When it comes to writing good blog copy, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You should, of course, spend time on creating a good blog but you don’t need to spend time worrying about what to write.
As a writer of many blogs, here are my top 10 tips for writing good blog copy.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
I cannot emphasise this enough. Before you even start writing a blog you need to research what you are going to write about. Whether that is listening to your customers, reading conversations online, or looking at what the competition is doing, you need to research.
But don’t stop there. You also need to put a lot of time into working out what your headline will be. Test different variations out and see which appeals better.
For every client, I have a file on what their tone of voice is like. What words and style they prefer on their blogs. At times, I feel the need to have ‘book titles in italics’ tattoo’d on my arm so that I don’t forget.
When you’re reading other people’s blogs and you are writing your own, keep notes on the things you do and do not like. Then refer to it when you’re drafting your own blog.
SET GOOGLE ALERTS
If you’re short of ideas or you can’t take another crawl through Facebook comments for a blogging inspiration, Google alerts will be your friend. Put in the search words around your business and see what other people are talking about. News is always a great inspiration for a blog and it gives you something relevant to peg your writing to.
DON’T OVERTHINK IT
The worst thing you can do is get yourself tied up in knots overthinking what it is you are writing about. Wanting to please everyone and appeal to everyone with your blogs. Stop it. You can’t. Only try and appeal to your audience. And while we are talking about not getting wrapped up in things…
LOSE YOUR SENSE OF OWNERSHIP
Seriously, don’t be precious about your writing. I know that writing can seem deeply personal but you need to start thinking about it in a more analytical way. When I started my journalism course, I was told that all writing would be torn to shreds and everything we’ve learned so far about writing was wrong. I was also told that if I didn’t get a tough skin around feedback then I can go do English Literature instead. And that advice has served me well.
I have blogs sent back for multiple edits. It’s nothing personal. It’s a learning experience. About what the client wants, what the quality expectation is, what I feel good about producing.
EDIT, EDIT AND THEN EDIT SOME MORE
And then after you’ve done that, go have a cup of tea, come back and edit some more. Whatever it is that you have written, needs looking at more than once. What you write in the moment can read very differently half an hour later. Better yet, get another person to review your blogs first.
Here’s a confession: when I worked at a record label, all my marketing emails needed to be signed off by another member of staff. At first, I really resenting having my work checked. Then I realised that this second read through was not a criticism of me or a judgement that I wasn’t good enough yet but it was to make sure another person could catch things that I couldn’t see. I was too close to the writing to read it objectively.
DON’T PRESS PUBLISH
And when you’ve finished editing, resist all temptation to hit the publish button. Even if you’re on a tight deadline. In fact, especially if you are on a tight deadline. Take a breath. Take a break. If you have time, take a night to sleep on it. Then go back and give it another once over.
THINK BEYOND WORDS
This might be tips for writing blog copy but that doesn’t mean you should ignore all the other media available at your disposal. Can anything be added to illustrate the words? Can you make the words pop out with formatting or use a video? If you truly cannot stand writing, then why not record what you want to say?
GET TO THE POINT
Finally, stop the flowery language around what it is you want to say. Get to the point and stick with it. I wrote here about writing so it makes sense to others. This blog came about because the one I was supposed to be writing was drifting off in lots of different directions. So many that I forgot what the point was that I was saying. Get to the point and stick with it.