Blog posts are an excellent form of content marketing, keeping you in dialogue with your target group and affirming you as an expert in your field. One of the challenges is mustering the time and developing the writing skills to produce them. Here are four easy steps you can take to get the job done.
1. Discover how much you have to share
You think you don’t have enough input to maintain a regular blog post? You’d be surprised. Take a minute to write down a brief definition of your core business, your core knowledge. Put it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then add as many spokes to that hub as you can think of: aspects of your business, customer challenges, supply chain issues, trends and new developments, lessons from history, experiences you’ve had, personal views and ideas.
Chances are you’re looking at a rough outline of the first six months of your blog.
2. Get a writer to do the writing
Having discovered how much you have to share, you’re now probably thinking: I’ll never find the time to cover all that in writing. Leave it at that and the result will be a sad one: a lot of missed opportunities for win-win communication.
Many advisors will tell you that in order to share your content you need to manage your time better. Make writing a daily habit. There’s an easier solution that I often recommend to entrepreneurs and experts of all kinds. You do the brainstorming, and get a writer to do the writing. It’s easy to find a reliable business journalist or copywriter who for a modest fee will be happy to arrange a series of (phone or even email) interviews with you – say, once every three weeks – in which he or she pick your brain for the next blog post and then write and publish it for you. It’s a great way to ensure continuity.
An example from my own practice
I recently worked with Century Europe, a Netherlands-based specialist in electronic article surveillance, on some of its blogging content. The firm has regrouped itself in order to take on a leading role in European and global electronic article surveillance. As a part of that effort, they want to start producing strong content on their website. In February 2017, I was brought in by Century’s Dutch content marketing advisor, the Brandcast Company, to copy-write several new pieces, including this blog post with Regional Sales Director Ralf Feldermann. It took him about a half an hour of talking and another ten minutes of proofreading the first draft. We took care of the rest.
3. Combine expertise with transparency
Blog posts come in many shapes and forms. Unfortunately, a lot of them are poor in content. Common errors: rambling on in too many directions; putting too much emphasis on sales; offering little that is newsworthy. Oh, and another one: using cheap sales tricks to hide from the reader what would really help him or her (‘sign up here and we will reveal everything’).
In my view, the trick to writing strong blog posts is to combine – or get your writer to combine – information that is new and useful to readers with an open, transparent tone. Share important business insights, while also throwing in a few of your own views and experiences.
4. Ask for feedback – and use it in your next post
This combination of expertise and approachability is sure to invite members of your target audience to connect and potentially do business with you. And if it doesn’t, consider using your next post to ask readers about their needs and wants. Asking questions and getting feedback – especially if your blog posts reach a clearly targeted audience – is a good way to connect. What was it Stephen Covey said in his book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’
Comments, questions, suggestions? Contact the author.
About the author: Stephen Teeuwen
Stephen Teeuwen is a bilingual (English, Dutch) copywriter and concept developer with 30 years of experience spanning diverse media and almost every form of writing. Born in the UK, raised in Indonesia and living and working in the Netherlands, he is a conscientious observer who has worked as newspaper and television reporter, story producer, editor, scriptwriter, market researcher, author and communication advisor. Today he combines this experience in a thriving bilingual copywriting practice, where he also hires and develops young talent.