The amazing 6-step recipe to help you bake perfect blogposts
Writing perfect blogposts is like baking sourdough bread (if you follow our meaning)
Real writing, just like real baking, is a learned skill. People typically avoid both for a lack of understanding but that's also what makes being good at either one so unbelievably valuable.
In particular, writing good blogposts shares a lot in common with baking great sourdough bread. How is that? Both require patience, a recipe, and sourdough starter.
What’s the starter? It’s a cultivated yeast fungus that ferments and gives the bread it’s sour flavor. Sounds gross, tastes incredible. Once created, the starter is never fully used. Chefs merely cut it in half and allow it to regenerate itself before the next batch. Your blog writing should mirror this: you generate a core idea about what it is that you’re accomplishing with the blog and throughout your job, you’ll replenish your starter with ideas. It will grow, and each time you need to write a blogpost, you can pinch off a bit and write about a customer story or your recent experiences.
In this way, blog writing becomes an ever-present part of doing business.
Once you understand the ingredients of course, it’s time to bake the bread, and here’s the 6-step recipe that you need to follow to do it successfully.
The 6-step recipe to writing a perfect blogpost:
1. Come up with a topic
This one is easier than you think. If you’re having trouble, here’s a way to think about it: your product or service solves a problem for your clients. If you bake bread, you solve hunger. Those that haven’t bought from you still have that problem. They’re still hungry. Through blogging, you can teach your customers not about how good your bread is, but how you can make them less hungry, and hint at where to find you.
Remember, you should only hint and not explicitly tell because your primary objective is to build value and keep people coming back. Selling too hard is like proposing on the first date. If you must pitch, pitch your service's category and mention that you are one of those options. This maintains your credibility with readers.
In the first phase of your blog writing, you should feel free to draw blog topics directly from questions that your actual customers ask: how to convert more leads, how to reduce administration time, how to increase revenue. How to get full.
[Also read: The top 3 places to fill up on fresh content ideas]
In the second phase you'll grow more sophisticated and you can get out ahead of their questions to educate them on problems that they didn’t know they had yet. Things like:
- how to know if your leads are bad
- 7 ways you might be wasting your time
- 5 channels for driving new revenue
- 6 ways to incorporate sourdough into fancy dinners.
These need not be titles, just topics. Great titles will come later.
Pro-tip: Interview an existing customer and answer their questions/challenges with blogposts.
2. Come up with an analogy
No educational blogpost is complete without an analogy, and the simpler the better. Analogies are time-saving mental shortcuts that connect your service to something that clients already know, accelerating their understanding of it. A good analogy (like our sourdough bread one) is the glue that holds everything in your post in a recognizable shape.
Your analogy should aim to break down whatever’s most complicated about your product or service into a simpler and more digestible format. This allows you to drop the industry jargon and be clear. It turns daunting statements like “It’s a marketing automation system” into “It’s like Amazon recommendations, but with emails.”
Start your post off with this analogy and refer back to it throughout.
Pro Tip: The simpler the analogy the better. If you have to spend more than 5 consecutive lines explaining it, it’s too complex.
3. Get it all down on paper
Now it’s go-time. Unleash the muse and aim to get the entire thing down on paper in one sitting - just start writing whatever comes to mind and let it go on for as long as it has to. It’s not uncommon to write two or three times as long of a post in the rough draft stage. Like a great sourdough, the more you start with and the longer you let it ferment, the tastier it turns out when it’s pared down and consumed.
4. Take your last paragraph and move it to the beginning
The act of writing forces you to think things out and your story, topic, analogies, and content evolve as you write. By the time you’re done, you’ve usually figured out what it was that you were really writing about in the first place. You should take that final paragraph and like a pumpkin on a headless horseman, place it where the head used to be. Revise it to serve as a good intro, and then do one or two revisions to comb back through to make everything that follows make sense in light of your re-heading.
5. Let it sit overnight, come back and revise
Why do we let our sourdough bread dough sit? Because it settles and all of the flavors start to mix together in new and exciting ways. So it is with your blog writing that by letting it sit overnight, you’ll find that the flavor is different in a new day's light and you’ll be able to approach it from a more critical angle. Go back through and revise a few more times and make sure of the following:
- Your thesis clearly ties back to the subject
- Your paragraphs all tie back to the thesis
- Omit needless words
6. Choose the title and image
With your blogpost done, there’s nothing left to do but butter it up. Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick offer a great acronym to remember when writing blog headlines: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories (SUCCESS, without the last S). Here’s an example:
Abraham Lincoln and sales? I’m intrigued, go on. There's a lot packed in there but it hits most of the key points and presents a concrete offer: read this and you'll learn how to save your sales team.
For more reading, BuzzSumo has a great article on writing headlines.
For choosing the image, you want to align it with your analogy. The trifecta of blogpost success is having the image, the headline, and the subject all relate back to it.
When you've narrowed your image down to several options, choose the one that's the most eye catching, has the highest contrast, and has the most action or movement on it.
Now you have the recipe, go bake the bread!
You're not disappointed that the post is over are you? Don't fear writing blogposts, you'll find that they're easier than you think and like any skill, it simply takes practice. Once you gain some momentum you will find that you start dreaming up analogies and topics while engaged in other work. You'll build upon your starter until you find that it's rising out the pan and you don't have time to keep up with all of the ideas. Thats when it really takes off and you start driving the traffic and visors that you had hoped for!
(And of course, by popular demand, here's how to actually bake sourdough bread)