We’ve touched upon, in earlier blog posts, both the undeniable benefits and the inevitable rigors of blogging on a consistent basis. At the onset, it always seems like such a simple thing to do; every few days, give your audience a little insight into what you’re doing. But, as the workload mounts and the ideas are slower to come, “write blog post” gets pushed further down the task list.
Much of what’s out there, addressing that concern, hits on the writer’s block. No matter your writing ability (or that of those you delegate the blog to) or the depth of your brand and field, you’re bound to hit a wall at some point. Just as certain: You’ll find your way over it. That’s why everyone (including us) has so many tips to get the creativity flowing again: Write first, delete later. Or: Take breaks. Come back to the screen when you feel like you have something to say. Or: Worry about the introduction and the headline at the end.
But none of them can guarantee you’ll write something that your target audience will want to read. So here are a few ideas aimed specifically at curating a narrative that your followers are going to seek out.
To start, ask your audience what it wants to read. It’s so simple, we know, but it’s the most basic steps we neglect first when we repeat a process enough times. Those first several posts probably poured out of you because you’d just banked all this new insight into your target audience. The further immersed you became in developing your brand, however, the more out of touch you fell with those on the outside looking in. Or, rather, it became harder to envision how their perspective of your brand evolved.
Fortunately, we live in an era of transparency, where posting something like, “What do you guys want to know about us?” on your social media platforms is not only embraced, it’s enthusiastically reciprocated.
And while you’re at it, ask around the office, too. Everyone’s likely to have an idea or two, at least. Even better, they’ll probably stem from their respective areas of expertise. Sales could help generate some more leads. And Technology may be able to provide some new analytics that would convert them.
Once you’ve found your new inspiration, sort the ideas into a strategy, which is another concept we’ve discussed. You could just hit each topic as the spirit moves you. But, ideally, you want to align them so that they speak to a larger strategy, the sum of which is capable of moving an idea and your brand forward. Think of it like living paycheck-to-paycheck versus gradually building your savings.
As for the actual act of writing, it comes down to personal preference. Much as this has entailed a collaborative effort to this point, writing is an individual pursuit. (Editing is not. More on that in moment.) When a topic’s established, some prefer to brain dump everything they know about it onto the screen and, essentially, deconstruct the post from there, finding themes and gaps that need to be filled with additional research. Others, the planners, will start with the research and develop an exhaustive outline before ever attempting the lead.
Neither is wrong. But we can get so caught up in the substance of the post that we lose sight of its intent, which is to inform and, even more, entertain our audience. In doing so, never lose sight of who they are and who you are, an extension of your brand. That needs to be reflected in the tone, the style, even the structure of the post.
The final phase of this process, the editing, should focus on clarity. If the points described in the previous paragraph comprise a surface-level check, think of this one as peeking behind doors and corners. The aim here is to make sure the post isn’t bogged down with complex concepts and technical jargon. Even if you’re targeting professionals, a
blog just isn’t the appropriate platform for that.
Visitors are arriving at your blog—by way of a thought-provoking headline—with the basic expectation of an efficient reading experience. Which means the sentences need to be clear, concise, and to the point. You may need to swallow a bit of your artistic integrity, but, remember, this is content marketing, not creative writing.
Getting the reader to the post is an achievement when there’s so much else vying for their attention. But if they don’t read beyond the introduction, it’s hard to say you’ve accomplished much of anything. Put them in a position where they feel like the few minutes they spent reading the post was time well spent. They may not take any further action after reading the post, or the one after that, or the one after that. But the fact that they’re returning means that they’ve found value in your brand, and that’s bound to spur a more meaningful relationship in time.