I got asked this week if blogging was over –”if the industry is so saturated, is it possible to make money blogging?” And even though competition is fierce, there’s plenty of room for everyone. It is still possible to make money blogging. This article will show you how to write a blog entry that’s popular with your audience.
Audiences grow, some move on –but there will always be one interested group coming up behind another, interested in learning from what you’ve learned yourself. That’s the blogger’s circle of life, and it’s something you can bank on.
However, the key will always be to speak to your audience in a way they find meaningful, when, where, and how they’d like it. Those who make money blogging understand it’s never about the blogger, it’s always about what audiences are looking for. And that’s why it’s important to learn how to write a blog entry your readers will keep coming back for before anything else.
After you learn how to write a blog entry, you can repurpose it into other modalities –like audio podcasts, videos, slideshows, infographics, answers on Quora, Reddit, and so on. But more on that another day.
Related: Read our review of FlexJobs –a great source for copywriting work!
Yes, You Can Still Make Money Blogging
Figuring out how to write a blog entry that makes money does have a learning curve, but there are tried and true blogging strategies that work for professional career bloggers.
In our first two months of writing for Hobo since the reboot in early April '17 after 2-3 years of bupkiss traffic and income, we went from $0 per month to $500 per month, and it’s on track to make as much online income as our other websites before the end of the year. And that was only with the "foundational content" we've been writing --truth be told, my heart hasn't been in it yet. The best is yet to come, we've just been laying track.
Because this blog is most commonly for a digital nomad audience –many of whom are working remote jobs and desperately trying to pull away from trading time for money, the most common questions we are asked revolve around reaping the benefits of blogging for digital nomads.
Over the next couple months, we are going to juggle the travel and internet marketing aspects of our digital nomad lifestyle blog to introduce a number of tutorials that will teach others what we’ve learned about making money online both in our careers, and on the side.
Blog Writing Tips
Before we get into our formula for how to write a blog entry people will want to share, here are a handful of blog writing tips:
- Always plan your blog entries in advance, sort of like a book for a table of contents
- Write every blog entry with repurposing your content in mind
- Examine popular blog entries on other websites with tools like Ninja Outreach to see what’s popular –what has the most backlinks and social shares? When you’re starting out, you won’t have your own Google Analytics data to go on
- Always have an audience in mind before you write a blog entry –treat your blog like a business, and always listen for problems that need solving
- Solve larger problems in the beginning –those will help you gain your first followers, then expand outward from there solving related problems for your existing audience
- Don’t write for the sake of keywords, but learn how to use keywords naturally throughout your blog entry
Now that we’ve provided you some context and a few blog writing tips, let’s talk about how to write a blog entry.
How to Write a Blog Entry
Here is a beginner’s “how to write a blog entry” check list. It will help keep you focused, and write great blog entries, every time.
At the beginning of my digital nomad journey I decided to become a full-time SEO copywriter, and this is the formula I would use for every blog post. And I didn’t always write about marketing, technology, health, travel, or tiny houses (things I find interesting).
Quite often I had to write about niches I had little or no interest in –like prom dresses, antique jewelry, or room heaters. And this blog writing check list saved me from doing my head in.
Starting is always the hardest part –if you follow this guide you can get over the anxiety that comes with writing.
1. Think of the Humans Reading Your Blog Post
In marketing speak we refer to this as your “buyer persona” and where they’re at in their “buyer’s journey”.
The persona will help you empathize with your audience, and their place in their buyer’s journey will help you better understand the challenges they face and how close they are to taking action (read: how close they are to buying or renting something you can generate a profit on –something even travel bloggers care about).
If you understand who is reading your blog entry, you can better understand their needs, wants, and desires and speak to them in a way they feel comfortable with.
For example, if you’re talking about a prom dress to a high school student, there’s a good chance she’s awkward about her body type, has a specific budget, needs a little fashion guidance, and needs to consider what her parents think.
If you’re selling a dress to a 30-something-year-old woman, she’s probably more confident about her body, is willing to spend more, and is more interested in how she’ll feel wearing it than what other people think.
Understanding where someone is in their buyer’s journey will help you identify verbiage you should use.
Informational statements like “these are the best dresses for a pear body type” will help readers long before they’re ready to buy. And that’s great, if that’s where you want them. That would give you the opportunity to influence a decision early on and build rapport.
However, if you have an affiliate link on your website for a Sherri Hill strapless sweetheart multi-print cocktail dress –you’ll probably want to be that specific, and throw in the word “buy” or “review” a few times throughout your article.
And that my friends, is the difference between informational keywords and those with buyer’s intent. And that’s how people make money blogging in a nutshell. Thank you, “buyer’s journey”.
2. What’s Your Blog Entry About?
This is the most important step to working out how to write a blog entry that will help you make money blogging.
What is your website about and what are the best ways to approach it? It’s time to choose a topic. The trick is to start with broad strokes and then refine it with a little research.
You do not want to write the longest blog entry on a dead topic that will bore your readers.
For the sake of universal understanding, let’s say your blog is about dating. You might want to write about “how to pick up a date this Friday night”.
You could tackle this in a number of ways, from “how to optimize your Tinder profile” to “how to start a conversation with someone you are sexually interested in”. The sky is the limit. But which topic variation for the same goal (getting laid this Friday) will get you the most traffic? Mind blown.
That’s where research comes in. Software like Ninja Outreach will help you figure out how to write a blog entry people want to read by helping you search and sort blogs and blog entries based on their niche, as well as how many backlinks and social shares they have. It’s a great way to qualify an idea.
When you want to know, for certain, what approach to take with your topic and test out a few ideas, use the content prospector and see what existing audiences are already looking for and sharing –and then add your own unique spin to it.
Ninja Outreach will save you time –not just hours, but maybe months or years of doing the wrong thing repeatedly. We used to rely on BuzzSumo to help us with our blog topics, but Ninja Outreach just does more for the lowly blogger, especially when it comes to building links down the road. It’s cheaper than BuzzSumo, and it has a 2-week free trial period.
Research will also help you make content people absolutely adore, over and over and over and over and over and over again, for years to come.
Mark Manson and Matt from Expert Vagabond are like Matt Damon to my Jimmy Kimmel –they do not approve this message.
3. Get Organized
400 – 600 word articles are the hallmark of bad “SEO copywriters” and lazy bloggers that aren’t worth reading, and Google knows it. Hell, you know it. Your readers know it.
If you’re going to stand out, you need to own the dancefloor –get out there and write a big ass, thorough, well-organized blog entry.
The biggest complaint about bloggers –and I’ll rip on travel bloggers here—is that they often barely scrape the surface of what they’re talking about. Don’t believe me? Ask Reddit. They’ve got all sorts of anonymous things to say –and they’re great because they’ll lay it out for you in detail.
“We went to Madrid on a 4-hour layover, here’s our top 25 things to do in 450 words in one giant block of text with photos from Pixabay”. I just pulled that out of my ass, but you get the idea.
Sometimes it’s good to be short and sweet –but that depends on your buyer persona. Explore the topic, let it ruminate, and organize the information as best you can using header tags. You’re competing with almost 8 billion humans –I bet 1/5 of them have a blog.
When I write a post outline, I usually break it down into nested point form lists, like this:
That was complete and utter bullshit, but you get the idea. Half the time I make so many points they later become paragraphs and I feel like I’m editing more than I am writing when I get to the next step.
And I think it was Steinbeck who once said it’s easier to write about a place once you’ve left it; taking a lot of photos in one place but writing about it at the next one might help you maintain style and highlight aspects of your travel your readers will enjoy.
4. Write Your Blog Entry
The point form notes above are the spine, now it’s time to flesh it out.
You’re filling in the blanks at this point, and because you took little bites out of writing your blog entry it won’t be the big anxious emotional heap on you thought it was going to be. And this is how the joy of writing begins.
5. Quote Leading Bloggers in Your Niche
Nothing will get your blog post retweeted by a heavyweight blogger faster than quoting them in your article, linking to their site with said quote (they usually see the pingback in their WordPress dashboard), and then mentioning them in your tweets.
Bloggers are key, not journalists or major publications so much, as they often won’t collude with a newbie blogger. (Ninja Outreach for the win, once again).
When an influential blogger sees your mention of them in their feed, they’ll probably retweet it for you. Just don’t hit the same influencer with too many articles this way, or you’ll look like an ubercreeper (guilty!).
Side note: Don’t be cringe-worthy, learn from me right now. These guys didn’t hear of me until last week –and not every influencer will have a stomach for it. I’m banking on a slow clap.
But for the sake of a less stupid example:
“101 Ways to bathe your dog featuring advice from @fakedogownerguybloggerperson http://dogsite.com/our-amazing-article #dogs #petowners”
You don’t have to stroke their ego, they’re already an authority. And it’s a great way to make new friends in the industry you serve. But again, do not be too much of a creeper, don’t over-reach to an influencer if you haven’t even said hello before.
Bonus points if you make a tweet like the example above available at the click of a mouse for readers, using Click to Tweet –just set up the tweet as you see fit and create a link with Click to Tweet that opens in a new tab.
Here’s an example –go on, try it out!
6. Edit Your Blog Entry
And this is where the joy of writing quickly dissipates –but don’t worry, it gets worse in Step 7.
After all of this hard work, you’re going to need to re-read it a few times. Don’t rush this part; put on a cup of coffee, and clear your brain before you sit back down. You really want to avoid what I do –I update blog posts a few times within a week of publishing, and I always feel stupid doing it. If I had just given it more thought, I wouldn’t have to.
But I still take a break before I edit. I’ll go pick up a takeout coffee, eat lunch, have a chat with a friend, or watch cat videos on YouTube for 20 minutes to clear my mental palette.
Or I’ll buy a beer or two for a dollar and get a brainiac idea to pull a David Wood (from the Empower Network) and mention my two favorite bloggers repeatedly throughout my post like a drugged out maniac. But don’t do that last one. Risky business.
When I’m on a writing spree, I’ll often write a bunch of drafts and leave all the editing for Thursday, and then do Step 7 on Friday.
7. Format Your Blog Entry
The most diabolical step on this entire “how to write a blog entry” checklist: Formatting your blog post.
I hate battling with WordPress. The editor annoys me with all the little weird markup it adds to my text (I’m a perfectionist and I do this stage in the text editor most of the time).
I imagine this is how Hemingway felt using a typewriter with a tangled ink ribbon. The WordPress editor is the equivalent of getting ink all over your fingers battling a shoddy typewriter and a lit cigarette. (Yes, my typing classes in early high school involved typewriters, because #1981).
My Generation X or Y peers will know this line; “Quiet Aunt Zelda, Willy Sits eXams..”.
However –read this post about keyword placement, and then make sure you use H2, H3, and H4 tags, add images every few paragraphs (another thing I am bad at), make sure all images have proper alt text, don’t go too heavy on your keywords, and make sure you link to articles within your website appropriately.
I also use a Structured Data plugin to ensure that Google’s appetite for organization is satisfied, which also means entering in details like the article description, title and featured image twice. Gag me with a spoon, Google.
And then decide if the title you chose in the beginning is still 100% the right choice, ensure your keywords are properly sorted, and verify with the Yoast SEO plugin.
8. Add a Call to Action (CTA)
This is the crowning moment of how to write a blog post that will help you make money blogging. It’s so important, I thought it needed a step all its own.
- If you talk about a product, suggest people go check it out on their own –use a picture, or a nice big button that visually stands out
- If you want people to subscribe to your email list, ask them to; this is where you add the code for your form
- Share a related article that will further help them and turn them into an apostle of your brand –fans hit like buttons, apostles hit the buy button and then tell all their friends
In the very least, ask your reader a question –even if it’s as simple as “have anything to add? Let us know in the comments”. But if making money blogging is where your intention lay, that’s a pretty sorry way to end a blog post.
9. Now Get Support from Rock Stars in Your Niche
In this article I talk about how you can get influencers to link to your blog. And in this one I talk about content distribution. Between those two posts, I’m sure you can bake up a fancy way to get others –influential people— to help you on your mission.
10. I Made a Numbering Glitch and My Wife Already Made the Pins
Yeah, my wife is pretty amazing.
But seriously. I don’t have a number 10 and the Pinterest pins are already made.
Ahhhh, wait. That was intentional. What a segway, eh?
Make pins! I meant to do that. When you’re starting out you’ll be in the Google sandbox for what, 9 months? How old is your blog?
Pinterest is a search engine, too. I say beginners sorta’ take the “Fuck Google” mantra, because Google is like that friend that only comes around when you have money or a nice car. They don’t care about you otherwise.
Learning how to write a blog post entry isn’t rocket science, but it can take a little while to find your rhythm. And that’s ok –experiment away, because when that one or two big blogging breakthroughs happen and you start to make real money blogging –it will all be worth it. You did that.
We know you could be reading some other blog, but you chose us, and you read this far. How amazing is that? You have no idea how good that feels when we take a look at our analytics, or check out our occasional heat mapping.
So this last word is to say thanks. We will meditate deeply thinking of you on our next ocean day.
And if you have a dream where some weird couple runs naked through your bedroom after reading this blog post –that’s us. Thanking you in the best way that travel bloggers know how. Anything is possible.
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