You know you should be doing them for your business, but coming up with topics and sitting down to write them always seems like a task for another day, especially when work and life are busy. And let’s face it, isn’t it always?
Even if you have an idea and a few hours, pulling together a post that people will click on, keep reading, and help grow your business can be the next roadblock. So you don’t – but you definitely can!
Just grab a coffee and read on to find out how you can create great biz blogs.
Know your audience
Success in writing great blog posts, like everything in business, largely comes down to knowing your target audience. Who are you writing for? What do they want to know about? What resonates with them?
Don’t be general with this. You’re not writing for everyone who wants to use legal services or likes coffee. Drill down into who they are at an individual level. How old are they? Where do they live? What’s their job? What are their interests? What do they value?
When you direct your writing to a specific person, you can focus on what they want to know and use their language, giving yourself a better chance of engaging them.
Brainstorm your topics (and keywords)
In my experience working with small businesses, coming up with endless (good) ideas for blog posts isn’t easy. That’s where brainstorming comes in.
Grab your employees, colleagues or business buddies and spend an hour coming up with possible ideas. I say ideas plural because writing blogs should be a long term strategy.
Start by creating blog categories. For example, these could be your different products or services. Then write down ideas that relate to each.
Next, look at what your competitors are doing, type ideas into Google to see what topics people are searching for, and think about common questions your clients ask or issues they have. Quora and Ubersuggest are great for inspo.
This process will also help you identify the right topics and SEO keywords to target. Adding keywords into specific areas of your blog – the heading, first 100 words and 5-7 times throughout – can help you appear higher in Google search results, driving more traffic to your site.
Craft your headline
As famous advertising guru David Ogilvy once said:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”
Because of this, make sure your blog headline makes an impact or is at least engaging enough to get clicked.
While you may think this means being clever with words. It actually means being clear on what the post covers and choosing a topic your audience wants to read about.
Some popular blog headline formats include:
• How to…
• X ways to…
• Everything you wanted to know about…
• Top X tips for…
• Latest insights on…
• The secret to…
Create your skeleton
Creating a skeleton means giving your blog some initial structure. This is good for two things a) guiding your writing and b) removing the fear of the blank page!
A good structure for a blog post looks like this:
• Headline – See above
• Intro – introduce your topic and what you will be covering but use a hook. This hook could be a common pain point your customer or client has, a business or everyday story they can relate to or a recent industry statistic.
• Body – This is the main chunk of your blog. To make it easier to scan, read, and digest, break your copy down into smaller sections using subheads. Within these subheads, break it down further using bullet points. Also, add a few links to your other blogs and external sites where helpful and relevant (it’s good for SEO!) But first, just jot down your ideas/paste your research into each section.
• Conclusion – Never leave your reader hanging. Always add a short paragraph that wraps up what you’ve just covered. You might want to leave the reader with a question or action.
• CTA – This means your call to action. No blog is complete without one. Blogs themselves shouldn’t be overly promotional, so use them to encourage the next step, such as reading your other blogs or giving you a call.
Write with engaging clarity
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing business blogs is adopting a very formal ‘business like’ tone.
Even if you’d describe your business or industry as professional or formal, your customers or clients are ultimately human, and stiff copy is dull.
Instead, adopt a clear, conversational tone that’s light, easy to read, and free from confusing industry jargon. Give your words some rhythm by varying the sentence and paragraph length, tell stories, ask questions, use active, first-and second person and embrace contractions (you’re, we’re, you’ll).
It doesn’t have to be overly fun or familiar unless that’s your brand voice, but writing in this way will help you be more relatable and keep people reading,
Also, be concise. Don’t use a paragraph if you can say something in a sentence.
I’m a writer, so I love words. But I also love an image or two to break up a blog. So does the average reader. According to digital guru Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94 per cent more total views than articles without images.
Images not only make your blog posts more visually appealing, but they’re a great way to reinforce what’s in the copy. Plus, they’re good for SEO.
Top image tips:
• Make sure images are high resolution and in a format suitable for the web, such as jpg and png.
• Use one image per 350 words (unless you’re given specific guidelines to do otherwise, like in this guest blog!)
• Ensure you have permission to use the images you choose. Take a look at free image libraries such as Pexels, Unsplash and Pixabay.
Edit with fresh eyes
Ever heard of the saying, ‘Write drunk but edit sober’? Well, this is great advice.
Once you’ve written your draft (sometimes a glass of wine helps get the creative juices flowing!), check and edit it with a clear mind to improve the structure and grammar and make it even better.
I like to sleep on my blogs for a day or two before I go back to edit. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to cut and change when you look at it with fresh eyes. Once you’ve had a look, hand it over to someone else to check for typos.
You can try tools like Grammarly to help you out. Though don’t trust everything it says, you have to know when to ignore the suggestions.
And there you have it. Now you know what to do, it’s time to get started on that next (or first) blog. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to blogging these days, so it’s better to write one in-depth 2,000-word blog a month than several half-baked 500-word ones every week.
One final word of encouragement, practice makes perfect. The more you blog, the better you’ll get!
Want some more business copy tips or someone else to write blogs for you? Have a chat with a copywriter like me.