Step-by-step guide to blogging
I know blogging can seem daunting, especially to those of you who aren’t big fans of writing. I think it is a very personal process in many ways.
However, I have put together some guidance. See them as stepping stones only…and once you have more experience you will find your own smooth path.
Step 1: Topic choice
You need to decide on a topic to blog about. Hopefully, you will have a whole list to choose from if you are just starting. Try to keep a consistent list of ideas going…you never know when inspiration may strike. You may have chosen a topic in advance if you have scheduled what you will blog about and when. This will help make sure you have not missed an important date that may make your blog post particularly relevant. You could even see what is ‘trending’, if you need some inspiration.
Step 2: Schedule your time
You should have decided how often you will blog – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. Be realistic. It is better to commit to blogging less often and actually doing it, than end up getting behind and being sporadic. It is recommended that however often you blog, make sure it is regular. The same day, every week, or same time, every month.
Importantly, make sure that you allow time before your ‘publication date’ for actually planning, writing a draft and checking your blog post before it is due for publication.
Step 3: Framework and headings
Once you have chosen a topic, think about the structure of the post. It needs to be organised and to flow, in order to read well. In general, for each post, you will need a short introduction, a key message (3-6 paragraphs), a summary and a call to action.
Don’t forget headings and subheadings too, as well as appropriate images.
Step 4: Write
Yes, as simple as that…now is the time to get writing! All the preparation is important, but don’t get hung up on it! Start typing up your ideas. Use bullet points, if you need to start short and sweet, and then expand them. Do think about your writing time. Once you have picked your ‘publication date’, then work backwards to allow time for writing a draft, checking it through for grammatical and spelling errors (see below) and for finding images or checking links, if applicable.
Don’t be afraid to ‘give away’ content. Clients want to see your expertise so you have to ‘offer this’.
In terms of length, the advice is that a blog post needs to be 500 words minimum to be indexed by search engines. Shorter posts do seem to be more popular, so no more than 1000 words should suit most people – that’s about 5-8 minutes reading time. I think around 1500 is a maximum for a business blog post.
Step 5: Title/Headline
In my experience, although I often have a topic name in mind when writing a blog post, the final title or headline is best decided (or at least edited) once you have completed the post. Really capture the flavour of the final post, aim to catch the attention of your readers and have a quick think about SEO and keywords that you can include (in a natural, suitable way, of course!). Be inviting and interesting, but don’t use clickbait!
Step 6: Final Proofread
Please ensure you check through your post before publishing it. I always write my posts in Word first, although a lot of blog software does have built-in spell checkers too. My best advice for checking sense, spelling and grammar for your own work is to read the post out loud. Really concentrate on reading it and not relying on ‘what you “know” you’ve written’. Also, don’t forget to check that any links are working. Think about ‘keywords for your business’ and ‘SEO opportunities’ and if these have been suitably included.
Step 7: Publish
The scariest step of all…click publish! …or schedule!
Think about the best time of day to publish for your target audience and remember regularity is important.
Step 8: Promote
But don’t stop there…omce published, make sure you then promote your post on all of your social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Instagram…shout about your new post and link to it! Include links to it in very obvious places on your website and also in your email signature.
Remember – COPE – create once, promote everywhere!
Don’t forget you can promote old posts, as well as new ones on more than one occasion to.
Blog Starter Package
If you have liked what you have read, join me for a Blog Starter Workshop training – packed with tips and advice. Let’s kickstart your business blog in 2019. Email me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org