So, today is the day you decided that you’re going to write a blog post. You sit at your workstation, mojoe in hand, and open a Google Doc [blank stare].

You watch as the cursor blinks and wait for inspiration to strike.

Does this sound familiar?

I’ve been there. Actually, this very post came from the very pain of wanting to start my own blog, but not knowing where to start. I’d sit in front of my computer, but to my demise, “inspiration” never would strike.

I’d tell myself I’ll come back to it.  [eternity later],

Just to turn around and say, “I should start blogging more”.

It was a vicious cycle.

The lack of clarity around writing caused huge anxiety because I didn’t know what to where to start or what to write about.

Well, this post is here help you get started so you:

  • have less anxiety about Blogging
  • more clarity around what you’re Blogging about
  • and lastly, writing your first blog post in a week

By the end of this post, you’ll have the next steps to finding your first handful of blog post ideas and writing them in no time.

Ready to get started?

The Setup

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s answer the question “What is Blogging?”

How I see it, blogging is simply the transfer of one's thoughts, ideas, experiences or knowledge into words.

With that definition, you can transition your mindset from blogging as some mysterious form of word conjuring into blogging as a written way of documenting your thoughts, ideas, and experiences on paper—well, computer.

I anticipate that blogging or some form of documenting will be one of the pillars of building and growing your personal brand online. A direct line to you, with an audience that’s choosing to listen in on your journey and simply follow your story unfold one post at a time.

Over the course of my short entrepreneurial journey—a little under 5 years— I’ve witnessed the blogging space evolve, along with aid of social media into a form of documentation.

  • For instance, product unboxing, look at me I have a new thing, and I’m taking it out of the box
  • Or Gary Vee, roaming and making moves throughout New York via his blog the Daily Vee Show

These examples are on the extreme ends of documenting, but it gives you a lot of space and flexibility to work in between those.

1. The Outline

To get started, set up an outline to work from. Setting up an outline will kickstart your blog post and help keep you focused on the topic at hand. Since it’s the stripped version of the finished product, it makes you ask the tough question, what does the reader really need to know, and how can i present that value in the most concise organized way?

Now, this step is just setting up the outline. I set up my outline in a Google Doc, so I can access it from anywhere and that way I can transfer to my CMS. So, set up your document somewhere you can access from your phone. Some writers prefer to start their writing in the editor of their CMS, whether its Wordpress, or Medium.

Here are some examples of outlines from ghost.org -- a professional publishing platform:

Example #1 - is a simple, straightforward outline with 3 sections and arguments/supporting facts in each
WORKING TITLE
- intro
SECTION 1
- what this section is about
- why it matters
- research or examples
- takeaways
SECTION 2
- what this section is about
- why it matters
- research or examples
- takeaways
SECTION 3
- what this section is about
- why it matters
- research or examples
- takeaways
*** conclusion
<small>Image credits:</small>

Example #2 - this example takes a different approach, where the blog post is centered around an experience, a change around that experience, and the results.
WORKING TITLE
- summary text
- intro
SET UP
- what happened?
- why is it relevant?
SECTION 1: back story
- what happened before
- why you decided to do something different
- takeaway
SECTION 2: what changed, or what new thing did you try?
- what changed/what you did differently
- what you thought the outcome would be
- takeaway
SECTION 3: what were the results?
- what was the outcome?
- any surprises?
- takeaway
How to apply this to your business


Takeaways: Your outline is just the skeleton for your blog post. A quick, systematic way to start, so you can stop the internal dialogue of where do I start.

2. Writing An Intro

You finished laying down the foundation with your outline, now it's time to fill it in. Here we’ll look at the importance of the intro, and different ways to approach it, so your audience will continue reading.

This is your opportunity to hook your audience and get them to read the next sentence, and at the very least skim your headings to see if the relevancy and value is evident throughout your blog post sections.

The importance of your blog intro can be defined by its 3 parts:

  • Hook - this is what captures your audience's attention after they’ve read your headline,
  • Transition - this is usually a sentence that connects your hook to the body of your blog
  • Thesis - summarizes the topic and reiterates the title

Head to Neil Patel’s blog [link] for an in-depth look at writing intros, here are 7 high-level ways to write your next blog intro.

Intro Hook Examples

1. Start with a controversial opening

  • Not many bloggers like to take this approach, so when readers come across your blog post and your controversial topic, you’re taking a stand and your readers may agree and read on to see what your perspective is or disagree and read on to see how you could make such an absurd claim.
  • If you don’t have sufficient evidence to back up your argument you could lose your audience fast and possibly forever if it’s their first time reading your blog

2. Offer the “Why”

  • Shoot it straight to your reader and tell them why reading your post is the only action they need to take and what’s on the other side once their finished reading. Similar to how consumer buy products it’s not exactly what their buying but why their buying and how it benefits their lives.
  • “People are only interested in the benefits of your product. Nobody cares about your opinion, unless it can help them.”

3. Lead with a memorable story

  • “Stories evoke emotions, and trigger discussions and thoughts that can have a lasting impact over time.”
  • Daydreaming x amount of the time. The only time when humans aren’t daydreaming is when they're watching a movie, play or reading an enveloping book. Humans love stories. The only time when people

4. Get Readers Nodding by Stating the Obvious

  • Tell them what they already know and you’ll instantly establish rapport with your readers, and builds trust.
  • Layer the obvious with action and benefits to help your readers win.

5. Use An Analogy, Simile, or Metaphor

  • Analogy - comparisons that do not necessarily use metaphors or similes but they may if appropriate. They are general comparisons usually in the form of a story.
  • Simile - comparison that use “like” or “as.”
  • Metaphor - comparison that does not use “like” or “as.”

6. Cite a Shocking Statistic.

  • Readers love statistics and data-driven blog posts help you stand out from the crowd and persuade potential clients to work with you
  • Remember we talked about the hook in your intro? Think about your local news channel and how they hook their audience with statistics, am I right?
  • One recent study found over 60% of people do this while driving, see how this might affect your morning commute after these messages. Does that sound familiar?

7. Open With a Thought-Provoking Question

  • Human nature is compelled to problems solve, so when you open with a question, were naturally inclined to start looking for an answer, thus hooking your audience.
  • We also want to seek an answer that matches our own intuition and thought -- very much in tune with confirmatory bias, a type of cognitive bias.

So now you’re equipped with 7 ways to kickstart your blog post and hook your audience to read your juicy blog post. Next is to transition them into the mindset that you have the information they are looking for and connecting their problem with your solution (i.e. your blog post). At the core of the transition, you should have a strong grasp of what your audience is having a problem with and that your blog post is the exact solution.

  • Looking for the best lemon cake recipe with only 3 ingredients, I have it here in this blog post
  • Looking for how to increase my Instagram following, here are 3 easy steps to increase your Instagram following in 3 days
  • Looking for how your brand effects purchasing behavior by online consumers, here’s 5 principles to follow when creating a brand identity.

Takeaways: Hook your audience with relevant information, and transition them to reading your blog post because you understand their problem the best.

3. Brainstorming Sections

So, you’ve nailed your blog introduction, you have the end result you want your audience to achieve after reading your first blog post and lastly, you have a skeleton — the outline — now it's time for the meat [we have the meats gif]

Here you’ll take some to brainstorm all the steps involved, major ideas, takeaways, milestones, etc that will help your audience achieve the result they are looking for -- and then some.

How I Brainstormed Sections for this post

  • Lists - quick linear fashion of jotting down ideas
  • Mindmap - if lists allow you to free flow in one direction, mind maps allow you to free flow in the 3 dimensions — not literally, yet, but bear with me. Mindmaps can help make sense of connected ideas, branching off one idea to another without messing up the order of a list.

Now, the benefits of sections not only help visitor — dare I say — skim your blog post. Well, let’s say hunt for information. But sections also helps you as the blogger, organize chunks of thoughts together for more concise writing.

So grab a piece of paper, and jot down the steps, big ideas, or problems your audience faces when trying to solve the problem their experiencing. Think about your own experiences or examples you’ve come across. Here you’re doing the work for them by bringing in all the big ideas or steps to solving their problem.

4. Writing

Intro. Done

Outline. Done

Brainstorm. Done

Content. To do.

As you’ve started to work on your intro and nail your outline, your blog should start to become a little bit more clear on how everything will come together. But now is the time to take your outline from bullet points and ideas to sentences and paragraphs.

If you cite any content from other writers, I encourage you to give credit. This also provides an opportunity for you to reach out to that person and say, I’m helping these people write a blog, and who knows maybe they will share it with their audience if they find it valuable.

Some bloggers have a methodology to write, or routine to get into the flow. Personally, this post you’re reading is my first stab at blogging, so I don’t have much of a routine or process except for the steps that I’ve outline up until this point.

As I come across tips and tricks I’ll be sure to share those with you.

5. Editing

Whew! That wasn’t hard, you’re first draft is complete. Surely, as you were writing you made notes of places that could use imagery (gifs, photos, etc.) or ideas that just need better verbiage.

At the editing step, assuming you’ve already proofread for grammar, you looking for clarity.

  • Will my audience understand this idea?
  • How can I say this more clear?
  • Does this idea need more elaboration?

This step is important because it can help make your writing more readable, and fun because you’ve trimmed all the fat, and left nothing but the juicy steak (if you’re into steak).

6. Publishing

[Teeth chattering]

Now it’s time to hit the Publish button. But you can’t hit the publish button and watch your analytics dashboard. Distribution is key in the beginning stages when nobody knows who you are.

Here are a few things you can do according to SmartBlogger:

  • Repurpose your blog content as a video, podcast or IG Story
  • Turn it into a Facebook ad
  • Answer burning questions on Quora or Reddit
  • Persuade influencers to spread the word
  • If you’ve built an email list, start a teaser email campaign
  • Run a never-ending social media campaign

Weigh the pros and cons of each, and find new ways to spread the word.

Like anything in business, just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. The same goes for your blog posts. Get the word out, provide value to best target reader, and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this post has provided some value to at least think differently about blogging, so you have less anxiety and a clear start--including the steps to completing and sharing your blog post. And hopefully has inspired you enough to think of several other blog post topics that you could easily write up following the steps above.

All of it is a process, just find what works best for you, and leave the rest. Tweak and measure as needed and try a different medium if you feel that something is not working. If you find writing an outline helps clear your thoughts for a podcast, well then do that, at the end of the day just create. Spend most of your time organizing your thoughts than writing and you will find the actual writing is a matter of connecting your thoughts.


Up Next: Finding your niche, and brainstorming blog topics