10 universal tips blog writing tips
I spend around 80% of my time writing blogs. I write blogs for several different clients, and over the years I have written about topics as diverse as pest control, plumbing, lingerie, international trade, and dementia products. There is little common ground in terms of content, but the basic principles of blog writing apply to them all and how you write is as important as what you write.
Use these 10 golden rules to improve your blog writing:
1. Let the heading tell it all
The heading is your biggest opportunity to provide people with a reason to read your blog so tell them what they’re getting. Yes, attention grabbing is good but don’t fall down the clickbait rabbit hole. You will soon lose your reader if the piece fails to deliver on the promise of the heading.
2. Get to the point fast
You have just a few seconds to engage the reader so keep the preamble to a minimum and get into the substance of your post quickly; you’re not writing an article for The Guardian.
3. Plan the whole piece
Plan all your main points before you start writing and ensure there is a logical flow. This will help your writing to stay focused.
4. Be clear on the purpose
When writing blogs for your business, there has to be an objective, otherwise what’s the point? What is the takeaway from your post for the reader? It may be for SEO, to capture search traffic. It may be to demonstrate your expertise. It could be something more nuanced, such as to humanise your business, showing the people behind the brand or a take on a topical story. It could even be to entertain and differentiate your business in that way. Stick to one objective and make everything you write in that piece be guided by it. The purpose of this blog is to show you how great I am at blog writing!
5. Find your voice
Don’t write your blog as if it was an instruction manual for flat pack furniture. You can still sound serious and informative (if that’s what you’re going for) but there’s scope to write with personality and warmth. Being more personable and less corporate can be more engaging. Don’t try and be too fancy in your language either.
6. Break up with meaningful headings
A big solid lump of 800 words is not going to inspire anyone to read. Using subheadings has a number of benefits: it breaks the piece up visually, it allows you to highlight your key points, and you can include keywords in them and assign H tags (designate them as headings in your CMS) to allow Google to pick them up. Make them meaningful to the content of that specific section.
7. Accept that many won’t read the whole thing
As brilliant as you may feel the whole piece is, you must resign yourself to the fact that many readers will cherry pick your blog to find the specific nugget of content that they seek. You cannot be precious about this. That’s why you make the headings meaningful and deal with the point within that section. One of Google’s main objectives is to find users answers to their questions so their search may bring them directly to a specific section of your blog. Give them great quality and Google will keep sending the searchers your way.
8. Offer something of value
You may find your products fascinating but nobody will read a sales pitch on your blog. Save that for the rest of your website. People want something of value so be generous with your knowledge. Some assume “if we tell people how to do things, they won’t come to us” but work on the basis that if what you do can be explained in one blog post to the degree where you become redundant, people would probably already be doing it. The topic may even be something that may not directly lead to work but just demonstrates that you know your stuff. This article for Plumbcare.com is about what to do if you clog your toilet up with water beads. It’s not going to generate work directly, but it has been shared multiple times across the net, including on big sites like Mumsnet, and has done wonders for the site’s google rankings.
9. Keep it brief but not too brief
It’s a blog, not a novel so you don’t need to go above 1000 words; that’s pushing even the ability of headings to break it up into neat chunks. That said, you need to give Google a chance to find you so look at around 500 words as a minimum. Want to write about a broad subject? Consider breaking down into topics and creating separate, focused posts. You can link between them for greater depth.
10. Proof it. But wait
While the substance of your writing is the most important thing, accuracy can win or lose your audience so make sure you proof it thoroughly. It can be hard checking your own work as you understand what you’re trying to say, and this can make you blind to mistakes. If you don’t have the luxury of a proof reader, leave your work for at least an hour as this can help you cast a fresh eye over it.
Bonus tip 11: leave with a call to action!
Industry knowledge and knowing your business inside out in combination with reading insightful tips on blog writing (see above!) will get you a long way. However, blog writing is a skill, sometimes you need someone with some distance who can think like your customers, and your time may be better spent on the strategic and operational aspects of your business. If this is the case, find yourself a skilled and versatile blog writer… *cough*