A 5-Part Blog Post Framework
As someone trying to build and maintain a writing habit on a limited time budget, I'm always looking for ways to make the creative process more repeatable and efficient.
As part of this effort, I often try to reverse engineer the output of writers who produce at a high rate, Ryan Holiday's "Daily Stoic" newsletter for example. What I've noticed is that prolific writers like this usually follow a formula. Much like pop music, each piece of writing is unique, but if you look past the details, clear patterns emerge instantaneously.
Once I realized this, I began experimenting with formulas of my own. Below is a 5-part blog post framework I've had success with:
Opener: Anecdotes, surprising study findings, news headlines, etc all make for great openers. Something to grab the reader’s attention.
Key takeaway: Put the opener in context. Make a declaration. What should the reader take away from the opener? Make this count as you are in essence stating what the whole piece is about.
Supporting examples: Provide a few more examples that back up your key takeaway. I like to pick up the pace here and list these in quick succession. The goal here isn't depth, it's breadth. It's to help the reader see the broad applicability of the key takeaway.
Calls-to-Action: Focus on helping the reader map the key takeaway to their lives. Urge the reader to put the concepts in play.
Conclusion: Try and recap the essence of the blog post in four to five sentences in order to solidify the reader's understanding and maximize their retention.
This framework is still a work in progress. Also, I should mention that I treat it more like a general guide than a formal prescription. If it doesn't feel like it's working for a particular piece, I'm quick to switch it up.
The point isn't to be rigid but rather to make the writing process more modular, to decompose it into smaller, more manageable parts. Think of each section like a block in a lego kit; don't be afraid to leave one out, add an extra, or assemble them in a different order if the piece calls for it. This seems to work great for blog posts, but I would imagine could easily be mapped to longer-form content such as chapters of a book.