When working to reach potential customers and gaining an online following when moving your new business online, one thing is worth adding to the top of the to-do list: Good content. Writing great share-worthy content is as important as choosing a great domain name and moving your new business online. If done right, good online content can catapult your name and your brand far and wide, reaching potential clients you would not otherwise have found.
How you write an effective blog post depends on following a few guidelines that professional writers use to ensure that they attract thousands of followers. Here is a brief guide to crafting and refining your blog to make it interesting and engaging for your readers.
This is probably the most important part of writing a blog post. It is essential that you start with a subject in which you have an interest; readers will soon realise if you find the topic of your blog boring and this will almost invariably stop them reading further. If you have no choice but to write about a product or subject that really doesn’t interest you, try to muster as much enthusiasm as you can!
In considering how to write a blog post, jot down an outline. This will help to keep you on track and ensure that you know precisely what you plan to cover. It will also help you to order the sections logically and keep you focused on the subject.
Research your subject thoroughly, ensuring that the sources you use are accurate and authoritative. If you write anything inaccurate, it can have a detrimental effect on your credibility, particularly if you are just beginning to write blog posts. If you do make a mistake and later discover that your information is untrue, rectify the error as soon as possible.
The headline you choose can be specific or vague, but it needs to grab the reader’s attention. It is generally best to manage your readers’ expectations by using a headline that informs them about the content of the blog. Some writers prefer to write a headline first and use it to structure the piece whilst others feel that using a working title is better and they can decide on a final headline that fits when the blog is written.
Posing a question as a headline can be effective in drawing readers in if it is a question that they would genuinely like to have answered, but be careful not to overuse this technique.
Once you have your headline, you need to think about how to write a blog in earnest. You may decide that you need to sit down and draft the entire piece in one sitting or you might prefer to write in short bursts. This is really down to personal preference, although it is often easier to do as much as you can in a single session. This makes it easier to remain focused on the subject and to remember to include any important points you have thought about. Writing as much as you can in a single session also means that the blog post will be completed more quickly and you will be free to move on.
If you prefer to write your blog in shorter sessions, try to limit the number of times you return to it, as it can be really tempting to add bits here and there. If you do this too often, you may find that you have strayed away from the subject.
Practice makes perfect and you will find that you are able to complete your posts more quickly, the more you write. If you find writing an introduction difficult, a good strategy is to leave it until you have written the post when it should come more naturally.
Images can provide the visual stimulation your readers expect from posts on the web. They break up the text, add interest and make it appear less intimidating. Images can also add humour which can help if your topic is not the most interesting! If your blog post is about a complex subject, images can often make it easier to follow. Charts, diagrams and tables can help to explain a difficult topic and keep your readers’ attention so they understand the point you are making.
Editing your blog post is about far more than simply checking grammar and spelling – you also need to read it through and ensure that your sentence structure works well.
Avoid repeating words or phrases to often and try to replace them if you find you are including the same phrase or word. Check that the post flows well when you read it aloud. If it is difficult to read out loud it may well be awkward for your readers to read too.
Sentences should be short and easy to read. If you include too much in one sentence your readers will be left exhausted before they encounter the next full stop. Similarly, paragraphs also need to be kept short so that they do not intimidate the reader but maintain their interest.
Even if your business is not the kind that most people find very exciting, there will be something you can share that someone will find interesting. You might find our Guide to Creating Exciting Content for your Not-So Exciting Business useful.
Finally, ask a colleague or friend to read your blog. In addition to spotting any errors or awkward prose that you have missed, they may provide feedback on the piece generally. Ask whether they feel that your points are well presented and if the piece flows well and is structurally sound. A second pair of eyes can help you to avoid mistakes and will result in a more engaging and effective blog post.