[Starting a Successful Blog] Lesson 8
As a continuation from the previous lesson, today's the day you create your very first blog post!
Today's gonna be another long but power-packed lesson. Get your research from yesterday's lesson ready.
Step 3: Spend at least 1 hour outlining your blog post, working with your blog topic. For this lesson, we will use an article I wrote, CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S BS. (PART 1), as our case study to help you understand better.
- Use your selected blog post idea which you got from the blog title generators as a Working Title.
So in the case study, before it was finally titled as CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S BS. (PART 1), the Working Title could have been Lies About Calories, Eating & Exercising.
The key is not to fuss over it but to capture the main ideas of what this blog post is going to be about.
- Write a quick introduction: A short paragraph of what this post is going to be about.
There's 3 introductions below for your reference of how you can create a short paragraph to introduce what your blog post is going to be about.
This entire calories hoo-haa--cutting calories, counting calories, caloric deficit, eating less and exercise more, calories in and calories out--seem to be worming itself deep into our minds.
We've been told calories in, calories out.
Growing fat? Then eat less, exercise more.
We've been lied to all these while.
Not the usual fear of failure.
Nor fear of rejection.
Not that both of these usual suspects aren't paralysing enough.
But there's a way more subtle fear going on. On top of 101 other kinds of fear that any writer, blogger, internet marketer, online business owner might face.
This one is slippery, not so much a snake, but a worm. So small that it goes unnoticed all, or if not most, of the time.
You can't see it. It just leaves traces of its presence through the feeling it gives you.
So what the heck is it?
As I was almost done writing Why Most Writers Give Up Before They Even Start? (If You Have Been Procrastinating, Read This.) this idea of setting the right intention before you even start writing struck me.
So I attended a web training this morning—on the day I wrote this (for anyone who is reading this after the day I wrote this so I don’t mislead anybody)—and it really inspired me. (Thanks Joanne!)
Even though it was a training for my global e-commerce business, I realized it applies to writing as well. Am not going to go into detail what that training was all about because it’s not the intention of this post.
The intention of this post, is to help you start writing with the right intention.
- Crafting your first paragraph
- Have a subheading on why your topic matters to your reader.
- Tell them upfront why should they care about what you’re going to say. What’s in it for them?
- Optional: You can also provide them with an outline of what they can expect, quickly introducing the 3-5 key points in your blog post, which also helps you structure your blog post as well.
Using our case study, CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S BS. (PART 1)
Subheading: CALORIES, CALORIES, AND MORE CALORIES
Short paragraph on why they should care:
I mean, I am sure you have heard of eating fewer calories to lose weight.
But have you ever, before you charged ahead and ate less, wondered what’s a calorie?
Nah, don't worry. If you didn't, you're not alone.
I have never stopped once to think about that before I went ahead to eat less and exercise more, only to find myself so painfully hungry.
So after I decided to screw this whole concept of cutting calories, because it obviously wasn't working out for me, I began to wonder everything I knew about calories.
Here’s what I have lined up for you in this post.
- Point 1 to 5
As seen in outline above, there's a flow from one point to the next. This is why mapping out your ideas and thoughts help you to formulate a clearer structure of the points in your blog post.
It's up to you whether you want to name each point in your blog post as a subheading. In the case study, I alternated between having the point as the name of the subheading and creating a different name for the point so that the subheadings will not be long and clumsy.
Here's a breakdown of each point and its subheading:
Point 1: Does eat less, exercise more really work?
Subheading 1: What's Calorie?
Point 2: Isn't losing weight just calories in, calories out?
Subheading 2: Eat Less, Exercise More
Point 3: A calorie is NOT a calorie. Why?
Subheading 3: So, No. A Calorie is Not A Calorie.
Point 4: Because there are Good calories and Bad calories.
Subheading 4: Good Calories, Bad Calories.
Point 5: How much do you need to eat?
Subheading 5: You Need Calories.
Mapping out the points allow you to have a clearer idea what each point is about. And once you know what the gist of each point is, and its subheading, you can then proceed to craft the content for each point with clarity that it must lead to the next point.
You can read how break up the points and created a flow from one point to the other for CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S BS. (PART 1).
Make a strong closing for your blog post. How?
Remember in the first paragraph after the introduction you have to pique the reader's interest by telling them why they should care?
In this paragraph, you are driving home the core message on whatever you have been telling them. "This is WHY you should care."
Spell it out for them in summary, why they should give a damn about your blog post if they haven't already gotten it.
You might have noticed that for the case study, the conclusion comes in a second blog post: CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S BS. (PART 2).
And no. The conclusion is not THE END of your blog post. You just told them why they should give a damn. Now you've got them thinking, "So what?"
Get them to do something.
For example, in the case study, the call-to-action in the first blog post led them naturally to read the second blog post because they want to find out for themselves so what about calories?
And after the conclusion in the second blog post, my call-to-action is to get them reading the next blog post.
Now, it’s time for us to rethink what going on a diet means. And more importantly, what really makes us fat? Read my post, Going On Another Diet? Weighing out the Pros & Cons of Diets We Know. and let me know what you think.
Do share with me your thoughts and comments about what I’ve written.
I would love to hear from you.
And if they don't, they can share their thoughts and comments with me, and I show them that I welcome their opinions. As you can see then, I work out how 1 blog post can link to the other to create that relevance and connection between my blog posts.
The idea is to help my reader and keep them engaged.
- Working Title > Attention-Grabbing Headline
And we're done with the blog post. But the Working Title is still Lies About Calories, Eating & Exercising. And that's crappy because we need to turn a Working Title into an Attention-Grabbing Headline.
Really it's your call to fine tune it. Or use the blog title generators to give you more ideas and fresh inspiration.
That said, you want to keep the character count of your headline no more than 70 characters.
Keeping it within 70 characters, in the example above, allows us to see the entire headline in the search results.
If it goes beyond that, for example, instead of the above, I might have named it CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S TOTAL BS YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT. (PART 1).
But in Google search results, instead of seeing the full headline, you would probably only see CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. IT’S TOTAL BS YOU ... and the rest will get cut off.
That was a long one, wasn't it?