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Mastering the Art of Blog Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published May 16, 2024
/ Updated May 21, 2024

At CoSchedule, we’ve authored hundreds of blog posts. We’ve published posts that rank #1 on the SERPs. Brought in several inbound leads. And earned us backlinks from multiple high-profile websites.

With this track record, you can count on us to provide sound advice on how to write a blog post that aligns with your content marketing objectives and improves your writing skills.

Read on to learn more of the finer details about effective blog writing and our proven approach here at CoSchedule.

Step 1: Research The Blog Post Topic

Audience

Brainstorm topics in which your target audience has shown interest.

  • What are the hot topics people are discussing in your niche? Be part of an existing conversation. For example, follow competitors’ social media accounts, join relevant groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, follow discussion threads on Reddit, and review your product categories on directory sites such as G2Crowd. You can also use keyword research tools like CoSchedule’s Keyword Generator to know what your audience wants.
  • What are prospects, leads, and customers asking your customer service folks?

Go through the support tickets and social media comments, and talk to execs. Then use the insights to create highly targeted blog posts.

Recommended Reading: Target Market: Definition, Purpose, Examples, Types, & Segments

Topic

Next, choose a specific topic for your blog post.

  • What is your target audience searching for? Tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Google Trends help you understand the demand for your anticipated blog post content.
  • Are there any recent industry trends, news, or events that might impact your audience? Focus on topics they currently interest them.
  • Do you have any burning issues you feel are under-discussed? Get the conversation started.
  • Have similar topics done well in the past? This indicates whether a related blog post idea will do well. For example, this blog post about the best times to post on social media performed well at CoSchedule, so we published a similar blog post about the best times to send emails using a similar layout. It also performed well.

Brainstorm ideas that offer a fresh perspective or unique angle on a familiar topic. Think: How can you present the information in a way that hasn’t been done before?

Our Blog Post Idea Generator is an easy way to get unique and engaging ideas to build your content calendar. Simply fill in the details and you’ll have a complete list within seconds. Adjust the tone, structure, and length as needed.

 

Avoid topics that have been extensively covered unless you have a genuinely new insight or approach to offer.

Recommended Reading: Blog Post SEO Checklist: How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts that Guarantee Traffic

Credibility

Determine why your business should publish a blog post on this topic.

  • Is this topic relevant to my blog or business? The closer the topic is to your product or blog, the better.
  • Who in your company may share knowledge on this topic? A subject matter expert who knows more about the topic than other sources on the internet can help you write a winning blog post.
  • Which external partners may share knowledge on this topic? Can you crowdsource information, interview an expert, survey your own audience, or gather some other type of proprietary datasets you may publish so your blog may feel like an authoritative source?
  • Why does your business have the authority to publish a blog post on this topic for your audience? Determining your why may help you write a powerful hook and introduction to keep readers interested.
  • Can I write an authoritative post on this topic? Prioritize posts you can write better than anyone else. Readers value expertise.

Research

Sleuth and analyze the topic using credible sources. Here are some basic things to remember when doing any kind of serious online research:

  • Avoid referencing Wikipedia if you have other options. Wikipedia is awesome, and we all use it for personal purposes. However, it isn’t a reliable source for professional information.
  • Cross-reference sources to verify any information you’re unsure about. The more reputable sources make a claim, the more likely it’s accurate. Well, usually.
  • Support your blog post with facts and not assumptions. Opinions are harder to refute when backed up by verified information and research.

There are tons of useful archives and databases out there, especially if the blog post you’re writing has an academic focus. Consider the following:

Hook/Angle

Explore your topical research to provide a unique perspective in your blog post that adds to the already-existing online content (and doesn’t merely repeat information your audience may discover in other sources).

  • What are other blog posts on this topic missing you’ve discovered through your research? Your blog post may contribute new, unique, and proprietary statistics, facts, quotes, opinions, and perspectives on this topic that your audience cannot find elsewhere.
  • What is the primary emotional reason your target audience should care about this topic? Understand the motivators the target audience should have to influence their quest for the information you’ll write in your blog post.
  • What intriguing stats, facts, stories, and quotes may make an impressionable first sentence for your blog post? A hook is an intrigue that inspires your audience to read your blog post. This kind of information is good to include in headlines, page titles, meta descriptions, introductions, and conclusions.

Here are some angle examples as used in H1 blog post headlines (hooks noted in bold):

  • What 14 Studies Say About The Best Time To Send Email
  • The Best Times To Post On Social Media In 2022: An Analysis Of More Than 35 Million Posts [Original Research]
  • 25 Best Marketing Blogs To Help You Become A Better Marketer

Step 2: Create an Outline For The Blog Post

Outlines help you cover every detail to ensure you publish comprehensive content that solves your readers’ challenges with the topic.

  • Establish your blog post sections: In most cases, this entails listing your introduction, followed by subsequent section headings. Each heading should represent a main point you want to elaborate on.
  • Add bullets and sub-points: Once you’ve established each section of your post, drill down even deeper into your sub-points. Identify which points you’ll cover underneath each section heading.

Here’s what a simple blog post outline structure could look like:

CoSchedule blog post outline template graphic

 

Layout

Writing a blog post without determining your final layout is like starting a road trip without a map. It’s destined to end in you getting lost.

So, review your outline and analyze the flow of your article before you start writing.

Make sure your article aligns with these best practices:

  • Each section should flow naturally into the next section, with consistency in formatting, style, and tone throughout
  • Try to add an image every 350 to 500 words (give or take)
  • Your article should follow the correct H1/H2/H3/H4 structure
  • Find the right balance between providing sufficient depth and keeping your content concise.

Then, estimate the rough word count of each section. If a potential section looks longer than 300 words, add an H3 or an H4 to break it up.

Call To Action

Your Call To Action (CTA) is likely the most important part of your article. And many, many content marketers approach CTAs all wrong.

Most writers don’t plan their CTAs in advance. As a result, the CTA seems like an afterthought to readers — a strangely promotional push that comes out of the blue.

You can avoid this mistake by planning your CTA during the outline stage.

Specifically, you need to determine the following:

  • What action do you want the reader to take (start a free trial, download an eBook, join your mailing list, etc.)
  • What will compel the reader to take that desired action (position right after discussing a key feature)
  • When you will transition into your CTA (remember: the conclusion isn’t always the best place)

Once you’ve finalized the CTA, plan your content around it.

I’ve found that CTAs that get the best results follow this formula:

  • Bridging sentence. This transitions the conversation from your topic to your offering.
  • Introduction to the offering. This gives the reader a high-level view of the offering.
  • Why the offering will benefit the reader. This section covers your offering’s features and benefits.
  • The CTA itself. This short section asks the reader to take action. For example: “Start your 7-day free trial now”.

Recommended Reading: Free AI-Powered Blog Post Generator

Step 3: Write The Blog Post

Headline

Your headline should capture your audience’s intention and communicate your post’s value.

Strong headlines should:

  • Be punchy. You need to get people’s attention quickly.
  • Include an action verb. Your headline needs something happening.
  • Communicate a clear benefit. Why else would people care about your post?

A best practice is to write 20-25 headlines for your blog post. This way, you may choose the most engaging, click-worthy headline for the piece you spend hours writing.

Use CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer Studio to write and test headlines before you publish. It’s built into CoSchedule Marketing Calendar and Marketing Suite. Write 20 to 25 headline options per post and aim to score 70 or higher.

 

Introduction

You’ll revisit the introduction when you’re all through with your draft. But writing it first helps you put into words what you’re going to say in your post.

It might be clunky, but it’ll push you into writing the actual copy. You can also go back and add hooks later, once your full draft post is done.

Here are some tips to write your blog introduction:

  1. Value: What’s your unique angle for the blog post. Like your headline, share the value your readers will get if they continue to read your blog post. One way to think about this is with the classic marketing technique, WIIFM, otherwise known as what’s in it for me?
  2. Fact: Start with an interesting fact or stat about the content within your blog post. Alternatively, start with a fact or story that may seem unrelated, but tie it in through the introduction.
  3. Anecdote: What is a personal opinion you hold as true that could catch your readers’ attention?
  4. Question: Ask a question to help your readers understand the answer covered throughout your blog post. ‘What if’ questions work well for this. Think: What if you never had to worry about {something} ever again?

Here’s an example of an introduction I wrote for a Vitally blog focused on dealing with customer success burnout:

 

Notice how it immediately addresses the pressing issue (burnout) my target audience can relate to, establishes empathy, and then presents a clear solution (the guide).

Recommended Reading: 11 Tips & Best Practices for Writing a Blog Post Introduction

Content Upgrade

Content upgrades are free, supplementary pieces of content you offer your readers as a bonus. For example, if you were writing a blog post on how to craft the perfect Instagram caption, you could offer an eBook with 100 Instagram hashtags as a content upgrade.

Content upgrades can be as creative (or uncreative) as you like. Here are some suggestions:

  • A PDF version of the blog post
  • Cheat sheet
  • Checklist
  • Webinar
  • Podcast
  • Case study
  • Printable
  • Worksheet
  • Interview
  • Template

Like lead magnets, readers must give you their email addresses in exchange for the content upgrade. So a good content upgrade will increase your conversion rate. Brian Dean, for example, increased his conversion rate from 0.54% to 4.82% with one.

Crafting a content upgrade that converts is equal parts science and art. Those that follow these best practices will get the most from their upgrade:

  • Make it actionable and useful
  • Integrate your content upgrade into your email marketing tool so you can create a segment from your content upgrade subscribers
  • Save readers time and money with your upgrade
  • Use a widget so that your upgrade stands out (see the image below)

 

Check out the communications calendar on the CoSchedule Blog.

Recommended Reading: How to Create Amazing Content Upgrades for Your Blog

Table Of Contents

Have you ever opened a blog post and had to painstakingly scroll down the page until you found the section you needed?

Yeah. Me too. And it SUCKS.

That’s where a table of contents comes in handy. It helps your readers jump to the section they need instantly.

Now, a 200-word table of contents isn’t helpful. So, keep your table of contents short so it only displays your H2s and H3s.

And poof. You’re done. That’s all there is to it.

Body/Solution

Ideally, your introduction should have set the stage for your body content to shine. If you took the time to write a strong outline, writing the rest of your post should be simple.

Here are some tips I swear by:

Write Short Paragraphs

Paragraphs in a blog post should be brief and to the point. Where appropriate, use single sentences to add punch behind statements (see above). And keep paragraphs down to two or three sentences for crispness and clarity. Avoid more than five at the most). This will keep your writing easy to read and skim through.

Add Descriptive Headings To Each Section

Give each section a descriptive heading. This is a good time to take the headings from your outline and turn them into something more attention-grabbing.

Here are some subheading best practices to keep in mind when writing a blog post:

  • Ensure the reader knows what to expect in each section. Creativity is great. Clarity is better.
  • Add unique value propositions throughout your headings. For example, instead of saying “How To Change Your Own Motor Oil”, you could write something like, “How To Change Your Own Oil & Save $30.” That adds specific value to the subhead.

For instance, when writing the ‘How To Write A Follow-Up Email‘ blog post, I structured my subheadings as actionable steps. This approach simplified the overall process for my readers, making it easier for them to follow and remember.

 

Add Relevant Points To Support Each Heading

Beneath each heading, have several sub-points to support the section’s theme or idea.

Take each bullet point you put beneath each heading in your outline. Then, add a few paragraphs on each one in the appropriate section. If you get on a roll and uncover more relevant information, add it into your post.

Let’s pull this all together to ensure you’re equipped to write awesome body content for your blog post. This simple yet effective process ensures your post follows a logical structure:

  1. Each main point in your outline is a subheading. This is an easy way to map your outline to your actual post.
  2. Each subheading should be supported by facts and relevant information. Consider adding at least two or three paragraphs for each bullet point, beneath each subheading, from your outline.
  3. Where appropriate, use links to other posts and research materials to support your post.

Conclusion

The purpose of a conclusion is to tie your blog post together. At the most basic level, a blog post conclusion does the following:

  1. Resolve the problem.
  2. Summarize what you said.
  3. Suggest action that the reader can take.

Images/Visuals

Writing a great blog post takes more than words. It also needs excellent visual content.

A best practice is to include a visual in your blog post where it provides value to the reader.

There are two ways to do this: hire a graphic designer, or create visuals yourself using free or low-cost design tools.

Work With A Designer

If you work with a designer, add notes for image direction in-line in your text document instructing them on what you’d like. Include the exact copy and other information you need, and in most cases, they’ll take it from there.

CoSchedule’s team uses this format:

GRAPHIC: [Insert copy and general description]

That’s all you need to do. Every graphic you see on this blog starts this way.

Create Graphics & Photos

If you’re working alone and don’t have design skills, don’t worry. The following tools make it easy to design images (even with little or no previous graphic design knowledge):

Step 4: Proofread/Edit The Blog Post

Editing isn’t exactly fun. But it is important.

When it comes to self-editing, I focus on two key aspects: sense check and grammar check.

Sense check involves ensuring the overall flow and coherence of the blog. Confirm the content aligns with the intended goal, fills any knowledge gaps, and genuinely serves the readers.

To achieve this, I use Erica Schneider’s self-editing checklist, which covers all these bases.

 

On the other hand, grammar check addresses the more conventional concerns such as typos, continuity errors, and grammar mistakes that put readers off.

To kick this off, use tools like Grammarly or Writer.com to rectify any errors. However, know that these tools may not always be accurate, especially with tables, so it’s best to remove them beforehand.

If you’re using Google Docs, you can also catch errors using the built-in “Spelling and grammar check” tool.

 

Next, read through each section and edit harshly. Make sure you double-check that:

  • All images have a source
  • All statistics are correct
  • All quotes are accurate

Finally, use a tool like Hemingway Editor to find passive language and hard-to-read sentences in your article.

 

Use the Hemingway Editor for blog posts.

Once you’ve finished editing, go back to the start of the article and read the entire thing out loud. This will help you catch any lingering errors and smooth out any awkward phrases.

And that’s it: your blog post is complete.

Recommended Reading: The Complete Proofreading and Editing Checklist to Publish Amazing Copy Every Time

Use CoSchedule Calendars To Organize Your Blog Post Process

CoSchedule’s calendar products make it easier to publish blog posts consistently, promote posts on social media, and drive traffic to your site — all with one tool. Use CoSchedule’s Marketing Suite or Marketing Calendar to streamline your blog post process.

CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar schedules, manages, and tracks your marketing efforts.  CoSchedule Marketing Suite is a family of agile marketing products to coordinate your process, projects, and teams.

You can use both solutions to refine your content plan, manage your blog, & promote it via social media — all from one place! Here’s how:

1. Choose Your Next Great Blog Idea From Your Backlog

Idea Bin is a designated space to store your content marketing ideas. Add blog post ideas to the Idea Bin to store, prioritize, and flesh out future blog post ideas.

Drag and drop any new blog post from your Idea Bin to your content calendar on the day you want the blog post to be published.

2. Create A Project For Your New Blog Post

Creating a new blog post idea? You can add a new Blog Post Project to your calendar on the day you want to publish the post.

Choose the blog post project type. Then give it a working title.

Use WordPress? Try This Instead!

If you host your blog on WordPress, enable CoSchedule’s WordPress Integration. You can create new WordPress posts without leaving your CoSchedule Calendar.

The integration automatically syncs posts added to your CoSchedule Calendar with your WordPress account.

3. Assign A Project Owner

Designate the project owner to oversee the process of the blog post.

Project owners are notified about project progress and can approve tasks before publishing the blog post.

4. Complete Blog Posts On Time With A To-Do List

Make sure your blog post gets completed on time by adding a to-do list to your project. Include a task for each step of the process including completion dates. Then assign a team member to each task.

Sample task list for a blog post with project owners:

  • Write a creative brief for the project (the project owner)
  • Kick-off project with the writer (the project owner)
  • Write blog post outline (writer)
  • Review outline (the project owner)
  • Write 1st draft of the blog post (writer)
  • Review blog post writing (the project owner)
  • Make edits (writer)
  • Kick-off project with the designer (the project owner)
  • Design blog post graphics (designer)
  • Review blog post graphics (the project owner)
  • Finalize blog post graphics (designer)
  • Stage blog post (the project owner)
  • QA blog post (the project owner)
  • Schedule blog post (the project owner)

This outline would translate to the image below in the task section of your project:

Pro Tip: To save time on future blog posts, save the tasks as a reusable blog post template to apply the entire workflow in seconds.

Best of all, your deadlines are relative to the publish date for your blog post, so you can make sure writing, design, & staging are all done before the publish date every time.

5. Create Your Blog Post In One Place

Now it’s time to create your new blog post. Add all your blog post files as attachments to your project. This includes your Word Doc for drafting copy, files for blog post graphics, & more using Project Attachments.

When you attach these resources to the project, anyone can easily find what they need to complete, publish, and promote the post on time.

Pro Tip: Click on the gear icon of a current Word Doc or Text Editor Project Attachment to convert the document to a WordPress post.

Choose the category and author to sync all the information into your WordPress account.

Recommended Reading: Convert Content Attachments to WordPress

6. Optimize Your Headline

Next, you’ll want to write an attention-grabbing headline with the Headline Studio integration.

Use Headline Studio to draft, analyze, and improve your headline copy, so you can maximize click-through rates, optimize your headlines for SEO, & more.

7. Publish Your Blog Post

Publish your blog post by changing the project status to “Scheduled.”

If you’re using the WordPress integration, this schedules the post in WordPress. CoSchedule will automatically publish your WordPress Blog on the specific date and time selected on the project.

If you’re not using WordPress, you’ll change the status to Scheduled when your blog post is officially scheduled to publish. This notifies your team all of the steps are complete and the post is ready to go live on the date & time indicated on the Project.

8. Drive Traffic To Your Blog Post On Social Media

Finally, promote your newly published blog post by adding a Social Campaign attachment to your Project.

Social messages from your Social Campaign will start publishing as soon as your blog post is published and the Project is no longer in “Draft” status.

Use Social Campaigns to promote your new blog post on social media. This helps you drive more traffic to your new content by sharing it with your fans & followers across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Schedule your demo call to see how Marketing Suite can benefit your team: Schedule TODAY!

Distribute and Track Blog Performance To Get Better Results

Here’s a quick rundown of how to write blog posts:

  1. Topic: Select a topic that interests both your audience and your company, ensuring you have the expertise to write about it. Use keyword research to gauge audience demand for the topic.
  2. Outline: Research your topic by Googling it, discussing it with subject matter experts (internal and external), and turning what you learn into a bulleted list of points to cover in your blog post.
  3. Write: Fill in the outline with your own words as you understood the topic from your research.
  4. Edit: Focus on sense check (coherence, goal alignment, reader benefit) and grammar check (typos, errors).

Once your blog post is live, share it widely across various platforms like social media and email

newsletters. Track content marketing metrics like page views, engagement, and conversions to know how your post is performing and what you can improve to make your blog post truly successful.