One of the greatest skills that a blogger can have is the ability to write great content that people want to read and get value out of.
After managing to get three blog posts featured on the front page of BizSugar.com in the last two months, I thought I should give some clues on how I personally go about structuring my articles.
A lot of people struggle to create content, but it doesn't have to be that way if you follow a clear system and keep it simple. Writing does not have to be that difficult when you approach in a sensible manner.
1. Always base your content around carefully chosen keyword phrases.
Don't make the mistake that most people make and create content that you think people might like to read about.
If you go to the effort to write great content, then you want to make sure that people can actually find it (and read it).
It is very important that you take the time to do keyword research, and find keyword phrases that people are typing into the search engines. But unless you are a SEO expert, go for long tailed keywords that give you a realistic chance of getting on the front page of the major search engines.
And obviously, you should only write about topics that you are knowledgeable about – you don't want to embarrass yourself. If you are not confident writing about a particular subject, then you could always research the topic to become knowledgeable about it.
2. Think up a creative headline that includes your keyword phrases.
OK, now you have chosen your primary keyword phrase it is time to create an appealing headline that is relevant.
The headline must attract attention and intrigue, and motivate people into reading your article. Bland, boring headlines just don't cut it.
Play around with the headline by including the keyword phrase in it somewhere, as this will help your article rank on the search engines.
If you need help with this then I suggest you take a look at Chris Garrett's 102 Proven Social Media Headline Formulas (this is free and really good – trust me)
3. Write out some bullet points that illustrate the main points of your headline
Now it is time to start writing the content, and we will start by working backwards.
Put your thinking cap on and come up with between 5-7 bullet points that relate to your heading. They only need to be short ideas at this stage, but they must be relevant to your topic.
This is going to be the framework of your content.
4. Expand on each bullet point with two or three sentences (or more)
Once you have written down your bullet points, it is time to expand on these ideas in a few paragraphs per bullet point.
Go into more detail about each bullet point, and describe why this point is relevant to your topic.
Think back to when you wrote down the bullet points, and the thoughts that came into your head as you were writing each one down.
It should not be hard to write a minimum of one paragraph (or more) for each bullet point, but it is important that what you do write is high quality.
Stick to the point, and don't bother to add sentences that do not give any value to the reader. Remember it is quality that you are striving for, not quantity.
5. Include an introduction to your bullet points, and a conclusion to summarise these bullet points.
An article should always include an introduction and a conclusion to back up the body of the content.
The introduction is simply a way of easing the reader into the body of your content.
It does not need to be long, but it must introduce the topic properly to the reader so that they know exactly what the article is about.
The conclusion is just a way of reinforcing the points in the body and is basically closing the article. Again, this does not need to be long or complicated but it must leave the reader with a clear view of the main points in your article.
6. Always check for spelling and grammar errors.
Now that you have finished the first draft of your article, it is very important to test for spelling and grammar errors.
To publish an article that is full of mistakes is extremely unprofessional and reflects badly on you.
Sometimes it is worthwhile to outsource this to a proof reader, if you don't want to do it yourself, but it is just as easy to do it yourself.
The software that you are using to write the article should have a spell checker for a start, and this helps you to remove the spelling errors. The grammar errors are not as easy to pick up, and therefore you need to read through your article to ensure that it flows nicely and makes sense.
Every piece of content that I personally write has contained errors that needed to be corrected, mostly spelling mistakes. As I am typing I do not pick up on these mistakes, and because of this I always check my work thoroughly before hitting the "Publish" button.
7. Pretend you have an audience and read out your article as if it was a presentation.
As well as checking spelling and grammar, it is a great idea to make sure the content is worthy to publish.
I like to pretend that I am in front of a large group of people, and I read out my article as if was giving a presentation to them.
By doing this, you can pick up on certain parts of the article that are not written well and need to be rewritten.
This last step is not compulsory and can be skipped, but if you are serious about writing great content, you will find it an invaluable way of perfecting your work.
There is a lot of competition these days online, but if you take the time to write great content you will stand out from the crowd, and build a large following.
You want to give your readers a good reason to want to come back to your website in the future, and by creating stellar content this is exactly what will happen.
If you have your own methods of writing great content, and would like to share them with us, then feel free to post a comment below and join in the conversation.