Are you making this big mistake? (Just got your attention, right?)

There’s a reason this headline is so clickable and this type of blog post is so common: We all want to avoid making mistakes!

So today I’m bringing you a step-by-step blog post recipe for how to write a “big mistakes” blog post of your own.

Prefer to watch? Here you go!

Step 1

Come up with a catchy title that uses the word “mistake” in it. Don’t get scared off by the fact that tons of blog posts use “mistake” — that’s the point! You’re capitalizing on familiarity.

We’re all used to seeing titles about “common mistakes” or “top mistakes” or “5 mistakes,” etc. We feel drawn to them because we understand them and know what to expect.

Plus, no one wants to make a mistake! You’re using just a wee bit o’ fear to help you help your readers. That’s totally fine. Just steer clear of obnoxious full-on emergency click-bait, like “The 5 Mistakes You’re Making at Your Computer Right Now That Are Going to Kill You by the End of the Day!” <– Hard to take seriously, right?

Step 2

Begin with an introduction for your post. This intro has 3 key jobs:

  1. Grab people’s attention with a “hook” they relate to. This could be a question or a familiar scenario such as, “If you run a business, you’ve probably been told you need a blog.”
  2. Give some background on the topic or a bit of context.
  3. Make a promise of what the post will deliver. This can be really simple and straightforward: “Here are the 5 most common mistakes people make when they start a business blog and how you can avoid them.”

Step 3

Provide the content! Walk people through the mistakes one by one and then tell them how to avoid them.

It’s helpful if you offer some specific steps your readers can take to avoid the mistake, such as how to know when they’re about to make it, or what they can do instead.

I like to add a part in each content section with a “Pro Tip” or a “Take Action” step so readers are crystal clear on how to avoid the mistake.

The number of content sections will depend on how many mistakes you’re covering, but each one needs the following elements:

  • header that gives a clue about the topic (for readers and for Google bots)
  • what the mistake is and why it’s a mistake
  • what people should do instead
  • optional: pro tip or action step readers can use to avoid the mistake

Step 4

After you’ve repeated Step 3 for each mistake you want to cover, it’s time to wrap up with a conclusion. (If you’re having a flashback to high school English right now, there’s good reason for that. This is exactly the structure you had to use to write those essays about Hamlet…)

You don’t want to introduce new information in the conclusion. Instead, you want to wrap up what you’ve already covered and restate the main points. I like to list all the mistakes again one after the other to help people remember what they learned.

Now here’s where your post differs from those school essays: You need to end your post with a call to action.

This is a good practice for any type of blog post you write. A blog post is a kind of conversation. It’s a back and forth — just interrupted in time. Your reader had a question and you answered it! Maybe she didn’t realize she had the question until she saw your post, but she started reading it because there was something inviting about your topic.

When you get to the end of the blog post, use the good energy from that conversation to continue the relationship!

A call to action (or CTA) might be…

  • asking readers to sign up for your newsletter so they can get more helpful posts like this one
  • pointing readers to another post with related information you think will help them
  • giving them a link to schedule a consultation or free strategy call with you
  • following you on your favorite social media channel to get other tips and tricks from you

Whatever action you suggest, make sure to tell people what they’ll get out of taking action.

Your Turn

OK, you’ve got the recipe for writing a “Big Mistakes” blog post, time to put it into action. You need only a handful of elements:

  1. Catchy title that includes “mistakes”
  2. Intro with hook and promise
  3. Content with headers, mistake, and how to avoid it (repeat as many times as needed)
  4. Conclusion with CTA

But maybe you prefer to see an example before you dive in? I feel you. I like examples, too. Here’s my blog post about the most common mistakes people make when starting a business blog.

OK, no more excuses! Time to pick a topic and start writing.

What kind of mistakes will you write about? Share in the comments and I’ll help you brainstorm a title.