How to Write the Perfect Blog Post for Your Business
Learn how to write the perfect blog post by understanding the key elements of a post and utilizing an effective & efficient writing formula.
Writing blog posts for your business is a time consuming process that takes a lot of work and dedication. I know it used to take me days to do. I would spend hours researching a topic, fuss over my word choices, and then eventually submit articles I wasn’t entirely happy with. And when you're writing for your own business, it's even more stressful as it's imperative to publish an article that reflects the quality your business provides.
Your blog is a reflection of your business & it is imperative to publish quality content for your readers.Click to Tweet
Nowadays, I can knock out a well-researched and carefully crafted 2000 word article in under four hours, all without breaking a sweat.
What changed? Experience. I’ve been writing and blogging with WordPress professionally for five years now and during this time, I have developed a formula that helps me research and write faster. I no longer stare at the cursor on my screen, crippled with writer’s block. I can dive straight into my topic and just write.
In this article, I'll discuss my formula for writing the perfect blog post and how to do so in an effective and efficient manner. So here it is.
9 Key Elements of a Blog Post
First, it's important to understand the nine key elements every blog post should have:
QUICK NOTE: The subtitle is optional and not necessarily needed. This is something that depends on your blog's theme/template and your own preference. If you decide to implement one, it should be styled as a HTML class and not a HTML heading.
Below, I'll discuss further in detail the role each element should play.
Breadcrumbs help your SEO efforts and also serve as a visual navigational aid for your readers. It's a must have and should be added to your post (and throughout your entire website as well). If you're using WordPress, I personally prefer the format of “Home > Blog > Blog Category > Post Title” within the breadcrumb for posts.
Online, most people have a very short attention span – so your headline is the first element that will help them decide whether your post is worth reading or not. The headline should always be comprised of an HTML h1 tag, use your main keywords, and include simple, but powerful language. There are lots of fantastic resources around if you’re stuck trying to write effective headlines. I recommend WordStream.
3. Author & Date
There are still numerous blogs online that never display the author or date information on a post. This is just bad practice and you should always disclose who wrote the article and when it was written.
The introduction to your article is the second most important element of your post. It needs to both briefly summarize what the post is about and convince the reader that the post is worth reading through to the end. There are many different styles of introduction you could write – storytelling, humor, asking a questions or stating a fact. Whatever approach you go with, it should be compelling for the reader. If you struggled to write introductions (there are so many terrible introductions out there!) I strongly suggest starting with the most interesting or surprising information you learned while researching your topic.
5. Main Content
This is the body of your post. Make sure to include various things like lists using bullet points and/or numbers, blockquotes, images, videos, and sub-headings to help break up the text to make it easier to read. Readers will gloss over big chunks of text and likely stop reading and close the tab.
Sub-headings (technically HTML headings h2's to h6's) go after the headline (h1) and not only make it easier for readers to get a better grasp of the structure of your article, but also make it easier for readers to scan and digest your content.
Have you ever picked up a newspaper or magazine that it just all text? Exactly. Imagery is crucial for pulling readers into your content and providing a quick context for your words. Always include captions – like headlines and sub-headings, captions provide another element that readers can quickly scan and digest while scrolling through your article.
8. Featured Image
A well-chosen featured image will reflect what your article is about and provide a point of intrigue for readers so they will feel compelled to read your post.
Always end posts with a conclusion that briefly summarizes what your post is about. You might also want to include resources for further reading.
DID YOU KNOW? Headlines between 12 and 14 words are liked most often on Facebook, yet the headline on your post should be 60 characters or less for search engines. Craft a new/revised headline when sharing on social media to get more shares.
How to Write Your Post Efficiently & Effectively
Everybody has a different approach to writing. Some people like to just start typing and see what happens. Others, like me, prefer structure.
I like to have a clear idea in my mind – and on paper/notes – of what I’m writing before I get started.
This is what my process typically involves:
1. Generating an Idea
Come up with a blog post idea that resonates with your target audience. Your ideas should always aim to solve your readers’ problems. I can’t stress this enough. If you write about a topic your audience doesn’t care about or they already know the answer to, they won’t read it. Simple as that. Try googling your idea and check out what your competitors have published. If you can improve what they have written, great! If not, come up with another idea.
Although you should already be very knowledgeable in the topic you are writing about, always research your topics thoroughly. The aim when writing the perfect blog post is to be the authority on that topic. Otherwise there’s no point writing about it. I usually open lots of tabs and create a big list of links, and attribute any information you use – never copy.
3. Click-Worthy Headline
I’m not talking about click-bait here. I’m talking about a headline that immediately grabs the reader’s attention and interests them enough to start reading. Headlines should address a key pain point for your readers. Ensure it’s under 60 characters long and includes your most important keywords.
4. Planning the Structure
Create a bullet-point list outline of your post. This should include the headline, a rundown of your introduction and a brief summary of each section of your post. Planning out your post like this will help you fill in the blanks and flesh out your post.
QUICK TIP: I find that planning out how I want to structure my post, right down to writing the headlines, sub-headings and bullet-points for each heading, makes it easier for me to flesh out my posts. For example, I’ve already written a bullet-point summary for my conclusion that I’ll turn into full sentences on this post. Organization!
5. Writing the Introduction
By this stage you’ve already written some notes for your introduction, so fill in the details. The first line should include the most important information in your post. If you struggle with writing introductions, checkout CoSchedule’s fantastic guide to writing irresistible introductions.
6. Writing the Post
Using the structure you created, fill in the blanks and write your post. When I get stuck writing, I find using bullet points to list out my thoughts help me get my thinking in order so I can expand them into full sentences. Don’t forget to finish your post with a memorable conclusion.
DID YOU KNOW? The ideal blog post length is roughly 2,100 words, but that will vary depending on your topic.
Additional Tips for Further Perfecting Your Blog Posts
Often, words alone aren’t enough. This is especially true when it comes to writing online.
Here are some more general publishing tips worth keeping in mind.
1. Short Paragraphs
There’s a reason why newspaper and magazine paragraphs are only 1-2 sentences long – they’re easier to read and digest. Likewise, online you should stick with short sentences. Otherwise, your content will look chunky and readers will get tired and give up reading.
2. Aim for 2,100 Words
According to Hubspot the ideal blog post length is roughly 2,100 words. Meanwhile, Medium says posts that take 7 minutes to read get the most engagement and attention. serpIQ has also found that most of the top 10 Google search results are between 2,032 and 2,416 words. So avoid writing short posts. Ensure every blog post you write covers the topic in-depth.
3. Include Numbers & Statistics
Whenever possible, back up what you’re writing with facts and figures (just like I did in that last section about word length). Not only is it informative for the reader, but it adds credibility and authority to your work. And always link to any data and numbers you include in your blog posts.
4. Link Internally
As much as you can, link to other posts and further reading on your site. Not only will this encourage readers to explore your content, but it means you don’t have to fully explain an idea each time you write about it – just link and encourage readers to learn more.
5. Use Quality Images
Images are important for your post and using relevant, well edited ones will increase your post's views. Our own analytical data shows that posts with more images receive more views than posts with just one or no images at all. So draw people into your writing with high quality photos and graphics that add value to the post. And don’t forget to optimize your images so they load quickly.
6. Format Your Text
Where appropriate, break up your text with bold words, bullet points, quotes, and other types of formatting. Using a variety of different formats for your writing will make it easier to read and understand at a glance. Big chunks or text will immediately turn readers away.
7. Readable Font
Use a good font that’s easy to read and matches your branding. It should go without saying that you should steer clear of fancy fonts and cursive handwriting – stick with simple typography.
So there you go, my formula for writing blog posts.
While this formula works for me, it might not necessarily work for you. So next time you write a blog post, use the elements in this article that resonate with you and create your own formula. Over time, you will develop your own method for writing posts that works for you.