Crack the code: cardinal rules for better blog posts
Content is still king, but if your blog posts don’t resonate with your target audience, your marketing efforts will soon be dethroned.
Publishing fresh content is important to attract new website visitors and business opportunities, but many struggle to crack the code on high-quality blog posts.
Blog posts can be a powerful tool to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, bolster your brand and tell a compelling story. UpWord writers and editors have decades of experience crafting well-read posts that convert interested prospects into paying clients. Here are the four cardinal rules we follow:
Rule #1: Know your audience
Get very clear who you are writing for. If you’re a personal injury lawyer writing a post about what to do following a motor vehicle accident, your reader is likely someone who has recently been injured in an accident and needs guidance as to whether or not they have a legal claim. They don’t want a legal treatise on personal injury law; they need information that can help them decide if they can trust you with their case.
For each post we craft at UpWord, we create a “persona” to better understand the target client we’re aiming to attract. What is the problem they’re trying to solve? What are the most critical pieces of information they need? Keeping a detailed picture in mind of who the potential client is and speaking directly to their situation will help position you as a trusted source.
Rule #2: Solve problems, don’t sell
Far too often, I see posts that are (very) thinly disguised sales pitches for a business’s product or service. This is a waste of time and resources and will get you nowhere with today’s savvy consumer. When potential clients visit your blog, they want information and education. They have a problem and are reading your blog to see if you can help them solve it. The magic formula for great content is providing information that’s 90 per cent educational and 10 per cent promotional.
The second type of post that can turn off potential clients are those using overly technical language. Even if the subject matter is complex, your message will resonate better when you use plain words. Don’t geek out in an effort to demonstrate how smart you are. Write with the same “voice” you would use to explain the issue in a face-to-face conversation.
Rule #3: Be authentic
You can’t fake authenticity. Most people have a finely tuned radar for spotting BS, so if you present yourself as someone other than you are, you’ll break trust with readers. That’s the death knell of engagement.
Contrary to popular opinion, writing is hard work. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to craft something that makes you look like the smartest person in the room. But that’s not going to hit the mark with your audience. Whether it’s blog content, news or handbags, real trumps fake every time.
Here’s an easy exercise for the next time you have a great idea for a blog post. Grab a recording device and start talking. Imagine you’re telling a good friend about the issue, its importance and why they should care. Listen to the recording and start writing using the same voice you recorded the idea with. Don’t censor yourself or edit as you write. Stay in flow and get the idea down. Editing is phase two of the creative process.
Rule #4: Consistency counts
Many people start out with the great intentions to publish a weekly blog post, but their fire is quickly extinguished when “real work” pushes it off the to-do list. Imagine a visitor to your website who sees the last post you published was in the summer of 2018. They’re going to wonder why there’s no recent content and it may well push them off your site on the hunt for someone more relevant.
We are drowning in online content and the competition for surfers’ attention is stiff, so if you want your posts to attract interest, you need to kick your creative game into high gear. Being intentional with your blogging efforts will pay big dividends.