Every new piece of content starts with a blank page and a rough idea what to write about. To me, this blank page can be scary, making me think that I’ll never get anything good to paper. I think I’ve proven wrong on this assumption though, but I still continue to struggle with the first lines.
This blog post is special. It’s a meta post about how I write my posts. And maybe – hopefully – you can also take away something from it.
Do your research
So, in order to break the silence of my blank page, I usually start with a bit of research. Obviously, that depends though on the topic I’m writing about. If it’s something personal or reflective, like this post, I’ll “research” within my head. For all other topics that are supposed to be educational, I use Google.
On Google, I type in whatever topic I’m trying to write about and see what comes up first. I’ll read about 3-5 of the best-ranked articles or web pages to get an idea of what others write about this topic and take notes on what resonates with me.
Occasionally, if a book or lecture inspired me to blog about a certain topic, I go back to the pages of the book or script and re-read what I’ve learned about that topic. With that in mind, I might still go to Google to find out more.
Consider your readers
Already while doing my research, I consider my readers, the reason I’m writing for: I try to put myself into their perspective and ask myself what I would want to know if I was them. Thus, the keywords I type into Google are mostly long-tailed and in question format.
From these first questions I enter, Google tends to show me various related questions that I might have not thought about yet. So I click on those and read what else people (and most often myself as well) would like to learn about.
Also when writing, I keep my readers in the back of my head asking me those questions. That’s why a lot of my blog posts’ H2s consist of questions, by the way.
Bring your thoughts in order
Once I got past that first small idea of what I want to write about, I have a few sub-topics in mind. So I start to structure my thoughts in H2s. Usually, I either skip texting the H1 or I add ideas for several possibilities. But I’ll decide on that once the blog post is finished, so it will fit my content best.
The H2s is thus what I write first. They are the main structure of my text. I find it quite easy to write that structure down, because I love having the bigger picture in my head at first. For long and difficult pieces of content, I’ll then try sorting my notes to see which thoughts will go with which H2.
Just start writing – and continue
At this stage, my paper isn’t actually blank anymore – luckily. And this helps a lot to actually start filling it with (more) life. So once I got my H2 structure done, I usually have some introduction in mind that needs to frame the context of my H2s. Thus, I simply start writing down that context, I don’t think about it for long. And I mostly re-write it again in the end.
Then, depending on the difficulty of the topic, I’ll either start filling the different H2s with content that’s in my head directly, or I’ll start reviewing my notes that I sorted to the first H2. As I mentioned before, I try to have my reader in my mind while doing so. I’ll keep asking myself: Which information does my reader need first to understand what I’m talking about? What’s next? Or how can I go from broad to narrow information? As these questions guide me inside each paragraph, I mostly find it quite easy to continue writing.
Of course, there are moments when I get stuck and I don’t know how to continue. Then I go back to my notes to see what’s still missing or I go back to Google to get inspired by other people’s structures. Last, I text my H1, just before I finish my post.
Have someone revise your blog post
Once I’m done writing, I try to always have someone revise my blog post. This is especially important to me, since I try to get in the head of others (my readers) without knowing if I succeeded in doing so.
The feedback of someone from my target audience helps me to get a clearer picture of what I could improve still in my content piece. Also, it helps to get noticed about all those little mistakes one could have made. May it be the spelling, grammar mistakes or a wrong date / year / number that ended up being a typo.
Writing a blog post is never easy, but I’ve found my way to succeed in doing it quite well, I would say. Feel free to try out, if my tips can work for you as well – to help you get less stuck or scared by that blank page.