What kind of kid were you in highschool? I would have self identified as a newspaper kid, and my classmates would have agreed. During my time on my highschool’s paper, I developed a system for writing that has been enormously helpful in my drafting of frequent blog posts. Blogging can be a useful marketing tool for many businesses, but owners can be intimidated by the demands of a successful blog. To assuage any apprehension you might have, I’ll be sharing the steps of my blogging process with you today.
How To Write a Blog with Quality & Consistency
You’re the Teacher
This is less of a step and more of a reminder. Unless you have a boss ready to be as hands-on as a teacher (unlikely), you will be the only one holding yourself accountable. To set yourself up for success, plan your “curriculum” ahead of time. That is, plan what content you’ll write about and when that content will be published, about 2-6 months is advanced depending on the frequency of your posts. This is the homework you’ll assign yourself.
As for how you’ll complete these assignments, keep reading.
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Step 1: Gather Your Sources
The first step you need to take after getting your assignment is to find out who knows the most or can provide an interesting take on your topic. Unlike selecting which of my fellow classmates to interview during lunch, you’re writing a blog post and you’re already the expert. You won’t need to chase down an interview (unless you want to), so take this time to jot down the main points you want to make in your post.
Although you’re knowledgeable in your subject matter, looking up similar articles online can give you an idea of what’s popular and what still needs to be covered. Additionally, this is where you can find some hard data to back up your point, and make sure you save the URL so you can cite your sources later!
Step 2: Lay Out Your Quotes
After you gathered your data, sourced other input, and jotted down points of your own that you want to make, start laying them out in the order you want to present them. I always thought of this as setting up my tent poles - they were the quotes that would give my article structure. My plotting your big points first, you get an idea of the flow of your overall story, which makes connecting your “tent poles” much easier.
Step 3: Fill in the Context
With your “tent pole” content in place, now you get to fill in the gaps. Connect your ideas and provide additional context as needed. This is where you turn your list of facts and assertions into something people might actually read. It’s also where you can spin a bit of your brand voice into the writing, making the article unique.
Step 4: Write a Good Lede
Whether it was a newspaper article or a paper for English class, I always saved the introductory paragraph until last. The purpose of the initial paragraph is to grab the reader’s attention, but also to set expectations. I find I have a better chance of writing a good introductory paragraph once I know what the rest of the writing looks like. This allows me to make any updates to my original idea without breaking the consistency of the writing.
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Step 5: Walk Away
Once you're fairly certain you’ve got a complete article, close down your word processor and go do something else, deadline permitting. If you’re excited or just stressed about getting your blog post up, this step may seem unnecessary, but I would urge you to reconsider. After so long of working on the same article, you can go blind to the parts that don’t work as much as you thought they did. Missing these mistakes and missteps can seriously hinder your article’s success.
Step 6: Revisions
The first question I would ask myself when I returned to revise my articles was, “Why do I care?” Getting kids interested in picking up the school newspaper was difficult and getting people to read your blog posts will no doubt be harder. After all, our school paper didn’t have much direct competition! Think critically about your post and how it serves the readers, and then make any necessary updates.
Step 7: Publish
When I was done writing an article and it was approved by my editor, I didn’t have to think about it until the completed paper arrived for Distribution Day. That’s one of the many differences between high school journalism and professional blogging - you’re in control of the final product.
When you upload your final work, make sure to include interesting graphics and images. You’ll also want to properly tag and categorize your post within your own website. Lastly, share your post via email, social media, and any other RSS distribution services you may subscribe to.
By following this process and treating blog writing like an assignment - with a due date and everything - I’ve kept my writing skills sharp over the years. It’s also made the blog writing process way less intimidating. However, if you need some help with your “homework”, considering asking ImageWorks about our Blog Writing plans.
By Jordan Latham