How to write a blog with structure and style
By Hannah Moss
Does the idea of writing blogs fill you with dread? You're in the right place! Follow our ultimate guide and you’ll be writing with confidence in no time.
Writing blogs can be a daunting prospect. Especially if you’re not a confident writer or you don’t know where to start.
If you haven't read our article How to establish a blog for your wellbeing business, it's a great place to start for an overview of what's involved in starting and running a blog. But today we're going to dive into the nitty gritty of how to write a blog post.
So, let’s assume you’ve researched your audience and chosen a relevant topic for your blog post. And you’ve written a killer headline too, right? If not, read Ideas for blog titles and how to write your own.
So, now you’ve got the basics down, what's next? Here comes the daunting part… writing the actual content of your blog post. Gulp! But don’t fear! Simply follow the steps below and you’ll be writing blogs like a pro in no time.
Key elements of writing blogs
When it comes to writing blogs, there are two key elements you need to be thinking about:
If your post has no structure, it'll be hard to follow or understand and your readers could get bored and give up. But, even with the clearest structure, if your writing lacks style, you risk losing your readers' attention and even reengagement with your content in future.
So, let's dive in to these two areas in more detail.
How to write a blog: Structure
One way to get started writing blogs is to open a blank document and type! However, if you spend a little extra time on the points below, you're more likely to end up with a better quality post.
1. Deliver on your promise
The most important thing to remember when writing a blog post is to deliver on your promise. Remember that killer headline you just wrote? Well, now you need to deliver on it.
If your headline is '8 Proven Benefits of a Regular Meditation Practice' and you only deliver 6 benefits, or you don’t make it clear what the 6 benefits are in your post, your readers will lose faith in you. Similarly, if your headline is 'How Yoga Retreats Help You Destress', but you don't fully address this statement and spend too long promoting your own retreats, your readers will feel dissatisfied and are unlikely to come back.
It’s essential that you instil a sense of expertise and authority into your blog content, as this will leave your readers feeling informed and provided for, and will help to build a strong reputation in your industry. Not delivering on the promises you make in your headlines can damage your business and your brand.
2. Write an outline
Before starting each post, try to create an outline, as it’ll make the writing process much easier. Try asking yourself these questions:
- How will your post benefit your audience?
- What action do you want your audience to take?
- What are the main points or messages you want to get across?
- Is there a particular stance or angle you’d like to approach the topic from?
- If you’re writing a list post, what are those list items?
- Can you break the post into sections and create sub-lists of the key points in each section?
You might want to create a template for your blogs to make it easier to write your outline each time. At Wildheart we use a blog brief with our clients, which allows us to capture the main elements for each post: title, URL, keywords, category, benefits, excerpt, call-to-action and SEO data.
3. Do your research
Depending on your topic and industry, you may need to do some research in order to write your post. What are others’ views or opinions of the topic? Are there pros and cons or differing arguments you want to get across?
You might want to see what your competitors are saying or doing around the topic. You might want to look at how this topic is trending online or across social media networks.
Are there useful articles you could link to? It'll help your organic SEO if you can include both internal and external links. Or relevant quotes you want to include? Make sure you include exact quotations and references to original sources.
4. Introduce yourself
Or rather, your topic. OK, now we're getting into the juicy stuff – the actual writing. Firstly, it’s good to include a paragraph or two of introduction to summarise what the post is about.
This is where you need to engage your readers the most. After the headline, the first few lines of your blog post are crucial for grabbing your readers’ attention. If they lose interest at this point, or aren’t intrigued enough to carry on reading, they’ll simply look elsewhere.
Remember: we humans are fickle, impatient creatures, especially when browsing online! So, make sure your introduction is entertaining and relevant, and this will encourage people to keep reading.
5. Body language
Next it’s time for the main body of your post. And this is where you'll appreciate that outline! Go back to those key points you listed and tackle them one by one, ensuring you’re writing clearly, simply and in a tone that resonates with your readers.
Your primary aim is to inform and educate, but don't make the mistake of using language that's too formal or stuffy. When we read content online we expect it to sound the way we'd say it, so use contractions and other speech-friendly conventions. Remember you want to remain approachable too, so try not to come across as too arrogant or passionate. Simply present the facts and your point of view, and use quotes and links to back up where relevant.
The secondary aim of your post is to entertain your audience. They want to learn, but it’s much easier to hold their attention if they're entertained too. See if you can weave in some interesting anecdotes, a funny story or use a lighthearted, chatty tone. But don’t overdo it! It's all about balance.
6. Come to a conclusion
You can conclude your blog post by summarising and reminding your readers of the key points. Check back to your outline – have you included everything you set out to cover? Did you get your main messages across clearly and simply?
Make sure you check back to your headline too. Have you delivered on your promise? The conclusion is a good place to link back to your initial promise, tying off your post nicely.
7. Include a call-to-action
And last but not least, ensure you’ve included a call-to-action. What do you want your readers to do next? Sign up to your email list? Contact you for a free consultation? Download a free guide?
Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear, concise and easy. Apart from educating and entertaining your audience, one of the main reasons for writing your post is to call your readers to action. So make sure they know exactly what you want them to do once they get to the end of the post.
How to write a blog: Style
Whether you’re covering the latest yoga literature or Lululemon’s newest range of tights, language is still the driving force – and if you want your voice to be heard, what you say is just as important as how you say it.
Remember: connection with your audience is something you should infuse into every aspect of your content. We have short attention spans these days, and ever increasing expectations of the content we consume.
So, read on to discover the best linguistic tools and writing tips to transform lifeless content into a real page-turner.
1. Use a conversational tone
As humans, we’re social creatures. We gravitate towards conversational language.
Honestly, there’s nothing more dull than an article that reads like an instruction manual. Nuances like tone and pacing are crucial when trying to effectively communicate through text or speech, so just make it natural.
For example, if your paragraphs are so dense that you feel like taking a break writing them, your audience is definitely going to need a break reading them too.
Conversational writing is a skill just like any other, but it’s a powerful way to inject personality into your work, and ultimately it’ll become second nature.
2. Keep it light
Big, fancy words might make you think you sound more intelligent to your audience, but most of the time you’ll just come off as unrelatable. Remember, making your audience feel stupid is a surefire way to turn them off from your content.
That doesn’t mean cutting out all words over three syllables, but it does mean using highly-specific industry terms – or needlessly recherché words – sparingly.
(Did you just need to Google the word recherché? I know I did, and that’s not a good practice for you to force on your audience.)
3. Make relevant references
A fantastic way to connect with your readers is to include inside jokes and pop culture references that are laser-focused on their likes and dislikes.
Nothing says, “this person gets me,” like communicating a shared love of a supported Bridge Pose, or a shared dislike of sweaty yoga pants found at the bottom of the washing pile. Or maybe that’s just me…?
Knowing your audience is the key to making this work, but this kind of insider information will help you in all aspects of your business. Investing in your audience will always pay off.
4. Use “bucket brigades”
Weird name, I know. I’ve been using these language tools throughout this article, and if they’re doing their job right, you won’t notice they were used intentionally.
Bucket brigades are words and phrases like:
- Here’s why,
- Best of all,
They’re all bridge phrases that keep you hooked. They encourage you to continue reading to discover the conclusion to the sentence.
Just like any linguistic tool, they’re to be used sparingly, but they’re incredibly effective at improving the flow of an article and keeping it conversational.
5. Craft a narrative
We’re using a novel analogy here, because what really makes content compelling is storytelling.
Constructing a loose narrative for your content helps to bring the words to life. It develops a trusting relationship with your audience, and provides a familiar structure for people to follow.
You may not know it, but most Hollywood films are based on the same age-old plot structures that are reused again and again.
The Hero’s Journey, for example, is a very precise series of challenges and character developments that show up in everything from Star Wars to The Little Mermaid (notice my pop culture references?).
Articles may seem locked into the typical intro, body and conclusion split – but then, so are many of our favourite films. There’s so much room for narrative within that structure.
Try opening with a personal anecdote, but don’t conclude it till the end of the article. This is an example of a story gap, and it subconsciously encourages our readers to read till the end to find out the conclusion to the story.
6. Use metaphors
I love a good metaphor.
Sure, their main purpose is to help explain difficult concepts in a manner that people can more easily understand, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about a good metaphor.
The bestselling novelist Stephen King loves metaphors for their ability to help the audience “see an old thing in a new and vivid way”.
Each one is yet another great opportunity to connect with your audience and demonstrate your understanding. Try to draw parallels between new points of interest, and things they can already relate with (double points if you can make it a pop culture reference).
I wanted to include a metaphor here but writing a metaphor about metaphors is surprisingly difficult!
7. Make it valuable
Okay, so this last one is a little more of a standard content recommendation, but it’s something that’s sorely missed from a lot of content online.
I mean sure, some people come to the web in search of pure trash entertainment (there’s a reason Buzzfeed still exists) but most want to get something from it.
As we’ve discussed, telling a story is a fantastic way to communicate information in an engaging way, but ultimately, if your story doesn’t deliver value somewhere along the way then it’s going to be a flop.
Ready to start writing blogs?
There's a lot to take in here and it'll take time to refine your blog writing process. You don't need to use all the stylistic techniques in every post, so don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.
You can always create a first draft, then go back to add personality. There’s a common misconception that professional writers radiate flawless writing, when in reality half of their work ends up on the chopping block.
Just remember that the more thought and planning that's gone into your post before you start writing, the better. And having a deeper understanding of style and tone of voice will fundamentally change how you approach your content.
We hope this post has given you plenty to think about when considering how to write a blog (see how we tied the conclusion back to the headline there?).
If you need help launching or kickstarting your own blog, or you'd like an expert opinion, why not book a free consultation? (And there's the call-to-action!).
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