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Writing a blog post that delights readers: A comprehensive guide

by Suzette Garvey

Writing a blog post that prioritizes humanity and quality over quantity is a beautiful thing that takes work. Still, we live in a world that demands efficiencies, some good and some bad, which makes sharing this comprehensive guide for writing a blog post that much sweeter. Read on for tips on blog goals, topics, editorial calendars, keywords, points of view, audience engagement, supporting visuals, editorial and publishing options, and promotions.

Goals, research, and strategy

Identify your goals and metrics

Set yourself up for a good writing experience by answering these initial questions: Why are you writing a blog? What do you hope to offer your readers? What’s your potential area of focus? Who’s your target audience? Are you seeking to entertain, inform, or persuade? Will you take a personal journal approach or an instructional approach? How will you measure the success of each blog post? How frequently will you publish a blog post? Do you have time to write a blog?

Explore other blogs

Browse successful blogs both inside and outside of your industry or potential area of focus. This could help you better understand the quality of content that’s out there as well as the potential time commitment for writing a blog. Some people prefer to invest their time in social media or writing newsletters (where they can curate and engage with a private list of fans or advocates).

Author blogs (Goodreads – These are mostly book announcements)
9 author blogs that a must for authors (Writer’s Relief)
15 best author websites and what they do well (Hubspot)
7 blogs every author should follow (AuthorMedia)
11 best blogs around the world that will inspire your life (LifeHack)
100 best writing blogs you must follow (Feedspot)
55+ most popular blog examples (Hostinger)
23 Blog Format Examples That Drive ROI (Hubspot)

Select content focus and topics

Selecting an area of focus for your blog should be based on your interests and expertise, relevant keywords used in search by your target audience(s), and attributes of your products and/or services. Creating an editorial calendar allows you to map out the breadth and depth of your focus. You could get very detailed along a particular track of interest, or provide an overview. For example, a track of interest for a novelist might include a series of blog posts on character building or one of their recent book themes. Or, that same novelist could take an overview approach by writing blog posts that touch on the entire book writing process.

Download a free editorial calendar template, courtesy of Storybent Creative.

Choose your keywords

These are words your target audience could use in searches to find your product or service. You can find keyword data in Google Analytics,Google Search Console, Google Search Bar, Google Adwords Keyword PlannerGoogle TrendsMozAhrefs, and Semrush. It helps to include these words throughout your post, but make it as natural as possible.

Decide on a point of view

You could use either second-person, first-person, or third-person point of view (POV). Second-person POV pulls a reader in the most because it’s more conversational. Third-person POV has a more formal tone like a magazine or news article. First-person makes it seem more writer-focused than reader-focused. Refer back to your blog goal(s) when deciding POV.

Draft content that aims to surpass existing content and shares something uniquely personal and uniquely human

Draft your blog post summary

Simplify your summary into a one- to three-sentence concept, and follow that with a list of relevant primary and supporting keywords. Keep in mind, Google prioritizes helpful, reliable, people-first content based on the EEAT criteria: experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. To do so means writing something of value to your readers rather than simply working to get visitors to your site.

Conduct an online search for your draft topics and keywords

This is an essential step toward writing blog posts that stand out.

Research existing content on your blog topic starting with online content by credible thought leaders or organizations for your industry. Authors might seek out information from Writer’s DigestSCBWI, or fellow authors. Health care writers might use Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, etc. Education writers might refer to information by the National Education Association or a top university. Content by leading experts should be data-driven, as transparent as possible, well organized, and well written.

You’ll want to sort by both relevance and date to capture online information from recent years or specific years that might be highly relevant to your topic. Then, you’ll do your best to discern quality information and extrapolate quality concepts to form your own concepts. Here is where you have an opportunity to find both sides of a story or multiple layers within a topic, depending on your sources. Again, it’s important to develop an understanding of source credibility.

You may read up on content from other blogs, webpages, podcasts, or printed books. Additionally, you may choose to interview experts and/or have them check your facts.

If your blog is taking the personal journal approach, it may involve lighter research related to your experiences and life. Such posts may be shorter, more personal entries.

Revisit your blog post summary

By now, you might have a strong gut feeling for a unique hook or more comprehensive approach to your topic. Perhaps you’ve identified a key element that often goes unnoticed or one you want to emphasize. Or, you have a grand idea toward a comprehensive step-by-step process that surpasses the bits and pieces of information out there on the topic. If you simply want to keep readers informed of your current announcements, that’s OK, too.

Outline your blog post

This is the time to sit with what you’ve learned about your topic of choice. List the flow of your unique content from beginning to end, noting if you plan to include quotes from experts, photos or videos, outbound links, links to other pages within your website, or any additional resources.

Write the first draft of your post

If you’re using a personal journal blog approach, your content may be more stream of consciousness, announcement-focused, and subjective based on your experiences, thoughts, and opinions. However, it’s still good to follow through with the other elements covered in this writing process.

Start with a reader-first mindset, conversational tone, and engaging first paragraph that leaves the reader wanting more. Use the remainder of your blog to provide supporting details that fulfill the appeal you laid out in the first paragraph. End your blog with a paragraph that summarizes the content value you just provided.

While writing, make your content user-friendly by incorporating scannable features such as subheadings, bulleted lists, call-out text, and relevant imagery. Ideally, someone could scan the first paragraph, subheadings, visuals, and final paragraph to get the main ideas and tone of voice. Shorter sentences and active tense improve readability as well.

Aim for a sixth grade reading level, when possible, without sacrificing your content value. Medical or academic topics typically rise to higher reading levels due to their specialized vocabulary terms.

For risk management purposes, minimize the use of subjective words and labels like #1 Dentist in Town, unless you have data to cite and back it up.

As for keywords and links, include your primary keyword or phrase in the lead sentence, but also in the title, subheads, and throughout your post. Sprinkle in secondary and tertiary keywords/phrases throughout the post, too. Remember to include outbound links and internal links where it makes good sense. Hitching your wagon to a credible source amplifies your blog’s credibility.

Google says they’re not looking for a particular word count, but many SEO experts recommend at least 300 words per page so search engines can get a stronger indication of your topic and information quality. An added SEO boost may come with a word count of 1,000+, so long as it’s well written. Both Yoast and Search Engine Journal have articles regarding word count.

Select supporting imagery

Finding imagery that fits the mood of your blog adds allure. Use professional custom images or look for stock imagery that is royalty-free. Some imagery might be free, while others may be moderately priced or require a subscription.

Here are some popular sites for photos, video clips, and illustrations:

Obtain editorial feedback and finalize your post

It’s critical to have a second (professional) editor, other than yourself. You might have a skilled online writer edit your blog post, use a service like Grammarly or Bulletproof, or utilize a few trusted sources for editorial feedback. Put your best work out there by incorporating that editing feedback and obtaining more than one round of edits.

Publishing, promotions, and maintenance

Upload your blog post

Whichever platform you choose for your blog, ideally it has keyword capabilities. Yoast provides some free optimization features for WordPress websites, but requires a subscription for more advanced SEO elements.

Remember to upload your imagery, include metadata, and verify your links and other elements are functional. Only hit that “Publish” button once the post page looks just how you want it to.

10 best free blogging sites (Themeisle)
Best website hosting providers (Website Builder Expert)
Custom-built website and/or blog (Storybent Creative)

Promote your blog

Drive targeted traffic to your blog on social media, in newsletters, and through other promotional channels. Consider applying ad dollars toward promoting your new posts, especially after you’ve invested so much effort into them.

17 social media metrics you need to track in 2024 (Hootsuite)

Track the success of your individual posts

Refer to your website’s Google Analytics or Google Search Console pages to see traffic volumes, visitor demographic details, how long readers stay on your page actually reading the content, and what keywords and/or other websites brought them to your post. Having a higher “average time on page” can be an indicator of higher quality content, as deemed by your post’s readers.

Per Forbes, the average time spent by a website visitor on a single page is 54 seconds.

Refresh and repurpose your content

You’ll want to revisit your published blog posts on a rhythmic basis that works for you (e.g. quarterly, biannually, annually) to make sure your links still lead to relevant pages, and that you’re providing the latest information on your chosen topic(s). To maximize the value of your blog posts, consider grouping older posts into a new post to make a series on a particular topic, or merge older posts into something new.

Best wishes on writing blog posts that bring value and delight to you and your readers. As a thank you for reading, I’m including a downloadable checklist that summarizes all of the steps above.

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