Want a free blog writing checklist from an expert?
This blog gets over 100,000 visitors a month and growing.
Check out some of my favorite blog writing tips below.
Blog Writing #1: Cut The Fluff
You’ve heard the phrase “trim the fat,” right?
Well, it applies to blog writing as well.
Everything you write on the page should be working towards achieving the goal of your post. If it’s not, then it’s just fluff, and it needs to go.
I’m talking everything from unnecessary phrases and stories to overly wordy verb phrases.
Sometimes, this means killing off a piece that you love. You may have crafted your most beloved parpagraph yet, but if it’s not relevant to the topic at hand or serves a clear purpose, it shouldn’t be there.
I find that it’s best to do the trimming in the editing stages.
Which brings us to tip #2.
Blog Writing #2: Follow the “Rule of 12”
One the subject of editing: do it. It’s important.
Understandably, editing your own work can be hard.
For that, I like to use Very Good Copy’s 12-hour rule.
It says that once you’ve finished writing a piece, put it away. Don’t look at it or think about overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
When you come back to it the next day, you’ll be looking at it with fresh eyes more able to catch small edits and typos, find better words, and yes, identify possible fluff to cut.
Blog Writing #3: Align Your Content With Your Business Objectives
When writing a blog for business, you always want to pick subjects you’re trying to rank for.
So make sure you’re picking topics that focus on your businesses core products or services.
To find the best topics to blog about in your space, use a tool like SEMRush.
Once you’re logged in, enter in one of your company’s main keywords into the search bar and select Keyword Overview from the dropdown.
The resulting page will give you an in-depth at that particular keyword and ones related to it, including search volume.
For your best bet, choose a keyword that has enough traffic (200+ searches/month) but no so much that you’ll have trouble ranking for it.
Blog Writing #4: Make Sure Your Blog is Optimized For a Term
This piggyback’s right off that last point: every blog you write should be targeting one main keyword.
This is SEO 101, and it’s what will help your post be found (and ranked) in the search engines.
The keyword you choose will tie into the topic your writing on, and you can again use SEMRush to find the best ones for your business.
Just like above, enter in the keyword in the SEMRush search bar and select Keyword Overview. This time, pay special attention to the search volume.
For your best bet, choose a keyword that has enough traffic (200+ searches/month) but no so much that you’ll have trouble ranking for it.
For a more in-depth version of how to conduct your keyword research, check out my full guide here.
Blog Writing #5: Write Content Based on Customer Pain Points
Customer pain points are, in short, their problems.
More specifically, they’re problems that your product or service can solve.
When looking for these points, you want to consider things like:
- What internal factors stress them out?
- What are they afraid of (on or off the job)f?
I wrote a whole article on how to identify your customer’s pain points, and if you’re operating a blog, I highly suggest you give it a read.
Once you’ve identified what they are, you can start writing content that addresses them.
So for example, if one of your core services is email marketing, a common pain point you might address is how to move prospects from leads to customers.
And that happens to be a perfect point to address in a blog post – Lead Nurturing Through Email Marketing.
Blog Writing #6: Write Longform Content
In the days of ever-shortening attention spans, you may be tempted to write short, sweet blog posts designed to easily skim and digest.
Longform content (1,500-6,000 words) consistently ranks higher than its shorter counterpart.
Why? Because the longer content, the more authoritative it looks to Google and your visitors.
In general, I recommend trying to hit 2,000 words per article.
Blog Writing #7: Include Optimized Images
While going for that longform, lot-of-text strategy is best for blog writing, you also want to be sure to break that text up.
The best way to do it? With images.
Images are engaging for users and make a 2,000-word article look a lot less daunting.
When including them in your post, remember the following:
- Include an image every 200-300 words
- Use screenshots
- Make the images clear and relevant to the subject
- Try incorporating unique infographics
And of course, another reason we use images is that it gives us another way to rank.
Which means it’s equally important that you optimize each image with your target keyword. Include it in the file name, description, caption, alt text and title text.
Blog Writing #8: Include an H2 Subheading Every 50 to 100 Words
Another good way to break up your blog? Adding subheads.
Subheads are kind of like the Table of Contents for your post; they highlight the most important pieces of information, and allow for easy skimming if that’s what the reader’s there for.
They’re also another place to optimize for your target keyword. Try to include it in every other subhead.
Pro tip: try to make your subheads into questions. That’s where Google pulls a lot of its featured snippet information from.
Blog Writing #9: Embed Related Podcasts and Videos to Increase Time on Site
In lieu (or in addition) to images, try including any podcasts or videos you’ve recorded.
Videos drive some of the highest engagement rates today (one-third of online activity is spent watching video), and Podcasts are quickly beginning to catch up.
Another cool thing about embedding them in your blogs? They’ll increase the time spent on site.
And while there’s no official word on how engagement metrics like time on page affect rankings, there’s evidence that Google definitely takes them into consideration.
So anything you can do to increase those metrics is well worth the effort.
Blog Writing #10: Don’t Neglect Design
With so much focus on content, it’s easy to forget the role that design plays in your blog.
But truth is, a poor design can have a big impact on overall user experience and is a big cause of high bounce rates.
A lot of that is the template itself. Make sure it’s clean and relatively simple; you want the focus to be on the blog post.
Include easily readable headers that stand out from your text, and make sure your text length is varied. No overly long paragraphs here; keep sentences short and include bullet points to break them up.
Navigation should be easy as well; include clear share buttons and “Next Post” links, with a clear Menu as well.
Another big one here: don’t overdo it with ads and pop-ups. It can interfere with user experience and cause slower load times – two big no’s when it comes to SEO.
Blog Writing #11: Use Social Media to Find Questions Your Followers are Asking
As far as topic generation, social media is a gold mine.
If you’ve established any type of social following, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., take some time to look through your Page and comments.
What are people commenting on? What kinds of questions are they asking?
For example, if you sell camping equipment, someone may ask what kind of gear they need for winter hiking. That’s a perfect opportunity for a post.
You can even ask questions outright: “What bothers you about ___?” “What’s the worst (or best experience you’ve had with ____?”
Trust me, a little social listening will go a long way when it comes to blog writing.
Blog Writing #12: Build an Email List for Promotion
Email newsletters and blog posts go hand in hand. Just check out the one I send every Thursday – I always include highlights from the blog.
It’s a great way to maximize the number of eyes on your post, but to do it, you have to strategically focus your efforts on building that list.
This is another subject I’ve written on extensively, including 30 strategies specifically for growing your list.
The most common you’ll see is through pop-ups. These, coincidentally, pair very well with a blog.
You can choose to fire a pop up after someone has spent a certain amount of time on the page, or as they exit.
And, based on the content they consume, you can segment them into an appropriate email list to continue to send them information that aligns with their interests.
Blog Writing #13: Write Frequently and Stick to a Schedule
Here’s the thing about blog writing: it’s harder than you think it is.
And the hardest part is actually doing it.
As we’ve seen, producing the kind of content that will get you higher ranks and shares takes time and serious research. Neither of these things comes easy in the beginning.
But it gets easier. Just keep writing.
And I can’t emphasize this one enough: create a schedule. Start with just one or two posts a week, assign a deadline, and stick to it.
Blog Writing #14: Find and Build Relationships With Key Influencers
These days, having an influencer on your side is everything.
An influencer, for anyone unaware, is an online leader active in social media, generally with a large, niche following.
Seth Godin, for example, is an influencer.
His blog and social channel see thousands of visits a day.
Now, can you imagine the impact a link to your blog from Seth Godin could have?
A huge one. Which is why it’s so important to find and cultivate relationships with influencers in your niche.
The first thing you want to do when beginning with influencer marketing is to find ones in your specific niche or industry.
You can do that with a tool like Buzzsumo.
Then, begin to connect with online. Follow their blogs, leave comments, and interact on social media.
Once you’ve done that, you begin your outreach.
For more on how to identify and connect with influencers, read my full guide.
Blog Writing #15: Include Internal Links
Linking to other pages within your posts is a great way to point traffic in other relevant directions.
After all, you want each reader to spend as much time on your site as possible, so make it easy for them to do so with a proper internal linking strategy.
Ideally, you want to include a relevant link every few hundred words. If you’ve blogged about something in the past that you touch on in your latest post, include a link back to it.
You can also include links to any relevant product or service on your site.
Blog Writing #16: Include Related Posts at the Bottom of the Page
Here’s another must: always include links to related articles at the bottom of your blog post.
Just like your internal links in the content itself, this will lead readers to more of you articles based on what they’ve shown interest in.
Remember, these go on the bottom of the page for a reason. They’re relevant follow-ups to what a visitor has just read.
Blog Writing #16: Pick a Killer Headline
Your headline is the make or break piece of your blog.
A good one will grab the reader’s attention and entice them to click.
A bad one..won’t.
So make sure you spend ample time deciding on the best one for your blog.
I like to brainstorm 5 initially, and then decide on the winning headline (either by myself or with the input of co-workers).
For help getting started, check out a tool like Portent’s Content Idea Generator.
Remember, always include your target keyword in your headline. Also, be sure to use action verbs or unconventional words that will grab attention.
Blog Writing #17: Include Easy Share Buttons
This one’s straightforward: always include buttons so readers can easily share your content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
If they aren’t there, they very likely won’t do it.
Blog Writing #18: Teach Actionable Skills (And Don’t be Afraid of Oversharing)
Blog writing all comes down to the quality of information you’re willing to share.
So don’t be afraid to share insider information and insights, personal processes, and your unique approach to different areas of the industry.
Focus on really teaching your audience how to do something the right way.
Here’s an example post from me about growing traffic with the selector system.
This is the exact process I use to get more traffic, and I’m happy to share it with my audience.
Why? Because it works.
Again, a blog isn’t a fluff piece. It’s a place for real strategies and ideas. Don’t worry about giving away your prized information. When your audience sees the value in what you’re saying, they’ll be eager to come back for more.
Blog Writing #19: Spend the Time
Look, (good) blog writing isn’t a quick process.
In fact, the average post takes 3.5 hours to write. And the time it takes continues to rise.
Take a look at these numbers:
- In 2017, bloggers spent 39% more time on a typical blog post than in 2014
- Three years ago, 1 in 20 bloggers spent 6+ hours on a typical blog post. Today that number is 1 in 8.
- 49% of bloggers who spend 6+ hours on each article report “strong results” from blogging.
See what I mean?
Good blog writing is worth spending extra time on. So don’t rush it.
Blog Writing #20: Promote. Promote. And Promote Some More.
Ever heard of the 80/20 rule?
It’s the one that says you should spend 20% of your time writing it and the remaining 80% promoting it.
Yes, it’s extreme, but the message is clear: you need to work really hard at promoting your posts.
Relying solely on organic traffic won’t cut it, so prepare a dedicated schedule to share your post to your social media channels and other networks.
Here’s how I do it:
- Day one: tweet 3 times
- Day two: tweet 1 time
- Tweet over the weekend
- Tweet once every two weeks
- Tag all people mentioned in the post
- Send a promoted Tweet
- Share a post with a relevant image, text, and hashtags
- Tag everyone mentioned in the post
- Run a promoted Post
- Share in Facebook Groups
- Post to profile
- Post to LinkedIn Groups
- Post as a LinkedIn post and link back to full article
- Run a sponsored post
And I don’t stop there:
Wrapping Up Blog Writing Tips
Follow the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to better blog writing.