What I wish someone would've told me when I started blogging - the REAL do's and don'ts of blogging!
Blog posts allow you and your business to publish insights, thoughts, and stories on your website about any topic. They can help you boost traffic, brand awareness, credibility, conversions, and revenue. Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, product information, industry findings, and more. There are many popular blog formats and a lot of advice out there on how to blog and what to blog about...all of them 'good' and 'true' in their own right, but none of them as valuable as what I'm about to share with you...because what I am going to share with you now...is exactly what I wish someone could've told me before I started writing my first blog...
In this post I am going to share just a few of my own best tips for business owners that are new to blogging, but eager to give it a go! I discovered most of these do’s and don'ts the hard way myself when I was still new to blogging so I am super happy to share them with you today and I hope it helps you as much as it would’ve helped me way back when, when I was just starting out in blogging. So, deep breath, and here goes... my list of do's and don'ts for new bloggers:
Tip 1: Do write about something you are passionate about!
Forget about what you 'should' or what you 'think' you should be writing about and do write about what you are passionate about. As a blogger people will want to get advice from you, be entertained by you, get to know you, understand and then follow you. Your voice shining through in the words that you put down on paper is as, if not more, important as the topic that you're writing about. Anyone can give advice, but no one can give it exactly like you... It's like Dr. Suess said...
"Today you are YOU,
that is truer than TRUE,
there is no one alive
that is youer than YOU"
Step 1, and possibly the most important step, in this whole process, therefore involves you finding your own voice. If you can find your voice and have it shine through in every piece of writing that you put out on the net - you’ll be golden!
And whilst you are at it and being AUTHENTICALLY YOU; do not write ‘salesy’ blog posts, but do include a CTA (Call to Action) at the end of each blog post. A call to action is ONE sentence with a link at the end of your blog post that tells your readers what you’d like them to do after reading the blog post - for example - contact you/ subscribe to your blog/ subscribe to your email list/ follow you on social media/ check out a related product, etc.
Tip 2: Do keep it interesting, fun and engaging
Do, keep it interesting and break some rules. Blog posts are supposed to be informative, but also entertaining to your chosen audience. Therefore, do not keep your writing style too formal and write about something you love.. Start with telling a story you love to tell or giving advice on a topic you are interested in. Don’t take yourself too seriously either!
The best blogs, in my opinion, are from people that are experts in their field, but who also know how to have fun...Tongue in the cheek writing is wonderful to read. Have a funny story relating to the topic you want to write about? Tell it! Have a slang word you want to use, but not sure if you should? Use it! Like really, this is not like writing a press release or content for a newspaper. Blogging is where you should be yourself and have fun with your audience.
Do ask your audience for suggestions on topics they would love to learn about from you. A great start to generate ideas for your next blog post is to ask current customers of yours what they would like to read about from you. Is there any advice they would love to have or maybe inside perspectives they’d like to gain from reading your blog? People love freebies, so if you emphasise that you’ll be creating this content and putting it out there for them to have access to FOR FREE they should be very helpful with offering suggestions for topics you can write about.
Do have fun with it! If you enjoy a certain aspect of writing - do more of it! People can tell when you are having fun and they are naturally drawn to those people. So if you have a million pictures about something you’re writing about and enjoy sharing those - go for it! If you love dreaming about destinations you’d like to visit one day.... Write down those dreams and share it… If you enjoy commenting on the latest news - do that, but whatever you do, BE YOU!
Tip 3: KIT (Keep it Tidy)
Do keep paragraphs more or less the same length with uniform formatting. You want your paragraphs to be justified, your content to be spell checked and your paragraphs to contain roughly the same amount of information per paragraph. Each paragraph should discuss one “topic”. As soon as you move on to discussing another “topic”, related to the same main topic of course, you’ll know that you need to start a new paragraph.
Do use headings and formatting to your advantage to clearly split blog posts into relevant sections. This allows your reader to easily speed read your post to decide if they want to read the whole thing. It also makes it easier for them to find the relevant content when referring back to (and perhaps sharing) your post after they’ve read it the first time.
Do keep it short, concise and to the point. If you have more than one point to make, consider rather turning your topic into a series of topics. People like convenience in this day and age so let them have that from your blog post. If your blog post title is “How to boil an apple.” write about just that and if you have tips on how to find the perfect apples for boiling - rather create another separate post.
Tip 4: Just Do It!
Do practice and don’t be too hard on yourself! Writing is like riding a bike… You can only learn it by doing it… Your first blog post probably won’t go viral, let’s face it… Even your tenth post most probably won’t go viral, BUT it WILL be a lot better than your first blog post - guaranteed!!! Consistency is key here. Marry the process - let go of the result and the rewards might pleasantly surprise you!
Do reach out to your target audience and ask them to read your blog and give you advice on how you can improve it! When you are just starting out with blogging you probably won’t start with a huge following and you probably won’t get any comments, if you don’t do the manual marketing work to get people to read your posts… So a good way to start is literally just to reach out to people you already know or have contact with on social media and ask them to just read what you’ve written and leave you some honest feedback. Not only are you driving traffic to your blog in this way, but you’re also creating awareness of your efforts, and making your readers feel ‘part’ of your journey… That builds relationships. Its a beautiful cycle.
5. Do top the cake with cherries and cream
Do include some awesome pictures! You can find free to use pictures on www.pixabay.com or create your own branded pictures on www.canva.com. Both websites offer completely free solutions. Remember a picture says a thousand words and with all the visually stimulating content out there at the moment you want some really great graphics to help draw people to your blog - especially when it is still relatively unknown.
Do write collaborative pieces. One of the easiest ways to get content up and out there is to write with someone else… If they write up a draft blog on a topic both of your audience’s will be interested in - you might as well edit and proofread it. That way both of you can publish the content on both your blogs. You see how collaboration assists you with achieving goals just so much faster?
Do include affiliate links in your blog posts, but DO NOT let that influence your authenticity. Affiliate links is a great way to monetize your blog posts. It allows you to include links on which your readers can click to buy products/ services online and you’ll earn a commission for each sale. However, people can spot a fake a mile away, and you do not want to become known as just a ‘sales person.’ Therefore, if you are including affiliate links in your blog posts, be open about it, and be sure to let your readers know (and show them!) that this doesn’t influence your opinion and doesn’t take away from your authenticity.
Do consider outsourcing your blogging work if you don’t particularly enjoy this part of the job, but only once you can afford it… And only to people you trust to keep the authentic voice of your blog alive without you actually participating in the writing process. Explore ProTech, for example, offers various solutions to business owners starting with once-off 500 word blog posts and progressing all the way to 8 blog posts per month... and all our blog post services include free keyword research and writing for optimal Search Engine Optimisation using those keywords.
So there you go - those are literally my best tips and the tips I wish someone would've shared with me when I first started blogging! Do let me know in the comments down below if these tips help you. I'd love to hear from you! And if you have any questions on this topic feel free to ask them in the comments too!
Lots of love!
Yours in Business from you fellow #EconomicWarrior
Nestene Botha is a Registered Auditor, Chartered Accountant, Tax Practitioner, proud #ProTechMentor and one of the founders of Explore ProTech. The expertise she contributes to Explore ProTech spans the fields of entrepreneurship, business, training, course building, coaching, marketing, networking, writing and more. Hence why the team has dubbed her their “Chief Executive Dreamer”. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs find, unlock and unleash their inner value - in life and in business.
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