Simple tips to start successful blogging.

Did you know that businesses that blog garner 97% more inbound links to their websites and 55% more website visitors than those who don’t?

If you don’t have a blog, you’re missing the boat.

What I hear most from clients when we encourage them to start a blog (after they grumble about not wanting to do it) is that they don’t know how to do it, don’t know what to write about, or that they “can’t write.”

Below you’ll find some simple tips to help get you started and what to keep in mind so your blog hits the mark with your target audience. If you are one of those clients who “can’t write,” it’s never a bad idea to hire a copyeditor to look things over before publication.

 

The hardest part is getting started. JUST GET STARTED.

  • Don’t underestimate yourself. You have important knowledge to impart; important things to say that people want to hear. You just have to discover what those are.
  • Figure out your target audience and what they want: What value can you give them? What questions do they ask? Are they consistently asking how to do something? Do they crave knowledge in your industry (without giving away the farm)? Can you give suggestions on how to use your product /service? Do they want the inside scoop on what you do?

Write.

  • Don’t worry about length; worry about quality of your content. Toss the fluffy stuff and genuinely dig in. Sure, long-form posts get the most attention and results in Google ranking (where you appear on search results), and longer posts have the opportunity to insert more keywords (things that people are searching for that may lead them to your blog), but if you don’t give the reader good, quality information that they want—whatever the length—you are failing. Focus on quality first.

Which leads me to…

  • Deliver what you promise in the title within a reasonable amount of time. Make it easy for the reader to find the information they seek; don’t send them scrolling down, down, down into a burning ring of fire. Burying your topic will lose you a reader. Red flag.
  • Remember that your audience isn’t as versed in what you are writing about as you are—that’s why they are reading your blog, dear expert! I advise clients to, “Write like you are explaining it to your grandmother.” Don’t try too hard to impress them with what you know: give it to them straight, using familiar terms and phrases that your audience would know or, when in doubt, common everyday language.
    • (Side note: If you do introduce an industry term, be sure to explain what it is at the point of first introduction, therefore eliminating any confusion.)
  • Layout matters: Bullet points, headlines, subheads, and visuals present the information in easily digestible bits. Make it so easy for your reader that she’ll read your entire blog effortlessly. OR, if she doesn’t have time to read it all, she can skim and still get the takeaway she’s looking for.

Reread. Polish. Publish. Promote.
You may be so relieved that you actually wrote something that you do a jig and just click post. Yikes. Go back, reread it, edit. And check for the following:

  • Are there hiccups: any situations that cause you pause? Any part that makes you question the meaning of what you wrote? Fix them, or risk losing a reader. If you’re unsure, getting another pair of eyes (or more) on your blog before publishing can catch these and give you some well-needed feedback.
  • Eliminate redundancies. Don’t say things twice. (See what I did there?) In trying to explain something complex, you may tend to over explain. Keep it simple, clear and concise.
  • Do you have a lapel-grabbing intro that pulls the reader in so they don’t want to get away? Do you organize your information so your reader is easily guided through the post? Do you reaffirm in your conclusion and drive the point home or give a call to action (something you want them to do)?
  • Make your title (called a headline) rock. Entice your readers with a catchy headline, (remember to keep it between 6 to 13 words) use power words if you can (hate, love, desire, etc.) to elicit emotion, and, if applicable, give a list (4 Color Types You Need to Know Now).
  • Once you’re happy with your blog, publish it. Done right? No.
  • Promote. Promote. You worked hard to create that blog post. Now promote the heck out of it—social media, newsletter, billboard (kidding). Drive traffic.

Is there more to consider for writing a killer blog? Yep. But we’re not there yet.

First thing first: get started.

Once you have your blog rolling we can talk about things like determining your metrics for measuring success, business-to-business (B2B) blogging vs. business-to-consumer (B2C) blogging, optimal blog lengths, the importance of visuals in 2017, using headline analysis and keywords to increase SEO ranking, and all those technical things that’ll make your blog rise to the proverbial top.
In the meantime, happy blogging!

Molly F. McGill

SENIOR WRITER