Once you have your small business content strategy in place, it’s time to begin writing that compelling web content to attract attention and develop your expert reputation. One of the best places to start is with a blog of targeted, educational information that speaks to your target audience.
Develop a List of Post Topics
It’s important to have a list of 50 to 100 blog post topics before you start to post. What often happens is that new bloggers get excited about blogging, write a few posts and then stop. They’ve run out of ideas.
To avoid that pattern, make a list of topics in your niche that you could write about. Get ideas by searching the web and reading other blogs. Create an editorial calendar and keep adding to the list. You don’t have to write them all, but having a list of ideas can spark that creativity when you are struggling to put words into a blank post.
Craft Post Titles that Get Attention
Your title will determine whether anyone will read the post especially if your subscribers have their RSS reader set up in list mode. Read How to Write Magnetic Headlines by Copyblogger, a compendium of 11 blog posts that provides templates and great information on the topic. If you learn how to get your reader’s attention quickly, you stand a fighting chance of keeping their attention a little bit longer. And yes, keywords do matter in your post titles.
Write for Scanning, not Reading
Most people now scan content looking for words and phrases that catch their attention rather than read the copy word for word. Write your posts using formatting techniques to make it easy to get the context without having to read every word.
- Use headlines and bullets to break up your content for easier scanning;
- Emphasize words and phrases using bold, underline, italics or color to catch the eye;
- Insert images to reinforce your message;
- Use video to take a break from text;
- Write in short paragraphs to make the content easier to digest;
Highlight important messages using shading or the blockquote feature of WordPress;
- Use expanded line-spacing and a medium to large font to help the eye consume the information quickly.
Use a Casual and Friendly Tone
Write as if you are talking with your audience face to face, not as if you are writing your doctoral thesis. Use simple words and phrases to get your point across. Make your topic easy to understand and your reader will appreciate the information.
Link Out to Relevant Content
A link to a great blog post that complements yours adds to your credibility because it gives readers a broader perspective. When you share and link to others, you are seen as a hub of your network.
Eliminate Unnecessary Words
Once you write your post, save the draft and come back later to proof read. Eliminate “filler” words that take up space but don’t really add any value. By removing unnecessary words, you reduce the information people have to consume. And while you are proofing, check your spelling and grammar as well. Typos and bad grammar distract the reader from the message you are trying to send.
Stay on Topic
An occasional off-topic post is fine, but the majority of your posts should be relevant to your subscribers. To be seen as an expert, you need to focus on your discipline and continually put out great content.
Being able to write great blog posts time after time is not easy. For some of us, coming up with the topic, researching and writing the post, adding images and reviewing the final piece is a project that takes hours, and maybe a couple of days. If you want to be known as an expert in your field, posting regularly with quality content is necessary and worth the effort.
Now go create your list of topics, write your “magnetic headlines” and start blogging to create visibility for your business and achieve a return on your writing investment.
What tips do you have for writing great blog posts?