I’ve been running a few workshops recently and one of the slides which seems to be of most interest to people is in relation to improving online writing. With small businesses in mind this tends to be blog posts and online copy. Here’s my 6 tips to help improve your business’ blog posts
1. Have a Catchy Headline
The headline of a blog is the first thing we read. If the headline is of interest to the target audience then it’s likely they’ll read on, get added value from it and hopefully share with their network. The headline also needs to be relevant to the rest of the content. There’s no point luring in your audience with an exciting heading and then further in the post going completely off track.
Ask yourself, “what is the single, most important point I want my readers to take away from this blog/article/web copy?” Decide the best way to communicate that single takeaway and write 25 headlines for each piece of content – ask others for their input and favourite and ask why. Look at the headlines of other blogs on similar topics – what do you like/dislike about them? The more posts you write, the better you’ll get at writing a catchy headline.
Here’s some ideas to think about when creating your headline:
- Keep it short
- Include numbers or stats
- Answer or ask question
- Make a statement
- Tips & tricks
2. Use the Inverted Pyramid of Writing
Start your blog post with the most important point or piece of information you want your readers to go away with. Remember you have no control of when they leave the page so hopefully if they read the first paragraph before leaving they go away with key information. It’s a different style of writing than a lot of us were probably taught at university where you build up to a conclusion. But as we’re now battling against all the other online buzz for reader’s attention it makes sense to get to the point from the start.
3. Write with the Customer in Mind
Don’t forget who you are writing your content for – think about your audience and what they are wanting to get out of the post throughout all stages of writing. It’s important you know your audience. Answer their questions. Try to predict what their thoughts on the product or service you’re offering are and address them. Look at other content that is of interest to the same audience for ideas, styles and topics.
4. Keep it Simple
An article or blog that is way to read and understand is key – this doesn’t just help the readers but Google likes plain language when it comes to keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). So how can you keep your post simple, here’s my 5 suggestions:
- Avoid Jargon – you don’t want to confuse your readers
- Make sure your writing it grammatically correct – you don’t want to annoy your readers
- Don’t assume your readers knows certain things – they are reading your blog for added value or information so they’re not expected to know everything related to this topic
- Keep the tone of writing consistent with your brand
- Keep on topic – don’t fling in a few unrelated words or paragraphs for the sake of it
5. Include a Call-To-Action (CTA)
Make it easy for your readers to get in touch or find out more information about the topic, or even better use your service or buy your product! Perhaps you have a detailed report they could download? Or your business is running an upcoming event that they may be interested in? Include a call to action within the blog post – perhaps one near the middle and one at the end as those that have read to the end are clearly those who would be most interested. A CTA could even be as simple as including the option to share the post out to their network (hint hint <— ) or asking them to subscribe to mailing list.
My last tip is to make sure to include a relevant image alongside your post to help attract your audience or potential reader and make them read on. Images are key when it comes to sharing your blog on social media. Using images in Facebook helps drive engagement – using visuals in posts gets 7x more likes and 10x more shares compared to a Facebook post that doesn’t. Just remember, a picture can tell a thousand words.