When I first started writing blog posts about 15 years ago I used to get to work at 5:00 a.m. just so I could write my articles and have them ready to go by 7:00 a.m. At that time in the morning it was quiet enough for me to think about the many moving parts that came with creating content that really mattered to my audience.
I was the head of a small but growing PR firm and I knew writing about my profession would set me up as an industry expert. It worked but it wasn’t without its challenges. If you’re a blogger trying to build a brand you know exactly what I mean. You have to decide on topics, format posts, decide on images, get your tone right, which I think is the most difficult part. ‘
What’s more, it’s a daily challenge, because a blog needs to be regularly fed with high-value content that is relevant to what you want to do and who you want to connect with. I’ve learned a ton in the process of blogging daily and I’m sharing tips about how you can nail your own killer content.
UNDERSTAND THE FEELINGS YOU WANT YOUR BLOG POSTS TO EVOKE.
I wrote this 8-Step Guide to Finding and Understanding your Brand Voice on Social Media because I know how difficult it is to discover your tone. The way you speak to the folks who read your blog and the kind of emotions you want them to feel directly after reading your post can be difficult to nail.
The first question is to ask yourself is why are you writing a blog post? Do you want your audience to feel motivated or inspired? Do you want them to feel like they just had coffee with a friend? Do you want them to feel like someone just lit a fire under them to get them going with their goals?
When I first started blogging on this platform, my main goal was to make my readers feel more confident about themselves and more focused on growing their businesses and brands online. So the content had to feel like Oprah, Instyle Magazine mixed with spoonfuls of Entrepreneurship.com. I wanted my voice to be approachable, conversational, relatable, and informative, never fluffy or stuffy.
If you’re struggling to find your own voice, the first piece of advice I’d suggest is to take a few minutes or hours to understand your WHY and then zero in on your tone. The voice you write in must be your own and not a carbon copy of someone else because people see right through that.
WHO IS YOUR TRIBE?
When I worked in television, I used to think of just one person sitting at home watching and encouraging me. It made me less nervous and it allowed me to feel more personal with whatever I was broadcasting. I do the same with the blog.
In Forward Forty I knew I wanted to speak to female entrepreneurs over 35 who were interested in growing their brands online. Having spent most of my professional life in PR, I knew if you write for everyone, you will ultimately not be read by anyone! It hurts to hear, but it’s true. I used those two lessons to build a tribe.
Firstly, your content will be more effective if it is aimed to one person, which represents a well-defined target audience. Why? Because your readers want to see content that is specifically addressed to them and that responds precisely to their problems.
So before you start writing, think about:
Now, as you write your blog posts, do it in a way that speaks only to that ONE person. Don’t use that famous You Tube term “you guys”. Instead, speak in the second person to your perfect person, that tribe member reading the stuff you took so long to lovingly create.
As simple as it sounds just getting clear on who is listening will help you build a really powerful connection with your followers and readers because you understand who they are and how you can add value to their lives.
OK, one final point on this. To help you keep your target reader in mind, especially if you are using your blog to build a business, you must build a buyer persona. It sounds a bit tedious, but you have to see it as an investment: the time you spend thinking about your ideal customer will be the time you save while writing your articles. Plus, it will help your content be more relevant.
DETERMINE THE PURPOSE OF EVERY BLOG POST
This one is so crucial. Let’s go back to the top of this post. See how I said that I wanted to share tips on how to create killer content. Boom! That’s my purpose right there. And it’s clear, succinct, and intentional.
Best of all, at the end of the blog post you can measure if I delivered on my promise, if my content was specific and tangible. Whether you’re sharing your favorite dresses under $100 or giving your 5 favourite iPhone audio tips, you should let your readers know right away what they’ll get out of reading your post. This also helps to create more clickable posts on social media because there’s a concise, understandable promise that delivers once people land on the page.
So while good content is always written with a specific goal in mind you also have to decide how it will be presented. Will it be educating, entertaining, convincing or inspiring?
Depending on your goal, the content you create will come in different forms: posts to educate, quizzes to amuse, case studies to convince (see mine about writer Elizabeth Gilbert here) and my favorite, videos to binge watch etc.
Many successful and profitable bloggers create this collection of content to help position themselves as market leaders.
ANTICIPATE THE NEWS
Your content will be consumed more if it is in tune with current events. Bouncing back on a buzz-making event is a great way to attract traffic to your website and reach new audiences. I did this a lot when the pandemic hit the world creating content for my readers to help them pivot their businesses.
It’s important to pay attention to what’s new in your industry, anticipate the news and integrate it into your editorial planning.
OK, I’m beating my drum here to make a point. Within a week of the Coronavirus outbreak I had developed three blog posts on how to work from home, how to remain inspired during despairing times and how to stay physically fit during the crisis. Needless to say the traffic to those posts were enormous.
This brings me to news-jacking. This is a strategy that involves hijacking a popular topic and appropriating it with a fresh point of view to your new targets. Expert bloggers often use this technique on their blogs and you can too.
CREATE QUALITY, AUTHENTIC, FLOWING CONTENT
No one wants to read an article full of misspellings, uninteresting facts, or over-covered subjects that do not provide personal insights. Originality can’t be talked about enough.
Let’s stick for a moment here, shall we? There may be nothing original under the sun but what makes any blog special is your own take, the experiences you bring to the table. I love that in this post I can draw on my 15 + years of writing blogs posts and that my stories are my own.
So here are a couple of facts you need to note. Be Authentic! Don’t steal someone else’s writing and pretend it’s yours. People who know will see through it even if they don’t say so. Also when writing an article, make sure that the sentences flow naturally, and that each one encourages the reader to continue reading. Your style should be attractive, your spelling flawless, and your ideas complex and simple at the same time
Will you always get it right? Nope. But that’s the beauty of content on a blog, you can keep tweaking it long after it is published and make sure those typos are rubbed out to almost zero.
To achieve this, get your voice right:
• Simply write as if you were talking to a friend. If you take a formal tone, you will scare people away.
• Systematically proofread and adjust your articles: even if you miss some errors, at least you would have fixed the worst of them.
• Spend more time researching your topics: you’ll have a better perspective and your articles will be more interesting. It’s a lot of work but tools exist to make it easier for you.
BE “CUSTOMER-CENTRIC” WITH YOUR BLOG POST
To be useful to your readers, you have to be “customer-centric,” and not “brand-centric.” Content that talks about your brand or products will not interest many people: the approach is too commercial. On the other hand, if you produce content that helps people or allows them to build skills on a given topic or saves them time then, BINGO! You’ll get and keep their interest.
You need to connect to your readers and you need to establish trust. The more personal your connection, the more your content will be appreciated and read.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR TITLES.
A while ago I wrote an article on jeweler Josanne Mark. The post over 800 shares on Facebook (I did not spend a penny to boost it) and it was the number one trending article for two weeks on my blog. Take a look at the title again and you’ll see exactly why that one article had so many shares and views.
Here’s the lesson. You have to try to keep the title of your post as engaging as possible because headlines are the gateway to each blog post.
I’m not talking about writing headlines as clickbait, readers see right through that and won’t trust you. In the long term headlines written as clickbait is a losing tactic. Instead, make those titles neat and attractive to make readers want to click them. Generally, headlines that perform best are those that:
There’s a lot of space here, so be creative. Your headlines are the invitations you extend to your reader to click your content. If you create blunt, disengaging titles then you are leaving a lot of money on the table. I can’t stress this enough – your titles are one of the reasons for your blog’s success or failure.
ORGANISE YOUR IDEAS AND MAKE THEM ATTRACTIVE
People have little time to spend reading, so if you want them to dwell on your work and get to to the end, you need:
When I hired Rahul, an SEO strategist, he made me reformat the articles on my blog. Large groups of bulk text were discouraging readers, especially on their mobile devices. My headlines had to be precisely formatted so Goggle could find all the keywords. I have written this blog post on how you can use SEO to increase your page views but the tips below will help you solve the pesky content problems that most bloggers face.
• Write short sentences and paragraphs, think of smart lists and insert subtitles into your articles.
• Accompany your articles with visuals, which allow the reader to pause reading and gaze at the images.
• Organize your ideas and make sure you answer the reader’s main questions clearly: this is the journalistic rule of the 5W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why).
• Write according to the principle of the inverted pyramid, that is, by breaking the suspense: you first give the key information, then go into the details. This way, the reader has a clearer view of your content and is not likely to drop off along the way.
GET A CONVERSATION GOING
Your blog post should be designed to engage your readers. That’s it. Your content should be seen as an invitation to a discussion that takes place in the comments section or on social networks. My followers here on our Facebook page love anything that’s collaborative. They want to be able to testify, ask questions, leave comments, engage with others. Oftentimes, I think of my FB page (I share my blog posts on Facebook) as a hairdressing salon. Women gather to get something done but also to talk and share.
Good content means opening your reader to this kind of interaction. More than that, you need to and can spark a conversation on the platforms where you share your blog content!
By inserting calls-to-action and questions, such as “feel free to react in comments,” or “what do you think of…?”. These simple phrases will increase engagement and the value of your content and your readers’ comments and feedback will enrich your posts.
PROMOTE YOUR BLOG POSTS
The difference between content that remains in the shadows and content that is successful really depends on the quality and the promotion of that content. And often, the order of importance of these two criteria is reversed. Killer content is shared and continues to live on its own long after being published on a blog.
Translation. You have to promote your content on social networks. Think, even before you write, about your marketing strategy.
Here are some question to ask yourself:
• Can you name an influencer in your field? Can you pitch your article to her and can she relay your piece to her community?
• Can you be quoted and thus reach a wider community? More and more bloggers are offering “Best of the Week”. Being present on these lists will ensure you more traffic and notoriety.
Can you work with and SEO strategist for backlinking?
• Can you become a guest-blogger on a successful blog? This a good way to make yourself known and reach new audiences!
All these opportunities will help create buzz around your content, so make full use of them. If this seems overwhelming you can work with a firm or a consultant to help you get going.
BE CONSISTENT AND KEEP IT EVERGREEN.
I love preaching about being consistent i.e showing up to your tribe is more important than being perfect. By being consistent, you improve and grow day after day. Sooner rather later, you’ll get to reap the rewards of that consistency.
By writing regularly on your blog, you will become skillful and grasp the secrets of creating killer blog content. You will learn from your mistakes and analyze your success. You’ll find your writing style and better understand the topics that please your audience. This takes time and practice.
It’s not about not resting on your laurels. After you manage to write killer articles, don’t stop. On the contrary, it is when the traffic of your site begins to take off that you have to go the extra mile to retain more readers. You can do this with evergreen content which can be promoted time and time again without ever getting stale.
Becoming a strategic and efficient blogger requires writing unforgettable, killer content. Readers have less time, they have more platforms but they still want to soak in great, timely content form someone they admire. That’s where you come in.
Whether it’s a website text, blog posts or e-books, creating quality content is not an easy task. It’s even more complex in the context of a blog whose goal is to generate traffic and increase views on a consistent basis.
This means carefully preparing the marketing strategy and following a well-defined editorial lines.
I want to encourage you to keep blogging because with a few small, but intentional, shifts, you’ll create content that your perfect audience will enjoy reading, and it’ll show in your numbers, conversions behind your blog strategy and ROI.
Keep on writing!
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