Are you making sales from your blog? You’ll have many reasons for blogging, but those reasons break down to the nitty-gritty: sales.
The following writing tips will help you to improve your blogging and SELL.
1. Think: “What’s in it for them?” (Consider the takeaway first.)
The takeaway is your readers’ reward for reading, so promise the reward in your headline.
Think about your audience. What do they need? What attracts them to your blog post? They must know WIIFM (what’s in it for me). If this isn’t obvious, they won’t read beyond the headline.
Tip: avoid cheating readers with misleading headlines. We discuss this in #5.
Your headline attracts them; your takeaway keeps them reading, and eventually, you’ll make a sale, but rarely directly. Your blog’s a publication, just like a magazine. Magazines have editorial content, and advertising. Sponsored content aims to break down the divide. As the New York Times article points out:
“In native advertising you can get double-digit click-through rates,” compared with the 0.01 percent click-through rate sometimes seen with display ads, Mr. Knapp said.
(“Native advertising” is just another label for sponsored content.)
Action Tip: write your post’s goal, and its takeaway on a sticky note before you start writing. It helps you to focus.
2. Remember your call-to-action.
Your call-to-action can be anything you like. You may ask:
- For a comment;
- Your readers to tweet, or pay with a tweet;
- Your readers to contact you;
- Your readers to check out an offering…
3. Write to be understood. (Confused readers don’t buy.)
As you know, readers skim your content. They skim the sub-heads to see what’s in it for them. Before you start writing, know what you want to say. Then write to be understood.
Dale Carnegie allegedly said: Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.
You don’t need to go that far, but YOU need to know what point you want to make. Many blog posts start out well, then leave you with a “huh?” feeling at the end. The writer wandered off-track, and never made his point.
Short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs all help. Fast Company’s article, AN ARTICLE HAS A LIFESPAN OF 37 DAYS, AND OTHER FINDINGS FROM POCKET, makes fascinating reading.
4. Proofread… Keep a dictionary handy.
Proofread your posts, and look up words in a dictionary. Sometimes words mean the opposite of what you think they mean. This speaks to clarity, above.
5. Creative or clever? Be usefully creative.
If you use a discovery app like Prismatic, you soon get the sense that some bloggers are trying too hard: Genghis Khan’s ten rules for blogging etc. (If this is someone’s real blog post, I’m sorry. I didn’t look up the phrase on Google, so I have no idea whether someone’s written this. I apologize in advance, because someone will write this. It’s inevitable…)
Advertising master David Ogilvy famously said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative,” and “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.” Aim to be informative: useful.
Remember that your aim in blogging is to sell; creativity for its own sake is pointless, see tip #3.
6. Create a checklist for blogging.
Create a checklist for blogging. Your checklist could include:
- Brainstorm blog post titles;
- Create an outline;
- Write the first draft;
- Find or create graphics…
Your checklists and editorial calendar make blogging easier, and more effective, especially if you add items like: “create a goal” and “remember the takeaway.”
7. Arouse your enthusiasm. (Boredom comes across in your words.)
Are you bored? Snap out of it! Never blog when you’re feeling bored, it comes across in your words. Arouse your enthusiasm. When I feel bored, and know I need to write anyway, I read PG Wodehouse, or play a computer game. I love Wodehouse’s word play; he always inspires me.
8. Become a consistent blogger: create an Idea Bank.
When you deliberately force yourself to come up with ideas, and organize those ideas, you’ll become a consistent blogger. Store your ideas in Evernote, so that you can access them wherever you are.
So there you have it: eight easy writing tips to improve your blogging, and make sales.
Want more ideas? Check out Blogging Maestro.