It’s never too late to step up your blogging game.

Blog posts help bring more traffic to your website and generate new leads. They also help you establish authority within your industry. This explains why 86% of content marketers use blogs as part of their strategy.

Whether you’re just getting started with blogging or are trying to amp up your efforts, we’ve put together this quick guide to blog posts — including what they look like, how to write one, and how to make sure your posts perform. Let’s get started.

What Is a Blog Post?

A blog post is a piece of writing that you publish on your website. It can be on any topic, though for the sake of content marketing, it’s best to stick to topics that are relevant to your brand. 

When done right, a blog post can boost organic traffic, help you build brand awareness and bring in new leads, and, with a proper call-to-action, lead to conversions and sales.

Types of Blog Posts

There are lots of different types of formats for blog posts, and it’s a good idea to mix up the type of content you produce — this helps keep your blog fresh and also allows you to see what formats are most successful with your audience.

Before you dive in head-first on your blog content, consider putting together a content strategy so you can use it to guide each blog post you create. 

Here are some kinds of blog posts that you can create, and make sure these are included in your content strategy:

  • Listicles
  • How-to guides
  • Explanatory posts
  • Pillar pages
  • Trend pieces
  • News/timely pieces
  • Infographics, mixed media, and other types of video- or image-heavy posts

Steps For Writing a Blog Post

Your blogs themselves will be unique to your company, but the steps that you take to create them are pretty standard. Here’s what you need to do.

#1: Understand What Your Audience Wants

It’s crucial to have a clear idea of who you’re creating blog posts for. Define your core audience in terms of interests, challenges, and industry, and keep in mind that every post you create should be interesting and informative for this core group. Your aim should be to help them solve the professional problems they face. 

#2: Nail Down Your Strategy and Goals

What are you trying to achieve with your blog posts? Your strategy and goals will inherently dictate your approach, so be sure you know what the end objectives are so you can tailor your posts to help you achieve them. Establishing your goals will also help you track results to see if your efforts are successful or not. 

#3: Name Your Blog and Create Your Blog Domain

This isn’t a necessary step, but it helps with the branding of your blog and establishing it as its own force within your bank of resources. If you want your blog to live in its own place on your site, then it should also have its own name. This can be something like yourcompanyname.com/blog or blog.yourcompanyname.com. Or, it can be something totally different. Create it as a subdomain to your existing site or create a new domain, depending on what you’re already working with.

#4: Pick Areas of Focus

When establishing your blog’s strategy and goals, think also about the various areas within your industry that you’ll want to touch on. They could be broad like sales and marketing, or they can be specific to your company, like product updates and how-tos. Consider your industry when choosing your categories, as well as what makes sense for your audience.

#5: Brainstorm Topics

Deciding what you’re going to write about is one of the most important steps, and it’s crucial to be proactive about it. Aim to map out your editorial calendar at least a month in advance with your various topic ideas, resources, and backlinks. Keyword research is a great way to brainstorm topics, as is looking at what your competitors are writing about (though be sure that if you cover a similar topic, you bring something new to the conversation).

#6: Outline Your Posts

Get your thoughts in order before you write by producing an outline. Remember to use data to back up points when possible and to hit on common ideas and questions related to the topic at hand.

#7: Write!

Use your outline as a jumping-off point for your writing, and then get to work. As you write, look for any areas that you can include images or graphs since it can be helpful for your readers if you break up text with visual content.

#8: Optimize and Fill in the Details

Edit your blog post for grammar, flow, SEO, and accuracy, and as a general rule of thumb, get a second set of eyes on your post before publishing. It can be hard to see errors in our own writing since our brains have a tendency of auto-correcting for us. While you’re optimizing, make sure your headlines and subheads are correct and informative and that the proper keywords are in place.

Aside from the post itself, you’ll need to assign an author, a featured image, a topic category, and a meta-description. These details help you stay organized and are also critical for SEO.

#9: Add Your CTA

If you haven’t already, be sure that there’s a CTA on your post. All blogs are an opportunity to drive some sort of action, so take advantage — even if it’s just directing readers back to your homepage. 

#10 Publish and Distribute

When it’s time, hit publish, or schedule your content to go live via your content management system (CMS). Once it’s live, get it in front of the right audience by sharing it out on your social channels, having your sales team use it in their conversations, adding it to your drip campaigns (where and if applicable), and having other sites link back to it. Effective distribution is crucial for the success of your blog articles. 

The more blog posts you create, the more rote the process will become. And as you go, be sure to check-in and see how well your articles perform. Check how many views they get, how long visitors are staying on the page, and how well the CTAs are converting. Tracking these metrics will help you gauge success and inform your future blog strategy.