We all know that blogging can be one of your best marketing tools, but how do you go about writing a blog post that your readers will take the time to read and learn from? There are a few things that you can do every time to make sure that you’re writing blog posts that your readers will benefit from (notice how I’m talking about how we want the reader to learn and benefit from you blog post? We’ll come back to that!).
#1 Know Who You’re Writing It For
Who is your audience? Do you know the answer to this question? I don’t mean a generic market segment like “women between the ages of 25 and 45 in Canada”, I mean a persona. A persona is an actual person that you create so that you can focus your business.
“A persona is an actual person that you create so that you can focus your business.”
Here’s an example of a persona: his name is Craig and he’s 34. Craig has been working away building his landscaping company for the past 8 years, he spends most of his time working in his business not on his business. He has a wife and a young family and not much free time. He knows he needs to do more to build his business and get more clients but he’s not sure how to use the social media tools he’s familiar with to build his business.
Do you see how that gets you in a much more focused mindset? Create your persona and then write your blog post for them. Craig will love it!
#2 Start off Running
You know that saying: “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well despite people trying not to do that, it happens pretty often. This translates over to blog posts as well. People will see your blog title and either click or move on. You’ve got a few words to grab someone’s attention in a pretty “loud” space, so it’s got to be good.
“Pay attention to the titles that YOU notice…”
A great strategy for writing titles that people notice is to pay attention to the titles that YOU notice and prompt YOU to click to see more. Make a list of the ones that you like and structure yours the same way
#3 Answer Questions that Your Audience is Curious About
When I was in my graduate program in University I had an amazing professor who completely changed the way I approached test-taking and writing. Before every major test, exam or paper she would write these letters on the board: RTFQ and ATFQ. They are brilliant in their simplicity. Want to know what they stand for? “Read the F**king Question” and “Answer the F**king Question”. This completely changed the way I approached things then and I always find that it keeps me on track now with my writing.
“RTFQ and ATFQ. They are brilliant in their simplicity.”
Here’s how I use RTFQ and ATFQ to structure my writing now: I research (or ask, if possible) what questions my audience is curious about. What do they want to know about my business, what I do, how it can help them, etc. and then I answer that question. Pretty simple, but extremely effective.
#4 Provide Value
When writing a blog post for your audience you always want to be asking yourself, “What value am I giving them?”, “Will this help them?”, “Will they be learning something?”. The point of a blog post is not always to sell something. You want to be positioning yourself as an expert in your field, someone to whom your audience can turn for advice.
“Position yourself as an expert in your field…”
If the reader comes away from your post feeling like they can better their business or their lives after reading it, then you’ve succeeded.
#5 Walk Away Before You Post
So you’ve followed the first 4 steps, written your blog post and you’re so excited you just want to hit “share”. Hold off! I highly recommend walking away from your post for awhile before posting and sharing it with the world and here’s why: reading it and editing it with fresh eyes will allow you to review it in a whole new way.
“Take a break, you earned it!”
You will notice errors that you didn’t while you were writing it, you’ll be better able to gauge its flow and you’ll be even more excited than you were before to share your ideas far and wide! So take a break, you earned it!
Following the 5 steps outlined here will get you on the right track when it comes to writing great blog posts that your readers will love. Instead of sitting in front of a blank screen, wondering what to write about, work your way through these 5 tips and you’ll be surprised with what you can come up with. You know a lot more about your company than anyone else and I’m betting you they would love to learn more about you and what you do!
Have any more tips? Share them in the comments below, I love hearing new ideas!