The Ultimate Checklist for Blog Copywriters
Copywriting lends itself to many forms of marketing communication—emails, website content, print collateral, ad copy and many, many more. In the age of content marketing, many copywriters find themselves writing blog posts regularly. Blogs are a great resource for conveying sales topics and information that’s critical to the sales funnel. But, like all forms of marketing communications, blog posts demand a polished, thorough effort from a copywriter.
Blog posts may take an informal tone or cover playful topics, but the fundamental composition of the post needs to be spot-on. There’s a lot that goes into crafting an effective post—from choosing the right headline to deciding on a hard vs. soft CTA. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist for blog copywriters below.
Before you write the opening sentence to your next blog post, read through this checklist and make sure you’re following every step carefully. If you do, the finished piece is bound to be a winning post.
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) writing a blog post, do a little legwork to make sure you’ve got a grasp on what you’re communicating. Research the topic you’re writing about. Then, approach it from both a readership standpoint and through the lens of SEO. You should thoroughly understand the premise of your subject matter before you start writing, including the main ideas, core value propositions and key statistics.
The most important part of pre-writing? Outlining! An outline is your roadmap to a coherent draft. Rough out a simple outline before you start writing and give yourself a train of thought to follow as you pour your words onto the page.
During the actual writing stage, make sure you’re organizing your ideas into a fluid message. Pay attention to structure and tone as you write, and make sure readers get a clear message from each section of your post. Utilize bulleted lists, indented quotes, subheads, links and other stylistic formatting options to engage the reader. Make sure your headlines are snappy and informative, and your tone is on-brand.
Above all, get all your ideas in there—you can worry about editing for brevity and clarity in the next step. Even if you find yourself writing and rewriting the same intro or conclusion over and over again, what matters is trying out different ideas and structures until you find the best one.
Once you’ve written your post, plan to spend time iterating. Self-editing is the most important step of developing a great blog post (or any piece of content). Great editors will take several quick passes at a draft, editing first for grammar and punctuation, then for tone and clarity, then for readability and organization.
This is also your opportunity to fact check and cite sources for a well-rounded, polished draft. Writers working for an agency might have a copyeditor they report to, which is great; however, you should still embrace self-editing as part of copywriting best practices.
Blog posts aren’t meant to languish once you’ve written and posted them! There’s a high likelihood that you’ll need to go back and update a post with new facts and sources, or to stay current with the times or an evolving idea. Whether you’re adding, changing information, or rewriting in a major way, make sure you’re following the same good writing habits—citing, self-editing, organizing, etc. You’ll also want to let people know that this is an updated version of an old draft by including a revision dateline or annotations.
Eventually, the many steps in this checklist will become second-nature to you. The more blog posts you write, the better the habits you’ll develop. Whether it’s writing catchy headlines, writing a killer conclusion or catching simple errors through self-editing, keep this checklist handy and you’ll see immediate improvements to your blog posts.