I sometimes hear entrepreneurs complain about how time-consuming it is to create blog posts. It’s hard to measure their effectiveness and it can be difficult to justify spending so much time on a task that doesn’t bring in instant business.
It’s true that writing a regular blog is hard work, yet I’ve found a few simple ways to approach blog writing so that you don’t waste time, and your posts are more attractive to your target audience. You have such a short time–about seven seconds–to make an impression and cut though the noise, and that impression begins with your words.
The following is a list of ways to create winning blog posts that positively WOW your customers.
1. Know your audience.
This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people write something without first nailing down whom it is they’re writing for. Getting this right will help you decide what tone you’ll use in your blog posts, and ultimately who’ll respond to your call or product.
2. Use shorter sentences in your posts.
They carry more weight and you’re more likely to sustain your customer or member’s attention than with run-on sentences stuffed with several different thoughts or ideas.
3. Don’t pile up your verbs in one sentence.
Try to use them sparingly so that your sentences are clear. As an example, rather than saying, “Youth are encouraged to make an application to the summer program,” you might rather say, “Youth are encouraged to apply to the summer program.” See how much clearer that last one is!
4. Choose concrete, familiar words rather than abstract words.
For example, don’t write, “There are myriad ways to communicate information.” Write instead, “There are many ways to share information.”
5. Start with the most important thing you need to say.
Some people write as if there’s a drum roll leading up to the BIG thing. Instead, place the important information at the beginning of your sentence and the accompanying information can go after.
6. Make an emotional connection with your audience.
To do this, you first have to know whom you’re speaking to (see number 1. above). Use “you” in your copy if it’s appropriate. Cut down on the formalities and speak directly to your audience using more informal language like the kind you might use when out with friends. Are you fun loving, always joking? Are you introspective, sporty, creative, helpful, and confident? Infuse the language in your posts with some of your personality traits. This will make your blog posts more lively and relatable to your readers.
7. What does your audience crave?
What are their desires or their worries? Speak directly to their dreams, concerns. Write down 10 to 15 topics or themes for blog posts that you think would be of genuine interest and concern to them. Ask yourself how your audience can ‘sign on’ to your story in this way. What ingredients need to be present in your posts for that to happen?
8. Cut down on jargon.
For those of us who aren’t part of your specialized world, it can be very annoying, even alienating to read stuff we don’t understand. If you’re writing stuff for the mainstream then you need to keep your expert entomologist, neurosurgeon, nutritionist, and tightrope walker or art thief in check.
9. Have fun.
I know it sounds strange to tell somebody to have fun writing something you have no choice to write. But trust me, if you’re enjoying the process, then that will show in your blog. You’ll engage your audience at a deeper level, which is ultimately what you want. Is humour an appropriate vehicle for your message? If so then consider using it, as laughter lowers people’s defenses and makes them more open and apt to receive what you’re communicating.
10. Add a call to action.
Make sure that the copy you write invites readers to do something related to your product or service. Write it in such a way that it is clear how their action will have an impact. How can you get your audience to not only listen but to act–whether that means buying your product or service, or donating to your cause? Invite them to share their own stories, to entertain you with their insights and experiences, and to be part of the conversation.