Power Tips To Get You Ready For Business Blogging
One of the turning point in publishing is the birth of blogs. We have enumerable personal blogs that’s basically an online diary of someone made public. There are blogs that espouses for one thing or another whether it be political, cultural, economic or social. If you are planning to put up a blog for you business to market your products and services, you have to think like a publisher.
The content may be varied or as is usually the case, focus on a particular topic. For businesses, their blogs will typically focus on relevant, interesting topics based on the products and/or services that they offer.
The good thing about blogging (a term used to describe any aspect of running or managing a blog) is that you can be as flexible and creative with the content that you put out there. This means that you, as the blogger, can write just about anything you want, on anything that interests you, in any style that suits your fancy.
You control how often you post and who you want to potentially read your post. In short, you have total freedom. There are usually no rules as to how you should write your content – you just do.
However, you do need to keep in mind that when you blog you are basically selling yourself to your audience. As a business your blog is a way for you to market your brand, your reputation, your credibility and in the end the thing that you are offering whether it is a product or a service.
That means that when you write your content you want to write it not just for yourself but also for your customers and for the purpose of selling yourself to them. That’s why it is important that you know not just what to write but on how to effectively right in order to achieve that purpose.
Now that you have an idea of what blogging is all about you may be thinking of jumping in right now. Sure, you can do that and in many cases that’s how a lot of bloggers do it. However, remember that you are selling yourself when you blog so you want to make sure that you start off on the right foot in order to make it easier for you and at the same time give your blog a higher chance of success.
- Know your motivation. Why are you writing a blog? This is an important question to answer as it will give you an idea of who you should be writing for. At the same time it will give you an idea as to how you will write your content in order to achieve your desired result – that of getting the audience to become your customers.
Your motivation can be a lot of things. It could be because you want to give advice. It could be because you want to offer an opinion. It could be because you want to entertain. Or, it could be because you want to build your online presence and build your credibility and reputation.
- Perform it consistently – Make writing a routine. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes out of every day just do it. Set a date with yourself that every (insert time here) you will write something.
- Set up a good place – Your surroundings can also help to motivate you to writing. A place where you can be happy, comfortable and most of all relaxed helps. As long as it is a place where you can let your creative muses go then occupy it.
- Don’t move around – This goes for the where and the when. What that means is stick to the same schedule every day. If you write at 10 a.m. on your kitchen table then make it a habit to always write on your kitchen table at 10 in the morning.
- Allow changes – Things happen so if you can’t make your schedule then just accept it. Don’t worry about not being able to do it. Just look forward to doing it the next time.
- Isolate yourself – This means no distractions. Turn off cell phones, radio or television. Every sound they make will derail your thoughts. This means that instead of getting your thoughts down on paper your thoughts will be all over the place.
- Write badly – That’s because nobody’s perfect. No one can write ‘The Great Gatsby’ in just one sitting. It takes a lot of perseverance and drafts to do so. Give yourself the leeway to make mistakes so you can learn from them.
- Don’t berate yourself too much – Not being able to write well is not a sin. Some people have it; some people don’t. Punishing yourself will only discourage you from writing. What’s important is that you’re learning and improving yourself.
- Take a break – Motivation needs a rest too. Trying too hard to motivate yourself will only make things harder for you. Stressing yourself will make you lose your motivation instead of getting it.
- Just do it – Borrowing the motto of Nike, just write. It doesn’t have to be a blog article. Just write whatever you feel like writing. Motivation and especially inspiration comes from the strangest places. Maybe by writing a poem or a journal you will get the motivation to write for your blog.
- Know your buyer’s persona. Now that you have your motivation all figured out you should ask yourself who are the people you want to be reading your content? This is so you can focus you content to those specific people.
For example, if you’re a business that sells baby products then you want your intended audience to be mothers with newborns. You can even break it down to expectant mothers, first time mothers or mother’s with a young baby already being taken care of.
By knowing who your audience is you will be able to write your content for them. This way they will not be alienated and will feel more connected with you thereby building your credibility with them. This will also generate trust that you can use later on to get them to become your customers.
- Define your purpose – Why are you writing? What are you getting out of it?
- Define your offer – What are you sharing? Is it something people will want?
- Define your geographic area – Are you local? Are you regional? Or are you global?
- Define their demographics – What is the age range of the people you want to read your blog? Single? Married? Professional?
- Define their psychographic – What is their lifestyle? What are their values and attitudes? What interests and hobbies do they have? Are they low income, middle class or wealthy?
- Know your story. This goes to the heart of your content. Now that you are motivated and know who your audience are your next step is to figure out what it is you want to tell them. Your story is what makes your content your content.
Are you just sharing your experiences with your audience? Are you simply giving them advice? Or are you telling them to act on something that they should believe in? Whatever it may be you need to know what it is you want to write to them about that they can relate to in order to bring them closer to you. This is so you can strengthen your relationship with them.
- Know your brand. In connection with knowing your audience and your story, you also need to know what brand you’re representing. As a business owner this may very well be the entity that you’re running. If you’re your own business then it’s your personal brand that you’re selling.
- Answer these questions
- What products or services does your brand offer?
- What are the qualities of these products or services?
- What are the core values of your brand and its products or services?
- Who is your target market?
You need to know this so that you can tailor your content to better reflect on your brand. Remember that your content is all about what your brand is. This means that you want to make sure you put your brand in a good light. It doesn’t mean that you have to write about it directly. What it simply means is that you want to make sure the quality is such that it won’t bring shame on the brand you represent.
Now that you have a plan or at the very least an idea of what and how you want your content to be your next step is to go ahead and write the content itself. How you do this will depend on your style as each blogger has his or her own idiosyncrasies that help them write their content but generally they do have things in common.
- Write your gut. It basically means write what comes to mind that interest you. Often, simply writing down a title of some sort is enough to get the creative juices going. By doing so you have some sort of focus on what your content should be about so you can plan accordingly.
- Know the needs of your audience. Remember earlier when we talked about knowing your audience and all that? In this case try and picture what it is they need. What problems do they have that can be alleviated by the contents of your post or blog? By having a rough idea of what these needs and problems may be you can then focus your content in such a way that you answer their needs and problems.
- Look at their comments – The way people comment is usually an indication of their thoughts. If you parse through them you will get a glimmer of what they are getting at and what they are expecting.
- Social networks – People share a lot in social networks. They can be a direct indicator of interest and ideas. Looking for them can give you a good idea of their thoughts.
- Forums – A good way to see what they think is to visit forums, especially those that are up to date on the trends that are currently being discussed. Brand discussions and the like also help determine their needs.
- Keyword research – Knowing what gets searched a lot will give you an idea of what people want. Follow trending or hot searches so you can understand what is being looked for at the moment.
- Content that matters. Often content that you like or that matters to you is easier to write about. Since there is a connection with it, it would be easier to put down words on paper. At the same time your audience will also connect with it since they will be able to see your connection with the content of the blog post.
- Choose your topic. If it helps, why not write something about a topic that is trending at the moment. As long as it is related to what your blog is all about you can use this as a way to jump start your content. At the same time since it is trending you know that people will be keeping an eye out for such topics since it’s hot.
- Ask your readers. This is perhaps the most direct way of knowing what they want to read more about. Not only will you get an idea as to what they want you will also give them a sense of belonging since you will be interacting with them. Use surveys or ask for feedback from them.
- See what’s trending. Google trends is a good tool to use for this. By looking at what is trending right now you will get an idea of which topics are popular and ride its wave.
- Do it your way. That said; don’t simply regurgitate things that have already been written. It’s something that you may easily do since it is easier to write something that has already been done before. If you must give that topic a different spin or a new angle. This way while it may still be the same topic it will talk about it from a different point of view that may be different from what others are doing.
- It’s not one size fits all. Just because you’ve written the headline or have a topic in mind doesn’t necessarily mean it all will come together all at once. As you write your content you will find that certain things may not necessarily go where they should. That just means that there’s really no set pattern to writing content and what’s written down already doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be for that purpose only.
- Move things around. Flexibility is a must when it comes to writing content. What that means is that the introduction you may have written may work better as the actual body of the post. Or, the conclusion may be better as the introduction. What it means is that as you write your content things will evolve. Don’t be stuck with what you have already written down. Allow yourself the leeway to move things around if it means getting a better post out of it.
- Just start already. Waiting until you know everything there is to know about blogging and posting content will just keep you from doing just that – blogging and posting content. A big wall for many is the start. That’s because they succumb to the pressures of actually doing their blogging.
- Being judged. The fear that other netizens will see their work and judge it as nothing more than a rehash makes some pause before they even get their feet wet. That’s an understandable fear but at the same time it’s not like you are copying it word for word. As said above as making use of what’s trending or popular is ok as long as you put your own spin or angle to it.
- Making mistakes. That’s part of anything we do in life. If we didn’t make any mistakes we wouldn’t be able to innovate or find solutions to them. You will always make mistakes when you are starting out. That’s a given. Just learn from your mistakes and try not to make the same ones again.
- Accept the mistake – Don’t dent that you’ve made a mistake. If you did that then you wouldn’t be able to learn from them. Accepting that you’ve made a mistake is a step in the right direction.
- Know the cause of the mistake – Even if you accept that there has been a mistake but do not search for its cause you may wind up doing the same mistake over and over again. By knowing the cause you can adjust things so that you don’t create the same situation that caused the mistake in the first place.
- Adjust your alternatives – Take a look at your reasoning. Consider the factors that contributed to the mistake. Adjust your thinking to consider those factors and make changes according to the results.
- Application – Come in using the new alternatives. Try out the same actions using other methods to see if the mistake is still repeating or not. If not, see what other mistakes you’ve made. Repeat.
- No one is perfect. That is true in real life and it’s also true in the blogging world. Everyone makes mistakes. Even those top bloggers made their own share of mistakes when they were starting out. What is important, as mentioned above, is that you learn from those mistakes and perfect them so you don’t do them again. Sure, you will make more but if they’re not the same ones then you will be better for it.
- Keep moving. Take as many steps as you need to take but keep moving forward with what you’re doing. You make mistakes and stop then it will be the end of it. You make mistakes, take stock of what you’ve done and move on from it then you will probably get to where you want to be that much faster.
- You’re not the Energizer bunny. You can’t keep going, and going, and going, and going. Your body and especially your brain can only do so much for long periods of time. Once you feel you’ve reached an impasse take a step back, take a walk and re-energize yourself. This way you come back refreshed and with a sharper mind that can make quality content for your intended audience.
Once you’re already writing it is helpful to know certain strategies that will make your post that much more appealing and thus readable. Basically, you want your audience to stay on your post and read the content. This will give them an idea of who you are based on how and what you wrote and at the same time give them a connection with you. If they don’t stay and read then it’s failed in connecting with your audience which means you won’t be able to easily convert them into customers later.
- It starts with the title. Let’s face it; titles are the ones that really catch the reader’s eye. If the title is catchy and curiosity inducing enough the reader will stay and read on. Simply put, the title can make or break your post. It is probably one of the bigger factors to drive visitors to a post.
- The reader will get something out of it. You must convey that the content will give the reader something useful. This could be a tip or an answer to one of his or her problems.
- That there’s something different about it. The reader must get the impression that the content and the answer he or she will find in it is unique and different from all the rest.
- Keep that promise in the body. Since you title promises the reader something do make sure that that promise is kept in the content of your post. The reason the reader stayed is because the writer told him or her that they will get something good. This means you have to really give them something good. If not they will lose trust and won’t read anything else you write in the future.
- Make the body easy to read. In general, a great post makes you laugh, answers a question or solves your problems. But that’s not all; a great post is also something that’s easy to parse through. Even if the content is good, if the layout is in shambles or hard to read then the reader won’t be bothered to stay and try to work their way through it.
- Format the body so that’s it’s easier to read. Use any or all of the following.
- bulleted or numbered lists
- block quotes or captions
- line breaks
- bold fonts
- other formatting that breaks up large blocks of text
- Use contractions. For example use “it’s” instead of “it is” or “that’s” instead of “that is.” It will make your post flow more easily as well as being more relaxed instead of being somewhat conservative and disjointed.
- Short is good. By that is meant short sentences. Short sentences have more impact that longer ones. Short sentences stand out more.
- Active is good. The passive voice is just boring and takes a while to figure out. The active voice is better because you know very quickly who is doing what. That’s because it is the best representation of what is going on.
- Metaphors. Saying something is like something else. It’s a great way to invoke emotion or create associations of one to the other.
- Be grammatically incorrect for emphasis. If you think incomplete sentences are wrong you would usually be right. Unless you use incomplete sentences to emphasize a point. Often, incomplete sentences are better in emphasizing a point. It’s a way to reinforce a point given by a previous sentence.
- Otherwise mind your P’s and Q’s. Grammatically incorrect short sentences are allowed for emphasis but otherwise do make sure everything else in your body is correct. Not only does it mean grammatically correct but also correct in spelling as well.
- Repeat again once more. If necessary repetition can add a better rhythm and flow to the content. It can be melodramatic or exciting depending on the words used.
- Give what is expected by the reader. Whatever promise you gave in your title you must give in the body. If you’re offering them solutions then solutions you should have – and then some. It is always good to meet and exceed the expectations of your readers to make them come back for more.
- Don’t forget that you’re a professional. As such you must not let your reader forget it too. While you may use an informal and conversational style it is always good to let the reader keep in mind that you are a professional. You can do that by the way you use language or jargon in your content.
- Don’t rain on their parade. Negativity will always repel everyone. It holds true whether in the real world or the online world. If you don’t like to read or hear anything negative the same holds true with your reader.
- Cliffhangers are great but only on television. In other words don’t leave them hanging. Yes, a cliffhanger makes you want to watch the next episode in a television series but when it comes to posts you had better not. Unsatisfied is unsatisfied – if your readers feel they did not get an ending then they may not read your next post anymore.
- Get them to do something. A call to action if you will. If you don’t tell them to do something chances are they won’t. So if you want feedback ask for them in your post. At the same time it makes the reader feel like they are being engaged. This would make them want to stay and be loyal to you.
The things written so far are not so much rules as recommendations. That’s because much like your content is ever evolving so too does the way to write it. That’s because like everything else your readership base is also evolving.
This means that what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. This could be due to different factors such as change in habits or likes and dislikes. Whatever the reason what is important is that you are able to fine tune your content writing such that you are able to catch up with any of these changes should they occur.
Writing is not just a matter of following the rules. You can break the rules if you want and many good writers do. That’s how they became good writers in the first place – because they broke the rules.
Writing content for your business blog may seem like such a high hurdle but it won’t matter if you don’t even have the guts to try it out. Taking the first step is very important even if you are a novice. As the saying goes:
Even if you stumble along the way what is important is picking yourself right back up and continuing on. Keep on making mistakes and as long as you learn from it so you don’t make them again continue doing so. In the end, you will become a better writer and blogger because of it.
So, are you ready to start blogging for your business? If you’re just starting let us know if we have helped you in anyway with this post.
If you are already blogging, share your experiences with us for others to learn from. Just make a comment below and let us know how you’re doing.Power Tips To Get You Ready For Business Blogging by Mark