Your website may have a list of services, some testimonials, and even a portfolio, but your blog allows you to take it a step further to show your audience that you really know what you’re talking about. By writing about what you know you establish yourself as an expert and provide value to your audience.
In a previous post, I talked about the benefits of having a blog for your business. So you’re convinced, now what?
1. Pick a subject that resonates
Think about your audience and the kinds of questions they might have or a problem that you can solve for them. Always, your focus should be on being a resource to them. So anticipate the kind of information they might need and write it up!
Don’t be afraid of giving away your business secrets. People will hire you because you prove your expertise or buy from you because you show them the value.
2. Do your research
Even if you have a good idea of what you want to write, look to see what other people have written on the topic. In some cases, further research may show you an angle you hadn’t considered or, in other cases, your research may take you in an entirely new direction.
Research goes hand in hand with writing. As I research a topic, I keep a notes app open and copy information from what I read. Sometimes these snippets turn into quotes for my article but sometimes they just serve to recharge my thinking. Always save links to the articles you read so that you can reference sources if need be.
3. Maintain a structure
As you write, make sure your article has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Even though writing for the web tends to be a bit more casual, this structure is important.
Introduction: Let your reader know why what they are about to read is important and what it can do for them.
Body: Offer a solution to a problem or information to back up your initial statement. If possible, break out these into sub-points which will become your paragraph headings or numbered items.
Conclusion: Provide a call to action or a statement of confidence, letting your reader know how you can help them or how applying what you advise will benefit them.
I love Godard but what applies to New Wave film making does not work for writing. He said “A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order.”
4. Write Clearly
Write simple, clear sentences and short paragraphs. When possible, break up information with headings, bullets, or numbers. Make your blog post scannable.
Be specific, using examples to demonstrate concepts if possible.
You will likely have a primary and a secondary audience. Write with your primary audience in mind, then read back what you’ve written, thinking about your secondary audience and clarify any potentially misunderstood terms.
5. Use high quality images
First, you should definitely use images in your blog posts. Breaking up text with visual elements keeps your audience engaged. Oftentimes you can use those images to illustrate or emphasize key points in the article, making them more memorable.
But nothing will kill a blog post quicker than images that are low quality, generic, or inappropriate to the material. My favorite (free!) source for un-cheesy stock photos is Unsplash. (All the photos in this post except for Godard are from Unsplash.) Burst from Shopify has very professional business-focused stock photos, also for free. And Dissolve has original images at a low cost.
6. Let your personality shine
Often what sets your business apart from your competition will be you. Your blog is a great place to show your personality a bit and to connect with potential clients. By writing in your own voice, people come to get a sense of your personality and will feel more inclined to reach out.
If you feel comfortable, share some bits from your personal life. For instance, as a designer, I am inspired by all types of art and design and I know my readers are interested too. So when I went to Palm Springs, a Mecca of great mid-century art and design, I wrote a blog post about it. It was personal–written in first person, with photos I took of me and my husband– but it was still on brand and of interest.
This probably goes without saying but read over what you’ve written– or have someone else do it. Look for typos, misused words (which spellchecker won’t pick up), incorrect verb tenses, and consistent voice.
Writing a blog post can be daunting if it’s something you haven’t done very often. And honestly, it will take some time to create a truly articulate and informative post. But but keeping these few points in mind and by being consistent, you will create blog posts which your audience will want to read!