Knowing how to plan a blog post is important for three reasons:
- It helps you create better content.
- It helps you create that content quicker.
- It ensures you include enough content.
Blog posts need to serve a purpose, or your audience won’t invest the time in reading them…or won’t read more after they get through the first one or two, because they didn’t get much from them. It’s up to you to make sure your blogs are providing your readers what they need and expect from them.
Now when I talk about how to plan a blog post, I really mean any kind of long form content: blog post, podcast episode, video, interview, article…whatever it is you create as information content in your business. They’re all types of content marketing, and they can all be planned out the same way using this process.
The real first step in planning your blog posts or other content is the brainstorm, which I’m not technically including here because I’m assuming you’re an avid reader of my blog and have already seen my post on that. But if you haven’t done a brainstorm yet to come up with as many topics as possible, go check out this post first: Content Brainstorming Quick Guide: 50 Topics in 15 Minutes. It’ll get your brain fired up and in content mode. Plus give you a topic to start with for step number one.
How to Plan a Blog Post in 3 Easy Steps
#1 — Define your concept
Defining your concept is the most important step in this process, because without knowing what you’re writing about and why, your content could end up going in circles. And then it’ll confuse people who read it.
So ask yourself these questions about your concept:
- Why do people need to know this?
- How are they struggling with this right now?
- What end result do I want to provide them with my content?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to plan out a post that’s much more relatable to your audience. And they’ll appreciate that you’ve taken the time to create well-prepared content.
I’m going to use this post you’re reading to give you an example of how each step works.
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So here’s my answer to the 3 questions above as relates to this post.
Why do my people need to know how to plan a blog post?
Because creating effective content will get them more traffic and interaction from their audience. It will make their readers (or listeners, viewers, etc) gain more trust in their expertise. It builds their reputation.
How are my people struggling with this right now?
They’re avoiding creating content because they doubt their ability to write effective content. They’re writing content currently that isn’t performing the way they hoped/expected. They’re frustrated at the lack of results they’re getting with the content they’re currently putting out.
What end result do I want to provide them with this post?
I want them to have a system for creating effective, engaging content. I want to make content creation a quicker, smoother process for them. I want to show them how easy content creation could be and that it’s worth working past their fears and doubts.
#2 — Develop your Title + SEO
Create a Great Title
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…great content doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have a great title to get people interested in reading the content. That’s just a fact.
How many times have you scrolled past an article or blog post or one of those list things on Facebook and ignored it because the title didn’t interest you? And how many times have you clicked on something because the title was intriguing?
This is the same thing. If the title of your content doesn’t get your audiences’ attention, you might as well have saved yourself the time and not created the content in the first place. Harsh truth, but I’m keeping it real.
I always start with the title of my content, trying to create something that will get attention, and then I outline my content to match the title. (This might seem backwards, but it’s what you have to do to get people checking out your content.)
The other thing I do as I’m creating my title, is decide on a SEO keyword to use for the post. If you aren’t doing SEO with your content yet, you can skip this part (but I recommend you start ASAP).
When I’m looking for keywords for my post, the first place I go is Ubersuggest. They have a keyword suggestion generator that will tell you exactly what people are searching for on Google most frequently. You just type in the topic you’re writing on and it shows you what’s most searched.
The last thing I plan out in this step is what links I might include in the post. I always try to link to one outside source (something off my site) and at least one other page within my site (whether it’s a page, another blog post, or a podcast episode).
On Ubersuggest, I typed in plan a blog post and discovered how to plan a blog post is what ranks highest for this topic.
So my SEO keyword for this post is how to plan a blog post, which needs to be included in the title.
I then asked myself how I could make that more interesting to potential readers, and decided to add in 3 easy steps to the end because people are more likely to read content if you tell them it will be easy, and give them a number of steps.
Finally, I chose the links I would include — Ubersuggest for keyword research, my 50 Topics in 15 Minutes post, and also a future post (yet to be written) on why you should be using SEO on your blog posts.
#3 — Outline your post content
I think of blog posts as a sort of story. They need a beginning, a middle, and an end.
You don’t just list off the moral of the story or the point you want to get across…you start with why the post is important to them in the intro, dive into the information in the middle, and end it with some bonus tips or what your readers can expect as a result if they follow your advice.
Now keep in mind that well-optimized blogs (SEO speak right there) should be a minimum of 300 words in order for search engines to pay any attention to them. And they should actually provide valuable information for your readers (the search engines can actually tell when you’re just writing filler). Also note that really deep-diving blog posts (2,000 words or more) get you brownie points with the search engines — but that doesn’t mean all (or any) of your posts have to be that length. (For reference, this post is 1,536 words 🙂 )
While you’re outlining your post content, you should be thinking about how much you can actually write in each section. If there’s not much of an intro or closing, you’ll want to beef up the content in the middle, and vice versa.
The middle section and the closing section should each have their own headline, and at least one of them should include the SEO keyword you’ve chosen for the post. And if you have different points for the middle, each of those should have their own subhead, as well.
Think of your headlines as eye candy for the people who are skimming your post. Since we all have such short attention spans on the internet, you can bet that most of your readers are skipping straight to the good stuff — whatever it is that will help them (don’t believe me? check out this research). If you don’t have subheads FOR that good stuff, those readers are going to skip straight to the exit and never come back. Create subheads. Thank me later.
After you’ve outlined your intro, your closing, and your subheads, jot down two to three things you want to touch on below each of the subheads. Now, when you’re actually ready to write the post, you have everything you need to flesh out a well-planned piece of content.
Here’s the outline I created for this blog post:
You can see I didn’t spend a whole lot of energy or effort into creating the outline. I simply wrote down the things I wanted to cover, and commenced to writing the post.
I’ll Never Stop Planning
Planning my blog posts ahead of time has saved me from creating content that starts in one place, and ends in a completely different one than I imagined.
If you take the time to plan yours out, you’ll start to see more readers viewing your posts, more engagement on those posts, and greater trust being built with your audience, because they’ll take note of your efforts to serve them at a higher level. And those are great things you want to build up in your business. Trust me.