- Hello Again Freedom-Seeker
- 1. The Big Myth About Blogging
- 2. Don’t Be Afraid To Add Your Personality
- 3. Know Your Audience
- 4. Choosing The Right Topic
- 5. Be Clear About The Purpose Of Your Post
- 6. Choose Your Focus Keyword
- 7. Create A Content Calendar
- 8. You Need An Attention-Grabbing Headline?
- 9. Outline Your Post
- 10. Now For The Writing
- 11. It’s Time To Edit
- 12. Include Links
- 13. Decide On Your Images
- 14. Tend To Your Basic SEO
- 15. Create A Valuable Optin/Freebie
- 16. You Are Ready To Publish…Woo Hoo!
Hello Again Freedom-Seeker
Now that you have set up your blog, added plugins, and chosen your theme, let’s look at 16 Proven Keys To Writing Your First Blog Post so you can get up and running fast and begin engaging with your readers.
I recommend that you recap on these previous posts?… here are the links:
1. The Big Myth About Blogging
There’s a big myth which is understandable but quite untrue. You don’t have to be a great writer to be a blogger. That’s because successful bloggers write as if they are chatting to a friend.
That means that there are some grammar rules that can be ignored, such as beginning a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and’.
Grammatically this is not correct…but we do it in spoken conversation and it translates to warm interaction in a post rather than something that sounds like a college term paper.
The point of blogging is to be conversational and chatty.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Add Your Personality
Another great way to write any blog post is to include personal info. I don’t mean you have to give intimate details of your life (unless you feel you want to).
But, by including a story about your own experience with whatever your post is about, and how you overcame the problem will help your readers to easily identify with you…it’s like a kindred spirit.
This is where you add in your personal anecdotes but remember to be authentic, inject your personality into your posts and always write from your heart. It will shine through in your writing tone.
The goal of your post, and in fact your entire blog is to resonate with your reader and create a connection, to build trust which leads to a loyal following.
A major point to remember though, is that the focus of your blog and all of your posts is always about your audience and not about you.
Even when you are including your personal story, it’s there to encourage your readers to identify with your subject matter rather than to read your autobiography.
3. Know Your Audience
So, in order for your audience to be able to feel connected to you, it’s important that you know who your audience is. This is called identifying your ‘target’ audience or your ‘avatar’.
This is something you would have needed to do when choosing your blog niche. The same research applies when choosing a post topic.
Do your research:
What is your audience looking for? What are they having problems with?
Use Quora, Reddit, FB groups in your niche, Youtube, and particularly other blogs in your niche – see what they are writing about and what problems people face.
Then write a better, more comprehensive article, maybe even one with a different slant/point of view.
But please don’t plagiarize. It’s not fair to other bloggers…and Google will penalize you for it! Yes, Google is super smart and knows if you have outright copied an article from another blog or even a published book.
You can also use PLR (Private Label Rights) content. However, while this is great to get ideas, be aware that other people can also buy this so you will want to change it around to reflect your own voice and personality.
4. Choosing The Right Topic
When writing your first post, think about your own life experiences to get ideas. What have you had problems with? How did you resolve them? Speak with friends and family to see what they have issues with and what they are interested in.
I write for 50+ midlife women.
Although there are still many different topics within this niche, I narrowed it down to specific Mind, Body, and Spirit topics because as a health coach I’m passionate about how these are all connected for our well-being.
I can also identify with my audience because I’m going through the same life-phase, allowing for personal experiences and outcomes. Many of the topics I write about are issues I have personally grappled with and found a way to resolve.
When you get tuned in, you will be amazed at the ideas for posts that come to you. Make a list of these so you don’t forget.
5. Be Clear About The Purpose Of Your Post
Each post should address to one particular problem or pain point that your audience wants to find an answer to. Make sure you keep this problem in mind throughout the post and that you provide a solution or solutions.
Necessary inclusions for each post:
- You need an attention-grabbing headline
- Intro – brief outline of your topic and the solution you will present
- Stay on track throughout your post…don’t lose sight of the topic
- Write about one main issue per post
- Address the problem your reader faces
- Include your personal experiences with this problem
- Provide an interesting and achievable solution
- Conclusion – a round-up of your post, noting the problem and the solutions provided
- Finally use a call-to-action (CTA) to prompt your reader to take the next step.
6. Choose Your Focus Keyword
Once you have your post idea, you need to choose your focus keyword. This is so that your blog will be found by Google.
Have you heard of SEO? I talked about it in this post. You don’t have to be an expert at SEO, but an understanding will help you to prepare your post so as to get into ‘best practices’ for later.
This won’t happen immediately as it takes some time for Google to identify what your blog and posts are about. But this is the basic essentials of SEO. Getting into this habit now will set you up for success over time.
A focus keyword also helps you to craft your post title and keeps you on track throughout your post.
- Use YouTube, Google & Pinterest & the free version of KW Finder
- Type in different phrases relevant for your niche
- You are looking for what’s trending and what people are currently searching for
- Pay attention to Google PASF – ‘people also search for’
- Check out the Google dropdown with associated keyword phrases.
7. Create A Content Calendar
Once you have completed your keyword research, you will have a list of keywords and probably ideas for other posts based on what you find. Use a Google spreadsheet for ideas. You can keep adding to the list as they come to you.
That way you will have something to refer back to and help you avoid future ‘blank page’ syndrome which we all experience at times, and it can be super frustrating!
I also recommend that you create a content calendar where you work out what posts you will do and when. This can really help you to produce regular content for your blog.
8. You Need An Attention-Grabbing Headline?
The goal of any headline is to encourage your reader to click on it. Without this they are likely to pass it completely and keep scrolling – particularly on mobile. Which means you have wasted your precious time creating the post.
Here are things that make great headlines:
- Don’t promise something in the headline that you won’t deliver
- Include power words eg: Critical, Superb, Magical, Stupid-simple, etc
- Use numbers: ‘7 ways to……’ ‘9 reasons why……’
- Use ‘how to……’ ‘ways to……’ ‘why you need……’
- Be clear in the headline about what the reader will achieve by reading
Don’t be afraid to invoke urgency/scarcity in your headline. People have a FOMO – fear of missing out! None of us like to feel like we will lose something or miss out on something…use this to your advantage.
9. Outline Your Post
When writing your first blog post, you need an outline.
Actually, this is a great way to get started with every post. Make notes but don’t write anything in your blog yet. These notes can be random and disorganized initially.
Doing this gives you a starting point for getting your thoughts on paper and collating the results of your research.
Once you’ve got ideas, follow this blueprint to help organize your thoughts.
- Intro – how will you outline this?
- What are the main points you want to discuss?
- Give possible headings to your paragraphs
- What are the milestones of your post – the aha moments?
- What will be the takeaways – the solutions?
- What quote will you include or things you will highlight?
- What external resources will you link to? (find these from your initial topic research)
- Which internal links to other posts on your blog will you use?
- Conclusion – how will you present this
- CTA – what do you want the reader to do next?
It’s important to understand that this is changeable. You are just formulating a structure, but you can, and probably will move paragraphs around. Once you have written your post, you may even decide on a slightly different heading.
Just keep making your notes until you feel you are ready to start writing.
Here’s a suggestion:
I never write my post directly onto my website. Once I have my notes, I start the blueprint in a Word or Pages doc. You’ll find this is much better for cutting and pasting and getting the post how you want it before finally transferring it to your website.
10. Now For The Writing
Have you heard of verbal diarrhea…people who just keep talking and hardly take a breath?
Well, many writers (even famous authors) say that having writing diarrhea is a great way to start.
This is where you just write without worrying about spelling, grammar, even punctuation and headings. The idea is to get your thoughts onto paper as quickly as you think them.
So, you write from your heart, being informal and conversational. Pretend you are having a chat with your friend and you’re excited to explain your idea to her.
Bumble along as the thoughts come to you, no rhyme or reason. You can sort it all out later.
If you have a list of different points, just bullet them. You can either expand on these later in a paragraph, or use them in a bullet list which readers really like as they are easily scannable. (more on this later)
No editing or worrying about your word count at this stage.
If you have researched your topic well, you’ll probably have no trouble reaching 1500 words which is a great average post length.
11. It’s Time To Edit
The first thing to do is to read what you have written out loud. Does it flow well? Does it sound natural and chatty?
You will immediately see where it needs rearranging and which sentences don’t work well. Does the way you have explained things in the post make sense?
Pretend you are reading it as a visitor for the first time.
Have you written a short but descriptive intro? Not too long, but enough to explain to your reader what they can expect from your post and solution.
Do you feel that your post will engage your reader? Does it have your voice…in other words can you hear yourself in the choice of words and phrases?
Have you been able to get your message across, and have you provided value?
Does the language and tone you have used suit your target audience? Will they feel you are speaking directly to them?
Most people consume web info on their smart phones these days, so it’s critical that your content is viewable on mobile. With this in mind, the best way to structure your post is with smaller paragraphs.
Even though the paragraph may look fine on desktop it can look like a large block of text on mobile which can be off-putting, so check that it the post is displaying well for your mobile reader.
Don’t be afraid of white space. It’s like allowing the reader the space to ‘breathe’.
Highlight certain points by bolding, using italics or even a different brand color like I do. BUT…don’t overdo it otherwise you will make it fussy to read.
Use a different, but consistent color for links. I stick to the same color for both external and internal links. (WP default link color is blue which may suit you but branded is better)
Make your post scannable:
It’s a good practice to use a Table Of Contents (TOC) plugin on your blog. This allows readers to jump ahead to sections within your post that they want to read immediately.
We are all super busy and time-poor in our modern life and your post may be read on-the-go. So, as with providing a TOC, making your content scannable is very important.
This is where bullet and numbered lists are super useful. You can always choose to expand on certain points that need more of an explanation if required.
Has your post delivered on the promise you made in your headline and intro? Can you clearly identify the solution to the problem your reader is grappling with?
Have you included your conclusion, reminding your reader of what you have covered in the post, and what solution you have presented, plus how the reader can use that information in the future?
12. Include Links
When writing any blog post, internal and external links are very important for several reasons.
Firstly, external links can show proof of your argument and information by linking to authority sites…particularly important for any technical or health/medical information. They allow for further reading about topics that you are definitely NOT professing to be an expert on.
Internal links encourage your audience to discover other posts and topics within your blog, leading to greater engagement.
Both these types of links are great for SEO as it proves to Google that your content is valuable, meaning it is more likely to show your posts to more people.
Remember, Google is all about UX (user experience) and they guard their visitors’ UX fiercely!
13. Decide On Your Images
Another very important part of your post are the images you are going to include.
People are usually very visual…I know I am. If I’m faced with a blog post that is super text-heavy without images to break it up I will often pass on reading it.
Choose your featured image carefully. This will count towards your SEO and should make sense for your post content.
Ensure that even though it’s optimized for correct sizing by your image optimizer plugin, that you choose a file size bigger than any in-post images. That way it will be very clear at the top of your post.
Nothing obscure or unrelated. It’s not a place to add images just because you like them! Give it a title in your media library that is directly relevant to your post title.
Then choose other suitable images to be embedded within the post content.
Make at least one post image ‘pinnable’ for social media.
14. Tend To Your Basic SEO
Follow the advice given in your SEO plugin like Yoast or Rankmath (my personal fave). It will tell you where you need to optimize more as they are very user-friendly. You will also be able to see the rating to help you optimize correctly…it’s a great learning curve.
Use these basic SEO requirements for every post:
- Focus keyword in your post title
- Strong headline – power word and a number where possible
- Focus keyword alt text on main image (in media library)
- 1500 word count per post (on average)
- Use your keyword in the post body text
- Use your focus keyword in your subheadings
- Short paragraphs for readability
- Table Of Contents plugin
- External and internal links
15. Create A Valuable Optin/Freebie
Building an email list is the most valuable thing you can do for your business. This is because you want to stay in contact with your readers, but social media is not necessarily the best way to do it. (see item 8 of this post) for how to get started with email list-building.
Social media is fabulous for engagement, but you don’t own your account.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest are all important but they can temporarily ban or even close your account whenever they feel like it, sometimes without explanation.
Or, you could get caught up in an algorithm change which can, and frequently does cause issues. They often get fixed but what if they don’t?
You don’t want to put all your eggs into such an unstable basket. When you build your own email list, you OWN IT. No-one can lock you out of it.
But here’s the thing. Readers are bombarded with online info all the time (just look at your own inbox!)…and they are very careful about who they give their valuable email address to.
So, to encourage a new reader to subscribe to your list you need to provide a valuable incentive. Something that they want to download and that’s called an ‘optin’ or ‘freebie’. It’s an ethical bribe that provides value for the reader.
These can be:
Checklists, planners, workbooks, printables, cheatsheets, mini e-books, affirmations, journal prompts. These are just a few but there are so many things you can offer that are relevant to your posts.
In my next post about blogging, I’ll explain how you can create these. Don’t panic, they don’t have to be complicated or elaborate.
16. You Are Ready To Publish…Woo Hoo!
Now you are ready to hit ‘publish’ on your first blog post…well done you!
I’m sure you will find blogging very enjoyable. Once you get over the fact that you don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway to call yourself a writer, it becomes fun and creative.
Remember these key points for post structure:
1. Strong Headline – needed to grab your reader’s attention so they will stop scrolling.
2. Intro – this should prompt the visitor to keep reading. Explain briefly how they will benefit from your post.
3. Body Text – this is where you give them specific info, share your personal experience with the same problem, link to external sources to back up your ‘argument’, and link to other posts within your blog. Remember to always provide value.
4. Conclusion – wrap up your content in an interesting way. Did you solve their problem? Did you deliver on the promise in the headline and intro?
5. CTA – what do you want them to do next: leave a comment, sign up for your freebie/email list, share on SM, read other posts.
So, in this post we have looked at how to get started with your first blog post.
We discussed why it’s so important to know your audience, ways to come up with post ideas, how to research what your audience is needing answers to, and how to address their pain points.
I hope you feel confident now about how to structure your post and get started with the writing and editing process, and how to continue forwards with your future posts.
If you haven’t read these two previous posts about blogging here are the links:
If you have any questions, please drop me a line in the comments and I will be happy to help and if you like this post I would love it if you please share on SM.
To your future epic blog posts and freedom lifestyle…