Yes, we'd all like more traffic, more comments, more readers on our blogs. But if you're writing a blog, there's one thing you want even more than readers. You might not admit that you want this. You might not even realize it! But it's behind that emptiness you feel every time you're disappointed after checking your blog stats. What is it?
None of us started a blog to make a lot of money or build a brand. There are easier ways to do that.
No, you start a blog because you want to connect with people who might understand you.
How to Write a Blog Post that Connects
When I started The Write Practice in 2011, I knew I wanted to connect with other writers. I had studied writing in college and had even written professionally for a few years, but I hadn't found my people, my tribe, if that makes sense.
I started The Write Practice to teach writing, but I also started it as a way to connect, to create a learning community where we could all grow into better writers together.
However, for the first six months, I felt like I was just talking to myself. Every day, I would hit publish expecting for my post to connect, but nearly every day, my posts would fall flat. I couldn't figure out how to connect the way I wanted.
I eventually realized that the reason I wasn't connecting was that my posts weren't good enough. When I look back to those original posts, I cringe a little inside. I had great intentions, but at the time, I didn't have the skills to attract the readers I wanted.
How do you write a blog post that connects?
10 Steps to Writing a Blog Post
When I started blogging in 2007, I didn't have access to these tips. I just wrote whatever I wanted. These are the ten steps that I wish I had when I started. I hope they'll help you connect with your readers:
1. Choose your premise.
Your premise is your central argument or concept that the rest of your article will be proving, and it's important to have an idea of what this is before you start writing.
Not sure what your premise is yet? Here's a blog post designed to help you figure out your premise.
2. Start writing.
Don't overthink this. Just write. Don't waste time doing unnecessary research. You can research as you write. Start putting your fingers to the keys. You need to find your rhythm or else you might never finish your blog post. Once you get started, once you get a few solid chunks of text on the page, it's a lot easier to keep going.
Feeling stuck? Here's a post to break your writer's block.
3. Fill in your template.
When I first started blogging, I didn't have a specific format that I used. I just threw up whatever words I thought sounded right. But as I've learned and grown as a writer and a blogger, my posts have inevitably fallen into a few different templates. I encourage you to experiment with multiple different templates, including this “perfect” blog post template, to see what works for you.
Not sure what a blog post template is? Here's an article that will help.
4. Write your headings.
Online readers tend to skim, and headings enable people to get the core points of the text quickly. Headings can also act as speed bumps for the eye, helping them slow down and take in the text. In short, smart bloggers use headings.
Headings are especially important for SEO. The little robots from search engines pay special attention to them, so they're extremely useful, both for your readers and for your marketing.
Not sure how to create them? Here's a quick guide on using headings.
5. Begin in the middle, with your core points.
Once you have a loose structure, you can start to craft the meat of your post, your core points. If you're using the “perfect” blog post template, this section is where you finally solve your readers' problem. As a reminder, here's where it fits in the outline:
- The Lead (“What's the problem?”)
- The Aggravator (“Why is this problem so tough to solve?”)
- The Core Points (“The solution to the problem”)
- The Conclusion
- The Question
Wait a second, though. Isn't this the middle of the post? Why don't we start writing by focusing on the lead?
It's usually easier to write your lead after you write out your core points, your solution. Why? Because as you write out your solution you're going to get a much better sense of the scope of the problem you're solving for your readers.
I also like starting in the middle because it frees you from having to write your post in order, which can often get you stuck and lead to writer's block.
6. What's the problem?
Now, it's time to craft the first few lines of your post. To make sure that they keep reading after these first few sentences, you need to create a deep connection with them.
How do you do that? By identifying a felt need.
What do your readers' want?
What are they struggling with?
You know what your readers want the best (and if you don't know, then maybe you need to get to know them).
7. Make the problem harder.
After you pose the problem in the lead, the next step is to show why this problem is so difficult to solve. I call this step the “aggravator,” and it's a great place to connect with your readers, to tell a story, and to show people you understand what they're going through.
In other words, this is where you talk about why their problem matters.
8. Conclude by wrapping up the lead.
Too many good bloggers don't write a conclusion for their posts, and they're missing out.
I know writing a conclusion is so high-school-english-paper, but the conclusion a great place to connect the dots, to show your reader how your solution actually solves their problem.
9. Catch your readers' attention with your headline (the most important step!)
Your headline needs to instantly explain what the reader is going to get from the post. Vague headlines will destroy any chance of your post catching the attention of readers.
10. Read, re-write, and proofread
It goes without saying, but before you hit publish, don't forget to read what you wrote and make any necessary changes. Don't have time to edit? Check out these three techniques to edit a blog post in five minutes.
Also, make sure your post is the write length. Here's our guide on the ideal blog post length.
By the way, have you ever wondered why you miss typos even after reading over your writing several times? Here's a fascinating post about why we miss our own typos.
How about you? What steps do you take to write a blog post?
Today, give these ten steps a try! Write a blog post using this format, and publish it on your blog. When you're finished, copy and paste the link into the comments section below!