Blog Posts: Blah Versus Woohoo!

If you visit LinkedIn, you have probably seen many blah, generic blog posts automatically generated by agencies. And you’ve seen Woohoo! blog posts you can’t wait to read. What makes the difference?

  • Headline: The title of a Woohoo! post grabs you in a few short words.
  • Personality: When you talk to a bore, your whole attention is on escape. When you read a bore, the only difference is that escape is a lot easier. Woohoo! blogs connect you to the person and the team behind the company.
  • Uniqueness: If you search the internet for a blah post, you will find its exact twin (or triplet or quadruplet) at many sites. Blah posts are often massed produced by generic agencies for any company in that field. Wahoo! posts have company-specific content, including client testimonials and photos of actual projects.
  • Excitement: Even generic posts recognize a client problem and solve it. But “Woohoo!” blogs show that a company cares about the problem.

Why do people hire me to write their blog posts? Because I can deliver that “Woohoo!” According to one of my clients, posts for his company “have recently been noted as a ‘best practice’ in the…industry and are now being used as an example for others to follow.”

Yes, those blah, generic blog posts will pack your website with the keywords that search engines love (for the moment, anyway, until the next algorithm change). But when real people are searching for real solutions to real problems, they require headlines that grab, personalities with interest, uniqueness of content and the excitement of a meaningful connection.

Or do you want your clients to look for you? You need blog posts that make them shout “Woohoo!”

Sharon writes blog posts, success stories, website content that delivers the Woohoo! for small- to medium-sized companies across the nation. Contact her through LinkedIn or her website.

5 Steps in Hiring a Freelance Blog Writer

You recognize the importance of a website in drawing people to your business, keeping visitors engaged and interested and ensuring that potential customers can find you. So you recognize the importance of a blog, which helps attract, educate and convert visitors into customers. But a blog takes time. Hiring a freelance blog writer makes sense if you take the following key steps:

1. Make sure the blog writer is a native writer and speaker of the primary language of your customers. If that primary language is English, then your blog writer should be a native English speaker and writer. Otherwise, you will be constantly editing the blog to correct errors in grammar, idiom and assumptions. For example, I was hired to write blogs for a high-end interior design company in the US when the previous off-shore blog writer submitted a post on breaking up old CDs to create a mosaic tabletop. The concept of “high-end” was simply different on different sides of the ocean.

2. Insist on seeing examples of the blog writer’s work. Some blog writers have a single style or viewpoint that might fit with your business or might not. Others are able to capture the exact tone of different businesses and write blogs that sound as if they came from the individual business owner. Some blog writers specialize in one industry; others write for several industries. By looking at examples, you can better decide if a particular writer is a fit.

3. Ask if the blog writer will perform related tasks. For example, for one of my clients, I enter the posts online, create tags and summaries, schedule the posts and then copy them for an industry newsletter that re-publishes the posts as articles. For another client, I research and suggest topics; interview staff and customers for information; and research and add photos to each post.

4. Discuss fees and schedules up front. If you cannot afford daily posts, you may be able to afford weekly or bi-weekly posts. One of my clients uses me to edit her posts, asking me to write posts myself only when she is overwhelmed with work or on vacation. She depends on my skills to put her thoughts in order, with keywords that make sense.

5. Contract for a trial run of posts. Usually, it takes a few posts before the writer becomes attuned to your goals and way of thinking. But it should quickly be evident if the writer is unable to meet deadlines; completely fails to grasp your business; or can’t achieve the quality you expected.

You will be able to build a strong relationships with a freelance blog writer if you select one who understands the language of your customers, has examples for you to review, is able to handle related tasks, partners with you to find a cost-effective solution and provides a trial run. The stronger the relationship, the more confidence you will have in the writer’s ability to represent you and your company.

Sharon Bailly founded TWP Marketing & Technical Communications in 1999 in Peterborough, NH, to help business owners reach their customers with clear, accurate and passionate writing. At TWP, our words mean business.

 

 

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.