Reading time: 9 minutes
I have a confession to make:
I actually hate writing content (well…maybe “hate” is a little strong…).
Even with roots in copywriting, blogging has never been something I’ve *truly* enjoyed. I’ve always found it to be a time-consuming, “business building” thing I had to do.
Only problem is, it actually WASN’T building my business. Or doing anything, for that matter, other than taking up precious time.
Here’s the thing:
Writing content is a pain, especially if it’s something you don’t enjoy. And, since buyers use content to help make purchase decisions 67% of the time, knowing how to write a blog post and create content people love is an essential part of doing business online.
But writing content that doesn’t get seen or shared or gets you paid is an even bigger pain. After all, if you’re not getting paid, your business is just a hobby.
According to Hubspot, it takes the average marketer in North America 3-4 hours to write a single, 500-word blog post.
And that’s a big problem, because:
1. That’s a lot of time to invest in blogging if you’re not leveraging it properly to get a return on your investment, whether that’s sales, establishing your authority and expertise, or generating leads for your business.
2. If all your posts are only 500 words, they’re not considered “valuable” by Google, which means your content is being penalized and pushed to the dusty back pages of the search engines.
Truth is, millions of blog posts are written every day.
Why should people read yours? What makes your content remarkable enough to stand out?
Valuable content that people love and share drives traffic. But persuasive content drives revenue.
So how can you crank out compelling content anytime you want, without it taking hours and hours or even days?
That’s easy. With a system and framework like this one that works.
In this post I’ll share:
- The essential ingredients of creating a remarkable blog post
- 5 overlooked sources of topic ideas
- My own 3-point blog framework
- Attention-getting headline formulas
How To Write A Blog Post: 5 Essential Ingredients To Make Yours Remarkable
Essential Ingredient #1: The Right Audience
Before you can write a blog post people love, you need to know who who you’re writing to. Knowing your audience – a.k.a. Your ideal client – is the first step in creating any kind of content.
You need to know:
a) Who you’re trying to help (hint: this should be ONE person, not a group of people, in order to write copy that connects and is compelling)
b) What they’re struggling with – a pain they’re trying to solve (eg. You’re trying to figure out how to write a blog post, which is why you’re reading this right now)
c) Their burning desires – what do they want MOST of all (eg. To know how to write blog posts quickly, without getting sidelined by writers block)
Need help uncovering these? Hang out where your ideal client does – forums, Reddit, Facebook™ groups, and pay attention to their comments on blogs.
Essential Ingredient #2: Imagery (Show, Don’t Tell)
Research shows that blog posts (or any text content) that has at least one image generated 94% more views on social media.
And, if you’ve got a colorful image above the fold (the area that’s immediately visible to people when they land on the page), then people are 80% more likely to read.
Not only that, but another study by Claremont University found that using images of pretty much any kind increases your content’s cred and trustworthiness by 75%.
Think of the blogs you follow. Chances are, they’re using images and photos to SHOW rather than simply TELLING.
Essential Ingredient #3: Useful Content (ie. What Problem Are You Solving?)
If you’ve already done step 1 above, you know what your audience wants help with.
Take this a step further by doing a little research. With a little legwork, YOUR content will be what lands in front of them at exactly the right time: when they’re looking for a solution.
Now before you tell me that, “Yo! People don’t read online!”, let’s put that myth (one I also used to believe) to bed right here.
According to this study, 84% of people are more likely to research and read a specific topic they’re interested in than in 2011.
And that’s VERY good news for content marketers!
Now that we’ve put the smackdown on that business-limiting belief, let’s dive into our research.
There are several sources of content ideas you can draw from. To keep track of them, I started doing what Neil Patel calls an “Idea Bank” – a simple spreadsheet that looks like this:
I’d highly suggest you do the same.
Still not sure what to write about? Try these 5 overlooked sources of topic ideas.
Idea Source #1: Keywords
Using Google’s FREE AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, you can uncover the search terms your audience is using to find what they need.
Simply go to https://adwords.google.com to sign in (or sign up if you don’t have an account), navigate to Tools, then select Keyword Planner from the drop-down menu.
Then, enter the keyword or phrase you want to look up results for, add any further defining criteria, and click Get Ideas.
Voila! A list of all the search words and phrases the people you want to get your content in front of are using.
The best part is, you DO NOT need to be advertising with Google to use this tool – it’s 100% free!
Idea Source #2: Your Competitors
BuzzSumo is an amazing tool that shows you the most shared content on the web so you can get the skinny on your competitor’s most popular content.
Idea Source #3: Hubspot Topic Generator
If you’re really stuck, this tool from Hubspot provides some fun ideas.
Idea Source #4: Your Own Content
If you’ve been creating content for awhile, take a look at your most popular posts. Is there a post you can expand on and re-publish or re-purpose in a way that will be helpful?
Alternately, perhaps there’s a natural progression in topics branching out from a specific piece that can then become “cornerstone” or “hub” content.
Idea Source #5: Your Products & Services
If you’re blogging just because you love to write, then it’s not doing your business any good. You need to have a purpose behind your words.
And selling your products and services is that purpose (or at least, it should be).
Consider your offers. What obstacles or hurdles are stopping people from saying YES?
Addressing objections or clarifying concepts and answering questions with your blog post topics can be a great way to improve lead generation.
Essential Ingredient #4: A Story
There’s a lot of talk about using stories in marketing. That’s because stories sell.
Stories have been told and handed down for centuries. It’s how we relate to each other and create an immediate bond with perfect strangers.
Because we can see ourselves in them.
Your content should include some kind of story, whether it’s your own (like the one I shared at the start of this article) or someone else’s, as in a case study.
Essential Ingredient #5: Length
Should your blog post be long, short, or somewhere in the middle?
As with most things (like writing sales or web pages), it depends.
In this short video, I talk about how long your posts should be for optimal results.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding how long your post should be:
– Do you want to generate traffic from this? (Google loves articles over 1,500 words)
– Will this piece be “cornerstone” or “hub” content? The longer your article is, the more opportunities you’ll have to link back to other relevant content from your site.
– Are you hoping people will share your article? According to research by OkDork and BuzzSumo, the longer content is, the more shares it gets.
– How many words will it take to communicate the purpose of your post? That’s really the ultimate deciding factor in how long any blog post will be.
Now that you’re armed with that information, you’re probably wondering, “Okay, so how the heck DO I write a blog post that has all this remarkable content?”
How To Write A Blog Post: My 3-Point Blog Framework
The first thing you need to know how to write a blog post with blockbuster content every time is a framework – a system that helps with some of the heavy lifting.
The thing I love most about having a system for content creation is that it takex the guesswork out of things, and helps me write faster.
In fact, once you’ve conducted your research and outlined your post, actually writing it is the easy part.
Here’s how to structure your content for maximum impact.
Step 1: Write A Lapel-Grabbing Headline
Unless you’ve got a headline that stands out and grabs attention, you may as well air mail an invitation to read one of the other 2.5 million+ blog posts. Your headline should take a good chunk of time to create, and yet most people don’t spend long enough on it.
Here’s why you should spend more time crafting your headlines:
…or how about this startling discovery by The Science Post:
The idea behind your headline is to invite people to click and read. And, you’ll get bonus points for SEO if you’ve used your keyword in it.
Now that you’ve got that extra pressure, the good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to headlines.
In fact, Neil Patel has provided the below list of proven headline formulas and frameworks that you can simply make your own.
Battle-Tested Winning Headline Formulas
Breaking News Headline
Formula: [Story] + [Effect]
Example: New Google Algorithm Gives Top Blogs A Heavy Blow
The List Headline
Formula: [Number] of Ways To [Desired Outcome]
Example: 127 Ways To Market Your Online Course
The Burning Question
Formula: [Pose A Provocative Question]
Example: Is The Money Really In The List?
A Fun Juxtaposition
Formula: [Present two conflicting ideas or positions]
Example: How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers (From SmartBlogger)
The How-To Headline
Formula #1: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] Like [Gripping Simile/Metaphor]
Example: How To Use Content Upgrades to Grow Your Email List Like Wildfire
Formula #2: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] In [Specific Timeframe]
Example: How To Use Persuasion To Write Blockbuster Blog Posts in 45 Minutes
The Ultimate Guide
Formula: The [Ultimate/Complete] Guide To [Total Transformation]
Example: The Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing
The Name Dropper
Formula: [Famous Person] [Method, Advice, Tips] For [Achieving A Desired Outcome]
Example: Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer (From SmartBlogger)
Introduce The Evil Villain
Formula: [Evil Villain] That [Specific Misdeed]
Example: The 10 Types Of Pseudo-Experts That Are Robbing You Blind
Address A Resident Emotion
Formula: [Appeal To A Fear/Other Strong Emotion]
Example: An Open Letter To Entrepreneurs Struggling To Make A Profit
The Mistakes, Errors, Warnings
Formula: [Number] Mistakes People Make [Specific Action]
Example: 12 Fatal Sales Copywriting Mistakes
Leading With Why Headline
Formula: [Why] [Specific Thing] [Outcome/Adjective]
Example: Why Creativity Is Overrated
Step 2: Write Engaging and Persuasive Body Copy
When someone’s clicked on your article thanks to your awesome headline, now it’s time to draw them in so they keep reading.
Studies show that on average, only 28% of the words on your page will get read, with 20% being closer to reality.
Engaging copy will improve your chances ten-fold…or more.
And, even if you’re not a writer or hate writing, you can write engaging and persuasive copy.
Write to ONE person
Remember at the beginning I told you to figure out who you’re writing to? This is where they come in – create a clear picture of that person and write to them.
Keep it conversational
Your content should read as if you’re sitting and having coffee with the person, not like a corporate annual report that’s all stiff and stuffy.
A way to instantly transform robotic-sounding copy is by using contractions, just like we do in everyday conversation (eg. Isn’t, didn’t, won’t, wouldn’t, can’t, etc.).
Tell the reader why they should care with a magnetic first line
Why should your reader keep reading? What are they going to get out of your post? Keeping your reader interested will make your copy more compelling and persuasive to read.
Powerful magnetic opening lines include using relevant quotes, drawing on emotions, presenting a counterintuitive idea, storytelling, or an unexpected, jaw-dropping fact or statistic.
Try using a combination of power words to pack an emotional punch.
Subheadings pull double duty in blog posts. First, they help people navigate quickly to sections they’re specifically interested in. Second, they communicate what you’re telling the reader on their own – so even if someone’s scanning your article, they’ll still get the jist of the meaning.
Write short sentences and paragraphs
Large blocks of text are uninviting and will scare people away. In fact, keeping your sentences short and sweet will help boost your content’s readability by 58%.
Step 3: Write a Persuasive Close
There’s no magic formula for closing out a blog post, but you can call on tried-and-true copywriting call-to-action techniques to help:
a) Emphasize and/or Reiterate
Your close is where you want to emphasize or reiterate your main message. Call items you mentioned at the beginning back in to round it out and make complete. For example, if you talked about Sally the Accountant early on in your post, mention her again. Or, remind the reader of the pain or struggle they’re currently dealing with.
b) Give Them a Reason to Act NOW
Don’t forget to give your reader a reason to act – make it urgent by reminding them what the benefit is by taking action now, and make sure they know this is something they can do. Be their inspiration and cheer them on.
c) Inspire Action
Finally, ask a question at the end to give readers a nudge – after all, you want them to engage with you (your post is a conversation, after all) and comment.
Here’s how Brian Dean at Backlinko does this effectively:
Know what I mean?
You can create a persuasive, authority-building blog post in just a few steps, without it eating up days of your time, even if you hate the process, get stumped by writer’s block or you don’t think you’re a writer.
Like anything worth doing, knowing how to write a blog post and creating blockbuster content takes practice and commitment (if everyone relied on talent, there would be a LOT fewer blogs – and even fewer copywriters).
But by following this 3-Point Blog Framework and the tips shared here, you’ll start seeing results from your content marketing efforts by creating posts people (and Google) love.
It’s not going to be all unicorns and cupcakes (I still find the process punishing and downright grueling at times). But when you start seeing the payoff – when people start sharing and engaging with your ideas – that makes it all worth it.
What’s your secret to writing persuasive, authority-building content? Do you have additional tips to share that I didn’t mention here?