Have you ever read a captivating blog post from your favourite author and wondered how to write blog posts just like it?
They make it seem so simple, while you struggle for hours to write one post for your business.
Have you ever stopped to think what it is about those posts that appeal to you so much?
Is it the way the headline entices you to click?
Or that the writer genuinely understands how you feel?
Maybe it’s because it seems that they wrote it exclusively for you.
How to Write Blog Posts Using Fairy Dust
Perhaps you think there’s a ‘magic’ formula or some trick of the trade?
Perhaps there is. Perhaps there’s just a sprinkling of fairy dust involved.
Let’s take a look at what the fairy dust could be.
Copying the Masters
Sometimes great writers can make new bloggers feel intimidated and amateurish.
But it’s important to recognise that exceptional writers were once amateurs.
They learned that great writing requires skill, more than talent.
So they studied writing and in the process discovered a trick or two.
They discovered the BIGGEST TRICK OF ALL.
That to be a great writer – they should copy the masters.
‘You want to learn how to write blog posts like the pros, but copying’s cheating.’ (I hear you say).
Let me clarify.
Copying doesn’t mean stealing
Copying isn’t about replicating a blog post word for word. It’s about deconstruction —that is, analysing the framework and the writing style, and breaking down each sentence to see what techniques the author has used.
What about Originality?
There’s a lot of pressure in our society to be ‘original’, to stand out from the crowd. But it’s arguable that originality even exists. Google the question “Does originality exist?” and you’ll get many responses.
(Ah the science of philosophy).
Copying the masters has been around for centuries
Since it’s opening in 1793, the Louvre permits amateur and professional artists to copy from its collection. An experience shared with the likes of Dali, Degas, Picasso and Cezanne.
Cezanne is quoted as saying:
“The Louve is the book from which we all learn to read.”
Copying Exists Wherever There is Creativity
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
“Only those with no memory insist on their originality.”
“I refuse to believe that Hendrix had the last possessed hand, that Joplin had the last drunken throat, that Morrison had the last enlightened mind.”
So why not do the same with writing?
You can bet your bottom dollar that the writers you study use a framework and techniques they copied from their favourite writers. So why don’t you?
HERE’S THE FAIRY DUST, THE SPRINKLING OF KNOWLEDGE, THE WHAT IT TAKES TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE BLOG POSTS AND TURN HO-HUM INTO THE EXTRAORDINARY.
…drum roll please
ANALYSE YOUR FAVOURITE BLOG POSTS
(this technique works for any piece of writing)
Yep, you’re going to pull them apart, technique by technique, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, word by word and image by image.
Look for the fairy dust.
10 SIMPLE STEPS TO WRITING BLOG POSTS LIKE A PRO
Step 1: Conduct Research
Who are your favourite blog writers?
Find two or three blog posts from your favourite blogger(s) and print them out.
Then grab a coffee and some different coloured highlighters and a pen, then kick back in a comfy chair — because this will take an hour or so.
Are you a reluctant writer?
If you’re a reluctant writer, you may not be 100% confident on what constitutes good or bad writing.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you focus on writing that appeals to you and interests you.
Once you’ve analysed a couple of posts, you’ll begin to see the difference.
EXAMINE THE LAYOUT OF THE BLOG POST
Step 2: Analyse the post length
- What’s the length of the post?
You don’t need to get specific about this; an estimate will do. The average page – double spaced – has around 200 words. The average blog post is around 1500 words.
If you have more than one post from the same author, check if the lengths of the posts vary? Some may be around 1000 words and others 2,500 for example.
Step 3: Examine the Paragraphs
Good writing means short paragraphs. No one wants to read a wall of text – it makes your eyes glass over –
How does the writer handle their paragraphs?
- Are they long or short?
- How many sentences are in each one? Are there any single sentence paragraphs? Do short paragraphs follow long paragraphs?
- If so, how often is this technique used?
Next to each paragraph, make a note of how many sentences and lines it has.
- Do you see a pattern?
- How does this affect the flow and rhythm when reading the post?
Step 4: Look for Links
Links are essential for SEO. They also encourage the reader to check out your other blog posts.
- How many internal links are there? (These are links leading to other posts on the author’s website)
- How many external links are there? (these are links leading to third party websites)
- How are they incorporated into the text?
- Are they always relevant?
ANALYSE THE WRITING
Step 5: Study the headline
Did you know that 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your content?
The job of a headline is to grab attention.
- How successful is the headline in achieving this?
- What type of headline is it? For example: Is it a list (top 10) headline? Or a How-To (do something) headline?
- What compelled you to click on it? Does it promise a benefit to the reader? How long is it? What words does it contain?
- How do the headlines differ from one blog post to the next?
- There’s a skill to writing a good headline. It takes lots of practice.
Top tip: Create a swipe file and start collecting good headlines. And refer to them
Step 6: Look at the subheadings
Subheadings work as signposts for information that follows.
They break up the text into sections and to allow busy people to skim over the content.
Their purpose is to capture those skimmers’ attention and entice them to read on.
Traditionally, in blog posts, a subheading appears once every 300 words.
- How long are the subheadings?
- How often do they appear?
- What words has the author used?
- Do they compel you to keep reading? If so, why?
Step 7: Examine the opening sentence
Master writers spend most of their time crafting the first sentence because it has a lot of work to do.
Generally, the opening sentence is a single line, followed by 2 or 3 short sentences. The overall purpose of the opening is to engage the reader.
The job of the first sentence is to get them to read the second sentence.
The job of the second sentence is to get them to read the third sentence, and so on.
- Take a look at the opening; how does it begin?
- Does it open with a bang? A statement or a question? A statistic or fact? If so, does it draw you in and make you want to keep reading?
- Do the opening sentences follow with a statement of what to expect if you continue reading this piece?
- If so, how do they do this?
- Where does this appear – how far into the piece?
Step 8: Explore the Words
- Does the writer use short snappy verbs like hurry, guide, slide, shine, grip, grasp?
- Or multiple syllable verbs like spearheaded, formulated, consolidated, stimulated?
- Are certain words repeated?
- Have they used any particular writing techniques, such as alliteration, metaphor, or hyperbole?
- Do they use words that stimulate your senses like glittering, radiant, lumpy, spicy, mumble?
- Any acronyms (AFAYK)* or business-speak? (To get buy-in we must touch base with our corporate values)
- Are there any unusual words or slang? Blah, Gobbledygook, Xertz* (yes really).
*AFAYK – as far as I know. *Xertz – to drink something quickly
Step 9: Go through the post and highlight (using a different colour for each) examples of:
- Stories or metaphors used
- The writer’s opinions, conclusions or points of view
- Examples of interesting and engaging writing techniques or unusual word choices
- When the writer has used the word you or your, we or our.
- How does this make you feel? How many times are they used? Count them.
- When the author refers to themselves. For example:
“In the past two years I’ve studied hundreds of blog posts.” or “When I edit, I look for….” How many times have they done this? How does this make you feel?
Step 10: Scrutinise the Ending/Conclusion
A good ending wraps up the piece and inspires the reader to implement the writer’s advice. It may also encourage the reader to take action on something.
- How has the writer wrapped up the blog post?
- Does it feel finished and balanced?
- Does it ask you to do something?
- Does it repeat the essence of the message?
- Does it sum the piece up or refer to the opening paragraph?
Stop Doubting Yourself
Learning how to write blog posts like a pro is difficult.
At times you may feel overwhelmed.
You may even continue to feel intimidated when you read a staggeringly well-written blog post… DON’T.
Because now you understand the writing techniques behind your favourite posts.
You recognise the framework and the tips and tricks they’ve used.
You are no longer an amateur. You’re a student.
See the distinction?
Whenever you come across a fantastic piece of writing, pull it apart.
Copy the techniques.
The more you copy, the more masterful you’ll become.