Blogging is love and war.
From my 10+ years of writing daily, I can tell you there will be moments when you’re chock-full of motivation. Ideas leap off your mind and straight onto the page. You get inspired by the thought of creating content that will generate massive buzz.
And there are other moments when the excitement is reduced to a glimmer. You jump from half-baked idea to half-baked idea, taking up hours of your time, before getting to that last sentence. You teeter on the verge of giving up.
It happens to all of us.
Even the best writers have the same wishy-washy relationship with blogging.
And do you know what? We have no choice but to pull through.
Blog posts are still the #1 asset for engaging with your audience and generating warm leads for your business.
In fact, marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. Not only that, blog posts cost 62% less per lead than outbound marketing.
As encouraging as these numbers are, lead generation is still the top challenge for businesses.
So what’s the one tool that can allow you to pack more power into each blog post so that generating leads isn’t like climbing a mountain?
A persuasive blog post not only gets the conversation started, but it creates an appetite for your ideas and products, without you coming across like a sleazy salesman.
This is why I put so much time, money, and effort into creating exceptional content with all the persuasive checks and balances. And I’ve told you this before: When I started blogging, my content failed to hit the mark.
Now, I’ve fine-tuned a system that allows me to create powerful content in record time.
Trust me, you can do it too, and I’ll show you exactly how.
In fact, I’ll give you specific formulas that you can plug-and-play to craft your blog posts in under an hour.
The breakdown of what we’ll cover:
- How to build an idea bank
- The “Michaelangelo” technique
- The 6-point persuasion framework
- An outline that satisfies every point of the framework
- A rapid fire timeline for crafting your posts
- Proven formulas for headlining, opening and closing your post
- How to saturate every piece of content with enough value
Let’s get to it.
Laying The Groundwork
Foundation is critical, especially if you don’t want to be consumed by procrastination.
The two pillars of a solid infrastructure are ideation and research.
If you give this process the credo that it deserves, you’ll have 90% of your blog post before you even begin writing.
Step #1 – Build an idea bank
Truthfully, I have a difficult time coming up with great ideas.
But I’ve learned that out of all the bad ideas, there’s always a few that will stand out. And that’s the important thing.
When you can’t think of what to write about, there are four simple ways you can come up with viral-worthy blog topics.
First, create a master spreadsheet to serve as your idea bank. The headings should look something like this:
There’s no sweat involved in filling out your spreadsheet.
Step one: Analyze your products and services
While blogging isn’t a direct sales tool, you want to be intentional about choosing topics that are aligned with what your business offers.
This way you’re not blogging for the sake of blogging and are more likely to see a return on your time investment.
Consider each offer individually.
What hurdles are preventing your prospects from saying yes?
Addressing the objections that people have about your business is the best way to improve your lead generation efforts.
A gold mine for finding these objections is on webinar chat boxes. You can either examine your own webinars or those of your competitors.
You’ll find a scenario like this:
More questions to use when considering your products/services:
- Why are you the best person to solve their problems?
- Why not your competitor?
- What’s the urgency?
- Why is your product relevant now?
- Why is your product the #1 solution?
Use these questions to brainstorm, and add the answers to your spreadsheet. You can then use the headline formulas that I’ll be giving you to craft a custom headline.
Step two: Audit your popular blog content
The best way to know what content will delight your audience is to pinpoint blog posts that have already hit the mark.
Check your analytics and note the categories of the most popular posts and content upgrades.
You can then brainstorm ideas around these categories or plug them into Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator.
The tool will generate blog post topics for you.
Step three: Conduct competitive intelligence
It’s easy to get yourself worked up by the idea of competition.
However, I believe in making your competitors work for you and not against you.
Why not tap into what already works for them?
One of my favorite tools for gaining insight into high ranking content is Buzzsumo.
Simply plug in your keyword and browse through the results.
The goal is to select content with the most social capital.
Make it yours, make it better, and readers will find you.
Step four: Get in tune with the desires and pain points of your target audience
It amazes me how many people neglect this step.
You want to tell an effective story, create hyper-relevant content, and be perceived as an authority.
Ignoring the people you’re trying to reach is not the best way to accomplish this.
It’s to get into the heads and hearts of your audience. Here’s where you can get that insight:
- Blog comments
- Niche Forums
- Amazon book reviews (pay special attention to the negative reviews)
- Facebook groups
- Twitter search
What questions are your prospects asking? What objections do they have? What do they need help with?
Take down these ideas word for word. The goal at this point is not to form a concrete hook but to generate ideas.
After you’ve completed these four steps, you’ll have an arsenal of raw data that can be transformed into custom blog topics.
Step #2 – Use The Michaelangelo Technique
One of my favorite Renaissance artists is Michaelangelo Buonarroti. Renowned for his breathtaking artistry, he believed that his sculptures were captured in the block of marble before he even started his work.
His only task was to chisel away at the excess material and set his artwork free.
What if I told you that writing a blog post is just like carving out a sculpture?
You are the artist. Your research document is your block of marble. You just need to chisel away at the unnecessary material to give life to your post.
The only question that remains is how do you conduct the quality of research that is required?
The process is quite simple:
- The same steps used to generate blog topics can be used for your research. Only, instead of focusing on the idea, you focus on the content.
- As you read to gather your research, jot down the ideas that come to mind. Let reading be the input and writing the output.
- The goal is to create a valuable, data-driven post. Use the following sources to gather your data:
After you’ve done your research, just let it sit.
I’ve found that when I let my ideas marinate overnight they become more refined, I gain more clarity, and the direction of my post becomes concrete in my mind.
So how do you know what to chisel away in order to sculpt your blog post? It’s all in the framework.
Step #3 – The 6-Point Framework of a Persuasive Blog Post
There are few things in the world that people hate more than having someone try to sell them something.
If your readers detect even a hint of a sleaze in your blog posts, they will make a dive for the exit button.
The only way to escape that unfortunate fate is to stop selling and start persuading.
There are 6 pressure points that you need to tap into:
1. Likeability – If your reader doesn’t like you, everything else is irrelevant. Naturally, people are skeptical of perfection. So be vulnerable, tell your story, and document the imperfections. This study reveals that businesses who are more authentic and emotional in their content increase their word of mouth marketing by 3X that of those who don’t lean on emotion.
2. Credibility – Your readers not only need to believe in you, but they need to believe in their own ability to produce results. That’s where providing easily consumable and actionable content will come into play. A great way to create more bite-sized content is to add images every 100 words or so. In fact, images can boost content credibility by 75%.
3. Urgency – You need to help your readers get over their tendency to procrastinate. The way to do that is to emphasize the urgency. Why does the information in your blog post matter today? A genius way to insert call-to-actions in your post is to create content upgrades. Backlinko improved their conversion rates by 785% (in one day!) using this method.
4. Authority – Your authority is increased by creating comprehensive, data-driven content with unique insights. The more authority you command, the more people will bet on you to deliver the transformation that they seek.
5. Reciprocity – Attention is currency in the online space. So when someone gives you their attention, you reciprocate by providing value with no strings attached. In fact, giving away your best content for free can grow your business by 290%.
6. Authenticity – Who is ever their absolute authentic self in every scenario? Seth Godin describes authenticity as consistency. It means showing up day after day with a congruent message. If you’re shaky with your ideas or complacent about the way that you express them, you won’t hold up to scrutiny. A study of 27,000 consumers revealed that consistency is critical for trust and loyalty.
I know this sounds like a lot of criteria for one blog post to meet.
To do it all in 45 minutes? Impossible.
Not at all.
I’ve created a simple outline that satisfies every point of this framework. I challenge you to take it, use it, and see your writing skills improve by leaps.
Step #4 – How To Flesh Out Your Outline In Record Time
Now it’s time to execute.
By this point, you should have come up with a stockpile of blog topics.
Your only task is to chisel away at your research document and fill in your outline without wasting any time.
First – Craft a Heavy-Hitting Hook
A crappy headline is the kiss of death.
You might as well beg people to go read any one of the other millions of blog posts that are published every day.
Here’s how to ensure that your headline delivers a solid punch:
Rule #1 – Be super specific. Use numbers in your headline and avoid ambiguous words like amazing, awesome, and great. There are other lackluster words that put readers to sleep but these are the likely culprits.
Rule #2 – Flirt, don’t reveal your total solution. If you uncover your solution right away, there’s no incentive to keep reading. Be mindful that there is a fine line between a curiosity-infused headline and desperate clickbait.
Rule #3 – Appeal to the senses to invoke an emotional response. This Harvard study shows that we make decisions on an emotional basis and only appeal to logic to justify these decisions.
By now, you already know that great ideas aren’t formulaic but the vessel in which they are contained is.
Your headline is that vessel.
Here are 11 headline formulas that have been tested and proven to work:
1. Breaking News Headline
Formula: [Story] + [Effect]
Example: New Google Algorithm Gives Top Blogs A Heavy Blow
2. The List Headline
Formula: [Number] of Ways To [Desired Outcome]
Example: 127 Ways To Market Your Online Course
3. The Burning Question
Formula: [Pose A Provocative Question]
Example: Is The Money Really In The List?
4. A Fun Juxtaposition
Formula: [Present two conflicting ideas or positions]
Example: How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers (From SmartBlogger)
5. The How-To Headline
Formula #1: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] Like [Gripping Simile/Metaphor]
Example: How To Use Content Upgrades to Grow Your Email List Like Wildfire
Formula #2: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] In [Specific Timeframe]
Example: How To Use Persuasion To Write Blockbuster Blog Posts in 45 Minutes
6. The Ultimate Guide
Formula: The [Ultimate/Complete] Guide To [Total Transformation]
Example: The Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing
7. The Name Dropper
Formula: [Famous Person] [Method, Advice, Tips] For [Achieving A Desired Outcome]
Example: Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer (From SmartBlogger)
8. Introduce The Evil Villain
Formula: [Evil Villain] That [Specific Misdeed]
Example: The 10 Types Of Pseudo-Experts That Are Robbing You Blind
9. Address A Resident Emotion
Formula: [Appeal To A Fear/Other Strong Emotion]
Example: An Open Letter To Entrepreneurs Struggling To Make A Profit
10. The Mistakes, Errors, Warnings
Formula: [Number] Mistakes People Make [Specific Action]
Example: 12 Fatal Sales Copywriting Mistakes
11. Leading With Why Headline
Formula: [Why] [Specific Thing] [Outcome/Adjective]
Example: Why Creativity Is Overrated
Second – Write A Magnetic Opening
Your lead serves as the gateway to the rest of your post so you want it to be inviting, entertaining, and full of promise.
Some rules for writing a hypnotic blog post opening:
Rule #1 – Keep your first sentence short, snappy, and snackable. Short sentences boost content readability by 58%.
Rule #2 – Aggravate the problem and use emotive language to paint a picture of your big promise. Here are 317 power words that you can use to create an emotionally gripping narrative.
Rule #3 – Use personal anecdotes and mini stories to boost your credibility and authenticity factors.
Want formulas? Here are 9 power hitters:
- The Quote Lead – Use a quote that is relevant to your blog post. Your readers should be able to recognize the author of your quote so it’s best to use an influencer in your niche.
- The Impending Danger Lead – This is where you introduce an evil villain and lean strongly on emotion.
- The Counterintuitive Lead – Open by presenting a solution which goes against the grain.
- The Empath Lead – Let readers know that you understand how they feel, you’ve walked in their shoes, and that they’re not alone.
- The Shock Value Lead – Open with a jaw-dropping statistic or an unexpected fact.
- The Storytelling Lead – An intriguing tale goes a long way to draw readers in. It could be true or metaphorical, as long as it’s within the context of your blog post.
- The “Get Right To It” Lead – This is the no fluff, “I won’t waste your time” lead. You have to establish the premise of your post right away.
- The “Call Out” Lead – Have the audacity to call your reader out. Do they have a bad habit that’s keeping them in the dark? What are they complacent about?
- Pop Quiz Lead – Open by providing a list of options and set it up where there can only be two or three outcomes.
Here’s an example:
Third – Pack the value in the body of your post
Naturally, this is where you’ll invest the most time.
If you respect the research phase, it’s a matter of chipping away at the unnecessary information and tightening up your post.
Here’s the blueprint for shaping each point in your body:
Some quick tips for writing dynamic body content:
Tip #1 – Strike the right balance between emotion and ration. Hitting the emotional hot buttons is critical but your readers have a need for logic, particularly if they’re being promised something sensational.
Tip #2 – Readers should be able to easily implement your solutions themselves and see an immediate benefit or result. This is going to amplify your perceived value and keep people coming back, day after day.
Tip #3 – Let your personality show up. Your unique writing voice will take time to develop, but here’s what you can do to accelerate the process:
- Brainstorm two words that describe your personality. Find words and phrases that are synonymous or associated with these two keywords. Let that serve as your swipe file of personality power words and use them in your writing.
- Create an imaginary reader, name them, and write like you’re having a conversation with that ONE person.
Bonus Time Saving Tip – Use a voice typing tool so you don’t have to physically type. Simply dictate your points and most voice typing tools will spell out the words with remarkable accuracy.
Step 4 – Write A Solid Close
Every writer develops a unique way of closing. There’s really no magic formula.
Take a minute to analyze a few of your blog posts.
Do you notice a specific pattern? I bet you do.
That’s because when we do a task over and over, we subconsciously develop a mental protocol to save time and effort.
You may have noticed, I always headline my close as “Conclusion”. I always pose a question as the final interaction. And I always end with a positive outlook.
While there are no rules, there are some tips and tricks for closing effectively:
Tip #1 – Emphasise the main message. You don’t want your blog post to be linear or incomplete. Did you lead with a mini story about Mark? Make sure Mark shows up in your closing. Did you lean on a particular emotion in your opening? Call that emotion to action in your close.
Tip #2 – Give readers a reason to act with urgency. What’s the big benefit? What’s the ultimate promise? Remind them so they’ll be inclined to act on your solutions.
Tip #3 – Positivity and optimism will trump fear any day. Be inspiring. Be motivational. Be a cheerleader.
Tip #4 – End with a conversation activator. Asking a question at the end gives readers a nudge to engage and comment on your post.
3 Little-Known Techniques Of Master Closers:
1. Use rhyme and repetition to create soundbites that stick with your reader forever.
2. Use an ellipsis (…) to increase the pace of your writing. Your close will be high energy, which is what you need to end with a bang.
3. Make the rule of three your secret weapon. Ideas that come in threes are more rhythmic, effective, and satisfying to consume.
Some famous examples:
- “blood, sweat, and tears”
- “stop, drop, and roll”
- “I came, I saw, I conquered”
- “the good, the bad, and the ugly”.
Do you catch the drift?
Even if you’re a self-proclaimed terrible writer.
Even if you’re used to spending weeks dwelling, days writing, and hours editing.
Even if you hate the writing process.
You can create a persuasive powerhouse of a blog post without consuming days of your time.
I’m proof that it doesn’t require any form of wizardry or extraordinary talent. What it takes is commitment and trust in the systems that have already been proven to generate results.
There will be moments when the process gets grueling, but when a swarm of people kicks down your door just to engage with your ideas, you will be redeemed a thousand times over.
What’s your process for writing quality blog posts quickly? Do you have any tips and tricks that I didn’t mention in this post?