It’s a great time to become a better blog writer as blogging has never been as popular as it is today.
As the world relentlessly pushes forward, testing the boundaries of technology and as digital media dominates all aspects of the public consciousness including marketing, whether it be video, AR, VR or creative images, you might be forgiven for thinking that the power of the written word, in particular, blog writing might be waning.
But the simple fact is, the written word has never been more accessible, entertaining, informative and varied than it is at this very moment.
The fact you’re reading this right now is proof of that.
Here at eclipse marketing, we pride ourselves on being a perpetual conveyor belt of content of all types, but our Content Manager, Pete, has a particular soft spot for written content, and when we realised that the 24th of June is National Writing Day, he jumped at the chance to share some of his top blogging tips.
Having written over 450 blog posts in the past two years across multiple sectors for our clients, he knows a thing or two about blog writing.
So, buckle up, relax and by the end of this blog, you’ll be equipped with all the essentials you’ll need to either get into writing blogs or enhance your skills that will help you with future projects.
Get started and write a blog
If you’re looking to grow your business, one of your first ports of call on the content trail should be to establish a blog section within your website.
Not only is the blog section of a website an area where you can cut loose, express yourself as a business, share your insights and
provide regular updates, it’s also a key tool that will help you drive traffic to your website, giving you the chance to capture your audience and harvest them for leads.
But writing a blog might not necessarily be enough, it’s essential that your blogs are high-quality and optimised for SEO, after all, the majority of traffic to your blogs will come via search engines like Google.
If that all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry, keep reading and you’ll be ready to become a writing whizz with a blog section chock-full of amazing content before you know it, but if you want to take a short cut to amazing content, you can always let us help you.
The key to great content is making it look effortless, but the truth is, the most essential aspect of blog writing is the planning stage.
I always start with a brainstorm.
Think about what your audience wants to hear, what questions they want answering? What are they feeling right now? How can your product or service help them with their problems? What are the hot topics they are engaged with?
Whenever you’re about to start writing a blog you need to be equipped with answers to these questions beforehand, otherwise, you’re going in blind and readers will see right through you.
The whole point of a blog post is to connect with an audience and if you come across as disingenuous or that you have very little knowledge about the subject in question, they probably won’t be visiting your website again in a hurry.
Once you start thinking about these questions, you’ll naturally tend to build a backlog of titles and ideas for your blog posts.
You might not get to this point when you’re writing your first blog, but don’t worry, by taking the time to formulate these questions and answers before you write, your brain will get used to having the creative juices flowing so that when it’s time to put digital pen to paper, you’ll be off to a flying start.
Technically this is a part of the planning stage, if you want to become a better blog writer it’s essential you get this aspect right, which why I felt it deserved its own section.
Contrary to popular belief, writers don’t know everything (myself included).
I can’t stress enough that before you write anything, you need to research your subject before writing your blog.
It’s what turns a competent copywriter into a swiss army knife of blog writing.
Whilst our team do a fantastic job of making writing for a variety of clients and sectors look effortless, the fact is, it takes a lot of dedication and research to get us to the point where we can write free-flowing blog posts that both our clients and their customers love.
But when you see the final blog post, and the difference between traffic to highly-researched and engaging blog posts as opposed to other blog content where the research may not have been as thorough as it could have been, you’ll be sold on the importance of researching your subject.
Just be prepared for the fact that you may need to put the hours in, trust me, you’ll thank me later!
Write a great title or headline
Blog writing can sometimes be a little bit like dating, you could be surrounded by amazing people who are incredibly deep, diverse and full of knowledge, but if the initial attraction isn’t there, you might never find out anything about them.
That’s a little like the headline or title for your blog.
The title is that initial attraction and the bar is the search engine rankings or the vast content hubs of social media.
You can write an epic blog that is witty, informative, and exactly what your audience is looking for, but if the headline doesn’t do it justice, it’ll never be found or read.
There are two ways that I recommend you work when it comes to writing a great blog title.
The first (which is the method I usually use) is to come up with your final blog title and then write your blog around that.
These titles are usually questions or statements. Think along the lines of things you’d search for, e.g. ‘How do I write an amazing blog?’ or ’10 veggie recipes to whip up in 15 mins or less‘.
Working in this way gives you a clear focus on the task at hand and helps stop you from deviating from the subject matter too much.
The second way I sometimes have to work is to create a ‘working title’ this is usually a broad term that I’ll have to write about e.g a working title for this blog post might have been ‘facts and stats about blog writing’.
I usually reserve this way of working for blogs that are a bit longer, maybe an opinion piece or a product launch announcement, but I’m not rigid with it, just pick a method that fits your way of working and it’ll all come together with a bit of practice.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your headlines, sometimes a tweak to a headline can give a tired blog post a new lease of life.
Writing a blog post – the fun part
So you’ve done your prep, your brainstorm session yielded some amazing blog ideas, you’ve picked the best one, you’re armed with all the facts, stats and info you might need, now it’s time for the best part.
Writing an amazing blog post is as much an art as it is a science, and how you write it will ultimately be down to you, but here is how I manage my workflow when it comes to transforming ideas into an all singing and dancing blog post.
The most common way of writing a blog (and it’s the way I’d recommend) is to do it in one sitting.
This might sound like a lot of time to be in one place, but by focusing solely on your blog post, you’ll be able to pore all of your energy into that project, and the results will be clear for everyone to see.
Grab your favourite headphones and find yourself a comfortable space whether it’s a corner of your favourite coffee shop, your home office or your desk at work, get comfy and start writing.
A blog writer who is comfortable in their environment nearly always provides a better quality blog post.
The alternative is to set aside some time each day to chip away at the blog post.
Some people prefer this way of working, but in my experience, the results aren’t quite the same.
You’ll also often find it takes a lot longer to check and amend a blog post written in this way.
Writing a blog over the course of a few days often means you’ll spend extended amounts of time making tweaks to the copy to make it flow properly, something which tends to happen more naturally when you write a blog in one sitting.
However, that being said, if you’re just starting out and you’re trying to become a better blog writer, it may take a few sittings to complete a high-quality post, and that’s fine so long as you hit your deadline.
In time, you’ll establish a process and method that works for you and what took you a couple of days to write initially, will only take a couple of hours once you’ve got a few blog posts under your belt.
What structure should my blog take?
If you’re not an experienced blog writer it can be hard to know where to begin.
While some blog writers like to split their content into bitesize sections and title each stage of the process, I’ve found that it doesn’t need to be that complex.
Split each blog you write into three parts.
An intro, the main body of your copy and the outro or conclusion.
My top tip for anyone looking to become a better blog writer is that if you’re struggling to write your intro, skip it initially and get into the meat of your main copy and the conclusion.
I quite often leave the intro until last as it’s where I need to be on top form to suck the reader in and set the tone and scene for the rest of the blog.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so why not save yourself the time of crafting those words and replace them with some high-quality images or better yet, a video.
This is the penultimate stage of the blog writing process.
Nothing is quite as off putting for a reader than being faced with reams of uninterrupted copy.
Not only do images or videos make your post look great, but they’ll also help it flow more effectively too.
Likewise, imagery will make your blog more interesting, whether it’s because you’ve peppered it with mini infographics that reinforce what is being said in the copy, or they’re there to make your post look pretty, they’re essential.
Search engines also love them, so make sure you’re carefully curating your blog post with effective imagery and videos where relevant.
Editing – the final stage
Editing a blog is possibly one of the hardest parts of writing a blog.
Most people think that editing a blog post is just making sure the commas and full stops are in the correct places, maybe striking through a couple of sentences and making sure it all makes sense.
This is true to a certain degree, but editing a blog post is about much more than that.
Often you’ll have to go through the counterintuitive process of sacrificing words you’ve spent hours pouring over to ensure your blog is cohesive.
Believe it or not, this blog post you’re reading right now was nearly 3,000 words at one point and as much as it hurts to cut those words, it’s for the greater good.
Whilst I’m sure you’ll be checking your grammar etc throughout the editing process, here are a couple more tips for making sure your blog editing skills reach the next level.
To write a great blog you have to be brutal in the editing process.
You may have spent hours creating your blog, but your readers will decide whether they want to read it within seconds, so make sure you separate the wheat from the chaff and say goodbye to anything that is repetitive, doesn’t make sense, or could be used in a separate blog post of its own.
Get a second opinion
When it comes to editing you can often have your blinkers on as the creator of the content.
My top tip is to get someone you trust to pick your blog apart.
Whether it be a friend or your line manager, get them to read it and give you honest feedback.
You’ll have to get used to having a slightly bruised ego if you want your content to resonate with your audience and become a better blog writer.
As a blogger, you’ll often be in a world of your own.
When you’re editing you need to put yourself in the reader’s shoes and reading your blog aloud will do just that. I know it’s certainly helped me become a better blog writer.
You’ll spot issues with the structure and flow of your blog much easier when saying the words out loud.
It’s probably best you don’t do this in your comfortable spot in the coffee shop though, you may get some funny looks.
Make sure you link
One thing every blogger must do is get into the habit of linking, both internally and externally.
If you don’t do this, you’re not only missing out on enhanced search engine results, you’re also missing the point of a blog, which is to draw readers in and then send them elsewhere on your website, I’d recommend linking to an internal product or service page, as it’s usually the next step on the path to conversion.
Likewise, by failing to add external links you’re missing the opportunity to build links with other businesses or professionals whose content you will link to.
Nothing is ever perfect
Whenever I write a blog I have to accept the fact that it will never be perfect the first time around.
The sooner you realise this, the sooner you’ll be able to create compelling content.
I’m not saying that you should ever settle for mediocrity, we certainly don’t here at eclipse, but what you should be aware of is that in a digital age, your content will quite often need a bit of TLC a few months down the line, or perhaps even sooner.
So-called ‘evergreen’ content doesn’t really exist, yes it may be relevant to readers in the long term compared to blogs about recent events or industry developments, but even evergreen content will need some attention sooner rather than later.
The final product
So there we have it, you’re now armed with the tools and knowledge you need to get become a better blog writer, whether it’s getting started with a blog of your own or to enhance your prowess as a blog writing expert.
Now all that’s left for you to do is grab a hot cup of coffee, dust off your trusty keyboard and get to work.
But if you’re really not feeling it, always remember that our team at eclipse marketing are ready and waiting in the wings to provide some amazing content.
All you need to do is reach out to us!
Good luck and happy National Writing Day.