An 8-Question Template To Make Your Next Blog Post Better

Eight questions to consider before you write.

At the end of this post, I’ll show you how it began.

I can do that because before I decided to write it, I asked myself the same eight questions I’m about to suggest you consider before you write your next post.

The answers to these questions clarify what a post will become, why it will exist, and who will want to read it.

I recommend you do the same for your next post because doing so helps you — and your readers — get more out of what you write.

Here are the questions:

1. Who’s your post for?

We publish posts because we want people to read them — if we didn’t care about that, we’d just write them in a diary.

So, before writing a word, think about who the target audience is for your post and what they have in common.

These are the people you’ll speak to in your writing.

2. Now, who’s your post REALLY for?

When you think about who your post is for, you’ll likely pick a pretty broad target audience.

This second question exists to force you to niche down and get more specific with your answer to the first question.

For example, if the target audience you declared in question #1 is entrepreneurs, use question #2 to drill down and think about exactly what type of entrepreneurs are most likely to find value in your post.

Is it startup entrepreneurs? Tech entrepreneurs? Fitness entrepreneurs? Female entrepreneurs? Struggling entrepreneurs?

You can always find a subgroup of your initial target audience who is most likely to value your post and it’s helpful to identify them.

They’re not the only ones you can speak to in the post, but the more narrow your target audience the easier it is to be more specific, and provide more value in your writing.

3. What problem will your post solve?

Great posts either solve, illuminate, or share a unique perspective on a problem.

If your post doesn’t address a problem others have, its value to them will be limited.

A simple way to answer this question is to fill in the blanks on the following sentence:

My post will help [TARGET AUDIENCE] to solve [INSERT PROBLEM] by teaching them [INSERT SOLUTION].

If you take away only one thing from reading this post, let it be that sentence above.

Fill it out before you write your next post and your chances of success will be greatly improved.

4. What’s your core idea in one sentence?

Your post may contain a lot of advice, tips, and tricks, but take a second to boil the key point down to one sentence.

This question forces you to focus and can keep you from meandering in your writing.

It’s inspired by a concept in the book Made To Stick that highlights the importance of finding the single most important element of any idea in order to have people connect with and remember it.

Here’s a crash course in the concept:

5. What will you say about your topic that others can’t, don’t, or haven’t?

Medium’s a great platform because there are so many amazing posts to read on it — that’s why so many of them find their way into my For The Interested newsletter.

But the volume of ideas also makes it easy to fall into the trap of repeating things others have already said.

This question forces you to hone in on what you have to offer that’s not already out there — and doing that makes your post more likely to stand out.

Consider what you can bring to a topic that others can’t based on your own unique perspective and experiences.

This can feel daunting, but don’t get discouraged — no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you have LOTS of angles that are specific to you.

For example, let’s say you want to write a post about happiness — something that’s certainly been covered in depth by lots of “experts” (even I’ve weighed in on how to have a great day tomorrow).

Find your own unique take.

You can interview your grandparents and parents about their take on happiness and write a post comparing what you learned.

Or you can study the advice of happiness experts, test out their tips, and share what you learn from the experience?

Or maybe you believe people define happiness the wrong way and you can write a post about why you think people should redefine it for themselves?

The options are limitless. Use this question to force yourself to explore them.

6. What proof do you have that you’re right?

Why should anyone listen to you?

What experience do you have in the subject matter and what credibility does your opinion carry?

Again, don’t get discouraged by this question — you don’t have to be an “expert” to have an opinion on something.

Your thoughts are just as valid as anybody else’s.

The point of this question is to consider what assets you can reference in your post to give your thoughts added weight — and therefore added value to readers.

You don’t have to be a culinary school graduate to write about cooking, but if you’re a third generation home cook that might be worth mentioning.

You don’t have to have worked in TV to write about a TV series, but being a TV junkie who’s blogged about shows for years does give added credence to your opinions.

Give people context to the ideas you share and they’ll be more likely to resonate.

Lots of people could write this post about how to create more valuable Medium posts, but my thoughts have some credibility since I’m a “Top Writer” on Medium in several categories (including Writing) and have attracted a following of more than 30,000 readers.

(See what I did there?)

7. What other posts have you written that are relevant?

This is a way to provide additional value to readers AND to yourself.

Think about what posts you’ve previously written that are relevant to the topic of your next post and jot them down.

Then, look for ways within your post to incorporate links to those relevant articles, thus driving additional views to them.

In my case, I know if you’re interested in getting more value out of your Medium posts then you’re also likely to be interested in how to become the best writer you can be and writing tips that can improve your writing forever.

(Again, see what I did there?)

8. How will your new post further your overall goal?

If you just write on Medium for fun, good for you.

But most likely, you do it to accomplish a larger goal.

Maybe it’s to build a following, create opportunities for yourself, sell a product, or draw attention to a cause.

Whatever your goal is, this last question makes you consider how your post will (or will not) help you accomplish your goal.

It’s a way to ensure you invest your time in the right areas, on the right kinds of posts, and that your content drives toward what you ultimately hope to accomplish.

It also reminds you to incorporate calls to action into your posts when applicable and relevant.

For example, if the goal of my writing is to drive subscribers to my newsletter, then I should be sure to reference the newsletter in the post and ask people to subscribe to it.

(One more time — see what I did there?)

About that thing I promised at the start of this post…

I practice what I preach.

So, I answered these questions myself before writing this post and used them to inform what I created.

I know this is super-meta, but here are my initial answers to these questions which inspired what this post has become.

1. Who’s your post for?

Bloggers.

2. Now, who’s your post REALLY for?

People who blog on Medium. Especially business and educational bloggers.

3. What problem will it solve?

This post will help Medium writers get more value out of their posts by teaching them how to strategically plan out their posts before writing them.

4. What’s the core idea in one sentence?

If you answer a series of questions before you outline and write your next Medium post, you and your readers get more value out of it.

5. What will you say about the topic that others can’t, don’t, or haven’t?

People talk about outlining, but I haven’t heard people talk about taking a step like this before outlining.

Most people don’t approach their writing in a strategic way and often forget to align it with their overall goal.

Nobody’s suggested a specific system of questions like this to frame your approach to a post.

6. What proof do you have that you’re right?

I’m a top writer on Medium in several topics (including Writing, Creativity, Social Media, Life, and Self Improvement) and I’ve attracted 30,000 followers on the platform.

Also, if this blog post succeeds it will be further proof of the system.

(God, this is getting REALLY meta — I feel like this may be the Inception of Medium posts.)

7. What other posts have you written that are relevant?

How to become the best writer you can be and The two minutes it takes to read this will improve your writing forever.

8. How will your new post further your overall goal?

I’ll include plugs in it to my For The Interested newsletter and encourage people to subscribe.

Since this post will be designed to attract writers who are interested in improving their work and the newsletter is about sharing ideas that help people improve their work and their creativity, it should be a good audience fit.

Want more tips to produce, promote, and profit from your creations?

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I run the For The Interested newsletter and help clients use social media and newsletters to grow and activate audiences. ForTheInterested.com/subscribe

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