How To Create A Blog Post in 10 Easy Steps

Written by Matt Charney

Blogging is a fact of life in the World of Work these days. Whether you’re guest-posting to create “expert status” in an industry, creating a showcase for your work as a jobseeker or you’ve just been tasked with managing or creating the corporate blog, chances are no matter your position, you might be asked to write a blog post one of these days. Fortunately, if you understand just what blogging is, or isn’t, you’ll be able to come up with a polished, easy to read piece that will ultimately serve your professional purpose.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a writer to blog, nor do you need to actually have anything new to say. After all, you’re creating digestible content that’s probably going to get skimmed – that is, if anyone actually reads your stuff (and chances are, they won’t, at first…particularly if it’s a corporate blog).

But if the fact that blogging does take time and often lots of effort doesn’t dissuade you, or if your solipsism is sated by any byline, here are 10 steps to creating a blog post:

Creating is the imperative word here, because the more writing you do, the more time you’re spending. And in that spirit, on to the list:

1. Choose A Keyword: Many assume that it’s imperative to choose a topic to blog about. This adds an unnecessary level of complexity, because topics imply expertise or personal investment, and almost always more than 500 words to fully flush out. Keywords, on the other hand, are single words or phrases that are effective simply through repetition – and search engines reward keyword density. This is a fancy way of saying that the only audience that really matters is, in fact, an algorithm.

The most effective way to find a keyword is to use Google Insights (because, c’mon, even Bill Gates doesn’t use Bing) and looking up the highest impact, lowest competition search terms. These are constantly in flux, so it’s nice to verify how well these keywords resonate by cross-referencing their frequency on Twitter.

You will quickly see that an article on Justin Bieber is going to have more impact than, say, if you were to post the cure for cancer, but remember: When it comes to blogging, it’s not about what you want – it’s about what the people want. And turns out, it’s generally the lowest common denominator. This means that if you’re tasked with the  job of actually having to blog for business, you’ll need to figure out a really creative way to incorporate current events, celebrity gossip, or relevant industry happenings.

Which might explain why so many editorial calendars essentially overlap the Gregorian one.

2. Choose A Number: Now that you’ve got a topic figured out, you’ve pretty much added the noun to the Mad Lib that is the blogging genre. Now, it’s time to pick a number, preferably a multiple of 5, or the number corresponding to the current calendar year. The lower the number, the less you have to write. That’s right folks, lists are wildly appropriate here. Think of the cover of your favorite magazine, chances are there’s a list on the front cover.

3. Add The Phrase “How To”: Remember, blogs aren’t designed to get people to actually think, only give the illusion of intellectual edification, kind of like Sudoku or majoring in a liberal art. And they want advice, not opinions. This is why the phrase “How To” is a blog title’s best friend. Okay, to back up the snark a little bit, the truth is you need to show people how to do what you’re actually proposing. Taking your post from the vague and abstract into the actual functional steps helps you, and your readers.

4. Choose A Verb: Because every complete sentence needs a verb. This is a good place to work in some buzzwords, like engage, or innovate or lead. And while it’s not covered by Strunk & White, the correct tense when creating a blog title is always the present – mostly because action verbs make for more effective tweets. Passive voice is rarely an option, unless you’re already a thought leader.

5. Combine Steps 1-4: The formula is simple: How To + Verb + Number + Keyword = good blog title. For an example, see the really big, bold text at the top of this story. You know how they say math is a universal language? Well, in this case they’re right. Of course, not every title or headline needs to be this formulaic but when you’re stuck, it’s a huge help.

6. Write A Specious Lead: The eye is naturally drawn to white space, a phenomenon well understood by effective cinematographers, bloggers and segregationists. That’s why you shouldn’t think of your audience as readers, because most will avoid any text block and simply scan for bolded text. With more and more content on the web competing for space in the readers’ mind, it’s important to dice your content into easily digestable chunks. This doesn’t mean dumbing down your premise, it simply means you should highlight the areas that are especially important.

7. Create A List: Lists are the best way to work in a bunch of bolded text without anyone being aware that you’re essentially psychologically manipulating them. The exact number of your list should correspond to the number you’ve selected in step two, but don’t worry, you can always change your number if you have too much or not enough content.

If that number is less than 10, you’ll need to craft some copy to accompany the bolded text so that people know you actually put some time and thought into this post, even if they don’t have time to fully process it at the moment. Be thoughtful of your readers and give them a way to save your blog post for later, ideally with a share button or a service like, Storify or Read Later. This is a great place to use the keyword you’ve identified in step #2 to help boost SEO.

If the number is greater than 10, people will assume you’ve put so much time into putting the list together that it’s OK if you don’t have any copy to accompany it, but you’ll likely need to lay off the bolded text in favor of white space. But that’s OK, because people are more likely to scroll down with their cursors than scroll across with their eyes.

8. Add Quotations and Links: “This not only helps free up space, but also gives the illusion of external expertise, even if there isn’t one present,” according to a completely arbitrary source that you’ve never heard of. But that’s why you add links, according to blogger Zahid Lilani, who we hadn’t heard of before Googling “Linkbacks in Blogs.” Lilani’s post, 5 Simple Ways To Get Linkbacks for Your Blog, is the top ranking result, and proof that he probably gets the concept – and the numbered list formula for blogging success.

Then, add some links to your own blog posts – but not too many or people won’t click on them, which is the entire point. And don’t worry, the internal links you use don’t actually need to have anything to do with your selected anchor text. While these tips might seem a bit tongue in cheek, it is good form to link to others in your field and attribute properly to give your original premise some weight, not only in the mind of your readers, but in the search engine. After all you want people to start associating your name and company with the subject in question. As an added bonus, the more you do this, the more you will learn, not only about your industry but about the comaprative players in it.

9. Insert A Picture:: Worth a thousand words (and one trackback, courtesy of A visual to accompany your post is invaluable, not just for the SEO boost (remember to properly title that sucker) but because many people think visually. It’s an easy step to forget in a busy world and navigating creative commons can be a little tricky, but it’s worth it.

10. Add A Quick Conclusion:: If you don’t have anything profound to add in your wrap-up, consider saying something snarky. After all, that’s what’s referred to as “having a voice.” Although as this list should demonstrate, that’s pretty overrated. Okay in all seriousness, writing one blog post is easy. Writing several, week after week? That can be difficult. Setting a humorous or at least approachable tone is recommended, particularly if your subject is difficult to understand or replete with buzzwords. I hope this post will help when you get stuck.

Got those Blogging Blues? #TChat Preview

If so, you’re probably not alone.  According to reports, there are some 25 billion registered blogs out there on the world-wide web. However, only 450 million are considered “active.”  While that’s less than 1% of what’s registered actually putting out content, it’s still enough to create a lot of “noise” in the blogsphere.   And whether you’re a new blogger or the medium is ‘old-hat’ to you, trying to distinguish yourself can still be overwhelming.

It leaves many asking the question, “Why bother blogging to begin with?”

Despite the old saying that there are only 12 original themes, there’s still room on the net for your ideas, too.  The difference for many is found in the spin rather than the subject.  The subject matter may not be new, but the way that you present the idea can be.  You can maintain creativity by mixing things up: use photos, collaborate efforts with other writers or professional colleagues, try a vlog (video blog), etc…

To build sustainability, you need more than regular, fresh and compelling content around a centralized theme – you need patience as well.  Your readership won’t likely show up in droves when you put up your “I’m Here!” inaugural post.   To gain a respectable following, you’ll have to consistently market your content on other platforms to those that are interested in the subjects on which you have something to say.

You definitely want an idea of what you’re trying to get out of it going in – and the answer ought not be money!  At least not directly, anyway. Despite the enticing banners and messages many blogging platforms put out to doe-eyed bloggers; seducing them with the promise and potential of converting their hobby into a money maker, the reality is that there’s very little money to be made directly from a blog (none for most).

That being said, just because you want to have a blog doesn’t necessarily mean you should.  There’s a lot that goes into putting together a successful blog that stands the test of time. And many (most, if you look at the massive gap between registered and active blogs) aren’t up to the challenge.  Blogging is best suited for “long-form” content sharing. It’s the most effective medium if the message you want to share can’t be adequately expressed in a 5 minute ‘vlog,’ the meaning derived from pictures, or requires more than 140-characters to get across.

Speaking of 140-characters,  join us tonight as we explore content, best practices, and the writing equivalents of “What not to Wear” in tonight’s #TChat discussion topic:  “Blogging & Beyond.”   Here’s a look at tonight’s questions, along with recommended reading:

1)      What makes content effective and compelling?  Are there universal benchmarks or is it subjective?

Recommended Reading:  “Principles of Effective Blog Design”  by Peep Laja

2)      What are some blogging best practices?  How does blogging fit in with a larger social media strategy?

Recommended Reading:  “The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers” by Annabel Candy

3)      What advice do you have for individuals or brands looking to blog?  Any lessons learned?

Recommended Reading:  “Blogging, Copyright, and Blog Plagiarism”  & “When Your Blog is My Content” by Jessica Miller-Merrell

4)      In 140 characters or less: what are some of your favorite work-related blogs and why?

Recommended Reading:  Some of mine are TalentCulture, MonsterThinking, Fistful of Talent, Blogging4Jobs, and TheOneCrystal (mine, of course!)

5)      Does someone have to be a good writer to be a good blogger?  Why or why not?

Recommended Reading:  “Must you be a Good Writer to be a Successful Blogger?” by Bailey Digger

6)      What are some of the biggest mistakes or misconceptions around blogging and online content creation?

Recommended Reading:  “18 Stupid Mistakes Bloggers Make in their First Year” by Christine Kane  & “8 Mistakes Too Many Bloggers Make” by David Risley


I’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night along with co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @TheOneCrystal and our community handle @TalentCulture

How to Blog Without a Blog

While many students and professionals have jumped into the blogosphere to share their POV with the world on different topics, industries and areas of interest, some out there are more hesitant to make the investment and commitment to full-time blogging.

This may be due in part to them a) not knowing how to build and maintain a blog, b) not knowing exactly what to write about and/or c) not knowing whether they will have the time and energy necessary to keep it updated on a regular basis.

However, what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to start and maintain your own individual blog to share your POV and your personal brand online.  There are several ways you can start contributing immediately to bloggerdom and working your way up to potentially owning and managing your own blog down the road.

  • Commenting: Commenting on others’ blog posts can help you start networking and engaging your name and opinion with other bloggers.  Pick a couple blogs to follow on a weekly basis and contribute your comment.  Make sure you always add value to each post.  You can also use Google Alerts to flag new posts containing specific keywords.
  • HARO: (HARO) is FREE tool that connects professionals and students with bloggers, journalists, writers and authors seeking sources for their articles and publications.  This is a great way to get interviewed and quoted across various blogs and other media outlets.  It also becomes a nice credential to feature in interviews and career networking.
  • Twitter: Micro-blogging using services and platforms like Twitter gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions, link your followers to valuable resources, articles and other information online and work your way up to more substantial blog contributions.
  • Guest Blogging: For those of you who want to try your hand at full-length articles, consider contributing a periodic guest post to one or more blogs in your industry.  It’s best to reach out to the blog owners and ask permission first.  This will start a relationship with them, but will also allow you to customize your content to their needs.
  • Team Blogging: If you’re ready for more regular contributions, reach out to a team blog and ask to join as a weekly or more regular contributor.  You can also start your own team blog if you can recruit some fellow bloggers to join you.  This will help you all share the load and commitment while giving all of your personal brands exposure to new audiences.

Once you get a good feel for contributing, if you decide you’re ready to launch your own blog, I definitely recommend you use the WordPress blogging platform.

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress-hosted and self-hosted.

You can host your blog for free with the WordPress-hosted version via WordPress OR for a monthly fee with the self-hosted version via third-party web host. You may think this is a no-brainer and that you should go with the free WordPress-hosted version. Do what you please, but the WordPress-hosted version leaves you with less control over your blog and will end up costing you more in the end due to the fees WordPress charges for any customizations you may desire (including adding your own custom domain name and your own themes and designs).

I recommend you go with the self-hosted version and check out which is an easy-to-use hosting service that will help you get your new WordPress blog up and running in a matter of minutes.

Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.