Thinking of writing your own blog? Read these handy hints beforehand to ensure you write the best blog post possible instead of the world's worst one.
Writing a blog post is one of the best ways to improve your own or your businesses online identity and it should feature as the key element to your internet strategy. There are many advantages to writing a good blog, it can:
- improve business relations
- widen public awareness
- act as a source of information for potential customers/clients
As you have ultimate control as to what is published it's up to you to represent your business in the best light. Just because you write a post for your business, doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be about the company; a good blog post should simply be a personable text which engages the reader. The best blogs have a clear focus and provide a clear purpose, often giving the reader an answer to a problem or query.
The Blog Itself
Ensure you're familiar with your online surroundings. Identify yourself within a niche community or sector; often the market your business is situated in. Your goal is that once you have established yourself, your blog will become the go to place for information and advice for your topic niche.
Regularity is key
Once you begin posting your blog, do so frequently. Once a week is common and usually an achievable target.
Before You Start Writing: The Topic
A great way to source inspiration is to read as many different types of blogs as you can; you may find inspiration from the most random of places.
Another way to find content for your blog posts is from your customers. Take regularly asked questions and turn it into a blog post. For instance, the question "How can I use social media to my advantage?" can be turned into a post titled "10 steps to improving your social media use".
You can also use recent events or conferences you have attended as information for your posts, either as a way to inform readers what you learned or as an insight into the event itself.
Finally, make sure you are constantly up to date with the local, national and global news. This will often inspire you and provide you with a topic which you feel you want to blog about.
Writing Your Blog
Once you have found a subject that you want to blog about, the next step is easy — writing the blog post. Blogging is all about being personable and interacting with the reader. Whilst you want to ensure that your blog has a purpose and a clear focus, you also want to engage with the reader. This may seem like a difficult balance to strike, however, once you have found your style each blog becomes easier to write.
A good blog post needs structure:
- A title which entices the audience to click on the blog
- An opening which draws readers in
- Content which answers people's questions and provides them with a solution
- An ending which doesn't conclude, but instead encourages readers to comment and give their own opinion.
The title needs a generous amount of consideration. You may think that the headline comes second to content, however, in the case of blogging, a headline is just as important. If the title doesn't catch the readers' attention then it's likely your post won't get read. Think about the content and base your headline around what your blog post focuses on. Writing a How To title can be very efficient as it is likely people will type this into Google and hopefully your blog will be the first one to appear. As you have already answered their question in the title the reader will hopefully click through to your blog. Most importantly when it comes to headlines, learn from what has worked well in the past! (Ed.: +Dan Shure wrote terrific advice on viral, click-worthy titles).
The ending to your blog is the key to ensuring the reader interacts with you and your blog. There are many techniques you can use to try and persuade interaction. You ultimately need to finish your blog with either a question or a controversial statement. By doing so, you are inviting the reader to express their own opinion and participate in a discussion.
Don't worry if your post doesn't receive any comments. You have to be prepared that people may not feel the need to comment. This is fine; it doesn't matter in the long run.
- Offsite Editor Pick: 7 Strategies for Increasing Your Blog Comments by Michael Hatt
- Post and update your blog regularly, once a week is a good place to start
- don't worry too much about your word count, just ensure that what you're saying is concise and to the point, remember short and sweet is better!
- Try and hyperlink to other websites and blogs, this if you scratch my back Ill scratch yours mentality is a good way of getting your blog shared and circulated by other people.
- Once you have identified a method which works for you, stick with it! Just make sure you refresh and alter it slightly each time.
- If you don't feel like you have time to write your own blog every week don't be afraid to invite guest bloggers to write for you. This is a great way of freshening up your blog and giving it a new twist.
- You need to allow people to feel like they can comment on your blog and give their own advice and opinions.
- Be prepared for criticism, after all not everyone will share your opinion and by leaving your blog open for debate this may happen. Instead of shying away from it reply to the person and try to engage them in a discussion, after all you may walk away with a different perspective yourself!
- Try and incorporate video links or images within your blog to break up the text, after all a mixture of images and text is much more appealing to readers then just a wall of text. You don't want to intimidate your readers you want to encourage them in!
So there you have it. All the tips and advice you need for writing a great blog post — I bet it doesn't seem quite so daunting now does it? Just remember — its all in the planning, your writing style should be personable, your headline should say it all and your ending should be inviting.
Finally, you need to have the belief that what you have written is good and your blog is something people want to read it. And if you doesn't get feedback or comments first time round, don't panic; after all, practice makes perfect, right?
A big thank you to Victoria Tomlinson for putting together an eBook on exactly this subject and even more so for letting me contribute towards it!