How to Write a Blog
Blogging is a great way to show of your creativity, but it's also a great way to earn some extra money on-top of your day job.
Many businesses and website owners don't have time to run a blog of their own, so they look to hand the responsibility over to a freelancer or two. If you take time to learn the skills needed to write a great blog post this could be an opportunity that's handed to you. Here's how you can get started.
Take Your Time
A good blog takes time. It needs to flow, capture and engage and it needs to be tested on your audience (or friends) to make sure it does its job properly. This is why many hire a freelance blogger. The average business owner spends 3 hours a week on one blog, and when you calculate this as your Hourlie rate suddenly, paying a professional for an hours work doesn't seem so bad.
It's Not About You
Many think that a blog is simply a way of writing a diary. Five years ago it was. People began blogging on platforms such as MySpace, sharing their own adventures and hoping others would find it interesting. Although there's still a market for this type of blogging, unless you're a celebrity, your blog isn't it. Nothing puts a visitor off faster than a blog that shouts about special offers, tells people that you've moved offices or even chats about daily business life. You need to add value.
Here are a few examples according to the industry you may be in:
- A Nursery: For a plant nursery you should blog about gardening through the seasons. Give tips on the best plants according to location and weather, detail what jobs should be done in any specific month.
- A children's nursery, give tips about teething, interacting, tantrums, starting school, how to bake with the children any advice that a parent would welcome.
- For a painter or decorator: Give design tips, DIY tips on how to decorate, the best brushes for different applications, colour trends of the month, different styles and how to achieve them.
- For an accountant: Bring news on tax relief, latest news on the budgets and statements, tips on filing a self-assessment return.
- For a Virtual Assistant: Talk about software that makes life easier, share advice on staying organised, bring fun facts and statistics about business. Take a service you provide, such as chasing invoices and give insights into how to chase an invoice without alienating a client.
You can also choose to swap blogs with someone in the same industry but who isn't in direct competition, for example, a copywriter may swap blogs with a web designer, a landscape gardener could swap with a garden centre and the children's nursery can swap with a toy shop.
Learn the Skill
Blogging is a skill. The best blogs look simple, they flow and they bring you into the conversation. This can be a difficult, but not impossible art to master. You need to embrace the second person, consider the attention spans of your readers and research your target audience so you speak to them on a level they instantly understand.
If your audience is mainly middle class professionals a blog that uses “lol” and other text speak will be frowned upon, whereas young teenagers may expect this as standard.
Many people confuse professionalism with formality. There's very little space on the internet for stuffy content, regardless of who your audience is. Don't be tempted to use the thesaurus, your blog is a conversation not a technical manual or legal agreement. Speak as you would if your client was on the phone. Even the biggest corporations are coming to realise that a blog stuffed with words that 95% of the population need a dictionary to translate is bad for business.
Above all once you start, don't stop. Consistency is the key. Gather momentum, share, take on feedback and keep them coming at regular intervals.
You can do it and what better time to give it a go than in the beginning of 2014?