At this weird coronavirus time, many entrepreneurs are turning their attention back to long forgotten projects. One of the things I have been asked to start for a business owner is their blog. So I thought it would be helpful to highlight what a blog actually is and what you want it to do.
What is a blog?
Why should I blog?
Some people look at blogging as a kind of journal, a written and photo documentary of events. Businesses can use this to show the person behind the company to help make them more accessible.
I use this for my own business as a way of sharing information about admin in business – check out my resources page. The best way to use a blog to support your business is to write about things that your customer might be searching for. The idea is that someone searches for example “top tips for calendar management”, I have a helpful blog post that tells them about that. And actually, when they click a few more pages, their eyes are opened to the whole new world of virtual assistants which they previously knew nothing about!
What should I do first?
I find the best way to start is to think about who my customers are and what are they searching on the internet for? In order to attract my ideal customer to my blog, you’ll want your post littered with key words and topics that will make sure you’re blog post appears in their search list.
How to write a blog
The advice I have to you is to just start writing! Lots of entrepreneurs agonise over having enough content to create a blog, how often will they publish, will they have enough time to devote to it and often they give up before they start. So my practical advice is not to worry about any of that. In order to have a successful blog, you need engaging and well written content. That is what you should be focusing on!
10 Top tips for writing a blog
1. Capture your blog ideas in one place. I use the draft facility on my WordPress website. I can write on my phone or at my desk. All my ideas are in one place and sometimes one idea sparks another, or two short ideas can be put together to make one great blog post. You lose this cohesion when you keep ideas in different places. Whatever method you use, make sure it’s in the same place.
2. Schedule writing time. Schedule a regular time in the calendar to return to your blog post ideas to write the full post. You will get inspired at the weirdest of times when it’s not convenient to write a blog, so this gives you time to capture the ideas and devote time to writing them in full.
3. Keywords. The idea of your blog post is to resonate with your customer so you need to make sure that your blog contains keywords associated with the content of your blog post. Edit your post using the keyword research and make sure you include the keyword in a) the title b) the first paragraph c) the last paragraph d) 2-3 more times throughout the post and lastly the name of the blog post page (URL).
4. Headlines Matter. Make sure you have a catchy headline that relates to the content of your blog. Any audience will judge your article on that headline and make an assessment as to whether they can be bothered to read it. I’ve found that a number works well in the heading for example 10 Top Tips or 5 Key ways to …
5. A picture tells a thousand words. Create any graphics or visuals to support the blog post and slot them into your post. I use a free website called http://www.canva.com which is easy to use and can make some eye catching graphics. Your picture should make people want to stop scrolling and read your post.
6. Break up the writing. A list is a great way to break up your writing, either a numbered list or a bullet pointed list. It helps the reader to think, we’ll there is only 10 top tips, I’m on number 6 so there isn’t much more to go. A list is also a great way of help with your social media marketing strategy. The heading of each of my Top Tips could be broken into individual Top Tips with the link to my blog.
7. 300 is the magic number. Your word count, just like your thesis, matters! 300 words is about the right length for google to think your post is of literary value and to keep your audience entertained. You don’t want to do all this writing for it never to get in front of anyone!
8. Back Links. Your blog posts should be encouraging your potential customer to look for further information on your website. Make sure you put links from your blog post back to a page on your website – once you’ve got a potential customer on your site, you don’t want them to go.
9. Encourage comments. Your post should encourage comments, or shares because that will ensure your blog post reaches more people. If possible, end the post with a question.
10. Check your draft. I mean really check it makes sense to your audience and you’ve made no assumptions about knowledge and explained everything simply. I find reading out loud helps as you soon spot wordy paragraphs. Also download grammarly which is a free programme to check your written English is grammatically correct. If you have access to a proof reader it is always worth getting a second opinion.
Publish your post. I know it may sound obvious but sometimes people agonise over publishing the post, and never do. Don’t forget you can still edit once published so even if you make an error you can fix it.
Publicise your post. WordPress is a great site that automatically can publish to your social media. If your blog doesn’t have that facility then you will want to think about what to put on social media to attract people to your blog. This bit is crucial, I mean what is the point of writing a blog if you never tell anyone that it’s there.
Revisit your post. It’s always worth re-visiting a post a few months later because you might have something to add, or you might be able to re-purpose the content for another use…. for example this post could be turned from 10 Top Tips for writing a blog, to 5 things every good blog has, or what’s the one thing your blog must always have. All of those things are slightly different but instead of agonising over more content, I could just restructure slightly.
Go back to your drafts. Believe it on not, I started list top 10 list a year ago when I first started blogging. It stayed in my drafts because that’s where I keep all my good ideas! And when I was asked about blogging I did a quick search of my drafts and low and behold half of this blog post was already written.
I hope my top tips help you get on the right track. If you still think you don’t have time to devote to creating a successful blog, you can always hire a virtual assistant to do some of these steps for you. A virtual assistant could put a list together on a subject, research the keywords for you and provide a draft so you can just put your finishing touches to it.
If you could like a free 30 minute consultation to see how a virtual assistant could help you, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org