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So, you’re ready to start creating some exciting new content for your website, and you’ve sat down to start writing your first blog post.
You know that publishing fresh content regularly can boost your Google ranking, customer loyalty, and help you establish your business as an authority in your field.
But how do you actually get started?
If you’ve never written a blog post before, it can seem like a daunting task. But in this post, you’ll learn 5 tips that will help you put pen to paper (or in this case, finger to key), and just start writing.
Because sometimes, the hardest part about creating new content is just getting started.
1. Know your target audience
Before you write anything at all, you’ve got to know who you’re writing for.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the thought of your content potentially being read by anyone who has access to the internet. You’ll end up trying to please everyone, which never works.
Instead of worrying about catering to everybody’s tastes, just pick one person. Someone you picture as your ideal customer.
Create a profile of this person – how old are they? What do they do for work? Where do they live? Why are they reading your blog post? What answers are they looking for?
It could be a family man in his late 30s who works an office job but wants to improve his handyman knowledge for around the house.
Or it could be a university student learning to bake in their spare time, who wants to know which essential beginner items they need in their kitchen.
Whoever you are writing for, and whatever solutions you’re providing, focus on that one person from start to finish. Focus on solving their problem, and don’t worry about anyone else.
Because there could be hundreds of students learning to bake who have the same question. Or hundreds of 30-something family men who want to improve their handyman skills.
Just because you’re focusing on one particular reader, doesn’t mean only one person is reading your content.
2. Decide on a topic and format
Now you know who you’re writing for, you can decide what you’re going to write about.
When creating your reader’s profile, you would’ve come up with some kind of problem, or clue as to what you think this person would like to know or learn more about.
But if you’re still not sure, there are many ways to find out. To learn where you can find all the problems your customers want answers to, keep an eye out for our next post on how to gain honest customer insights for free.
When you’ve decided which topic to cover, you’ll then have to decide on a format. You might have some great insights and knowledge on your subject, but how do you organise your ideas?
Blog posts can come in many forms. Here are some great options for when you’re first starting out:
- DIY or “How to” posts
- Case studies
- FAQ posts
- Before and after posts involving your products or services (similar to case studies, but shorter and more casual)
- Common mistakes to avoid
- Updates or important changes within your industry
These types of posts are staples to any great business blog.
And again, don’t worry if someone else has already written a ‘How to’ on the same topic you want to write about. You have your own unique perspective, voice, and insight to share.
You don’t have to stick with just one format across all your content either. The best blogs have a good variety of different formats, because some suit certain topics better than others.
3. Create a temporary headline
It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to create the perfect, clever headline before you’ve even written a word of text. And before you know it, you’ve spent 4 hours on a headline and have no time left to write the post!
Don’t fall into this trap.
When you’ve decided on the topic of your blog post, create a working headline. This will be a temporary headline that will keep you focused as you write, and prevent you from veering off track.
To start with, your working headline should be a very basic, one line statement that sums up the main point of your blog post. For example, the working headline for this blog post could be:
- How to start writing a blog post
- 4 tips to help you write your first blog post
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be anything special. It just has to help keep you on track as you write.
4. Write a plan
So far you know who you’re writing to, what you’re writing about, and you’ve created a working headline to help you start writing your first blog post.
But how do you work out what to say? In what order you should say it? What you’re going to leave out?
You write a plan.
It can be as simple as a few dot points that map out your main ideas. Or an outline of the structure. For example, the basic plan of this blog post would look something like this:
- Know your target audience
- Decide on a topic
- Create a temporary headline
- Write a plan
Even with a basic framework, you’ll be able to have your thoughts logically organised.
5. Start Writing!
Once you’ve followed the 4 steps outlined above, you’re ready to start writing.
Even if you don’t feel ready, sometimes the best thing you can do is just begin anyway.
Start writing without worrying if it sounds perfect. Remember, you can, and should always edit after you’ve written the first draft.
It doesn’t have to be flawless straight away. It doesn’t even have to sound good. Just work on getting your main ideas onto the page, and worry about the rest when you get to it.