Guess what you have been doing it all wrong.
If your blogging process has been sitting down researching, writing and editing at the same time, publishing content and sharing on social media just for one minute, then you have been doing it all wrong.
Writing content and publishing great content is not as easy as that.
It involves a lot of processes, which take some time to optimize your content into a level that stands above all the rest.
And in this article, I will show you through the 10 steps to write a blog post and publish high quality content.
Steps to write a blog post
Step 1. Ideation
This is coming up with ideas for blog posts.
Based on a conversion optimization test, done on a SaaS product blog, the most important factor that determines the conversion rate of a blog is not the CTA, as thought by most people.
Rather, it’s the idea behind the blog.
Blog ideas form the columns and foundation of a successful blog
You must come up with ideas for blog posts, which affect your target audience, to be relevant to them.
And it starts by having a persona card describing your ideal customer.
A persona card lets you identify the pain points of your audience, and guides you as you try to address their challenges using your blog posts.
You therefore need to focus on them to generate ideas. Start by answering their common questions.
And how do you find these questions?
First of all, you can use social media platforms where most of your target audience hang around. Check out for questions and reviews on products and services.
Then use free tools such as
- Google Trends, to know the trend of keyword searches over time
- Keyword planner, to know the number of searches that are conducted on keywords
- Google suggests which gives you an idea of what most people are searching while you conduct a search on Google.
Use these tools to guide your ideation process.
You can also practice mind mapping to relate topic ideas and find a connection between one them so that you can focus on the most important topics.
Step 2. Planning
Planning involves deciding what you will do and when you will do it.
And since you already have these topic ideas listed, organize them into an editorial calendar and allocate enough time to produce high quality work and meet your content goals.
This is done by prioritizing content which serves the most value to your ideal customer first, then working on the rest later.
to plan your content strategy well, incorporate keyword research from your ideation by registering the search volume and competition level of each keyword in an Excel sheet.
And then compare this data to identify those with highest potential to improve traffic to your blog; low competition and high search volume keywords
Alternatively, you can group your blog ideas into topics and prioritize the most important topic that tackles the needs of your customers.
Either way, you need to organize your work sensibly and show you direction.
Don’t just put blog ideas haphazardly on your content calendar.
Step 3. Research
This is gathering information from reliable sources on the internet and using it as reference for your blog post.
Research is a fundamental step in blogging, and it usually takes a lot of time for bloggers to come up with great sources for their information.
Yet most people don’t do enough research, which is why most content gets 4 shares and zero backlinks in their lifetime.
Imagine spending a whole day writing a single article and getting no one to read it.
That’s the case for over 50% of blog writers in the content market industry.
So you need to incorporate great research, which will act as a guideline for your ideas and perspective and give you access to a reference of information which you can use to strengthen your ideas in your content.
If well done, research can help you create high quality content very fast and be more productive.
It can also improve the authoritativeness of your blog and elevate you to be an expert in your industry.
Step 4. Outlining
An outline is a fully fleshed out structure of a blog post.
It defines what will be discussed in a blog post to achieve the common goal of the article.
Most writers don’t use an outline.
I in fact, never used an outline for my blogs until I discovered it earlier this year when I wanted to improve my blogging productivity.
If you haven’t been using an outline for your writing process, then you’re missing out. It
- Saves you time; it gives you no room for distraction, or veering away from your major topic.
- Helps you create a narrative. Blogging is all about storytelling, and a narrative is the basis of a good story. An outline let’s you move from point to point smoothly
- Ensure that you make sense. If you write without a guideline you’re likely to jumble up ideas and make little sense. An outline will get you hooked to the single idea that you started with.
Ever started writing an article with one idea and ended with a totally different idea? That’s because you didn’t have an outline.
You cannot afford not to write an outline.
And luckily, it’s easy to write an outline especially if you use the notes you acquired during your research process.
Have the target audience in mind so that every section of your outline is designed to cater for the needs of the target audience.
Step 5. First draft
Now, all your data is ready and you have an outline in place.
It is time to write
This will be the most time consuming step for most writers.
Why? because most people do it wrongly. The multitask; write while researching and editing.
This reduces productivity. Because of self doubt and perfectionism. Instead of writing, you reread your content and waste time thinking how best to phrase your ideas.
You go back to the earlier parts of the articles and read them trying to perfect them forgetting the real task of writing. It slows you down. It’s like running a 100 m print with your hands tied.
There is a reason I call it a first draft.
It is not meant to be perfect.
That’s why you need to write continuously without stopping.
With our outline in place you can easily write from start to finish with awesome flow.
Writing your first draft should involve using 25 minutes sprints based on the Pomodoro technique which enhances productivity.
During this period endeavor to write as much as possible without stopping or editing. Use tools such as Earnest to prevent you from editing while writing.
Then take at least 5 minutes between the sprints to relax or do something simpler and rejuvenate your mind before you get back to work.
Alternatively, you can use the best technique that I have discovered of being more productive; dictating your article.
Dictating articles forces you to talk from the beginning to the end without stopping, you discuss a mpint and move on to the next.
There’s no time to self doubt and go back to edit your work. Once you fully dictate your work, you can transcribe and edit to remove any fluff.
And the best; you can produce as much content in ten minutes as in 2 hours of typing.
Step 6. Expanding draft
Your first draft will obviously not be perfect.
its just a sketch.
Now, here comes the step where you make it much better
Go back and read your first draft while taking these actions;
- Confirm all the claims are true
- Add statistical information sparingly
- Add examples that people can relate to
- Mention quotes from industry leaders
- Link to original blog post as reference for your content
- Include research and data from reputable sources.
- Add charts tables and images
How do these action help;
You don’t wanna make unsubstantiated claims if you want customers to trust you, do you?So, confirm that every claim is true by researching again and add links that direct people to this original research information to backup your perspective.
Use statistical data because it is interesting to have factual data that incites thoughts and discussion. But in the process be sparing because it’s not a lecture.
Analogies and examples help your readers to understand the content you present. Relatable examples especially make it easier to emotionally connect and remember your content.
Mentioning influencers and industry leaders’ quotes from social media or interviews can help make your content more authoritative.
Using charts and tables and images, makes your work look more interesting. In fact, visual content improves engagement and interaction on your blog.
Google even ranks content with more images higher than content without any images.
All in all, when expanding your draft, focus on making it more interesting and relatable to your audience.
Step 7. Editing
At this point, you have 95% of all the text that you need for your block.
You’re almost there by the way.
So now you need to correct any mistakes that you have in your content. So you edit.
Editing should not be done while writing, we’ve talked about this. It’s an art by itself, which requires full concentration.
Make sure you do the editing after taking a long break. When you get back you’ll have a set of new eyes and sound different, great for editing.
So to help you in the editing process use tools such as Grammarly, the standard tool used by writers for editing. It highlights
- Punctuation Errors
- Grammar errors
- Passive voice
- Making it more readable.
It’s a must-use tool for content writing.
You can also use the Hemingway app, which makes your content more concise, by removing redundant information and fluff from your content.
Clutter wastes your readers time and to some extent can even confuse your audience, giving them a bad user experience, another major ranking factor.
Once you’re done, proofread your content for the last time, make sure there exist no identifiable errors. Correct errors, as tiny as they seem and remove tangential phrases.
Step 8. Optimization
You’re not only writing for the readers, you are also writing for search engines.
Search engines use algorithms to rank your content, which is why you need to make your content appeal to them.
This is referred to as SEO, Search Engine optimization. Good SEO ranks your content high in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) directing more traffic to your website.
If you’re not optimizing your posts be 100% sure that your competitors are doing so and the they will kick your a$$ in content marketing.
So how do you optimize your content for search engines
Start by writing your article based on keywords which were acquired during the keyword research process in the preliminary stage.
Have in mind these keywords while you tackle the article, and ensure that you include these keywords in in several places in your article structure
Use synonyms and make your work natural.
Also include your keywords in
- Image alt text and description
- Permalink or URL
- Meta description.
These elements improve on your own page SEO, and make Google discover the relevance of your content based on the keywords searched by internet users.
Internal linking – link to other related blog posts in your blog, to help the navigation of your readers.
External linking – linking to blogs that don’t exist in your website to reinforce your ideas, and show evidence for information acquired from other sources.
With all these strategies put in place, you should achieve great optimization of your content and consequently, improve your chances of ranking high in your content in the SERPs
But also put in mind that it takes months for your content to rank.
So be patient.
Step 9. Headline formulation
Now here comes the most ignored step in a blog post writing.
Not many people think about their blog post titles.
So here is the hard reality
8 out of 10 people don’t read past the headlines.
Only two people move from the headlines and decide to read the content.
Headlines are responsible for capturing the attention of readers from wherever, social media, search engine platforms or other platforms.
Buzzfeed has a system of writing at least 50 headlines for each article before choosing one for use.
It’s content writers have perfected the art of headline writing; headlines that go viral.
And it is the reason why Buzzfeed attracts so much attention to their blog posts and generates so much traffic.
But honestly, 50 headlines is a lot
So do 10 article headlines for each blog post before selecting the best.
You can use a headline analyzer such as CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to determine the best headline for your article based on the various features needed for headlines to pop.
A good headline
- Tells readers exactly what to expect.
- Induces an emotion
- Shows the value that your audience will get from reading your article.
So put a good amount of time in reviewing your headlines, select the best and watch your traffic soar.
Step 10. Publishing and Distribution
Now here comes the final step of writing content.
And it involves clicking the publish button to take an article live before distributing it to your target audience.
But before you click on the Publish icon, there are certain things you need to check out.
First, ensure that your URL is good;
- It contains the keywords of the article
- It is short
- It is flexible so that if you improve your content, you will not have to change the URL.
Secondly, make sure it has a unique, imaginative and thought provoking featured image which will provoke click when shared on social media platforms.
Thirdly, the categories and the tags have been well placed to reflect the topics of your article.
Lastly, you have a well formatted anchor text for your blog post.
With all this in check, now click on the publish button and move on to the final stage; distributing your content.
Most bloggers spend less than 5 minutes distributing their content on a couple of social media platforms and think that’s enough.
Well you’re doing yourself a disservice!
Why write more content when no one is reading your content? Why wait for Google to rank your content yet you can distribute your content?
Google takes eight months to rank content. And not all the content gets to the first page. Why risk and let Google fully control if you get traffic or not?
Shannen Laur from PR2020 puts it well,
When it comes to content distribution, PR 20/20 follows the 80/20 distribution approach, which states that 80% of your time and efforts should go to promotion, while the other 20% should be spent creating it.Shannen Laur
That is the secret recipe for success in content marketing.
So how do you distribute your work?
1. Build a subscription list to update subscribers on newly published posts
2. Repurpose your content frequently. Transform your articles into other formats such as podcasts, videos, infographics, images, and other elements, which can be digested differently by your target audience.
Repurposing blog posts is a sure way of reaching wider audiences from different sections, and making your work more reachable while building brand awareness.
3. Make your articles shareable by including social media icons on your page, which are easily identifiable and accessible to your readers.
4. Invest on content distribution platforms such as Quuu Promote, Outbrain and Taboola. It can be costly at first but it performs well and builds brand awareness faster.
5. Involve influencers and bloggers who you’ve networked with and built relationships. It’s one of the most effective ways of building brand awareness.
6. Share on topical/niche forums. Find forums where your target audience spends most of the time and share your blog posts without spamming.
Remember to spend more time distributing than creating.
These are the 10 steps of writing and publishing great content.
If well implemented, they can improve the chances of being successful in the content marketing industry.
Make sure you take breaks between these activities to rejuvenate your mind. You don’t expect to do everything well at once.
Be smart. Be effective. Work during peak performance period and produce the best quality of work.
Get to work and use these steps to write blog posts that inspire people.