You know that writing a blog is good for business. You’re brimming with ideas. And you’re certainly not short of opinions. But you’re lacking the confidence in writing a blog yourself. Of course, you could hire a copywriter to do it for you (I know a good ‘un) or you could get better at writing blogs for your vegan business and save yourself a few pennies.
Why you should get better at writing your blogs
I did a bit of a straw poll in one of my networking groups. Not enough to make a solid conclusion but many businesses owners who write their own content have no formal training whatsoever.
Fun Fact: businesses who write blogs get 97% more traffic to their websites
Imagine almost doubling your website traffic from writing blogs. Now, imagine writing a blog so brilliant that people who come to your website go on and do things like sign up for your newsletter or even buy your stuff. Wouldn’t that be great?
So if we know that having a great blog on our website will help bring people to our business, isn’t it worth improving writing skills? It depends on your business.
If you can afford to hire a copywriter, then it’s a worthwhile investment. But some folks can’t afford the rates. And I know lots of vegan business owners who love the writing process. They just lack confidence.
Fun fact: 60% of B2B marketers say they struggle with writing blogs
Getting those blog writing skills
So what can founders and entrepreneurs do to get better at writing blogs when they lack formal training?
There’s a strong argument to invest in this skill. Certainly, I offer a mentorship programme that supports this learning and builds your confidence in what you write will lead to sales. But let’s say that’s a ‘nice to have’ for some. Or they simply don’t fancy getting a qualification in blog writing.
Here are some tips that will help you improve your blog writing skills right now.
What specific skills are needed for writing a blog?
Are there specific skills to writing a blog than writing, say a news article? Or a PDF? Or an email? They are all (mostly) read online and they all involve structure, planning, and the writing of the very words.
As someone who writes a lot of blogs every week, it’s natural for me to flick between writing styles and not realise. Writing a sales page needs a lot of different elements to writing a blog. And website copy needs another set of writing skills.
Blogs are a great place to start when you’re writing for your own business because you can play around with them a lot more than you do a sales page. When someone lands on your sales page, you really have a small opportunity to turn them into a buying customer.
But a blog gets to your customer before the point of sale. It’s often much earlier on in their customer journey. Readers of your blog are getting to know you, to know what you’re about and decide if they want more of what you’ve got.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t put a truckload of effort into your blogs – you should because they might well be the first impression of your business. It’s just that you’ve got a lot more wriggle room than other kinds of website content.
Think like a journalist
From experience, the best skill you can have when specifically writing a blog is to think like a journalist. Okay, I’m a little biased. I did a degree in Journalism so this is how I approach blogs.
But I’m not on my own in this thinking.
“The best writing training I got was from old local newspaper journalists,” explains David Pannel, Founder of Vegan Business Tribe. “They knew they had a single sentence to get a reader interested and then had to keep pulling them through the article. Learnt more in ad hoc workshops with them early in my career than anything I ever learnt through my academic marketing training!”
All the elements you need in a blog, are not so far removed from all the elements you need in a piece of journalism.
- A headline that pulls people in
- Get to the point in the first couple of sentences
- Sources both direct and indirect
- Tell the story
- Pull quotes to keep people reading
I apply everything I’ve learned studying journalism at university (see Mum, I am using my degree!), and what I know about people, story-telling and SEO. To me, these are all writing skills. Or rather they are skills I have developed over the years and now seem like common sense.
Doing a journalism course probably seems more overwhelming than taking a formal writing course. Although there are some nice exercises I like to put people through to help them get into this way of thinking.
Write and write often
If you want to get good at writing blogs, then you need to get good at writing. Fortunately, you have all the tools you need at your disposal already. Brain, eyes, hands, laptop, pencil and paper. Actually, you probably don’t even need the laptop. A scrap of paper and a sharpened pencil will do just fine.
Now here’s the secret…
To get good at writing, you need to write.
I think that is the sound of everyone’s minds being blown. That really is it. You make time every day to do some writing. And then over time, you will find that the words will flow a bit better, a bit easier and a bit more in the right order.
You cannot overestimate how much writing will make you better at writing. And I’ll add to this the superb skill of editing. If you are feeling unsure about your writing skills, then going back a week or even a month later and re-writing it will help you improve immeasurably.
Fun fact: marketers who have blogging at the core of their strategy see a 13x increase in their ROI
I love journaling. It sets out my intentions for the day and clears my mind of its cluttering thoughts. If something is worrying me or I am stressed, then I write it out until I figure out what’s bugging me and how I can fix it.
Every morning I aim to make writing my first thing. The whole teenager ‘Dear Diary’ writing in my journal. Sometimes I write complete and utter bollocks. Navel-gazing, woe is me, rubbish. Sometimes I do a few creative writing exercises. Mostly I write about what is going on around me, what I think about things and the first things that pop into my head.
I don’t think about it. I just write.
Journaling is a brilliant way to get better at writing for your vegan business. Of course, when you journal you only write for yourself but start to think of it as a writing warm-up. You wouldn’t go for a run without warming up first, or work out in the gym without a warm-up. So why would you jump straight into a blog without warming up your brain? It is a muscle after all.
Once you’ve got into the habit of writing every day, you’ll probably want to know where to go next with your blog-writing skills.
Wait for it…
If you want to get better at writing then you’re going to need to do a lot of reading. Reading everything. Absorb all the words that your eyes come across.
Lucky for you there is a wealth of great reading out there to be done. And don’t stick to one format. Don’t think that because you want to get better at writing blogs then you should concentrate on reading all the blogs. Imagine doing that? You’d be bored within a day.
Read the news, magazines, fiction books, newsletters, stories. Start reading anything and everything that interests you. And then ask yourself: ‘why did I stop to read this? What drew me in?’
The best advice I’ve ever had about writing came from my A-Level English teacher:
Write like a reader, read like a writer
Think about it. If you read everything like a writer, questioning along the way, then you are going to start applying those answers to your own writing. Likewise, if you write like a reader then you are going to be putting your reader first. Before anything that you want to write. Put the bits that you want to write in your journal. Not on your blog.
Developing blog writing skills, like any skill, takes time and practice. The more you do it, the better you will become.
Work on your writing skills
Content marketing is not going anywhere so if you aren’t putting effort into your copy then you will be missing out on sales. Of course, writing good copy comes with skills such as knowing how to compel someone to do something like buying your products. Or to read another blog.
These skills come with time, practise and research. You have to write, you have to read and you have to continually learn. But it is a skill that is very much worth investing in your business.
If you do want to get better at writing blogs for your vegan business, get in touch and find out how I can help.