Blogs have become the lifeblood of many businesses. The articles we generate are a way to educate and/or train clients and customers, while crafting our image and building credibility. The key to any successful blog is, of course, its content.
The popular quote states “content is king”, but an idiot can create content. Just because you can scrape down some thoughts doesn’t mean people will read your drivel. In fact, if you don’t know how to write exceptionally, you’re unlikely to gain or grow readers at all.
Here are some tips that can change your verbal vomit into something valuable…
Pick You Audience
The fastest way to shoot yourself in the foot is to assume you’re writing for every reader. Choose a personality, group or niche to target. The more specific you can get, the better. Consider an obscure area within a niche that rarely gets addressed. This will help you to focus your efforts, research and writing style. By choosing your audience, you’ll be able to outline the content readers will enjoy, with quality they’ll expect.
Pick Your Subject Carefully
As much as we’d like to think we’re intelligent, entertaining and have something worth saying, it’s not enough. Once you’ve narrowed your audience, you need to laser in on your subject. Pick subjects that others are talking about. Do research to find out what’s hot in current news. Maybe there’s a debate going on in your chosen industry that you can take advantage of. Start a few fires, create a little controversy.
Don’t Write Cold
Get the bugs out of your brain before you start trying to commit anything to paper. For ten to fifteen minutes, put your pen to paper and don’t stop writing. Let it flow without questioning. Anger, gibberish, incoherent thoughts, it doesn’t matter—jot it all down as fast as you can. This exercise will clear your brain of mental cobwebs and allow the true genius of the day to surface.
Create a Unique Personality
Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Well now’s your chance. I have a friend who developed a huge following with his financial articles…by being a gnome. You heard me right—my friend created a fictional character in a cut-throat industry. It gave him autonomy, while allowing his humorous personality to surface in his writing. Consider the power and fun you can have by branding a specific personality. It doesn’t have to be fictional—but it should be unique. Let your imagination shine.
Shake It Up and Keep It Lively
If you’ve done thorough research, then you know what’s already been covered by other writers. Step it up a notch. Go the extra mile. Find the dirt, the facts, pose questions and unique points of view that cause readers to say “waaaait a minute”. Focus on creating each article as an intentional conversation starter. This is especially powerful if it specifically leads into other hot topics you’ve already covered.
Whenever you write an article, ask yourself the following questions to keep yourself focused:
- Does the article completely satisfy a reader–or include a direction to send them if they want more information?
- Is the article clear, unique and packed full of useful information a reader can use right now?
- Does the content make a call to action—pulling the reader into a conversation?
- Is this an article I would personally want to read? If not, why?
- Do I have a good balance of fact and resources with a touch of humor?
- Is this article powerful enough that people will want to share it with others?
Pull With Your Title
Use titles that not only reflect your article, but grab a readers attention. The key here is using phrases with resonance, focusing on what people will get if they read your work. Make a list of possible titles and choose the one that grabs your interest. Ten Ways To Improve Your Home Theatre System might work, but Ultimate Home Theatre Tips To Make Your Friends Squirm With Envy will likely grab more attention.
I’ll leave you with one last pointer. Write to a single person. What I mean is, choose a good friend and imagine talking to them as you write. Focus on their face, their personality and write to their understanding. By doing that, you’ll create a voice that will create a connection with readers.
Do you have any suggestions you feel I’ve missed or perhaps used something else with success? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and share your experiences with us!