I’m so pleased to present my second guest post of the year which was written by the lovely Ruth Zive. I’m sure you have all seen her in the comments and hopefully some of you are now regular visitors to her blog. If not, you’re missing out!
I’m so thrilled she accepted my invitation to write a guest post for us. She is so very talented in her chosen field but I’ll let her tell you all about that. Take it away Ruth…
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a copywriter.
Oh sure, I blog – on average, I probably write 20-30 blog posts every month! But mostly I write corporate communications materials for large companies. Boring stuff, like press releases, case studies, white papers, brochures and data sheets.
But my clients understand something really fundamental; it’s a principle that defines the focus of my blog and has essentially characterized the success of the most prolific bloggers you encounter.
Strategic, pointed, dynamic content, that is shared properly, drives business results.
Stated differently, a solid content marketing strategy works.
And if you understand how to craft content in a way that resonates – you can use this same principle to achieve blogging excellence.
And I’m going to help you do it with some actionable advice!
Start with an outline
A pretty simple starting point, but you would be surprised with how many people skip this step altogether. You want to draw your readers in and an outline ensures that your content flows strategically.
Tell a relatable story
Don’t just tell any story. Tell a story that will elicit emotion from your readers – share an experience that is relatable.
When I share, for example, that my son almost drowned in our swimming pool when he was an infant – it immediately creates a sense of connection. Now, if I take that very powerful story, and write about the life lessons I learned as a result…magic.
Share your personality
When I am writing for a client, I tailor the tone of my content to their unique brand. Every piece of content marketing material should have personality.
Even more so with a blog!
Your blog reflects your brand. Inject it with personality. When I read Adrienne’s blog, I can hear her Texas drawl through the words. Her personality is all over that content! Don’t hold back; be yourself and let your best qualities shine.
Think outside of the box
Blogs are a dime a dozen these days. EVERYONE and their brother is blogging! You need to stand out, and the easiest way to do that is with your words.
Take on a controversial subject; challenge conventional wisdom; package your content creatively – use a variety of media, like video or podcasting or infographics. Be different!
Keep it short and sweet
In my opinion, a good blog post is 400-1000 words. There are those who disagree, but I think that blogs should be meaningful snippets that can be consumed during a quick coffee break.
Make it scan-able
Most people don’t actually read content on the Internet start to finish. They scan.
And that’s a fact.
If you break up your paragraphs with lots of white space, include bullets, short sentences and headers then it is much more likely that your post will be read.
In addition to providing amusement, your blog content should be helpful. Provide a takeaway, a tip, a piece of advice or a meaningful lesson.
Always include a call to action
You don’t want your content to be entirely open ended. Be mindful of your goal – are you trying to drive the reader to another website? Are you hoping to sell something? Did you want the reader to subscribe?
At the end of your post, or throughout the content, be very clear with your intentions. Ask the reader to do exactly what you want them to do (e.g. – Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by putting your email address in the box to the right!)
Don’t edit your work
Okay, that’s a lie.
Of course you should edit your work. You should edit very carefully. But resist the temptation to edit until you are finished writing a first draft. Your content will sound much more authentic as a result.
The point of a blog is to engage your readers – build relationships and elicit a sense of investment.
Ask questions; post your content to discussion groups and forums; host polls and surveys and encourage comments!
And one for good luck
Don’t confuse content marketing and inbound marketing.
This trips people up all the time!
The former is the creation of meaningful, compelling and consistent content that targets a prospect through the entire sales cycle.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is about getting found online, through search engine vehicles and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
While closely related, they are not the same. And when you craft your content, you want to have both goals in mind, without confusing the two.
Now For Your Comments
So did you enjoy the post? Ruth and I would love to hear your thoughts on what she has shared so please feel free to ask her any questions because Ruth will be by to answer those for you.
We all know just how important content is for our blogs and Ruth is definitely the person to help you in this area so don’t be bashful. Let’s take advantage of Ruth’s generosity so if you have any questions at all, now’s the time to ask.
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today and I want to especially thank Ruth for sharing this post with us today. She is definitely the expert in this area and I’m honored that she is now sharing her expertise with us all.