11 Oct B is for Blogging: an overview with Balbina
The twenty-first century has given us many things; iPods, smartphones, social media, and an (un)healthy obsession with quinoa and avocados. It’s also given us the title ‘blogger’ as a bona fide profession, as blogging evolved from niche hobby to aspirational career choice.
Although blogs have technically existed since as early as 1994, it wasn’t until the 2000s, when the web of the internet began to weave itself into every corner of our lives, that the blogosphere exploded. Savvy businesses soon hopped onto the blogging bus, realising that blogs = traffic to websites, and more clicks = more business. With blogs fuelling a 67% increase in leads and 97%* more links to company websites, you can’t afford not to blog.
Having spent my late teenage years and early twenties blogging about beauty & brownies (but incidentally, never beautiful brownies), I’ve transitioned my lyrical talents to blogging for businesses, creating content for RONIN’s clientele. As such, I’ve compiled a few tips & tricks I’ve picked up along the way to make writing a blog as easy as ABC.
They snooze, you lose.
Congratulations! You’ve made the first step towards writing a blog – deciding that you’re writing one. But you’ve now got another decision to make and arguably, it’s one of the most crucial steps in the whole blogging process; picking your blog topic.
You need to create content that your readers will actually want to read. If they snooze, you lose – after all, a comatose readership does not translate into clicks and traffic. From solving a problem to providing new industry insights, always make sure it’s relevant to your brand, your message and your intended audience. Ultimately, ask yourself, is this something that you’d want to read?
Fail to plan, plain to fail.
Blogs can be deceptively difficult to write and in most cases, a bit of planning will save you a heap load of hassle. Whether you tap it out onto a word document or favour the old school pen & paper, formulate a structure by planning your paragraphs and sketching an outline. Not only will it keep your post from going off track, but will also help you to pin down some concrete ideas.
Once you know what you want to write, you can begin to curate your content with some carefully considered research. You should always write what you know, but you can’t know everything, so expect to do a little investigation and fact-checking. Note: that doesn’t mean copying & pasting directly from Wikipedia.
Make headlines, not history.
We’ve all heard it before; you only get once chance to make a first impression. If your headline fails to pack a metaphorical punch, your carefully crafted blog-post will be gathering digital dust. Either you can write your headline first and have your content follow, or you can begin writing your blog with a temporary title and refine it once you’ve finished.
There are tried-and-tested techniques for creating attention-grabbing headlines. “How to…” and “The Ten Best…” list type titles get straight to the point and serve a purpose to the reader, either by solving a problem or offering advice. Headlines featuring percentages or statistics establish you as an authority on your chosen topic – at least to your audience.
Bonus tip: Don’t be enticed to choose a ‘clickbait’ headline, such as “You Won’t BELIEVE…” or “Lose 10lbs of Belly Fat in 3 Days”. They lack legitimacy, and if you don’t deliver exactly what you promise, you’ll suffer from minimum on-site time and sky-high bounce rates.
Don’t make a rite out of writing.
The best way to write a blog post is to just sit down and bash out as much as possible in single sitting. Like most things, the more you build it up, the harder it is to get started. In reality, it’s probably easier than you think (provided you’ve followed the tips outlined above). Writing as much as possible in one go keeps you focused, on topic and less tempted to keep tweaking it. The quicker you write it, the quicker it’s done. Simple!
Sharpen your story.
Although I can’t tell you exactly what to write, it’s worth keeping these pointers in mind:
• Avoid a wall of text: break up long paragraphs into smaller, more digestible chunks.
• Create a call to action: avoid the plague of passivity by inviting your reader to do something; subscribe to a newsletter, leave a comment, or vote in a poll.
• Write naturally, and write in the first person so your readers feel like you’re addressing them personally. Because blog posts are more casual, you can get away with stuff that would normally be a no-go in printed copy.
• Make it SEO friendly. Don’t forcefully insert keywords where they don’t fit, utilise opportunities to incorporate a few here and there where appropriate.
Write your wrongs.
Editing is a vital part of the blogging process, and often, a team effort. A second pair of eyes can often spot silly spelling mistakes, unintentional repetition or recognise if your post has gone off piste. Make the most of a grammar obsessive colleague – every office has one – by asking them to proofread and sub-edit your copy.
Also, ‘screen-blindness’ is an affliction which affects many bloggers – the glare of a computer can do peculiar things to the brain, and can mean obvious mistakes are missed. Luckily, the remedy is simple; print out your blog on paper and you’ll be surprised how much more noticeable the typos become.
So, to conclude: use your business noggin’ and start blogging! And, if you’ve read through this insightful, interesting and invaluable blog, you still find yourself stuck at stage one, don’t worry – I’ve got a solution for that too. Give us a call and we’ll write the words for you. Get in touch here.