Your Blog Is Dead To Me
Five things that are killing your business’s blog.
2018 has well and truly wedged its ass into the sofa and made itself comfortable. And this means just one thing - I’m already 542 days behind on the exercise routine I planned with meticulous detail on 31st December, 2017.
*Empties entire packet of Maltesers into mouth*
However, I’m thrilled to see that many of you are continuing to put your 2017-laid plans into action and have come out, guns blazing with new blog post content for 2018 - or you’ve outsourced the task, clever cookie, so you can focus on building your empire in other ways. But hold your horses, Calamity, before you hit publish on your next blog post. (Then refresh, and refresh, and refresh, in anticipation of those likes rollin’ on in.) While it's just the tip of the iceberg, here are five tips that’ll mean the difference between a blog post that reads like a spew of consciousness, and a strategically crafted post that will snag your audience's attention and benefit your business’s bottom line.
Please stop making me think about bottoms. But can someone pass the (prematurely-stocked-but-secretly-I'm-thrilled) Hot Cross Buns?
1. Be prepared to come in swinging
In a time of information overload, a killer title is key to cutting through the noise. What made you stop what you were doing and open this blog post? What if I’d titled it “Blogging for your business.” I'm betting that you’d yawn and scroll on by, baby.
Many business owners slip into the trap of focusing on the information within a blog post, then whip up a title on the fly, right before hitting “publish”. Think about your title carefully and include attention-grabbing, SEO focused keywords. Take your time to craft a clever headline and one or two short sentences when you share it on social media, too. Without an engaging blog title or ‘teaser’ you’ll lose an enormous amount of potential traffic and shares.
2. Stop waffling on like Janet, the woman mistakenly made eye contact with - mid-vino - on Sydney Harbour, who held me captive in a one-sided conversation that felt like it went on for a least 4 hours. For crying out loud Janet, get to the point. Say what you need to say. Keep it concise, give me the highlights and don’t fill me in about every detail of your life, your daughter’s job, her demanding boss, that holiday you took to Fiji in 2004 and the meal you ate on the flight.
Leave room for me to want to come back for more in your next blog post. Don’t go off on tangents - leave complementary topics aside and keep these up your sleeve for your next post. We’re all time poor, so a 5-minute read during a lunch break might be a generous ask of your audience’s time. (The average adult reads 250 words per minute, this can be a handy rule to keep in mind) This doesn’t mean that long blog posts won’t get read, but those over 1000 words can benefit from being broken up into chapters, with subheadings, or punctuated with imagery.
3. Know thy target market. Writing a blog post for everyone won’t increase its shareability – in fact, it will have the opposite effect. Sketch out your dream client before your fingers hit the keyboard and write for the client you want to attract. Don’t fear that your market is already cornered, or that your blog topic has been written about 100 times before - what fresh perspective can you offer up?
It’s super important that you’re using the right ‘voice’; the language, tone, and personality of a blog focused on the hip-hop fashion scene for teen girls should be wildly different to a blog for Grey Nomads and must-visit caravan sites. Unless those Grey Nomads are rocking some dope threads and killer beats! How well do you know your audience? How can you get to know them better?
4. WIIFM? (What’s in it for me?). While I don’t doubt that you’re wildly popular and very much adored in your close circles, I want to see your content hit a wider audience than your mum and your BFF squad. We’re a self-absorbed bunch, so your readers are far more likely to give you slither of their attention if they can quickly identify what’s in it for them – not just because they think you’ve kindly taken the time to write a post for them. This also comes back to knowing who your audience is first.
Your blog post might teach your reader how to do something. It might solve a mystery for them. It might make them healthier, happier or wealthier. It could provide entertainment or a giggle. Sharing a moving, personal experience might reassure them they’re not alone in this wild, wild world. What kind of content will address your audience’s needs, goals, fears, or challenges they’ve faced? What will they find entertaining, moving or insightful? What’s in it for them?
5. There's no roadmap or Call To Action.
There’s a bunch lost souls wandering aimlessly from website to website, from one social media post to the next, putting down their phone and picking it up five seconds later to do it all over again (some days, myself included). This lack of direction can be a blessing to your business, provided you give your reader clear instructions on what they should do after they finish reading your blog post. A call to action (CTA) is essential if you don’t want to gamble that your reader will join the dots and start punching in their contact details or phone you with their credit card number.
Do you want them to enquire about your services after they read your post? GIVE THEM A FORM TO FILL OUT SO THEY CAN ENQUIRE about your services. Want them to purchase the item they’ve just read about on your blog? GIVE THEM A BUY NOW BUTTON so they can make their purchase. What do you want your reader to do next? What CTA can you include in your blog post that will increase the chances of them arriving at your ideal destination?