Before I quit my full-time job, I wrote my posts at 7AM, hunched over a computer in a coffee shop just outside of my office.
I’d wake up super early, wipe the sleep from eyes, rush around to get ready, and head out the door to beat the Los Angeles traffic.
After sitting in traffic for an hour (usually listening to podcasts or audio CDs), I’d arrive at the coffee shop outside of my job and set up shop with my:
- music (which consisted of a mix of top 40, Sade, and a wee bit of T. Swift, and a smidgen of Justin Bieber – don’t judge me)
I’d start pounding away at the keys on my computer.
Now, my writing is getting a bit more streamlined since I’ve learned what works and doesn’t work for me.
It all begins with having a system…yup, even for writing blog content.
Here are the steps I take now to create killer blog posts (without pulling my hair out!!) and surprisingly with less coffee.
Come up with a Killer Blog Post Idea
Oh boy..I wish I could say that I had a magic 8-ball that would save me from the headache of coming up with a topic. But, sadly I don’t.
My topics usually come from listening to what my reader’s want and the problems that I see people have.
This post came from a reader’s question to me: “How long do you take to write blog posts?”
One of my most popular blog posts, How to Make a Fillable PDF, came from seeing the same question over and over again in Facebook groups: How can I make my worksheets typeable?
When selecting topics, I try to stick to ones that fall into my categories of my business – courses, digital products, teaching, and blogging. If you haven’t done so already, take some time to brainstorm the big buckets of content that you want to talk about on your blog.
Suppose you’re like most people on the internet, you’ve got tons of ideas and tons of interests. You can definitely weave those into your major blog content buckets (see the story section below – I got ya covered!).
Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? What type of value do you want to provide to your audience? Use these ideas as the basis for the blog posts you write.
Once you have that, it’s all about selecting the specific topics – the ones that would fall into each of those buckets.
Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing about your next topic. If you need some more, I got you covered with some other ways to come up with your next brilliant idea.
- Frequently asked questions
- Your process or workflow (i.e., how you get things done)
- Your accomplishments (what you have achieved in your business or personal life that can help your readers out)
- Skills or knowledge that you have
- First (or next) steps in doing _______________
- Resources that you frequently use
- Make life easier posts
I keep a running list of reader questions and feedback in a spreadsheet to come up with blog and product ideas. So, anytime I’m stuck for an idea, I whip out my running list and use that as the basis of my post.
Okay, You’ve Got an Idea, but What Type of Post Should You Write?
There are tons of different posts to write. A lot of what you write comes down to those buckets I referred to earlier. You know – those ideas and content categories that you want to be known for.
I used to be an elementary school teacher. I love creating worksheets (if you haven’t noticed). And, I love sharing information. So, I typically write How To posts. I want you to take action and get your booty in gear towards doing something.
But, I understand..you probably just want a list. Here’s a starting point for the types of posts to create:
- How to/Tutorial Post: Share with your audience how to accomplish a specific skill.
- List Post: You can use list posts for a whole lotta content: your favorite things, steps or sequence, your must-haves, etc.
- Inspirational or Motivational Post: These are a great way to get real with your audience. You can share your insights and stories to cheer your readers on. One of my most popular was The Secret to Embracing Overwhelm
- Videos: Teach a specific skill or idea using video! If you think your post will take a lot of words to explain, using a video will make that process easier.
- Resource Post: A resource post allows you to share your most loved tools. I’ve got a post on the 20 easy peasy tech tools to create your e-course and one on the 7 easy peasy tech tools to design your e-course. These are great to use when you receive a lot of questions along the lines of, “what do you use for…?”.
- Interviews: Want to interview someone in your industry who could shed some insight? Consider inviting them to chat with you on video about the topic. I had a fab time interviewing Jennifer Covington on how to not make your course so overwhelming!
- Frequently Asked Questions: If you receive similar questions over and over again about what you do, one of your products, or any other topic, think about setting up a FAQ post.
- What’s Missing Post: I love these posts because it sets you up as an expert. If you know that your audience could benefit from a certain idea (even though they might not know it), this type of post will help save the day. You’ll be like superwoman!
Brainstorm and Outline Your Post (The Secret Sauce to Not Pulling Your Hair Out)
If you haven’t gotten into the habit of doing a brain dump, you’re missing out, chica! Seriously, getting all of those ideas out of your head and onto paper will save you much frustration in the long run. Both for your blog posts AND your next killer digital product that you’ll make.
Grab a sheet of paper and get those ideas out and onto paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write out all of the ideas you have about your post.
Once you’re done, of those ideas you wrote, think of the ones that will be super beneficial for your readers. What will help them take action, answer their questions, and move forward? What ideas provide the most value and add more to their lives? What questions do they still have lingering in their head about the topic?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever stared at a blank screen.
I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have too. To prevent that, before sitting down in front of your computer, write a rough outline from your brain dump BEFORE writing your post. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be a college thesis outline.
Create a basic outline of the points you want to cover. These points will become your headlines for your posts! Yippee..killing two birds with one stone. #winning
Tip: When creating your outline, make sure you make note of previous blog posts that you’d like to link to in your post AND any type of extra goodies that you can create to make your post more valuable such as adding a worksheet, a video, or even an audio.
Use a Story to Make Your Post Come to Life
So, you’ve got your idea and your outline, you’re ready to dive into writing your posts. Well, slow down speed racer. There’s one more step that I like to take and that’s thinking of a story that relates to the topic of my post. For example, in this post, I started off with a story about writing posts in a coffee shop.
So, think of a story that will relate to your post so that you can weave it throughout your post. People love stories.
And, speaking of stories, you don’t need to give us ALL of the juicy details. Just give us the most important pieces that help prove your point.
When I structure my blog posts, it goes something like this:
- Quick story that relates to the topic
- The meat of the post: A few valuable segments about the topic (taken from my outline)
- Killer piece of downloadable or extra content like a video, checklist, PDF, etc. (optional)
- Call-To-Action at the end
Keep it simple, chica, keep it simple.
How to Write a Blog Post + Save Your Sanity
Grab your outline, a cup of coffee, and sit down and start writing. Yup, nothing to it, but to do it as my dad always says.
When you have your outline, it’s easier to write your post.
When in the draft phase, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to keep in mind is to not edit at the same time.
I repeat, do not edit as you write your draft. The point of writing a draft is to focus on the words flowing from your mind, through your fingers, and onto your computer. When we stop to backspace, delete, correct, and fill in, that flow gets cut off.
Keep that writing flow by not editing your post as you write.
Woohoo! After writing your draft, you can go back and edit your writing. This is what the final stage is all about – making your post readable.
One of the best and easiest ways for me to edit my posts is to print them out on paper and use a good ‘ol pen or pencil to make the edits. It’s so much easier to read and get the flow down when you do this.
You’ll be glad you did.
A Killer Headline Can Make All of the Difference
You’ve written an awesome post, but without a headline that explains the benefit of the post, it will be difficult to get people to read it.
I spend a whole lotta time brainstorming headlines. I end up writing at least 20 and then picking my fave from that list. I generally go with the one that excites me the most!
When writing your headline, make sure that it’s enticing and compelling to your reader’s so that they want to click and read more.
Here are some great ideas for your headlines:
- How To do X, Y, or Z
- List Headline
- Question headline
- Don’t Make This Mistake Headline
- Benefit Headline
Tip: Head over to websites like BuzzFeed (don’t get sucked into reading the actual content, but I won’t blame you if you do) and Cosmopolitan (don’t judge me) and use their headlines as examples to come up with mine.
Make Your Blog Post Stand Out with a Killer Image
You totally want a fab image to go with your fab blog post. When I select an image, I look for one that’s appealing and relates to my content. I’m also looking for an image that can be used across multiple places:
- Main blog post image
- Blog post featured image
- Twitter image
- Facebook image
- Pinterest image
Seriously, it’s easier for me to explain this part in a video…Here’s a quick tutorial on making templates for all of your blog posts and saving yourself some major time.
Let’s Get this Baby Published + Promoted
Since I write my posts in Evernote or a Google Doc, I copy and paste into WordPress. (Evernote and Google Drive are only 2 of the 34 online tools I use for my blog and grow my business!) Once the content is added, I format my posts, add my images and hit publish. (Easy peasy, right?!) Let’s promote…
When you’re just starting out, you have to do the upfront work of getting your beautiful work known. I repeat, you must be proactive in promoting your content. Be your own cheerleader and share your awesomeness. Need some ideas on how to promote?
- Share your post with your email list. (Don’t have a newsletter yet? No worries..check out this resource on creating a kick-butt freebie to grow your email list and then start crafting that perfect email newsletter plan here.)
- Share on Social Media (Hint: Don’t just share once. Share you post multiple times and continue to share older blog content!)
- Ask friends, family, and colleagues to share it. (These are your biggest fans. Don’t be afraid to enlist their help.)
- Comment on other people’s blogs! (If you leave valuable tips, people may be encouraged to hop on over to your blog.)
Need more ideas? Check out this post all about helping your promote your blog post.
How to Not Pull Your Hair Out when You Write a Blog Post
I’m always experimenting to find the best and most efficient way to create content. But, I always follow (for the most part) this system and flow.
So, as you get more proficient in writing your blog posts, it’s a great idea to record your process/system in a document so that you know what to do and which steps to do it in.
Seriously..writing it down and using the same system over and over again will help prevent you from pulling your hair out.
Oh..and in answer to my reader’s question, how long does it take me to write a blog post? Well, since my posts are becoming super duper long these days, it typically takes me an entire work day (plus a wee bit more) to write my content! You could be different – depending on the type of content you write. On my weekly schedule, I actually schedule an entire day to writing a post.
My suggestion would be to time yourself writing your post and then build that into your weekly schedule.
Boom. Killer blog post done.
Alrighty…over to you, what’s one super duper awesome tip you have for writing your blog content?