Entries Tagged 'blog' ↓

8 Ways Your Blogging Improves Through Practice

As with everything, the more you blog the better you’ll get at it.better blogging

No one can become a world-class blogger over night. It takes time to hone your craft and find the perfect recipe for your audience.

But there are a few things you can do to help you on your way.

Below are 8 things you need to refine to create a strong and readable blog, whether you write all the posts on your own, or you have a team of contributors within your business.

1. Learn what your readers want

This is probably the most important thing you need to know.

When starting out, you’ll end up writing about all manner of things related to your particular niche. Over time, you’ll begin to understand exactly what it is your audience is looking for.

Check out your analytics to find the most popular titles and ask your readers directly. At the end of each post ask for their opinion. You can also ask if there is anything in particular they want to know about, generating further blog ideas.

2. Give a great mix

Your blog shouldn’t just consist of written blog posts.

Different people like to absorb information in different ways, so it’s important to offer a range of styles, such as:

  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Graphics
  • Audio
  • Presentations
  • Video

Plus, make sure you incorporate at least one image to every post to help attract readers.

3. Headlines

The headline of your blog is incredibly important. Your reader will make a split second decision about whether to read your post or not based on the attractiveness of its title.

Some of the most powerful headlines incorporate numbers (such as they one above), address the reader directly (using you and your, like the one above) and offer tips and advice showing them how to do something.

4. Consistency

One of the best ways to make people feel at home on your blog is consistency. That is consistency in style, font, approach and design.

Again, it may take time to come up with a style that suits your readers (and your writing), but when you do, it’s a good idea to create a style guide for all future posts.

5. Review

It’s very tempting to bash out a blog, publish it and then move on to the next task in hand. But reviewing what you write is essential, especially if you have blogs from contributors.

I’ve already mentioned the importance of consistency, well the review process will help you maintain that, check for errors and ensure that your tags are all in place.

6. Optimise

You blog for one reason – to attract readers and, hopefully, push them towards your sales funnel.

But you’ll only attract them if they can find your blogs.

First you must find out what your target audience wants, then use the keyword in your title and content to help your optimisation. To go a step further, link to other blogs where appropriate and also to your website. Finally, make sure each post has social buttons to make it easy for your readers to share your information with their friends and colleagues.

7. Timing

The timing of your posts is also important. After all, there’s no point in scheduling them for publication at a time when your target audience is unlikely to see them.

Think carefully about your audience and post your blogs when they are most likely to be around.

8. Distribute

There’s no point in writing anything if you’re not going to promote it. Yes, some people may stumble across your posts, but if you want to widen your readership you must also promote them.

Sent them out through your social media channels, email and make mention of them (and link them) in your internal communications and newsletters. Tell the world they are there and they are more likely to read them.

Each of these will get easier and clearer the more you blog. It’s like learning to walk, at the start you will take a few tumbles, but once you learn more about your audience and what they’re looking for, you’ll soon be running.

Author: Sally Ormond, MD at Briar Copywriting, lover of Pinot Grigio and toffee popcorn.





How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

Blog posts

This is a question I’m asked a lot.

Should it be short and sweet, or should it be a lengthy, complicated in depth look at a particular topic?

On top of that, should it be conversational and friendly, or should it be strictly professional and formal?

There are no right or wrong answers.

Everyone loves different things.

Personally, I prefer short, chatty and informative posts that get across a point or concept quickly and easily.

A long blog post, no matter how well written, will never hold my attention because I always have a pile of stuff to get through so I don’t have the time to sit and wade through complex arguments and ideas.

Yet there are people out there who love long posts.

The best piece of advice I can give is to take a look at the audience you are writing for. What do they like? If your company deals with high brow financial, medical or complex issues, your writing will probably be more formal than if you were involved in design or marketing. But that doesn’t mean to say all your posts have to be long and ‘dry’ (in the nicest possible sense of the word). Throw in a few short, pithy posts now and then to liven things up and add interest.

That’s really all I have to say.

Over to you – what type of blog posts do you prefer? Leave a comment below and tell me what industry you write for and the main type of post you publish.

I’d be really interested in your input on this one.

Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd.

Banish The 7 Excuses That Prevent You From Blogging

It’s 2014 – what are you going to do this year? why you should blog

How about starting that blog you’ve been talking about for the past 18 months, but never quite got round to.

Whoa – I may not be able to hear you, but I know you’ve just started listing all the excuses you can think of to illustrate that now’s not the right time to start.


Excuses are for losers. If you want to succeed, get off your butt and do something.

Here are the 7 top excuses for not starting a blog and the reasons why they are just a figment of your imagination.

1. People won’t like what I have to say

Really? Have you asked them?

Of course you haven’t. And who’s to say they won’t like your stuff?

Sure, you’re never going to appeal to everyone – no one can do that (not even J K Rowling), but that’s no reason not to blog.

Blogs are very personal, some people will like your style, and others will hate it. If they hate it they won’t come back so there’s no need to worry about them, if they love it they’ll be hanging on your every word, which is pretty cool.

You’ll get some amazing comments and you’ll get some rants from small minded people who get their kicks out of trolling blogs, who, quite frankly, aren’t worth worrying about.

The main thing is that there will be people who like what you say, so that’s that excuse blown out of the water.

2. I don’t have anything new to say

There aren’t that many subjects out there where there is anything new to say, especially if you’re giving tips.

Take the subject of blogging for example, there are zillions of posts out there telling you why you should blog, how to blog and the benefits of blogging, but that didn’t stop those authors getting their message out.

What makes each and every post worthwhile is that they are all told from someone else’s point of view. No one else writes like you, so whatever you write about will be original because it’s your take on the subject.

Boom, there goes number two.

3. Overcrowded

So what if your particular niche already has hundreds of bloggers writing about it. That doesn’t signal that it’s overcrowded, it means it’s a topic that has a huge audience and they’re all waiting to hear what you have to say.

Take that number three.

4. No time

Oh right, and the rest of us bloggers have loads of time?

Nope. None of us have the luxury of just writing blogs – we’re all working or running businesses too.

Take me for example, I run a successful copywriting agency from my home office. I also have two sons I end up running here there and everywhere, 2 dogs that need walking, a pile of washing and ironing that has to be kept up with and a family to feed.

No time? I don’t think so.

5. Where do I start?

How about at the beginning?

Set up your blog and get the first post written. Decide on how often you’ll post and stick to it. You’ll find your blog evolves over time as you grow as a writer, so there’s no point getting hung up on how to start – just do it.

6. Not the right time

When is?

If you are listing the reasons why you can’t start blogging right now, what happens when those excuses are no longer relevant? Do you think of some more?

There never is a right time, so stop procrastinating and get on with it.

7. I might fail

Define fail.

You can’t, can you?

Blogging is a great way to stir up your creativity, drive traffic to your website, boost your online reputation and get stuff off your chest.

It can be very therapeutic and you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

The best advice I can give is stop with the excuses and just start writing.  You will get so much out of the blogging experience – your knowledge will grow, your reputation will grow and your business will grow.

Just go and do it!

Author: Sally Ormond

How to Brainstorm Great Blog Ideas

If you’re a blogger, you need to come up with a constant stream of great blog ideas people are going to want to read.

But how do you do that?

Surely, sooner or later you’ll hit a brick wall.

That’s where brainstorming comes in. Here are a few techniques you can use to come up with fresh ideas.

1. Criticism

As a business owner, you’re bound to think your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread.

But it’s important to be self-critical and anticipate your customers’ potential criticisms before they make them. That way, you can create a blog post counters them and shows how your product and service can be used to great effect.

2. Don’t be yourself

The problem you face is that you’re too close to your business.

It’s time to think like a child. A child’s imagination is an incredible tool, so think as they would when writing about your product and create some fun and perhaps controversial blog posts.

It’s also easy to get complacent about how your products work, taking things for granted that may not be so obvious to others. Think about that and see if you can produce blog posts that clarify products and services and perhaps suggest using them in ways your readers may not have thought of before.

3. Metaphors

When planning your posts, see if you can create titles that use metaphors – such as ‘Starting a Business is Like Childbirth’. It will help create eye-catching titles that will make readers want to click and read more.

4. Curiosity

Don’t become too blinkered by your own knowledge. Be curious and read around your subject. Learning new ideas and techniques will help strengthen your writing and, potentially, your product or service.

5. Get out

Sitting in an office (or home office) and staring at a blank computer screen is not the best way to spark creativity.

Get out and about, talk to people, get some fresh air – a change in your environment will help trigger ideas and add a new dimension to your blogging.

None of this is ground breaking stuff, but every now and then it’s good to have a reminder of the basics.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+


Why is Your Content Failing?

You’ve read all the blogs and advice telling you that content is the best way to market your business on line. Reasons for blog failure

Religiously, you’ve followed all the advice of the experts, generated loads of content, created your own content strategy and yet, nothing’s happening.

Your content isn’t drawing in the traffic promised by the experts.

What’s gone wrong?

There are a number of reasons why your strategy isn’t working, but here are, potentially, the 10 most likely culprits:

1. You

You are writing stuff you love.

What about your readers?

What do they want to know? Surely, you’ll be more effective if you write about things that they want to know. After all, your content is there to attract readers not to massage your ego.

It’s time to put your wants on the back burner and think about your readers.

2. Experimentation

Look at your posts. Are they all pretty similar?

Your audience wants variety. They want to learn new things from you, so don’t regurgitate the same old stuff over and over.

Be bold and experiment with different ideas and different types of posts. Offer written posts, infographics, videos, podcasts etc. Mix it up a bit and keep them interested.

3. Go for quality

Are you obsessed with the number of times you post in a week?

Forget it. So long as you post regularly, it’s more important to concentrate on the quality of your posts. What’s the point in publishing 10 mediocre posts in a week that don’t attract anyone, when working on 2 or 3 high quality posts that give your readers what they want will be far more effective?

It’s this attention to detail and quality that will set you apart from other bloggers in your industry.

4. Be true to your style

Corporate blogs create their own problems, namely the number of contributors. Keeping the same style and brand image can be difficult, which is why it’s essential you produce some firm guidelines for everyone to follow.

5. Challenge

If you just write about safe subjects in a safe way, your readers are going to get bored.

Don’t be afraid to be controversial, after all that’s what’s going to get you noticed.

Challenge the status quo, throw in some radical ideas now and then and get some conversations started with your readers. Getting your stuff noticed is what it’s all about.

6. Call to action

How often do you add a call to action into your blog posts?

It doesn’t have to be a ‘buy my product/service now’, but a simple ‘what are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment below’ will show your readers you’re interested in what they have to say and want to hear from them.

You can also use your call to action to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed – whatever you want really.

7. Where to post?

It’s important to have one main channel for your posts. Ideally, this will be your blog.

Then, you can create new posts and guest posts for other websites to attract a whole new audience to your work. However, by having one main outlet your readers will know where to go for their next fix.

8. Tow the line

Following on from point 4, when you have a number of contributors to your blog it is vital you have one person to oversee everything. It will be their job to make sure posts are written, that they follow your style guidelines and that comments are responded to.

9. Niche

People read blogs because they want to learn from experts.

You are an expert in your field so carve out a niche for yourself and write about what you know best.

Before long, they will get to know you are the expert in the field of pink widgets (or whatever your niche happens to be) and they’ll keep coming back for your latest words of wisdom.

10. Schedule

Your readers are creatures of habit and like to know when you’re next nugget of wisdom will be published. That’s why it’s important to stick to your posting schedule.

If, for any reason, you have to deviate from your normal posting pattern, let them know.

These are just 10 potential reasons why your content is failing to hit the mark.

When you decide to enter the world of content marketing, it’s essential you realise that it is an ongoing marketing strategy and not something you can just pick up when you get a spare 5 minutes.

Commitment, originality and determination are what will help you succeed.


 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos