You know blogging is critical, paramount, indispensable to the success of your marketing. Without it, Google will stop crawling your site; your SEO will tank; your social media accounts will run dry; you'll have no clout with your leads and customers; and you'll have fewer pages on which to place calls-to-action and collect new and reconverted leads.
This all sounds like a marketing disaster . So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can't consistently blog?
Maybe because, unless you're one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of sucks. You have to find words, and string them together into sentences, and ughhh where do you even start?
The time for excuses is over. After you read this post, there is absolutely no reason you can't blog every single day , and do it quickly. I'm about to provide you with a blogging template so that literally anyone can blog, as long as they truly know the subject matter they're writing about. And since you're an expert in your industry, there's no longer any reason you can't sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post ... following this formula.
The Blogging Formula
A comprehensive, high-quality blog post doesn't have to be long. In fact, shorter is often sweeter for your readers who have limited time to devote to reading the massive amounts of content on the web. But well-written blog posts should include three sections, which you may be familiar with if you close your eyes and think back to elementary school writing classes: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Here's what's included in each.
The introduction sets the stage for the problem you're about to solve. You're not providing specific solutions in this section of your post, you're simply explaining why the problem you're about to solve is, well, a problem. This is where you're relatable, where you get your readers' heads nodding in agreement, where you prove why the blog post you're writing is actually worth writing (and reading). To make this easy as pie, let's Mad Lib a random introduction so you can see just how simple it is:
Have you ever tried to ___________? If so, you'll know that it's difficult because ___________________________. So what do you do? Many people have found success by using ___________________. But there are a few things you should know before you buy and implement a ___________ to ensure ____________. This post will tell you what you need to know to make sure you select a ____________________ that will let you successfully ________________.
An introduction like that could apply to any problem, product, or (with a few language tweaks, like removing the word "implement") service that you might discuss on your blog -- whether it's your specific solution or another company's. ( Note: while your blog will sometimes promote your own product or service, it shouldn't exist solely for that reason. First and foremost, the content on your blog should help your readers solve a common problem!)
But do you see why that structure works for an introduction? 1) It presents a problem ("Have you ever tried to," and "it's difficult because"); 2) it sets up what the post will be about (the solution "people have found success" with and the "things you should know before you buy and implement" that solution); and 3) it explains why it's important you know those things ("to ensure," and "that will let you successfully.")
The body explains the solutions to the problem you set up in the introduction. Now that you've identified a problem for your reader, they're ready to hear the solution to it! Your body can be written in paragraphs, with bullets, numbered lists, multiple headings, or a mix of all of these. You can make use of whichever format is easiest for you, but for the sake of our Mad Lib, we'll just select a mix of paragraphs and bullet points. Take a look at how the body of any given blog post could be structured:
If you're looking for a _____________, the best method to ensure you end up with something that lets you _________________ is by looking for these things:
- Make sure your ____________ lets you _______________. If it doesn't, you'll have trouble ___________.
- Ensure your ___________ has a ____________ so you can ____________.
- Any good ______________ should let you _____________. This is important because _________________.
While not necessary, some great bonus features of a great _____________ are __________, ____________, and _______________.
Of course, you can add on to that bulleted list to make it as long as you want, but if you maintain that structure, you're golden. Why? Because each bullet explains what your product (or, again, service with very minor language tweaks) should have to help the reader meet the goals outlined in your introduction. Then, it reiterates why that's important.
The conclusion wraps up your post with a brief statement that's reflective of the problem your post solved. You can also use the conclusion to prompt your readers to engage in further conversation in the comments. The conclusion should be kept short, however, to ensure readers don't abandon your blog post before realizing there's a call-to-action to convert on! Here's what a blog post's conclusion might look like:
Now that you know ________________, you're ready to __________________ without worrying _______________.
Yep, that's it! This section was pretty simple, eh?
Filling in the Blogging Template
Alright, you've seen the template. Let's fill in the blanks, shall we?
I wrote about social media monitoring tools because it's something I know about; and as a result, I was able to write this "sample" blog post really quickly. And you'll experience that, too, when you write about something you know inside and out! You just needed a little push -- or a template -- to get you started ;-)
Caveats and Cautionary Notes
The template content I've provided here is not intended to be copied and pasted into every blog post you write -- that results in duplicate content for which you'll be seriously punished in the SERPs. It is simply meant to show the structure you can follow to write a blog post, because there really is a formula to it that makes it easy to write content that's helpful for readers, and relatively quick and painless for you. And hey, feel free to swap in synonyms for words and phrases you see in the template, as long as it's all original language!
It's also important to note that this blog post gives you a template to help you start putting pen to paper (or cursor to screen, as the case may be). But there are other components of a successful blog post that you shouldn't ignore. I hinted at it above, but what would a blog post be without a call-to-action? It certainly wouldn't help you drive any leads, that's for sure. And to generate more click-throughs, you should spend some time crafting an excellent blog title . You also need to think about optimization -- did you include important keywords and internal links to other pages on your website? For a full list of the things to consider when publishing a blog post, consult this blog post (how meta) on the subject.
Finally, remember that there are other structures for blog content that work, too. We don't follow the same structure for every blog post we write, and we've seen structures other blogs use that work really well for them. So go forth! Explore. Experiment. Get creative. The point isn't that you follow this rigid template; the point is that you consistently create content that helps your reader. But if you're completely blogging-blocked , this template should help you out of that rut.
If you're not naturally inclined to blog, what do you do to make it easier on yourself to ensure you're consistently publishing new content? Share your tips in the comments!
Image credit: kaminsky_toy_close