Blog About Blogging Guest Blog
Blogging is a touchy topic for many business owners. On the one hand, they’re told repeatedly “Blogging is important and you should do it.” On the other, blogging can be daunting. Not everyone is a natural writer and even experienced wordsmiths need the occasional nudge of encouragement. Here are a few tips to help you get started so you can share your knowledge with the world.
- Plan and think in bullet points. Before you put hands to keyboard on That Blog Post I’ve Been Meaning to Write, take a minute to plan what you have to say. I normally put together a quick outline of a few key points and lessons I intend to hit during the post. This serves two purposes: it lets you break the task down into small, discrete parts that are less intimidating than the whole, and it organizes your thoughts so you’re less likely to repeat yourself or forget a point you meant to cover. I used the same technique in college to plan and structure my papers and it made everything a lot easier. Finally, some readers find posts structured in bullet points or numbered items more appealing and easier to navigate. There’s a reason why popular sites like Buzzfeed and Cracked.com live or die by “Top X Things That Y” lists. The final product doesn’t have to be bulleted, but it’s always a good mental starting point.
- Posts don’t have to be long. Short, pithy pieces can be more effective than a long and exhaustive monologue. Most readers are looking for a few quick tips or interesting thoughts on their subject of interest, not a detailed guide, so don’t build a blog up in your mind as some Herculean effort. You’re not writing the “Great American Novel,” you’re just sharing a slice of what you know. In fact, it’s often better to be breezy and not cover everything – you’re here to show some of your expertise and get your readers interested in what you have to say – if they want a more thorough guide, they should contact you for a consultation or engage your services.
- Along the same lines, posts don’t need to be formal or perfect. The most popular bloggers tend to have a breezy, informal style. Few people want to read an impeccable dissertation over their morning coffee; they just want to learn a little something or get help with a specific problem. Your prospects may also find a stiff, formal style to be a little intimidating. Just be yourself and write the way you think.
- Be confident in what you know. Some would-be bloggers get hung up on feeling intimidated, like they have to know everything about a topic before they write about it. Have faith – you’re an expert in something, or else you wouldn’t be in business. You don’t need to burden yourself with the perceived need to be perfect or the authority on a subject. Don’t think of a post as “The Truth About X, Y, and Z,” think of it as “Things I’ve Learned About X, Y, and Z.” You may not be the world renowned expert on your topic, but you darn well know a bit about it, so start there. Give yourself the freedom to express your opinion and share your experiences. Don’t BS or over-promise, but know that it’s OK to say what you have to say and put it out there.
- Don’t worry about writing for SEO. There are mountains of blog posts out there about tricks for writing for the search engines. Don’t get caught up in them. You’re not writing for search engines – you’re writing for people. If your content is good (and it will be, because you know what you’re talking about), people will find it and read it and share it, boosting your scores without resorting to any gamesmanship. Your ranking for a term will grow organically (ah, SEO puns) out of what you have to say and you shouldn’t have to force keywords into a topic where they don’t belong. Granted, if you’re running a campaign with an SEO company, get their thoughts and suggestions on some best practices, but don’t sacrifice content for the sake of rankings. Just focus on saying what you have to say the way that makes sense to you.
- Don’t be “sales-y.” You’re not writing to do a hard sell, you’re just establishing your expertise and piquing readers’ interest. It’s always nice to include a call to action, but it’s not necessary and you certainly don’t want to hit your readers over the head. If they become a prospect, great! If not, then maybe they’ll be a regular reader and share what you have to say.
- Just do it (thanks Nike). It’s easy to psyche yourself out of getting started, especially if writing is out of your comfort zone. Remember the writer’s creed: “done is better than perfect.” That stellar blog post you’ve been meaning to write or that draft on your hard drive that’s almost perfect is not nearly as valuable sitting around being potentially perfect as it is out there, being read and shared. So just get out there and start. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and just get going!
I hope these tips help you get started with that blog you’ve been meaning to start. Just remember to get out there, say what you have to say, and get started.