How to Write a Blog When You're Not a Writer
I'm not much of what you would call a "writer."
Writing always was a tedious, time-consuming, and difficult task for me. However, though a little practice, I’ve discovered how to make what was once a chore into something more enjoyable – and more importantly, profitable for the business!
You’re probably asking yourself: “Self, why should I take writing advice from someone who admittedly isn't a writer?”
That’s a good question. Here’s the answer (warning: this is going to sound super cocky!) – I have written 6 blog posts on the Three Deep blog that account for over 13% of the total pageviews of the ENTIRE SITE. And this post is the second most popular page (in terms of pageviews, organic landing sessions, new users, and other engagement metrics) on the entire site next to the home page!
I told you, super cocky.
But here’s my point – you don't have to be a writing expert to be a good blog writer. What's important is that you have knowledge about the topic and can explain it in a simple way. You see, not only does blogging drive inbound traffic, but when the topic of your blog is helpful to a common problem/question/pain point that your target audience has, you drive quality inbound traffic that converts into leads and sales.
The process of producing a blog shouldn't stress you out either, it should be simple too. I have used 6 steps to cut down on blogging time, and anxiety. This process has helped me become more efficient with my writing time and enables me to focus in on what I am trying to accomplish with each post and it can do the same for you.
Blog Writing Process Steps:
In the coming paragraphs, I will break down each step in detail to show just how simple it really is to write a targeted and compelling blog post.
The first step to writing a good blog post is choosing a quality topic. To get started on topic ideation, ask yourself a few questions to help get the juices flowing:
“What do I know about?”
“What am I passionate about?”
“What do I like to talk about?”
“What do I want to tell the world about?”
Once you have a few ideas going, run them through the filter of “Does this matter to my customer?” That should help whittle down your topic list to just a few items. Take those items and put them into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to check out whether or not people are actually looking for those things with any frequency (let’s use my actual keyword research for this blog post):
Here you’ll get a good idea of the average monthly searches for your keyword topics as well as some similar/related ideas as you scroll down the page.
Use this only as a guide to inform the high-level topic of your post. Remember to think about intent behind the search query – even though the keyword “blogs” has 40,500 monthly searches, it is probably not a great topic for my post because it is much too general. The intent of the search could be different depending on the searcher.
A better topic for me to focus on is “how to write a blog” as it is much more specific and still has relatively high interest with 5,400 avg. monthly searches.
So we have our main article topic idea, next we start to form what it is we want to say. I do this by creating an outline.
If you’re like me, you never really paid any attention in your middle school English class. Especially not when the teachers were talking about outlines (boring!). Well, as it turns out, outlines really do help you to organize your thoughts and stay on track when writing.
I like to create a really high-level outline that just breaks out the main points of the blog. Here’s an example – the outline of this very blog!
Yeah, I realize it’s a little bit like blog Inception here but stick with me. You can even refer back to this image as you scroll through to see how closely I stick to my own script.
Now that your thoughts are all organized, you can start writing.
Finally, you can get all those smarts out of your head and onto the screen!
What I like to do is just write. Don’t look back, don’t worry about spelling or grammar, just write. Get it all out in the open. I find that this helps me focus and cuts down on total time spent on the blog. I usually pull open a new Word doc and start typing away – don’t bother with those little squiggly colored lines until the review phase.
Block out a good 3-hour chunk of time right away to get your brain dump going. Make sure to have your outline handy to help keep you on track.
Don’t try to write what you think people want to hear. Write what comes natural and is relevant to support your POV on your topic. Use your natural voice – don’t try to use words you don’t usually use. I’ve found that the more easily readable a blog is, the more shareable it becomes.
If you have a solid outline, the writing part should go pretty smoothly.
Here’s where you make that pile of letters and punctuation look like a blog post.
I like to give it a run through from top to bottom and make sure the post is consistent and flows well – fixing spelling, grammar, and punctuation along the way. Silly little mistakes in these areas can wipe away the credibility from almost any good post.
Finally, when you have a close-to-finished product, shoot it over the fence to someone else for review. It’s always a good idea to hear whether or not it makes sense to other people before you release it into the world.
Ok, now we’re close to the finish line – your post is almost ready to bestow its glory upon the internet. But before it gets there, it needs a little lipstick.
In this step is where I like to give my posts a little personality. I like to choose images that help to prove my point, enhance my story, or convey my inner dialogue. I also enjoy gifs (as you could probably guess).
There are lots of great places to finding images but here are a few of my favorite royalty free stock photo galleries:
As far as gifs go, I like to use giphy.com – here you’ll find lots of easily searchable gifs as well as the ability to create your own. Go easy on the gifs though, or else your blog post runs the risk of looking like a bad Buzzfeed article.
Now that you have the imagery to match your wordsmith mastery, hit that publish button and let the comments, traffic, and shares flow in!
But wait, there’s more…
The best way to tell somebody that you did something is to tell them that you did something.
Sure, over time traffic will trickle in organically, but to get the relevant eyeballs on your post right away you need to promote it as soon as it’s published. If you are contributing your post to your company’s blog, make sure that it is shared across all its social networks. Paid social advertising works really well because you have the ability to laser target your message to the segment seeing the ad. Combine this with a clear call to action within the post and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
At the very least get it out on your personal social networks – tailor the message to be specific to each channel.
Congrats, you’ve just finished investing in the future of your (or your company’s) site through a targeted, relevant, useful blog post! Let the leads commence!
Alright, there you have it a roadmap for blogging success at any skill level.
Full disclosure, one blog post is not going to catapult your company into the stratosphere of digital success. For sustained results, you need a targeted and well thought out content strategy. At Three Deep, our content strategy team specializes in producing the research, analysis, and insights that will help guide your business in the right direction. Give us a call today to find out how to get started.