Small business owners struggling to write blog posts tend to have trouble in one of two areas: either coming up with content and ideas or figuring out what to say.
We’ve talked before about coming up with content ideas, so let’s take a look at figuring out what to say and how to format the post.
How to Figure Out What to Write
While some laugh at the idea of needing help to write a blog post, the fear of the empty page is not to be taken lightly. Writing sometimes feels like intense pressure. After all, you want to make your business sound good. Even if you have a topic, you might be wondering how to start, how to make a point, and what on EARTH to write in the middle. You have flashbacks to 7th grade English class and the five-paragraph essay. Should you do that?
Probably not. (On the other hand, it’s not a bad template if you are truly struggling.)
For most people, the first sentence or two is the most difficult. Sometimes the fear that seizes people is the idea that you have to write your thoughts in a coherent fashion from start to finish, in order. But that’s not true.
1. Start writing by thinking, “If a customer or client asked me about this topic in person, what would I tell them?” Then write your answer. Don’t worry about formatting or grammar; you can clean it up later. The hardest part is just to get going, so your goal is to get some notes of any kind down first. Maybe that’s simply a few bullet points, some phrases, or some steps, if you’re writing a how-to.
Then, take a look at what you’ve written. Does it make sense? Go ahead and clean up the grammar and spelling. Make sure there are sentences. Does it sound like you, yet professional? Great. This is the middle of your blog post. (If you like the idea of the five-paragraph essay, you might later break this section into two or three main points.)
2. Next, add some facts or data. Maybe you know the facts backward and forward. After all, it’s your business. But you may want to research a few things, too. Facts make great bullet points, but you can also write them out. The facts might be mixed in with your current paragraphs or become their own section. You get to decide.
3. Add your opinion. This is optional and depends on your topic and your business. But blog posts should help and inform your customers, and your opinion matters. Plus, it separates you from everyone else. What can you offer from your experience and expertise that will help and will help you stand out? You don’t have to write, “I think” in the post. But your ideas should come across in some way.
4. Create an introduction. Start at the beginning of the text. Now that you’re warmed up, you can write the first few sentences. Here, you can explain why this topic is important. You thought of this topic for a reason. Did a customer ask about it? Can you tell that story (without names)? Can you write something about why this is a common mistake or frequent misunderstanding? Write as if you are telling a customer in person about this issue.
5. The first sentence is important. Look at yours and see if you can make it punchy so it grabs someone’s attention. Tell the person why they care enough about this to keep reading. If you feel too much pressure, don’t worry about this too much.
6. Write a call to action at the end. Go to the end of the document. Do you need to add anything to wrap things up? Do that, and then write a call to action, which is simply an encouragement to contact you for more information and help. Include a link to your contact page or a phone number or email address.
7. Write a headline. Marketing studies show the headline is the most important part. Spend about as much time on the headline as you did working on the blog post. Sound crazy? The headline is the difference between someone clicking and someone skipping. The best headlines are usually short, though longer can work. Typically, headlines with numbers or some sort of teaser in them work best.
Writing a blog post is not easy for everyone. But these steps can get you started, and after you’ve written several, you may find your stride. Questions? Contact me for a consultation, brainstorming, or to write your small business blog posts.