You know how important a blog can be for your
website. Well-written articles with good content and SEO can be a powerful tool
in attracting new visitors to your site. Whether you're committed to writing
the blogs yourself, you've hired someone else for the task, or you want a good
mix of contributing writers, you want to make sure each of those articles is
So why are you sitting there banging your head on your
laptop with no idea of what to write?
Allow me to help!
Recently, I found the most creative writer in the world (I’m
not kidding you either 😉).
She keeps delivering these amazing pieces with minimum direction from me and
with terrifying accuracy about the subject and my actual thought process on
those topics (for a second, I thought she was reading my mind 😉) that’s
how good she is.
course, I immediately thought, man… we got to share the secret sauce with our
readers to help them produce killer content like she does (but you will never
be as good as her though 😊) but you can get really really close.
is what she had to say about it:
Make a List of Topics
The best place to start is at the beginning. You're in
business for a reason, right? Your company or firm offers products or services
or information you know will be helpful to others. Try to think of the types of
questions potential customers might ask about your services and how you might
answer them. Then make a list.
For example, let's say you own and operate a lot that sells
recreational vehicles. What might a prospective customer ask about RVs? Here
are just a few that come to the top of my mind:
Do You Level an RV on a Site?
Do You Winterize an RV?
Are the Best Places to Visit when RVing in Wisconsin?
Do I Rescue My RV After I've Backed It Into a Ditch?
Once you have your list made, you're ready to get started.
Know Your Audience
If you're tasked with writing an article
that promotes the benefits of a great, new over-the-counter ointment that does
a number on eczema, it's helpful to be able to share the fact that the product
has been written up in scientific journals that attest to its efficacy.
However, you have to keep in mind your audience. Web-writing is a
completely different animal than writing white papers and other authoritative
reports. If you're writing for the general public, you can't be using medical
and scientific language that doesn't resonate with the broad general public.
You should, by all means, share such important scientific information. Just be
sure to share it on layman's terms.
While we're on the subject, you've probably noticed that in
the world of digital marketing, there
are a whole lot of acronyms used to describe terms and products specific to the
industry. It's common in other fields as well.
If the common topic you've chosen to write about has some
uncommon terminology, be sure to explain those terms to your readers. And do it
in plain English.
Here's one more thing about audiences on the web: They tend
to skim through articles quickly so it helps to:
multiple skimmable headers
regular use of bullet points
Subscribe to our mailing list and get exclusive content (you can
unsubscribe at any time, but you won’t want to 😉):
Do Your Research
There are times you may be very well-versed on a topic
you're set to write about, and there are times you may not know diddly-squat.
And here I will put my earlier advice into practice by explaining the technical
term: diddly-squat. It means "anything." As in, there are times you
may not know anything about a subject.
Naturally, that's not going to be the case when you're
writing about your own line of work, but it's also almost always going to be
true that you won't know it all. Especially if yours is a niche market in a
much larger field.
This is where the web can be your friend. Personally, I find
it helpful to search for and print out several articles on any particular
subject I'm preparing to write about. Why print them out? Sure, you can read
those same articles online and take notes, but I find it more helpful to print
pages where I can highlight or mark-up key information, and sort pages to
Whichever way you choose to tackle your research, just be
sure to seek out reputable, non-biased online sources. And look for
confirmation of claims in those multiple articles. If in your research you come
upon contradictory information, you'll have to decide whether to present both
pieces of information or leave both out completely.
After all, unless you're working on an opinion piece when
you write, you want to get the facts right.
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
I wish I could lay claim to that savvy prescription, but
then I'd be lying. A favorite boss and former salesman made it a habit of using
it regularly in his staff pep talks. Chances are he borrowed it from someone
else as well. Either way, it's good advice.
When I plan an article, it's almost always built on an
outline. If you've been given a series of questions or subtopics to cover, the
outline is pretty much made for you. Also, don't be afraid to add some
personality. Your research will likely prompt some questions of your own on the
topic that you can work into your content with a bit of humor.
If you've been given free rein with your article, the most
natural approach is to have your first heading define the topic you're about to
delve into. From there you'll likely want to explain why this topic should
matter to the reader. That's your next heading. Subsequent headings might
address subcategories of the main topic or the advantages and disadvantages of
the particular product or service.
While you're writing, try to stay aware of the length of
your articles, leaving room at the end for your takeaway or to otherwise wrap
things up in a tidy bow. I also like to include a teaser sentence or two at the
beginning to (hopefully!) grab the reader's interest.
Try your best to come up with compelling headings.
Preferably, not like this one. In fact, I used it specifically to demonstrate
what a poor heading looks like. Don't question me! That's the story I'm
But as long as we're on the subject of "other
stuff," I'd like to briefly discuss visuals. Compelling content is vital,
but equally so are the photos and graphics you select to accompany your piece.
They can do a great (or poor) job at pulling a reader in. In fact, sometimes
the visual you settle on can completely upend the article you planned on
A case in point is an earlier blog post I wrote, The Importance of a
Dynamic Website. Perhaps it was because of the word dynamic in
the title, but whatever the reason, I immediately envisioned the 1960's-era
dynamic duo, Batman and Robin, and built the entire article about websites
around their kooky fight scenes.
It was outside-the-box thinking that seemed to work--that
time. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that you should forever toss
aside tried and true formulas that have consistently made it easier for you to
write. I've tried that out-of-the-box approach on other occasions and have
found it can just as easily not work. And I ended up wasting a lot of writing
Go Easy On Yourself
When you come right down to it, there are no perfect
articles. But before you start thinking I've destroyed the whole premise of
this article, be kind and cut me some slack. Writers write because they find
subjects interesting and they want to convey that to others so they might find
it interesting and informative as well. Sometimes they'll really hit the mark.
Sometimes not so much.
Here's the thing when you write a blog. You'll finish your
article. You'll read it through from beginning to end several times over and
feel it flows and answers all the questions someone might ask about the
subject. And yet, it may still seem lacking.
Don't beat yourself up. If it's well written but has something
missing, chances are it will compel the reader to reach out and ask a question
or two. And that's really the goal with web writing. That,
in fact, is the perfect result!