How To Create Awesome Content for Your Blog
You’re staring at your screen, hypothetical pen in hand, abstract cartoon images swirling around inside your head – it’s time to create content for your blog and write your first blog post.
Although, the more you stare at the blinking cursor the more you realise you’re not sure where to begin, and that you’re really just winging it with the direction of your post, content, and general writing preparation as a whole. Winging it is not completely bad of course, it has its place. Like if you were a bird falling from a building, we dare say winging it would be the best option in that situation.
But you’re not a bird, you’re a soon-to-be blogger writing your first post, and winging it has no place on your blog (yet), unless you’re an ornithological expert, and possibly even then.
If you’re going to create high-flying, quality content for your blog you need a plan of action. That’s the purpose of this guide: to show you how to create quality content for your blog.
Our How To Start Your Own Blog series
So, you’ve read Part 1 of our series on how to set up your WordPress blog in 5 easy steps (if you haven’t, we suggest you do yourself a favour). We mention some pretty important things you want to run through your blog and website checklist, so you don’t have any issues down the line.
We’ll take you through the entire process one step at a time:
Part 1: Set up your WordPress blog
Part 2: How to create content for your blog (you are currently here)
Part 3: How to optimize your blog’s SEO to rank well
Part 4: How to monetize your blog
What is top-notch quality content?
This is the first question you need to ask when thinking about how to create quality content for your blog, and it may well be of the toughest. That’s because quality can be relatively, well, relative. Think of any encounter with a dog owner telling you their dog is the best. You know good and well that is a blatant lie because your dog is the best, after all, you verify it every day.
Quality content can work the same way. It may appear to be of an exquisite standard to you, but other sources might dispute that. As a general template to keep everyone happy (search engines included), you want to offer content that is informative, helpful to your readers, and does not mislead.
Let’s use some guidelines from Google to go deeper into that and determine what they regard as quality content:
Write text that is easy to read
Nobody wants to read a highly technical paper on something simple. If people wanted something excessively technical, they would go into particle physics. Instead, they want easy-to-read text that gets the idea across simply, like this article.
Write for people, not robots
Yes, Google’s algorithm will be scouring your website regularly (beep), but that’s not who you write for (boop). You want to communicate to the people that visit your website. The algorithm basically tells Google to visit your website to check if you are doing that.
Publish unique, expert-level content that adds value
Think about what your readers want and try to give it to them in a way that establishes you as a trusted and reliable source. There are thousands of websites and pages about the same topic, vying for users’ attention. If your blog post does not answer their question or give them the information they need, they’ll go find it somewhere else and Google will take note of this. You want your website to be an educational resource for all things related to your niche, whatever it may be. Consumers are 131% more likely to purchase from your brand if they read your educational content.
Don’t deceive or mislead
Give exactly what you say you are giving. A misleading headline will see you heavily punished by Google, and more so if your content professes to have the answer on a topic but after some reading turns out it does not. People also won’t take to kindly to being bamboozled. They’ll leave your site and won’t come back in less time than it took for you to read this sentence.
How to write an awesome blog
Now that we have a clearer understanding of what quality is in terms of our content, we can just start getting words down on paper, right? Well, not exactly.
Think about when you search for something on the web and end up on a blog post of a website you’ve never visited before. You have a question or need that you expect this page to answer in clear, direct way that is easy to read. You want your entire query put to bed with an actionable solution, as well as any follow up questions that may spring from your new understanding.
These are things you need to take into consideration when writing a quality blog post. You’re more likely to hit that quality benchmark if you address these user needs.
Go through this checklist to ensure you’re not missing anything
1. Provide people with the answers they want
Simply put, answer the question(s) you know your visitor will have.
If you’re writing about the most effective objects that can be used as a toothpick when none are available, go into detail as to why you (ahem) picked them i.e., what are the benefits and dangers of each object, how comfortable it may be, how intensely you’ll be judged for using that object, would it just be better to suffer in silence licking your teeth like a sociopath?
Those are questions you want to answer so the reader is equipped to go out there and tackle biltong in a tootpickless world with confidence. Make sure you address the areas and questions other people shy away from because this builds trust in your brand. According to Impact Plus, these areas are:
- Costs – Don’t be afraid to let people know what things cost and why they cost that much.
- Problems – They’re likely visiting because they have a problem (popcorn stuck in their teeth at the cinema) and you may have the solution, either in terms of your content, products, or services. Help them solve it in the best way you can.
- Comparisons – Let’s face it, you probably won’t be the only person providing alternatives to toothpicks out there (we’ve had a couple of salesmen by at our offices just this week). Let them know what the other options are straight off the bat, so they know you aren’t just dressing up your alternative as the only thing out there. Chances are they’ll find other solutions as well, and if you didn’t mention them, they’ll trust you less.
- Bests – Introduce yourself and your main competitors as the best people for the job along a sort of spectrum (number one choice is of course you). People will be shopping elsewhere for solutions anyway, if they can do so while on your website that’s a win. Let them know what the best alternatives are and whether you provide them or not. Again, this will build trust and they’ll be learning it from your website where you can convert into them into a lead if you sell a product or service.
- Reviews – When was the last time you made a big purchase without checking the reviews first? People care about other people’s experiences. Make sure you display some of the better experiences with your product or service if any are available (they better be!).
2. Write clearly
Write clearly. People aren’t visiting your blog in preparation for a scientific paper they plan to read in the near future. Use plain language and keep technical jargon to a minimum wherever possible. If you need to add some technical terms, ensure you give a concise explanation for what it is and how it relates to the content.
3. Create a clear outline and format for your content
With all the information and solutions you’ll be providing in your content, you’ll want to get a structure going.
This will help readers know where they are in relation to their problem getting solved, what they still need to know, and show them exactly where each section is if they’re looking for something specific.
You don’t want to intimidate people with a massive wall of text. Implement regular breaks, bolding, italics, bulleted and numbered lists, and keep paragraphs short.
Take a glance at this blog post. As you scroll through it, you’ll notice a clear structure for all the information that’s present. That’s not an accident. We know this is plenty of information to take in, so we made it as digestible as possible with clear formatting and structure.
Of course, another important way to spice up your content while not overwhelming your readers is to add visual representations of the ideas you are trying to get across. What’s the old adage of 1000 pictures equalling one word, or something to that effect.
Besides images just being generally better to look at than words, Google also takes kindly to images supplementing your text as long as it’s relevant and has the proper SEO tags (more on that in Part 3 of this series).
4. Become a resource by being thorough
Go in depth with every post you create. Try to answer as many of your readers’ questions as possible without straying too far from the topic.
For example, if you’re talking about how capable avian varieties are at flying, you don’t want to go too deep into aerodynamics. If you absolutely must mention it, keep it brief and link to the appropriate places where readers can deepen their knowledge.
Your blog (in this particular example) is discussing birding and associated topics. It’s safe to assume that it generally won’t overlap with aerodynamics.
This approach ensures you establish yourself as a resource where readers’ can learn about their niche and dabble in something outside their field if they feel the need.
5. Provide solutions that readers can implement immediately
Running with the toothpick analogy, any visitor popping over to your website wants an immediate answer that they can implement right away. If they don’t find that they’ll leave and find a place where their problem can be solved.
The basic idea is offering them the direct solution they want asap. Once they know what to do and how to do it, they may indulge the rest of your content by reading it. Next time they have a problem they‘ll know that your site provided useful information that helped them fix their issue in the same day.
How to write for an audience in your niche
In part one of the How to Start a Blog Series, we covered determining your niche and passion in the early stages. All the questions and notes (mental or otherwise) you took down to help you figure out who you’re writing for and of which community you’ll be a part will come in handy here.
Know your niche
You’ve already determined what your passions are, and wherein lies your expertise. From where that list intersects you want to ascertain which of the niches will most profitable. If your expertise and passion lie in birding and hand-crafted soaps with essential oils, you’ll have to consider seriously which of these to follow.
Soaps and essential oils are part of the beauty & fashion niche, which is presently saturated and not a place we suggest you start your new blog, unless you get extremely specialized within that specific niche and break it down even further.
Birding, which may not be as popular as the former, allows for a possibly untapped market for you, depending on where your expertise is within the niche.
Basically, if you are an not expert at birding in general, but understand the techniques, equipment, and locations that need to be acquired and found to spot birds that live near different bodies of water, that is what you should focus on. You’ll be operating under the birding niche as a whole, but also offering value that no one else can because of your expertise as a coastal or water birder.
Pay attention to your audience
So, you have a feel of where you niche is. Now you want to create a buyer persona for someone in your niche. Think about your own queries in your niche to start. Now think about the needs of the average person target market. How does what you are offering benefit them. What value are you giving them?
Now you need to figure out what your visitors’ or customers’ buyer personas are. That way you can determine more readily where they’ll encounter problems, and where you can provide value. Take a look at the mock-up persona below.
As a simple exercise to get it going, imagine you are a detective trying to identify a suspect with little bits of evidence. Assuming the suspect is a birder, we can deduce that they:
- Are extremely patient
- Have great bladder control
- Enjoy being alone in nature
- Probably wears clothes with many pockets
- Understand the dangers in and around the wilderness
- Have keen observation skills
- Will know where to hide a body in the wild
Those are some basic deductions about our suspect. You’ll want to go into much more detail for your buyer persona, while also not assuming that they will be a suspect in a murder case!
You’ll want to know the general age group, marital status , occupation, income level, etc.
Check out the competition
Before you run off and lay in a field for six hours with your camera then explain to people how to do it, you want to check out how the grass is on the other side. i.e., with your competition.
Knowing what your (soon-to-be) competitors are up to will give you a good idea of where to go with your own products or services. You want to know how many people or businesses you’ll be competing against, what they charge, how they go about selling their services or products, and what’s special about them.
If it’s affordable you might even try it yourself and see where you can improve, what you liked, or just figure out the general standard.
Predict the profitability?
We’re assuming you plan to become profitable at some point in your blogging career, so you want to determine what that will look like before you decide the path your brand will take. We’ll go into detail in part 4 of this series.
You’ll have an idea of what people are asking after doing some competitor research. You also want to determine the demographic (which you should know from your buyer persona) so you know what your customers and blog visitors can afford.
You also want to try and find something that no one else is offering. Whether it’s guided birding tours or courses on how to become an A-class birder. Offering something that no one else does gives you an edge over the competition. It could be a product or service, or just exceptional content on your blog (this is why you need to be expert level).
Brainstorming ideas and preparing a content calendar
So, your checklist for creating quality content for your blog is basically ready and prepped. You can’t just go about regurgitating all the knowledge and ideas you have day after day, however. You need a plan of action and preferably a calendar to keep track of that plan.
Of course, before you can even begin to map out a calendar, you need ideas for content. We know your head is swirling with a host of ideas that could power birding blogs across Africa, but let’s get them in a structured format first.
Brainstorm; mind-thunder; head-hurricane; temple-tempest; cognitive-cyclone
You get the idea. Unleash all the ideas you have onto some pen and paper (digital or otherwise). There are different types of brainstorming techniques you can use to maximize your creative output. We’ll list some of the more popular ones but do whatever works best for you.
“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”Albert Einstein
Release that inquisitive inner seven-year-old that we often times put to bed as soon as we wake up in the morning. Ask questions about everything revolving around your niche. If you stray off topic that’s okay too. The idea is to get the ideas rolling. If you have a team working with you encourage them to worry about quality later. The first goal is getting down as many thoughts and ideas on paper as possible. Statements are equally welcome.
If you prefer a more structured approach to your mental investigation, you can always start from a specific point of inquiry and work your way from there, answering questions as you go. The more answers you have, the better.
What drives birders to their passion-prone state?
What issue do almost all birders face?
What is the average birder like? (Think of your buyer persona)
What do birders and people in my niche most fond of within the niche?
What do birders and people in my niche hate most within the niche?
People will often be asking other people for answers in niche forums. If you find that a question is getting asked often, it’s a good idea to consider making a blog post about it that covers and answers all questions surrounding it.
Forums like Quora and Reddit are a good places to start. For more specific niches you need to do some digging and find where people in that niche go to ask questions. An example would be someone going to Bodybuilding forums for fitness related questions, and Mybroadband for tech questions.
Create a mind map
Also referred to as topic association, mind mapping puts your central word or idea at the centre of a page and some surrounding ideas around that idea. From there you create more ideas around each of those words and so on.
Let the creativity flow as you come up with associated ideas for each word or topic in your niche. If you end up at “Can birds fly into space?” you may have gone a bit too far, but that can still be worked into something like “How high can birds fly?”. Keep going until you have at least 50 associations. In the words of a popstar legend:
Don’t stop till you get enoughMichael Jackson
Preparing your content calendar
Now that you have a bunch of content ideas ready for writing, you can prepare each idea so they fit into your content calendar neatly. Decide which of the ideas or topics are going to be your cornerstone content posts. These posts will serve as a foundation for your blog. All the other posts will gravitate around those posts.
If you aren’t sure what your cornerstone content should be you can use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Buzzsumo. It’s a good idea to give the free trial a go for any tool you plan to use so you can see what fits you best. After you find out what keyword in your niche has high volume, you can go about deciding what your cornerstone content should be.
Let’s say Urban Birding is a cornerstone topic for you because you live in a city. Create an in-depth post about it, and link about 10 shorter posts to it, all related to urban birding. If more topics are available feel free to expand.
You also want to try and find when each topic will spike and have content or ideas ready for those times. Each niche is different, but for our birding example you might want to consider which birds will be entering or leaving your city during migrations and create content about that and publish at the appropriate times.
Fill in your content calendar
Now that you have content ideas clearly mapped out, you can start placing them in an editorial calendar. A simple spreadsheet will do the trick. Make sure you follow it strictly and create realistic goals. One blog post every day is not necessary, and also unrealistic. You will get more traffic the more you post, but as with everything, too much of a good thing is bad.
Stick to your publishing schedule as much as possible. You can also work ahead and keep some posts in your back pocket if you know you’ll be swamped at different times during the year. After you’ve exhausted the topics within your cornerstone content, start the process over to find new content.
How to publish your posts
The final step for your creation of quality content will be to actually create it. You’ve gone through the checklist, so now we can show you how to create and publish a post in WordPress.
When you’re in your admin area, follow these prompts: Post > Add New.
You’ll want to use the Block Editor because it allows for a much simpler editing experience. You can navigate to it by looking for Block Editor on the right hand side of your screen.
You’ll land on your writing/editing page and can begin splashing about with your pre-planned content and ideas. Start off by adding your title. You may want to hold off on committing to it for right now because as you write you may go into other aspects of your topic as well, so a working title is also good as a temporary measure.
After you’ve sorted that, simply click on the plus button (+) to add a block. Some options will appear, and you can decide what you want the block to be used for. As we mentioned before, it’s a good idea to shuffle the format of your text with breaks of images and lists, among other things, so readers are not intimidated by a wall of text.
After fiddling about for a bit and eventually finishing your first blog post, hit the Preview button on the right-hand side of the screen to see how your readers will view your post. The result for this post is what you are currently reading.
Quality certificate incoming
You made it to the end of your WordPress quality content guide. Now you can pass the quality inspection from any avian enthusiast with flying colours. We’ll see ourselves out…
Part 3 of our series on How to Start a Blog will be covering Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Stay tuned!