Having an idea is easy, but putting that idea into a successful blog post that is SEO friendly, properly formatted, and image savvy, is a whole other beast. Writing a successful blog post is a step-by-step process that can be accomplished with three P’s:
- Promotion (and then again and again)
Here are 7 steps to follow for blog post success:
Decide What You Are Writing
It sounds like common sense, but this point often gets overlooked. BlogPaws’ Director of Community Education, Aimee Beltran, writes suggests this system when developing content for a blog post:
- Who is the audience?
- What do they need to know?
- What do I want them to do with the content? (Subscribe, share, etc)
- How will the content be delivered? Blog post, social media post, video, ebook, etc?
Tip Time: Thanks to Aimee, I’ve fallen in love with Trello, an easy to use planning calendar. I have always been a girl dedicated to her paper planner. Trello is easy, user friendly, and allows a calendar “at a glance” view of a month.
Make an Outline
I don’t write a masterpiece on my first attempt, so outlining helps me hone my craft and my post. Some of the sections in my outline include:
- My topic or idea
- A working headline, which I refine later
- The problem it solves or addresses.
- Why my reader should care. I ask myself “who cares” and until I can answer that, I won’t blog.
- Sources and quotes/experts
- Outbound and inbound links to include
- Terms to rank for SEO-wise
- Images I want to take and/or already have in my files
Your outline can be as simple as a one page sheet of paper with subheadings on it or as intricate as you like it: We all have different learning and planning styles.
Research The Topic
Blogging is not sheer opinion if you want to be considered an expert. I am not an expert in many of the topics on which I blog. I am, however, pretty darned good at finding folks who are experts in their respective fields. I utilize places like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), message boards, groups on Facebook, in-person networking to exchange business cards, industry-oriented mixers, Twitter, and so on.
Experts are out there. You need to find them to add credibility to a blog post. I suggest doing a blog post with opposing views and let your readers decide. Whichever route you take, do your research.
Hot Tip: Don’t simply re-word or copy and paste, thereby plagiarizing, someone else’s work online or in print. Be original. It’s super hard to regain credibility once you’ve lost it.
Know what shots you want before you get the post started so that you can capture exactly the visual message you want to complement your prose.
One of the bloggers over on Buffer shared a really cool list of tools he uses when creating images, which include:
- Pablo, for title images and quote images
- Canva, for miscellaneous graphics and Pinterest-sized graphics
- Skitch, for annotated screenshots
- Cloud App, for animated GIFs
- Compressor.io, for compressing large images into smaller file sizes
- IconFinder and The Noun Project, for icons
- UnSplash and Death to the Stock Photo, for free images (there are tons of other great, free image sources as well; just follow the proper crediting and sourcing)
Learn what to do to capture great images for your blog with the BlogPaws Photography Challenge.
Wondering how to create photos that brands love? We’ve got you covered there, too! Pictures say a thousand words, and if you are a blogger who works with brands: Pictures can make or break a post. Many veteran bloggers I’ve spoken to over the years believe quality photos or just as if not MORE important as the blog content. The bottom line is: Photos are important. We live in a highly visual world.
Learn how to create photos that brands love to see in blog posts and on social media.
Write the Post
Once you’ve written the post, consider that your first draft. Re-read it. Tweak it. Check for grammatical and spelling errors. Read it out loud (pets are good listeners, by the way).
In her checklist for optimizing blog posts, Aimee Beltran shares:
Edit each post by checking for these 5 things:
- Proofread the Post
- Check your post for typos, errors, etc.
- Read it out loud to make sure that everything makes sense.
- Post Title
- Is your post title engaging?
- Does it include some variation of your designated keyword phrase?
- VIP Tip: If you update the post title do NOT change the text in your permalink as you’ll break all of the existing links to that post!
- Does your post include your keyword phrases?
- Be sure to include your keyword phrase in the first 150-200 characters of your post.
- Does your post include images?
- Are they clear and easy to understand?
- If not, update your images and replace any dark, grainy pics.
- Add a Pinnable image (more on that in the coming weeks!)
- Add your keyword to the title and alt text of your image.
- Check the post for any broken links.
- Add new affiliate links
- Add links to other relevant posts on your blog.
- Add a Call To Action at the bottom of each post.
- For example:
- Subscribe to my newsletter for posts just like this!
- Add a comment to the bottom of this list and tell me what you think.
- Follow me on Facebook
- For example:
You can get more tips like this in the BlogPaws 10K Challenge here.
Certainly not last and by all means, not least, but knowing how to optimize a post so that the search engines will find you is crucial for Google juice…but also because you never know who is searching.
Case in point: I blogged a post called “Do Dogs Fall In Love” and if you type that in Google, as of this writing it ranks pretty darned high: In the coveted first spot.
A reporter from a large metropolitan newspaper contacted me recently because she was assigned this story by her editor. After typing “do dogs fall in love” in Google, she found me and reached out. I am now a credible source in her article, my blog will get mentioned, and she and I have a great working camaraderie. She will utilize me as a source again. My blog post, by the way, has great images and expert quotes, plus an air of whimsy. I planned it that way in my outline.
Promote the Post
One and done is not the way to promote a blog post. You should spend more time promoting a post over time than you do actually writing it. There is no worse feeling than following all of the above steps and then hitting publish…only to have crickets chirping their wings in response. No one despises the sound of silence more than a blogger who just hit publish.
We all want traffic and comments and shares and tweets galore on our blog posts, right?
Why post new content five times a week if you don’t give those posts the promotion juice they deserve? Here are 25 ways to promote a blog post after publishing. Read this as soon as possible. And don’t worry if you have a ton of content and you never gave the posts the promotion they deserved. Here are 20 ways to promote old blog posts.
Over the next few weeks, stay tuned for more concrete ideas to promote a post and get the eyes on your blog posts that they deserve.
Final hot tip: Be social on social media. No one likes a taker. Honestly, the more you give and are genuinely engaged, the more it will come back to you.
What’s your best tip for getting a blog post done?
About the Author: Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors®. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®
Main Image: Prathan Chorruangsak/Shutterstock.com
Remaining images: GraphicStock