You know you need to publish content and you’d like to streamline the process as much as possible. Whether you’re creating the content in-house or outsourcing it, a good way to move things along is to provide a specific set of guidelines for your writer.
When your writers understand what the expectations are, they’ll be able to provide the kind of content that is relevant and engaging.
Instead of saying, “Hey, we need you to write something about your area of expertise,” you’ll be able to give your writer specific guidelines that will pull the right kind of information from them.
And now, I’m going to speak to your writer…
Begin with the end in mind
The first thing you want to do is set a goal for your blog post.
- Who are you targeting with the post?
- What’s their take-away from the post?
If you have buyer personas, the first question will be easier to answer. But even if you don’t have one, you can usually figure out the type of buyer you want to target with your post. Most people reading your blog posts are just starting to get to know you. This usually is the entry point for many businesses and consumers and starts the buyer journey.
If you have a landscaping business, you probably want to target a professional who makes good money but is too busy to keep up with their lawn care. Some readers may use your tips on the best way to trim hedges, but demonstrating your expertise will lead some readers to give you their business.
The second question is also very important because you want to give value to your reader. It could be a tip, a strategy, a recommendation or a “how to.” Using the example above, if you wrote about the best and quickest way to trim hedges, you’d want the take-away to be trimming your hedges efficiently.
Basic Blog Post Writing 101
There are three basic parts to a blog post.
- The introduction
- The body
- The conclusion
Your blog posts don’t have to necessarily be long, either. You can mix it up by having some that are between 400 – 600 words and others that are around 800 – 1000 words.
The introduction prepares the reader for the topic you’ll present. You want your writer to immediately define a problem, current news item or observation.
This isn’t the time to provide the solution to the problem or offer your analysis of an issue. You need to set it up first.
You want to establish a connection before you do any of that. So it’s important to define what it is you’re going to talk about, finding common ground with your reader. You want to hook the reader, convincing them that your post is actually worth reading.
A good outline would look like this:
- Present the topic, using probing questions like, “Have you noticed?” or “Has tracking data become more difficult?”
- Define in detail the topic, looking to establish a connection with the reader
- Let the reader know why it’s important to understand the topic
The body of the post is where you get to show off your brilliance. Hey, you’re the expert, right? So now you have an opportunity to show your stuff by riffing on how to solve the problem, what the current news item means for the reader, or just flow with your observations on a particular subject.
Make sure to break up the visual appearance of your blog post with headlines, emphasized words or sentences, and generous paragraph breaks. You also want to include bullets, numbered lists or even an graphic to support your points.
Many writers could go on indefinitely with the body text but at some point, you’ve got to bring it home. There needs to be a neat and tidy ending to your post.
The conclusion is your opportunity to emphasize what you just accomplished with writing the post. In a brief statement, reiterate the problem you solved, the news item you just analyzed or a short summary of your observation.
Many writers also invite their reader to engage with them in the comment section. It’s great to do this but also have a call to action where you invite your reader to sign up for your newsletter, download a free report, sign up for a webinar, etc.
Writing blog posts shouldn’t be intimidating and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas for future blog posts. I’ve been known to scribble ideas on a church bulletin or tap one into my iPhone Notes app.
Whatever you do, keep at it. A consistently refreshed blog will attract potential buyers and prove your knowledge and expertise. Doors will open because you’ve shown yourself to be a trusted advisor. And if you do it right and have powerful calls to action, you’re sales funnel will be constantly replenished. Well worth the effort.