When you want to write a good blog post, plan in advance.
The average blog writer isn’t William Shakespeare. We can’t just grab a blank piece of paper and scrawl a masterpiece in ten minutes. We have to have a concrete plan for a blog post if that post is to succeed.
When planning a blog post, there are many things to consider:
- How does the blog post fit into your content structure?
- What makes this blog post unique to other content on your blog?
- What keywords are you aiming for?
- Oh, and you’ve considered your backlink strategy, right?
For a successful blog post, plan ahead.
Here Are 12 Best Practices For Planning A Blog Post
Open a Word document so you can work through each of these steps in turn. At the end you will have the best blog post plan you’ve ever seen.
1. To start planning a blog post, define your purpose
At the top of your Word document write “Purpose:”
This is where you are going to determine the overall concept and purpose of your blog post.
Your blog post should have one very clear idea that is unique to it. In other words, it should be an idea you have not done before.
My concept for this very blog post is this: Create a tutorial on how to plan a blog post.
So, this is a brief summary of the point and purpose of the article. E.g. “To create the best article on planning a blog post”.
2. Check the concept fits with your content strategy
Before you begin to even plan a blog post, you need to check that it fits into your content strategy from an SEO perspective.
Here are some things to consider:
- Has the subject been covered on the blog before?
- Does the subject match the theme of the blog?
- Where will the blog post fit in terms of link structure?
- What posts will link to this one?
- What other blog posts will this one link to? (in other words, consider your internal link strategy)
- Will readers be interested in this idea?
- Am I likely to rank for this idea? Is it too competitive?
- Is there enough interest to generate organic traffic?
- Is this something you actually want to write about?
3: When You’re Planning The Writing, Start With The Headings
On the next line of your Word document, write “Heading ideas”.
Writing a heading is one of the most important parts of a blog post. The heading tells readers what the blog post is about, and it also has a massive impact on your organic traffic because ultimately, people will only ever read your article if they click on the headline in the search results.
Write a list of at least ten headlines.
Your headlines should take into account keywords as well as subjects and themes.
Here’s a great guide on how to write effective headlines.
4: Plan your blog post’s keywords and synonyms (LSI)
On the next line of your Word Document, write “keyword and LSI”.
Use this section to research your main keyword and LSI keywords.
As we all are aware, keywords are vital to ranking in SERPS, as are synonyms (alternative words with the same meaning). Ever since RankBrain became a thing, LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Keywords) have been of huge importance.
It’s best to have a list of keywords and synonyms to include before beginning.
Akshay Hallur has written a great guide to LSI Keywords here on GoBloggingTips.
5: Create ideas for your blog post by considering different angles
Part of planning a blog post is technical considerations like SEO. Another part is artistry.
Writing blog posts is similar to writing articles for magazines. And as any good journalist will tell you, it’s all about choosing the right angle.
The angle of your blog post is essentially the manner in which you will cover your idea.
Writing for Daily Post, Krista Stevens say:
Your angle is the precise way you choose to tell your story — it’s the element that sets your story apart from all the rest. Let’s look at how to identify your story’s angle and how to build on it to create engaging, original prose. [continue reading this here]
Brain-storm different ways you could write the post. Then select the best one.
Write a description of your angle on the next line of your Word document.
6: Organise blog posts by subjects and subheadings
Next, you will want to consider different subjects to cover in your blog post.
We already know our main topic (for this article, the main topic is “writing a blog post”), but what other sub-topics will we cover? For instance, this post also covers editing as a sub-topic.
For the sake of SEO (search engine optimization), the different subjects should match-up roughly with the LSI keywords you wrote down in step 3.
Write down the subjects you will cover.
Now list these under “Subheadings” in your Word document.
7: Consider story and personality
People are attracted to stories and personality.
How will you show that in your blog post?
The most obvious (and arguably best) way to do this is to recount a time when you yourself needed to know the information detailed in the post.
If you’re writing about the perils of not taking a winter hat when you go out, recount the time you stood in the rain for three hours because the bus never came. It’s a fun story, it has personality, and it makes you more relatable as a blogger.
On your Word document, write ‘Personality / Story’ and choose the personality for your post and how you will express it.
Note that for established blogs and businesses, the personality of the blog post should reflect the personality of the brand persona.
Sven has written an excellent guide to writing with brand personality on Userlike.
8: Have a loose idea of your blog posts’ conclusion
Your conclusion may very well change while you write the article. That’s natural. At the planning stage, blog posts should include only a loose idea of how the conclusion will work.
Know the direction your article is heading in before you write it. This will also help you create interesting arguments.
Enter this information on your Word document.
9: Research and build a list of sources for the blog post’s main points
Some topics demand hours of research. That research should ideally be completed before you begin to write the blog post. It’s a smart idea to list your sources while you conduct research.
Plus, mentioning other people and sources in your blog post is a good way of planning your backlink strategy. Who will link to you and why?
Also at this stage, consider who you will link out to from the post.
10: Who will read it?
What demographic are you aiming at? Do you know your psychographics? Do you have a clear idea of who your readers are and how your blog post will draw them in?
Write a description of your demographic on your Word document.
The best way to research your demographic is with Facebook Audience Insights.
Read SproutSocial writer Alex York’s guide to this.
11: Emotion of the article
If you want to earn social shares you need to know which primary emotion your article elicits in the reader.
Choose one primary emotion and a secondary emotion (for instance, happiness that something good happened, and gratitude for the people who made it happen). This will significantly increase social shares.
Note that positive emotions perform best on social media (read about this on SEOPresser)
On your Word document, note the dominant emotion of the piece.
10: Choose a social media marketing strategy
We now know who are readers are. How will we make those readers share our post?
To start with, make sure that the blog post reflects the beliefs and opinions of the reader.
Next, give motive or incentive for the person to share it. For instance, if you’re writing an article about the immortality of animal testing, include a line asking reads to share the article because we need to change the way animals are treated. Such a line can result in a dramatic increase in shares.
Read my guide to increasing Facebook Engagements for ideas on this one.
Write down one line that says “Share Because:” and have a good answer.
11. Plan your conversion optimisation too.
Create motivation for readers to subscribe.
Subscribing requires different motivations to sharing.
Readers will share an article just because it elicited an emotional response.But a subscription means the reader sees continued value in your work, or that they are interested in seeing how things develop.
Good ways to attract subscribers are:
- Offer a free download
- Have a great personality
- Produce valuable content
- Get them hooked on your story
- Offer content they cannot get anywhere else
On your Word document, write a reason why people will subscribe.
Planning a blog post— conclusion
You now have the perfect blog post plan. And if you have been following along with the Word document, you also have the perfect blog post plan template.
This blog post plan covers all angles of the writing process, from SEO to content strategy to good old fashioned actually writing a good article.
With this blog post plan, you are giving your blog post the best chance of generating traffic and achieving social shares and conversions.
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