If you want to get started writing but haven’t yet put pen to paper (a.k.a. fingers to keyboard) what’s stopping you? You probably have a ton of ideas and lots of helpful information to share, but you just don’t know how to write your first blog post. Well, let me tell you from experience that the first one is always the hardest and getting started is the hardest part. From there it’s all gummy bears and rainbows.
Putting your thoughts into words and then publishing them on the internet can be a very scary thing. When I published my first blog post in 2009 I kept the webpage open all day. Every few minutes I would refresh to see if the number of views and comments went up. It’s very nerve-racking to create a blog on your website and make yourself vulnerable to millions of strangers online, but you know what? It’s also very rewarding – both personally and professionally.
Just imagine if I didn’t have the courage to publish my first blog post seven years ago. Where would I be today? My life probably would have gone in a totally different direction. I would probably still be working at a bank as a financial advisor and I wouldn’t be here sharing content marketing tips with you. Yes blogging definitely changed my life.
Nowadays the internet is full of content from brands and bloggers to aspiring writers and professionals. Content has to be much more than just words on a page if you want people to find and read what you’re writing. Your blog post has to be well formatted, get to the point, provide helpful tips and come from a reliable source a.k.a. you, you’re the professional, reliable source.
Writing for the web doesn’t have to be hard, writing can actually be very easy says Entrepreneur.com. You just need to know how to get started sharing your ideas. Online content has evolved so much over the last few years that good content is no longer personal thoughts in an online diary, it’s a trusted source of useful information, personal experiences and problem solving.
If that sounds like what you want to write then I can help you get started. If you want to know how to write your first blog post all you need is two things:
- An idea
- A reason
That’s it, that’s how to write your first blog post!
Once you have those two things the rest is easy and this is how you do it.
Pick a topic people want to read about
There’s no point in writing just to write, I think that point is very clear. It’s a waste of your time because you want people to read your blog post and you want potential clients to be searching for the topics you’re writing about. So that’s where you start finding ideas. If your clients continuously ask the same question, write about it and give them an answer. Here are some other ways to find a topic for your blog posts:
– Trending hot topic (Google search, Yahoo homepage, Twitter trending, CNN breaking news)
– News item (such as regulation change or new product details)
– Common questions (have you answered the same question more than once this week?)
Ask yourself What’s The Why
Why do you want to write about this? It has to be important enough for people to want to read. You’re probably thinking, “but Tahnya Kristina, you said that there are millions of people online and the internet is saturated with content so surely someone will want to read what I’m writing.” Yes I did say that, but you don’t want just anyone to read your content. You want the right people to find, read and contact you.
Who are the right people? Well, they’re your clients, and your clients’ referrals and potential clients who need your services. If you’re a financial advisor you don’t want to write about vacationing in Spain because travelling isn’t related to your business. However you can write about how to save for a once in a lifetime vacation or how to cut expenses to afford anything you want. Those topics are related to money which is related to your business.
If someone is planning a vacation and they search how to save for a family vacation in Google you want them to find you. But if someone is searching the best restaurants in Madrid you don’t want them to find you because you’re not a travel agency, you’re a financial advisor.
Pick a format
You can’t just write paragraphs of information on the internet, it’s not a magazine or a newspaper and that’s not how people read content online . Take this blog post for example, what do you notice? There’s a picture, there are short paragraphs and sub-headings. All of these things are best practices when learning how to write your first blog post. Why? Because people like to scan content before they invest in reading the entire article.
This blog post is a list format because I’m listing actions that you need to take when learning how to write your first blog post. When you start writing you can check off all these points as you complete them. By the end of this article you’re first blog post will be well underway.
Because of the subheadings and clear headline you actually don’t even need to read each paragraph, although I hope you do. All you need to do is scan the sub headings and you’re good to go. In the world of mobile devices and social media humans have developed very low attention spans, so giving readers snack-able content is a good idea. If they want to sit down for the full meal (a.k.a. read the entire article) they will, but don’t force them.
Additional blog post formats include:
– Step by step process
– How tos
– Personal stories
– Numbered lists
I would rather a reader (and hopefully potential client) scan my article, take action and find the information helpful than not read it at all. If they were searching for a topic and found this article through Google, Bing, Yahoo or social media. Then my job is done. If they love it, find it helpful and use the information then I’ve done my job twice – and that’s pretty great.
Write down all your thoughts
Once you’ve done these three things you’re on your way to writing your first blog post. Put some thought into it and take your time to really think of a subject that people want to read about as well as a topic that relates to your expertise. Always remember the why. You want to share helpful information and solve a problem or show a benefit to the reader.
Your mind is probably racing with a million ideas right now, don’t worry that’s normal. The best thing to do when thinking about how to write your first blog post is to take notes and scribble ideas down on a piece of paper, or type them into a Word Document. Don’t worry if they’re not organized, I’ll help you take those ideas and turn them into a well structured article.
Now that you know how to get started and what to expect when writing good content scroll back up to the top of this article and write down your ideas (make notes) for each of the three steps. It will be very helpful when we organize your thoughts and turn them into a published blog post. If you need to talk out your idea and brainstorm before actually writing it please contact me.
Don’t worry there’s no charge. I know that’s on your mind so I thought I’d get it out of the way. I offer free 30 minute brainstorming sessions for free. Why? Because I enjoy helping others get creative, because sometimes people just need to talk to each other and of course because I hope you’ll enjoy working with me. If you like me hopefully you’ll use my services sometime in the near future and refer a friend.
Congratulations, you’re on your way to writing your first blog post. Absorb all this information, get your thoughts down on paper and come back next Wednesday July 6 for part two of How To Write Your First Blog Post. Next week we’ll talk about the next step which is actually how to write and physically put pen to paper.