Blogging has opened the doors for anyone to share their views online and be heard. It's also become a powerful marketing tool that is not only designed to educate but also to sell.
It all comes down to the writing approach and style employed.
Even decades later (blogging history dates back to the '90s), writing a weblog or blog remains an integral part of online culture.
From informal entries that resemble a diary, the type of content published online has greatly evolved. The rapid change is fuelled by the constant change in search engine algorithms, particularly Google's.
Are you planning to jump the bandwagon?
Blogging comes with tons of advantages, but you don't get to enjoy them overnight. There are hurdles you must first overcome before you get a taste of success.
When you do, however, it's all sweet from there. With a bit of maintenance work, of course.
One thing you must do to create a solid foundation is to learn how to write your first blog post using all the right ingredients.
The purpose of this article is to equip you with all the tools you need to do just that. By the end of this post, you will be able to create content that people want to read, share, and talk about.
Analyze the WHY and WHAT of your blog category/niche
There is no way to write a complete blog post without a topic in mind. Sure, you can write a few phrases here and there but your idea won't have a specific direction if you can't pinpoint the subject you want to tackle.
Thus, the need to identify a topic based on a category or niche that you choose.
Think of your niche as the overall theme of your blog. It will serve as the foundation of whatever content you produce from here on out.
So it is very important that you choose a category or niche which topics you can write about with ease.
How do you identify which category you'll be known for?
Provide answers to the following questions below.
So here's what your answers may look like.
Based on your answers, you can identify why you want to write about plumbing and that the theme of your blog would be plumbing at its most specific and home improvement in a broader scope.
The knowledge that you’re not writing about yourself will also set the tone and style you employ when writing your blog.
Identify your target audience
It's much easier to write a blog if you know who your readers are.
Think of blogging as a way of communicating with a certain someone in text format. This means the content you write about must resonate with the people you are talking to.
This is why it's important to identify your target market.
Create a buyer/reader persona
It is easy to think that you're writing for anyone who's interested in plumbing. What you don't know is that different people have different needs at a specific stage of their buying journey.
One potential customer, for example, is checking out your services because they want to know who to call if they have some issues.
Another customer is ready to pick up the phone and book your services because they need a leak fixed immediately.
In either scenario, you can provide the appropriate blog content. The more scenarios you can pinpoint, the more topics you can write about.
In creating a buyer persona, combine real data with some educated speculation about their behavior, goals, demographics, and motivations.
Here's a sample buyer persona:
Then, identify which stage of a buyer journey Thomas is likely on.
Stages of a buyer's journey
This is the part where a prospect is experiencing symptoms of a problem and is doing research to give a name, to frame, or to clearly understand the issues they are facing.
Your response: To provide them the necessary information that will educate them. Your blog should be the answer they are looking for.
At this point, the prospect already knows what the problem or opportunity is and are looking for methods and approaches that they can use.
Your response: Provide them with expert advice, complete with clear and concise resources. This will help build trust between you and your audience.
Now that the prospect has chosen a specific approach, method, or strategies to use, they are looking for available vendors and service providers.
Your response: Present yourself as the best option so that when a prospect makes a final purchase decision they will choose YOU. Provide consultations and free quotes.
Let's put all the information together.
Thomas needs help with bathtub repair but he doesn't want to pay more than he should. He's looking at several service providers but can't decide which one to hire.
Thomas is at the decision stage, but he can't decide quickly enough. The topic you write for him should revolve around how you can help solve his pain point fast in a cost-effective manner. Elaborate that, even when your quote is a bit higher, he's getting great value for his money.
Curate different blog post ideas, but zoom in on one
Don't scrimp on raw material
If you happen to be a wide reader, then you surely have an idea or two about what to write for your first online post. Reading content from a wide range of sources and places will keep your noggin brimming with topics to consider and possibly write about.
Also, when an idea suddenly pops into your head, make sure to write it down to preserve it. You can elaborate on it later, but you should grab the idea while it's still fresh.
Generating content ideas doesn't have to involve a complex process. You can do this on your own.
Whether or not it attracts, engages, or delights your target readers is another story.
Ask a series of questions to get ideas for your first blog post
What are the most frequently asked questions about your industry or niche/category?
Because people are asking or researching about it, then they're interested to know. Providing them the answer they're looking for will give you an idea of what to write in your post.
What do your target market or prospects need help with?
If they're looking for a solution, write about it and provide value to your readers.
What are your competitors, influencers, other bloggers, and industry leaders talking about?
You can add in your own two-cent or expound further on an existing article. Doing so is a great way to establish your authority on a particular topic.
Use a tool for topic research
Ideas for your blog post don't have to be entirely your own. Why stress yourself out when the internet can provide you with tons of ideas?
There are tools that you can use.
Check out my other guide, if you're interested in the most profitable online business ideas.
Get ideas from Google
Google's autocomplete feature will show you possible topics to write based on the words or keywords you type on the search bar.
The "People also ask" section is also a treasure trove of topics. You can expound on each question, after all.
If you scroll through the search results, you'll discover plenty more to write about.
Scroll down further and you can get just as many ideas from the related searches.
Visit forums, Quora, Answer the Public, etc.
In some cases, writing about topics people are already interested in will make your blog post attractive and engaging.
So check out forums and find out what people want to know about the world of plumbers and plumbing, or whatever your niche is.
In Quora, on the other hand, you will find questions that you can answer through your blog. Is there a specific topic you can delve into in-depth? Write about it and publish.
With Answer the Public, you only need one or two keywords or keyphrases to generate topic ideas. In this platform, results are presented in both visual and data formats. It will also return a list of long-tail keywords.
Check out your favorite blog
Is there any blog that you identify with directly? If yes, then you should check out its most popular posts and get ideas from them.
Your first blog post template can be a revised version of an existing post that has gone viral or has been shared a thousand times.
Just like when writing content inspired by competitor blogs, you can rewrite or write something better than a popular content that has already gained traction online.
Let keywords guide you with topic selection
Say you want to write about running shoes for men. If you use the phrase on a keyword research tool, you're going to discover interesting topic ideas.
Some related keywords are:
If you refer to the search volume, you'll know the number of people who use the phrase when searching for something online. The number may translate to traffic leading to your website.
Don't aim for the Top 10 Google results...not yet, anyway
Every blogger aims to rank high on search results. But the reality is that this is difficult to achieve, especially with existing competitor blogs.
Rather than aim for the (almost) impossible, evaluate how difficult it is for your new blog to rank.
Use the MozBar extension to figure out how competitive your target keyword is.
Install the extension in Chrome, activate it and make sure to tick the checkbox labeled Link Metrics.
When you type in your target keyword or phrase, check the search results for DA (Domain Authority), PA (Page Authority), and Links.
Avoid queries and keywords with DA and PA that are higher than 20.
Where links are concerned, however, it doesn't matter much. Once you achieve higher DA, all your articles will rank better naturally.
How to write your first blog post: putting ideas to paper
Now that you’ve picked a topic to write, it’s time to implement the best practices in developing the content itself.
Online, content is king. But it will only reign supreme when written right and created using a set of strategies that have proven to attract readers and keep them glued right through to the last sentence.
What do you need to do then?
Build a content creation framework
Because you will be writing for a variety of buyer personas at different stages of their journey, you should create a framework for your blog content creation process. A writing guide that is agile, organized, and repeatable.
Think of the framework as your blueprint in developing blog posts. You need to have a concrete idea of what goes where for a smoother content creation process.
A content creation framework:
Most importantly, it contains granular steps that you can easily and realistically follow.
What are the different stages involved?
Identify the kind of content to focus on based on your goals, which are influenced by a buyer's persona and journey.
Map out when an article should be completed and then published.
Identify who does what and the process flow from the writer, editor, to a publisher.
Content review and edit
Define expectations, roles in the review process, style guide, and timeline. Include optimization of content for search engines.
Content organization and storage
Create a system that allows you to easily track content for a specific campaign.
You might think that you don’t need this many steps to write your first blog post. But, remember, the first template you make will serve its purpose well for a long time.
It's best to get it right the first time and just perform tweaks when needed.
Choose a blog post format
Now that you have a blueprint for content creation, you have to create a structure for your blog posts.
Sure, you don't want the content to look the same all the time, but it is recommended that you have a template to:
Ideally, your blog post must attract, engage, and then delight the readers.
Below are two of the more popular formats of blog posts.
As the name suggests, this type of content provides a list of things you want your reader to know. It could be Top 10 Smart Financial Tips or 5 Features of a Healthy Weight Loss Regimen.
This is another popular content due to its instructional aspect. People may already have plenty of things to do, but it's exactly because of this that they need tips, solutions, instructions, or guides.
There are plenty more types of blog post content, but because you're still working on your first one, you should focus on what's popularly consumed by many.
Create a working title
A great blog post can be born out of a title, which provides direction and idea flow.
Because a title is the first thing a reader sees, it needs to catch their attention and interest.
To get you started on your blog, it's recommended that you create a working title first. This is something you will work off as you write along and help narrow down your topic.
The title running shoes, for example, is too broad that it can breed multiple ideas for a blog post.
But if your working title is "Top running shoes for a triathlon," then you'll know exactly what topics to tackle.
Here are some great headline generator tools:
To help you discover possible working titles for your blog post, come up with 5-10 possible titles that:
Here are guidelines in writing titles:
Write a captivating introduction
The introduction of your blog post should captivate your audience and entice them to continue reading the rest of your article.
If you lose readers in the first few sentences or paragraphs, they will abandon your blog. So make sure to create an introduction that:
Ideally, the intro should be a follow-up of your blog post title.
Follow best practices in content formatting
As for the rest of your article, make sure they're easily digestible and readable.
If you notice, breaking up the paragraphs is repeatedly mentioned. This is because doing so leaves whitespace around your blog that enables a reader to focus on your content.
Imagine reading something where the text is presented in huge blocks with little space in between. You'll lose focus on the first few sentences. Your eyes will only see clutter.
Optimize your blog post for search
Search engine optimization puts your content at the forefront of your target audience. Done right, you will rank high on search results and your blog post will be the first to be read. You need the bots to crawl your blog and rank it accordingly.
What optimization practices you must follow?
With a blog post optimized for search engines, you can be sure that your target reader will find your article online.
Here's a bonus on best practices for linking.
Add a CTA
If you want to write a great blog post, especially for SEO purposes, you must include a call-to-action (CTA). You need to point your reader/visitor to the next step that you want them to make.
Once you successfully redirect your audience, you can move them along on the next step of the process or sales funnel. You can close a deal with a compelling CTA.
In case you want to choose a great funnel builder, check out my guide - Best Sales Funnel Builders
Some of the best CTAs that are proven to convert are:
To increase the conversion rate, however, be mindful of the location of your call-to-action.
Content marketing agency Grow & Convert estimates that CTAs placed:
CTAs can also be placed on the Navbar, but the conversion rate varies.
In terms of clickthrough rates, however, CTAs placed near the top of your blog post gets the highest share.
Just like in real estate, location matters where call-to-actions are concerned. So be mindful of where you put them on your website.
Edit, edit, edit
The importance of checking for spelling and grammar errors couldn't be emphasized enough. A single misspelling can turn off a reader. If you throw in an incorrect use of subject-verb agreement and an incoherent thought, your first blog post will never take off.
This is why you must edit and edit your article until you catch all possible errors in your content.
The goal is to cut out anything that is irrelevant, unnecessary, or doesn't support the central idea of your blog post.
It's highly recommended that you use an editing guide that outlines the format and style of your blogs from the first one to anything else after that.
Here's a list of the common grammar and styles used for online content.
As for the technical aspect of editing, you should make a list of elements that will be checked by you or an editor. These include:
Most importantly, always check your spelling. With Grammarly and similar tools to help you catch those misspellings, you ensure an article that reads well and with no errors.
Get your blog post ready to publish
Once editing is complete, you should publish your blog post.
Use a content management system (CMS)
This is the tool to use to upload and host your content. The best platforms should allow you to edit, create, and publish your article in one place.
One of the most popular CMS out there is WordPress, which offers bloggers like you a self-hosted website via your chosen hosting prodiver.
WordPress CMS is user-friendly, with a dashboard that you can customize according to what is most convenient to you when editing and publishing content.
You also have access to plugins, responsive themes, and best practices on how to write your content on WordPress.
Medium.com, free Wix.com plan, and other web 2.0 properties also make good options. But you will have limited control over them. They’re not so customizable either.
Choose a web hosting service and register a domain
After you choose your CMS, you need to sign up with a hosting service and register a domain. It doesn't cost much these days to use a shared hosting.
Step back and enjoy your first blog post
Now that your content is published and ready to be explored by your target audience, time to watch its online performance. A few tweaks may be needed to get your page ranking high on SERPs. You may need to update or repurpose blogs to give your website a boost.
But that’s a story for another blog post.
Let us know how these tips have helped you shape your first blog post into something your readers will love.
Do you have other great advice to share on how to write a blog post for the first time? Share your ideas on the comments below.