10 Steps to Writing an Awesome Blog Post

We've learned A LOT in our many many many months of blogging consistently – mostly from making a bunch of mistakes, of course. 😎

But mistakes are super valuable, especially if you can learn from them without actually having to make them. As in, if you can get someone else to spill the beans on all the lessons they've learned. And after putting out 2-4 blog posts a week for the past 12 weeks, I feel like I've finally made enough mistakes to create a go-to process for busting out these puppies.

And I've distilled that process into a step-by-step blogging guide I'd like to share with you today.

I call it...


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Ready to jump in and create some awesome blog content!?

Here we go! I present to you my go-to 10-step process for creating awesome blog posts:


1. Generate a BUNCH of ideas up front

10 steps to great blogging! | Hoot Design Co.

I've found that it's far more helpful to produce great content ideas in ONE huge brainstorming session than to try and brainstorm concepts day-by-day. For a blog post to be successful, we've found that content needs to be both relevant and compelling, and absolutely must be geared toward your audience's interests. 

So when I'm planning posts, I always try to keep in mind two questions:

  1. What is it readers WANT to know?
  2. What is it that I have high-quality knowledge about?

The ideas that occupy both categories are blog-worthy! 


2. Plan out your topics IN ADVANCE

We have a whole Google calendar devoted to planning out our blog posts for the next few weeks. 

[Related: How to customize your Google calendar like a bawss]

Because we have multiple blog contributors (three! 😱) creating a legit calendar helps us stay on the same page all the time. But even if you're running a one-blogger show, creating a similar organization system is definitely beneficial to make sure your posts are spread out evenly!

Check out what we've got coming up over the next few weeks! Ta-da:

 
How to manage a blog (aka, my blogging and writing process!) | Hoot Design Co.
How to manage a blog (aka, my blogging and writing process!) | Hoot Design Co.
 

Of course, this calendar is totally not the be-all-end-all of our blogging schedule.

There are about a thousand reasons why we change topics or shuffle our order.

The most common reason? We find that a topic is just too broad for one blog post – like today: I planned for this post to be about blogging resources and my blogging process. But the blogging process itself is already enough for a full post! So you can bet you'll be seeing a whole post devoted to blogging resources soon. 😉


3. Record your initial thoughts + resources

Making sure to briefly record your initial intent for the post guarantees that you don't come back to your topic wondering what the heck you meant when you scheduled a post for What to do when you hate hate hate what you're doing. Um, what?

Oftentimes I jot down a few pieces of essential information in Google Calendar directly. Other times (when I have already started composing paragraphs in my head) I create a new document in Grammarly (which we included as one of our best free writing resources on the internet too!) or start a new blog post directly in Squarespace.

When you start out with a clear intent, it's way easier to limit your scope. One great way is to generate a VERY specific title to use while developing the blog post.

Instead of starting out with a general title for your blog post, like Writing a Blog Post for Your Business—which is actually just a topic—narrow it down to a specific title that tightly confines what you're creating,  like The 10 Types of Blog Posts All Businesses Can Create.

4. Build your skeleton

Ahh, time to finally start writing!

 My initial skeleton for this post. My content has definitely changed since then!

My initial skeleton for this post. My content has definitely changed since then!

The first thing I do when I actually sit down to write a post is sketch out an initial skeleton.

Taking the time to draft a very general concept makes you stop and think for a few seconds about what kind of format will be best for your content: Is it a list? An illustrated how-to post?

When you're drafting a skeleton, write out your essential section titles without worrying about filling in details just yet. 

The goal here is to get your general plan down in writing.

You'll have time to add more detail and smooth out the bumps later.

And don't freak out if the plan changes when you actually begin to add content, of course!


5. Write your content!

Now, flesh out each section of content, adding in what you actually want to communicate.

Focus on the core of your argument or narrative, using facts, anecdotes, examples, or instructions as your flagship content. You can worry about more finessing later!


6. Organize  + add formatting

Now is the time to revamp your structure and polish your content according to your readers' needs: Organized, consumption-ready information.

Divide your content into logical segments using varied headers, line breaks, and a logical progression. Try splitting paragraphs apart to help your readers' eyes move along the screen. And make sure to use strategic bolding to call attention to the essential pieces of information within a larger sentence or paragraph!

 Rearrange as necessary!

Rearrange as necessary!


7. Images ftw

Finally, time to add in images!

If I try to add in images any earlier than this point, I find myself getting distracted by the wealth of options out there. GIFs, custom graphics, cheesy stock imagery, or real-life photos are all great options for today's modern blogger on the interwebz.

Why add images? Because Internet-humans LOVE them.

Your audience is being barraged by a freakishly huge amount of stimulus on the internet (433,000 tweets were posted on Twitter per minute in 2014!) and any additional attention-grounding visual cues definitely play to your benefit online.

Plus, images are a great way to add humor to your content, provide additional context, or present illustrated examples to your audience. And I'm counting emoji as images too, fyi 😁


8. ADD NARRATIVE ELEMENTS

Humans like stories way more than flat content!

We've been telling stories for hundreds of thousands of years – it's part of what makes us human! (This is totally a legit point because I learned it in my anthropology class last semester, bro). 

Readers want to find a narrative arc in the content you create: We want to find a beginning, middle, and satisfying end even if we're reading a rather technical blog post on... how to write a blog post (so meta).

So how can you create a narrative arc in something as mundane as a blog post?

Well, you can certainly give it a shot by keeping a few key turning points in mind:

  1. Opening: Start out with an anecdote or similarly approachable opening – it's super boring to say simply, "Today I'm going to tell you how to write a blog post." Instead, tell a little story, give some background, or relay a problem you've been having to your audience. The goal is to create a connection right off the bat to make your reader want to continue on. 
  2. Transitions: Including transitional cues (for example, using phrases like "then" and "next") helps to keep your reader moving smoothly through your content.
  3. Climax or shift: This might not be possible for every type of post, but if you're writing about how you solved a problem or made a decision, readers will appreciate a key climax of events or clearly stated shift in your thoughts!
  4. Wrap-up: You want your readers to take your message home with them. So help them out by providing a brief recap section where you restate essential info in a condensed form. A snackable form. Like a little fun-sized version of your blog post they can grab if they decide to head out early.
  5. Ending: You want to make sure you end most posts on a high note. Our memories are short on the internet, and what will stick with readers the longest is whatever final feeling you use to wrap up your post. By finishing on a high note, you reward readers who've made it all the way through and increase the likelihood that they'll come back for more! 

9. Close-read your own work

Do you really *have* to read over your own writing? OF COURSE YOU DO!

Even though you know what you think you wrote, you're pretty much guaranteed to be able to improve it when you give your writing a full, critical read-through.

 J. Law shows you your face when you catch your errors in a critical re-read.

J. Law shows you your face when you catch your errors in a critical re-read.

Setting aside time for a session devoted to reading what you've written with a critical eye ensures that you have an opportunity to catch errors in spelling or grammar, identify and correct sh*t sections of your post (like if your argument totally falls apart), and add a final polish

AND! This is also a PERFECT opportunity to add in links you may have missed as you were typing away. Making sure to include links to related content serves a few excellent purposes:

  1. You can point your readers to related content on your own site
  2. You can reinforce your own expertise by linking to additional external resources
  3. You can build valuable backlinks to related content across the web (this is beneficial for your SEO presence! Google likes backlinks 😊)

Additionally, at this point make sure you check over your title. Does it make sense? Is it catchy and compelling? Consider using a resource like Coschedule's awesome headline analyzer to help you out.

And before you move on to step 10, glance over your post's categorization and tags: Relevant? Keyword-worthy? Helpful? Okay, let's move onto the final step then!


10. Get a Second set of eyes!

If you're able to get a second set of eyes on your post before you hit publish, don't pass up the opportunity!

I try to drag friends or family into reading over my writing as much as possible to help me out before I push content out into the vast reaches of the internet. Though a second set of eyes can help you spot errors you may have missed, the true value of a peer read can offer insight that's even more valuable: checks on your technical language and overall tone.

• Jargon check:

Why should you focus on keeping your technical language in check? Shouldn't you use your blog post as an opportunity to show off your deep subject knowledge? Well, yes, you DO want to demonstrate your expertise – but being able to simplify your language is a great indicator that you really understand what you're writing about! There's a great quote that is commonly attributed to Einstein (though I have never actually seen a legitimate source for the saying) that goes: 

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”

Even if it's not really a legit Einstein quote, the point is clear: Complicated language doesn't indicate a clear understanding – rather, jargon is a great way to hide the fact that you have no idea what you're talking about. And your audience will totally peace out if they find your language inaccessible!

• Tone check:

Lastly, a second set of eyes will be able to alert you if you've totally gone off the deep end with your tone (ever heard of a P.C. translator? That's me 💁). Your backup buddy will be able to throw out a red flag if what you're saying is offensive or inappropriate.

Maybe what you thought was a great joke is actually pretty hurtful. The last thing you ever want your blog to do is burn bridges with possible clients! The goal here is to avoid entirely avoidable facepalms. 

 Nice catch, Hermione.

Nice catch, Hermione.


There you have it: My go-to process for creating blog posts!

These ten tips largely focus on planning contentengaging your readers, and avoiding errors and issues in your writing. 

I've found that sticking pretty closely to this game plan allows me to focus more on creating high-quality content and less on worrying if I'll ever finish the post I started.

By breaking a larger task down into more manageable bites I'm able to be more productive in my time, and that's a total win for me. And for the blog, too, of course.

Three cheers for productivity!

10 steps to writing a badass blog post. 1. Be Tyra Banks. 2. That's all. | Hoot Design Co.

Ready to get started creating awesome blog content?

I hope so!  What are your go-to guidelines for writing up a storm? What are some practices or tips you recommend? Let me know!

Until next time,

Avery



We're working hard to show you what five years in business looks like. Comment here or on Facebook with topics or questions you'd like to see us cover. Or maybe just links to your favorite GIFS. You can also tweet us your feedback @hootdesignco or @averyenderle, follow us on Insta, come check out our Pinterest boards, and keep up with us on BlogLovin'!


How to Brainstorm Great Blog Topics & Write High-Quality Content – A Beginner's Guide

Content marketing is the bomb for business.

It's true. In our hectic, overflowing, distracted internet, content marketing is the most effective strategy to bring together all of your digital marketing in one place, working toward one goal: driving your business.

Part of what makes content marketing so successful is how strategic it is – when done right. That means developing a coherent strategy and sticking to it. By setting goals and approaching your strategy systematically, content marketing can be an incredibly effective business tool.

How effective is content marketing?

By consistently creating high-quality content, we grew our monthly website traffic by 1,607% in just two years.

1,607%. That's HUGE. We've seen an incredible growth of business thanks to that hard work.

But when we encourage non-marketers to get started creating their own content, there's one big problem:

The challenge of creating strategic, sales-driven content when you're not from the marketing world can be intimidating AF

Even when non-marketing business ballers see the value in content marketing, they're flooded with questions"Where do I start? What do I write about? How do I know what my customers want to read? How do I know when a blog post is done?"

Getting started is so tough and intimidating that many businesses just give up. But getting started with content marketing doesn't need to be hard.

In fact, you already have all the knowledge you need to create great content. You just need to know how to put it together.

Well, we're here to help.

We want you to be successful, so we're giving away our secrets

We've come up with these clear, actionable tips to empower you to convert your knowledge into content that targets your audience, builds search engine optimization (SEO), and makes your audience know, like, and trust you – and, ultimately, do business with you.

Enjoy!


Looking for blog post ideas? This how-to guide is for you:  we're showing you a great brainstorming process, concrete categories that ALWAYS perform, and tips and resources for writing high-quality blog posts. Enjoy! | Hoot Design Co.

1. Get into the mindset of your dream client

 

This first step is INCREDIBLY important. 

Before you get started creating content, stop thinking like a seller – and start thinking like your dream client.

Your dream client is that one person you love working with. Who do you wish all of your customers were like?

Get into their head. What do they want? What do they need? What are their pain points? What's their biggest issue? You're going to need to refer back to your dream client again and again throughout creating your content.

Need some help with that?

We've got a step-by-step blog post on finding your dream client and digital download to seal the deal.

 

2. Brainstorm great content – using these easy shortcuts

 

Alright, it's time to figure out just what you're going to write about. That's a pretty big question. 

To get started, narrow your search by brainstorming a few potential topics in each of the no-fail categories below. Write them all down – we'll come back to them later.

Tip: Brainstorming is always better in groups!

 

• "Newsjacking"

Terrible word, great blog content. Newsjacking is simply creating content around a development in your industry. Perhaps it's a new technology, a new process, or even a new fad – the point is to pick a recent development in your field and respond. Use this blog post as an opportunity to show your expertise, prove you're staying relevant as your field evolves, and speak to your clients' needs in a clear and simple manner.

• "What others do wrong (and we do better)"

This type of post is a classic across all industries. Again, this genre is a perfect opportunity to articulate your process or products in terms of their clear benefit to the client – while giving concrete examples of how you differ from your competitors.

• Case studies

Yes, case studies can make great blog content. Highlight a success story with a real-life example to show what a difference working with you made in one customer's life. The with creating content around a case study is to focus on how the client has benefitted from your services; avoid the temptation of talking solely about your own success, growth, and processes. The client is the main character; you're the sidekick here.

• FAQs

What's a question you get all the time? Yep, you guessed what this suggestion is going to be: write an explanation to a question you're always getting. Remember, focus on the client all the way through.

• Roundups/lists

Got helpful resources for your client? Have a selection of products that fit a theme? Make a quick, list-based roundup post. Make sure to include relevant links and sources!

• Demonstrations

Create a demonstration of how your product works or create a walkthrough of a typical contract with you. What can your client or customer expect? Visual content is particularly suited to this type of post.


3. Choose just ONE of your topics to focus on

 

Alright, let's narrow down that list. Great questions to ask yourself when picking out the topic you're about to write on are:

  • Which of these am I truly excited about creating?
  • Which of these will be most beneficial to our current business goals?
  • Which of these do I feel most confident that my existing knowledge is enough to jump in right away?

4. Write a great headline first

 

It might seem strange, but actually writing your headline before you dive into creating your content is incredibly helpful. Why?

Creating a structured, specific headline keeps your focus narrowed on your primary objective for that post.

Here's how to get started: Generate a bunch of ideas for your title – and I mean a bunch.

When you start, focus on just getting some ideas down. Don't be critical of your creative process!

Next, start to refine your concepts with an eye toward specificity and shareability. CoSchedule's incredibly helpful article How To Write Headlines That Drive Traffic, Shares, And Search Results is an amazing resource to read up on headline strategies.

Next, use an awesome tool like CoSchedule's headline analyzer to evaluate your headline and hone in even more.

You want your headline to score a 70% or above to be most effective: look for that green bar!

 Type type type type type type

Type type type type type type


5. Get creating – with help from our blog post A Step-by-step guide for creating effective, efficient blog posts

 

Time to make this baby happen.

We've outlined this step of the process in detail in one of our favorite blog posts with our 10-step process for writing awesome blog posts.

And great news! You've already done the first step in our 10-step process. The nine steps you have left are:

  1. Brainstorm a bunch of ideas [check!]
  2. Keep an eye toward the next few weeks of content (use those other ideas in upcoming weeks!)
  3. Record your initial thoughts
  4. Build your skeleton
  5. Write it out!
  6. Organize your ideas if needed
  7. Add images
  8. Spruce it up with some narrative structure
  9. Proofread your work – (Tip: If you're working with a marketing agency [like us], it's time to hand your content over to us for the final finessing – clients, that means sending what you have on over to us when you reach this stage!])
  10. Get a second set of eyes – (That's us!)

Bonus tip: Cross-linking your content to other relevant parts of your site (like your about page, services page, contact, or related blog posts) is a great way to start giving your blog a little SEO boost. 

[Related: 5 Ways to Boost Engagement on Your Squarespace Website Right Now]


6. Finalize + publish your blog post

 

Alright, we've got the blog post written and formatted. But! Before you hit that button, it's important to double-check some essential elements. 

This step is SO important we created an internal tool for our own blog posts, then decided we had to share it with the world.

Head on over to our post on how to make sure your blog post is ready to publish to ensure it's all ready to go.

[Bonus: We've rounded up a list of the five best free writing resources that we use on a regular basis – I absolutely LOVE these tools!]

Aaaaaand... time to make your beautiful content live!

 Our  final blog post checklist  is essential to making sure your blog post is ready to go!

Our final blog post checklist is essential to making sure your blog post is ready to go!


 

That's all, folks! You did it.

Time to share that blog post on social media and via awesome e-newsletters. You should feel proud of your new content! Keep at it, and you'll get this shizz down pat in no time.

 

The final word: Content marketing can be intimidating. It can be tough. But it's worth it.

But getting these processes down will help you create better and better content – and it will get easier with every post you create.

And if you decide you'd like some help along the way? Well, you know who to contact! (I'm talking about the best marketing agency around, of course! 😉)


 
Psssst... Still need a bit of a boost?

Sometimes you want something more than a how-to method – something that really gives you a jump start on your blog post, complete with a ready-to-go structure, skeleton, and easy fill-in-the-blanks guide

If that describes you (and I KNOW it describes me!), we've got you covered with our signature blog post template and workbook shortcuts. Give 'em a whirl to get started creating the smoothest, most accessible – and more importantly, most efficient! – blog posts ever:

 

Do you have more helpful tips for getting started with blog content? Questions? Requests? Let me know in the comments below! I try to get back within one business day, so ask away. 

Until next time,

– Avery

PS: Did you find this post helpful? If so, consider sharing it with your peeps on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest. They'll thank you later.