Write Your Best Blog Post Ever in Less Than 60 Minutes

in #writing4 years ago (edited)

Don’t let writing intimidate you! Follow these 5 steps, and you’ll have a high-performing blog post in less than an hour.

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There it is. The blank document in front of you. No words. No pictures. Nothing. (It’s giving me anxiety just thinking about it!) Starting anything is the hardest part (like I talked about at the end of this post) but taking one baby step forward makes the rest of it seem like a piece of cake. And who doesn’t like cake? Let’s get cookin’.

Step 1: Pick a Topic & Create an Outline

It doesn’t matter if you like the ole’ pen and paper or if you prefer working on a digital document like me. Jotting down a framework of your content will not only result in a more organized article, but it will also cut the writing time in half.

Headers & Subheaders

Don’t worry about finalizing the title just yet, but decide on the overarching topic with a working title. With that, write down at least 3 main ideas you’ll be discussing. It’s okay if you just scratch down the concepts, they don’t need to be refined. Then, break each topic (header) down into 1-2 supporting topics (subheaders).

Important Concepts & Supporting Details

You’ll probably have some other ideas floating around at this point. Don’t let that stall your process. Write down any other important details that come to mind, like quotes, phrases, or title ideas. If they fit, include them in the initial outline; otherwise, add them to a separate page you can refer to when writing. It will ultimately look a little something like this:

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Step 2: Write & Edit

The best way to bang out an article is just to start writing. Don’t write for perfection—just get your thoughts down, and you can make corrections later. Plus, since you’re following an outline, it will be much harder to ramble or go off-topic. If you need to reorganize, that’s okay.

Phone a Friend or Consult Grammarly

When you’re finished, it’s time for review. If you have someone who can look over your rough draft, go ahead and ask them for some feedback. If not, use one of my favorite writing tools of all time, Grammarly. Even with the free version, it catches tons of mistakes that are easily overlooked in a proofread.

Read It Aloud

After you’ve made the necessary edits to your rough draft, say the entire thing out loud. Doing this will help you catch awkwardly-worded and overly formal sentences. My general rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it that way, don’t write it.

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Step 3: Make It Look Good

The quickest way to ruin an otherwise great post is to neglect the formatting. Serving up a giant text block is worse than a block of rotten cheese in a hot car. Gross. People will hit the back arrow lickety split. (Always wanted to say that.) You need your blog post to be as scannable and visually pleasing as possible.

Rules of Formatting

Since you’ve already completed Step 1, you have an outline established. Use the main topics and supporting details as headers and subheaders like the image above. Not only does that give the viewer the opportunity to see what your blog post is about without reading it all, but it makes it much easier to read when they actually do.

You’ll also want to include readability elements like bulleted lists and pullout quotes. More on that in this post.

Step 4: Add Images

In all honesty, this step sometimes takes me just as long as writing the article. And that’s okay because people are judging your post by the headings and images before they read the great content, so the pictures better be good.

Find Pictures That Support, Not Distract


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I can’t tell you how tempted I was to use this ↑ picture in a recent article I wrote. Rainbow donuts? I mean c’mon! Unfortunately, it had absolutely nothing to do with the topic. It would have been a huge distraction and worse, confused the crap out of my readers.

When you choose your images, use them to express more than your words say. For instance, if you’re talking about concealing emotions, you might consider using a picture of someone sweeping dirt under the rug. It’s a great metaphor for what you’re trying to describe, and people can relate to that.

Make the 1st Image the Best One

When people share your post on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels, the first image is usually the one that’s going to come up in the preview. Make this one as eye-catching and intriguing as possible. Of course, make sure it’s relevant like we just discussed, too.

Image to Word Ratio

I’d argue that there isn’t really an exact ratio to follow, but for the sake of having a starting point, it’s good to have at least one image per 350 words. Alternatively, you can shoot for one image (or part of it) on the screen at any given time.

Step 5: Write an Enticing Title

Yes, I did put this last on purpose. Once you’ve created your masterpiece, hone in on the most important, desirable detail within it. What fact is going to pique a person’s curiosity? What golden nugget is going to really help your readers? Write down a few titles that come to mind. Be a bit vague, so it leaves a person wanting more.

“A word of caution: never, I repeat never give your article a click bait title that has nothing to do with your content. No one likes feeling duped, and it destroys all sense of trust and credibility.” (source)

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Test Drive Before Posting

An easy way to test your title(s) out is (without giving them any other details) ask friends or coworkers if they’d be interested to read more. If not, keep trying. Experiment with metaphors, bold statements that make assumptions, strong language (when appropriate), or other fun wording, like alliterations.

Woohoo! You’re finished!

Party dance! See, that wasn’t too hard, right? Your pièce de résistance is complete, and you’re ready to post. Feel free to give it one final sweep for any glaring errors and hit that “publish” button! Donezo.

If you found this article valuable, please up-vote and follow me— @sharingeverybite —for more!

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Okay, so, just for fun, I sat down yesterday to see if following your tips would net me an awesome blog post. :) I had the topic in my head, so I just went through the steps. I confess that, due to my agonizing nature, I did not get it completed in less than an hour; however, I DID get it mapped out and outlined with notes and an idea of headers/subheaders. No doubt that it will be easier to write once I begin that stage (shortly). So for anyone who's wondering, there's real potential here that following @sharingeverybite's advice will work for you! Worth a shot at any rate, especially if you're having trouble constructing a good post, and/or need to create better efficiency in the speed with which you publish (pointing at myself).

You made me smile SO big this morning @jenncapestany! Thank you for putting this process to the test. I'll admit, I estimated the 60-minute timeframe in terms of a 350-word post (or thereabouts). Even after lots of practice, I find it difficult to shave time off for the longer posts, especially with more pictures or extra work involved outside of actually writing the dang thing. ;)

I really appreciate the time you spend being such a huge advocate/supporter and then coming back to share your story. <3

Say the entire thing out loud. Doing this will help you catch awkwardly-worded and overly formal sentences.

So much this ^^! I used to run a crew that prepared written reports that went to attorneys and I couldn't not for the life of me impress upon them the importance of reading their notes aloud before turning it in. Then they'd turn in stuff they swore they reviewed and whole words would be missing.

I think when you read in your head there is a confirmation bias that prevents you seeing many errors. You know what you meant to write and when you read it quietly that's what you hear in your head. Reading aloud, you realize there's a word missing or you spelled something wrong far more easily.

Another invaluable post!

I forget what it's called, but I feel like this is something along the lines of how as long as the first and last letter of the word are correct, the entire middle can be jumbled up and we'd still understand the word. The brain plays crazy tricks on us if we don't use tools like these!

Thanks for the thoughtful comment @jrhughes! I keep meaning to ask... where have you picked up your delightful writing skills?

I never considered that connection but that makes a lot of sense.

It's truly my pleasure to read and comment on your work! As for my own writing, I can only credit years of near pathological immersion in books, and writing as an outlet since I was small. I've considered taking some courses to improve upon them - particularly my fiction could use some polishing - but with three kids, a husband, and a full time job I can barely find time to write let alone learn to write better, lol.

Right back at ya! :) Well all that seems to be working wonders! You are a great writer (and storyteller) as I mentioned. It's one thing to correctly implement grammar and sentence structure, but the storytelling aspect is a whole different enchilada! I don't think I've quite mastered that yet. Then again, I have a hard time making myself read, so that could be a contributing factor.

As for improving your writing, it's pretty damn good already if I do say so myself! :) Have you written any fiction on Steemit yet?

I think it's also best to garner a nice little following first, just by doing the simple stuff first, like creating a profile pic, leaving helpful comments, entering into various steemit challenges which help get more connected to the community. I would also add, to follow go active users who show consistent investment into steem powering. Cause there are some people who just want to take profits, which isn't going to help in the long run.

Very true! Without followers, it'll be hard to get much reach (or a decent payout). You also hit the nail on the head with needing to engage with the community. It's far better to give feedback and participate in conversations than solely push content! "Social listening" is also a valuable tool here, especially for new users who need to get acclimated to Steemit.

Thanks for the comment!

Let me just start off by saying, I want a cake lickety split! 😊 I so admire humor in the midst of a how-to and you hid it nicely. This is a very helpful step-by-step and I am glad I have access to is for myself and for anyone I might recommend it to.
Keep doing what you're doing -- it's working! 😊

You and me both, sista! I need to do something about this...

BUTLER! Excuse me, butler!

...I keep waiting for my own personal butler to arrive, but he never does! Can't a girl get some cake around here? ;)

Thank you for the compliments, very kind!

if anyone wants to phone me as their editing friend, I am in the editing business (trying to get out of the camgirl business, once and for all!) and I want to step up my game, so I could use some practice! Kind of like the way people in massage school give away free massages! Let me know <3

Giving back to the community, love it! In case you don't have an account on there yet, you'd probably find lots of takers on Steemit Chat.

I don't. But I will go! Thank youuuu! <3

Very good tips. My favorite is the Outline part. I need to try this instead of just writing off the top of my head. Thanks!

I find myself getting into that habit, too! It's easy to do. Posts where I follow an outline seem to flow much better, though, so I try to keep myself from diving right in without one.

This a great template for creating a blogpost. Will refer back to this for sure, it's a great resource especially if you feel a bit stuck. And I do really like that donut image, it's like eye candy. Upvoted and following you, thanks for this!

Thank you for the compliment and support @judym! Gotta love that #foodporn! ;) I'll sneak that in any way I can!

"Read your stuff out loud" is, hands down, the best writing advice anyone ever gave me. Every other suggestion on here is great, but nothing compares to how much your ears catch which your eyes otherwise overlook. Upvoted for this reason alone. :)

True that! I find myself writing wayyyy too formal if I just type it out and go. Thank you for the upvote!

No problem. Writers gotta write, but we also have to stick together. One of the things I love most about Steemit is the ability to boost others up. Even if I can only give a few cents at the moment... :)

Nice write up. I'm actually working on a series of blog posts about steemit, I can use the advice. Thanks!

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading :)

The girl speaks french, that's awesome !
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J'ai commencé à te suivre aujourd'hui, je suis très enchanté de vous connaitre, sur mon blog j'écrit en anglais XD

Uh-oh... what have I gotten myself into! lol

That phrase is one of (maybe) five French words I know! Thank you Google Translate, and thank YOU for following me. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

lol XD you're welcome !

Great tutorial, I'm resteeming this. I like your style and I would like to be able to learn the headers and the formatting rules here. Thanks for helping.

I would like to be able to learn the headers and the formatting rules here.

Do you know about Markdown? There are a few ways to get your formatting the way you like it using Markdown. I like using the carrot tags around h1, h2, etc.

I have looked at this and will experiment more, thanks so much ❤

Great! Didn't mean to be condescending or anything, figured I'd mention it just in case ;)

Not taken negatively at all ❤

Super recipe for how it can be done @ dohov
Follows, Resteem and upvote!

Much appreciated :) Thanks for reading!

Thanks for sharing @ sharingeverybite

Great tips, very helpful. I often struggle with writing and your tips give me a plan that hopefully will have me writing better.

Glad to hear it! Hope they help you write a killer blog post!

Thank you! I really appreciated your post. It inspired me a lot.

Thanks @teemsteem! So glad to hear it!

Very helpful information. I sometimes feel like I'm back in high school and I have to write a 10 page paper that's due tomorrow and I haven't even started. It can be very nerve wracking. I'm glad its not just me!

Glad you enjoyed it! So true... that's why I LOVE starting with the outline. It makes the whole concept seem far less intimidating since there's actually something on the page to work with. ;)

Thanks for this, I am trying to be more consistent but inevitably get stuck, going to set this aside for future reference.

Hope it helps on your future blog post!

Such a great post and wonderful tips. Write first, then edit, reading out loud and Grammarly are my go-to tools too!

Thank you @amy-goodrich! Do you have any other tools in your blog-writing arsenal?

You pretty much summed most things up! The only addition I can think of right now is... If a long and/or important article I usually write the whole thing up, edit for the most part and then leave it be for at least an hour, sometimes even a day and then do a final quick read and last edits. Have a great day ;)

Ah, yes! That's a great one, how could I forget! Looking at something with "fresh eyes" is SO valuable. I won't turn in client work without being able to see it after a break—preferrably another day.

Same here! When I write reporter style articles for the new site I'm working with I never post articles straight after writing. For my own blog and steemit, it's a different story. Rules can be a bit loser! Also, I have never managed to write an article for a client in less than an hour! Usually, takes two, sometimes even three! Probably because I spend extra time checking my wording since I'm not a native English speaker.

You're not a native English speaker?? I would have NEVER guessed. You write so well!

As for the 60 minutes or less, those blogs would probably be around 350 words with 1-2 pictures. Anything more than that "ups" the time. I find that (even when I shoot for a shorter length) my articles usually end up around 1,000-2,000+ words. Those take more like 3-4 hours :P

Nope, Dutch is my mother tongue! Thanks for the compliment ;) I usually try to stay below 1,000 words since we are all busy people I have noticed that when articles are too long people don't read them. I prefer to break longer articles up in part I and II. Take care and have a great weekend ;)

Thanks for the tips

Really nice one I learned a lot, will definetly help a lot of people to become better writers. Resteemed.

Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

thank you for you valuable tips
i followed and upvted

I felt like I had to comeback and recast a more appropriate vote.

Thank you, I really need this.
I´ll be very helpful to me.

This post is going in my bookmarks, I usually don't put a lot in my bookmarks since I rarely look at them, but then I at least have a chance of finding this post again, when I am writing my own post

I'm the same way, so that's high praise in my book, thank you! Really hope it helps you write your next home run when the time comes! :)

That would be ideal, although I mostly write technical stuff, but this would surely help me with some quality.

I can only speak for myself, but these things have really helped my writing improve. Hope they do for you as well :)

I would try it for my next chess post.

Great post & tips!
Thanks for sharing & steem on :)

Great article about articles :-) I´ll take it into account!

Your that content will help me to make more attractive content.
Thanks

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