Do you want to improve the content on your blog? If so, then you should work toward making each and every blog post epic. In this article, we’re going to show you how to write a blog post that will succeed in search and social so you can achieve your content marketing goals.

How to Come Up With a Great idea

Every great blog post starts with a great idea. Great ideas for blog posts are everywhere if you know where to look.

Keyword Research Tools

If your goal is to get traffic from search engines, you will want to focus on creating keyword optimized content. In addition to helping you with your search engine optimization strategy, keyword research tools are easy-to-use ideation tools for your blog posts.

Most marketers start with Google AdWords Keyword Planner (GAKP) as their keyword tool of choice because it is free and produced by the leading search engine. You will need a Google AdWords account to use this tool, but all you need to do is create the account — you do not have to run any ads.

Using GAKP is easy. Simply add a few phrases for topics you have in mind for blog posts. A social media marketing agency, for example, would want to write about Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, LinkedIn marketing, Pinterest marketing and Instagram marketing. So they would add those keywords in the box below.

adwords keyword planner screenshot

When you click the Get Ideas button, GAKP will give you up to 800 related keyword phrases, complete with estimated monthly search volume. You can review the suggested keyword phrases in the Ad Group Ideas tab to see them grouped by topic by clicking on the ad groups related to your search.

keyword ideas for blog post screenshot

You can also review the suggested keyword phrases in the Keyword Ideas tab to see them ungrouped.

blog post keyword ideas screenshot

Best of all, you can use the Download Ideas button at the top right of either tab to download all of the suggested keyword phrases to an Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet.


This will allow you to use Excel or Google Docs features to sort and filter the keyword results the way you want them.

keyword planner export screenshot

Inside a spreadsheet, you can delete the unnecessary columns, leaving the Keywords and Avg. monthly searches columns. Sort the spreadsheet by the most searched keyword phrases and start thinking of blog post titles that you could write that include them. You can use a column in the spreadsheet to save your ideas.

If you’re having trouble coming up with great blog post titles for your keyword phrases, you can use tools like HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. Simply enter up to three of your keyword phrases, and HubSpot will start by suggesting some good titles.

blog post topic generator screenshot

Beneath your first five blog post topic suggestions, you will find a sign-up form. If you submit your information, you will get a spreadsheet with over 200 headline formulas. Enter your target keyword phrases to get specific blog titles that you can modify for your blog posts.

blog post title ideas screenshot

Social Media

Social media can offer many ways to discover the best ideas to blog about. For starters, you can analyze your Twitter mentions using Twitter Advanced Search. Simply look for Tweets mentioning your Twitter handle that ask a question.

twitter advanced search screenshot

Then look for questions that could be answered by content, such as this one:

twitter blog post idea screenshot

This could inspire you to write a post on social media conferences that you could share with this person and any others who might be interested.

The best thing you can do is have your social media manager log questions that could become great blog posts into a spreadsheet or other blog post idea bank for your company. When you answer questions that your customers are asking you on social media with your content, you know that you will be creating a blog post on something that people are interested in. As a bonus, your customers will love how much you pay attention to them.

Quora, Groups, & Forums

Speaking of questions, Q&A networks like Quora, social media groups and forums are hotbeds of questions waiting to be blogged about.

quora blog post idea screenshot

Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as forums on your industry, are also home to people who have questions about the topics that you would want to blog about. Therefore, it’s good to use these sources as inspiration for your next blog post. Best of all, if you are timely, you can come back to these questions and answer them with a blog post link.

Customer Engagement

Do your current and potential customers ask your sales and support team questions? If so, have those teams note the questions that are frequently asked. These can make for great blog post topics that will ultimately save time for both your customers and employees.

Remember that 61% of consumers research products and services online before making a purchasing decision. Help them get easy answers through your content and save the phone calls for closing sales.

How to Research Great Content

There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to writing a great blog post. Chances are, there are many people who have written amazing blog posts on your topic. The key is to find out how to make your blog post the best.

You should research great content from two angles:

  1. Top blog posts based on social sharing count
  2. Top blog posts on the first page of search results for your target keyword phrase

If you can create a blog post that is popular on social media, it will receive a lot of initial traffic. If you can create a blog post that is on the first page of search results, it will receive continued, sustainable traffic even as the social media referrals fizzle out.

Social Media Research

To see what posts are most popular on social media for your target keyword phrase, try BuzzSumo. Enter your target keyword phrase to see what posts have performed well based on engagement totals from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Your results can be filtered by age (up to one year old), language, country and content types.

buzzumo blog post ideas screenshot

You can search by keyword phrase, as shown above, or you can search by domain to get some insights into the top content published by your competitors.

You can then analyze the top 10 posts based on social shares. You will want to note each blog post’s length, depth, media and formatting. You may find that in your industry, longer posts are shared more often than shorter ones, or posts with video are almost always shared more than posts without.

Alternatively, you can review this study on why content goes viral. It notes that common attributes of blog posts that are most popular on social media include a high word count, images, emotional triggers, lists (preferably with the number 10) and trust factors such as an author bio, photo and professional logo.

Search Research

Next, you will want to research the blog posts that are on the first page of search results for your target keyword phrase. Be sure that you switch to non-personalized Google search results for your research.

blog post google research

With search results, you will want to note each blog post’s recency, length, depth, media and formatting.

Alternatively, you can review this study on content that does well in search. It primarily focuses on content length, finding that longer posts tend to rank better than shorter ones. It seems that 1,500 words is the ideal target length for great search engine rankings.

How to Write Your Blog Post

Your overall goal when writing your blog post is to make sure that yours is the best. To ensure that your blog post is the best, make sure that it has more of the following.

  • More in-depth information. It doesn’t have to be longer than your competitor’s blog posts, but it should be more comprehensive.
  • More images. If possible, include more screenshots or photographs detailing the process. It’s not possible with all subjects, but it is possible with many.
  • More facts. Remember the trust factor that content needs to be popular on social media? Boost your trust factor with more statistics, case studies and other data so readers know that it is well-researched content.

With those things in mind, you can start writing your blog post in a couple of ways.

Note: You will add in supplementary content (images, data, etc.) and optimize your content later. Right now, the focus should be on getting the blog post content drafted.

Start With an Outline

For some writers, starting with an outline will help you ensure that you cover everything you want to cover in an organized manner. You can start with specific headings you intend to use throughout your post or simply block the main points that will be expanded upon throughout your content.

Start With a Brain Dump

If you have a lot of great ideas for your blog post, but can’t seem to organize them, then your best bet might be to just get them out on paper or in a Word doc first. You can worry about the organization and editing afterward. This will ensure that you are not inhibited to the point that you get stuck trying to write your blog post.

Start With the Easiest, Then the Hardest

Looking at a blank piece of paper or Word document can be extremely discouraging when writing a blog post. If you find yourself with an outline, but not able to write the introduction or first section, feel free to skip around. Start with the sections you feel will be easiest to write first, and then go back to the tougher parts later. The more you complete, the more encouraged you will be to finish up the rest.


For those that didn’t start with an outline, your next job will be to organize your content once it is written. It might help to open a new Word document, craft your outline based on what you have written, and then copy and paste each section in accordingly.

Add in Supplementary Content

If you didn’t already, go back through your organized content and add images, video, statistics, case studies and other data or resource links to applicable sections. The more you can backup your content, the more trustworthy it will be for readers. One study found that 58% of consumers trust editorial content—convince the other 42% to trust yours with some detailed research.


Once your blog post is organized, and supplementary content has been added in, it’s time to edit your content. If you have a content editor to forward your blog post to, that’s great. If you don’t, you can use tools like Grammarly to get the spelling and grammatical errors that Microsoft Word, Google Docs and other word processing tools miss.

editing blog post grammarly screenshot

You will not only have professional editing at your fingertips, but you will also have the opportunity to improve your overall writing skills to help future blog post content.

How to Optimize for Search

To ensure that your blog posts rank well in search results, you will need to optimize them for your target keyword phrase. Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO recommends the following.

The Title

The 60-character title (max) of your blog post must include your target keyword phrase. If you’re stuck between a couple of blog post title ideas, you can use CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer Tool to enter your title ideas and get their suggestions on how to improve your title.

If you find that two of your headlines score well, and you have a WordPress blog, you can use testing tools like Nelio and Optimizely to test your headlines to see which performs best.

blog post headline testing screenshot

Note: When you determine the winner, you can change your blog post title, but you should make sure that your blog post’s URL does not change. Otherwise, you could lose any social shares for your blog post as well as links.

Meta Description

The 160-character meta description (max) for your blog post doesn’t necessarily help your search rankings, but it can help you get more click-throughs from search results. In many cases, the meta description will be shown in search results beneath your blog post title and link.

To add a meta description to your posts, you will need to be using a platform, theme or plugin that allows you to configure SEO fields for your blog’s posts and pages. WordPress users can install WordPress SEO for this purpose.

wordpress seo yoast screenshot

Alternatively, if you do not have the ability to configure a meta description, you should lead your post’s introduction with a good 160 characters that will encourage people to click through to your post. Also include your targeted keyword phrase in this sentence, as it will be bolded in search results to help searchers see the relevance of your post.

Keyword Distribution

In the past, SEO’s swore by having a specific percentage of keyword distribution throughout your content. Now, It is suggested that you use your targeted keyword phrase naturally throughout your content, but not too heavily.

The best way to use your targeted keyword phrase is in the introduction of your blog post, naturally throughout, and again in the conclusion. Also, look for opportunities to use variations of your keyword phrase to help your blog post rank for those as well. These variations can be included in your headers. In the HTML code, headers will be H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5. In your visual editor, they will be referenced as heading formats.


Note: You should only have one H1 tag per post, and that is usually going to surround your blog post title. So start your headers with H2 or Heading 2 for main headings throughout your blog post, and use the others as needed for sub-headings.

Image Optimization

At a bare minimum, you will want to have one image per blog post. But the more images you have, the more chances you have to use your targeted keyword phrase to optimize your blog post for search.

To optimize your images for search, start by using your targeted keyword phrase in the image filename.

Then, if you have the option with your blogging platform, include your targeted keyword phrase in the ALT text. For WordPress users, your ALT text will be automatically configured to the filename of your image.

img alt tag example screenshot

If you have access to the HTML code for your blog post, you can manually add the ALT text to your image code by adding ALT=”Your Keyword Phrase” as so. You should also add a few words that accurately describe the image itself.

Link Building

In addition to optimizing your blog post for search on the post itself, you need to do some off-site optimization in the form of link building. Fortunately, getting links for great pieces of content can be easier than getting links to a business homepage, category pages or similar pages.

Remember all of the posts that rank on the first page for your targeted keyword phrase? Chances are those posts received some links. You can use any SEO tool that allows you to check for backlinks, or go back to BuzzSumo, enter a blog post’s URL, and click the View Backlinks button.

The results will show you the most popular pages linking to the blog post, based on social shares.

You can reach out to these website and blog owners to see if they would be willing to link to your post based on the merit that it is newer and better than your competitor. You could also look at the influencers who shared these posts to see if they would be willing to link to or share your post as well.

In addition to reaching out to other website and blog owners, you can bookmark your blog posts on high-quality social networks like Reddit (in subreddits related to your topic), Inbound (for marketers), BizSugar (for business and marketing), Design Float (for designers), and similar networks. This will help you get more links to your blog post while also getting more traffic from specific audiences.

Also, if you found questions that inspired you to write your blog post on Quora or forums, you can return to those to share your blog post link as an answer to those questions, and more links to your content.

quora question answer example

In addition to building links and being helpful, you might get some traffic from people who search for answers to the same questions on these networks.

How to Optimize for Social

In addition to optimizing your blog post for search engines, you need to also optimize it for social media users to encourage social sharing. Specifically, you will want to do the following.

Add Social Sharing Buttons

The easiest way to ensure that all of your blog posts get shared on social media is to add social sharing buttons to your blog template. These buttons should appear on each and every blog post page, preferably at the top of the post before the content begins (like you see on this blog post) and at the bottom of the post as soon as the content ends.

Why place it in both spots? At the top of the post, it encourages people to read the post, as they will assume a popular post must be good. At the bottom of the post, it encourages people who just finished reading the post to share it.

Most major blogging platforms support social sharing buttons. AddThis, ShareThis, and Shareaholic are a few major social sharing button providers that will work with most of the top blogging platforms. They will also provide you some great analytics to learn more about your most-shared content.

Add Additional Sharing Options

In addition to your main social sharing buttons, you should look for opportunities to add additional sharing options throughout your post.

sprout click to tweet screenshot

You can use the free Click to Tweet tool to create similar features for your own blog. For example, if you have a lot of statistics in a blog post, you can create a click to Tweet link for each.

blog post click to tweet stats screenshot

All of these additional sharing options will encourage people to share your blog post on Twitter in different ways, increasing your Tweet count.

Social Sharing Bait

Want to ensure that certain people will share your content on social media? Mention them. Mention other people and brands that are relevant to your blog post as inspiration, examples or sources. Then let them know when you publish your blog post in a Tweet. The result may include a simple thanks or a Retweet of your blog post.

blog post social thank you screenshot

In addition to a quick mention on Twitter, you can tag the people and brands you mention in your post on Facebook and Google+ to ensure that they see it or ensure that they share your post on a network other than Twitter.

In Conclusion

Writing a great blog post can take time, from coming up with great ideas to making sure your blog post is optimized to get the best results in search engines and social media. If you take the time to create high-quality content following this process, you will gain the traffic, engagement and results you want from your content.