Blogging can be intimidating for someone who has never done it or doesn’t like to write. Blogs, however, are becoming more important for businesses as they are trying to establish themselves in an online world that is full of market noise. Differentiating your business has never been more challenging.
I am here to tell you; blogging does not have to be intimidating or difficult. Start with these few simple guidelines and take the stress out of one of your biggest marketing tools.
1. Begin with “How will this help my audience?”
When planning your next blog, start with your customer. Don’t be afraid to give them useful information. Pull out the good china and make your prospect feel at home. If you make the mistake of only giving away mediocre information, your brand image will be mediocre. Be useful and your reader will remember you for it.
2. Grab them at the start.
Great headlines and an opening paragraph will guide your reader past the first click. Type almost anything into a search engine and you are going to click on the headline that promises to solve your problem or provide you what you need quickly. Think, “5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Love Kale” versus “Five Kale Recipes.” They both tell a story, but only one of them will make me read on.
3. Write in a relaxed style.
Jargon is hard to read even if you are in the industry. Jargon is cumbersome, and you are in danger of losing your audience fast. Write as if you are at a dinner party talking to someone in an entirely different industry. Don’t dummy it down, break it down. Everyday language is easier to read and faster to process. Leave the jargon to one-on-one conversations.
4. Break it up and make it quick to scan.
Your reader has very limited time. Subheadings are great and easy. People can read the headings and determine immediately which items they wish to read or if this article is something that will benefit them. Lists are also a terrific way to communicate effectively. But watch the pitfall of having more than 1000 words. If you have more to say, save it for your next post. Less may just be more. Leaving your audience interested in coming back is a good thing.
5. Support claims with links, data, stories and quotes.
Linking to your site keeps the love going. Linking to outside resources can be even better. Adding background support means you are doing your research and keeping up with changes in the market and it reaffirms your credibility.
6. Add images, graphics, tweet or dialogue boxes in support of your story and your brand.
Never miss an opportunity to brand yourself. A lot of words can seem like a lot of work to get through. Make your blog posts visually appealing and you will keep your reader’s attention longer.
7. Be original.
You may be saying something others have said, but it needs to be in your unique voice and with your opinions supporting it.
If you are going to blog for yourself, start with monthly posts and see if you can sustain more. Don’t over commit and under deliver. Fresh content means search engines will find your site easier, but it has to be worthy of your brand if you want people to trust you enough to make a purchase decision.
If you struggle with writing, hire a copywriter you gel with who has a voice you think works with your brand. LinkedIn is an excellent place to start your search. Be selective and don’t tie yourself down to a full year commitment without giving a freelancer a try first. All relationships start slow, and there is no reason that someone who is going to have the crucial job of selling your vision should be given the keys to the Kingdom until you know they are worthy.