If the thought of ‘blogging’ makes you groan in despair and roll your eyes, then you’re not alone. Initially, blogging is one of those things you either love or hate. The reality is that as a small to medium sized business owner, writing and managing a blog for your business’s website is crucial for your online presence. It also doesn’t have to be the boring chore you think it is.
Last year Australian Writers’ Centre announced Christina Soong’s blog, The Hungry Australian, as the winner of the Best Australian Blogs Competition for 2014. Her blog, while revealed through its name, is all about Christina’s travels, her recipes and anything else she fancies along the way. It’s visually appealing, contains engaging, casual copy which is easy to read and centres around the ‘good life’ we all desire. Take a look at her blog; it’s a great source of inspiration and gives you an idea of what you can create.
So how can you get yourself on your way to developing a blog as enticing as The Hungry Australian?
First things first, you need to know what you are going to write about. If you’re writing a blog for your business, then think about the products and services you offer and start from there. For example, if you are a fashion retailer, you can write about the upcoming seasonal summer stock which you have arriving, what trends are predicted to be hot and what brands you prefer due to the 100% cotton fabric, which is perfect for the summer heat. You should also take advantage of relevant and topical subject matter for your target audience. With so much to can write about, no matter what industry you are in, you really don’t have any excuse for not writing and managing a consistent blog.
Headlines matter. While the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ could go a long way for many a blog post, the truth of the matter is that people will choose to read, or not read, your blog based on the headline. There are a few rules when it comes to creating the perfect headline:
- It shouldn’t be too long
- It shouldn’t be too short
- Don’t make it ambiguous
- Test your headlines
- Use the correct language for your target audience
I always prefer to write the headline once I have finished writing the blog. This way you can ensure that your headline appropriately matches the content of your blog. If you prefer, start with a working headline which you can go back and edit once you have finished writing.
Writing the introduction is admittedly my favourite part to write when putting together a blog, because when it works and reads well, it just feels so good. But it can also be the hardest, because it also means you have to begin writing something. When you don’t know how to start, you can sit there staring at your computer screen for what feels like an aeon. If I am ever unsure with how to start my introduction, I always get started on the main body of my blog, and revisit the introduction later. The simple practice of just writing will soon make writing the introduction a breeze. Always try and capture the reader’s attention; your headline has gotten them this far and you don’t want to lose them now. Start with an anecdote or a story, or even a joke. You then need to make sure you explain your main point/s so your reader knows what they’re in for.
Next, make sure you blog flows in a logical order. List your main points and organise them so that as the reader makes their way through your writing, they can begin to ‘join the dots’ and make sense of what you are trying to say. Readers tend to like lists as they are to the point, short and informative. Some lists you can incorporate into your blogs are:
- How To
- The Top Ten Predictions for
- My Best Tips for your
- The 4-step Process to Make the Perfect
- The Ultimate Checklist
- The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of
Now all you need to do is write. You will have heard it before but I am going to say it again; practice makes perfect (though the ‘perfect’ blog post seems to be as elusive as an unicorn) but the point is, it definitely gets easier the more you write.
Your conclusion needs to neatly bring it all together. Summarise your main points, reiterate why you have written the blog, include a Call-To-Action (CTA) – this will let the reader know what they should do next, such as subscribe to your newsletter, or call for a free quote today – and conclude with the joke, story or anecdote you started off with. Before you hit publish, make sure you’re including visual content to complement your blog. This could be a video clip, a GIF, an image, or a combination of these. The trick is to not just include an image for the sake of including an image; it must be relevant to your subject matter and add value.
The great part about writing a blog for your business is that the passion is already there! There is no one better qualified to write about what it is your business does. If you’re interested in learning more, keep an eye out for our Content Marketing Optimise Webinar which will be coming out towards the end of the month!