The Perfect Blog Post: My Process For Writing 25 Killer Blog Posts Every Month
Blog posts are a huge part of my life. In a given month, I have to produce anywhere from 25-30 posts across multiple sites, providing actually useful information (I hope) hoping to position myself as a valuable content marketing resource for my audience.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that not all blog posts are created equal. In fact, you can have a ton of good and great posts on your blog, but that doesn’t mean any of them are even orbiting perfect. But I’ve also learned that the “perfect” post isn’t quite the unicorn it’s made out to be.
The following information is essentially a summary of what I’ve found works best for me in the ideation and creation process for my blog posts. If you want it to work for you, you’ll have to make sure that you’re really trying to personalize this information.
But If you’re hoping you can plug and play a few tricks to put lipstick on a sh*tty blog, you’re wasting your time. In the grand scheme of you and your brand, nothing trumps good writing and valuable information.
Ideation: Define Your Goals Early On
There are generally four* kinds of blog posts that I use, and they might be known a little differently depending on whom you’re talking to. I’ll call them “The How-To,” “The 101,” “The Media Report” and “The Resource Center.”
In the ideation process, I find it most helpful to plan posts by topic. But it’s important to never stick with just one type of post. If every single title on your blog starts with “How To,” you’re going to start running out of ideas pretty damn quick. So let’s look at each one:
As straightforward as it gets: this post is meant to address a specific issue that I’ve found a majority of my consulting clients to be dealing with. If people are emailing me about similar issues, I might try to answer it with a post like this. Here’s a recent example from my own site.
The “101” or Overview
The 101 is going to be a much more broad post, something that addresses a large topic, trying to answer some of the most basic questions. You’ll see a lot of SEO 101s or Content Marketing 101s.
These are great because you can address a fairly wide variety of subjects in a quick period of time. Just don’t spread any one topic too thin. Here’s an example of a recent 101 that I wrote about getting hacked.
The Media Report
For me, media reports are when I’ll try to incorporate some part of pop culture or viral content into my blog. You won’t see me doing this too often, but it definitely has its merits. This is a great chance to create a listicle or dissect a viral video, all while tying things back to your own expertise. Here’s an example from my blog.
The Resource Center
Finally, there’s the resource center, which can often be my biggest hit. These are posts where I’ll simply provide large lists of tools and ideas related to content marketing. These are extremely valuable, get high shares amongst content marketers, and are easy to turn into pretty long posts. Here’s one from a few weeks back.
*It’s important to mention what’s called Newsjacking, which is valuable and extremely useful for ideation—but it’s not something that I am often using. If it works for you, by all means use it.
When I’m writing for outside publications like Forbes or WSJ, my topics remain consistent with what I’m publishing here or on my personal site. When you’re building a brand it’s important that you don’t stray too far off the path. For me, newsjacking doesn’t help put forth my image of being a helpful insider. It’s not as valuable for me to write about it.
Research Your Audience
That’s the good news: you don’t have to write about everything. Find what works for you (and your audience) and run with it. I find that there are a few tools that can especially help me in that regard.
BuzzSumo: you can research nearly any topic and find recent blog posts, articles or case studies; track engagement; and even find and reach out to influencers. It’s the best way to tap into the conversation on the subjects you want to write about (and the ones your audience is actually taking part in).
Crazy Egg: This tool will help you to heat map your own site, which can give you clues as to why people are or aren’t digging your content. Maybe they’re drawn to certain parts of the page (or certain pictures) more often. This gives you the best opportunity to listen and cater to those preferences.
BuzzBundle: Like BuzzSumo, but more targeted towards your brand and site. This awesome tool lets you find what people are saying about you, your products, and your business. It can also help you to tap into other influencers, and find examples of what your audience really likes or is talking about.
Google Analytics: Finally, the tried and true. One of the most important tools for me here is in discovering traffic. Am I getting most referral, organic or direct? That matters in the grand scheme of telling me what content works. If I’m lacking in referral or organic, maybe I need to get outside the comfortable content I keep producing for the same one audience.
As I mentioned above, it seems that my most popular posts for my audience are the listicle/resource based articles. While I’ve had success with some extremely in-depth How-Tos, my most shares have come from posts like 15 Content Marketing Tools I Use Every Day (and You Should Too) or 50 Promotion Tactics to Include In Your Content Marketing Strategy. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop doing the other posts, but it’s certainly something to consider in my ideation process.
Research Your Topic
Operating off of intuition is great, but it only gets you so far. You can write a great, and informative post, but it needs to be backed up with good resources, articles and tools. If all I said in this post was that I am great at understanding my audience and that’s the secret to a great post, you’d hate me.
Good blog writing is about giving your audience tangible proof and solid resources. Part of that is providing concrete ways for your readers to apply your wisdom, and part of it is simply for the sake of making it a valuable, promotable post. Dense, valuable content has links, links and more links.
While I’d ideally have articles that I can constantly pull from my memory to reference in blog post, I generally limit the number of articles I read in a day. So that means when I’m writing I have to do a lot of research. Speaking of, here are some of the tools and resources that I use in my research process:
The Longer The Better
Get your mind out of the gutter. I will always preach the gospel of longer content, because it has proven to work time and time again for me. I also don’t mind deferring to the data and wisdom of Neil Patel from time to time.
The reality is, it’s not just about words—but it’s about leaving room for a fuller, more substantive post without feeling “stuffed.” These days, almost every post that I write circles around the 2000 word mark—and they’ve all been getting consistently high shares.
You’re just not going to be able to write a comprehensive post in 500 words. As much as we like to lament our generation as a lover of “sound bites,” that isn’t the case with industry-based blogs. People want smart, valuable content that’s going to teach them something they’ll actually use. Don’t be afraid of a high word count.
Keep Things Interesting
Whether it’s solid images, screenshots, slides, or infographics, you need something to break up those massive walls of text. While you don’t need everyone to read every single word, you are naturally going to lose people if they just see a block of words.
As much as I’d like to think this post is compelling enough to keep you all moving down this page at lightning speed, I recognize that big blocks of text can be overwhelming. I do my best to keep paragraphs short, provide visual examples, and generally lighten things up when a topic gets too dense.
And hey, it’s OK to pepper in a few four-letter words from time to time. Just make sure it’s in line with your branding.
Include a Solid CTA
It’s important to remember why we do all of this. While I do honestly believe there would be some merit to me writing nearly 30 blog posts every month simply for the sake of helping other people—it’s just not sustainable. The reality is that these posts are my bread and butter for expanding my audience, gaining new referrals, and ultimately growing my business.
If you’re not taking advantage of your posts as an opportunity for growth, then you’re letting a major part of your effort go to waste. Make sure to include good CTAs on your blog. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch, even the simple addition of a Hello Bar can be a major improvement.
Give people the opportunity to follow you, subscribe to you, and share your stuff. If you’re not trying to build an audience with your blog, you’re not using your blog to its fullest potential.
The other half of that is promotion. While a Hello Bar and social share buttons are great, that’s not all you need for a “perfect” blog post. Early on, I had plenty of blog posts that I didn’t promote well, and despite great content, didn’t get the shares that I would have hoped.
You need to promote your stuff. The whole point of a great blog post is that it reaches a broad audience. If you only want to help one or two people, then don’t waste your time writing 2000 word posts, just consult over the phone.
The 100 Days Of Growth blog has a ton of valuable tools for learning how to grow and promote your site. (And not to get too meta, but that is an eBook that I co-wrote with my friend Rob Wormley.)
Writing great content is step one, but if you can’t effectively drive traffic to the post, it’s probably not going to get the legs it deserves. A perfect blog post isn’t simply one that’s free of typos and has all the most relevant gifs. It’s one that responds to your audience, provides a valuable resource, strengthens your brand, and ultimately helps you to grow your business.
No more excuses: use the resources above to develop posts that can do the same for you today! Good luck.
Republished with permission from ContentMarketer.io.