7 Years of Blogging: Lessons Learned

I have been writing blog posts for various customers for over 7 years–weekly or bimonthly–and I’ve learned several important lessons about regular blogging.

Three Important Facts about Blogging

First, regular blog posts gather dedicated readers over time. They prompt comments, requests for contributions from industry organizations, and discussions on LinkedIn.

Second, blogging and the reactions to it often clarify customer expectations and what a company should be doing. It may lead to a shift in the company’s entire marketing plan or become the basis for an insight or white paper that confirms the company’s expertise.

Third, writing a great blog post is a matter of following a few basic rules:

  1. Focus on one idea at a time–there’s always an opportunity to write another post.
  2. Aim to educate, not sell.
  3. Keep the post short; but concentrate first on quality content, then size.
  4. Write with a recognizable and consistent voice.
  5. Deliver details (e.g., 10 steps to…), not vague generalities.
  6. Make sure blog posts appear regularly, whether once a week or twice a month.
  7. Recognize your blog is one tool in a marketing toolbox–not the entire box.
  8. Obey the rules of all great marketing content: concise, clear, concrete, and passionate.
  9. Take time to find an interesting title.
  10. End with a next step for readers.

How to Rescue a Faltering Blog

Are you hesitating to write a blog, are you running out of ideas, or has your blog languished, untouched, for over a month? Consider asking a professional freelance writer to take over.

One of the advantages of having a professional writer handle your blog posts–besides the savings in time and energy–is that you may be too close to your business to understand what customers find interesting and informative. What seems to you to be a boring detail or information that “everyone” knows may actually be fascinating to customers.

A professional freelance writer adapts to your comfort level: submitting ideas for approval, researching content, interviewing customers and employees, tracking the competition–whatever you need. You can review individual ideas before a post is ever written and/or approve the completed post before it appears online..

Conclusion

For a professional writer, blogs posts are interesting and fun to write, and I have written them for many businesses in fields as varied as home construction, clinical trials, executive consulting, and marketing.

Contact me if you need help setting up and maintaining your blog content; that’s what I’m here for.

What Makes a Great Blog Post?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. It is short.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Writing with Authority

Countless blogs have been written, for men and women, about speaking with authority in meetings and before groups of employees, executives and peers. When it comes to writing with authority, not a single writer speaks up! Here are a few tips I’ve gathered over the years as a professional writer:

Tip 1. Do not write to impress; write to communicate. You convey more authority if you contain the long explanations, self-congratulations and business jargon. (“In regard to your recent communication, we are proud to extend to you the following proposal for installing our state-of-the-art, quality engineered product….”)

Tip 2. Be kind to your audience. You are the expert at what you do. Explain or avoid technical terms and acronyms, especially if they are peculiar to your company. You may think that “everyone knows that” but if they don’t, you’ve lost your audience.

Tip 3. Deliver your main point in the opening sentence or paragraph. A few years ago, researchers collected emails from C-level executives and their employees and found that C-level executives communicated with fewer words and shorter sentences, primarily because they got to the point faster. If background and explanations are essential, let your correspondent know you have provided them after the conclusions.

Tip 4. Know when to stop writing. If you aren’t communicating by email, then stop communicating by email: pick up the phone.

If your proposals, blogs, letters to customers, emails to management or employees or marketing copy are not projecting authority, contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. Our words mean business.