Why you need to write killer blog posts.
As a small-business owner, you’re told that web content is king – and it’s true! The benefits of blogging are too numerous to list in detail here, so I’ll save them for another post. In short, though, blogging drives traffic to your website, and helps covert web traffic into leads. It establishes you as an authority in your industry, and helps you connect with your target audience and earn their trust. Increasing hits to your site also helps you get noticed by Google, which is important for most businesses and critical for some.
There is no escaping the fact that blogging is an essential part of small business marketing strategy.
All blog posts are not created equal.
In this era of information overload, quality is everything. The web is burgeoning with poorly-crafted rubbish, so there’s no value in churning out blogs just for the sake of it. If your content fails to grab your reader’s attention within the first few lines – a waffling introduction, an unclear message or sloppy spelling – it’s game over. All your hard work will have been for nothing, and you’ll quickly become disheartened.
You are not alone.
Almost every business owner I speak with tells a similar story: I can’t write; I don’t know how to blog; I don’t know what to blog about; I don’t have time to write.
If you’re reading a competitor’s blog and marvelling at how brilliant it is, chances are they’ve been honing their skill for some time. Or maybe they’ve completed a course on web writing, or engaged the services of a professional writer. Blogging is not a skill you can perfect overnight, but patience and practice WILL get you there.
With that in mind, here’s a list of my top 6 steps to writing killer blog posts.
#1 Just write SOMETHING.
You know the scenario. You knew exactly what you wanted to say and how you were going to say it. You’ve been carrying the words around in your head for days but now, faced with a blank computer screen, nothing is happening. Your mind is a void.
Honestly, the hardest part of writing anything is just getting started. After fifteen years’ experience as a professional writer, the above scenario happens to me more often than you’d expect. And, when it does, here is the mantra I repeat:
“You can edit bad writing, but you can’t edit no writing.”
So now you know what to do. Just write something. Write anything! Connect your brain to your fingertips and your fingertips to the keyboard and go for it. All the random words that have been running around your head, get them down on the page. It doesn’t matter what order you write them in. It doesn’t matter if the spelling is atrocious or if the sentences run together. Just. Get. Started.
#2 … and then re-write
Once you’ve bounded over that first hurdle, slow down. Great blog posts are seldom created in a flash. Most bloggers spend around four hours writing each blog post, and that includes professional writers. This post took over four hours and
28 34 revisions for me to complete.
Personally, I like to write up to the point where I can no longer look at the piece objectively, and then leave it to steep overnight. When I open the document the next day, I can immediately spot what needs to be fixed. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Delete superfluous words – that includes almost all adverbs (words that describe action eg. quickly, longingly, happily etc.)
- Make sure that your piece flows in a logical way.
- Delete repetitious information.
- Maintain focus. Don’t waffle and lose track of your key message.
- Break your post up with subheads.
#3 Include personal anecdotes.
Including personal anecdotes humanises your posts. It gives your writing a unique voice, and an opportunity to bring your unique brand to your audience. Remember, your story is the most powerful tool you possess when it comes to building engagement with your audience. Keep it authentic, because readers can sniff out a fake even in cyberspace.
#4 Use compelling photos and video.
If your blog is visually appealing, readers are more likely to engage with it. Intersperse large chunks of text with attractive photos, graphics or video. If you can find imagery that is relevant to the subject matter, all the better. If not, give some thought to your ideal customer and the kind of images he or she likes to look at.
If you are in a creative field such as photography, your blog is a perfect place to showcase your work. If not, try a free image library such as Pexels or Pixabay. They have thousands high quality images that are free to download and use for personal or commercial purposes. Be sure to read the terms and conditions, and never try to claim someone else’s creative work as your own.
#5 Share your blog.
After all your hard work, you’ll want people to actually read your blog. Social media is a brilliant place to promote what you’ve written and start getting it circulated.
Where you share it depends largely on what industry you work in and who your ideal customer is. If your business is in a highly visual field such as interior decoration, photography or cake-making, you’ll probably find Instagram and Facebook your best allies. Look at your page statistics to analyse when your page gets the highest volume of traffic, and roll it out then. If your business model is B2B, LinkedIn and Twitter might be your first option.
#6 Be consistent, and don’t give up!
Writing isn’t easy, but the good news is that it can be learned and improved with practice.
It’s important to be consistent. Rather than publish ten blogs in the space of a fortnight and then nothing for a month, it’s better to publish one or two a week. Once you find your rhythm, you might gain momentum and be able to produce several posts a week!