If you’re an entrepreneur establishing a new business and looking to bring visitors to your website, regularly publishing a blog is a great way to do that. It’s an investment of time that adds a lot of value to your business.
That’s not to say every business owner is a writer, it takes a certain amount of time, research and skill to publish a blog on a steady basis. Blogging requires a constant stream of ideas, the content needs to be grammatically correct and the articles need to hold your audience’s interest beyond the first few lines to reflect more time on site in an effort to improve your metrics.
Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have an employee who understands your business, your product and your audience who can write blogs on your behalf.
If not, you’re on your own. But never fear. We here at Keap have published our fair share of marketing and product blogs, so we know a thing or two about what goes into them and keeps them successful. Here are some practical tips on how to improve your blog endeavors:
Designate a time each week in a creative space, whether it’s your desk at work, a coffee shop or your home office, and use that space to put yourself in a blogging mindset. Condition yourself to focus during this period in this particular location to help the ideas come to you. Choose a time when you find it easiest to organize your thoughts. You know yourself best, when does your brain do its best focusing? First thing in the morning? Late at night when you’re starting to wind down? On your lunch break? That’s completely up to you, but once you decide, keep it consistent and block that duration out on your calendar so it instills the discipline you need every week to get your blog written.
The easiest way to go about this would be to create a content calendar and populate it with topics that relate to your specific business. Take a look at your email inbox and find questions asked by your customers and prospects. Evaluate your latest meeting notes and see if anything might spark your customers’ interest.
The trick is to know your audience and add value to their day by drafting a piece that would be beneficial in some way such as a how-to guide on one of your products or what to do if something needs to be repaired.
Having a list of topics will help you save time trying to figure out what you’re supposed to write about. It’s a great tool for preventing writer’s block or dreading having to come up with a new idea every time you write.
For us writers, staring at a blank screen can be daunting, even if we know exactly what we’re going to write about. Don’t keep it blank for long, even if it means just writing stream of consciousness for a little bit to stimulate your brain. It will help get the creative juices flowing.
Start jotting down everything you can think of that’s associated with your brand—focus on your audience and potential issues they may have. Don’t stop until a train of thought yields a more specific idea.
Once more solidified ideas start coming to you, just keep writing, forget about grammar and spelling, you can always go back and fix those issues later. If you stop to correct them mid-sentence, you may lose your train of thought or momentum. If you find they’re too distracting, turn off the editing alerts to stop yourself from making corrections as you type. For now, all you want to do is get your thoughts onto the screen and get your post drafted.
Refine your subject matter
Once you have a centralized topic coming to fruition, try to find concrete research and evidence to support your main points. Maybe you can quote one of your customer’s emails that will help back up your story. Prior to doing that, it’s always a good idea to ask permission to quote them and ensure they don’t want to keep their correspondence confidential.
You could also take it a step further and ask to interview a customer or a colleague in your industry–the more feedback you have from others, the higher credibility and respect you will gain.
Also, try to make your blogs as tightly focused as possible, as they tend to perform better than more general posts.
It’s important that your blogs emanate continuity in their structure. Define the topic in your introduction then move on to the body of your blog where you’ll go into more detail with your research, quotes, facts, and use of multimedia such as infographics, images, videos, links to other articles, etc. Then wrap it up with a short summary in your conclusion.
Supplementing your blogs with the above elements breaks up the text, making it a more stimulating read. Keep in mind, you’re blogging to an audience with a short attention span so make the text as visually pleasing as possible and try to stay around the neighborhood of 500 words, which tends to get the best analytics. Also use bullet points and short paragraphs to prevent your text from looking too chunky.
Once you’re satisfied with your first draft, now would be a good time to just walk away. Close your laptop and take a break—go get lunch, walk your dog, do payroll (doing invoices and payroll with Keap is a game changer), just don’t think about your blog for a while. As a writer, if I’m not on a tight deadline, I give my material 24 hours to rest before I come back to it for another look. You’d be surprised how just walking away for a while will give you a fresh perspective on your piece. It would be like looking at it for the first time with a more objective viewpoint, making it easier to find errors and inconsistencies in your writing, assuming you don’t have someone to proofread it for you.
If you do have someone on your team you can recruit to edit, then great! Otherwise, if you want to get resourceful, hire someone temporarily who can help you. Many local journalism students or recent graduates need on-the-job experience, so it may be a good idea to advertise for an editing internship. Journalism graduates can also be helpful in conducting interviews and writing content.
The title of your blog is everything and you want to ensure it’s consistent with your content. When writing for a digital platform, you also want to meet the criteria of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Many requirements go into a successful title that has been properly optimized with certain keywords and the correct amount of characters.
The proper length for a blog title can be 50 to 60 characters, including spaces. Use a keyword tool such as Google Ads to help you come up with highly searched terms in your industry that will help your blog rank higher. And above all, make sure you include the name of your brand somewhere in your heading.
Tools that make blogging easier
Grammarly is a free online tool that helps you compose concise, error-free writing by adding it as a Google Chrome extension to your operating system. Whether you’re drafting something in Word or Outlook, Grammarly is there to help catch mistakes you might make along the way.
Another free tool I greatly value is Hemingway. It helps improve your writing with its readability editor that identifies an overused amount of adverbs, instances of passive voice, sentences that are hard to read, etc. As Ernest Hemingway was well-known for his short, easy-to-read sentences, it’ll help shape your blog into a more conducive structure for a digital audience.
Get to blogging
You’re all set! This is an exciting time for your business. Generating content that will bring more traffic to your site is always a brilliant business move.
And at the end of the day, nobody knows your business and your customers better than you do–you’re the expert, which will help the ideas come easier to you and help you in your blogging efforts.
You know your audience best, you know their needs and what will keep them coming back to read your material. They’re your biggest advocates, so reward them consistently with enriched and stimulating content that will help your analytics soar higher than ever.