How to Write a Kick-Ass Blog Post | Maddy Osman | Skillshare
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11 Lessons (1h 12m)
    • 1. Introduction & What to Expect

    • 2. #1: Defining "Kick-Ass Blog Post" & Finding Topic Inspiration

    • 3. #2: How to Research Like an Expert

    • 4. #3: Outlining Your Kick-Ass Blog Post

    • 5. #4: Finding Legal to Use Images

    • 6. #5: Using a Style Guide & Formatting for the Web

    • 7. #6: The First Kick-Ass Draft

    • 8. #7: Crash Course in Content SEO: Basics of Keyword Research

    • 9. #8 Crash Course in Content SEO: Using Keywords

    • 10. #9: Blog Promotion Tactics

    • 11. Conclusion & Next Steps

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About This Class

I'm sharing the secrets that have helped me land clients and writing positions for companies like Search Engine Journal, Sprout Social, Adobe, AT&T, and more. Whether you're a beginner or have been creating blog content for a long time, I'll be sharing a number of resources and processes that can be useful to create quality content, efficiently.  ll go through the complete process of writing a truly kick-ass blog post, which includes: Topic development Research Outlining Finding legal to use images Formatting for the web Drafting/editing Using SEO best practices in your content Blog promotion tactics To access all of the resources mentioned throughout the course, visit my website:

Meet Your Teacher

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Maddy Osman

SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith


Hey all! I'm Maddy Osman, or as my clients know me, The Blogsmith. I write for high-authority publications like Search Engine Journal, GoDaddy, WPMU Dev, and Sprout Social.

It's hard for me to sit still, and I'm the co-organizer of WordCamp Denver and the Denver chapter of Freelancers Union. I'm also on the board for BMA Colorado in charge of social media.

After a few years in sales, I was feeling unfulfilled and decided to go out on my own. Thanks to many years of blogging and web development (and networking!), I started my freelance career off with a bang, and haven't looked back since! 

My first Skillshare class focuses on everything I've learned over the past 7 years in terms of blogging best practices. I'm sharing the same process I use for resea... See full profile

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1. Introduction & What to Expect: Hi, guys. I'm Andy Osmond, and this is my course on how to write a kick ass block post. This is probably the most you're gonna see of me for pretty much asshole course, because I've created a bunch of slides and outlines and different guidance to get you through it. But we'll be covering topics like how to outline a black post. How to find legal these images for that post had to do research like an expert, how to promote that post once it's live and really everything in between. I've tried Teoh really cover every part of my creative process that has helped me to secure work with companies like Search Under Journal, Sprout, Social, Adobe, A, T and T and many small and medium sized businesses in between. I'm hoping Teoh help you create something that is truly unique and useful, as opposed to just adding to this a large amount of content that's already on the Internet . Within my course, I talk a lot about client work, but this is just a relevant to someone who's trying to create an article for their own blood. So without further ado, let's get started 2. #1: Defining "Kick-Ass Blog Post" & Finding Topic Inspiration: so there's definitely a difference between a regular block post and kick ass log post, and these differences tend Teoh center on the same two things. First of all, it's the length of the post. And while you should never write just for the sake of writing, it's almost not even worth going into a topic unless you can really expound on it and provide something valuable. So long form content is one of the tenants of a kid gas black post, and we'll get a little bit more into that. But 1st 1 more point is that whatever you write should not just be huge blacks of text. And it's important to be sourcing images for whatever your kid gas blood post your writing and the minimum is toe have a really good future image. But for a truly could gas block post, you'll also have images and examples within the post itself. Whether that screenshots, stock photos or anything like that, a good person to look to for an ideal example of this inaction is Neil Patel or, um Brian Deane, who runs back lingo. So another really excellent resource for writing kit gas block content is orbit Media, which is a Web development agency, and Seo company in Chicago, Illinois. And so they have a couple things that I've taken from many of the block. Was it? There's the I've read. The first is Andy crossed. Adina, who is the founder of Orbit Media, says to create the best resource possible if you want to be able to rank for the keyword that you choose, and I know this is kind of a big, um, it's a big level topic, but just think about you know, when you're reading through your black posts. Are there questions that remain unanswered? Are their topics that you haven't really explored fully? You know again will go into how to create this awesome resource more into the course material, but that's an important concept to keep in the back of your head. Um, another person who kind of echoes this sentiment and who has had great success by following this advice is Marcus Sheridan of the sales line. So basically, Marcus Sheridan was creating content for a pool company in Florida, and, you know, obviously Florida's hot place, you know, if there were ever employees toe have a bunch of different people competing for pool business. It would be Florida. And basically what market shared and did was he created, ah, very content rich website that basically answered all the questions that people ever have when you know, wanting Teoh break ground on a pool in their backyard and everything that has to do with that. So something to keep in mind. I'll be linking out Teoh the sales lines website and orbit media later on, probably in the class description or, you know, some notes somewhere on skill shares platform. But another thing that's interesting about Orbit Media is that they create this blogger survey every year, and they published the results of the survey. And basically, it's just talking to bloggers figuring out, you know, what are some of the things that they tend to dio and finding interesting data from that. So we talked about on the last slide long form content, which I would define us somewhere around 1500 or more words. And what Andy crusty and a phone in this survey is that this is the trade of some of the top bloggers. So, you know, you could settle for mediocrity, but really, if you want to be Kick ass. It's gotta be longer form. And even the 1000 words is better than kind of the minimum 500 words. So I'll link out to his blogger study, which I've included here again on in the notes for this, um, presentation. But that is kind of the basics of you know what sets the foundation for Kick Ass Black Post ? So next we're gonna take a little bit of look at idea generation because, of course, you can't have a kid gas wide post without starting with an awesome idea. And you know these ideas here going to sound a little bit basic. But bear with me, um, for me when I'm coming up with ideas, I tried to take inspiration from the world around me. So whether that be the podcast, I listen to the books I read the conferences I attend, and you know whether it's a speaking topic or the people themselves there. There's always good ideas to be found at a conference which tries to be at the cutting edge of you know what's going on in your industry course. There's also other blogged articles you never want to plagiarize or steal an idea, but totally okay to get inspiration from them. And then, of course, you know there's your colleagues themselves, so each of these places can be a great way to get ideas. But challenge yourself to not only be thinking of ideas within your own industry, but also even without even outside of your industry. So books, for example. I read a lot of nonfiction books, but I think there's certainly inspiration to be found in fiction books as well. Um, I just ride, for example, the picture of Dorian Gray, and you know it's got me all in this prose mind, and I think that's helping my writing a bit. So as a summary, take inspiration from everything. And then, while you're you know, getting inspired by your industry or by things outside of your industry makes you that there's always something available to write on, obviously your phone could be the perfect solution for this using, you know, some sort of note taking app. But if you would rather be unplugged, you know at certain points throughout the day, don't let yourself be without something to write on. So carry around a small notebook. If you don't have your phone around. I know you know. It's an extra thing to worry about, but you don't want to be struggling to remember something when inspiration strikes, you know, write it down and then get back to whatever you were doing. All in all it be a real shame to lose a great idea. So one thing that I do to stay organized with all of my ideas is I create trouble boards, whether it's for my own block content Ward. This is actually an example of a board that I created for a client. So I just put bars all over, you know, the sensitive information, but basically the top left hand corner would have the name of the client. Um, we would both be adding new topic ideas to that first board. If the client sees an idea that I added that they don't like, they would just pull it over to that rejected area. If they do like it, they would pull it over to approved on. And then some of the categories that you don't see on the screen shot are also in progress . So anything that I'm working on that's not done yet. editing. So that's something that maybe the client, you know, is adding some notes to and then publish, which is something that's live on the blag. And I would include a link to it on this board just to keep things organized so you might have your own system for doing that. And whatever works for you is cool. I just like Trela because it has a lot of built in editorial calendar functionality. So that's what that's what works for me. 3. #2: How to Research Like an Expert: so it would be impossible to write a kick ass black post without first completing the correct type of research for it. And researching like an expert in that topic would the following tips are gonna be really helpful in doing that. So first you want to identify some experts sources, and these are defined by a couple different things. First, you want to find an authority or multiple authorities and subject matter experts on the topic that you're writing about. For me, this might be search engine journal from writing an article about S E. O. Or say I'm writing an article about social media marketing. I'd probably go to social media examiner and these two sources actually represent publications that focus specifically on news. So if you're writing for a client and you want to use really relevant resource is its ideal toe first check places like this because, um, you know, say, for example, I'm writing for a client who provides email marketing services. But they, um they don't want me to be linking to something like Campaign monitor, who has a lot of really awesome stats. But ultimately, you know, provides the same types of services that they dio. So finding a source that's, you know, a media outlet as opposed to a company blag is a really great way to satisfy that client and also obviously provide a good expert source. One thing you can do if you're not sure if someone is an expert source like say, you're writing for a client and then industry you haven't really written about before is to check the domain authority of that article. Um, you will. You can do is you can just Google check domain authority. A couple different options will pop up. They're all free, or most of them are, at least, and you'll type in that euro. And basically it will show you on a scale from 1 to 100 what the domain authority is, and as long as it's above 30 that's considered good, you know, closer to 100 is great, but for our purposes, just keep that 30 number in mind. So when finding an expert source, you also want to consider the timeliness of the source, and some of the industry is that I've already mentioned like a CEO or social media market, a change so fast that something that was relevant even a month ago might not be relevant now. So what I do is at minimum, you know, look for a published it within the past year or maybe two years ago. At most, um, this is important to keep in mind because even things from 2014 might not be relevant anymore. Even things from 2015 might not. If it's something like, you know, the results of a study so say or experiment like a psychology experiment, it doesn't necessarily matter when those results were published or when that study occurred . Because, you know, it's an indisputable factors, at least a working theory that we can use that's been accepted. So timeliness is not as important on things like that. But if you're quoting from a new source, um, it's a little bit more necessary to make sure that that's current. So the last thing here, but all touch on is linking and, you know, being able to see that a lot of people are linking to your expert source. Sometimes this just comes from doing research. You start to notice the same source, come up in a lot of different places. That's a good sign another time. It's just looking for social proof on the block itself. So a lot of blog's will have different indicators, like social share icons that show how many people are sharing it across their social networks or how many people are, you know, even just reading it. So that can also be a great way to identify an expert source, or at least very popular one. Something that's really important to do. To set yourself up for success is to just make sure to subscribe to any relevant newsletters in blog's that can help you to find these sources and to send them straight to your inbox so you don't have to go out and search for them yourself. So if you write, you know, within a certain niche, figure out what those newsletters and blog's are say, you know, again, going back to the idea of S e. O. The blog's that I subscribed to our MAS search engine journal, a graphs search engine land, um, you know things along those lines, and it provides a very good mix of different types of articles that I can use to be inspired by, or the uses sources later on. Once you find really good sources, sometimes it's not the perfect time to use them yet. And that's why you want to make sure that you're saving your useful sources for later. So for different people, this means different things. I don't recommend rocking the boat. Try to use the tools that you already have a couple, that I like our source because it allows you to tag. You're different. Um, you know you are. All's is being different topics ever notice also really excellent for this in, you know, Pinterest, you probably already have an account. Just make some secret boards for the different topics that you tend to write about. And that'll be a really great way to make sure that you never lose an awesome source. One easy way to find, um, a topic, you know, on honest state, usually that you've already defined. So say I'm searching search engine journal, for example. What I would want to do is put this string into Google, and so it's basically whatever the topic is, we're like the keywords you're going after in those quotation marks, and then you write site semi colon, you know, whatever the euro of the website is so maybe search engine journal dot com. And what that allows you to do is search internally within that site for any topic related . Teoh, you know what you're trying to write about And what this is especially useful for is finding internal links, which again, we'll get to this when we get to the section on, you know, content s CEO. That will be important to keep in mind then. But for now, this will be a great tool for helping you find an expert source related to the article that you're writing about. That's gonna also be a really good tool to use if you're about to pitch a brand an article that you are right for them. Use this to make sure that they haven't already written about it. And if they have, You know, obviously make sure that you have a unique angle that you can pitch and showing them that you did. Your research will help you at least you know, get to the next level even if they're not interested in your topic right now will appreciate that you at least put that amount of effort forth into figuring out what their needs are. So what's end off here with a quick note on finding inspiration from other topics? Um, we'll start off with just saying you should never copy or spin an article. There's simply too much content already in the universe that doing this provides value toe Absolutely nobody. So again, let's go back to that idea, creating the best possible resource on a topic. You can use different topics to help you think of different ideas to add in. You can use them to look for different quotes and statistics to add in your article. But for best results, create your basic article structure for the post before looking for sources. That way, you won't be tempted to steal ideas because you already have your own basically. 4. #3: Outlining Your Kick-Ass Blog Post: So why are undergoing the process of doing research for your kid gas block post? At the same time, you also want to be working at the outline for this structure for this final article. Basically, I have two goals, or I guess, one main goal in one sub goal when I'm creating an outline. And the first is that I wanted to set me up for success. When I finally start writing my actual article, I wanted to include basically all the information that I need to be able to write the article. And so that leads us to the sub goal, which is to create an outline that doesn't require the use of the Internet to complete for me. I like to be able to knock out some work when I'm on a flight or, you know, if I am in on transportation like a boss, sir, even in the car for a long period of time, and by creating an outline that has all the information I need, you know, I can actually get a lot accomplished during my downtime so that I can have more fun. You know, when I'm not stuck on an airplane on transportation, whatever it may be, I have some contractors that I work with that helped me create outlines. And so I'm constantly trying to challenge, you know, whatever they're putting in their outlines to make sure that it does follow these sort of goals and making sure that it has all the necessary information that I need, you know, you have to think about does this answer all my questions? Is there anything about this stat that I can't interpret, you know, without doing additional research again, It comes back really to creating that, you know, perfect resource for whatever subject that you're working on and making sure that all questions are answered in the outline itself. So, um, from then, let's talk about what your outline should actually include and moving back, actually for one second. The additional benefit that comes from creating a very detailed outline is that if you don't need to use the Internet, then you can stay more focused on the actual task of writing and not getting distracted by all the shiny, bright objects that are. You know, all the different things on the Internet, your social media, your email, what have you so Yeah, Let's look at what the ideal outline should include. First. What I like to include is a brief, whether it's my idea on what the subject should be about or if the client provided some specific guide guidance on this topic. Um, basically, I wanna be able to make sure that I'm checking all the boxes of the things they told me to do, so that by the time I deliver an article, you know there's nothing left. There's no miscommunication. They don't think that I wasn't listening to them. Having it on your outline is just a nice reminder. The second thing you're gonna want to include that you might not have done in the past is any relevant metadata. So this is actual title of the article and then the meta description. If you work with clients that use something like WordPress er, basically any content management system, if they're using some blogging functionality off, it'll prompt them to enter a matter description. And if you didn't do this, it's basically extra work on there, and I think by being proactive with anything you can to help the client out makes you a little bit more indispensable so I would recommend always writing a meta description, and we'll get into that a little bit. Maurin the ASIO section. But for now, just remember to add a note on your outlines, so the introduction for some is very hard to write because they don't have a process around it. What I do is I create a bullet point for the problem, the solution and the reveal of the article. So the problem is basically me trying to connect with whoever is reading it. And it might be something like, You know, have you ever had any issues making your content reach past? You know yourself in getting more people to read it. Are you having trouble getting people to look at and share your content? Something like that. So it's a problem. The solution might be something like, Have you considered using an on page promotional tool like quick to tweet? So it's basically saying this article, it's hinting at what this article will talk about, which is what the reveal really gets into. The reveal will say something like, You know, in the next couple paragraphs, we're gonna talk about how you can use different I'm page promotional tactics to make sure more people share and re juridical. And, you know, it might not be a stiff, is that. But the idea is that you kind of create this formula for the introduction, both to make sure that you're connecting with the reader in the right way and also don't help simplify with the process of writing it. Sometimes you look at a black post and you just don't even know where to go with it. So having some formulas where you can can just make the process a whole lot easier. Next, you're gonna want to write out your subheadings and the bullet points that support them, and this is gonna be really the bulk of your outline. So what I do with this is first try to create a subheading for about every 100 to 200 words that are going to appear in the final article just to make sure that I have enough content to write this and for each bullet point that goes into a subheading, I'm trying to define what the structure of the article is going to be. I want to cover specific points that are going to be in this final article, Um, and I want Teoh. Make sure that I put in any relevant stats and links back to them so that I don't forget to use thumb. The conclusion essentially mirrors introduction and sort of, ah, reverse format. What I like to do is restate the problem that I initially brought up re shares in the key points that the article went through. This is helpful for skimmers, so they know, You know, if there's something that they didn't see that they wanted to learn about, they know to go back and do that. If the subheadings weren't helpful enough, and then I like to also end with a call to action on the call to action is really important , especially on a client article, because it provides an invitation for your reader to take the next step. That might be something as simple is leaving a comment. Sometimes I'll say, you know, tweet your thoughts at you know whether it's me or whether it's a client and you know we'll share favorite insights. Um, sometimes it's directly acting, asking for a sale, so use the conclusion to kind of drive the point home on toe also just tell people what to do next. If you don't tell him they're not gonna do it. That's marketing one on one. So what's just take a look at a couple little extra things you can do to help yourself or to help a client get the most that they can out of this article outline. The first thing is, you might want to collect a list of different Twitter handles for any people you know, like thought leaders, individuals or businesses that you mentioned in your article. This could be used later on for promotion, saying, Hey, and I just start this article at whatever their handles are, you know, well, love, if you would take a look at it and most of the time will also be willing to share it as well. So this is a great tactic for getting an article in front of the greater audience, and your clients will love that you did this for them. The second thing is, you want to include some image options, and if you're just providing one image for the feature image, you know, try to provide a couple different options at minimum, use one. Make sure that you have the rights to use it, whether you've purchased it or it's a royalty free stock photo, provide a link back to the source so that the client can verify that. And then what I also like to do is just recap the different sources and internal links that I'm using in the article to make sure that I have, you know, at least two external sources and to internal links. This will help with US CEO, and we'll be talking about that soon as a couple final reminders or bonus tips, as I'm calling them here. We've talked about it before, but again don't copy and pace anything. I like to take this opportunity while I'm writing the outline to make my job writing the final article easier. And what I do at this point is rephrase the article if you're in a little bit of a crunch and you just want to get the point down, Okay, fine. Copy and paste it. But what I like to do is use italics or a different font to tell myself and remind myself that it's a direct quote or it's a direct paste and I need to change it to be able to use it. It's a key thought in mind. Another thing is, you should take the time with this outlined Teoh. Just use short bullet points. You're not writing the article yet, so don't make this process any harder than it needs to be. But you know, obviously, for every rule there is an exception. If you're feeling really inspired and you know you have time to right some of the article now go ahead and let yourself get carried away with some of the bullet points that you have really good ideas for, because it will make the article easier to write in the long run, just don't feel like it's necessary. You can get your points across quickly to just make a nice, workable document and then scheduled time later to write the actual article. Finally, um, I've had issues in the past where people that helped me to write outlines will call up the obvious, and it's just stupid. It's hard to think of an exact example, but, you know, don't use your outlined Teoh waste any time or space. Just focus on what's really Jermaine to the point of the topic that you're writing about otherwise, it's just it's just wasted up for it. So what I'm gonna do is give you a peek at my article outlined template. And then what I'll do is I'll providing linked to it as well. So you can use that little spittle share a lot of the things I've already talked about, but it could be helpful to just get a brief look at it after, You know, obviously we've already gone through some of the main pieces of content, So this is my blag outlined template. What I do is they just copy it whenever I have new outlined to create preserving the original copy so you can see a you know, here's like what the meta title would be, um, that can also repeat it. Here I have a space for the meta title on meta description. I always like to remind myself, or my contractor is that my main goal is to be able to write this without having to do any extra research. We're using the Internet cause it can help me or can hurt me and make me lose focus. And then you can see a brief summary of some of the different on things you've already talked about. I added some additional notes down here. So, for example, you know, like I said one subheading for about every 100 or 200 words, depending on what you're going for. Don't copy Paste. No big box of text. Don't call out the obvious. So again, I will give you a link to this so you can use it for your own projects. But in general, that's what you need to know. To create a really cool kick ass black outlined template. 5. #4: Finding Legal to Use Images: so we've touched a little bit about images, but it's really important to be able to find images that you are legally able to use so that you or the client doesn't get hit with a fine or, you know, any sort of like legal action against you. So this will basically walk you through some best practices for finding legal to use images . First of all, the pictures work 16,000 words or such as the case thinks Teoh some different studies on how the brain processes images vs text, so the implications of this are basically that it's much easier to get a concept across and get attention with an image. Then it is with words. And in fact, a really strong feature image can make the difference between somebody clicking through and reading your post or ignoring it all together. One of the easiest ways to find images for a project you're working on is, of course, to use the biggest search engine in the world. Google, specifically goto images dot google dot com, and then you're gonna type in a keyword related to your article. I just plugged in blogging here for giggles and then what you're gonna do is you're gonna click on tools and you're going to click on usage rights and find images that are labeled for reuse. So this means that you're in the clear you can use thes. You don't necessarily have to attribute them to a source, although it's usually a best practice to do that, just in case. But this probably 75% of the time to maybe 85% of the time. We'll find the image that you need, at least for a feature image or something like that. But, you know, let's say that that doesn't turn out the perfect image, which is totally understandable, especially if you have a really weird topic. You're gonna want to start looking at some different stock photo websites, and so I've listed a couple that I use. I think everyone has their own preferences, and that's totally fine. If you search free stock photos or best stock photo sites, you'll find a whole list organized by you know, different subjects or topics these ones air really general, and that's why I like them, because they tend to work for most of the projects that I have. If I can't find what I'm looking for on Google images, Labour sock is really cool because it actually aggravates the results of a lot of different image search engines, like the other ones listed below. Pick sublet picks, obey unflashy pixels, etcetera. Um, the thing that's problematic with that is that it sometimes is down, so it's a little bit unreliable, but something to add to your bliss of ways to easily find a lot of images on a subject you know, going through a lot of different libraries at once. Picks obey unspool. Ash and pixels are just some of like the top free stock photo websites you can use. And then I also like looking through Flicker Creative Commons because they'll let you search by if you have to give attribution. If you you know don't want Teoh, there's a lot of really great additional resources that you won't find elsewhere on flickers. Definitely consider that in your search for the perfect stock photo. If you are willing to spend some money on stock photos or, you know if the client has budget for that graphic stock is great because it allows you to have a subscription most paid stock photo websites charge per photo, starting at about a dollar per photo on going up to even like the hundreds of dollars per photo if it's like Getty images. So being able to pay a subscription is really nice because it gives you access to some photos you won't find on these other sites. But you also don't have to pay per photo. I also like deposit photos because they frequently run deals through AP Sumo, which is basically an email newsletter for entrepreneurs, BlackBerry small businesses just sharing on different tools and really good deals to those tools. So I think the recent deposit photos deal was like $39 for 100 really awesome stock photo credits. They have great stuff on their side on par with Shutter sock, and you know some of the other big names in the industry. So I would say, if you're looking for a paid option that just expands the available images that you can download, one of these steel is a good place to start. If you're on a budget 6. #5: Using a Style Guide & Formatting for the Web: Usually when you do blag writing for a client, they will provide you with some sort of document called the Style Guide, or even just basic guidance as faras. What the voice of their company is some of the different formatting rules that they follow , maybe certain grammar rules or spelling types that they abide by. And it's important to keep these things in mind when you're writing, Um, and even if your clients don't provide you with the style guide, it can be helpful to create one for yourself at minimum, create one for your own Blagg. And I've actually created my own sort of style guy and then formatting rules for the contractors I work with so that they're producing consistent results, and it's obvious what I want within an outline. So when it comes to formatting for the Web, there are a couple different things to keep in mind. I'm gonna share this document with you, but I'm just gonna touch on a couple things that I think are important. So, you know, one thing I bring up in a different lesson is the fact that you wanna avoid the obvious and make the next person's job really easy. So one thing that kind of ties into it is this idea with the intro. Don't lead with something like this article will tell you blah, blah, blah. Just go straight into what it's about. Here are 10 ways you can, whatever the article is about something like that. Um, I always tell my contractors or myself when I'm writing an article to go for shorter sentences whenever possible. People hate looking at big blocks of text, whether that's in a book or online. And when it comes to formatting for the Web, you want to make things a skin mobile as possible. So on that note, you also want to be making sure Teoh use bullet points when it makes sense. Make use of white space to highlight an idea. Um, other things that I talk about our like, for example, the type of perspective that you're talking from most brands want you to use the second person, which is you really. Will you be asked to use the I first person unless it's, you know, a first person perspective story. For example, I actually have some clients that also have me use. The third person, which is they? And so knowing what person you're writing from can help you to craft the article the right way the first time. Sometimes it's a little awkward to go back in and edit for perspective. So that's one thing you wanna make sure that if the client doesn't tell you, look at their black posts to figure it out. And a lot of these things can easily be figured out by just looking at a company's blag. But it definitely helps. Have a style guide or to at least know the basic rules for Web. For Madden, some other things that are important to keep in mind or to avoid cliches and different popular sayings. It kind of just comes across like you don't know what else to say, so just avoid it whenever possible. On that no avoid abbreviations. Um, I also he ending a sentence with etcetera. Just say 0.1 point Teoh in 0.3. Um, I have some clients that want me to use the Oxford comma and some that don't so I like to make note of that, depending on what I'm working on, let's take a look at some of these other things Okay. So, formatting. One thing that's important is to be consistent and all the formatting you dio So you know, if you have ah bulleted list of points and you end each point with the period, make sure the all the different points of the period and the same thing with subheadings, if they're following a certain you know, sort of storytelling format or something like that, just make sure that they all kind of match up and that there are any subheadings that seem out of place. All right, Another word on paragraphs is keep sentences short, keep paragraphs short. I like about three sentences more than that. And I tried to start a new paragraph. Of course, you know, it comes down to the topic itself. Um, and you know what else is in that paragraph? I just try to keep that in mind when you're writing it. I also like to tell my contractors when they're creating an outline toe have heading one for the title subheadings, and heading to this makes it easier for me to add it. So I'm not worrying about you know the text in the font formatting, and that's already optimized for s CEO, which we'll talk about in a different lesson. So a couple other notes to talk about, um, using quotes. So I say to My contractors were using a direct quote. Make sure to attribute that with the person's name and a link to the quote. And if you're quoting a website instead of her person, make sure to paraphrase that, um, as faras examples, they're great. But I don't like of people use the same one that was in another article. So I asked my contractors to make up a different example, or at least let me know as the example that they shared is similar to something else. We'll talk a little bit about self editing in another section, so I'm not going to go over that. And, um, images will also talk about him were detail. So the main point of this is to just make sure that when you're formatting for the Web, it's very scannable. Make sure to maintain consistency and make sure to always keep in mind what it is that the client wants from you, so that you don't have to go back in and edit for something like style and voice. You should already have that down so that you could really wow them with whatever article that you're writing 7. #6: The First Kick-Ass Draft: So it's a this point that you've already created your kick ass outline. You've done all the research. You've probably found most of the images you're going to use. And now it's time to actually write that first draft of the article. So the easiest way to learn how to do this, obviously, is to just go through it multiple times and get in the practice. You need Teoh, you know, establish and expertise and writing articles. But ah, couple tips will help you to get on the right track for success. The first thing is to just write. Try to connect the ideas from your outline into something that has a little bit more flow. Um, you know, get rid of the bullet points where necessary. Start to create some sentences and paragraphs while you're at it. Don't overthink anything too much of this stuck. The goal is just to get it done. So say you're struggling with word choice for a specific topic, and you know you don't want to be wasting your time with this step. So what you want to do is add in a placeholder words some cinnamon in that's close enough to get the point across, and, you know, once you get to that final editing stage, you can replace it with the absolute perfect word. But it's at this point that a lot of people are attempted to go to the Internet, use a thesaurus or you know something to find synonyms. Don't be tempted to do that. It's going to take away from your focus and make this take much longer than it needs Teoh. So I'm the topic of focus. What I like to do is, um, a productivity's E method called the Pomodoro method. And what this does is, it tells you, and there's a different timers you can use to help with this. But it basically tells you to focus on one task intensely for 25 minutes. Nothing else. Don't let any other distractions in like notifications from your phone or social media or email. Just focus on that one thing. What's equally important is after you're done with that 25 minute period of intense focus, take a five minute break, and it's at that point that you can check any of those pressing things are you know, different things that can help you relax from the work that you just did. The important thing to keep in mind is that by allowing this intense period of focus, you can really get a lot done. So from my perspective, obviously I've been writing for quite some time. And if I had time to fix all these things and make them perfect. But what has worked for me is if I used the Pomodoro method to write, um, a blogger on E simple Teoh medium complexity topic. I can actually knock out a 500 word block posts in that 25 minutes. If I focus on these different tips and don't over think it don't let myself lose focus and just right so want to do run through that first draft, you know, clock in your 25 minutes or whatever it ends up being for you, you're gonna want to go into editing. And there's a couple different things that I used to be effective when it's just me editing this. If you have a client, they might have their own editor, but you should never turn in something to a client that isn't as perfect is you. I think you can make it so. The first thing is before submitting anything to anyone or even publishing an article on your website. Make sure you do a once over after you're done with your edits. So this isn't while you're doing at its. This is once you're done, making sure that you caught everything you possibly can. And one thing that you can do to assist with this is to read the actual article out loud. Well, this will help you do is find any sort of awkward phrasing that, um, just making it sound weird. Sometimes it's hard to catch this yourself if you're just reading it. But if it's out loud, it will be a lot easier to catch if you're doing your own editing. Another thing that's really important at this point is to determine if your article is even interesting enough to merit publishing and two perspectives that you should take on. This is first of all, is it interesting to you. But more importantly, and especially if this is not a topic that you usually write about where that you know a lot about try to put yourself in the mindset of your target audience. Is this something that they would want to read? Is there anything here that's redundant or unnecessary? Make sure that you're answering these questions within the article so that you're not creating content just for content sake. Another thing at this point that you're gonna want to ask yourself is Did I include enough information so that there isn't any unanswered questions on this outline? Just make sure that you're taking this final editing step to make sure that this article is as complete and kick ass is. It can possibly be and awkward phrasing or stupid, you know, grammar spelling. The stakes aren't getting in the way of you looking awesome for your client. 8. #7: Crash Course in Content SEO: Basics of Keyword Research: So it's a this point that we start to get into one of my favorite topics when it comes to article writing, which is Content s CEO and would have tried to do here is provide the basics in actionable way and easy to understand way that should be sufficient for whatever it is that you're trying to dio. Um, but as a caveat, you know, it's a type of thing that warrants extra research and study to be truly great at. So I would recommend, Ah, a deeper study of this topic when you have time or you know if you have the interest, because it will help you, whether it comes to applying for freelance writing jobs or even just driving traffic to articles on your own website. So without further do, lets get started shall way. I think it all kind of comes back to and search with keyword research, and this part of the process is bus done before actually starting to write your article, because it will help shape what the article includes. You know how you go about writing certain things, but I think it can also be done after the outline is done so whatever step of the process makes sense for you kind of keep these guidelines in mind for you know, the best overall experience when writing so that you're not wasting time in general. The more vague you are, the less likely you are to drive traffic to your website. And even if you do drive traffic to the website that you're trying to drive traffic to, it might not necessarily be qualified traffic. It might not necessarily be the type of reader that you're really trying to reach. So I've given you a couple examples down here. What would be considered too big? And what would be considered the perfect what's called long tail keyword that goes into enough detail to attract that a deal reader. So say you're writing a recipe for food. Black food Recipes is pretty big. It could describe the category page, I suppose, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the idea of an individual article. So then we have healthy food recipes, which is still pretty vague, but at least we're getting somewhere here. And then there's healthy gluten free bread recipe, which is a lot better, really gets to more of a point as to what it's about. But really, the best out of all of these options would be something like healthy, gluten free chocolate chip banana bread recipe. It seems fair to assume that there's someone out there that would be searching that. And if that's the case, you want to be ranking at the top for that keyword. So we're gonna take a brief look at Google keyword planner because it's really the industry standard tool for looking up keywords. So what, we're just gonna go with gluten free bread or something like that? I tend to ignore these other pieces here because I want the most accurate results for the keyword without taking anything else into consideration. But say, for example, you have, um, you know, you're writing something for a specific city. Then you might want Teoh add a location here. That could be something that you could change. You could also affect the date range if you wanted it to be like a shorter amount of time. But let's go ahead and click, get ideas and see what it gives us. And right now it's saying we get display search volume charts. Sometimes this is just an error on behalf of Google, so you can just click that get ideas button again, give you some more things to look at. Google keyword Planner is a tool that I think is pretty easy to understand, but it's hard to find the exact keyword that's gonna be perfect for you. So, for example, this is what I typed in, and it's saying that there is a really high average monthly search buying, which is nice. But the competition for this keyword is high, and it gets this competition not necessarily from organic search results, but actually from its AdWords tool And what other companies air bidding Teoh place pay per click ads. And so it also gives you the suggested bid if you were to also use AdWords to try to target these keywords, But in general it can be a good rule of film for when you're trying to find keywords for your block. Post my recommendation instead of looking for high competition Word, which would be hard to rank for even on organic search in general, would be to look for these more loaded medium competition phrases. And as faras average monthly searches more is not always better So, you know, obviously it's nice to have a great volume of people, but it's better toe have the right people, the most qualified people. I don't necessarily want to be optimizing for a keyword off under 100 monthly searches. But if it's a really specific thing, maybe that is the right thing to Dio. So it all comes down to knowing your audience, um, doing some of the research and these things can help you to at least get on the right path if you're a beginner. 9. #8 Crash Course in Content SEO: Using Keywords: So we've just touched on the basics of how to do keyword research for your Blagg. And I want to introduce to other concepts that have to do with keyword research as well as how to actually implement their results off the keyword research that you've done so that you can help your article rank in search for the different keywords that you've chosen. So obviously, it's important to find the correct skewers because you could rank for any keyword that you want, you know, with the right mix of competition and search volume and all that good stuff. But it's important to try to find the right keywords that reach out to the eye ideal audience that you're writing for, and part of that is intent. So there's the actual keyword itself and user and helps you to understand why someone is searching for that keyword. So we have three different main types of intent. The 1st 1 is navigational, and this is where someone is looking for a certain website or a certain part of a website. So instead of going directed to that website, www dot whatever dot com, you're typing into Google, something like Facebook log in or Gmail, and then you click a link from there to get there. Um, nobody really wants to optimize for navigational intent unless perhaps their website is really hard to navigate. But that's really a symptom of a bigger issue. So we're gonna kind of ignore that the next head of user intent is informational, and this is basically someone's looking for an answer to a question or toe. Learn something. What this also tends to communicate is that they're in the consideration phase off making a purchase. If you know their query is about, um, you know how to pick a software programmer? How does maybe, how to pick, like the ideal email client for me? Something like that. So the an example search query, then has that how to in there somewhere and then a phrase that reflects the information they're looking toe learn. So a lot of people, I think that it's a good idea to be optimizing for this informational intent because it is an important part of the virus process. But it's not necessarily what will end up closing them, so it's important. Teoh, when you're writing articles like this, did not go for a hard sell, but maybe two. Instead, try to build a relationship and using a call to action like sign up for email news other at the end of the article. Instead of going directly for that by, however, the next type of user intent is transactional or commercial intent, which does signal that someone's ready to buy and example. Searches might include something like Get a quo, you know, coupon for this discount for such and such site reviews of Different TV's If someone you know, it was tryingto decide if they were purchasing a certain TV. So when you're optimizing for these type of keywords, it's okay to be a little bit more pushy and you know, to try to close that sale by offering a discount by asking directly for the sale and things like that. So keep these different ideas of intent in mind when you're creating different types of content, whether it's for your own blood, whether it's for the block of a client, because this will help align the content to their stage in the buyer cycle and create the type of result, that's ideal. Um, on that note, you're gonna wanna have a mix of informational and this transactional commercial content. It shouldn't be heavy on one over the other, and it shouldn't have one and in the absence of the other, so make sure you're keeping that in mind when creating a content calendar. Another thing to keep in mind, that's becoming more and more important. As Google continues, Teoh amend an update. Their algorithm is this idea of semantic keywords and semantic keywords are basically keywords that are related to the main one, and it helps Google to understand how you're providing a complete resource on the topic again. Going back to that idea of creating the best possible resource comes back Teoh, making sure to include some semantic keywords and really easy way to find. These is Teoh. Start typing in the keyword that you're going to be optimizing for, and you'll see some Google Auto suggests results for that, and those would be considered some semantic keywords. But another way to do that is to actually go through that surgeon at the bottom of the page . You'll also find some related keywords that could be useful when doing the semantic keyword linking a final tool you might use is one called Answer the Public, and that just lets you do a search to find related searches on that topic and suggestions for semantic keywords. So by now we've gone over a couple different things that you need to know about the keywords themselves. But the next important thing to talk about is how to be using those keywords within your blag posts. So let's start with the girl or the slug it sometimes called. Basically, wherever the article lives online, you would, you know, copy and paste this address to find it. So there's a hierarchy of importance when it comes to using keywords. There's different signals that are stronger than others and do you are always one of the strongest signals. So I gave you an example for how you would use the key word you know, www dot your black dot com forward slash keyword. If it's multiple words, you would put a dash in between, you know, keyword dash, next word dash, whatever. That helps Google to see that they're separate words that not just one chunk of texts. If you're using WordPress, there's different Perma link structures that you can choose for best results. You want to eliminate the categories in the dates in the URL structure so that it's easier to ring for your specific keyword. This kind of comes back to page load time, which is a really important factor in the technical part of US CEO. And when you add additional things to a page, whether that's, you know, files, images, functionality and you are all structured, that can slow things down. So it really should just be focused on the key word. And I would also caution you to get rid of any extra words in your title that aren't the keyword, because again, that can slow down Google, crawling your site and providing your block posts as the response to somebody's search. So next we have the title of the heading um, as faras headings. There's a couple different tags you can use. H One is kind of like the title tag. There should only be one per page. That's usually what you're typing in when you're designating the title for your article on something like WordPress, And these things are also very highly relevant for search engine signaling, so make sure that the keyword is use their make sure You also are only using one H one tag per page. Sometimes people are attempted to use us to add emphasis and use, like the font styling on on their page. But this is better accomplished by just changing the font size and not using the H one tag because too many H one tags is a bad sign. Did Google. So the next thing you're gonna want to do is make sure that your meta title has that keyword in it as well. So, actually, sometimes you can change the H one tag and the meta title so that they're two different things so that searchers see one thing and the people on your website see another. Make sure that the meta title tag has your key word in it. If for some reason you want to do a different each one heading on your website, the meta title is more important than the each one. But usually they're the same thing. This is just, you know, splitting here is a little bit on then, Finally, we've talked about the meta description before. It's basically the description that displays under about a title on a search engine results page so make sure you're using the keyword in there, but also use this as an opportunity to have a compelling reason for someone to click through and read your article. It's kind of like the teaser. It's a way to get someone's attention, to use it for more than just a CEO. So next we have the subheadings. And as I mentioned before, there's multiple heading tags. H twos tend to be the right ones to use for subheadings on. You can use multiple on the page, but usually they suggest no more than 10. Additionally, you also can use age threes through H six tags. Teoh. Add subheadings to yourself headings if that's necessary, and you can use multiples of these as well. So just use these tags to help add structure and organization to your page, because I will make it easier for Google to understand what it's all about. So then you know there's the bulk of your content, which is the text content, and you want to make sure that you're adding your heward to this content as many times as possible without over doing it, and you don't want it to sound weird to the reader just so that you can make it sound appealing to the search engine. So, you know, there's this line. You've got a tow. Um, what I like to do is try to use it in that intro to kind of introduce the subject, use it as in h two at the very end, summarizing the subject and just really repeating the whole title of article. I like to use it in the conclusion to say, you know, what did you think about this topic? So that's three ways you could use it right away, but try to weave in as naturally as you can for the rest of the time. And in general, the guidance is that you want to use your keyword in the content at least four times for 500 words. Everyone has their own opinion about this. There's really no perfect answer. But this is a good guy lying to work off of. And of course, if you're creating really awesome kick ass content, you're probably more of 1000 or 1500 words to think about the implications of what that means for using that keyword. Another thing to keep in mind is that you're gonna want to use different text decorations. Teoh add additional relevance to that keywords. So what you could do is use a underlying italicize or bold ID. It's not the biggest ranking factors who don't hurt yourself over doing this, but it's something to keep in mind, um, again to just add additional relevance, your topic. But you know, again, it's just a small part of some of these more important factors. So images are another really important ranking signal that a lot of people don't take seriously, and it really starts with the file name. Make sure you're using the key word in the file name before you upload the image again, using that, you know, word dash next for the keyword dash Samos, the Ural structure so that Google can read it as such. You're also gonna want to make sure that you used the key word in the all tag. You could still use that all tag to describe the image for accessibility purposes, But make sure you plug in that key word, and you can also put it in the title, which is usually invisible, Um, toe anyone but Google or, if you view source on a page, but it's just another easy way to add on that keyword. So make use of it. And one thing that's really important to know is that you want to be using that keyword, not just on your feature image, but on every image you use on that page. The more the merrier. The more E is, the more relevance you're showing that your topic has to the keyword you've chosen, so don't miss the opportunity to use it there. 10. #9: Blog Promotion Tactics: So it's a this point that the bulk of your post should pretty much be ready to go. But it's a good opportunity to think of additional promotional tactics you can use to guarantee it the best possible chance of success once it publishes. So we'll start first with a couple on page promotional tactics. The 1st 1 is to include social share buttons, and these things provide a couple of different benefits. First and foremost, it makes it really easy for someone to share something that they like. It acts is sort of a prompt in case they weren't thinking about it before. You can put it at the bottom of the page of the top of the page on the side of a page. I personally like social warfare as my social share buttons, but I'll share some additional. Resource is of different social share buttons that you can use, and social warfare in particular, allows you to see the share counts. So how many who are sharing, for example, on Twitter on Facebook relative to your article? And I think that, you know, adding this layer of social proof can be another kind of trip wire to get somebody to share your post. So another thing you can do that somewhat similar is incorporate. Click to tweet within your article, and you're basically finding things you know within Twitter's character limits and still be also tweeting out the link of the article. And, um, you know, if you set it up correctly also, you're use your name or your Twitter handle rather. And so basically, you're gonna find different parts of your article that stand out. Maybe it's a stat. Maybe it's a quote. Either way, take a bulls or takeaways are very treatable, so one final thing to think about that sometimes gets lost in the rush of creating a block post is to optimize it for your different social channels. And sometimes you can do this through a plug in like Yost. But again, social warfare allows you to specifically change titles, descriptions and even images for the different social networks, so that when people are sharing it, it is shared in the correct format, so it looks as good as it possibly can. And while you're doing that, make sure toe optimizing image specifically for Pinterest. You know, typically you're looking at sort of ah, rectangular shape. But this one is like a rectangle flipped 90 degrees. So it's, um, you know, very tall instead of very wide. And by making a Pinterest specific image, it will make people more likely to actually pin it. And then, if they do pen it will make it more share a ble. You know something that people are curious about? If you don't optimize for Pinterest, people tend to ignore those types of pins, so kind of the final thing will talk about. Here are the various promotional tactics you can use once the Post actually is live. Um, I'll just give you a couple ideas. This is just really scratching the surface of all the different things you can dio um, so a couple different options first. Like I said before, gather all the tweets or the Twitter handles, rather of all the people who might have contributed a statistic or quo or are related in some way to the article you wrote and just tweet at them. That this article is live and that they're in it in most cases will retweet it and you'll be able to reach a larger audience. You can also Add it, Teoh. A block comment pot. If you go on Facebook and look for various blogger groups, you can usually find a thread where people are helping each other get comments or views or shares. So that's another thing to keep in mind. If you have an email list, make sure that you're sending out your new articles through that list on. And what I do when I'm writing client articles is I create a content round up at the end of the week where I share bulls the articles that I've written for my own properties, my own black posts, I sure, the articles. But I've written for my clients and the nature of some other articles that I haven't written but that are interesting. Teoh my audience or, you know, anyone who has an interesting content marketing, which is more or less that I do. That's when we can use those as well. Another thing you should do to help drive traffic to your new articles is depend them on Twitter and Facebook. That way of someone's landing on your profile is the first thing they're going to see on. Make it easy to act on you know, obviously try to draw them in with something interesting. Maybe even more so than just the title of the article on that note. Use Hashtags. So it's easy to find for different topics. It's a lot of people don't take this step, but I think it's an important one, and that's across publish your article, or at least a link to the article on Google. Plus, this in a small way, can help with a CEO is Google prefers its own properties to the likes of something like Twitter, Facebook. And, you know, on a final note with regards to publishing it at on social channels is to make sure that you're publishing across every social channel you have, obviously, for something like Instagram. This is a little bit more difficult since you only have one clickable link in your bio. But you could change the bio. Or you could just direct people to go to you know your website and see what the latest article is and share a picture related to it or something like that. I recently found a tool called Missing Letter, which allows you to create automatically, actually creates content. Both images and snippets from black posts that you feed it. I believe they have a free plan. I ended up getting a lifetime access plan for, like, 50 bucks or something from AP Sumo. So it's definitely look into that tool because I've found that the content I create, um, using missing letter actually gets a lot of engagement just because it stands out. And it also helps me to create kind of like a campaign over the long term since scheduling up to a year in the future. And it's just making sure that the effort that you put into the content you create continues to serve you. So another thing you can use if you already use buffer is there Reba for future? If a post that you tweeted out our shared on Facebook, er, what have you ended up doing really well, he can look at those stats, jump, offer and then push it out again. So another thing you can dio that requires a little bit of an extra effort but usually ends up being effort. Well spent is that added content upgrade at the end of your posts for the purpose of collecting email addresses, but also to give someone a little bit extra as far as your article is concerned. So say, for example, you wrote an article and it was all about, um, different templates you could use on Google sheets or something like that. Maybe the content upgrade is actually granting access to those templates. You know, for the people who have read your article there, probably interested in those. It's an easy way to get that email address in tow. Also, reward your readers for sticking around. Finally, um, you know, certainly not. The last promotional tactic option you have with last one on my list is to enable push notifications. There's different companies you can use for this. Ah, a couple that come to mind, er, send polls or push, Engage or Isay ot or not. 100% sure had to see that summer free and summer paid. But it's kind of a new way to get around this rule that you're not supposed to have email pop ups because email Pop Oaks actually can hurt your Seo. And there's a post about that on my bog. Www dot the blog's with the dash Wadsworth dot com if you're curious, but anyway, this is a excellent tactic. To get around that and usually has a pretty good conversion rate when presented to people was an option for staying in touch, since they don't have to give up their email address. But they can still obviously, you know, stay appraised of the new content that you're publishing. So between these options, there's probably several that you haven't used. At least consistency for best results obviously uses money as you can, but I'll leave you with one final thought that again comes from Orbit Media and Andy Crest Adina, which is make sure that whenever you publish a black post, there's somebody waiting for it. You just you don't want to just publish something out of the blue and, you know, assume the best it can be helpful to you kind of to use a topic or, you know, t even involve people in the creation of the topics of that. By the time it does publish, you have kind of a squad of people ready to help you promote it and who are eager to see what you have to say. So with that, we are just about done 11. Conclusion & Next Steps: hello again. So by now you've gone through all the different lessons in my course and are well prepared and well equipped. Teoh, right, Your very own Kick ass Black post. So the next step is to actually go out and do it. And whether you have something that you think is already Kick Ass or if you're working on a project that you like a second opinion on, please put it in the class project below, and I will give you my feedback, at least three action items that you can take to make it better. Besides that, I have compiled a list of resource is on my website, which is the dash blacksmith dot com forward slash kick dash s dash black and there's a link to so you don't have to remember that, but I would love to see and touch. So why are on my website if you'd like to be alerted for future courses, for example, I'm building one on how to use wordpress for beginners. Definitely sign up for my email list there, or, um, drop a line in the comments below to stay in touch. Thanks again for watching my first class, and I'm excited to hear any feedback that you might have