How to Write a Blog Post & Get Results


Websites that blog have 434% more pages indexed by Google. The average customer views 3-4 pieces of business content before buying something.

53% of marketers say that blogging smarter is their top priority this year.

Whether you want to generate passive income through affiliate links or you're blogging for a business, anyone who's investing time and/or money into a blog needs it to be successful.

But with over 3 million blog posts being published each day, blogging without a strategy will do little to increase visibility, traffic, revenues or anything else.

Here's your step by step guide for how to write a blog post that will help you get what you want out of blogging. Results you can see, feel and take to the bank.

Here's how it's done.

I'm beginning Step 1 with an assumption. You've already determined who your target audience is and your goals for your blog. If not, you'll find 9 Simple Steps to Start a Successful Blog for Business a valuable read.

19 Data-Driven Benefits of this Blog Writing Method

The method you are preparing to learn isn't another of the many personal opinions you'll get online about content writing. This method is built on large-scale industry research that shows that this is how to:

  1. Increase traffic from your target audience

  2. Keep people on the page

  3. Make it easier for people to read on mobile devices (over half of blog readers)

  4. Seem less daunting a read (so people don't immediately leave)

  5. Encourage clicks to other content

  6. Increase conversion rate

  7. Generate more leads

  8. Generate more highly qualified leads before the lead even contacts the company

  9. Reduce bounce rate (great for SEO)

  10. Increase dwell time (great for SEO)

  11. Increase search engine rankings (over time)

  12. Increase engagement (sharing, commenting)

  13. Increase high-quality dofollow linking (the kind that help SEO)

  14. Increase customer satisfaction / Get more 5 star reviews

  15. Increase customer lifetime value (CLV)

  16. Reduce marketing budget (over time)

  17. Reduce sales team close time

  18. Maximize your ad budget ROI

  19. Reduce customer service calls

76% of customers say they'd prefer to help themselves

if companies would just make the information available online.

When you blog this way, you give customers exactly what they want. When you funnel that positive sentiment into a streamlined content marketing funnel, you win at content marketing.

This is definitively how to write a blog post and get results.

Throughout this article, we'll explore the data that supports these benefits and the methods behind them.

Step 1. Start with a Shareable Topic

The shareable topic is the centerpiece of a successful blog. If you don't know how to write a blog post on shareable topics, then you'll never get past square one. You won't meet any kind of business goals with a blog.

A strong blog topic meets the following criteria:

  • It's a blog topic your target audience is looking for

  • It's a blog topic your target wants to read

  • It's a blog topic that helps further your business goals & objectives

  • It's a blog topic that people find very helpful

So yes, "10 reasons you should hire our company" isn't a good blog topic. In fact, it's terrible. That's not how to write a blog post that customers actually want to read.

It's thinking from the business' perspective. Content marketing is the ultimate in customer-centric marketing.

81% of people trust what they read in a blog.

61% of people say they have purchased something immediately

after reading a blog about it.

To create a successful blog you have to put yourself in your target audience's shoes.

According to research performed by the New York Times, 94% of us share on social media because we think that the content will be helpful to someone else.

So, to be a shareable topic, it needs to be helpful. How do you determine what is helpful to your target reader?

How to Come Up With Helpful Topics

Start by outlining not what you sell. Instead, list the goals and challenges that people have surrounding what you sell.

Beneath each goal or challenge create a list of questions people may have about achieving that goal or overcoming that challenge.

At this point, do some keyword research from your list. Find out which of these questions and keywords are getting decent traffic. How competitive are they? This will help you understand what you'll have to do to compete.

Moz Keyword Explorer is a tool I trust when doing keyword research. SEMrush also has some great tools.

Later when we get into how to write a blog post, we'll build the content around those keywords.

Additionally, to develop shareable topics, have your ear to the heartbeat of your industry. When I'm looking for topics ideas, regardless of industry, I check several places:

  • Quora

  • Reddit

  • Talk with the Sales/Customer Care Team

  • Popular Blogs

  • Facebook/Twitter/etc.

  • Analytics (what's been working for us)

Your Secret to Having Endless Topics to Write About

Listening to your target audience is how to write a blog post that's great for people and SEO.

Step 2. Shape the Topic into a Recognizable Form

We like to think that being different is always the best strategy. But there are some times that being recognizable is more important. This isn't to say that you throw creativity out the window when learning how to write a blog post that gets results.

But order, reason and data will always help you create a better piece of content.

A person spends less than 2 seconds deciding whether to click a headline.

They're basically on auto-pilot. The more recognizable the topic is, the easier it is to process on the spot. And they're more likely to click.

What Do Recognizable Formats Look Like?

Some recognizable formats include:

  • FAQ - (What is, How long does X take, When is the best time to, etc.)

  • HOW TO (that's what this blog post is)

  • Pros & Cons (avoid comparing your product to a competitor's. It will always seem biased. Instead, be objective and use the art of subtle persuasion)

  • Mistakes to Avoid

  • Product reviews (again, keep it objective)

  • X benefits of

  • X reasons why

  • Case study ( This hospital saved $1.2 million a year by switching to a lean supply chain system)

  • X Tips to Do X

  • DIY

DIY - Your Unlikely Secret Weapon

Okay, let's get really honest here for a second. I'm a professional blog writer who's written 1000's of blog posts for clients. It's what I do for a living.

Why would I be telling you how to write a blog post? Won't I lose business?

Actually, no. Not in the long run. Why? Because I earned your traffic through a helpful blog post. That helps my site with search engines and people.

DIY is a very effective, shareable blog topic for any business. It's also, often avoided because a company doesn't want people to DIY.

By telling you how I do what I do, you not only learn how to DIY. You learn the value of what I do and why you may just choose to go with a professional at some point.

When you do, I'm top of mind. You can do the same by using DIY topics. Now on with how to write a blog post.

Step 3. Start Researching Your Topic

I like to start with at least 3 good resources. I'll pull more as I go.

Type your keyword phrase for this blog post into Google search. Check out page 1.

If someone has already been written on this topic, go ahead. Take a look at it. This doesn't mean you don't use the topic.

It means you need to compose a more in-depth, and likely longer piece, to compete with it.

Step 4: Do a Quick Competitive Analysis

Don't copy these 3 resources. That's not how to write a blog post. That's how to regurgitate what someone else created.

These will be your guide for writing a competitive piece on content quickly. If writing a great piece of content takes too long it takes a long time to recoop that time investments.

When you do this research, you may find some useful information about the competitive landscape. You may find that people are covering the topic with 1500-3000 words pieces, and you were planning a short 1000 words.

The average online article is now over 1200 words.

Length isn't the end all be all. But it is much easier to rank an article that's longer and more in-depth than the competition's if search engine ranking through SEO is among your goals for the content.

If this is what you find, just know it will be pretty hard to rank this piece on page one in search engine search results if you stick to that word count.

You can either decide to up your word count to cover it more in-depthly. Upping the word is often the best option.

Long, in-depth blogs generate 9X the leads.

Or you may choose to use this as a social media traffic generating piece, knowing that it won't likely become a great SEO piece.

Shift Your Focus to Win

If you decide that it's not an SEO piece, know that social media is a very important part of your content marketing or inbound marketing strategy.

It's just important to call a spade a spade so you can get the most out of this post. Put it to work as a short, shareable piece and craft it around that objective.

Here's the exciting news, though. As you continue to build up your domain authority, this piece will become more visible in searches. It may be on page one.

If you're building your strategy around sustainability in this way, you win either path you choose to take here.

Failing to adapt to the competitive landscape is only how to write a blog post that can't compete in the real world. The more pieces like this you invest in, the more poorly you'll perform. And you'll have less money to spend on content writing that actually works.

Unfortunately, since content marketing is a long-term sustainable set of strategies, you could spend big thinking your investing. But it's just an expense if you're not getting results.

That's why you've got to take a look at what you're up against and adapt accordingly to do it better.

Step 5: Write Out Your H2 Headings

Look, you're halfway through and now we get to write. These last steps you'll find so much easier and quicker because of the 1st 4 steps we've just taken.

Write out some basic H2 headings. These are your largest headings on the page after your title which should be H1, in most cases.

Don't dive down into H3's unless you want to note something to be sure to cover.

Shoot for 3-6 headings per 500 words. Not too many. Not too few.

As you'll remember we're here to discuss how to write a blog post and get results. So let's briefly look at why headings are so important in Internet reading.

How People Read Your Blog Post

Reading on the Internet isn't like reading a book. The better you understand this, the more successful your blog posts will be,

43% of blog readers admit to skimming blogs for specific information

55% of visitors will spend less than 15 seconds looking for it before leaving

37 seconds is the average time a person will read a blog

I know this sounds insane. Why the heck are you investing in quality blogs if "no one' is reading them?

But here's the rest of the story you need to know.

A Nielsen Norman Group study of over 10K websites found that blogs experience "negative aging"

That simply means that the longer someone stays on the page, the longer they are likely to spend on your page. Instead of vice versa.

An example of positive aging would be the longer a container of guacamole is opened, the faster it browns.

If you can put systems in place to keep a person on a page past that 15-second mark, they're more likely to "come on in and say awhile" as my very Southern grandmother used to say.

These are your leads, the people who stay for 3 minutes or 10.

And because people on the Internet mostly skim, some of these 15-second skimmers are also "comin' in to stay awhile" when they find another blog on your site that they really wanted to read.

This isn't just an assumption.

You can see this in your Google Analytics data. And you know it's true when you see the results a blog can generate when you learn how to write a blog post the smart way.

Accomplish this staying power with effective use of headings and images. We'll discuss the image part later.

So how exactly do people spend their 15 seconds that determine if they stay? That's also well-documented.

The F Pattern

In English and other left-aligned languages, people read a blog in an F pattern like this:

  1. Read the hook and perhaps the whole opening if it's impactful

  2. Skim the headings down the left of the page.

  3. If a heading goes all the way to the right, they read the first 5 words or so of the heading and stop.

  4. Find a heading that looks interesting.

  5. Read the text under that heading.

  6. If while reading, it isn't helpful and engaging, they immediately leave.

  7. If it is helpful and engaging they do one of two things.

  8. Go back and read the whole blog post (if they have time). Or continue skimming down to another interesting section.

  9. It's very unlikely that they'll read your conclusion and CTA (call to action). We'll talk a little later about how to put a CTA somewhere that people will actually see it.

It's not a perfect F. But you can see where it gets its name. Professional content writers like myself have learned how to write a blog post with this pattern in mind. We've honed our skills to get results even if someone doesn't read the whole post.

It's about covering your bases in the most efficient and effective way. It's about getting results in spite of the fact that most people will not actually read your content.

Are we sad about it as content writers? Sure. But it's the reality that we must adapt to to get results.

When you build your headings around how people actually consume a blog, you will win at blogging for business.

How to Create Skimmable Headlines

A Skimmable headline is the following:

  1. Short as possible. 5-7 words. 3 if you can get the point across.

  2. Stands alone. A person should be able to do nothing but read straight down your headings and know exactly what the article is about.

  3. Entices a person to read more.

  4. Are Frequent enough that reading under the heading doesn't feel like a long commitment.

Put a heading every 100 words in a shorter blog. And maybe every 200 in a long form post. If you can break a heading into subheadings as I've done under each step. That makes for a much more skimmable piece.

Look back when you proofread. If a section looks long, but you can't easily break it up, add an image within that section.

How to Create SEO Headlines

As we focus on how to write a blog post, remember we want a post that gets results with people and search engines.

To SEO your headlines and make them even easier for a human to understand, use your secondary keyword phrases in those headlines.

Put your primary keyword phrase in at least one headline. Put other complementary keywords in the other headlines.

For example,

Topic: What is Cool Lipo?

{H2} What Are the Benefits of Cool Lipo?

{H2} Who Are the Best Candidates for Cool Lipo?

{H2} What's the Cool Lipo Recovery Time?

{H2} How Many Cool Lipo Sessions Will I Need?

{H2} How Much Does Cool Lipo Cost?

Notice how each of these headings stands alone. Each answers a specific question a person will be searching for. And they're built around common questions people ask in search engines.

If you were interested in Cool Lipo, do you think you could easily skim these headings to find exactly what you're looking for?

Step 6: Create People-Friendly Text

Let's dive into the text. Note that we haven't talked about crafting the perfect hook / opening yet.

Unless you know exactly what you want to say, you'll generally craft a better hook when you save it for last.

What does people-friendly mean to you?

People-friendly text is:

  • Mobile-friendly. Over 50% of blogs are read on mobile. But even on desktops, this style will provide the optimal reading experience.

  • SEO-friendly. If people like it, Google takes notice. Over time, they'll reward you with higher visibility.

It:

  • Focuses on delivering a great customer experience.

  • Is conversion rate optimized in a customer-centric way

This style doesn't take much explaining. You've been reading it this whole time, unless you're skimming. This is how to write a blog post that people will actually read.

Note this great visual from Neil Patel. Who wants to read something that looks like this?

A people-friendly style includes these 13 elements:

  1. Uses short paragraphs

  2. Uses mostly shorter sentences

  3. Avoids jargon

  4. Doesn't talk down to a reader

  5. Makes use of bullets and numbers to increase white space. But doesn't over do it like I did in this section.

  6. Highlights important points like stats

  7. Feels like a conversation with a trusted friend, not a sales pitch or a lecture

  8. Stays on point. I don't like to say "no fluff" because a lot of people confuse that with having no personality.

  9. Supports your points. You don't just make claims. You back them up with quotes, stats and expert opinions.

  10. Provides actionable information. A person can immediately walk away and do something or know something that improves their life.

  11. Edits out clumsy or detracting language

  12. Write how your audience speaks. If your audience is academic, you're going to use larger more academic words. If you're speaking with a business owner, you'll use words business owners use like revenues, productivity and cost-savings. Regardless, you'll perform best with a conversational piece.

  13. It's a good mix of interrogative, declarative and imperative sentences.

Interrogative:

Ask the reader to ponder questions.

Declarative:

Explain why and describe how

Imperative:

Tell the reader to do something to achieve a certain result

Find a balance.

Going too heavy on imperative can seem bossy, presumptuous or salesy. Too much declarative is often boring and reads like an essay.

Too many questions can make a piece exhausting to read. But together they make a more engaging piece.

I strongly recommend that you write in second person.

When one writes in 3rd person, it's more difficult for a person to connect with the writing of the writer. It sounds more like a graduate school text book than a conversational piece of content.

When you write in 2nd person, it sounds like you're speaking straight to me. You make a connection. You need the kind of connection to build trust and earn a conversion.

This is how to write a blog post that builds trust. It gently yet consistently persuades the visitor to take a desired action. Each action gets you closer to generating serious revenues with your blog and maximizing your content marketing ROI.

Keyword Usage

In addition to the above 13 points above, to have a chance to rank, it needs to be clear to search engines what a piece is about. This isn't about using the same keyword over and over.

It's about ensuring that you're using a range of related keywords. This helps show that you're covering the topic in-depth.

Search engines are getting better all the time. But to date, it's still a good idea to have a single keyword phrase that sums up the article as your primary keyword.

"How to write a blog post" is mine for this article. But you'll notice, I'm not using it every other paragraph or using it in ungrammatical ways.

When used correctly, your keyword becomes a catchphrase that follows a person through the post. Each time the read it, they remember why they initially started reading this blog. It can keep a person engaged longer.

It fits naturally into the text. It enhances the reading experience. There's not an exact number of times. But I shoot for .5%-1%. In other words, I use this keyword phrase every 100-200 words.

But notice I've also used many complementary words like:

  • Article

  • Mobile-friendly

  • SEO

  • Search engine

  • Blog topics

  • Lead generation

  • Headlines

  • Keyword

  • Content writing

These supporting words demonstrate that I'm covering a topic in-depth.

Step 7: Write Your Hook

Your hook is the 2nd most important element of a modern blog post. Learning how to

write a blog post that gets results hinges on your ability to write an effective hook.

There are several approaches that work very well with different audiences. But be sure to mix it up and see what works best overdoing a hook type can lose its punch.

A Storytelling Hook

Start your post with a quick story that pulls a reader into the post. A story can take different shapes.

It could be a day in the life of your reader facing a certain challenge. It could be a story about a person or organization.

It could also come in the form things people say that tell a story.

For example, what story do the following statements tell when we put them together like this.

"I can quit whenever I want to." "But I love you." "I didn't mean what I said." "I won't hurt you again".

If you're an addiction treatment center or a shelter for abused spouses, then that's a hook you can take to the bank. A person who connects with these words likely is, or knows, someone who needs help.

A Just the Facts Hook

This is very effective in B2B (business to business) writing. But it can be effective with B2C as well. People like impressive stats.

Find one that's relevant to your audience and really exemplifies the importance of your blog post.

This post began with a Just the Facts hook.

The Challenge Hook

Start with a challenge that shows that you understand your target. But be prepared to quickly provide solutions in your post.

Example:

Over 3 million blog posts get published every day. How are you going to get found or keep people coming back?

The Hopeful Hook

Examples:

What would the world be like if everyone loved each other a little more?

Could improving your communication skills land you that next promotion?

Step 8: Write Your Title

This is inarguably the most important part of your blog post. 80-90% of people only read headlines. That's why clickbait, misleading headlines are such a problem today.

Craft a short (<10 words) impactful title that people will want to click. Based upon studies, some of the most compelling headlines include elements like these.

  • How X Will Boost X By X

  • How to X & Get Results

  • How to X on a Limited Budget

  • How Much Does X Really Cost?

  • How to X Fast with X

  • Your Ultimate Guide to X

  • The Complete Guide to X

  • A Definitive Guide to X

  • The Practical Guide to Growing/Generating/Increasing/Etc. X

  • X Benefits of X You Need to Know About

  • X Ways to Grow/Generate/Increase/Etc. X

  • This Business Generated X in X months with X

  • X Product: The Pros & Cons You Need to Know

  • Don't Buy X Before You Read This Review

  • Is X Worth the Money?

  • How to Optimize X and X

  • X Reason X Is Essential for X

The headline takes your topic (which we discussed earlier) . It puts it in the most digestible and compelling form for possible. And the great thing about these is that it's easy to fit your keyword phrase into an X slot.

I like efficiency. Don't you. This is how to write a blog post title fast,

Remember not to overdo one headline type though. That can give the impression that your content blog is very scripted and impersonal.

Test headlines in social media keeping everything else constant. See which ones get the best results with your audience.

Step 9: Add Images

Think you don't really need pictures in a professional article? Here's why that so wrong.

Blogs articles that include images within the post get 94% more engagement, according to marketing researcher Jeff Bullas

We can't discuss how to write a blog post without speaking about the visuals. Add high-quality regular images, infographics and screenshots from influencers to enhance your post.

You'll find 100% free, amazing HD images on Pixabay. And if you can't find the perfect image there, it will suggest paid options.

You'll rarely if ever need to go the paid route. But given how powerful an image can be, you may choose to splurge sometimes.

Some people will tell you that you need so many images per so many words. But often this advice can make your page look spammed with images.

Instead, I like to take a more flexible approach to maximize reader experience.

How many images you use really depends on your formatting. If your post is very well divided up, then you may need fewer images.

On a super-short 500 word post, at least one image in the post aside from the main image is advisable.

On a longer post, an image every 200-250 words would feel spammy as a general rule. Shoot for an image every 500 words or so. And look at it to get a physical impression of how it seems.

Don't forget to add relevant alt tags to your images. Wix, Wordpress, Joomla and other similar platforms have a spot to add these. Otherwise, your webmaster will need to add them in.

When possible make the alt tag one of your keywords. If you're local, it's also smart to include your city, state in at least one image.

Always try to make the tag relevant to the image.

Other visuals you might consider adding to your post include:

  • Embedded videos

  • Gifs

  • Infographic

  • Slideshow

  • Block quotes

  • Stand out stats

All of these enhance user experience as long as they don't slow down the site.

Step 10: Use Online Tools to Improve

As idependant a writer as you may be, it's always helpful to have a 2nd opinion. And you want that opinion before your customer's see it.

There are many SEO and other tools I'd recommend when you're learning how to write a blog post and get results. But I'm going to focus here on the free online tools Grammarly and Hemmingway App.

Here's how to use these tools effectively.

Hemmingway App

I use Hemmingway app to find out how readable my text is. there are other tools for this. But Hemmingway is different because it not only gives you a readability score.

It tells you exactly which sentences and words are negatively impacting readability.

If your readability score is too high, then you can browse through the suggestions. Make changes to lower the score.

I know this sounds like a nightmare. And it may be the first time if you like long sentences. But as you use it, you'll get better at writing in shorter, easier sentences from the start.

If you're writing as an expert to an expert on the topic you're writing about then 8th-10th-grade reading level is comfortable for a blog post.

If you're writing to the average person on a topic, the shoot for 6th-grade or lower. This post is written at a 5th-grade reading level.

But a couple warnings are needed here.

Hemmingway will make suggestions that you might need to ignore. These include:

  • Hard to read- To avoid overwhelming yourself, ignore them, unless you're really writing for an early elementary reader. They call any complex sentence hard to read. A blog without complex sentences often comes across as simplistic for an adult reader. Only worry about the "Very Hard to Read"

  • Adverbs - Unless you're writing short stories or novels, adverbs are a good thing.

  • Passive Voice - If you aren't a professional writer or do use a lot of passive, check this out. But know that Hemmingway often marks sentences as passive that aren't passive.

  • Simpler Alternatives - Use at your discretion.

Grammarly

I love and hate Grammarly. It's gotten much better. But it still needs some work.

Most people, including myself, my typos when proofreading their own work.

The human brain is wired to overlook inconsistencies. Grammarly helps catch these oversights. But never follow suggestions blindly.

Grammarly is often wrong.

Grammarly recently added a readability function. But I still use Hemmingway because it identifies the sentences to fix.

And it's also added a feature that uses language markers to determine who well the text meets your goals. While Grammarly can't read your text, it can use these markers to tell the differences among essay writing, blog writing, sales writing, short stories, etc.

I typically set these Grammarly goals for blog writing.

  • Inform

  • Knowledgeable

  • Informal

  • Mild Emotion

Don't ignore this if you get below a 90. It may suggest that your article reads like a sales pitch or an essay instead of a blog post. Reconsider your use of language to connect and convert.

I always recommend that a person who is thorough should take these steps in this order.

  1. Edit & Manual Proofread

  2. Hemmingway

  3. Grammarly

  4. Grammarly Again (Once you fix the first errors, it will often find more)

Step 11: Optimize for Conversions

You can waste a whole lot of time and money learning how to write a blog post. You can spend even more creating those posts. But if you don't have a clear way to convert traffic, you won't get an ROI on your content marketing budget.

Develop a clear path to conversion. Add this path to Google Analytics so you can see how well it performs at each stage. This path will typically include:

  • A blog post....It may start on social media. But this is the first contact on your website

  • A lead capture form. This is generally a landing page. Use an in-text message or delayed pop-up to take them to the page. If using a popup, be careful not to scare people away. These work best at around 60% of the average on page time. They're already invested.

  • A thank you page.

To generate the lead, offer something of value that only your target customer will be interested in. This might be:

  • A chance to win something

  • A discount or free stuff from your business

  • A report, ebook, white paper, case study or other helpful document

  • An add-on service

  • A free audit of something. Be careful with this one. You have to consider your time versus reward. I've got a system down and can do a very in-depth and actionable SEO content audit in about 15-20 minutes. It's very worth my while and really helps my clients and future clients get more out of their blogs.

How to Write a Blog Post & Win

Content writing is an even mix of creativity and applying techniques that are proven to work.

This is how it's done, Peeps. Start with a sharable topic. Gather resources. Do a quick competitor analysis so you know what you're up against.

Create skimmable content.

Are you struggling to get results with your blog? I can put the right content to work for you.

Stop wasting time and money, Contact me today.


Leigh Clayborne is a Hubspot certified freelance content marketing / SEO content writer & strategist with 10 years healthcare management experience on 15+ years creating content. She is a strong proponent of creating the right customer experience to meet business goals.

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