How to Write a Blog Post: EVERYTHING You Need to Know

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 07/28/23 •  14 min read

Welp, you’ve done it.

You’ve decided you’re going for it. You’re becoming a freelance writer.

So you got your freelancer website set up.

You’ve got a niche you want to target.

You’ve got some dream brands you want to hire you.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

There’s just one tiny problem that is becoming a sticking point…

You have to write stuff.

Now, there’s no doubt you’ve ‘written stuff’ for most of your life.

Emails. Papers in school. All that good stuff.

But for most people, especially when you’re getting started, the idea of sitting down and writing a blog post for a client — or for your portfolio site — can feel daunting.

Learn how to get your website up and running here.

We’re here to help.

How to Write a Blog post that MAKES MONEY

In this post, we’re going to be covering the basics of how to write a blog post. How to outline your post, structure it, come up with ideas, and so on.

But if you’re already past that, you might be wondering, “How do I write a blog post that actually makes me money?”

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered there as well. This video goes beyond the basics of blogging and goes in-depth on exactly what you need to do to make money off a blog post:

Ok, ready to dig in?

Step 1: Know Your Audience

This is an obvious first step, but sometimes it gets skipped. The best blog posts are those that speak directly to their audience.

Understanding who you’re trying to reach makes everything a lot easier.

It helps you pick topics you know your audience cares about. It helps you target keywords or terms that your audiences are searching for online.

And let’s face it, that’s a pretty big deal.

The best content, especially for brands that are desperately trying to convert readers into customers, is directly targeted to a specific audience and their needs.

So, if you’re starting out writing for a new client, think about that.

See if you can get an understanding of who their readers are before you start writing. Read other posts on the site, and think about the topic from the reader’s point of view.

And if you can’t find that information? Ask your client. It’s critically important to know who your audience is before you start writing.

If you start there, you’re going to be getting off on the right foot.

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Step 2: Choose (or Get) Your Topic and Research

Ok, this ties into step one.

If you’re a freelancer, your client is probably going to give you the goods on what they want you to write. Sometimes, that’s in the form of a particular keyword. Sometimes it’s a general topic idea. Sometimes, it’s the full headline.

If you’re trying to come up with this for your own site or blog, here’s where you want to dig into your keyword research. Check out these search engine optimization (SEO) tips to help get you started with that.

Psst, even if you are given your keywords, don’t think you shouldn’t learn a little bit about SEO. In fact, for freelance writers knowing a little bit of SEO can help attract more potential clients.

Once you have your topic, it’s time to research.

Let’s face it,  you aren’t going to know everything about every topic. So you’re going to have to turn to Google to find out more information.

And that’s fine. You can learn a ton about a topic by reading from other blogs and sites.

But there are a few things to keep in mind here:

As you become more comfortable writing, especially if it’s in a particular niche, you’ll start to see where the good sources of information are versus the not-quite-so-trustworthy sites.

Step 3: Write an Outline

Over the years, I’ve become a huge proponent of outlines.

I used to just bang out a first draft, go over it once or twice for tweaks, and call it a day.

Now I’m sure many of those came out alright; let’s hope anyway. But sometimes, I’d bang my head against the wall because I’d gone way over the word count or had to stop mid-sentence and spend an hour researching and got derailed.

This is where you’ll find the power of outlines, especially detailed outlines.

Now, I’m all in.

I’ve found, as backward as it might seem, that creating a detailed outline first helps:

For example, my outline for this post was over 800 words. I had each of these steps as my subheaders, and then a few bullet points underneath that were just a sentence on key points I wanted to convey.

The great thing about outlines is you can make them as simple or as complex as you’d like. Also, remember your outline doesn’t have to be perfect.

It’s a way to get you focused and help you beat the blank page. It’s fine to tweak and refine as you go.

As you become more experienced with writing, you’ll know what kind of outline helps you get more done and how to become a better writer.

Step 4: Think About Your Headline (aka Blog Post Title)

Some people like to think about headlines right at the very start of the writing process, while others wait until the end. There is no right or wrong approach.

If you’re a freelancer and you got the headline from your client, you’re home-free here. Sometimes, you can think about going above and beyond and writing a few extra headlines that your client can use when you submit your work, but that’s up to you.

If you’re writing without the help of having a headline provided, keep reading.

The good news is that by this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what your headline is generally going to be about. You probably started the whole process with a general working headline.

By now, you’ve got the topic you’re covering, your keyword, and your outline. So you know the direction of your post and the points you want to make that makes the next part easier.

We’ve got a guide to different types of headlines in this post, so check that out.

But here are some of the basics you want to think about as you craft your headline:

Alright, can you guess what’s next?

Time to write, fam.

Step 5: Write Your First Draft

If you’ve followed the steps above, you should be very clear on the topic, title, and direction of your post. That’s most of the hard work out of the way right now.

All you have to do is go through your outline and start fleshing things out.

One thing to remember here; this is just your first draft.

It’s ok for your first draft to be kind of crappy. No one ever sends their first draft off to a client (I mean, you really should not do that).

For everything you write, you’ll likely go over it at least twice and ideally more before you submit. So you’ve got time.

What you want to focus on here is getting everything down.

At this stage, it’s ok if you go over the word count, or it’s too short, or you have a few run-on sentences. All of that is going to get refined in future steps.

As you begin writing, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you craft compelling content:

As you write more, a lot of this stuff will become second nature to you. Writing is one of those skills that just takes practice.

And as you work with more clients, you’ll pick up good tips and feedback along the way that you can continue to incorporate into your writing for the future.

Step 6: Review and Refine (and Repeat as Needed)

There’s no hard and fast rule about the number of drafts you should bang out on any given post.

However, every writer goes through the process of reviewing a draft and refining it. That might take one or two looks, or it could take seven that’s up to you and, honestly, the time you have.

So once you’ve written your first draft, set it aside for at least a day.

Wait, what?

Yes. I’ve found that giving my eyes and brain space between my first draft and the review and revision process can help clear my mind and judge my work with a more critical eye.

If you don’t have the time to do that, try to step away for at least thirty minutes to an hour.

Once you come back to it, you can start attacking your draft.

At this stage in your draft, it also helps to read your writing out loud.

Reading out loud is an easy way to identify things like run-on sentences or misplaced commas or points that sort of sounded good in our mind but just come out sort of rambly.

For example, if I read this post out loud, my brain would stop on that sentence and say re-write that, but I’m leaving it in to highlight my point.

So this is another approach you can use at this stage. It can help you identify some of the bigger errors your eyes might glance over.

Here’s what to keep in mind during the review process:

Ok, here again, I think it’s a good time to take a quick break. Step away from your post and think about something else because when you come back, you’re going to get ready to submit.

Step 7: Final Review

Yup, another review.

No, I don’t think this is overkill.

By now, you’ve done 99% of the work. This is just one final read-through to make sure you didn’t miss anything major.

This shouldn’t take you any longer than 10-15 minutes.

Looks good?

Cool, you’re ready for the last step.

Step 8: Submit or Publish

Congrats, you made it!

Depending on if you’re sending this to a client or putting it on your own site, all that’s left to do is put it out there in the world.

You did it.

This method of how to write a blog post isn’t the end all be all or the only way these things work. But it’s a good starting point. As you write more, you’ll develop your own methods and have a system that works for you.

For the time being, you can steal ours.

Now, get out there and write.

Want help starting a freelance writing or blogging business? Check out our free 6 day course that walks you through all the essentials.

This post was updated in July 2023 for accuracy.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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