Hello and welcome to this easy-to-understand (hopefully) series of articles on blogging for beginners. This article is all about how to create awesome content. Please note that you can also find this series of articles on blogging for beginners as a Kindle eBook. I personally think that if you are looking for help to learn how to blog, then downloading the ebook will make your life a lot easier. It’s also incredibly cheap (or maybe even free if you happen to find it on a promo day!) so click on the image below.
When you start writing, it’s quite common for new writers to think of the writing process in two steps:
1. Think of something to write about
2. Start writing about it
The problem with this is that while it’s better than sitting there writing nothing, you may find that your writing is a little bit aimless. You don’t really have a real idea of what you’re writing about or for whom you are writing. This section will hopefully help you with both those steps.
A. Know Your Audience
The first thing you need to do when you want to create awesome content is to think about who you are writing for. In recent times, this has become known as creating an avatar. Now, you don’t want this to be too general but you also don’t want it to be too specific.
Let’s take an example of a plumber writing for people reading his blog. His avatar maybe someone who is:
– aged 40 to 60
– lower to lower-middle class
– likes DIY
– understands some DIY terms
– doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty
– working within a budget
– may or may not have the right tools
– can’t afford to pay for a plumber
Let’s do another one with the younger blogger in mind who is writing about making money from home. Their avatar may be:
– male or female
– aged 20 to 40
– lower-middle to middle class
– good at technology
– understands social media
– has an idea of working from home
– working within a small budget
Who Is Your Avatar?
If you’re not quite sure of who your avatar is, start with who your friends are or if you have a shop, who your customer is. Maybe it’s just you, but with less knowledge. Don’t spend weeks thinking about your avatar but don’t ignore who your avatar is. As in life, try and look for the balance between what you know and what you’re ‘guessing’.
What I would suggest you do is put a face to the avatar you have created. Put everything you have listed about the avatar around that face. Then, print it out and stick it on the wall or somewhere where you can see it WHILE you are writing. This way you’ll not forget that you are writing for your avatar, not for you. Let me just repeat that as it’s important.
By creating an avatar, you are NOT writing for yourself. You are also writing for other people. This is important because what your reader knows will probably not be as much as what you know. By remembering this, you’ll remember to include everything that your reader NEEDS to know, not just what you THINK they know.
B. Research Topics to Write About
Next, to create awesome content you want to write about things that people want to know about. I realise that that sounds a bit obvious. However, finding out what people want to know means you’ll be writing about what they’re searching for. And if you do this successfully, your blog posts are more likely to show up in search engine results than generic blog posts. Let me break this down a bit more for you as it’s important.
One of the people I work with has a website all about affiliate marketing. Her problem was that she kept running out of things to say. So, we needed to find places to help her write interesting and relevant blog posts. Here are a few sites I suggested could help her come up with ideas.
Where to Find Ideas to Create Content
Quora is a questions and answers (Q&A) website and a great resource. Unfortunately, there are an incredible amount of dumb questions on it so you may have to work a bit to find questions that are not only relevant but will also lead to good blog posts.
Forums are another great resource. I haven’t given a link because you will have to search forums that are relevant to your website but trust me, there are lots to choose from, no matter what your site is about. You can also use forums to generate traffic, but we’ll talk about that later.
Other blogs similar to yours are great too. Now, you do need to be careful here. Finding ideas from other sites is not a problem. However, copying another site’s blog posts is a definite no-no. Find topics you like the sound of and then write your own ideas for that topic, remembering to think about your avatar at the same time.
Social media is another fine resource as well. For example, Facebook groups are great places to hang out and read questions posted by group members. Scroll down to find questions asked in the past as well. As long as the question is still relevant, you can write about it, no matter when it was asked.
There are other places to go as well but those three are certainly enough to get you going. As you do your own research, you will find those other sites. By the way, if you can find ideas that are connected by a theme, then you can also internally link them to each other. Remember, internal linking is great for SEO and should always be in the front of your mind.
C. Create an Outline for Your Post
Once you have decided on a topic to write about, you need to do an outline to help you keep you on track. It doesn’t need to be too detailed but it should have the following:
– Subheadings: If you’re going to write about 1000 words, you’ll need five or six subheadings. Google likes around 150 to 200 words between each subheading so the more you write, the more subheadings you’ll need.
– Supporting Ideas: These are the ideas that you’re going to write about relevant to your subheadings. You may only need one if you have enough material for 150 to 200 words. If you don’t, you may need two or even three.
– Details: Examples, stories, or statistics are all good things that make your blog post more interesting. Many writers think that details are boring but they are just the opposite. Let me try and show you why.
How to Add Details to Your Post
If I asked you what you did at the weekend and you told me you had a great meal (and stopped there), it would be one of the world’s most boring stories. Now, if you described to me the different main courses, the delicious side dishes, the exquisite wine that made up that great meal, it would be a lot more interesting.
To create awesome content, make sure you add lots of details to your blog posts because your readers will find them a lot more interesting and informative. Hopefully, that will mean that Google recognises what a great blog you’re writing and will keep your readers coming back again and again.
Remember, outlining doesn’t come naturally. There isn’t some gene we all have that makes us good at it. It takes practise to become good at outlining so make sure you practise. Like writing, your outlines get better the more you do them.
D. Make Sure Your Post Is Readable
When I have finished writing, I put whatever I wrote aside for about 24 hours. Then, I read through it looking for all the mistakes I have made. And I used to teach English Language and Literature and I still make mistakes. So, you will too.
Now, it doesn’t matter if you make the odd grammar mistake or two. And not many people will care if you make a spelling mistake or two either. Having said both those things, you’ll presumably be using some kind of word processing programs such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Both have grammar and spell checkers so use them to help.
However, the unfortunate thing is if you want to create awesome content, most grammar and spell checkers aren’t really good enough. For that, you need a dedicated program, which is what I use. Not only are they much better for checking spelling and grammar but they are also great for checking things like repetition, word choice, language conventions and so on. Check out Grammarly to see what I mean.
E. Write the Way You Speak
Did you ever watch that comedy show Friends? If you did, do you remember the episode where Chandler and Monica ask Joey to write a letter of reference when they want to adopt? In it, Joey used the synonym suggestion tool but he went so crazy that instead of signing his name Joey, he signed it ‘Baby Kangaroo’! Hahaha. Ohh, how the long winter nights fly by.
Anyhoo, the entire point of that little digression is that he ended up sounding completely artificial because he was trying to sound like someone he wasn’t. A point that both Chandler and Monica pointed out to him. So, don’t use ‘big’ words or write ridiculously complex sentences just to try and sound more educated. You won’t, you’ll just sound strange!
Think About This Article
If you think about the way I have written this article, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I’m writing more or less how I speak. It’s a little bit more formal to make everything a bit clearer (I hope) but if you met me and we chatted, you would know I wrote this book.
So, when you want to create awesome content, try and write in the same way that you speak. I don’t mean that if you come from Newcastle or Liverpool, you should write in Geordie or Scouse. Just that when you write, relax and make the words flow as if you were speaking. This is called ‘finding your voice’ and it is vital if you want to sound authentic.
F. What to Do When You Have Writer’s Block
To be honest, this doesn’t often happen to me but when it does, I have a plan. The trick is not to panic when you realise you can’t write, or you realise that what you’re writing is absolute rubbish. Here’s what to do in those situations.
Take a break. That’s it. Watch some TV, listen to the radio, or go for a walk. Or do something else if you don’t fancy any of those. The important thing to do is just stop writing. There is no point sitting there trying to write when it just isn’t working.
By the way, my own trick is to give up what I am writing, choose another topic to write about (I generally have a long list of topics I can choose from), and start writing again. I don’t normally need a break or a change of scenery, just a change of subject. But that’s just how I work. You do whatever works for you.
Wrapping How to Create Awesome Content Up
And there you have it. This section about how to create awesome content is in no way a replacement for a proper writing course. If you want to do a course in writing, you should try to find one that includes copywriting as well. That way, you are not only learning how to write but also how to sell while you’re writing. Now, let’s move on to talking about Search Engine Optimisation.