Whether you are a business trying to create new content or an individual looking to raise your profile, knowing how to write blog content is one of the most effective ways that you can engage with your audience.
Blogs are a great way to build a loyal following, whatever the reason. For businesses, it may help to drive traffic to your website and increase sales. For an individual, it may help you to have a voice, promote your expertise or become more influential.
But running a blog is a big commitment. With so many businesses and individuals looking to be heard, you need to develop something that is regularly updated, as well as something that stands out. And creating compelling content on a regular basis is not easy; how do you come up with the ideas and what does it take to develop killer copywriting skills? This post aims to give you some tips on developing an engaging and successful blog that will help you stand out from the churn and win readers.
Focus on a compelling intro
If you want to captivate people, focus on the headline and the intro paragraph. Don’t leave all the good stuff until halfway down, as people’s attention won’t last that long. If you’re writing about current affairs or campaigning, how about starting with a hard-hitting statistic? If you’re writing about travel, you may want to start with an anecdote. Or if you’re writing about fashion, describe why the style or outfit you’re writing about is so exciting/current. Draw people in at the beginning, and they’ll be more likely to read to the end – and return for more.
Develop an individual theme
Don’t feel that you have to write a blog just because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes, it might not even be an appropriate use of time for your company to focus on developing a blog. Only do it if you can make the commitment to regular and quality updates. If you do decide to write one, however, then you need to focus on being unique. You don’t need to be the only one writing about your topic, but you should be able to tell it in your own unique way or hone in on specific information that no one else is offering.
Take travel blogs, for example – there are thousands of them in the UK alone. To stand out, you could concentrate on what you offer that is different from anyone else – are your experiences aimed at students on a budget, or are they catered around finding hidden experiences within local communities? Perhaps you are travelling with a challenging health problem and want to inspire others. Or maybe you have a specific interest in wildlife and conservation. Whatever your theme, concentrate on developing it and making it specific and consistent throughout.
Fashion blog, Man Repeller, is a great example of a niche market that hooks onto a specific trend – its idea that ‘an interest in fashion doesn’t minimise one’s intellect’ is evident through its mix of fashion and thought-provoking posts.
There are many sectors where bloggers focus on images – often more so than words. Take fashion, travel, aviation, food and entertainment; they are all heavily image-dependent, and pictures are often what draw readers into each post. Most camera phones take pretty good pictures, but it may be worth investing in a proper camera if your industry is particularly reliant on beautiful photos.
Whatever device you choose to use, try to capture images that are in focus, eye-catching and unique. Don’t just take a head-on shot of the Eiffel Tower from the street, for example; photograph it from a new and spectacular angle, or focus on a particular feature that may not be featured on typical postcards. And concentrate on the framing – keep the camera straight, clear anything messy from the background, and look at how the colours of your foreground interact with those in the background.
Take 2018 UK Blog Awards winner Along Dusty Roads – all of their images are in perfect harmony with each other, with a noticeably consistent colour theme throughout their posts.
Spelling and grammar
This might be an obvious one, but never underestimate the power of good grammar. Poor spelling and punctuation reflects badly on your business and could irritate many readers straight away.
Know the difference between your there, their and they’re; know that a company is a singular entity, not a plural; and learn how to use punctuation marks properly. Finally, always read through your blog several times.
Writing is an art – you can refine it, improve it and add flair to it each new time you read it over. There are several handy apps and plug-ins that can help bloggers improve their grammar – bloggers’ favourite Grammarly is a great place to start.
Provide useful content
Don’t just shout about yourself or your company. Take the time to write impartial information that will be of genuine interest to those visiting your website. If you are a removal company, for example, don’t just talk about the services you can offer; tell them things that will be handy to know when they move, e.g. ‘five ways to make house moving less stressful’, or ‘ten handy things NOT to pack when moving’ (e.g. scissors, parcel tape, one set of cutlery, the kettle, a jumper).
Possibly even include some fun stats about home moving, e.g. ‘did you know that moving house is the number one cause of arguments among UK families’? Or ‘one in five people consider moving to be more stressful than divorce’… or something similar.
If people think you provide value, know your industry, and understand their needs, they will be more likely to buy from you and to share your blog.
Optimise for search engines
Making sure your blog features high up in Google searches is a great way to get noticed. Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be used to boost your blog further up the page, by using keywords that are specific to your industry. For example, if you have a company that sells baby clothes, you should make sure your blogs include relevant phrases that could typically be used by people searching for products like yours, e.g. ‘clothes for babies’, ‘babywear’, ‘infant clothes’, ‘kidswear in the UK’ etc.
Keep it short
The good news is, writing a blog doesn’t have to rival an essay. In fact, it’s better to keep it short in many instances. With so much content on the internet, who has the time to scour through thousands of words anyway?
Don’t shy away from a great idea just because you can’t think of million different points to back it up. Blogs are aimed to provoke opinion, provide useful information, or perhaps to be a reaction to a current topic. Others are often picture-led.
The average person has an attention span of just six-eight seconds – that’s less than a goldfish – so concentrate on making your blog concise. Just two paragraphs of useful insight are way better than a 2,000-word essay.
That’s just a few tips to get you started – follow these and you’ll be off to a good start!
Remember – don’t worry too much about your following at the beginning. Concentrate on creating great content, and people will start to find you. Also, use your social media to promote your blog – and vice versa. Include links to your blog on all your social channels; if you have a large following, you already have a captive audience to which you can market your blog straight away.