I’m writing this article from a few different perspectives: content manager, blog writer and perfectionist. It’s a killer combination when it comes to writing your own stuff, which is exactly why I decided to write this text.
I wanted to help other perfectionists and writers on all levels (aspiring, debutants, experienced) come up with clever blog topics, cover them properly and actually publish them without weeks of corrections. High-quality blog writing is not about accomplishing impossible standards but making your way through solid work. The goal of this article is to show you where to put your efforts to make them worthwhile.
Do you have to be a blog writer to write blog posts?
Good news for those who feel they have something to share with the world — you don’t have to be a natural born writer to take up blog writing. In fact, blogs were born out of the need to publish freely by amateur writers, so why not keep it that way? Having something valuable to say is enough of a reason to write a blog post about it.
You might have a couple of reasons that hold you back from writing and publishing:
- You don’t know how to express your thoughts in a comprehensive way
- You don’t feel comfortable with your language skills (no matter if you want to write in your native or second language)
- You don’t find your material good enough to publish
- You’re afraid of trolling and criticism
On top of all that, you could suffer from the same affliction I have — being a master procrastinator, which is often connected with perfectionism.
But let me tell you something — being a perfectionist doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own, from A to Z. It’s OK to ask for support (I wouldn’t have a job if everyone wanted to publish everything by themselves!): a second opinion, feedback on the merits, editing and proofreading or translating. You’re in a perfect situation if you have everyone onboard at work, but if you don’t, I believe there are endless ways to find someone who can help you out.
Also, don’t worry about the critics — the one inside of you and the ones out there. You’ll never be sure if your inner critic is right unless you release your work to the public. And when you do, the art of collecting feedback is not to analyze everything that people tell you (or throw at you like trolls usually do), but to pick the most valuable advice and put it to use in further blog writing.
How to choose the right blog post topic
The urge to write a blog post may derive from a challenge you had to face during one of your projects. Or some mundane activity at work. Or a brilliant idea you had during your morning shower. For instance:
I feel like there aren’t enough great blog posts in the world. I’ll change it by writing a blog post about writing perfect blog posts!
It doesn’t matter how you come up with it. But beware — here comes the first hard part. You need to ask yourself a few important questions to determine whether the idea is worth pursuing:
What do you mean by [your brilliant topic idea]?
It’s crucial to be aware of the scope you want to reach, whether it’s a general outlook on the matter or explaining a specific area in detail. If someone is not sure which option to choose, I usually suggest the second one — focusing on one matter and structuring your knowledge is easier than taking a broad topic and analyzing which parts you should mention and how much you should say about each of them (which is exactly what I’m doing right now).
Also, writing a couple of blog posts on specific areas of one topic gives you a perfect background for a more general blog post, which will connect all the previous ones into a compelling resource.
What exactly do you want to say (and how)?
Let’s say you have decided on the scope of your topic. Now it’s time to decide about the form in which you’re going to express your thoughts. There are dozens of ways you can organize your thoughts:
These are just a few examples to get your imagination to work. Of course, different forms require different writing skills, and it’s totally fine if you’re not a master of storytelling or essay-based forms from the beginning. Organizing content into simple points or examples will make life easier both for you and your readers.
Speaking of readers, it’s time for the most important question.
Who will read your blog post?
Just like businesses need buyer personas, your blog — and every blog post — needs a reader persona. Every piece of content has to be addressed to a specific reader profile and accomplish at least one of your communication goals. In the case of a company blog, business and reader personas should correlate. You’ll prepare different content for audiences on different levels of the sales funnel — it will vary by the level of knowledge included, length, point of reference and other factors (but that’s a topic for another perfect blog post).
Some of the easiest ways to come up with blog post topics is answering your buyer persona’s frequently asked questions. But if you’re in the mood for some completely different story, take a minute to think how you could connect it with your audience’s interests and needs. Keywords will surely help you out! Let’s talk a little more about them.
Topics and keywords should be clearly specified so that you don’t get stuck in the middle of writing. Depending on their level in the sales funnel, your audience will ask different questions and formulate them in different ways. Your goal is to pick such keywords that will be the ones potential readers use to look for the information they need.
How to search for keywords
The first step you can take is to search for information about the topic yourself, using the incognito mode in your browser and taking a look at suggested phrases:
However, this method works just for starters — the results may be irrelevant to your topic or misleading for your audience. Luckily, there are free tools that will help you pick the best phrases to help your reach the right audience:
You’ll get quite a few results and it might be hard to put everything into one blog post, but don’t worry — you can always come back to anything that doesn’t fit now.
How to use keywords in blog writing
Step 1. Pick one keyword relevant to your topic and include it in the title and the content of the article.
Step 2. The content of the article may include the keyword’s synonyms to boost searchability or other keywords you found during your research.
Step 3. The main keyword shouldn’t make more than 3% of the text. If you exceed this proportion, Google may recognize your article as spam.
Step 4. The keyword should be included in the title as close to the beginning as possible.
Keywords can be bolded in the article if it fits the context.
So, are you ready with your topic? Let’s move on to preparations before you start your perfect blog post (yeah, if it’s meant to be perfect, you need to prepare well). This is what I’m going to discuss in part 2 of this short series.