Let’s get started by asking a few questions.
Then we’ll set up a few guidelines to move things forward.
Step 1 – What?
What will the blog post be about?
What is the purpose of the piece you’ll be writing? Is it to show your readers how to do something, how to find something or how to use something?
Have you thought about the beginning, middle and end?
Step 2 – Who?
Know your target audience and discover what you need to do to attract them.
As a starting point, who are they?
How would you describe them?
Where can you find them?
What problems or issues do they have?
How are you going to help them?
Step 3 – Type of blog article
Decide on the type of blog article you’ll be writing.
Will it be educational to showcase your knowledge about something?
Will it show your readers how to do something?
Will it signpost them to something?
Step 4 – Decide
Decide on the following:
How long the blog post will be.
How long you’re going to spend writing it.
Whether you need to carry out any research.
When you’re going to finish writing it.
Write down the answers to all the questions (or as many of them as you can – but don’t stress if you don’t know some of the answers).
Step 5 – Wordcount
Set a wordcount for your first blog post.
Blog posts range from 500 or 600 words to 3,000 words and there are many schools of thought about which end of the wordcount spectrum works best.
Go with whatever feels right for you, but it’s better to say something useful and meaningful in fewer words than to drone on just to stretch out the wordcount with unnecessary padding.
Remember, there is no hard and fast rule on the total number of words; your audience will help you decide in good time, as you write more blog posts.
Step 6 – Prepare to write
Next, gather your writing tools.
These might include anything you’ll need for the writing process such as your laptop, desktop computer, tablet, phone or plain old notebook and pen or pencil.
If you’re typing up your blog post, use a word processing tool such as Googledocs.
Then find somewhere to sit to do the writing and have your cup of coffee or glass of water ready.
Have everything ready so that once you sit down to write, you can focus on the writing, rather than being distracted by things that will interrupt your writing flow.
Step 7 – Start writing!
Write a heading for your blog post. Make it attractive and engaging.
Next, start writing!
Get all of your ideas out of your head and onto paper (or on screen).
Don’t stop until you’ve written everything that you want to say or feel is relevant to the topic you’re covering.
Make a start, no matter what. After you finish writing your blog post, you can refine it later.
Allow your creative brain to be unleashed – let it flow! Don’t allow fear or self-criticism to stop you.
Once you’ve finished writing. Take a break.
Yes, seriously, take a break. Go and do something else for at least a couple of hours.
Step 8 – Revise it
The reason for taking a break is so that when you return to the piece you’ve written, either later on the same day, or ideally, the next day, you’ll approach it with fresh eyes.
The time laps will give you the ‘distance’ you need to craft and edit your blog post, to make it just right for your audience.
This phase of your blog post is where your critical voice comes in, which is fine, because you’ve already done the creative work.
You can hone and edit what you’ve created more efficiently than if you were trying to write and edit at the same time.
Check your blog post heading!
Have you delivered on the promise of your heading?
For example if your heading was about choosing the right paintbrush for painting with acrylic paints, did you end up talking mostly about your favourite artist and your artist’s preferred brushes instead?
It’s easily done!
Here’s a checklist of things to check when revising your blog post:
- Grammar and spellcheck
- Consistency check
Bonus step 9 – Create a habit with rituals
As you prepare to start writing more blog posts, set up a routine.
Putting in place a little routine will help with the writing process and make it part of your regular work activities.
To establish the routine even more you might consider: writing in the same place every day and at the same time each day, for a set amount of time or a set number of words.
Make sure that all the conditions and rituals you need are in place.
A couple of mine are lots of natural light, warm air (hello full-blast central heating during the winter months!) and silence.
For you it might be jazz, orange writing paper and a high-wattage desk lamp.
What to do next: find images for your blog
What are your preferred writing/content creation conditions or rituals?