Nike wasn’t wrong in their now iconic marketing but I’m not here to talk about sports. I’m talking about writing.
More specifically, I’m talking about blogging. A while ago, I talked about how “The First Line is Everything” and it is. But it’s not if you don’t add a second one. And a third. Maybe even a fourth.
There are always a thousand reasons why you can’t get it done. Here are some of my favourites:
- The dog is sick.
- The cat is sick.
- My taxes are due.
- My divorce is final.
- It’s sunny outside.
Sit down, open the computer and start (by emailing us so we can do it for you)! Not ready to outsource? Well, that’s okay. We’ll help you anyway!
Here are some tips to get your writing going:
- Figure out what is REALLY stopping you. Are you afraid that you’re not a good writer? Are you worried that you will look bad if you make mistakes, grammatical or otherwise? Figure out the REAL block – because it’s not a sunny day – and fix it.
- If you think you’re no good, write some draft posts and have someone you respect read them over.
- Worried about spelling, etc…? An editor is a relatively inexpensive investment.
- Do a lot of reading in the style that you want to write. If you want to write about landscaping, read other landscaping blogs. If you want to write about being a doula, read a lot of doula blogs. They’re out there. Some are good. Some are awful, but until you read, you won’t have a sense of what you like / don’t like / would like to read and therefore would like to write.
- Read outside your chosen area too. The ability to string a phrase together that is entertaining to the reader is not an automatic skill. You’re not born with it: you have to develop it.
- Write… Just sit down and write whatever you want. Free your mind and let the words come. You’re not going to hit publish on this one. This is just an exercise to relax you. No one is grading it and you won’t be kicked out of your chosen line of work for doing this.
When you’ve done these things and you’re ready to start writing, you need to decide what you want to write about. I keep a file in Evernote so that I can jot down ideas as they come to me. That way, when I’m devoid of any, I can check my special file and pick something out.
Here is a rough format for a blog post that you can follow:
Title – should contain the keyword that you want to focus on for the post.
Subtitle – should also contain the keyword that you want to focus on for the post.
Intro paragraph – include the keyword in here too – this paragraph introduces your topic and let’s the reader know what they should expect in the rest of the post.
Use sub-headers for different parts of the post – These break up the text and allow readers who skim to jump to the part that they might be most interested in. Run on text with few breaks is not visually appealing and it’s more likely a reader will skip off the post if you don’t break it up. This is particularly true for mobile users, which make up a large number of readers. Include your keyword in at least one of the sub-headers.
Conclusion / Call to action – Sum up your words and create a call to action to entice your reader to act, by contacting you, making a comment, looking into the services you have to offer. Not all views of a post are going to turn into measurable actions / sales but you are more likely to get some if you give the reader a reason to act.
- Try to link the paragraphs – If you create a link from one to the next, there is a more obvious flow that the reader will appreciate.
- Links – if you can, add links to external sources for more information and one to another of your posts.
- Stuck for topics? – This is a FUN resource from HubSpot that might not give you the topics you are looking for but it might get your brain going and lead you to some!
Obviously, writing isn’t everyone’s forte and as many awesome business coaches will tell you: you need to do the work that you are good at and outsource the rest. We’re here to help if you need it, or even if you just want to ask a question. Remember: we write, you get get the glory. And unicorns. Maybe.