Sometimes the toughest topics produce the best blog posts and books. But tough topics are…well…tough. Today, freelance writer and travel blogger Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB) offers tips on easily writing about hard subjects so you don’t avoid but, instead, welcome them.
It’s hard to write about tough topics. It’s easy to write about a topic you know well or that relates to your favorite hobby, a special skill, or something you are interested in and enjoy. That’s when the words come easily. Unfortunately, to become an outstanding blogger and author you also have to tackle tough or unfamiliar topics.
Whether you are writing a post for your blog or on assignment as a freelancer, eventually you have to write about a subject that feels hard and stops your words from flowing easily. At those times, this step-by-step guide to blogging on tough topics will provide you with some help.
Come up with the Right Title
The right title sets the stage for your entire article. It lets your audience know what to expect and helps you focus your words on specific aspects of your blog post. For example, avoid broad general topics, such as “What is a Good Blog Title,” and, instead, get specific.
The title for this post, for example, “A Step-by-Step Guide to Blogging on Tough Topics,” provides a strong title that gives the piece a clear focus. You, the audience, know what to expect, and studies show that clear and precise headlines perform 38 percent better than those that are vague.
Do Your Research
Now that you have an excellent title for your post, create content that will keep your audience engaged. When it comes to writing on tough topics, that means taking the time to do some essential research.
I recommend at least half an hour of research for every 500 words. So, if you are writing a 1,000-word post, plan on spending about an hour on research first. (The tougher the topic, the more research you might feel you need, but don’t get sucked into the research black hole!) The research you include in your post will make you sound much more informed and give you vital credibility.
Outline Before Starting
It’s always a good idea to start with an outline for your article. When the subject feels hard, brainstorming the ideas for the piece and then organizing them makes the task feel less daunting.
Break it down into segments so you know your message and the best way to convey it to your audience. List your sub-headlines, and make sure they match the message underneath them.
Try to avoid one-word subtitles and utilize the same principles you did to come up with a strong headline. Next, write out a sentence or two to summarize each section. That way you won’t forget anything crucial to the article and will have a clear map of what you want to cover.
Don’t Allow Yourself to Procrastinate
Sometimes we get stuck. Writer’s block is a real phenomenon and can feel a little scary, but don’t allow it to paralyze you. Even though procrastination might be usual, don’t give in to the temptation. If that deadline is hovering, just make yourself sit down and start writing. Eventually, the words will flow. Have a little confidence in yourself and push past your fears and anxiety.
Include Links to Other Helpful Articles
It doesn’t matter what you’re blogging about, the goal of every article is to get the attention of your audience so they will share it with others and read it numerous times. A key aspect to getting the best SEO results is to include helpful links to other articles and websites. It helps your article rank higher in search engines results and conveys your expertise to your readers. It also causes them to spend more time on your site, and the longer the engagement the better.
Remember that critical research you did before writing your article? Look at those websites and articles and consider using them for hyperlinks inside your blog post. One word of caution though, try to avoid including hyperlinks to your competition. The last thing you want to do is encourage your audience to spend all their energy somewhere else.
Leave a Lasting Impression
One of the most important goals of anything you write is to leave a lasting impression on your readers. You want them to share your article with their friends and family. You should want to be the topic of conversation around the dinner table or beside the water cooler at the office.
You want to make your audience think about you and your words for days, even weeks after they read your blog. The best way to do that is with compelling content. Stop and ask yourself if you’re leaving a lasting impression. If not, what can you do to strengthen your article before you publish it?
As writers, we want to deliver our best work time and time again, even when writing about tough topics. That means taking your time, doing your research, and following your outline. Bookmark this page so the next time you’re writing on a tough topic, you can easily find this article and use it to break through the barriers that are getting in your way.
How do you handle tough topics? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.