Having a blog is great, right? They are a very useful tool for small business owners to use to engage and communicate with their existing customers, their social media followers and prospective new customers. They are also a great way of building your credibility online and making you look like an expert in your business niche. But none of this will happen if you’re writing articles that don’t appeal to your audience and aren’t interesting to read.
Yes, blogs can be a wonderful tool – but only if you know how to use them well. Like anything in life, developing your business blog is a learning process. It is just like when you start driving a car, you cannot just jump in and motor off down the road, you have to take a few driving lessons first.
You know you need to develop your blog to grow your business, but many small business owners don’t actually know how. And anyway, who has the time to take lessons when you have 101 other tasks to do when running your business each day, right?
Why not use these five easy steps to help you write engaging blog posts for your company when you are short of time. After all, practice makes perfect, so just keep recycling these tips each time you sit down to write a new post and your blog writing will soon speed up and become like second nature.
Step one: Planning
Even when you are a bit of whiz on the keyboard and can knock out over eighty words per minute, you will still need a seed of an idea for your blog post before you can rattle one out at high speed. Planning your post, or series of posts, need not be done while sitting and staring at a blank screen.
Keep a notebook in your bag or pocket, or use your smartphone to take down ideas for posts while you are out and about, while attending a network meeting, or even trudging around the supermarket doing your weekly shop. Inspiration can strike you at anytime, so don’t let those great ideas for blog posts escape your memory.
Spending time thinking about your posts is still ‘planning’. Even when you are up to your elbows in soap suds doing the washing up, you can spend your idle time planning your next post.
Step Two: Choose an interesting topic
After you have had a chance to jot down a few ideas for your blog post(s), pick out the topics that really appeal to you. There is a lot of truth in the saying ‘if it’s no fun for the writer, it’s no fun for the reader’. The topics you choose should obviously be relevant to your business or niche and would be of interest to your customers and followers.
Do your homework and look up some interesting facts and figures that you can include that would be useful to your readership. Including factual information that you can reference will also help to increase your authority within your business niche and makes you look like you keep your finger on the pulse of your business sector. Present these facts and figures in an engaging way rather than in a dry way. Try using the ‘did you know that….?’ approach using a conversational tone to impart knowledge rather than just stating dry facts.
Step Three: Break down your post
Breaking down your post into easy to read bite-sized sections will keep your readers more engaged and keen to read on. Huge blocks of text can look like heavy going at first glance and can be quite off putting to some readers who just want to read small chunks of information at a time. A whole block of intimidating text can cause many people to disengage and just skim past the section completely.
Use this simple outline to break up your blog post and keep it easily readable for your blog visitors. As long as you get your information over to your reader, you shouldn’t worry too much about rambling on just to full up the white space of the page facing you. Give your readers some breaks and allow some space for them to absorb what they have just read before moving on to the next section.
Headline: How to / What is / Why does / 5 steps to .. etc.
A killer headline is one that will strike a chord with your readers and promises to either explain how something works or how doing something will solve their problems. A great tool to use to optimise your headline is the Headline Analyser from CoSchedule. We use it to play around with headline ideas to find the best one that will draw attention to your blog post.
Take the title of this post. We could have gone with any number of titles but finding that headline that stands out and captures the interest of the reader takes a lot of trial and error as you can see from the screenshot below.
One or two short paragraphs discussing your chosen topic and how you understand their issues or problems around it or why it matters. This shows how you sympathise with your readers and how you may have the perfect solution for them.
How to Do It:
Tell your readers how they can solve their problems or improve their life by using your product or service (for when you are writing a selling post) or how the following tips or advice can help them in some way (for information sharing posts not related to selling them anything). Use numbered tips or bullet point tips with short sentences, or paragraphs of around three lines maximum.
Step #1: …
Step #2: … (etc.)
Wrap up your post with a short summary of what you have just told them highlighting the positive points once again.
Call to action:
Tell them what to do next. This could be anything from including a link to your product or service order or booking page, a link to your contact information page to subscribe to your newsletter or to get email alerts, an invitation to like your Facebook page, or to read more useful blog posts on the same subject.
Step Four: Go write your post
You have your chosen topic. You have done your homework and gathered your research. You have your blog structure to follow. Look at your calendar and block out some time to sit down and write your post. Check it over – re-read it and tweak it until you are satisfied with it. Publish it.
Step Five: Rinse and repeat
OK so there is really only four steps to writing a blog post when you are short of time, but five tips sound better than four right? But there are five steps to writing blog posts – the fifth is about rinsing and repeating, or in other words ‘consistency’.
If you can get yourself into a routine of regular and consistent blog writing each week then the whole process will become easier and quicker the more often you repeat it. Very soon your blog post writing will become a normal part of your weekly tasks, and one that will pay off with new readers and followers each week.
The more readers you have – the higher chance of converting them from reader to customer. The more customers you have, the higher chance of turning them into repeat customers by feeding them a constant stream of useful information via your blog. Win, Win!