How to Write a Blog Post – Follow this System… (Checklist Included)
Do your blog articles get zero traffic, no social shares, and no comments?
Go on, be honest…
It’s ok, I’ve been there too (for way, way too long…).
It’s easy to think we know how to write a blog post, but do we really?
Why is it that some people can churn out high value actionable content week after week without fail, whilst the rest of us struggle to publish one meek, disjointed, lame blog post once a month?
We all know that writing a good post isn’t rocket science, so what is the secret?
The secret is..
...good bloggers follow a system.
A proven system for writing powerful blog posts, faster.
And I’m about to share one such system with you now.
It’s called the Inverse Content Assembly Method or ICAM for short.
...more on that later!
I’ve created a checklist to help follow along with the Inverse Content Assembly Method. You can download the checklist here!
What Makes a Blog Post Great?
A good blog post must do two things:
- Solve a problem.
- Not be boring.
There’s not too much more to it than that. However, it’s easier said than done.
Your blog posts must solve a problem, do it quickly, concisely, and better than anyone else out there.
You’ve got to do it in a captivating way, that’s simple, actionable and easy to consume.
Attempting to write a blog post like this without a plan, and without a system is near impossible.
Do you want to learn how to write a blog post like a pro?
If so, you need a system.
The best bloggers follow a system each time they write a new post. That’s how they’re able to create epic content, every time .
How to Write a Blog Post - A systemized approach...
The system I’m about to show you has been battle tested and it works.
It might seem a little strange at first (in fact it might even feel a little backward..) but, there’s a method to the madness as you’ll soon find out.
I call it the Inverse Content Assembly Method, you can call it whatever you like.
So, if you want to know how to write a blog post that ranks in Google, and people actually want to read, this is a good place to start.
Either way, here it is…
The Inverse Content Assembly Method (ICAM)
The Inverse Content Assembly Method is a 10 step system for creating content that places a focus on building the framework of your posts first, before you even add any content.
Creating your blog posts in this way will help you to write better, more valuable content, faster.
Step 1. Rapid Keyword Research
If you want to know how to write a blog post that doesn’t sit locked away, hidden from sight on the fringes of the internet, then you need to do keyword research.
You do want your blog posts to actually be read right?
If you answered yes (of course you did…) then you must ask these two questions:
- What keywords are people actually searching for?
- How hard is it to rank for those keywords?
Now that you’re asking the right questions, you’ve now got to find the answers.
For this we’ll be using 2 free tools:
Tool 1. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome/Firefox extension.
It gives you Google search volumes for any keyword you search for, plus CPC (Cost Per Click) data, and it gives each keyword a unique competition score (which indicates the difficulty level for ranking on Google)
Here’s how you set it up:
You’ll be taken to the Chrome Web Store. From here click the ‘Add to Chrome’ button.
You’ll then receive an email with a link to access your API key. Click the link.
‘Copy’ your API Key.
Within your browser, click the new ‘Keywords Everywhere’ icon, then click ‘Settings’.
Paste your API key into the box provided.
And that’s it!
You’ll now have access to keyword volume, CPC data and competition scores every time you run a search in Google. Plus, you’ll also get a tonne of keyword ideas from the ‘Related Keyword’ and ‘People Also Search For’ section too.
Tool 2. Answer The Public
Answer The Public crawls Google’s search results to give you tonnes of content ideas in seconds.
That’s great and all, but for this post we’re going to be using it for keyword research.
Getting set up.
Go to answerthepublic.com
Enter a keyword into the box and click ‘Get Questions’.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to get the ‘Alphabeticals’
As you can see, Keywords Everywhere injects the ‘Alphabeticals’ with keyword search volume, CPC data and competition metrics for all keywords and phrases related to your topic.
*The ‘Keyword Competition’ metric provided by Keywords Everywhere is on a scale of 0-1 (with 0 being no competition and 1 being high competition)*
Dive deep into the ‘Alphabeticals’ and search for keywords/phrases that have decent search volume with low competition.
Organic search traffic on Google is a winner takes all game, with positions 1 - 3 getting 70% + of all clicks.
To give yourself the best chance of ranking within the top 3 only target keywords you have a realistic chance of ranking well for.
A broad metric you can use to determine your chances of ranking for competitive keywords is ‘Domain Authority’
Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs)
Use the table below as a guide when choosing which keywords to target.
Keywords Everywhere Competition Score
0 - 30
0 - 0.2
31 - 50
0 - 0.4
51 - 70
0 - 0.6
70 - 100
0 - 1
Use the tools and methods above to find a keyword combination with good volume and low competition for your next blog post.
Step 2. The Headline First Approach
The ‘Headline First’ approach is a little counterintuitive at first glance, but there's a method to the madness.
Let me explain.
If you’ve ever written a blog post before, then you’ve likely found yourself staring at a screen full of text with no structure, no flow, just a disjointed mess of ideas.
This is because your blog post has no clear objective.
The ‘Headline First’ approach solves this.
The headline of your blog post sets the context and defines the outcome of what you’re about to write.
Creating your headline first will give your content more structure, make it easier to read and digest, and give your content a clear outcome oriented objective from the very beginning.
Bite-Sized Tips for Writing better headlines
Writing good headlines takes practice, but the ROI of your labour will be well worth it.
Although 8/10 people will take the time to read your headline, only 2/10 will actually read the rest of the article.
Writing good headlines will help improve those stats.
- Write at least 5 (preferably 25) headlines for each article.
- Use specific numbers where possible eg. “How I earned 1 Trillion Dollars in 9 Days!”
- Use brackets (where possible eg. “How I earned 1 Trillion Dollars (in 9 days!)”
- Use hyphens and colons eg. “How to earn a Trillion Dollars: In 9 days!”
- Use questions (if possible) eg. “Want to know how to earn a Trillion Dollars in 9 Days?”
Tip: Here are 3 Free tools for writing better headlines:
Step 3. The Wrap up - Conclusion
Now for the conclusion...
A conclusion gives you the chance to summarize the key points of your post that you want your readers to remember, encourage comments and social shares, and prompt readers to take action on your main call to action eg. PDF Download, Email sign-up etc.
So why am I suggesting writing your conclusion before you’ve even written anything?
Once again, (just like with the ‘Headline First’ approach) the goal of writing your conclusion first is to keep your articles laser focused on specific outcomes.
This laser-like focus will constrain the way you write, and what you write (in a good way), keeping your content targeted towards a specific outcome at all times.
Step 4. Subheadings
Subheadings add structure to your posts and make your content skimmable.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but MOST people won’t read your entire articles!
The truth is, the majority of people just ‘skim’.
In general most people read a bit of the intro, scroll straight to the conclusion, then skim over the rest of the article to find the snippet of info they need.
That’s why you must make your content skimmable, and that’s why subheadings are important.
*Just because they’re subheadings doesn’t mean they should be boring! Just like choosing the headline for your post, take time to craft compelling subheadings too. Each subheading should be compelling in its own right*
Tip: Use proper syntax for your subheadings by using H1, H2, H3 tags to correctly.
Step 5. Content Pattern
A content pattern is a way of structuring your article within a layout that repeats itself several times throughout a post.
Adding content patterns to your blog posts is a way to create structure, continuity and clarity within even the most complex of topics.
Here’s a few examples of content patterns:
Product, Pros, Cons, Review Score (Repeat)
Review Post Content Pattern
Product, Pros, Cons, Review Score [Repeat]
List Post Content Pattern
Title, Image, Description [Repeat]
Case Study Content Pattern
Hypothesis, Test, Conclusion [Repeat]
The more structure you add to your posts, the easier they are to write and the more they look like polished works of art once their finished.
Step 6. Write Body Content (Rough and Fast)
Ok, now that we’ve crafted a killer headline, written a masterful conclusion and created a logical content pattern with skimmable subheadings…
...we are finally ready to start writing!
But, we’re not going to get all Disney on its ass here. There’s no time for romance.
This first stage is all about getting down and dirty. It’s all about getting it out, rough and fast.
This is your first draft.
It will likely be terrible, embarrassing, cringeworthy.
And that’s just fine.
This is the rough diamond that’ll get polished to perfection.
The aim here is to get the ideas out of your head and onto paper, not to write the finished article.
Step 7. The Opener
Now for the intro…
This is where you hook your readers attention!
Your introduction has one single purpose, to entice your readers to read more.
There’s no secret formula to crafting the perfect introduction, however there are some guidelines you should follow:
- Address your readers from sentence one.
- Launch by describing an emotion.
- Identify your readers’ problem.
- Play off their hopes and dreams.
- Promise something the reader wants.
- Transition by hinting at how to solve their problem.
Keep it short & keep it sweet.
And remember, the objective of your introduction is to get your readers excited about what they’re about to read!
Step 8. Images
Images break up your content and make it more visually appealing.
Used correctly, images will help emphasise the points you are trying to make.
The key point to remember when adding images to your posts is that they must add value to the reader, help to tell your story and add clarity.
They shouldn’t be used just to make your blog posts look pretty!
Tip: Adding lots of big images to your posts will slow your page load time down. To avoid this, compress the images you upload to your posts. Smush & Squoosh are free tools that can help compress your images.
Step 9. The Polishing Process
The final step is to proofread and edit what you’ve written.
This is where you take the rough diamond you’ve created and cut it to perfection.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Proofread your post - Remove spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and incorrect syntax. Do this at least twice to make sure you’ve spotted all issues.
- Link check - Check that all links are working correctly.
- Layout - Check layout and spacing for consistency.
- Remove rambling (like your life depends on it) - Be RUTHLESS. Cut, cut again, and then again. Nothing is worse than a blog post that doesn’t get to the point quickly.
Tip: Here’s a couple of free tools that will help you to edit your writing:
Step 10. Publish
And there you have it.
You’ve just created an actionable, engaging, valuable piece of structured content.
All that’s left to do is…
"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." - James Clear
Your goal might be to write a killer blog post, but, without the right systems in place, that goal is just a fantasy.
The system I’ve outlined has been refined over the years, and it’s served me well.
I’ve developed a checklist that helps me to stick to this system. It helps me to write better, more valuable content, faster.
Don’t forget to download the free checklist below:
Do you use a system to write your blog posts?
If so, leave a reply in the comments below. I’d want to hear all about it.