It’s been one heck of day, hasn’t it?
You hit the snooze button again this morning. Twice. You raced into work, only to face another day of your unappreciative boss and way too many unproductive meetings. And then, you fought traffic all the way home.
It’s after 5:00. Time to blog. But the only thing going through your head right about now is, “Are you kidding me?”
Mustering the creativity to write your blog can feel next to impossible when you’re tired and stressed out after work. I’d just as soon join a herd of sixth graders in a blind-folded scavenger hunt before I dig around for an ounce of inspiration after 5:00. But you know what? I don’t need to find epic inspiration after 5:00. And neither do you.
Writing isn’t about inspiration. It’s about organizing your ideas. You don’t have to be inspired every time you blog. Most of the time, it’s just about getting the words down. And the simplest way to do that, is to use a formula. Here’s a 4-step plan to write a list post that gurantees you’ll be on fire behind your keyboard — no matter what kind of day you’ve had.
Step 1. Promise what you’ll deliver in your title.
This is where you flesh out the idea behind your post. It captures one quick way to tackle the problem your readers are having. List post titles usually start with “X number of ___” or “How to ___.” Let’s say that you write for people who are tired of being overweight. They’re sick of all their weight-related health issues. One quick way to make their lives easier is to show them how to eat differently. Or more specifically, include green vegetables in their diet. A possible title idea could be, “10 Easy Meal Plans That Make You Feel 10 Pounds Lighter.”
Step 2. Captivate your readers with your intro.
Paragraph one: Empathize with your reader’s struggle. Touch on the heart of the problem your readers are experiencing. Relate to how fed up they are. Using your meal plan idea, you could introduce how frustrating it is to come home day after day to the same number on the scale. You try to eat less, but you just aren’t losing the weight.
Paragraph two: Show readers why you can help. Share a story, personal annecdote, or some data that backs up the claims you make about the problem. Here’s you could tell your readers how you’ve experienced the same thing. Or you could tell a story about a celebrity or someone you know with a similar problem.
Paragraph three: Provide a solution. Tell your audience that there’s a better way. Hint at the solution you found. Then tell them how you’re going to show them the solution. For example, if you use a personal story, you could share your turnaround point. I battled weight gain until I finally realized how lighter I felt when I ate green vegetables. When you incorporate green leafy veggies into your diet, you actually feel lighter and less bloated. Here are some meal plans that let you eat more veggies and look and feel great.
Step 3. Deliver your main points.
Here’s where you list the solutions you suggest in your title. For the idea about meal plans, you could list and describe 10 meal plan ideas that include green leafy vegetables and what their benefits are. Be sure and stay focused only on what you promised to deliver in your title.
Step 4. Inspire your readers with your closing.
This is your big chance to bring your reader full-circle. In a few sentences, recap the problematic behavior your reader wants to avoid. Remind them again of all the solutions they now have at their disposal. End with a word of encouragement to motivate or inspire them to take action and do things differently.
Waiting for inspiration to hit is the quickest way to bury your blog. You’ve got phenomenal stories and a strong message your readers can’t wait to hear. Don’t wait for the muse to strike. Use a formula that works and write your post already. It’s simpler than you think. And remember — every post gets you one step closer to more connections, more exposure, and more money from your blog!
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