The owner of a custom construction firm asked me recently to take over writing his blog posts and I was delighted to do that. I realized that his earlier blogs had violated some standard rules I have for writing great blog posts. Here they are for your benefit:
- Be specific when writing your post. Drive down to the basics of your business and write about the details. How do you fix a gutter? What does a specific insurance term mean? What information should never appear on a resume?
- Think like your customer. If you were shopping for your company’s product or service, what would be your first concern? As the owner of the business, your concern may be to relate everything you do and how well you do it. The customer, however, is generally interested in the solution to a specific problem. Write each blog post around a specific problem and how you solve it.
- Tell a story. Case studies/success stories, examples from your work day or a single sentence about a customer problem and solution liven up a blog post and attract interest. You may not be able to write a story every time, but keep the possibility in mind.
- Choose one or two keywords or key phrases for each post and repeat them naturally. Rather than advocating mindless repetition, this step is a request to not use synonyms and to fit the subject of your post naturally into the content. For example, look through this post for natural repetitions of the words “write, post, blog, writing.”
- Write a headline that contains search words. While cute and clever headlines are fine occasionally, the best headline reflects the search words your customers are likely to use, such as “how to write a great blog” or “writing blog posts.”
My own experience as a blog post writer in the nonprofit, health care, construction and service industries has proved the value of the five steps above. Let me help you reach out to your customers with great blog posts.
I like writing blogs. I write them for businesses and nonprofits as well as for my own business, TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. Some of my blogs have been picked up by industry organizations, tweeted about and discussed on LinkedIn; some of them have led to requests to become a guest blogger or to contribute articles to print and online magazines. Here is my take on what makes a great blog post:
- It contains information that the reader is interested in, and it gives details. The reader comes away feeling that he or she has learned something.
- It is short.
- It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Every so often, the blog writer pokes fun at himself or herself or turns an industry cliché on its head.
- It has a recognizable and consistent voice. When I write blogs for other businesses, I make sure that I’ve heard the business owner’s voice and that I can translate it into writing.
- It appears regularly. If your last post went up two years ago, either take down the blog or find a way to post at least twice a month. Writing a blog more than once a week is very difficult; if you tried that and failed, try again with a lighter schedule.
Blogging has many advantages and works well with your other marketing efforts. You can mention your blog in your newsletter; tweet about it; list it on your business card; and so on. Contact me if you need help; that’s what I’m here for.
Before you start writing any marketing copy, whether a blog, newsletter, website, success story, proposal or article, you should know the answers to these four questions:
1. What does your customer want? Your marketing copy must provide a solution for the customer’s problem. You have to know the problem, be able to solve it, want to solve it and know how to communicate all that to the customer.
2. Where do your customers hang out? Do they search the web or newspapers? Are they more likely to read an article in a magazine or a story on your blog?
3. How much time are you prepared to spend? A regular newsletter or blog takes time; so does tweeting and maintaining a Facebook presence. Do you have the resources?
4. What is your deadline? A website or proposal that is four years in the finishing is four years overdue. Your marketing copy can’t start working for you until it reaches your customers.
If you are having trouble defining and reaching your audience or finding the resources and time to complete writing projects, contact me. At TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, our words mean business.