After you’ve learnt how to generate hundreds of brilliant blog post ideas quickly and easily, it’s time for you to move on to the next level and learn how to effectively plan writing a single blog article based on one of those awesome ideas you’ve gathered.
In this lesson, we’re going to walk you through the whole blog post planning process step by step.
You thought there’s nothing to learn about this phase? Moreover, you considered it a waste of time? Well, you were wrong!
NO great writer just sits down and writes a fabulous article that is useful, enticing and makes a lot of money. On the contrary! They MUST plan their writing carefully and thoroughly if they’re to achieve their goals.
A little bit disappointed? Don’t be! The fact that fantastic writers are NOT just born like that means there’s a great chance for you to actually learn how to become an excellent and well-paid copywriter both audience and online store owners will adore.
When you sit down to write a blog post, there are a few different planning areas to bear in mind. We’re going to guide you through all those key steps in the planning process so that you figure out how to think and what elements to pay special attention to when planning a blog post.
However, we’re NOT going to analyse all of them in great depth because that’s going to be done in the subsequent lessons within this course, such as Blog post basics: writing process, The art of the Headline, Call to action and the others.
Are you ready to dive into the phases of a blog post planning process?
Step 1: Come Up With the Keywords for Your Article
Once you’ve generated some ideas you could write about, you have to work out the keywords that need to be incorporated into your blog article.
What keywords you should be using depends on what product you’re writing about. Are you writing about e.g. an outdoor gazebo, a mountain bike, athletic shoes, comfortable shoes, or perhaps women’s shoes?
We’ve talked about that in the previous lesson on gathering ideas for your blog posts (linked at the beginning of this lesson). Also, make sure you refer to our separate lesson on successful keywords research for a more detailed approach to the topic.
So, your keywords will be closely related to the topic of your article, which leads us to the following step in the planning process.
Step 2: Choose Your Topic and Content Format
Let’s say you’ve decided to write about women’s shoes (these being your keywords). The next thing you’d consider in more detail is what exactly you’re going to write about. For example, what sort of shoes:
- party shoes,
- shoes women can comfortably go jogging in,
- shoes that don’t give women curvature of the spine, etc.
In other words, what’s your topic? When you’ve chosen your keywords, you know what your topic is going to be.
Let’s say you’ve decided your topic to be sexy women’s shoes but also related to how it’s good for your spine because you’re writing for an online store that sells women’s shoes.
When you’ve chosen the topic, you’re supposed to determine the best format for your content, that is to say, whether you’re going to present it in the form of a:
- ‘how-to’ article
- inspiration gallery
- curated collection
- short post for social media fodder, or perhaps a
- newsjacking post
- case study, or even
- video tutorial
- slideshare, or
After deciding on your keywords, the narrow topic you’re going to write about, and the form it will take, you should start thinking about the title you could use i.e. creating the working title(s).
Step 3: Craft a Working Title
With a topic in place, you will find it easier to craft a working title for your blog post. Initially, you can have a list of a few working titles to start with and later just pick the one that best suits the content of your post.
You can always edit your working title once your post is completed. You can make it more compelling, reflective and thoughtful for your readers. Writing a title is an important task that needs time and practice.
Note: You’ll learn much more about this half skill – half art if you follow the link provided. The whole process of creating blog post headlines explained and supported with examples is waiting for you.
Your title can be thought-provoking, funny, personal, controversial, in the form of a question, or an opinion, and the like. However, take note that, whatever form it takes, a blog post title should capture your reader’s attention and draw them into your blog post.
Now, let’s start crafting the working title for your topic. It can look like this, for instance:
7 comfortable women’s shoes that are good for your spine.
In this first try, we’ve got the keywords ‘women’s shoes’. Then, there’s the format/type of article: listicle (we know that because of the number 7). We also know that we’re going to try to create the argument that women can have really sexy shoes that are good for their spine at the same time.
Here are some other suggestions:
- 7 sexy shoes that are good for your spine, or
- 7 secrets of sexy shoes that won’t give you curvature of the spine, or
- 7 sexy shoes that won’t give you curvature of the spine no one is talking about
OK. Let’s say these are our working titles. When the content is done, the perfect title can be tailored to match it.
What else do you have to think about at this point? The structure of the article, right? Let’s deal with it.
Step 4: Create an Outline
Some bloggers create an outline and a template for their blog posts at the same time. You can also do this to help you stay focused while writing each section of the post.
On your outline, write the following sections:
- An introduction to the post should help your readers see a summary of what you are about to discuss in the post body.
- The body of the post should discuss your topic in detail. This is where your topic should address your readers’ concerns, questions, and needs. Based on our example, this part will consist of the 7 shoes you’re going to write about, so now is the time to decide what they are.
- A conclusion is always a must for a blog post because it sums up your readers’ learnings. In other words, this part is about the way you’re going to bring it all together to say how those shoes are good for the spine.
Even with a simple outline – figuring out what the beginning, the middle, and the end of your article are, you will be able to think and write about specific elements that you can discuss in each section of your blog post.
Now, you’re almost ready to start writing. But be careful NOT to skip another important aspect to ask yourself before you actually start.
What other elements do you ALWAYS have to include in a blog post?
On NO account should you neglect the following.
Step 5: Determine Your CTA
You certainly want your blog article to trigger specific reader’s reactions, don’t you? Deciding on them prior to writing the article is extremely important. It’ll help you keep your aim in mind and incorporate it seamlessly into the content.
Thus, ask yourself what your call to action (CTA) is going to be. In other words, what exactly you want your audience to do when they read the article, what they’re going to click on and where it’s going to lead them.
- are you calling them to click through to a product that you want them to buy, or
- to click on the 7 products comparison, or
- perhaps to read the About page of the company and learn how they manufacture those sexy shoes that are comfortable for your spine because you want to impress them and to show them the brand’s real value,
- or something completely different.
Whatever your call to action is, you MUST determine it in advance and find a perfect place for it within your blog post. You’ll find more details if you follow the link to the separate lesson provided above.
When you’ve done that, it’s time to consider adding some photos, as well.
Step 6: Find and Choose Appealing Images to Add
The next step is to think about what you can do to support and enrich your content. Adding images can help for sure!
However, you cannot add the first image you come across just because e.g. you like its colours. It MUST be high-quality and closely related to your content.
On top of that, you have to learn more about how to find and save good images, as well as how to comply with image copyright and stay out of trouble.
So, think carefully what sort of photos you’d use for your blog post. In our example, you’d definitely choose some photos of sexy women wearing sexy comfortable shoes, right?
Furthermore, apart from images, other appropriate and high-quality visuals such as tables, graphs, diagrams, quotes, tweets, videos and the like. will bring about increasing the value of your content.
Step 7: Choose the Links to Include
You also want Google to love your blog article, don’t you? Then, you should ‘feed’ the search engine properly and it will return better results to you.
OK. But how’s that done?
Simply by including both internal and external links in your article. Choosing them carefully in advance is worth it, considering the effects it has on your content.
Therefore, do your research on the topic and pick the links related to it. You may find some other relevant product pages or blog articles within the same store and link out to them.
Also, search engines like it when you refer to other external relevant sources of information from around the web.
So, grab this golden opportunity to shine on the web. Just be extra careful NOT to link out to your competitors!
Only NOW you’re ready to start writing and shaping up your valuable content with the outline that keeps you on the right track. Once, you’ve finished writing your blog post, make sure you double-check what you’ve done.
Thus, it would be wise to pay attention to the following step, as well.
Step 8: Remember to Proofread and Edit the Content
Consider the content you’ve written so far your first draft and don’t forget to polish it up. There’s always something you can improve!
Giving it a-few-days’ rest and then reading it with fresh eyes if possible is smart to do.
Make sure you haven’t made any typos or grammar mistakes. It’s certainly helpful to use online writing tools such as Grammarly or any other similar one to avoid errors and check your spelling, grammar, and style. Check it for plagiarism, as well.
When you’ve done that, you may opt for a better solution – give your content another set of eyes, that is to say, ask your colleagues to proofread your final draft and further edit it if needed.
After that, you can be sure you’ve created a remarkable piece of content which is ready to be published.
However, that’s not the end of your journey yet. What’s to follow? Here’s what.
Step 9: Plan On Promoting Your Blog Article
Everyone would certainly agree that there’s NO point just having an article sitting on an eCommerce store’s blog, right?
Thus, you have to think about how you’re going to promote it once it’s written.
- Are you going to share it on social media?
- What exactly are you going to do: tweet about it, post it on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other social network?
- Which one is the best according to the business you’re writing about?
- Which social network is your target audience most active on?
Perhaps you’d email The Australian Orthopaedic Association to check whether they’re willing to include your article about sexy shoes that are comfortable and good for your spine in their next newsletter?
Think carefully and plan how you’re going to push your valuable content out to other people. Otherwise, it’s pointless. Remember?
Here are some more credible sources you can learn from.
The following articles will help you learn more about some steps of effective blog post planning phase:
Useful tips and templates:
Here’s a bit more about various helpful tools:
These further reading sections are supposed to help you grasp the big picture of the whole blog planning, writing and promoting process.
Now it’s time to summarise what we’ve learnt in this lesson.
All the above-mentioned planning steps are absolutely critical to the success of your blog articles. That’s why it’s extremely important to flesh them out.
Therefore, every serious copywriter devoted to achieving great results has to go through each of these steps while planning every single blog post:
- come up with the keywords to include in the title and the content,
- decide on the specific topic of the blog post and the most appropriate format to present it,
- craft one or more working titles to stay on topic,
- create an outline i.e. plan exactly what the introduction, the body, and the conclusion will be about,
- decide what CTA they’re going to use and where to place it (or more of them),
- find and choose suitable images to make the article more lively and visually appealing,
- do research on the topic and link out both to internal and external relevant sources,
- proofread and edit the content, and
- plan on how to promote the article when it’s written.
Now, please, do the following short quiz to show us you understood how to plan a blog article before you sit down to write.