Struggling to keep your blog up to date? We can help. Here are some tips on how to write a blog post in 15 minutes.
01. Use a punchy headline formula that works
Also, make sure your headline includes a promise that is attainable – like our “how to write a blog post in 15 minutes” or a series of promises that the reader will receive information that will be of benefit to them. You wanted to read this article because I promised you several things:
- That I would show you how to do something you don’t already know how to do but that would be useful to you if you learned it
- That you would be able to learn this thing in a very short space of time
- That it would easy
02. Provide your content in a list format.
People love lists. They’re easily digestible with information in bite-sized chunks. They’re also easy to write because your content is clearly defined by the topic of the list. For example, if I told you to write a blog about why Twin Peaks is one of the greatest TV shows of the last thirty years you may struggle. If I asked you to list the five greatest things about Twin Peaks you would be able to rattle them off (provided you’re aged at least 30 or a serious TV nerd)
There are endless types of list you can create. Here are a few
- Reasons why each of your USPs is so important (for example, “Seven reasons why you need to focus on consistency in your [insert business] service,” “The top 10 reasons why reliability is important to [insert product]”)
- Top ten things about your sector (with one being directly related to your product or service)
- Top ten mistakes people make when shopping for your product or service
- Ten best, ten worst
- Ten most influential people in your sector (in your city, in your country, in the world)
03. Get your keywords in there
As Robert McKee is so fond of pointing out story is structure – use your keywords to provide the structure for your article, the scaffolding around which you build your content. You already have the list to work with, so when you create the headline for each point, use your keywords as a starting point. You can also use these keywords as the anchor text for links back to the relevant pages on your main site.
Some phrases, for example our headline question “how to write a blog post in 15 minutes” are trickier and require some careful thinking to include. Don’t overegg the pudding though. Rather than stuffing keywords in, giving them undue prominence or overthinking keyword placement – and run the risk of writing an unreadable article – think of keywords and phrases as guides to creating relevant content.
If your content is genuinely relevant to the phrase you want to target, Google will know.
04. Make sure your content is genuinely useful
Readers want valuable information that they can take with them. Success is about the consistent delivery of relevant content over time PLUS dogged promotion of that content through social media, commenting, guest blogs, email marketing and other channels.
An individual blog post has to give just enough to get each reader to sign up and stay with you – but the bar is rising all the time. Many companies out there publish incredibly detailed information and insight absolutely free. Over time this develops trust with the reader.
Think about the insight only you can offer your customers. What can you give away for free? When writing for Big Star Copywriting for example I can pretty much share every part of what we do – we’re experienced and expert in what we offer but we’re not in possession of secret knowledge or valuable IP.
Generally, we provide a service for people who don’t want to do the copywriting themselves – because they lack time or expertise, or because we’re a more cost effective option than their current situation. By sharing information on what we do, we hope to demonstrate that we know what we’re talking about and convey the kind of authority that creates reassurance and trust in our customers.
05. Go long… and ignore the 15 minute time limit
Moz.com together with BuzzSumo recently analysed the links and shares of over 1m articles and compiled their findings here. The long and short of it – well actually just the long of it – is that if you want more links and shares you should be writing around 1500 to 2000 words per post.
That seems like a lot but it reflects a trend toward longer, meatier blog posts offering insight, opinion, practical advice and research being favoured not only by Google but by web users in general who respond by linking and sharing.
Now, you’ll be asking, “how on earth do I write 1500 – 2000 words in 15 minutes?”
And my answer is, “you can’t” – 15 minutes is just about long enough to meet the current industry speculation of 350 words as a minimum to pass Google’s “thin content” threshold.
That doesn’t mean there’s no value in shorter blog posts. Barry Schwartz of SERoundTable, for example, is one of the leading writers on SEO issues – his blog posts are always pretty short.
If you’ve only got a little time, concentrate on creating maximum value for the reader. Respond to those specific, ultra niche questions you’ve been asked with all the insight and sector expertise you can muster.
06. Be controversial
Having a strong opinion is good – stimulating debate is also good. You want people to be talking about you, arguing about what you’ve said, linking to your blog posts.
While being controversial is good, being outrageous is probably not so good, although, if you know who you’re writing for then you know the people you DON’T want to offend (and those you can get away with offending).
It’s my belief, for example, that written content is the single most important factor in any Internet marketing campaign – way more important than web design. I don’t go around shouting about that because web designers NEED words for the sites they design and generally they’re really, really nice people who look kindly on copywriters – it’s an age-old partnership, and that shouldn’t be forgotten in these times of outsourcing and remote working.
I don’t have any such qualms about TV advertising – it’s a total waste of time and money.
07. Use metaphor
Metaphor is a magic potion to a copywriter, turning him or her into an invincible warrior. Analogy is to a copywriter as Obelix is to Asterix. And simile is like a friendly druid, infusing every post with wit and wisdom. These are powerful weapons in any writer’s arsenal. Don’t get me started on neologism, the copycrats won’t like it.
08. Respond to other people’s posts
How often have we been told that the Internet is a conversation? Blogs aren’t just a forum for spouting off about your own stuff, they’re about engaging in a dialogue. Responding to other posts in your sector not only allows you to express an opinion on a pertinent issue, thereby demonstrating your expertise (and the fact that you’re paying attention) but can also stimulate further debate.
Don’t be afraid to share your opinions – if you have something interesting to say then post comments on other blogs and publicise your responses through social media.
09. Keep something back for the next blog
When I really get into writing a blog post or article I often go off at a tangent. Rather than pursue too many points in one go, I chop off the tangent and there’s the starter for my next blog. It’s like making sour dough bread and will keep you in freshly baked blogs in perpetuity.
Maybe it’s better to think of your list article like a hydra – cut one head off and two more grow in its place. Each point on your list can generate individual blog posts, or other lists. I’ve already got at least 10 potential blog titles out of this list. For example:
- Six ways to create an unmissable article title
- Why lists ALWAYS pull in readers
- How to use your keywords to build your blog posts
- Why genuine insight always wins over opinion in article writing
- The Asterix and Obelix guide to copywriting
10. Don’t be afraid to recycle
As I said in my last post, blogs have a cumulative effect on both readers and search engines. Success is about the consistent delivery of relevant content over time PLUS dogged promotion of that content through social media, commenting, guest blogs, email marketing and other channels.
Recycling is OK as long as what you’re recycling has value – rework ideas, repackage content – there are new readers out there who never saw your original post, there are old readers that want to be reminded of your insights. Feel free to rewrite old articles with a new spin, use new stats to rekindle old debates. It’s all grist to the mill.
11. Don’t be afraid to over-deliver
If you have something interesting to say, get it out there. Share your knowledge but remember to deliver real value. There are too many blogs out there holding back on real insight and expertise because they are trying to protect their knowledge. As a copywriter with over 20 years experience, I’m confident that I can share any of my expertise without jeopardising my chances of winning a new customer or losing an existing one.
Those who genuinely value that expertise will recognise its worth and will employ me to improve their content. Those who wish to do it themselves are welcome to what I have to offer – experience and insight don’t come overnight and we still have training courses and products to sell.