Preparing your blog post

Writing a good blog post all starts with thinking. You should think about what you want to say and to whom you want to say it. It is important to realise, that proper writing takes some time. In order to write a good, readable piece, you will have to follow three steps:

Proces of good writing explained in a picture: 40% prepaparation, 20% writing, 40% correcting

All writing begins with preparation. I will take you through this first phase in this blog post. If you want to read more about how to write an awesome blog post, make sure to buy our content SEO book this week, as it’s still summer sale (have you seen my dress?? ;-))

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In the first step of your writing process you will have to answer a number of questions. The answers to these questions will be the preparation of your blog post or article.

  1. What is the purpose of your piece? Why are you writing? What do you want to achieve?
  2. What will be the main message of your post? What is the central question you want to answer?
  3. Who are your readers?
  4. What information do you need to write your piece?
  5. In what order will you present your information? What will be the structure of your article?

I will elaborate on these questions in this blog post.

1. What is the purpose?

When you start to write content, you should first take some time to think about the purpose of your writing. Articles can have different purposes. You can write because you want to persuade people: you want them to adopt your political ideas or you want to convince them to buy your product. The aim of your article could also be entertaining. The purpose of your text would then be to amuse people. A column is a good example of an entertaining text. Your blog or article could also be informative. Different articles on your website could have different purposes. Also, many articles have multiple purposes. A blog could very well be informative as well as entertaining.

The purpose of your article will give you some rules or guidelines to follow. An article in which you want to persuade people should have some other features than an article with a sole informative or amusing function. I actually wrote another blog post about the differences between amusing text, an informative text and a persuading text.

2. What is the message?

Before you start writing, take some time to think about what you want your readers to know or do after they’ve read your text. We refer to this as the message of your text.

In order to come up with your message, you could try to phrase a question which your text should resolve. We refer to such a question as the central question of a text. The text you will write will be the answer to your central question.

Make sure that your central question is clear. Try to come up with a summarized answer to your central question in one or two sentences. We refer to this answer as the message of your article. Perhaps you will not be able to phrase the message of your article until you have done some research. You should then attend to your research first (see question 4!).

Example 1

If you would write a post about the importance of well-structured texts, the central question of this post could be: ‘Why is it important to write well-structured blog posts?’

We usually put the message in the introduction of the post (telling people what the post will be about) as well as in the conclusion of the piece. Making your message really explicit is in our opinion especially important in web texts. It helps your readers to instantly grasp the message of your article and increases the likelihood people will keep on reading.

Example 2

The message of a post about the importance of well-structured texts could be: ‘It is important to write a well-structured text because it will allow people to understand your text better, it will lead to higher conversions and to higher ranking.’

3. Who are your readers?

Before writing your text, you should take some time to think about the people you are writing for. Make sure you adapt your text to their level. You should adjust the difficulty of the information in your piece as well as the difficulty of your style (use of jargon, long sentences etc) to your audience.

In many cases, it is really hard to find out who your readers are. And if your audience is a very heterogeneous group (consisting of very different people), it can be quite hard to decide upon the difficulty of your topic and your text. It could be very helpful to do research concerning your audience on a regular basis. If you would like to read more about analyzing your audience you can read my posts about Analyzing your audience and Yoast Research: get to know your audience.

4. What information do you need?

In some cases, all the information you need to write your text is already in your head. If Joost de Valk writes an introductory piece about SEO, he doesn’t need to open any books. In many other cases, you will need some sources (the internet, books, newspapers) to provide the information you need for your text. You should take the central question of your piece and come up with a number of sub-questions.

Example 3

For the central question: ‘Why is it important to write well-structured blog posts?’ one could pose the following subquestions:

  • What does text structure have to do with SEO?
  • What is the influence of text structure on conversion rates?
  • What is the influence of text structure on bounce rates?

Find answers to all your sub-questions in your sources (books, internet, scientific articles etc.). You can write these answers down. You will then already have the basis of your post or article.

After this phase, the (central) message of your article should be entirely clear. Take some time to phrase or rephrase your message (the summarized answer to your central question) in one or two sentences.

5. What will be the structure?

The final step in the preparation process is the most important one. You have to give some kind of structure to the information you want to communicate to your readers. In another post, I gave practical tips on how to create a decent structure.

Conclusion: Take some time to prepare your post!

Writing a blog post all start with some thinking and preparing. Take time to do that. Ask yourself the 5 questions of this blog post and the most important phase in your writing is covered! If you would like to get the full information, you should definitely read our Content SEO eBook!

This post first appeared as Preparing your blog post on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!