This episode will equip you with some important how-to's and tips for writing a successful blog.
Okay, so we’ve come to the writing part of the blog and honestly, we’re pretty sure you’ll find this the easiest part of the process. With that killer title out of the way, as well as a solid skeleton, 60% of your work is already done.
Now you just have to sit back and fill in the gaps with words.
But let's give you a few guidelines to make sure you’re nailing that bit as well.
Guideline 1: Break up your content
A few years ago we ran an experiment. We wanted to see if people engaged with blocks of content or with spaced out content. The experiment was to send out 2 emails, one with a bunch of paragraphs in it and the other with each line being separated. The first email looked like this paragraph. The second email looked like this.
Which email do you think did better?
The second one! The second email outperformed the first e-mail by a LOT. Now, we’re not saying you should write your entire blog one line at a time, but it does help to break up the content and monotony.
The human eye gets exhausted quite quickly. If there are too many elements on a page, too many colors or different fonts and sizes, it causes fatigue. It's subconscious, but the result is that people bounce off the page.
You know another thing that fatigues the human eye? LONG CHUNKY PARAGRAPHS! Nothing says “boooooring” to the human eye more than an 8 line paragraph.
So please, for the love of the human eye, break up your content! Keep your paragraphs 4 - 5 lines AT MOST.
Guideline 2: Use Subheadings
Readers skim. It's just what they do.
We have so much information available at our fingertips and we’re constantly trying to decide if we want to engage with a web page or not.
Modern analytics has the ability to see how people engage on different web pages and more often than not, when a person lands on a page, they first skim through the whole page before coming back and reading from the top.
And honestly, unless your blog is meant to cater to your mom and your grandmother, your readers are gonna skim read your blog too.
So, if you want to keep your reader committed to finishing your blog post, add subheadings. Use subheadings every few paragraphs. Try to see how you can group your information together so that you can put it under one subhead and allow your reader to see what they are getting into.
Here’s an example of a blog that has used subheads very well.
Guideline #3: Stay on brand!
When you begin working with a client, one of the things you want to ask right at the start is if they have a brand guideline.
A guideline on how the brand behaves, speaks and engages with its audience. And if they do, you need to stick to that guideline while writing.
What you want to get from the brand is a voice and tone guideline that will help you write. Now, most brands out there don't actually have a voice and tone doc.
If this is the case, you’ll want to go through the other content the brand has and see if you can gauge its personality and how the brand tends to speak.
Here’s why: if your brand is a super serious one dealing in billion dollar contracts and working with high ranking officials, it’s probably not going to use humour and gifs in its communication.
On the other hand, if your brand does have a lighter personality and uses humor on its social media, but you sound like you’re writing a doctoral thesis every blog post, chances are you’re not going to be doing so well in your client’s eyes.
So. It is essential that your blog post sounds like the rest of the brand does.
Guideline 4: Don’t forget your call-to-action
If your blog post doesn't get the user to take an action of some sort, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Remember how we said blogging is actually about sales and looked into how blogs increase business? Well, this is where this happens.
Your blog post HAS to nudge the reader in a particular direction, or to a specific action. It could be a sign up form at the end or a link to schedule a meeting. It could even just be subtle and get the user to read another blog post.
But your blog HAS to have an action weaved into it, otherwise it's all fluff and isn’t actually helping the business you’re working for.
Guideline 5: End strong
The title gives it away and it's really not rocket science.
We took a lot of time talking about having a strong intro but another important pointer is the ending. Make sure your blog post has a logical conclusion and outcome.
You want your users to feel like the time they invested in reading your work was fruitful. Take the time to use your ending to guide the reader in a particular direction and summarise your thoughts neatly.
Guideline 6: Don't forget to edit!
Unless you’re J.K.Rowling, you need to proofread your work. If you are J.K. Rowling, ummm what are you doing here? Is business that…bad?
Nobody is good enough to have their writing posted without a check and an edit. This is a step you cannot miss.
Take the time to read your work at least twice and if possible get another set of eyes on your post before it goes out. Oh and always be open to taking feedback.
And there! You are now ready to go out there and take on the world of blogging!
Before you go, we have one last chapter where we want to walk you through the tech side of running a blog and even a bit about building an email list.
So, for one last time – I'll see you in the next chapter.