured images for blog posts, but if you do- try to use an original image. Make sure it is a high quality image that is relevant to your blog post.
I know we’re not all pro photographers.
Unsplash & Pixabay are great resources for free stock images when you’re a new blogger. Once you start making money with your blog, you should absolutely be using original photography or paid stock images.
Creative Market is a great blogging resource for images. You can purchase single images or bundles, which is really useful.
You should be including at least one pinnable image in your blog post. These are images you want your readers to pin to Pinterest.
If you’re not creating your own Pinterest pins, you should be.
PRO TIP: For maximum SEO optimization, make sure you are editing the image title and alt text for each image you are using in your blog post.
Make sure you are using relevant tags for your blog post! If you use WordPress, here is what that looks like:
No matter what blogging host you are using, make sure you are using specific tags that are highly relevant to what your blog post is about.
Now that we have the guts of our blog post, let’s dive deeper. What makes a truly amazing blog post? What will make your blog post stand out among the thousands of others just like it?
Ask yourself this: when you are mindlessly scrolling Pinterest, what makes you want to clic
k on a pin to read it? If you search something on Google, which title makes you want to click on it?
Chances are, the title made you feel a sense of urgency. It made you feel like the post had incredibly useful information, would help you solve your problem.
This is exactly what you need to be doing for your readers. You need to capture their attention immediately with your title.
After you’ve clicked through to a website from Pinterest or Google, what makes you stay? What makes you click away?
We’ve all been there. We click on an article and there are 490 ads popping up in our face, the text is too broken up, the writing is terrible…. So we immediately close out of it.
We are all the same, if a blog post doesn’t immediately grab our attention or is too hard to read, we close it in about 10 seconds.
My best advice here is to make sure that every blog post you write is incredibly easy to read, straight to the point, solves the problem or answers the question for your readers and you don’t have too many popups or distractions.
I can’t tell you how many articles I have clicked off of immediately because there were too many ads a
nd popups in my face before I could even read the post.
There are so many better ways to get your readers to subscribe or buy your e-book. Don’t bombard them them obnoxious popups.
Everyone’s blog is different, and what works for me might not work for you. But I hope I have given you some valuable insight into how to write a blog post that will kick ass for your blog.
The tips I’ve outlined here are exactly how I write blog posts, and even after six years of blogging, I know that I always have something to learn!
Let me know in the comments if you’d add or change anything to this list. I’m all about feedback and I’d love to hear from you!