Sitting down to write a blog post can be intimidating, especially if the whole idea of blogging is new to you. With so many important responsibilities competing for your attention, I know it’s easy to let this one slide.
Yet if you start blogging and then stop, it can damage your credibility. And if you’re not blogging at all, you could be missing out on attracting new customers and gaining more visibility for your business.
I often suggest that new or newly stuck business bloggers use a structure so they have somewhere to start, and readers and writers agree that the top 10 list is one of the best.
(If you’re using my weekly blogging method, a top 10 list makes a great “how to” article for your monthly feature.)
Ready to jump in? I’ve put together these simple steps for writing a top 10 article as a blog post:
- Define your audience. Think about the ONE ideal reader you are writing this article for. Imagine he or she is sitting across the desk from you. What are the types of problems you can solve for this person?
- Start with the title. What title might grab that person’s attention? Here are some examples to get you started:
Top 10 Ways To
Top 10 Reasons Why
Top 10 Benefits Of
Top 10 Signs That You
Top 10 Mistakes
Top 10 Symptoms Of
Top 10 Clues That
Top 10 Times To
Top 10 Excuses For
Top 10 Lessons About
Top 10 Rules/Commandments Of
Top 10 Myths About
Top 10 Truths About
Top 10 Tips For
Top 10 Steps To
Top 10 Uses For
Top 10 Resources For
- Open the floodgates. Brainstorm and write freely without censoring yourself. See just how many ideas you can come up with.
- Select the best. Now pare down your notes and choose the 10 tips you think are strongest. Maybe there aren’t 10, and that’s okay, too. Top 5 and Top 7 lists also work well!
- Revise for consistency. Check that all list item titles are approximately the same length and style, and only contain one point. They should all be short sentences or headings, from one to five words long.
- Give more information. Expand each of your points into one or two sentences that give the reader more information. Again, try to be consistent with the length and format of each item.
- Introduce your article. Try to answer these two questions: What is the problem you are solving for the reader? What impact might this problem be having? This paragraph can also serve as your blog post’s excerpt for social media links and search engine results.
- Conclude your article. At the end of your article, sum up what you’ve delivered and point out again why this is an important issue.
- Edit and proofread your article. Step away from your writing for a few hours or even a few days, so that when you come back you can be more objective. Read the article out loud and listen for any run-on sentences, confusing ideas or missing words.
- Publish and promote. Post the blog post onto your site and immediately send the link to your social media contacts. Then follow up with additional social media posts during the week.
If you’re stuck in the blogging process, this 10-step method can jump-start your creativity. And if your 10 tips succeed in helping someone with an important problem, that could open the door to new readers, new referrals and new business.