If you have a blog, you want it to be brilliant. That’s a fact.
How do you do that?
It’s all about the content, baby!
To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter how beautifully designed your site is if it’s full of shit. To get people coming back for more, you need fantastic posts, there are no two ways about it. Sure, a pretty page and nifty plug-ins make the medicine go down, but your focus should be on the meat. The creative blog content.
This guide will walk you through:
- Coming up with ideas for your content
- Doing the research
- Crafting effective headlines
- Writing compelling copy
- Working on the structure and formatting
- Designing graphics
- Adding content upgrades
- Editing your content
- Promoting those brilliant blog posts
A beginner's guide to creative blog content.
Ideas + planning
Approach your blog like a ninja, with a battle plan in place. (Battle plan = content calendar) Click & Tweet! . This is the step that will help you make sure your content ideas tie in with your business goals, rather than just adding another thing to your to-do list.
Your ideas are what set you apart from the crowd. Perhaps not even the ideas, exactly, but your interpretation of those ideas.
No matter your niche, you will have competitors. You will probably have competitors with blogs, but your “twist” will set you apart.
Planning your content – a good idea?
Everything you need to plan, design and fill your content calendar
20 questions that will inspire a year’s worth of blog posts
52 ideas for blog posts (for when you have no idea what to write)
The 10 x 10 super quick content ideas hack
Nobody knows your business better than you, so why bother researching stuff for your blog posts?
Duh. Because unless you’re writing for a gang of six-year-old girls, your audience will not believe something just because you say it. Click & Tweet! We’re all a bunch of cynics in this online world.
Having evidence to back up your creative blog content helps to establish you as a trustworthy source of information. Pointing your readers towards high-value resources that were not created by you is another way to engender trust – it shows you’re thinking about them, not just PROMO PROMO PROMO.
Smart research for busy writers
How to research blog topics: a step-by-step process
6 ways to research content for your blog (that you may have forgotten about)
How to research: a look inside the Buffer blog process
Apparently, 8 out of 10 people that come across your post will read the headline, only 2 of those will go on to read the rest of the post. Disillusioning, right?
Give yourself the best chance of sucking in those readers by crafting an attention-grabbing title for your blog posts. But at the same time, remember, there is no PERFECT headline. Don’t let it become another source of procrastination.0 out of 10 people will read your post if it’s still waiting in your drafts folder. Click & Tweet!
9 headline scripts for your swipe file
75 done-for-you blog post title templates
Write better headlines with the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
So you’ve managed to charm people into clicking through to your post… now the work begins!
Every sentence needs to be necessary. No fluff. The simpler your language, the better. This is not a game of scrabble, you don’t score points for long, obscure words (as fun as they are).
Each line gives you space to convince someone to keep reading, so take advantage of that. Be interesting. Be informative. Be your hilarious self.
You can have creative blog content without having a shit-ton of pointless fodder.
7 ways to craft a compelling intro
10 secrets to more magnetic copy
How to make your copy killer
The extra-heroic guide to writing remarkable blog posts
Structure + formatting
Writing a blog post is not like writing a report, a white paper, or a book. Unfortunately, one of the markers of an effective blog post is that it be “scannable”.
This doesn’t mean you can’t create long-form content – you absolutely should. It should just be broken up into bite-sized chunks. Preferably with plenty of white space, sub-headings, bullet points and visuals.
You also need to make sure that you stay on point. If you want to wander off on a tangent, consider live streaming, or podcasting. If somebody is reading your blog post it’s because they want to read that thing you promised with your headline, so stick to that. Click & Tweet!
How to structure your blog posts by reading more fairytales
Great content made easy: deconstructing a blog post
Break up your blog content (without a power ballad in sight!)
How to perfect your paragraphs
How to create super share-worthy blog posts
If I need to convince you of the benefits of sharing visual content on your blog you should just read this and be quiet.
Not only do graphics help break up your fields of text, but they actually help new eyes find you.
If readers share any of your brilliant blog posts on social media, an image will be pulled through beneath their update. If their followers like the image too, they might just click through. And there you go, more traffic, minimal effort.
If nothing else, it’s worth creating visuals worthy of Pinterest. Once something has been shared on Facebook, people will click on it for about 24 hours. On Pinterest, people will keep clicking through for around 3 months.
How to create pinnable graphics for your blog (+ free templates)
The ultimate guide to shooting beautifully styled blog photos
30 kick-ass websites to find free high-quality stock photos
7 great alternatives to Photoshop to create graphics for your blog
If you’ve spent any time in the online marketing world, you will have heard of content upgrades.
In a nutshell, they’re all about adding extra value to your posts and giving readers access to that value in exchange for an email address. We all know the benefits of building an email list, so I won’t go into it here, but adding downloadables to your most creative blog content is a great way to boost yours.
Your content upgrade could simply be a PDF of that blog post (like the one I’m offering here), or you could create something else altogether – an eBook, a worksheet, a checklist, a template… think about what your readers would find helpful and make THAT.
But also remember that it needs to relate to the original post.
30 desirable content upgrade ideas
10 content upgrade ideas to get more subscribers, leads, and sales
How to create worksheets and workbooks with Canva
5 reasons people aren’t clicking on your content upgrade (and how to fix it!)
The truth about content upgrades
Proofreading and editing your blog content is an often forgotten step. In a frenzy of creative output, we can hit that publish button without giving it a second thought.
Take a few moments to add a little extra polish to your posts is worth it to give your site a more professional edge.
Typos happen, and I doubt you’ll be lynched for an occasional blip, but remember that your website is the face you present to a limitless world of potential clients. If it looks like you don’t take pride in your work, or have piss-poor attention to detail, do you think they’ll be itching to hire you?
How not to look like a total amateur online
Install Grammarly, the free spelling and grammar checker, on your browser
Proofreading 101 – the ultimate list of things to edit for
25 editing tips for tightening your copy (+ a printable checklist)
If you create the most impeccably researched, well thought out, ingeniously-drafted creative blog content but nobody reads it, does it still count?Fantastic blog posts don’t get found just because they’re fantastic. You have to put the work in. Click & Tweet!
I heard somewhere that you should spend four times as long promoting a post as you did writing it. Yuck.
But hey – that’s what automation is for. If you set up the right system you don’t have to spend half your life promoting yourself. Because that’s gross.
The smart bloggers guide to promoting your posts in 7 minutes
How to promote your blog post
(Free mini course) How to promote a blog post like a boss
A beginner's guide to creative blog content.
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