When you need to write great blog posts for your business or brand, having a well-thought-out content roadmap is a must, especially if you’re using it as part of your sales funnel.
After all, how do you plan to run a successful content marketing campaign without the right strategy?
While this process isn’t always easy, here are four main tactics that you as a freelance writer can use to help you write great blog posts, and get faster every time.
1. Planning Is Key
Whether your audience is B2C or B2B, proper planning is crucial if you want to write great blog posts. During this initial stage of content creation, you’ll need to decide the content you want to create, where you want to post it, your target audience, and post layout.
Gone are the days when content creators could write anything on any topic they choose and think their target audience will love it. With thousands of videos, new blogs, podcasts, and social media updates, grabbing your audience’s attention has never been harder. Here are a few tricks to find fresh ideas for your content marketing plan:
- Set content goals – Every email you send, the blog posts you publish, and all your social media updates should be geared towards a certain goal. These goals may include growing your brand awareness, driving more sales, boosting user engagement, or building customer trust/loyalty.
- Know your audience – Your content should always try and help your target audience solve a certain problem. That’s why you should keep an eye on Quora and Reddit discussions to know the issues affecting your target audience.
- Embrace seasonal content – While seasonal content won’t be relevant all year round, it can bring in more traffic than any of your other pieces during the time it is relevant.
- Listen to your audience – Social media polls and short surveys are a great way to find out what your audience wants to know about.
- Do keyword research – Another way to find out what your audience is interested in is to use a keyword research tool. These help you find out which phrases people are using to search for your content.
Build a Content Calendar
A smart way to plan is to create a content calendar so that you know when to write great blog posts. Your content calendar will feature a list of future posts intended to solve problems you’ve already identified among your customers.
Start by breaking the topics into subtopics. These subtopics can also lead to dozens of great titles for your future posts. Organizing the work in a Google or Excel sheet makes the work easier, and you can keep adding more ideas as they come.
2. Research Before You Write
Next, it’s time to start your content research. Researching your topic will mean you write great blog posts as it helps you to complete the outline and get your structure organized.
Research your topics deeply and make sure you double-check the source as well. It’s easy to get bad info on the internet, so stick to credible sources and cite them when needed. This makes sure your content is accurate. Be sure to look for:
- Data and stats from reputable sources
- Top-ranking articles on the topic
- Quotes from known experts in the industry and authoritative sites
The deeper you research, the more info you can find, which lets you pass more knowledge to your readers. Research can also mean finding out what your readers want to know, so you can give them that info in your post.
However, before you lose yourself reading Wikipedia articles and other blog posts on the internet, set yourself a timer. It’s easy to overdo it.
3. Add Visual Appeal to Your Blog Posts
A lot of your content’s visual appeal is about the images and videos you add. There are several online galleries with free-to-use images. Or use your own images to avoid copyright issues.
But more than this, people like to read through content that’s easy on the eye, to the point, and well organized. So if you want to write great blog posts you should focus on keeping your paragraphs short and getting to your point quickly.
Here’s a template that has worked for many freelance writers:
- Opening – Open with a relatable story for context, a bold claim, or certain statistics. Your main aim is to grab the reader’s attention from the beginning to make them want to read the next paragraph.
- Problem – Let your readers know the problem you’re planning to solve and make it clear that you understand their pain.
- Personal – What experience do you have on the topic or how much research have you done?
- Promise – Let your readers know what to expect from the article.
- Solution – What can be done to solve the problem? Don’t forget to include examples of how your solution has helped others or what the readers might need to avoid.
- Offer – Remind your readers why it’s important to solve their problem, and you can go further by suggesting products or services that might help.
- Close – Conclude with a positive call to action like a motivational or challenging message.
Now that we know how to structure the content, it’s time to start writing. As most pros will tell you, don’t try and edit while you’re writing as it will not only slow down your writing process, but it will also force you to juggle between creative and detailed thinking. That might affect the quality of the content you create.
4. Edit, and Then Edit Again
Now that your first draft is done, it’s time to reward yourself with a break, then start on the editing phase. When editing, focus on creating a professional post that builds confidence in your readers. This means no spelling or grammar errors. The final cut should be full of value, not filler, and should answer any questions your readers have.
Free online tools like Grammarly will help you eliminate spelling errors in minutes, though you’ll still need to proofread your work to remove redundancies. While editing, keep the reader going by chopping down long sentences, breaking big paragraphs into smaller ones, and building in cliffhangers. Additionally, you can break advice into points to make it easier to read.
Writing great blog posts often comes down to practice and experience. For newer writers, it can really help to follow the formula of planning, researching, structuring, and editing. But even if you’re one of the more experienced writers, take the time to think about which of the tips above you’re already doing, or which ones you could invest a bit more in to see even better results.