For several years, I wrote for newspapers and magazines. Yet, when I write for a blog, I encounter several challenges. To tackle them, I ask myself questions to organize my ideas and write. Here I share them because I believe they can help others write blog posts too.
1. What are the main topic and goals of the blog I am writing for?
This is the first question I ask myself before looking for a topic to write about.
For example, here in Content Strategy Explained the topic we focus on is the knowledge and practice of Content Strategy. We seek to share what we learn in the Master in Content Strategy at FH JOANNEUM. That means I should only look for and write about topics that match that criterion.
Being aware of the goal of the blog I write for helps me in two ways. First, it helps me to focus. This is key because I find it easy to lose track of the reason why I am writing in the first place. Second, it provides me with a specific spectrum of topics I can choose from.
2. What topic or approach can I use to write with confidence?
Let me confess. Every time I have to write about a topic of Content Strategy, I start self-doubting. After all, I have only been learning about this field of knowledge for a year and a half. That does not make me an expert at all. How can I write then, feeling confident about myself? What can I say, that does not make me feel like a fraud to my readers?
My technique to write with confidence is choosing topics I have some experience with.
For example, I write about a method I used in a project. Or about a resource, like a book or a tool I learned in the masters. I can also talk about an experience I have had in my professional life.
3. Why would the topic be interesting for the readers of the blog?
Whatever topic I write about, it should be interesting for whoever might read it. After all, what would be the point of writing only for myself?
To know what could be interesting for the readers, I check the target use of the blog.
For example, here in Content Strategy Explained, the target groups are students or practitioners of Content Strategy. People who are looking for new sources or perspectives.
Knowing the audience helps me look for topics that can be of interest to it.
4. What new content can I contribute?
Contributing new content is a goal I always have in my mind when writing a blogpost. I learned this goal as a journalist. In journalism, you look for news and stories no one has told before. Also, when you write for media you have several competitors. So whatever topic you write about, you need to add something new. In the case of blogs, this also applies.
Whatever topic you want to write about, someone else already wrote about it. And I do not mean that one should invent the wheel again. But as you do when you cook, you can always add a new flavour. I find it important to add a bit of your taste to the world wide web.
To tackle this, when I have an idea of a topic in mind, I search on Google and check what others have written about it. Then I ask myself, “What can I add? A new perspective? A practical experience? A not-so-covered reference?”.
I chose one approach and start writing.
5. What visual elements can I use to make the text easier to read?
A text is always enriched by graphic elements that support it. I learned about this by working with designers and photographers in newspapers and magazines. From printed journalism, I know no one wants to read a block of pure text (unless it is a novel). Besides, an image, a graph, or an infographic can add value, and help your readers get your point. And in the world of social media, images that add content can be a valuable piece to share.
So, before starting to write a blog post, I ask myself what visual elements I can use. It is important for me that the graphic element is not only “pretty” but adds value to the text.
Final words about my approach to writing blog posts
The questions I share here are a key part of the process I follow when writing for this blog. Answering them helps me choose topics to write about and decide how to approach them.
Of course, there are extra issues to worry about when writing blog posts, and SEO is a key one. But that is a broad topic enough for a different post.
Another consideration I have in mind when writing a blog post is that the text does not have to be perfect. The point when writing a post is that the content adds value to the readers.
Other approaches on how to write a blog post
I wrote this post for the course “Portfolio Deliverables” for my master’s. Its goal is to reflect in action on the process one has for writing blog posts.
My classmates also shared their processes. Their reflections offer different interesting approaches. I invite you to read them, through the following links.