There it sits. The blank page.
It stares at you across channels as you switch from your mobile device to your laptop on a desperate hunt for inspiration—with a couple stops on Facebook and Solitaire along the way. Just to clear your mind, you say.
There is a simpler way, you know…
For busy marketers and business owners, they’re lifesavers.
An effective blog post template for Word will cover all the stages that go into writing a blog post so that you won’t have to waste time with structure, layout, or losing track of your thought. Blog post templates help you structure your outline, keywords, title, headings, and bullet points to keep your thoughts on track.
Preparation Is the Key to Blog Posting Success
One of the first things you need to think about as you write is your target audience. If you’ve created a customer persona for the segment you’re writing for, pull it out, and review these customers’ needs.
- Determine your goal for the blog post: Do you want to attract new leads with an eBook or white paper download? Or, rather, do you want to point them to a sales page. Each post should have a stated goal so you can point your readers toward that goal.
- Write down your main keywords: Look at the keywords that you want to emphasize in this blog post. They can help you determine your overall outline, your topic, and how you want to organize your thoughts to achieve your goal. Keywords are important to include in headings, subheadings, and a few times within the text for both search engine optimization (SEO) and readability.
To streamline the process even more the next time you sit down to write a blog post, consider creating a content calendar beforehand. A content calendar can keep your goals, topics, and customer segments organized for you ahead of time so that all you have to do is a quick review of the keywords and customer persona for each post before you start writing.
Once You’re All Ready, Start Your (Writing) Engine
Use your blog post template to structure your post with a working outline. Start by creating a working title and subheadings that reflect your goal, your keywords, and a storyline that solves a problem for your readers.
Use your keywords or close synonyms in your title and subheadings. Plan to include some visuals, such as infographics, images, or videos to break up the text and entice your audience to read on. As a recent PollEverywhere post pointed out, using visuals increased readers’ desire to read a post by 80%—and boosted engagement by 180%.
Plan to use bullet points when you have sections that you can easily turn into lists. The little dots attract readers’ eyes, allowing them to scan your post, even if they don’t have time to read every word. If numbered lists make better sense, they have a similar visual effect.
As you write, link to any sources you use to write your post. If you include images, link to the image source as well. If you don’t want to use free-for-commercial-use stock photos, either get a subscription service, such as iStock, or be sure to get the owner’s permission first.
End your post with a robust call to action (CTA) to direct readers to where you want them to go next. If you have a helpful tool, eBook or white paper to download, insert a button that will take them to a sign-up page. Require readers to provide you with their email address so you can follow up with helpful emails later.
Or, if your post focuses on an immediate sale, link to the sales page that lists the items that will help your readers solve the problem outlined in your post. In the last few paragraphs, point out specific ways that your item can help them—without becoming too salesy. Your goal is to first build authority through education and helpful advice before readers become your customers.
Check and Double-Check Your Blog Post
A good blog post template will have a checklist at the end that will allow you to make sure all your material is correct before you publish it. Use the “Review” function on the top Microsoft Word menu to check your grammar.
Grammarly has an excellent tool that will catch even more errors. We recommend the paid version, especially for those who aren’t experienced editors. It catches quite a few more errors than the free version does—and provides you with an explanation for each correction so you’re learning at the same time.
Check for and eliminate salesy language and industry jargon. As any decent English professor will tell you, jargon is the sign of an amateur when it comes to writing.
Specialized Blog Templates for Advanced Bloggers
Once you have basic blog posts down, you might want to try specialized blogs, such as:
- How-to blogs: These step-by-step guides are great for explaining how a new product works or how to do a difficult task.
- Listicles: If you’ve browsed the Internet for any time at all, you’ve run into these enticing posts. Titled “The 10 Best Restaurants in New York,” “The 7 Essential Sights to See in Istanbul,” or “The 12 Critical Factors in Digital Transformation Success,” these posts grab readers’ attention. They’re especially great for travel agencies, food bloggers, or anyone who can create a list of must-see, must-do, or must-have things.
- Curated posts: Content curation is when you or your staff finds an article in the news or online that captures what you want to say, links to it, and puts your own spin on it. They’re powerful tools when the article is especially pertinent to your readers’ needs and comes from an authoritative source.
- Infographics or video posts: Using SlideShare or PowerPoint, you can create posts that let the pictures do the talking. Of course, you’ll need to include pertinent facts. Be careful, though. Less is more when it comes to text superimposed on an image. For video posts, you’ll need a script, a few rehearsals, and a decent camera. Be sure to speak slowly so that people can understand you.
HubSpot’s Rachel Leist provides links to some excellent GoogleDoc blog templates that you can download in Microsoft Word format. Just click on “File,” find “Download,” and then select “Microsoft Word.”
Once you start publishing blog posts frequently, you’ll need to start measuring the results with content analytics. From how many people shared your posts to how many people downloaded your eBook, you’ll need to know which content performed well and which didn’t.
Keep posting content that resembles or links to your best performers and update underperforming content. With a content strategy that keeps aiming higher, you will build your business’s authority and your customers’ trust.
Get started blogging better today. Download our MS Word blog post template and let us know how having a template saves time and frustration.