How to write great blog posts that engage readers and drive traffic

What has changed when writing blog posts?

Besides freelancers being able to produce an article for 5 bucks? AI that produces quality content?

A lot!

You can still pretty easily write posts that rank well on Google, like I did here:

As the person who has been heading the content operation for various SaaS companies for more than 15 years, I know quite a bit about achieving marketing goals through blog posts.

So this is the unconventional process. I’m going to explain this as if I’m the person writing the post, just to save you the lengthy communication process with the freelance writer.


1. Come up with an idea (usually includes finding a real problem).

The idea I had was an article on the topic of ‘Increase essay word count’. This wasn’t the only idea I had, and I did cross out several other topics before deciding to pursue this one.

Having said that, I had a good hunch about this topic, since it related so closely to a feature that my product provided.

2. Check the idea by reverse engineering it and using SEO software.

So the first step is to get a basic feel from Google. Go to the search page and enter the phrase.

Analyzing these results is crucial for finding hidden gems and opportunities. I notice here that:

  • The number one article was written in 2015. A lot has changed since then.
  • A homepage is ranked rather high. This could be a negative sign, if the search term is a better fit for homepage ranking. But in this case, I assume readers searching for the term “increase essay word count” are actually likely to expect an article rather than a homepage.
  • There aren’t many listicle results. This could be a real opportunity, since I can create the article that offers “several ways to increase word count”.

During this stage, I’ll also examine the keyword difficulty and search volume, to see if I stand a chance of ranking:

3. Write the outline, and find a unique angle.

Writing the outline happens at the same time as finding the unique angle or point of view you will present in the blog post. I needed to step inside the brains of my readers, and find out what they would love to read in an article such as this one.

I know this might sound weird, but I close my eyes, and imagine myself as the reader. So, I am in the middle of writing this essay, and I keep getting frustrated by the fact that I cannot get my word count up to the requirement. I search Google, click on the first link that piques my interest, with the high hopes of getting…


Like, a free tool that expands sentences, or a simple tip I hadn’t thought of. I skim through the article to discover the author had the same problem as me, and she did three things: Wrote a highly structured outline, expanded each point as if it was an entire article, and went through the whole piece again, adding examples, stats and stories.

4. See if you missed anything by browsing other people’s articles

Now I have the basic skeleton of my blog post, but I need to make sure I cover enough grounds. Plus, having three points is not enough. I need at least eight ways to increase word count, otherwise it doesn’t look like a real blog post or listicle.

So I open each of the top ten blog posts of the first page on Google. I even open the homepage, because maybe one of the tool’s features could be useful for my article.

I collect all the points each article makes into an excel sheet, and start organizing, deleting and editing the list.

5. Write the thing down

Now it’s just – magic. I add as much personal experience, I do some more research. If needed, I bounce the idea with some friends and see if they’d like to offer a contributor quote. Basically, the hard work is already done, I just need to take the outline and fill in the blanks.

In the past, it used to be a numbers game. You wanted to rank, you had to write at least 2,000 words, preferably 3. This is still true, somewhat. However, you can still rank for articles that are much shorter, given that the article is actually good and does what it promises. In other words, if someone reading through your article will actually find what she was looking for, then you have a chance to rank.

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